Greetings Gamers! Welcome back to the Awesemo NFL DFS Single Game Prime Time series for FanDuel and DraftKings showdown slates. For each of the featured games, typically Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights we will be providing a free analysis for the Showdown slate action. This will include team capsules as well as player rankings and comments.
Week 1 gave us a little more information to digest. Though even adding that to the limited preseason and training camp information, we still have a lot of unanswered questions.
The other key to remember is that strategy and lineup construction are crucial to get that ever elusive edge on single game slates.
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Tune into NFL Live Before Lock tonight at 7:30pm ET as EMac and Eric Vojvodich break down tonight’s game for Showdown formats.
Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons +1.0 / 52.5
This should be an exciting matchup as we have two offenses helmed by excellent quarterbacks with plenty of options at their disposal.
Check out the FREE Week 2 NFL main slate game by game breakdown from Adam Pfeifer here
Philadelphia Eagles 26.75 implied point total
Carson Wentz had a very efficient 71.8 completion percentage for 313 yards and three aerial scores against Washington last week. Last season by most metrics, fantasy and otherwise, the Falcons were a fantastic team to target with opposing quarterbacks. Their secondary was not tested against Minnesota in Week 1 as the Vikings rolled up 38/172/3 on the ground and controlled the game from the jump.
Wentz has a plethora of receiving options, though DeSean Jackson is back at the top of the list in his triumphant return to Philadelphia. Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery and the venerable Darren Sproles are others that should rise up the target list for the Eagles.
It was interesting to see rookie Miles Sanders with essentially double the opportunities of veteran Jordan Howard. It should be no surprise to anyone that at least while healthy, 14-year veteran Darren Sproles will have an active role in passing and other leverage situations. That does not help us much from a fantasy perspective, other than confirming that this is a fluid situation based on game flow.
Was anyone really surprised that DeSean Jackson had a magnificent game against his former Washington squad? Keep in mind that Jackson is in his twelfth season and to put that in perspective can you name some of the quarterbacks he played with in his first tour with the Eagles? Here are a few, Michael Vick, Vince Young, Nick Foles, Kevin Kolb and of course Donovan McNabb. Let’s hope those hammies hold up this season. Alshon Jeffery will be in the mix as well for primary targets with Nelson Agholor a distant third among this trio.
While Zach Ertz has been a defacto WR1 in recent history with his production, there are more able bodies this year than there have been over the last two seasons. He is also dealing with the ascending Dallas Goedert who is projected to see a fair number of snaps. While head coach Doug Pederson has said he will employ more two-tight end formations, this is no longer the sole domain of Ertz.
While Atlanta was in the middle of the pack allowing 42 sacks last season, that does work out to 2.7 per game and that is right where the Eagles defense was last year as well. Though Matt Ryan was picked off twice last week, in the three prior season over 48 games he had just 26 total interceptions.
Atlanta Falcons 25.75 implied point total
Depending on your scoring projection site of choice, you will find consensus that Matt Ryan is juuuuuust outside the top five quarterbacks this week. Last season, despite their reputation, the Eagles were in the bottom half of the league in pass defense. In their last two meetings, Week 1 2018 and the NFC Divisional round the season prior, Ryan was stymied by Philly. That was then, this is now. We know that Ryan is better at home in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta has an adequate running back corps and he has a variety of targets in the passing game that he can dial in. This is a nice situation for Matty Ice.
While in the preceding paragraph I mentioned that the running back corps is adequate, good luck picking the individual who will find success on a game-to-game basis. Last week Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith both saw 39 snaps which was 50% of the overall plays run by the Falcons. Neither was particularly exciting with Freeman 8/19/0 and four targets for 3/12/0 and Smith tallied 6/31/0 on the ground and brought in his lone target for nine yards. Keith Smith saw just six snaps with no touches. Let price and popularity dictate who you roster unless you have particularly strong feelings towards either player.
The Falcons passing game begins with Julio Jones, though it does not end there. They have a plethora of secondary options and while it is hard to discern the pecking order from game-to-game, it does help to keep defenses guessing as well. You have all heard that Julio does not score as many touchdowns as his receptions and yards support, but he has two touchdown upside in any game he plays. Which of course seems like a very odd thing to say, but there we are…
Mohamed Sanu has just three career 100+ yard games in his career and just one since joining the Falcons. He should still see half a dozen targets and of course there is always a chance he throws a touchdown (seriously). Calvin Ridley is like the anti-Julio and he scored nearly double the touchdowns last season as he “should have” based on his ancillary production. Together, Sanu and Ridley are the yin and yang of safety versus fantasy upside.
Austin Hooper is solid though not spectacular and closer to Sanu with regards to production. Matt Ryan is never shy to go to him (nine targets last week) and he has about a 30% chance of scoring in any given game.
This week, like most, the Falcons D/ST is ranked in the bottom five with the likes of Oakland, Miami, Detroit, Washington and Arizona. Last year Atlanta was 21st with 37 sacks and in the middle of the pack with 10 takeaways. They are a lottery ticket at best in the hopes of a return touchdown.
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Single Game Ranking (taking into account projected production, pricing and popularity)
- Carson Wentz: this one is pretty easy for me, the Philly offense is entirely based on Wentz. Mostly because Miles Sanders is not ready to carry the load in just his second game. The Atlanta defense is a mess and the only downside is we do not know which of Wentz’s options would be best to pair with him. Which is by no means the end of the world.
- Julio Jones: whether you love or hate rostering him, there is no denying the talent. It would also be very possible for him to have a phenomenal game and Matty Ice only a pedestrian performance.
- Matt Ryan: speaking of which, we can’t get too far down this list without looking to the 2016 NFL MVP. Be honest, how many of you forgot about that award?
- Ito Smith: Such a cheap $2,400 price tag on DraftKings considering he had about half of the Week 1 workload.
- DeSean Jackson: we know he is a burner, just one misstep by the secondary and he is gone.
- Zach Ertz: best served in the red zone, he did see seven targets last week and that is a reasonable expectation for this game as well.
- Miles Sanders: this is a spot where the discount to Freeman is still too good to pass up on DraftKings and FanDuel.
- Calvin Ridley: we are hoping the touchdown regression doesn’t catch up to him tonight.
- Austin Hooper: I am fine playing him over Calvin Ridley if you need the savings for your otherwise perfect lineup.
- Devonta Freeman: indeed he did look a little creaky in Week 1. Keep in mind he missed a chunk of last season with injury and did not play much in the preseason. I am more concerned with the split workload than his current level of effectiveness.
- Jake Elliott and Matt Bryant: interchangeable in the dome matchup, let price dictate if needed.
- Mohamed Sanu: not a ton of upside with his three career 100+ yard games and sporadic touchdowns. Fortunately his quarterback looks to him for the crucial catches.
- Philadelphia D/ST: at least you have the chance that Matty Ice melts under pressure. Oh, as a bonus Darren Sproles is returning punts.
- Darren Sproles: mostly a DraftKings only play where we get a better price and it is full-PPR scoring. On FanDuel he would be very low on my priorities. Of course that is what most will think which makes him very contrarian (about 10-12% popularity).
- Jordan Howard: you are hoping for a rookie gaffe to get him some playing time over Sanders.
- Nelson Agholor: wildcard for the giant field tournaments where differentiation is key.
- Atlanta D/ST: Coach Doug Pederson puts his quarterbacks in good spots so they do not make many mental miscues.
- Dallas Goedert: solid punt on FanDuel, excellent value on DraftKings. Just one successful red zone target could have us cruising up the leaderboards.
- Kenjon Barner: the former Eagle is returning both punts and kickoffs for the Falcons.
- Justin Hardy: likely only in the mix if you are building 150 lineups.
- Luke Stocker: getting some scratch tickets would probably make more sense.
As always, you can reach out to me in Awesemo.com Premium Slack or Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.
Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac