By Jack Thomason–
(CBS) What a first week of the NFL season. We saw action left and right and several games came down to the wire. Even games that were expected to be blowouts ended up tight or as upsets. That’s why we have to love the NFL action.
I glanced back over last week’s sleepers, we hit on a few, but the rest were pretty rough. Heck, my “just missed” players ended up doing better than those I wrote up. So that being said, make sure to look at those names too. I may not be writing up paragraphs on those players, but I list them because they’re on an original list that I’m thinking about. Hopefully we will have some better success this week, but all in all, three out of eight isn’t so bad when you’re digging deep to find some values.
OK, let’s get to those sleepers.
Josh McCown, Browns (vs. Ravens) — Robert Griffin hurt his shoulder last week and is now on injured reserve, which leaves the door open for the veteran McCown to get back under center and sling the rock as Cleveland’s starting quarterback. Last year, he hung 669 yards and three touchdowns on the Ravens in their two matchups, and he did it on a whopping 89 pass attempts. Baltimore’s pass defense is nothing to fear, and McCown will have better weapons than last year at his disposal with rookie speed demon Corey Coleman and Terrelle Pryor’s emergence. The Browns are seven-point underdogs, which will bode well for McCown’s passing attempts. Fire him up at close to minimum salary and minimum salary in DFS. (FanDuel: $6000; DraftKings: $5000)
Trevor Siemian, Broncos (vs. Colts) — This one is all about the matchup and the price tag. Siemian didn’t play nearly as poorly as I expected last week against a stingy Panthers defense. This week he gets an extremely soft Colts pass defense that ranks 30th in the NFL and was torched by Matthew Stafford for 340 yards and threes scores. Colts cornerback Vontae Davis won’t be playing and fellow cornerback Darius Butler “could” practice Wednesday. This set ups nicely for Siemian to put in some workman-like numbers, but 225 yards and two touchdowns are in sight. Plus, he’s a mobile quarterback and can pick up yards with his legs. (FD: $6400; DK: $5200)
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars (vs. Chargers) — Chris Ivory not only had a calf issue last week, but he was admitted to the hospital for an illness. Last I saw, he was released but is still questionable to play this upcoming Sunday. That leads us to Yeldon, who averaged a paltry 1.9 yards per carry but did add four receptions and a touchdown to his stat line in the opener. Last week, Spencer Ware touched up the Chargers for 199 total yards, seven receptions and a score. If Ivory sits, Yeldon makes a great mid-range DFS. (FD: $5400; DK: $4700)
Terrance West, Ravens (at Browns) — This one will take some stones to get behind, but the Ravens are seven-point favorites, and West is their grinder. In Week 1, he had 14 total touches and split time with Justin Forsett (44 percent of snaps to Forsett’s 50 percent), but if the Ravens pull out in front early, they’ll use West and his hard-nosed running to pound the Browns into submission. According to Vegas, game flow is on West’s side, and he has a solid chance to put up numbers to surpass value at his current salaries. (FD: $5400; DK: $3300)
Mike Wallace, Ravens (at Browns) — Wallace played on 65 percent of the snaps and saw the second-most targets on the team with six in Week 1. He also caught a 66-yard bomb for a score and is the primary deep threat in this Baltimore offense. The Browns are atrocious as a team and defensively, so it should be zero surprise to anyone if Wallace pops in this one and scores again or possibly even twice. (FD: $6100; DK: $4700)
Sterling Shepard, Giants (at New Orleans) — While Shepard was tied for third-best in targets with four, he played 95 percent of the Giants’ offensive snaps. The Saints just lost their best defensive back in Delvin Breaux to a broken leg, and their pass defense was already putrid before the injury. This should set up nicely for Shepard to build off his Week 1 stat line of three receptions, 43 yards and a trip to the end zone. Need I remind you, last year’s Giants-Saints game included 855 yards passing and 13 passing touchdowns in an epic shootout between Eli Manning and Drew Brees? Give me any piece of this action, please. (FD: $6200; DK: $5200)
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (vs. Packers) — Rudolph played 91 percent of the offensive snaps for the Vikings and was second on the team with eight targets. He cashed them in for six receptions and 65 yards. The Packers defense is up next, and they’re fresh off allowing Julius Thomas to go for five catches, 64 yards and trip to pay dirt. In total, the Packers gave up seven receptions, 112 yards and a score to the Jaguars’ tight ends. Rudolph is always a primary red zone target and whether it’s Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford starting a quarterback for the Vikings, Rudolph will be involved in the game plan. (FD: $5000; DK: $3100)
Virgil Green, Broncos (vs. Colts) — Green looked like a kid in the candy store just waiting for a wide-open touchdown pass to come his way last week, and Siemian threw the ball right to a defender instead of lobbing it over his head. I only mention that because it means Siemian was looking Green’s way in the red zone, and that’s a positive sign moving forward for his scoring prospects. Green played 71 percent of the snaps and tallied four receptions on five targets. If Demaryius Thomas is hobbled in anyway, look for Green to pick up that slack in the passing game. (FD: $4600; DK: $2800)
Just missed: Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick, LeGarrette Blount, Charles Sims, Tyrell Williams, Jeremy Kerley, Brent Celek and Dennis Pitta.
Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert and co-host of “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” which can be heard every Sunday during football season from 8-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and670thescore.com/listen. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.