I’m not going to sugarcoat it, Week 2 in the NFL was a bloodbath. What did we do to deserve such a slate with so many massive injuries? Then again, what did we do to deserve 2020? So I guess Week 2 was par for the course.
With the number of injuries to big players, we saw quite a jump in salaries for some, who will now take on more prominent roles in their offenses. This article will highlight some of those players who jumped up in salary or went down on DraftKings ahead of their Week 3 matchup.
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Jordan Reed ($4,000), San Francisco 49ers vs. New York Giants
Week 2 Salary: $2,600 (+$1,400 increase)
The biggest increase in salary for this week belongs to Reed. Starting place of the injured George Kittle ($6,300), Reed lead the 49ers in targets with eight and pulled down seven receptions for 50 yards and two touchdowns in a convincing 31-13 win over the Jets. In what was also a remarkable feat, on a week where we had so many injuries, Reed wasn’t one of them! But truly, he’s such a talent at the position, but injuries have limited his upside. Of his 28 snaps played, Reed ran a route on 15 of them, which had him getting a target in nearly half of them.
The downside here is that Kittle is trending toward playing in Week 3, which would wipe away nearly any upside Reed brings. In Week 1 with Kittle healthy, Reed played on only 10 snaps but did line up in the slot on six of them. It’s hard to gauge if that was merely taking it easy with Reed to start the season or if he’ll truly receive that type of role with Kittle healthy. Either way, his massive uptick in salary is completely dependent on if Kittle is in or not. If Kittle is ruled out, Reed would be playing against a Giants defense that hasn’t had to defend much against the position, as the Steelers and Bears have targeted their tight ends just seven times in which they made four receptions for 51 yards. If anything, at least they averaged 12.75 YPR on those catches.
Jonathan Taylor ($7,000), Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets
Week 2 Salary: $5,700 (+$1,300 increase)
Gone are the days (it was only two weeks, but whatever) where Taylor was a mid-priced running back, making him an extremely easy RB1 to slot in your lineup. Now, he’s the fifth most expensive RB after excluding Christian McCaffrey ($9,200) from that list. To be fair, Taylor has completely deserved the huge bump up, as he’s averaged 99.5 scrimmage yards through the first two games. He’s rushed the ball 35 times for 123 yards and of his 101 yards against the Vikings, 68 came after contact. He’s also averaging four targets per game and has caught them all, gaining an average of 9.5 yards per reception.
With such a strong offensive line in front of him, Taylor should continue to see immense success, especially against a Jets team that’s allowed an average of 31.7 DKFP per game to the position. The Jets just got lit up by the 49ers’ run game for 184 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards, even with Raheem Mostert ($6,500) accounting for an 80-yard run early. Nonetheless, with the Colts as massive 10-point favorites this week according to DraftKings Sportsbook, Taylor should have plenty of opportunities to log some yards on the ground.
Curtis Samuel ($4,000), Carolina Panthers vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Week 2 Salary: $4,700 (-$700 decrease)
There’s been a huge drop in salary for Samuel, who only received two targets in Week 2, even with the loss of McCaffrey. It’s been a really tough go for Samuel with new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ($5,200), who is averaging 38 pass attempts per game, so it’s not as if he isn’t throwing. With McCaffrey out of the mix, it’s a massive hole to fill in this offense. Mike Davis ($5,100) had a big part in the receiving role, making catches on all eight of his targets for 74 yards. One would think that Samuel could get some more attention too, right?
This could be a great buy-low opportunity on Samuel in Week 3. Facing the Chargers, he should mainly see Chris Harris Jr. in coverage, as Samuel has played 70% of his snaps out of the slot. Through the first two weeks, Harris has been targeted against nine times, allowing six receptions for 97 yards and 16.2 YPR. If you want a larger sample size, Harris allowed a 69.1 reception rate and 14.3 yards per reception in 2019. Now I’m not saying get 100% exposure to Samuel, I’m simply saying to keep him in mind.
Zach Ertz ($5,100), Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 2 Salary: $5,600 (-$500 decrease)
It’s not a massive change in salary like some of the others but a $500 discount on Ertz is worth talking about. This is someone who hasn’t put together a great 2020 thus far, but targets continue to be fed his way, drawing seven in each of the first two weeks. Ertz is earning his cheap PPR points by catching eight of his 14 targets, but the yardage has not been there, totaling just 60 yards overall.
Week 3 brings a matchup against the Bengals, who have allowed nine catches on 16 targets for a total of 119 yards against the Chargers and Browns. None of them scored, so it’s helped keep their DKFP average down to 10.5. The impending matchup against S Vonn Bell is enticing, as he allowed a 71.1% reception rate and 13.4 YPR in 2019. I would look to take advantage of this discount with the heavy volume that Ertz receives.
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