Carson Palmer, QB, ARI – Last season Jared Goff (STL) accrued -66.78 NEP (Net Expected Points) passing, according to NumberFire. That ranked dead last in the NFL by a mile. In Week 1 against a terrible Colts team, Goff posted 14.58 NEP passing, the third highest total on the week. So just how bad are the Colts? You can throw on the usual small sample size caveats, but this is a great matchup for a Cardinals team that should run an above average amount of plays and dominate the Colts.
The loss of David Johnson to injury is a negative for the offense. In this particular matchup, though, it could actually raise Palmer's ceiling if the Cardinals tilt their pass percentage upwards, especially in the red zone. If you were smart and avoided drafting a QB early, Palmer is an excellent spot start and has some mild tournament appeal on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Dak Prescott, QB, DAL – You certainly drafted Prescott as your top QB in most leagues, but give him a seat on the bench this week. Prescott could struggle from both a volume and efficiency standpoint. Last year the Denver Broncos finished first in pass defense DVOA but 21st in rush defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders.
The Broncos dramatically limit the efficiency of opposing QBs, and the disparity between their pass and run defense ranks will lead to an already run-heavy Cowboys offense leaning on Ezekiel Elliott early and often. This likely slow paced game has third lowest Vegas game total of Week Two.
Terrance West/Javorius Allen, RBs, BAL – It's odd to suggest starting both parts of a timeshare at RB, but the combination of a soft matchup against Cleveland and Danny Woodhead's injury makes BAL RB situation enticing this week.
In standard leagues, West is the guy you want to start. This game script should suit him well as the Browns finished last season ranked 27th in rush DVOA. More importantly, the Ravens are 8-point home favorites, which should set up well for West's volume. In a positive game script in Week 1, Baltimore ran the ball 42 times against just 17 pass attempts.
Javorius Allen actually ended up out-carrying West in Week 1, 21-19. We don't expect that to continue in Week 2. Still, a situation where West ends up approaching 20 carries while Allen gets into the double digits is good enough to make both backs Top-25 backs. Allen should pick up the Danny Woodhead receiving role out of the backfield, and holds more value than West in PPR leagues, including DraftKings where he's a viable flex play at just $4,100.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, DET – Abdullah may have talent, but he's only being used in low leverage fantasy situations. Abdullah's 15 carries in Week 1 were the definition of empty volume. Where fantasy backs make their buck is through the passing game and in the red zone. Abdullah sees carries between the 20's but cedes passing down work to Theo Riddick and some goal line work to either Dwayne Washington or Zach Zenner.
As a result, Abdullah needs to either break a long TD or be hyper efficient with his low leverage carries. Neither happened Week One when he averaged just 2.0 YPC, and now Abdullah faces a Giants defense that allowed the sixth least fantasy points per game in standard leagues last season.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Chris Hogan, WR, NE – Hogan laid an egg in the opener as the entire New England offense "struggled" in a game they still managed to put up 27 real points. This offense may be more volatile than in the past due to the loss of Julian Edelman and now Danny Amendola (looking doubtful after suffering a concussion in the opener), two guys that help to keep the chains moving. The ceiling isn't gone, though, and is probably even higher in an offense that will be more reliant on big plays this season.
The evidence of this is in the multiple shots down the field Tom Brady took in the opener. Hogan, despite the horrific outing, actually finished the game with 103 air yards off of 5 targets. The 103 air yards ranked 14th among all WRs. With that opportunity each week, Hogan is going to cash in some big weeks, similar to last year's playoffs:
On top of simply better luck, Logan has a cake matchup against a Saints defense that just yielded lines of 9-157-0 and 7-93-2 to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs respectively. It's possible Hogan adds some short yardage routes if Danny Amendola is indeed out, providing him some floor to go with a hefty ceiling. Hogan is a quality start in all seasonal formats. On FanDuel, he's a viable cash game play and elite tournament option, especially if teammate Brandin Cooks carries more ownership at a higher price tag.
Pierre Garcon, WR, SF – Generally volume is more important than matchup at the WR position. An inefficient Niners team on the road against the Seahawks trumps this mantra. Garcon, who received 29% of his team's targets in Week One, is an underrated option in PPR seasonal leagues over the long-term. This just isn't the spot for him.
Seattle finished last season as a Top-5 defense on Football Outsiders, and the Niners have a paltry Vegas implied team total of 14 points. The Niners are also a strong candidate to run the fewest offensive plays on the week, further closing the door on potential outs for Garcon to have a startable fantasy output. Buy Garcon from your league mates after he posts a dud in this one.
Michael Leone is a former Buffalo News sports clerk who has won several daily fantasy sports championships. His column will appear weekly at [BN] Blitz.