Week 1 of the RotoWire and FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship is in the books and now that the dust has settled, we can take a look back to see how things shook up and begin to look forward towards week 2! Before we get started, here is the link to join in on the action.
Week 1 Results
Congratulations to FanDuel user longshots13, who took home the $500 cash prize and earned an entry into the week 11 $20,000 Championship Freeroll! Their entry had the week 1 usual suspects of Tony Romo (24.14), Matt Forte (25.1), and Julio Jones (30.6), but what set longshots13 apart from the pack was his/her foresight to roll the dice on value plays Ameer Abdullah (17.4) and Tyler Eifert (26.9). Out of the five RotoWire experts which participated in this public contest, Derek Van Riper (rotowiredvr) finished ahead of the pack with a 120.24 point performance. He featured value plays of Sam Bradford (15.44), Chris Ivory (22.5), and Jordan Matthews (15.2) but was burned - like myself - by Greg Olsen's abysmal 1.6 output. The man they call DVR finished 324th out of 1,130 entries. This means that every entry that finished 323rd or higher earned an entry into the week 11 championship.
In the RotoWire Expert Contest, Peter Merrill (black26) took home 1st place honors with a 146.46 point performance spearheaded by Julio Jones (30.6), Aaron Rodgers (23.06), and the Seattle Seahawks D/ST (19). But the real MVP for black26 was Benny Cunningham (14.2) who was anointed the starter when Tre Mason was ruled out and only cost a bargain basement price of $5,100. Will Peter be able to repeat his stellar performance in week 2? We shall see.
Personally, I ended up finishing 10th out of 51 entries in the RotoWire Expert Contest with 128.5 points, a mere one spot out of the money. I was actually sitting in first place through most of the afternoon games Sunday, but then my team stopped scoring as abruptly as Josh McCown was stopped at the goal line:
If Greg Olsen's touchdown wasn't called back due to a phantom offensive pass interference call then I would have finished 5th and earned a qualifier for the week 17 championship, but I am not bitter or anything. My top performers consisted of Julio Jones (30.6), Matt Forte (25.1), Tyrod Taylor (15.9), Matt Bryant (17), and New York Jets D/ST (17). Most of those were pretty obvious picks, and many showed up on winning squads. Taylor was my value play of the week due to his dual threat ability and a $5,000 salary that was lower than most backup quarterbacks! Looking back, that extra money actually ended up hurting me in the end, as I spent the extra FanDuel cash on Odell Beckham Jr. who turned in an underwhelming 6.9 points. OBJ was a player I was avoiding in all standard drafts after seeing defenses double and triple team him in the preseason coupled with the Giants' lack of other offensive options to take defensive pressure off of him. In the end, having Julio Jones and Beckham was too tempting to pass up, but I should have listened to myself and went with a cheaper, more reliable option. Will I ever learn? Probably not.
As mentioned above, Peter Merrill (black26) sits atop the week 1 leaderboards with yours truly (jashfath) rounding out the top-10. You can view the full RotoWire Expert leaderboards here.
1. Peter Merrill (black26) - 146.60
2. Mario Puig (rotowireyasiel) - 146.20
3. Joel Bartilotta (joelbartilotta) - 141.92
4. Tate McIntyre (tamc10) - 139.44
5. Clay Link (linkdaddydollaz) - 134.04
6. Ed Kensick (chicagoed) -131.34
7. Ronny Mor (Ronnymor2) - 131.20
8. Vlad Sedler (rotogutguy) - 131.10
9. Jake Letarski (rotojakeski) - 129.94
10. Josh Fathollahi (jashfath) - 128.50
QB Jameis Winston: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
FanDuel Price: $6,600
Your eyes aren't deceiving you, I am recommending Winston as a value play this week. I know, he looked awful last week, and honestly, I don't expect him to look much better. But remember we are talking about fantasy football here and not real football. I see the Saints getting up early and the Bucs playing from behind for most of the game, which means Jameis will be airing it out early and often. He could get Mike Evans back this week, which would only add to his arsenal of big targets. Even if he were to replicate last week's poor performance (16.2 points), then he is worth the cheap salary. Best case scenario is he puts up a bunch of yards in garbage time and finishes with a top-10 fantasy day from the quarterback position for a discounted price. Crazier things have happened.
QB Andy Dalton: San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals
FanDuel Price: $6,900
If you aren't feeling as crazy as I am, and want a safer value quarterback than the aforementioned Winston, then look no further than the Red Ryder himself. Dalton turned in a solid 18.86 point performance in a blowout win over the Raiders, but wasn't needed much in a game that was decided early. Sunday's matchup is shaping up to be a shootout with a high-powered San Diego offense on one end, and an equally poor Charger defense on the other. I see Dalton outscoring more expensive options like Tony Romo (@PHI), Tom Brady (@BUF), and Carson Palmer (@CHI), leaving savvy owners with more money to spend elsewhere.
RB Mark Ingram: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
FanDuel Price: $8,000
Ingram had an odd debut to the 2015 season, doing next to nothing on the ground (nine carries for 24 yards), but hauled in eight passes for 98 yards. The usage in the passing game was promising, but that is not why I have him as a value pick this week. As mentioned in Winston's blurb, I see the Saints going up big by halftime, which would result in Ingram receiving a heavy workload in the second half. I could see him producing like a RB1 for the price of a RB2.
RB Tevin Coleman: Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants
FanDuel Price: $6,500
Last week Coleman doubled Devonta Freeman's carries and ultimately looked the part of a true lead back. Freeman's presence is going to keep Coleman's price down this week, but it was clear to me that the latter is the early-down back and the former is the change-of-pace/third down back. In a matchup that I see Atlanta winning, Coleman should receive 20-25 touches and has a decent shot at getting a touchdown. He makes for a solid RB2 at this price.
WR Jordan Matthews: Dallas Cowboys @ Philadephia Eagles
FanDuel Price: $7,000
Everyone is going to have fantasy's top receiver Julio Jones in their lineups (and it is advised that you do as well), so you will have to outscore the opposition with your other options. Matthews is a WR1 in a high-powered offense that comes at a cap-friendly price of $7,000 in week 2. He was clearly Sam Bradford's favorite target in week 1 with a 10-catch, 102 yards performance. He should have had a touchdown as well, but Chip Kelly was too obsessed with running a no-huddle offense 100 percent of the time that he decided to run a another play instead of challenging a would-be touchdown catch for Matthews. I see him finding paydirt this week and turning in a fantasy-friendly performance against the Cowboys.
WR Larry Fitzgerald: Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago Bears
FanDuel Price: $5,900
You'd think Fitzgerald was Rodney Dangerfield with the lack of respect given to him by his $5,900 price tag. I understand he is no longer the WR1 he once was, but he also was receiving passes from Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley for the majority of last season. With a healthy Carson Palmer going against a less-than-intimidating Chicago defense, I am buying Fitz at a price that will allow me to spend big money elsewhere.
High Risk/High Reward
RB Adrian Peterson: Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
FanDuel Price: $9,000
The Vikings inexplicably only gave Peterson 13 touches in a week 1 loss to San Francisco; I don't think they make that mistake again. He is clearly the best offensive weapon they possess, and I see him getting things going against a Ndamukong Suh-less Lions' defense. Of course, the Vikings could decide to split his carries with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata again, and that is where the risk comes into play. But if logic prevails this Sunday, then Peterson could reclaim his title as the best running back in fantasy.
QB Tom Brady: New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills
FanDuel Price: $8,300
No, this isn't because Brady publicly endorsed Donald Trump, it has more to do with his matchup in week 2. The Buffalo Bills defense is for real, ladies and gentlemen. They made the "surefire best fantasy QB in 2015" Andrew Luck look like Jameis Winston last week (no seriously, he barely outscored Winston). Sure, Brady looked like he turned back the clock in week 1, but let's not forget that it was against one of the worst defenses in the league (Pittsburgh). I see this matchup being a grind-it-out, low-scoring slugfest that doesn't result in a lot of fantasy production for either side. I would steer clear of the golden boy this week.
That's all folks. I wish everybody luck in week 2; unless you are facing me, in which case, I wish you slightly less luck than myself. If you want to thank me for helping you win some cash, you can tweet me @JashFath. If you want to curse me for ruining your entire lineup, you can send a notarized letter via horse and buggy.