Week 2 of the RotoWire and FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship has come to a close, and now Week 3 of this wild and crazy NFL season is already upon us. Want to join in on the action? Come test your mettle against the experts! Let's take a look back at last week's results and this week's promising plays.
Week 2 Results
Congratulations to FanDuel user elhar12, who collected a $500 cash prize and earned an entry into the week 11 $20,000 Championship Freeroll with a winning lineup that was clairvoyant enough to – well, to listen to RotoWire's Josh Fathollahi, who recommended Larry Fitzgerald last week, just in time for his massive bust-out game. Only 10.3 percent of participants rolled Fitz out there, and those brave few were richly rewarded for doing so 33.2 points! Of course, elhar made other good choices, too – like Ben Roethlisberger, who was only 5.8 percent owned for his 30.66-point effort. Those two alone nearly outscored my whole team. Our man Peter Schoenke was first among the five experts in the public contest, but his 134.88 points were good for "only" 30th in the big crowd, meaning the top 29 players earned an entry into the Week 11 $20,000 Freeroll. Free money: You can't beat it for the price.
Meanwhile, in Week 2 of the RotoWire Expert Contest, I ingloriously finished in 42nd place thanks to garbage performances from Jeremy Hill and Rueben Randle (who of course then decided to show up to play four days later). Meanwhile, RotoWire head honcho Peter Schoenke showed why he's the man – maybe his big point total wasn't good enough to beat out elhar12, but he beat the rest of us, with the Eli Manning-Odell Beckham Jr. combo – not to mention strong performances from Rob Gronkowski, Eric Decker, David Johnson and Jordan Matthews – leading him to a first-place finish with 134.88 points.
After running in first place for much of Sunday afternoon in Week 1, only to see my team fade out of the money, at least I didn't have to deal with any drama this time. In this week's contest, I rolled out Gronk, and I made a solid decision on Jarvis Landry and Justin Tucker, and ... well, let's just give me some props for that and not talk about the rest of it, okay? Alright.
Peter Merrill still holds first place after two weeks, but Schoenke's big day certainly sent him skyrocketing up the list, all the way to fourth place. You can view the full RotoWire Expert leaderboards here.
1. Peter Merrill (black26): 254.86
2. Josh Fathollahi (jashfath): 250.86
3. Mario Puig (rotowireyasiel): 248.36
4. Peter Schoenke (rotopeter): 247.32
5. Josh Collacchi (JCollacchi): 240.74
6. Griffin Lowmaster (gllowmas): 239.92
7. Tate McIntyre (tamc10): 239.04
8. Derek VanRiper (RotoWireDVR): 237.64
9. Jerry Donabedian (JD0505): 234.86
10. Jason Brown (modano9): 232.46
QB Marcus Mariota: Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts
FanDuel Price: $7,300
If you watched last week's Jets-Colts game, you should have noticed one thing besides that the Jets are spectacularly good at not taking advantage of turnovers: The Colts' secondary is bad. I mean, really bad. They're fortunate that Vontae Davis is over Monday's concussion, but he's just one guy; that won't be enough to stop Mariota in his first-ever home start for the Titans. Two weeks into the season, Mariota's sitting on a 64.2 percent completion rating with six touchdowns and no interceptions, and though he had some issues with putting the ball on the ground last week (three fumbles, two lost), he's in fine position for fantasy success in Week 3. It would be unsurprising to see Andrew Luck and the Colts, fresh off being abused by the Jets defense, put up some points, forcing Mariota to do plenty of throwing. It'd also be nice to see him do a little more running, though.
RB Joseph Randle: Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons
FanDuel Price: $6,500
Dez Bryant is hurt. Tony Romo is hurt. But the running back corps is still intact for Dallas, and you have to think the Cowboys will turn to the run game early and often in an attempt to hide the deficiencies of Brandon Weeden. Better still, Randle should see more safety-valve work than he has thus far, although Jason Witten will surely eat up a lot of those looks. The Falcons have been fortunate to draw a pair of teams in the Eagles and Giants that have started this season with their running games in disarray; even so, they've given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. The Cowboys' offensive line is much better at making room for rushers than their division rivals, and Randle will have the benefit of a home crowd behind him. He's off to a slow start, but this could be the week that he takes off.
RB Latavius Murray: Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns
FanDuel Price: $7,000
The Browns have been the NFL's most generous defense, yardage-wise, against opposing running backs – they've allowed 308 yards on 60 rushing attempts, good for a 5.1 YPC. Enter the hyper-talented, big-play-inclined Murray, who saw fairly limited touches due to game flow against the Bengals and Ravens to start the year, but will likely see a spike in usage this week as the Oakland passing and rushing games attempt to find more balance. With Cleveland starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback, the Raiders have a chance to take an early lead and then just pound the ball with Murray. I'm calling this as the first week of 2015 that Murray exceeds 20 touches, and he'll turn those into more than 100 yards and a touchdown. You heard it here first.
WR Allen Robinson: Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots
FanDuel Price: $6,600
So, the Jags are probably going to be blown out in this game. Going into New England against Tom Brady and the Patriots is far from ideal for Jacksonville as a whole, but it should yield benefits for Robinson. He's Blake Bortles' top target, and the Pats have been generous to opposing No. 1 wideouts – Antonio Brown and Sammy Watkins both worked them for plenty of production in the season's first two weeks, as New England's struggled to find a replacement for the departed Darrelle Revis. Robinson's the focus of the Jacksonville passing game, and he's coming off a six-catch, 155-yard, two-touchdown game against Miami that's cemented his status as one of the league's up-and-coming – yet still underrated – receiving threats. His fantasy owners should be set to enjoy a game of catch-up, especially in the second half.
WR Rishard Matthews: Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
FanDuel Price: $5,700
With a touchdown in his first game and 115 yards in his second, Matthews has been extremely fantasy relevant in the early going – and yet he gets no credit in FanDuel's pricing, with this dirt-cheap tag putting him in the company of guys like Leonard Hankerson, Kamar Aiken and Kenny Britt. Now he draws a Bills defense that's going to be focused on stopping Jarvis Landry and Greg Jennings, which should Matthews sneak out under the coverage of lesser corners and deliver yet another fantasy-relevant effort.
High Risk/High Reward
WR Julio Jones: Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys
FanDuel Price: $9,300
While there's some concern that the Cowboys' potentially low-risk offensive gameplan will keep this game low-scoring, Jones is unstoppable. Period. Neither Brandon Carr nor Morris Claiborne can match up with Jones, who's tied for the NFL lead in the early going with 22 catches, which he's turned into 276 yards and two scores. As long as he can stay healthy, Matt Ryan's favorite target is about the best bet you can ask for in terms of consistently high-end performances. I'd love to go on at length about his size, his speed, his route running, and all the other reasons that Jones is in for another big week, but if you still need convincing, we can't be friends. That said, if you want to spend your shekels on Antonio Brown instead, be my guest – they're pretty much 1 and 1A in the NFL right now.
RB DeMarco Murray: Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Jets
FanDuel Price: $7,800
I un-recommended (disrecommended? anti-recommended?) Murray in Week 1, and boy, was I righter than I ever thought I could have been. At least he scored a touchdown in that game, unlike last week. This time, he and the struggling Eagles draw the Jets, who very well may own the best defense in the league. And I'm not just saying that as a Jets fan. The New York defensive line is brutal to run on – take as a testament the 2.9 YPC they've allowed this year. With Philadelphia's remodeled offensive line looking simply brutal early on, this is a scary mismatch for the entire Eagles offense. Add to that the bonus of his achy hamstring, and there's simply no reason to pay the price for Murray this week.
You can praise or trash me on Twitter: @akfiorentino