Mixed results for yours truly last weekend, as my posted team didn't fair too well. I mentioned a Pitt backup running back would amass some quality garbage minute production. It wasn't garbage production, and I picked the wrong back, but hey, I was close.
What I really learned last week was to not overthink things, particularly as it comes to big schools playing weaker competition. I created a lineup for the night session in a handful of minutes, and took home a third-place finish thanks in large part to Texas A&M's Christian Kirk.
On to Week 2, where we should begin to start seeing some trends and breakout players as opposed to one-week wonders. For those new to the Draft Kings world, we'll remind everyone of the scoring rules and roster requirements before diving into some picks.
• Salary Cap: $50,000
• Roster: 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 2 Flex
• Scoring: 1 pt/25 PYDS, 4 pts/PTD; -1 pt/INT; 3 pts/300 PYDS; 1 pt/10 Rush, Rec YDS; 1 pt/rec, 6 pts/rush, rec, ret TD; -1 pt/fumble lost; 3 pts/100 rush, rec YDS
• TE are lumped in with WR; QB not eligible at Flex
Chris Laviano, Rutgers (vs. Washington State) - $6,800
This position will force some tough decisions as there are questions facing each of the top options. Deshaun Watson ($9,900) is by far the safest and most expensive option while Luke Falk ($9,300) is not 100 percent healthy. The next tier offers Greg Ward ($7,900) against a fierce Louisville defense that bottled up Auburn's Jeremy Johnson last week.
Enter Laviano, who carries his own set of risks, namely a potential timeshare with Hayden Rettig ($5,200). Laviano was named the starter, however, and there's every reason to expect this game to turn into a shootout. Laviano is the kind of upside play that can help win tournaments.
Lamar Jackson, Louisville (vs. Houston) - $6,100
Jackson was named the lone starter this week after surprisingly starting and finishing last week's game against Auburn. His 9-of-20 passing shows he has plenty of work to do in that department. But facing a Houston defense that allowed 312 yards on only 16 completed passes to FCS Tennessee Tech last week could be what Jackson needs to hit his passing stride. Jackson's running ability (106 yards last week) further boost his appeal. I'm not entirely convinced coach Bobby Petrino sticks with Jackson for four quarters, making Jackson another high-risk, high-reward option.
Others to consider: Joel Stave, Wisconsin (vs. Miami, Ohio) - $5,800; Mitch Leidner, Minnesota (at Colorado State) - $5,700; Brandon Allen, Arkansas (vs. Toledo) - $7,800; Malik Zaire, Notre Dame (at Virginia) - $7,300
Patrick Skov, Georgia Tech (vs. Tulane) - $4,400
The folks at Draft Kings continue to help players out by giving us numerous starting running backs at average or below pricing. Any time you take a Yellow Jackets running back against an inferior opponent, there's the risk that he won't see ample carries; the team's 52 carries last week were split between 13 players. But Skov saw the highest usage (12) and scored three times. Huge numbers aren't likely for Skov, but 60-80 yards and score or more fit perfectly at this price tag.
DeVeon Smith, Michigan (vs. Oregon State) - $4,900
Looking at the Wolverines' boxscore from last week, there are some outliers. Namely quarterback Jake Rudock ($5,900) throwing 43 times while the running backs carried a combined 29 (unsuccessful) times. Surely that's a ratio coach Jim Harbaugh wants to be closer to 1:1. Smith dominated the carries, however, garnering 17, and should find the sledding a little easier against the Beavers on Saturday.
Jasen Oden, Colorado State (vs. Minnesota) - $3,400
This comes with the caveat that Treyous Jarrells ($4,500) could return this week from arthroscopic knee surgery. He's been dressed for practice but has yet to take part in full contract drills. Oden ran 11 times for 74 yards last week and added 16 yards receiving and a touchdown. The Rams could also be without star receiver Rashard Higgins due to an undisclosed injury. The Rams run the ball, it's their M.O., and Oden had almost twice as many carries as any other back. Even with a healthy Jarrells, Oden should flirt with 15 touches and comes at a bargain basement price.
Others to consider: Brandon Radcliff, Louisville (vs. Houston) - $5,900); Leshun Daniels, Iowa (at Iowa State) - $5,300; C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame (at Virginia) - $5,200; Rodney Smith, Minnesota (at Colorado State) - $4,700
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers (vs. Washington State) - $6,700
Last week, I chose to spend freely on wide receivers as my personal preference is to rest easy with the sure thing and gamble at other positions. That strategy failed me thanks to plenty of rain in the Pacific Northwest. This week, Carroo looks too good to be true. Checking in as the fifth-highest priced receiver this week, Carroo tallied three touchdowns and 129 yards in less than a half of action. Buying in on Carroo eliminates any concern over a quarterback shuffle at Rutgers.
Ray-Ray McCloud, Clemson (vs. Appalachian State) - $4,700
McCloud is still listed as a backup despite the neck injury to Mike Williams last week, but is coming off of a debut where he caught a team-high eight passes. The Tigers will rotate their receivers freely in a second straight contest where they figure to score plenty of points. They did so last week with five rushing touchdowns and only two through the air. That sort of trend usually evens itself out over time, and McCloud could be the beneficiary of a more ramped up air attack.
Alex Erickson, Wisconsin (vs. Miami OH) - $4,900
The Badgers moved the ball surprisingly well through the air last week against Alabama, with Erickson being the biggest beneficiary, finishing with six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. While running back Corey Clement says he will play through a groin injury, this seems like a game Wisconsin can win with its backup tailbacks and a little more pass-heavy offense.
Others to consider: Jake Butt, Michigan (vs. Oregon State) - $4,000; Canaan Severin, Virginia (vs. Notre Dame) - $4,100; Devonte Peete, Louisville (vs. Houston) - $3,300
MY TEAM THIS WEEK
And again, a look at my team, which undoubtedly will change multiple times before kickoff.
QB - Lamar Jackson, Louisville (vs. Houston) - $6,100
QB - Malik Zaire, Notre Dame (at Virginia) - $7,300
RB - Brandon Radcliff, Louisville (vs. Houston) - $5,300
RB - Patrick Skov, Georgia Tech (vs. Tulane) - $4,400
WR - Leonte Carroo, Rutgers (vs. Washington State) - $6,700
WR - Keon Hatcher, Arkansas (vs. Toledo) - $6,100
WR - Devonte Peete, Louisville (vs. Houston) - $3,300
FLEX - Leshun Daniels, Iowa (vs. Iowa State) - $5,300
FLEX - DeVeon Smith, Michigan (vs. Oregon State) - $4,900
What I like: Four running backs, three of which should see true workhorse volume while Skov has a chance to score multiple times. And I'm trusting Carroo and Hatcher to replicate last week's performances.
What I don't like: An apparent Louisville stack. Jackson was my choice by default based on what funds I had left, and I like Radcliff to get his share of carries, and help the slender Jackson punch the ball in from inside the five-yard line. Peete is a mere flier, as he appeared to have Jackson's eye and made plays down the field last week. If I get lucky and he catches a few deep balls, he'll have made the choice worthwhile. But in a game where stacking offensive players from one team is the common theme, a Louisville stack was not what I had in mind.
A Zaire/Will Fuller combo helped me to my third-place finish last week, and I was tempted to go that route again. But I felt better about having Hatcher and Daniels on my roster as opposed to Fuller and Jason Oden. Daniels had a whopping 27 carries last week without scoring, something I'm hoping changes Saturday.