We got the season started (mostly) right with our Yahoo daily fantasy football cash game picks last week. Russell Wilson not only had a huge game, but he also connected with Chris Carson for two TDs. Dalvin Cook scored twice, Robert Woods topped 100 yards, and the Chargers D/ST played well. We whiffed on Le’Veon Bell, who lefty early because of an injury, and Michael Thomas, which was the ultimate shocker, but we’ll try to learn from our mistakes and build on our successes with our Week 2 NFL DFS cash lineup.
The name of the game in cash contests is safety, and who’s safer than Lamar Jackson? No one, so we’re paying up for the current King of Fantasy. We’re also taking advantage of a Monday night injury and paying the minimum — the minimum — for Benny Snell Jr. Obviously, Snell will be super chalky if James Conner (ankle) is out, but in cash games, a little chalk is fine. In tournaments, fade away, but we’ll take the savings and pay up for some studs at other positions.
WEEK 2 NFL DFS CASH LINEUPS:
DraftKings | FanDuel
It’s easy to get caught up chasing points in Week 2. If a guy had a big game or scored in Week 1, you’ll naturally gravitate toward him when looking over names in Week 2. Some players will have repeat performances, but you know some immediate regression is coming for others. We try to balance our approach with bounce-back candidates and hot starters in the hopes of finding the right mix to push us over the cash line each week.
WEEK 2 NFL DFS TOURNAMENT LINEUPS:
Yahoo | DraftKings | FanDuel
Yahoo NFL DFS Picks Week 1: Daily fantasy football for cash games
This lineup is for the Yahoo DFS main slate, $200 budget (half-point PPR, four-point passing TDs)
QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens vs. Texans ($40)
Jackson put up 275 passing yards, three passing TDs, and 45 rushing yards in Week 1. Ho-hum, just another day at the office. Against the Texans, who were shredded by the Chiefs offense in countless ways on Thursday night, Jackson should once again shine. There’s always a worry with Jackson that RBs will do a lot of scoring for the Ravens — and that’s certainly true this week — but he’s a good enough passer that he’ll produce one way or another.
RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers vs. Chiefs ($29)
Prior to Week 1, most Ekeler owners, be it in season-long leagues or DFS, would have been thrilled if you told them he’d have 20 touches. But with 19 carries and just one catch (one target), the feeling around Ekeler isn’t quite so positive. It didn’t help that Joshua Kelley looked like a better pure runner and made good on a goal-line carry. Either way, we’re counting on a vintage Ekeler game against the Chiefs, a team he tore up for 221 total yards (151 receiving) in two games last year. The touchdown opportunities are a worry, but the touches will be there, and as we saw with David Johnson against the Chiefs last week, that should lead to a good yardage day.
MORE WEEK 2 DFS: Lineup Builder
RB Jonathan Taylor, Colts vs. Vikings ($19)
Taylor might be chalky given his price, but Yahoo knew about the Marlon Mack Achilles’ injury before setting these prices, so hopefully he won’t stand out quite so much. We’re taking the bait and expecting a much bigger role for Taylor this week after he dominated touches over Nyheim Hines in the second half in Week 1. What’s most encouraging about the talented rookie is his receiving ability, which he showed by catching six balls for 67 yards against the Jaguars. The Vikings defense looked vulnerable on every level in Week 1, so we expect Taylor to get plenty of chances to put up points.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals vs. Washington ($31)
Hopkins had such a good Week 1 that he doesn’t fit our “proceed with caution” theme, but some guys, like him and Jackson, are just too good to ignore. Hopkins is clearly going to be targeted early and often, and we know he has the talent to produce against anyone. Even if he doesn’t catch 14 passes again, he has a good chance of getting into the end zone against a suspect Washington secondary. He’s going to pay off his lofty price.
WEEK 2 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
WR Amari Cooper, Cowboys vs. Falcons ($22)
Why is Cooper just $22? He’s facing a team that was torched by multiple receivers last week, and he’s coming off a 10-catch, 14-target game in which he was frequently matched up against Jalen Ramsey. Dallas has a lot of talented offensive contributors, so Cooper will likely take a backseat some games, but this is the type of week where everyone can get a piece of the action. Sign us up.
WR T.Y. Hilton, Colts vs. Vikings ($21)
We’re not exactly sure what to make of Hilton after Week 1. He received nine targets (good) but caught just four for 53 yards (not so good). We know Philip Rivers will chuck it, but we also know he can commit drive-killing mistakes. For those reasons, Hilton is probably better suited for tournaments, but we’ll try him out in cash given how poorly the Vikings defense played last week. Davante Adams did whatever he wanted, and both Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling scored on deep balls. It feels like Hilton should have a high floor here.
TE Tyler Higbee, Rams @ Eagles ($16)
With so many passes going to Robert Woods on Sunday, there was only so much other production to go around for the other Rams receivers. Higbee still got open easily on his three catches, and with Gerald Everett (back) banged up, he should see more snaps this week. Philadelphia had trouble containing Logan Thomas and the Washington passing game last week, so the Rams should be able to have success here.
WEEK 2 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
FLEX Benny Snell Jr., Steelers vs. Broncos ($10)
Snell is a free square if James Conner (ankle) doesn’t play. Even if Conner is active, Snell will likely see half the RB touches, which should be enough for him to return value on his minimum price. Denver’s run defense performed well enough against Derrick Henry, but it’s not a scary matchup. Pittsburgh should be able to move the ball, which will give Snell some scoring chances.
DEF Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington ($11)
Arizona showed an improved pass rush in Week 1, sacking Jimmy Garoppolo three times and adding a blocked punt for good measure. Washington allowed three sacks, and Dwayne Haskins is still prone to mistakes. Even without a crowd, Arizona should play well at home and produce some big plays, making them a prime value target at D/ST.
How much are NFL fines for not wearing a mask? Here are the rules for coaches on the sidelines
The NFL is proceeding with its 2020 regular-season as scheduled amid the COVID-19 pandemic in part so it can preserve what’s left of the economy of pro football this year. So of course the league is going to be strict about the protocols it believes will keep all 32 teams on track to play the full season without coronavirus-related interruption.
The wearing of masks for everybody but players on the sidelines during games is one of those protocols, and after Week 2, a handful of NFL coaches learned the hard way how serious the league is on the matter.
MORE: Explaining all of the NFL’s COVID-19 rules
After the first week of the season, NFL teams were reminded of the league’s mask policy for sidelines and warned that insubordination would result in fines. The NFL delivered on that warning when it fined five head coaches for their failure to properly wear masks during their Week 2 games.
Below is more about those fines and the specifics of the rules for coaches wearing masks on the sidelines of NFL games in 2020.
How much are NFL fines for not wearing a mask?
- Fine per coach: $100,000
- Fine per team: $250,000
Broncos coach Vic Fangio, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Saints coach Sean Payton and Raiders coach Jon Gruden all were hit with $100,000 fines for now wearing their masks appropriately during their Week 2 games.
In conjunction with the fines for all five coaches, each of their teams was fined an additional $250,000. The NFL did not make clear what level of mask-wearing failure warrants a fine and what does not.
The league also had not publicly announced what the fines for failing to wear masks on the sidelines would be, so the numbers came as a bit of a surprise. Washington offensive assistant coach Jennifer King had some fun with it on Twitter.
“I had a coach who was reminding me about (wearing the mask) throughout the game,” Carroll said after he was fined. “(Running backs coach) Chad Morton was on my ass the whole night. He was reminding me the whole time. I even changed masks at halftime to find one that worked better. Sometimes you’ve got to get coached up. Sometimes you have to admit that you screwed up and have got to do better.
“We wear masks all day at practice, we wear them around the building. I know it’s extremely important to wear masks. Sometimes you’ve just got to be reminded.”
Added Gruden after Las Vegas’ win over New Orleans on Monday night of Week 2: “I’m doing my best. I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it. … I’m calling plays. I just want to communicate in these situations, and if I get fined, I’ll have to pay the fine.
“But I’m very sensitive about that, and I apologize.”
Mask rules for NFL coaches on sidelines
During NFL games, all coaches and staff members in the bench areas are required to wear masks.
As for the players, it depends. According to ESPN, the NFL made “a strong recommendation” but did not issue a league-wide requirement for players on the sidelines to wear masks during games.
Coaches are included with players in the tier of NFL team personnel who receive daily testing, so many are wondering why coaches are required to abide by a different mask standard than players on the sidelines during games. It’s a fair question, and it’s one that was recently presented to NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills during an interview with NFL Media.
“First and foremost, it’s part of our agreed upon protocol between the league and the NFL Players Association,” Sills said. “So it’s not optional for people to follow that protocol, right? All of the parts of that protocol are mandatory.
“But getting to the philosophy behind it, we’ve said consistently testing is not what keeps us safe. Tests are important, but no test is perfect. We do have those false positives and false negatives, so it is possible that you could have a negative test result and still be infected. In those cases, the face coverings are very important.
“So we think it’s just another step that’s important in risk-mitigation. I’ll also say that some of the public health authorities have mandated that sideline personnel wear face coverings in their stadiums in their locations. So for all those reasons, it’s not something that’s optional for us.”
Masks are required for all team and league personnel, players included, while they are traveling to and from games. They also are required inside all team facilities with the exception of practices and workouts.
Bet Thursday Night Football underdog
The Miami Dolphins visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars isn’t the most attractive matchup for “Thursday Night Football,” but with FitzMagic vs. Minshew Magic, it’s again Must-See TV (we’ll spare you the “Seinfeld” references this week).
The line has been wavering between the Jaguars -2.5 and -3 all week with most books charging extra vig (-120 instead of the standard -110) to get the side you want.
Both of these teams have continued to battle hard despite low expectations from experts and NFL fans. Last year, the Dolphins were accused of “Tanking for Tua Tagovailoa” early in the season and were competitive enough with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to win five games, including an upset of the New England Patriots in Week 17 that kept the defending Super Bowl champions from getting a first-round bye. The Dolphins drafted No. 5 but still got Tagovailoa, though Fitzpatrick has held on to the starting job for now and covered as 5.5-point home underdogs in a 31-28 loss to the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday.
The Jaguars have been even better for bettors so far this season as Gardner Minshew led Week 1’s biggest upset of the Indianapolis Colts as 7-point home dogs and +265 on the moneyline and then covered as 7-point dogs again in a 33-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 2.
But there are a couple of things that put me on the Dolphins as 3-point underdogs: For starters, I have the Dolphins power-rated as the better overall team and I don’t think home-field advantage means that much without fans in stands (besides, Miami to Jacksonville isn’t a taxing travel itinerary even on a short week). Also, when perennial underdogs like the Jags are then put in the role of favorite, they usually don’t fare so well.
So, the play is on the Dolphins if you can get the +3, even if you have to pay the extra juice. If you followed BetSmart last week, we cashed on Bengals +6 at the Browns (also a short road trip) but maybe you also took our advice to tease the Browns down to pick ’em and tie them with other favorites on Sunday, which was definitely the way to go. We cited the Steelers and 49ers, but the Buccaneers, Packers, Cardinals, Ravens and Chiefs were also popular teaser plays in that similar price range of being able to tease under a field goal.
If going with that strategy again, I would tease the Dolphins up to +8.5 or +9 and use them (mixing and matching with the sides you like with your own handicapping) with the Patriots down to pick ’em vs. the Raiders, Rams up to +8.5 at the Bills, Browns down to -1 vs. Washington, Chargers down to pick ’em vs. Panthers, Cardinals down to pick ’em vs. Lions and/or the Buccaneers down to pick ’em at the Broncos.
Taco Bell job saved Steve Smith from violent teammate
Taco Bell saved Steve Smith’s life.
As a wide receiver at Santa Monica City College in the late 1990s, the future five-time Pro Bowler worked at the fast food restaurant. If not for the job he initially took to help him pay for a homecoming dance, Smith said he likely would have been shot by a teammate, who Smith had pummeled in a fight during a recent practice.
While the teammate waited for Smith to show up to a walkthrough Friday morning — for a game that night — Smith had been excused to work his shift at Taco Bell.
“Old boy that I got in a fight with, he was waiting in my locker area with a pistol. He was in the locker room and he was waiting basically to shoot me,” Smith said on the “10 Questions With Kyle Brandt” podcast. “And if I would have come in, he would’ve shot me, but the fact of the matter is I didn’t show up that day.”
Smith didn’t explain what happened when he finally saw the disgruntled teammate, but soon he would transfer to Utah, then become a third-round pick and one of the league’s best receivers. After a 16-year career, he ranked seventh all-time in receiving yards (14,731) and 12th in receptions (1,031).
“So it’s kind of crazy how all of that intertwined, where some people look at it as a curse, you know, ‘You gotta work fast food,’ but for me when I really look back at it, it was a gift,” Smith said.
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