Fantasy football is more than just the weekly head-to-head games we’ve all grown to love. On Underdog, fantasy managers can put their player projection skills to the test by predicting player stat lines. Here are my top plays for Underdog’s Week 2 Pick’em contest.
Top Underdog Pick’ems for Week 2 Sunday games
Underdog Pick’ems allow fantasy managers to predict stat lines and fantasy point totals for almost all fantasy-relevant players. You can make two picks that pay out 3x even money or add more selections to your entry for higher payouts. The levels are 3x, 6x, 10x, and 20x, progressing with each additional pick’em you add to your entry. Let’s take a look at this week’s NFL pick’ems.
Kenny Golladay lower than 29.5 receiving yards
This is probably going to be a weekly occurrence. Whenever the Giants don’t play in the early slate, just know that I’m probably picking Kenny Golladay to have less than his designated receiving yards projection.
A sneaky cheat code to NFL pick’ems is to find wide receivers that you know shouldn’t be on NFL rosters and take them to have lower than their yardage projection. I remember doing that in 2020 with Miles Boykin and Andy Isabella. Of course, it doesn’t work out every week, but it wins more than it loses, which is the name of the game. We’re obviously not going to win every pick’em.
Last week, Golladay commanded a whopping two targets, which he caught for 22 yards. In his last 11 games, Golladay has hit 30 receiving yards just three times. As a result, I like him to once again fail to reach that mark.
Mac Jones lower than 4.5 rushing yards
Last week, Mac Jones had two total rushes for zero yards. He’s not a mobile quarterback to begin with, and now he’s dealing with a back injury as well. I don’t expect him to run…at all.
As with any projection this low, there’s always a risk Jones could take off for a couple of yards on a broken play. If that happens, so be it. This wins more than it loses so I’m confident taking Jones to have less than 4.5 rushing yards.
Jakobi Meyers lower than 8.95 fantasy points
This is one I would take just about every week. Underdog uses half-PPR scoring, so it’s nearly impossible for Jakobi Meyers to reach nine fantasy points without a touchdown.
Last season, Meyers scored nine or more fantasy points just seven times. In two of those games, he scored. So unless he scores this week, Meyers is probably not getting to nine fantasy points.
Chase Claypool lower than 10.15 fantasy points
I had to do a double-take when I looked at this projection. Chase Claypool to score double-digit fantasy points? In what world should this be something he’s expected to do?
Of course, he can get there, but Claypool’s going to come up short far more often than not. Last season, he surpassed 10.15 fantasy points six times — two of which he scored a TD.
Although Claypool did handle six carries last week, which he turned into 36 yards, he only caught four of six targets for 18 yards. This is Diontae Johnson’s receiving corps. He is the dominant alpha. Claypool is just one of the other guys. Unless he scores, Claypool’s unlikely to reach 10 fantasy points.
Tom Brady higher than 0.5 interceptions
I’m very concerned about Tom Brady this season. Admittedly, this is all speculation based upon media reports, but I really think Brady’s off-the-field stuff is affecting him on the field. This is not the same Brady. I think part of him regrets returning for one more year and he’s a bit mentally checked out.
I have no inside information; this is purely a guess on my part. But the guy I saw on the field against Dallas last week did not look like the same guy we saw lead the league in attempts, yards, and touchdowns in 2021.
Brady threw an interception last week against the Cowboys and has thrown at least one pick in all four of his starts against the Saints since he joined the Bucs. The Saints just have his number, and I think he throws the ball to the wrong team at least once this week as well.
Tom Brady lower than 276.5 passing yards
Of a similar vein, I don’t like Brady to be overly prolific through the air this week at all. Brady threw for 212 yards last week against the Cowboys. More concerning, he attempted just 27 passes. Although the game was not competitive with the Cowboys’ offense stuck in park, this felt different. Brady didn’t attempt fewer than 30 passes all of last season.
I think we will look back on this projection in a few weeks and struggle to fathom how it was ever this high. The key to success on NFL pick’ems is to diagnose change before it becomes apparent.
Last season, the Bucs were the fastest-paced and most pass-heavy team in the league. This season, I think we’re getting an offense that plays much slower and tries to win with ball control and defense.
Since joining the Bucs, Brady has thrown for more than 276.5 passing yards in just one of his four starts against the Saints. He’s also lost every game.
The Bucs are incredibly banged up at wide receiver. I’d be surprised if Brady even got to 250 passing yards.
Leonard Fournette lower than 95.5 rushing + receiving yards
Leonard Fournette has a history of hamstring injuries. It was a strained hamstring that cost him the end of the 2021 regular season and the first game of the playoffs. Fournette is probably going to play this week as he got in three limited practices. Beat reporters also said he looked fine, but hamstring injuries are tricky.
As mentioned, Tampa Bay is banged up at WR. As a result, they may be inclined to lean heavily on Fournette. However, I think he’s at a very high risk of aggravating his hamstring and exiting this game early. There’s also a chance the team elects to pull back a bit on Fournette’s usage to protect him and we see a bit more Rachaad White.
If Fournette plays the entire game and sees an 80% opportunity share, he’ll probably reach 100 all-purpose yards. I just see multiple ways for him to not reach his projection and think this is an NFL pick’em that wins more than it loses.
D’Andre Swift lower than 93.5 rushing + receiving yards
The theory here is the exact same as with Fournette. Currently dealing with a sprained ankle, D’Andre Swift only got in one practice this week, a limited one on Friday. While he’s tentatively expected to play, it’s reasonable to expect a bit more Jamaal Williams than normal this week. The Lions are not going to want to put too much on Swift’s plate.
There are many ways Swift falls short of 94 total yards. He can even see his usual workload and just not get there. Detroit is missing three starters on the offensive line, which certainly doesn’t help Swift’s cause.
He could also aggravate his ankle injury and leave the game early. Or he can see reduced playing time in an effort to protect him. Given the multiple paths to victory, I like Swift less than 93.5 rushing + receiving yards.
James Conner higher than 3 receptions
The Arizona Cardinals are highly depleted at wide receiver. Behind Marquise Brown are A.J. Green and Greg Dortch, so they’ll need to rely on James Conner catching passes out of the backfield.
Last week, Conner caught five of six targets for 29 yards. I’m expecting another 5-6 targets this week. At worst, Conner should at least reach three receptions.