Daily Fantasy Football Week 2: Breakout Performers

Every week in the daily fantasy football season there will be a few players who come out of nowhere and have magnificent performances. This past week was no different. What can be difficult is determining whether these breakout performances are a sign of things to come or just a lucky game. I’ll examine some of the top breakout performers from Week 1 and analyze whether the player is a boom or bust.






Allen Hurns: 9 Targets, 4 Catches, 110 Yards, 2 TDs

Hurns had such a terrific preseason, lots of fantasy writers were talking about him as a potential sleeper candidate. However, as an undrafted free agent on a bad Jaguars team, it seemed reasonable to temper expectations. But with number one WR Cecil Shorts injured, Hurns stepped up in a big way and scored the 2nd most fantasy points among WRs for the week, trailing only Calvin Johnson.

It’s certainly encouraging to see 9 targets for Hurns, as it implies he didn’t just get lucky with a few big catches, but actually was a big part of the passing offense. It also bodes well for Hurns that this performance did not come out of nowhere. With rave reviews in the preseason, it seems like the Jaguars may have found a diamond in the rough. Hurns certainly was not bad in college; he set the Miami Hurricanes single season receiving yards record his senior year.

On the other hand, Shorts’ Week 1 injury does not appear to be serious, and he’s certain to receive more competition at WR Week 2. He also plays on an awful Jaguars team which is expected to be one of the worst offenses in the NFL. There shouldn’t be many fantasy points to go around on a week to week basis.

Hurns could become a breakout star, but after just one week I don’t think we should get too ahead of ourselves. If he gives another great performance Week 2, he’ll be worth a good look. But until then, he’s just in too bad of an offense to merit high priority.

DeAndre Hopkins: 5 Targets, 4 Catches, 90 Yards, 1 TD

Hopkins is a good young player coming off a 50 catch, 800 yard season. As a 2nd year player, we could see Hopkins make large strides.

But Hopkins is mostly a deep threat (Hopkins nabbed a 76 yard TD Week 1 in a good matchup against the Redskins that accounted for the bulk of his production), and with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, we don’t expect the Texans to be an offensive juggernaut. Andre Johnson is getting old but is still one of the best WRs in the game, and should still get the bulk of the catches and targets this season. We’re bound to see days like this from Hopkins every so often, but I think most of the time he won’t be worth playing.




Steve Smith: 15 Targets, 7 Catches, 118 Yards, 1 TD

It seems like every year we expect 35 year old Steve Smith to go on the decline and every year he proves us wrong. This year has started no differently. After moving to the Ravens in free agency, Smith has shown great chemistry with Joe Flacco, getting a massive 15 targets Week 1.

The targets are what encourages me most about Smith. He actually led the league in targets opening week, beating out even guys like Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and Jordy Nelson. But Flacco did throw the ball 62 times, a trend which will not continue. Still, the Ravens running game is in shambles and we should see a lot of passing from Flacco this season. Smith is still a bargain at $6300 on Fanduel and $5500 on Draftkings. I think he returns to 1000 yard form this season.

Brandin Cooks: 8 Targets, 7 Catches, 77 Yards, 18 Rushing Yards, 1 TD

Cooks is a highly touted rookie with 4.3 speed that the Saints drafted in the first round of their 2014 NFL draft. There was a lot of hype around Cooks this preseason, which he answered with a top 10 WR fantasy performance.

It’s nice to see that Cooks was used once in the running game, it shows that he’s a dynamic athlete that the Saints would like to give the ball to in space. He’s fortunate to come into one of the best passing attacks in the league, where he’ll have the opportunity to grab a piece of the 4000-5000 yards and 35-45 TDs that Brees is sure to throw this season. It also helps that the Saints have a notoriously bad receiving core, so Cooks should quickly rise up the depth charts. Cooks could have a season similar to Keenan Allen in 2013, so make sure to grab him before his price starts to rise.


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Daniel Steinberg

About the Author

Daniel Steinberg Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. He uses his knowledge of statistics and his creativity from his career as a poker professional to create the most advanced Daily Fantasy statistical analysis that you will find anywhere. Follow him on twitter @DanielSingerS

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