The Secret Stars weekly article isn’t suggesting the lineup you should use this week; rather its purpose is to identify players who represent extreme value at their current salaries for the week. Selecting these players will give you an opportunity to use such players as Aaron Rodgers and Antonio Brown in your lineups. Here are our Secret Stars for Week 2:
QB Carson Palmer $6,000 @ IND
Palmer couldn’t take advantage of a plum matchup against the worst statistical pass defense by the numbers last year, but the Lions made some key acquisitions and did a solid job bottling up Arizona’s speedy receivers. That’s unlikely to be the case in Week 2 against a Colts team that rolled out a red carpet for Jared Goff and his receivers without top CB Vontae Davis, allowing the Rams to post a franchise-high 49 points in Week 1. He might have one foot out the door towards retirement, but the loss of David Johnson for several weeks will force Palmer to make or break the Cardinals season with his arm.
QB Philip Rivers $5,800 vs. MIA
There’s simply no reason for Rivers to be priced this low across the industry given his impressive track record. With Keenan Allen back healthy and Melvin Gordon making great plays out of the backfield as a receiver, the Chargers offense could carve up a Dolphins team that ranked 31st in DVOA pass defense against opposing slot receivers last year. Rivers completed 61.4 percent of his passes with a 91.7 passer rating at home last season and managed to put up serviceable totals against the best pass defense in the league in Week 1, so a home date against Miami is hardly imposing.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers $4,400 vs. CHI
There’s simply no reason to fade Rodgers at this modest price tag given his projected workload as the lead back for a home favorite. Chicago ranked 29th in DVOA run defense last year and Rodgers proved capable with 517 scrimmage yards over five starts last season. He handled almost all of the first-team work during the preseason and with Doug Martin suspended for three games, only Charles Sims is a threat to take away snaps when the Bucs are in catch-up mode, yet that seems to be an unlikely scenario in their home opener.
RB Tarik Cohen $4,100 @ TB
With the Bucs (-6.5) heavily favored at home, Cohen could thrive once again as the Bears attempt to come back in the second half. He popped off the screen by turning 13 touches into 113 YFS and a TD in his NFL debut and functioned as the Chicago’s top receiver with Kevin White going down. The rookie caught a team-high eight balls on 12 targets. Tampa is solid at the back end and got even better with T.J. Ward joining the fold, but the Bucs are more vulnerable on the edge to quick RBs that can leak out and turn short catches into long gains.
WR Adam Thielen $5,000 @ PIT
Stefon Diggs grabbed most of the highlights with two scores, including an acrobatic TD grab while falling out of bounds, but it was Thielen who moved the chains for Minnesota with eight catches for 157 yards on Monday night. Granted, that came against the porous Saints defense, but Pittsburgh ranked dead last in DVOA pass defense against opposing top receivers last season. With elite route running ability and great hands, Thielen is Bradford’s favorite, and the Vikes QB looked outstanding in his season debut.
WR Tyler Lockett $4,000 vs. SF
You know the 49ers are going to give up points, it’s just a matter of predicting where that production originates. Lockett had a solid season debut as a return man, and his box score looks meager with just one catch for 8 yards, but Russell Wilson faced constant pressure and missed a 70-yard TD strike to Lockett by inches as Mike Daniels hit him at one point. Lockett was rehabbing from a broken leg throughout the summer, and his snap counts should rise along with his targets while the Seahawks get their offense together at home.
TE Coby Fleener $3,100 vs. NE
With a full year of working with Drew Brees under his belt, Fleener should take at least a moderate leap forward after a weak 2016 campaign. He scored a garbage-time TD to finish with a very good line in Week 1 and draws a surprisingly good matchup against a Patriots LB corps that looked like one of the league’s worst on Opening Night. Star MLB Dont’a Hightower is in danger of missing this contest and even with a stronger unit back there last season, the Pats drew 8.6 targets per game towards opposing TEs because of their strength at cornerback.
FLEX Javorius Allen $4,100 vs. CLE
Sadly, Danny Woodhead appeared to come back from a hamstring injury too soon and was carted off in the first half of a Week 1 win over Cincy, leaving Allen to handle nearly all of the work on passing downs. The USC product also rushed 21 times, which is two more totes than “starter” Terrence West and played 33 snaps compared to West’s 27 last Sunday. Game flow should be similar this week in what projects as a win for the Ravens (-7.5) over a Browns team that gave up the second-most RuYPG (142.7) and ranked 31st in DVOA defense last season.
D/ST LAC $2,800 vs. MIA
He can talk up his former OC and new HC in Adam Gase all he wants, but the fact remains that Jay Cutler just makes poor decisions at the worst times. He’s one of the prime candidates to throw a Pick 6 as per usual this week, and the Chargers certainly have the personnel to shut down Miami’s receiving options with elite DBs Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett locking down the outside. The Chargers’ pass rush was fierce with four sacks and plenty of pressures on Trevor Siemian in Week 1, and now they’ll have a home crowd that should be craving a taste of good football in Los Angeles.
Here’s our lineup this week:
• QB Carson Palmer $6,000 @ IND
• RB Jacquizz Rodgers $4,400 vs. CHI
• RB Tarik Cohen $4,100 @ TB
• WR Antonio Brown $9,400 vs. MIN
• WR Brandin Cooks $8,200 @ NO
• WR John Brown $5,000 @ IND
• TE Coby Fleener $3,100 vs. NE
• FLEX Melvin Gordon $7,000 vs. MIA
• DST Chargers $2,800 vs. MIA