Week 1 NFL DraftKings picks

I am so excited to be back here writing about DFS football.  I love baseball and will continue to watch the exciting MLB season as it winds down, but there is something about football that elicits the most emotion both with respect to the actual sport and with respect to the fantasy sport.  Sundays in the fall are always spent with family in front of the TV watching ball and I am looking forward to getting going.  I am also looking forward to giving you all my DraftKings advice.

Week 1 is always the toughest one to predict when it comes to daily fantasy.  We do not yet know a team’s tendencies and do not really know their strengths and weaknesses.  I waiver on week one as to whether to play heavier volume, because there are so many newbies playing DFS, or play lighter volume because we do not have a full data set yet.  At this point, I am making a few less lineups than usual, but that does not mean that I do not have some strong premonitions on players.  Here are my favorite plays of the week.

Any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @AssemblyNeil

Quarterbacks

Luxury Items

Aaron Rodgers ($8,300): Rodgers is the most expensive player on the board, but I think he is worth it this week.  While the Jaguars are much improved on defense, they ranked an abysmal 31st in DVOA against the pass according to Football Outsiders in 2015.  Rodgers is still the best QB in the game and I think he scores 25+ points this week.

Bang for Your Buck

Derek Carr ($7,300): Carr threw an impressive 32 passing touchdowns last year, and he did not even get to face that pathetic excuse for a pass defense in New Orleans.  The Saints allowed an astounding 45 touchdowns last year through the air and have not done nearly enough to address that glaring weakness.  Carr should do some serious damage this week.

Discount Bin

Dak Prescott ($5,000): The Giants led the league in passing yards allowed at 4,783 last year – over 200 yards more than 2nd worst New Orleans Saints allowed through the air.  Prescott is a rookie starting his first game, but he could not have asked for a more favorable match-up (unless he was playing the Saints).  At the minimum price for a quarterback, he should have a very nice game.

Running Back

Luxury Items

Adrian Peterson ($7,600): First of all, Peterson is the best running back in the NFL, so he is always a great option at running back.  He will be especially relied on in week 1 after Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater suffered a torn ACL – I don’t believe the Vikings will throw the ball more than 18 times with either Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford under center.  If that all were not enough, the Titans ranked 24th in DVOA against the rush while the Vikings were 8th in rushing efficiency in 2015.

Doug Martin ($6,200): Martin was as consistent a running back as there was last year, going over 10 DraftKings points every single game in the 2nd half.  He opens the year against the Falcons who ranked only 25th in rushing defense DVOA last year.  I think that Martin will start this year with a bang.

Bang for your Buck

Spencer Ware ($4,400): It looks like Jamaal Charles will be sitting this one out as Andy Reid has publicly stated “his star running back is most likely not ready to play“. Even if Charles does play, Ware will get the bulk of the carries this week and he has a great opponent to exploit.  The Chargers allowed 4.8 yards per carry last year, better than only two teams.  And if that were not enough, Ware had 19 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers last year (over two games).

Theo Riddick ($4,000): Many people forget that DraftKings is full PPR scoring which makes passing down backs extremely valuable.  Riddick was a machine out of the Lions’ backfield last year with 80 receptions, and there is no reason to think that he will slow down this year.  Riddick had less than five targets only three times last year and caught at least two balls every game.  He is a safe source for points and is an excellent cash game play.

Discount Bin

Christine Michael ($3,700): Michael is listed ahead of Thomas Rawls on the Seahawks’ week one depth chart and should get plenty of opportunity to run the ball against the Dolphins.  If Michael gets the carries he should do well against Miami who ranked a mediocre 20th in defensive efficiency against the run, while Seattle was 3rd in rushing efficiency.  This is a great value play.

James White ($3,600): With Dion Lewis still injured, White is once again the main passing down back for the Patriots.  When we last saw White, he was accumulating an astounding 16 targets in the AFC championship game against the Broncos.  While I don’t expect a repeat of that against Arizona, he is a dirt cheap option who should be very involved in the Patriots passing plays and should amass double-digit points.

Wide Receiver

Luxury Items

DeAndre Hopkins ($8,800): Hopkins ranked 3rd in the league with both 192 targets and 111 catches, and had a subpar Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball in 2015.  If Brock Osweiler is merely league average this year, Hopkins could break out with a truly transcendent year.  He starts the season off with a tremendous match-up as Chicago ranked 31st in DVOA against #1 receivers.  Hopkins could be the top receiver scorer of the day.

Brandin Cooks ($7,700): Cooks started the season off slowly last year but increased his catches and receiving yards each month during the course of the 2015 season.  His December totals of 24 catches for 380 yards rivals any receiver in the league.  The Saints will likely be in a shootout with the Raiders, and Cooks will have plenty of opportunity to build on his momentum from last season.

Jordy Nelson ($7,700): Jacksonville ranked only 25th against #1 receivers last year making it very possible that Nelson puts on a great show in his return.  The only caveat here is that Nelson is still listed as questionable on the injury report, so it is important to check game day inactives before locking in your lineup.  If he does play, let’s not forget that when we last saw Nelson in 2014 he was amassed 98 catches for 1,519 and 13 touchdowns.

Bang for your Buck

Amari Cooper ($7,200): Cooper was excellent last year as a rookie and should be even better as a sophomore this year.  He faces off against the Saints who gave up an average of 8 catches for 81.1 yards to #1 receivers in 2015.  Cooper is likely licking his chops getting ready for this match-up.

Julian Edelman ($6,100): Once again, DraftKings is full point PPR.  Edelman has a lot of value in this format, especially since Danny Amendola may not play, Gronkowski remains hobbled, and Dion Lewis is out.  Someone will have to account for the targets in New England and Edelman is likely the man.  The Cardinals have a stingy pass defense, but I think Edelman will be a target machine and should catch 7+ balls on Sunday.

Tavon Austin ($5,000): The Rams seem to finally have figured out how to use Austin as he had multiple rushing attempts in every game but two last year, and also accumulated 3+ targets every game.  Using those touches, he amassed 10 touchdowns on the year (4 rushing, 5 receiving and 1 return).  Austin faces the 49ers in week one who allowed 85.3 yards per game to #1 receivers, better than only 4 teams.  This could be a very solid game.

Discount Bin

Willie Snead ($4,800): Snead was not sexy in 2015, but he was certainly effective with 69 catches for 984 yards.  He seems to have a firm grip on the #2 receiver role in New Orleans once again which has a lot of value since the Saints throws the ball so much.  Snead had 4+ targets in every game but three last year and should see similar volume this year.  The Saints will likely be chucking it around against the Raiders and Snead should have plenty of opportunity to produce.

Kamar Aiken ($4,700): Aiken is another receiver who was effective, though not sexy, in 2015, as he had 75 catches for 944 yards on the year.  While Steve Smith is back for the Ravens, Aiken has certainly proven that he can also get the job done.  He should see plenty of targets against the Bills and is great value at $4,700.

Tajae Sharpe ($3,000): Sharpe was not a well-known commodity going into training camp, but after the Titans got rid of Dorial Green-Beckham, he was thrust into a leading role on the Titans pass offense.  Sharpe was extremely impressive in training camp and has a good opportunity to lead the Titans in targets this week.  There are not many players in the minimum price bracket that will get opportunity, so Sharpe is tremendous value this week.

Tight End

Luxury Item

Jordan Reed ($6,600): Gronkowski is hobbled this week, so if you want to spend up on a tight-end, Reed is your best option.  During the 2nd half of last year, Reed emerged as the true #2 tight-end in fantasy with 48 catches for 557 yards and eight touchdowns.  As long as he can stay healthy, Kirk Cousins will keep finding him.  His cost is not prohibitive, and I like him for a nice day against the Steelers on Monday.

Bang for your Buck

Zach Miller ($3,700): Aside from Alshon Jeffery, Jay Cutler does not have too many reliable targets on offense.  Miller had 6+ targets in four of his final five games last year, and had 10+ DraftKings points in his last three games.  He will be low owned, but is cheap and effective.

Discount Bin

Tyler Kroft ($2,700): Tyler Eifert is still out for the Bengals, meaning that Tyler Kroft is their starting tight-end this week.  Kroft has not proven to be the most effective receiver thus far in his career, but someone will need to gobble up the red-zone touches, and if Kroft is the Bengals’ tight-end then he will likely have a chance to score some points.

Defense/Special Teams

Bang for your buck

Rams @ SF ($3,800): The 49ers continue to roll Blaine Gabbert out as their quarterback.  The Rams have a ferocious defense and should be able to force multiple turnovers.  I don’t usually spend this much on a defense, but if I was going to, this would be my choice.

Packers @ Jacksonville ($2,800): I think that the Jaguars offense is quite overrated this year.  Bortles is still very turnover prone, and I think he will give the ball to the Packers a couple of times.  This is a great price and could be a very solid game for Green Bay.

 

For any further questions, follow me on twitter @AssemblyNeil

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Neil
Neil has been an avid fantasy sports player since 1991 and a profitable low stakes DFS grinder since 2014. Neil is ranked in the top 20% of DFS players in 3 sports and in the top 10% of DFS players for his stakes per RotoGrinders rankings. As a native Montrealer Neil hopes to get a Major League Baseball team back to his hometown some day soon.
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