Hello ladies and gentlemen! It was a pretty good week 1 for yours truly as I ended up ahead a little bit on DraftKings. As someone who really dives deep into the numbers, I always find the beginning parts of the season difficult to navigate as we just don’t have a lot of good information yet. That is why it is an accomplishment for me to be ahead at all early in the year, as I usually find my real groove around week 5.
Nonetheless, I am ready with some advice for you all and am ready to help you find success in this early part of the season. Let’s see what we came up with.
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Drew Brees vs. Patriots ($7,700) – You really can’t go wrong with a lot of the high priced options this week, as Tom Brady is in a good spot against the Saints, and Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers square off in what should be a shootout. That having been said, the majority of my lineups that contain a high-priced QB have Brees in it. While it was only one week, the Patriots rank dead last in DVOA after week 1 and made Alex Smith look like Peyton Manning in his prime. Brees, who averaged 345 yards per game at home last year and threw for 20 TDs in the Superdome, must be licking his chops.
Bang for Your Buck
Phillip Rivers vs. Dolphins ($5,800) – In 2016, the Broncos were comfortably the best pass defense in the NFL and allowed only 13 passing touchdowns all season. Rivers faced off against those stingy Broncos in week 1 this season and threw for 3 touchdown passes. He now gets the much less formidable Dolphins in the Chargers’ opener in Los Angeles. No one is happier to see Keenan Allen back than Rivers and I think he has a very nice game against the Fins.
Mike Glennon @ Bucs ($4,600) – The revenge game narrative certainly comes into play here, as Glennon returns to play in the city that drafted him and benched him in favor of Jameis Winston. Glennon was not spectacular, but certainly looked like a starting caliber quarterback against the improving Falcons defense in week 1. The Bucs allowed the 10th most yards per game in 2016, and for this bargain basement price, you could do worse than Glennon.
Le’Veon Bell vs. Vikings ($9,800) – It sure looked like the Steelers were trying to punish Bell for his holdout in week 1, by limiting his touches fairly significantly. The Steelers could afford to play those tricks against the Browns, but against the Vikings defense, you better believe that they will rely on their best player. The Vikings were stingy against the pass in 2016, but allowed the 12th most rushing yards in the league. I expect Bell to have increased usage and a huge game.
Leonard Fournette vs. Titans ($6,500) – As predicted in this space last week, Fournette led the NFL in carries (by a significant margin) in week 1. Heck, he even added 3 catches. I think this will be the theme for the Jaguars all season as they rely on their defense and running game. Fournette is still probably $1,000 too cheap and I think he is good for another 25+ carries and 100+ yards.
Bang for your Buck
Terrence West vs. Browns ($5,100) – Speaking of heavy usage, the Ravens seemed hell-bent on relying on rushing and defense last week as Joe Flacco threw the ball only 17 times, while they ran the ball over 40 times. With Danny Woodhead on the shelf, Terrence West is the unquestioned #1 back in Baltimore and he should do great against the Browns who were 2nd worst in rushing yards allowed in 2016.
Kerwynn Williams @ Colts ($4,800) – While Cardinals fans and fantasy owners are no doubt disappointed with the news of David Johnson’s serious wrist injury, Kerwynn Williams now gets an increased opportunity. Carson Palmer looked old in week 1, and I expect the Cardinals to try to win by running the ball. The Colts don’t look like they can provide much resistance. I like Williams to more than hit value this week.
Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Bears ($4,400) – Doug Martin is suspended and Jacquizz Rodgers is the lead back versus the Bears this week. He is not priced like the lead back against a middling defense. The Bears allowed the 6th most rushing yards per game in 2016. Last season when Martin was out, Rodgers was used quite heavily by the Bucs. I expect more of the same and I think he is in for a nice week.
James White @ Saints ($4,000) – It is always hard to predict usage for Patriots running backs, but with their injuries at wide receiver, I would be very surprised if White is not heavily involved in the game plan. He had double-digit carries week one and not surprisingly added 5 more targets in the passing game. I expect Brady to throw to his running backs and White should be a big beneficiary.
Julio Jones vs. Packers ($9,200) – The Falcons/Packers game on Sunday night should be a shootout with two elite offenses facing off. While Jones only had 5 targets in week 1, that is a huge aberration and I doubt that he sees that few balls for the rest of the season. The Packers allowed the 2nd most passing yards per game in 2016 and allowed the most yards per attempt last season. I expect Jones to be this week’s leading receiver.
Brandin Cooks @ Saints ($8,200) – Cooks no longer plays his home games in the Superdome, but when he did, he certainly loved this building. In 2016, he had 642 receiving yards and 18.9 yards per reception in the Superdome. And he has never had the opportunity to face the Saints defense which is always abysmal. Brady does not have too many guys to throw to, and I expect Cooks to have a huge game.
Michael Thomas vs. Patriots ($7,500) – This looks to be an excellent price for Thomas against the Patriots who looked like the worst defense in the NFL in week 1. While Tyreke Hill is a different sort of #1 receiver, the Patriots’ Stephon Gilmore could not contain the Chiefs’ #1 target. Thomas is the #1 receiver in New Orleans and should have plenty of opportunity to do some damage.
Bang for your Buck
Keenan Allen vs. Dolphins ($5,800) – After being one of the league’s unluckiest players the last few years, Allen is back healthy for the Chargers. Phillip Rivers did not waste any time getting his top target back into the swing of things as he had 10 targets in week 1. While Allen was not all that efficient with those targets against the elite Broncos defense, he did manage 5 catches, including a touchdown. The Dolphins defense is not as formidable as they allowed 30 TDs through the air in 2016. Allen should probably be priced about $1,500 more. Take advantage of this gift.
Emmanuel Sanders vs. Cowboys ($5,200) – In my most important season long fantasy league, I was up 15 points going into Monday night with my opponent having Stefon Diggs and me having Emmanuel Sanders. I thought it was easy victory time, but Sanders disappointed with a terrible 3 catch effort, while Diggs caught 2 TD passes. Despite Sanders screwing me last weekend, I am going back to the well against the Cowboys, who allowed the 7th most passing yards in the 2016 season. And while Sanders was not great last week, he almost caught 2 TD passes as his diving attempts fell short twice. I like E-Man for a better day.
Jeremy Maclin vs. Browns ($5,000) – I know that Jeremy Maclin is no Antonio Brown but… The Browns struggled more than any other team week 1 against a #1 receiver as Brown caught 11 of 11 targets for 182 yards. Maclin is the #1 receiver on the Ravens and while I don’t expect numbers like Antonio put up last week, I do expect 8 or so targets and 80+ yards, including a touchdown catch.
Allen Hurns vs. Titans ($3,900) – Unfortunately for the Jaguars, their #1 receiver Allen Robinson went down. But Robinson’s injury leads to increased opportunity for Hurns, as well as Marqise Lee, who is also priced very well. There are very few #1 receivers that you can get for this price and with an expected 8 or so targets, Hurns is a great pick this week.
Kendall Wright @ Bucs ($3,900) – After Kevin White went down last week, Kendall Wright is now literally almost the entire Bears’ receiving corps. The Bucs’ pass defense is not tremendous and Wright will likely have 10 or so targets. I will have plenty of exposure.
Robby Anderson @ Raiders ($3,400) – The Jets will probably be down big against the Raiders in Oakland, and that will mean a lot of throwing by Josh McCown. Anderson only caught 4 balls for 22 yards in week 1, but he did have 8 targets. I think that is actually on the low-end for Anderson, who should have double-digit targets this week and should turn that into production.
Travis Kelce vs. Eagles ($5,100) – Kelce is the 2nd best tight-end in football and is the 5th most expensive on DraftKings. That sounds like value to me. While Kelce was not extraordinary in week 1, he did have 7 targets and I expect Alex Smith to look for him even more this week.
Bang for your Buck
Charles Clay @ Panthers ($3,000) – It won’t be long before Clay is priced more in the $4,500 range as opposed to this bargain price. Clay led the Bills with 9 targets last week and caught a touchdown pass. He is a big part of the Bills offense and is priced way too cheaply.
George Kittle @ Seahawks ($2,500) – While I don’t expect a huge game, if you are trying to figure out how to fit Antonio Brown, Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas into a lineup, playing a guy like Kittle at tight-end is not the worst idea. Kittle is the 49ers starter at the position and saw 6 targets last week, catching 5 calls. For the absolute lowest price for a position player on DraftKings, he is a good way to fill in your lineups.
Cardinals @ Colts ($4,100) – The Colts’ offense is really, really bad. Pay up for the Cardinals.
Ravens vs. Browns ($3,700) – The Ravens’ defense is back, and the Browns offense is not. I wouldn’t be shocked if Baltimore pitched their 2nd shutout of the year.
Browns @ Ravens ($2,400) – If you are looking for a low-priced defense, I don’t hate the Browns against the Ravens who have kind of a pop gun offense. The Browns did not let up a ton of points against the Steelers and I think they will contain the Ravens well in this one.
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