Week 1 NFL DraftKings Picks – Kicking it Off

Greetings all!  I am very excited to kick off this season’s DFS NFL coverage here on FantasyAssembly.  Every Thursday morning I will be posting the picks of the week, using the format of “Luxury Items” for stars who I think will perform well, “Bang for your Buck” for guys who are priced fairly and I think will play well and “Discount Bin” for cheapies who are worth a darth throw in GPP pools.

All salaries are for DraftKings, though I do encourage you to try out other sites as well.  DraftKings is a PPR format, so running backs who catch the ball well and possession receivers gain value.

Any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @nschnurbach.
On to this week’s picks:



Luxury Items: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers ($8,600)

  • Rodgers is a machine against the abysmal Bears defense.  In 2 games last year, he averaged 308.5 yards/game and threw 10 touchdowns with 0 interceptions.  Not having Jordy Nelson will hurt a bit, but not enough to make me shy away from the top QB on the board.

Bang for Your Buck: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers ($7,300)

  • I am not sold on the Patriots’ secondary, who lost Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and now have Superbowl hero Malcolm Butler as their top corner and guys like Bradley Fletcher (who got torched approximately a million times with the Eagles last year) as their #2.  Big Ben has 16 career touchdowns against the Patriots, his most against any non-divisional opponent.  I think this game is a shootout and that Ben will score big.

Discount Bin: Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,900)

  • Atlanta was 31st in Football Outsiders’ DVOA among defenses last year, and I don’t see them improving greatly this season.  The Eagles are an offensive machine, and Bradford was on fire this preseason (for whatever that is worth).  I think Bradford is a top 6 QB this week.

Running Back

Luxury Items: Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers ($7,500), Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,100)

  • Lacy has scored a touchdown in every game that he has played against the Bears in his career.  He is also a sneaky option catching passes out of the backfield with 42 receptions last year.  Without Nelson, I expect Lacy to be even more of a target and to catch 60 balls this year, including 5+ this week.
  • Jeremy Hill was 2nd among running backs with 5.1 yards per carry last season.  He went over 80 yards 8 times and scored touchdowns in 6 of his last 7 games.  I expect the Bengals to pound the rock against Oakland and Hill to score 15+.

Bang for your Buck: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Bucs ($4,500), Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans ($4,300)

  • Tennessee was 29th in the NFL last year in rush defense per DVOA.  Doug Martin has looked great in the preseason and is finally healthy.  He is the clear #1 in Tampa Bay and I love him at this price.
  • Speaking of clear #1s, there is literally no one to challenge Sankey for carries in Tennessee.  David Cobb was just placed on short term IR and Terrence West only got to the team this week.  Sankey will get 20+ carries and some end-zone looks.  Purely a volume play but good value at this price.

Discount Bin: Matt Jones, Washington Redskins ($3,700), Dion Lewis, New England Patriots ($3,000)

  • Jones is the clear 3rd down back in Washington and is in line to catch a bunch of checkdown passes.  Should score 10 points or so for a bargain basement price.
  • I love Lewis as a GPP play.  With Jonas Gray being released and LeGarrette Blount suspended for week #1, it is very possible that Lewis, who has looked great in the preseason, is the Patriots’ #1 back for the game.  You always have to be wary since Brandon Bolden and/or James White might get the bulk of the carries or 3rd down work, and you risk scoring a zero with this pick.  But there is also the chance for a homerun.  The ultimate boom or bust play.

Wide Receiver

Luxury Items: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers ($8,900), Randall Cobb,  Green Bay Packers ($8,000), AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,800)

  • As most football fans know by now, Brown is as consistent as they come with 33 consecutive games with 5+ receptions and 50+ yards.  As I mentioned, I don’t love the Patriots pass defense, and with LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant suspended, Brown will be a target monster.  Worth the price of admission today.
  • DraftKings prices were set prior to Jordy Nelson’s injury.  I feel like Cobb would have been at least a few hundred dollars more expensive if it was known that he was the clear #1 in Green Bay.  Rodgers will probably throw for 4+ touchdowns this week and Cobb should be good for 90+ yards and a score – at least.
  • Oakland was 28th in pass defense per DVOA last year.  AJ Green is poised to take advantage of the Raiders’ weak secondary.

Bang for your Buck: Nelson Agholar, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,700), Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins ($5,600), Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers ($4,400)

  • Agholar certainly passes the eye test as his speed during the preseason was a sight to behold.  On top of that, he faces last year’s 31st ranked pass defense and is the Eagles’ #1A option.
  • I love Landry at this price.  He had 9+ targets in 6 of the Dolphins’ final 8 games and 5 or more catches in the Dolphins’ last 9 games.  In a PPR format, he has a ton of value.  He will probably catch 8 balls for 80 yards.
  • Once again, these prices were made before it was known that Adams would be the #2 option in Green Bay.  For that alone, he should be priced $3,000 more.  That having been said, this is a pick you must make in 50/50 games because all of your opponents will have this pick but in GPP, I would avoid this pick.  If Adams has a mediocre game, it is a chance for you to pick up ground on your opponents in GPP.

Discount Bin: Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers ($3,700), Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears ($3,900), Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens ($3,500)

  • All of these guys are clear #2 receivers in pretty good passing offenses for a cheap price.  I like Royal best since there is a chance that Alshon Jeffery misses this game, thrusting him into a #1 role in a game that Chicago will probably have to throw the ball 40+ times.

Tight End

Luxury Item: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers ($5,300)

  • Olsen had 11 games last year where he had 7 or more targets – and that was with Kelvin Benjamin occupying the #1 receiver spot.  The Panthers’ current receivers are Philly Brown and Ted Ginn, Jr. (with a splash of Devin Funchess) – underwhelming to say the least.  Olsen might get 15 targets on Sunday.

Bang for your Buck: Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears ($4,300)

  • Another play that I really love at tight end.  As I mentioned above, Alshon Jeffery may not play, leaving the Bears perilously thin at receiver.  Bennett caught 90 balls last year, and will likely approach or exceed that number this season.  I anticipate a high volume of throws by Chicago and Bennett could have a huge game.

Discount Bin: Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans ($3,400)

  • This is a really cheap price for a top 8 tight end.  Delanie Walker was 7th in DraftKings points per game last year among tight ends but is only the 15th highest salary.  Excellent value play.

Defense/Special Teams

Bang for your buck: Carolina Panthers ($3,200) at Jacksonville, Miami Dolphins ($3,000) at Washington

  • Jacksonville was the top team in the league by a wide-margin in terms of giving up fantasy points to defenses last year.  Carolina has great coverage linebackers and could force some turnovers.
  • I love the Dolphins who play against an abysmal Washington line.  Ndomukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon should be wreaking havoc all day.

For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @nschnurbach


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Written by 

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.