Week 1 was not a bad time to be on the sidelines to take in all the action. Now, with at least a little clarity, let’s jump right in.
On the Quarterback side, we have to constantly wrestle with paying up for the near sure-thing versus taking a risk and going cheap with a quarterback in a good matchup. I normally try to play the middle-range quarterbacks, but this week I can’t see passing on Drew Brees or Eli Manning.
|Drew Brees||8200||NO||Brees vs. Eli was epic last year for fantasy players|
|Eli Manning||7600||NYG||Can get Eli for $600 less than Brees|
|Derek Carr||7200||Oak||Falcons could not stop Winston last week|
|Kirk Cousins||7000||Was||Cousins was sub-par on Monday. Dallas could not stop Eli|
|Blake Bortles||6700||Jax||Looks like an offensive shoot-out against the Chargers|
|Philip Rivers||6400||SD||Jax defense was better, but far from great|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||5900||NE||Cheap option. Looked capable against good Cards defense|
|Trevor Siemian||5200||Den||Showed well with the whole world watching last Thursday|
The multi-year running back trend held in Week 1 as we had only two 100-yard running backs. Not all was lost as 11 backs caught at least five passes. For those looking to spend up on running backs, please remember that in Week 1, Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson combined to score the same number of points as Charcandrick West.
|David Johnson||7600||Ari||20 touches should be the norm|
|Lamar Miller||7200||Hou||Blew away previous season's touches (32)|
|Spencer Ware||6100||KC||Uber-ly productive with Charles out|
|DeMarco Murray||5700||Ten||Saw the bulk of the work with Henry clearly a backup for now|
|Danny Woodhead||5200||SD||16 rushing attempts was a surprise. Still very cheap|
|Theo Riddick||4300||Det||Seems to be a lock for catches. Lack of rushes need to be considered|
The wide receiver group is crowded with an abundance of choices. While you do not need to have the top of the heap to win cash games, you have to avoid the total duds. Players like Dez Bryant and John Brown (each with 1 catch for 8 yards) wiped people out.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||9500||NYG||Saints could not stop Raiders receivers|
|Brandin Cooks||8000||NO||Best of three-headed group. Could be short targets at times - not this week|
|Kelvin Benjamin||6500||Car||Came back as the clear number one target for Cam|
|Julian Edelman||6200||NE||As close to a guarantee as possible when healthy|
|Willie Snead||5800||NO||A nice pairing with Cooks|
|Mohamed Sanu||5500||Atl||Proved to be a solid compliment to Julio|
|Stefon Diggs||5100||Min||Top target on a low volume team|
|Travis Benjamin||4400||SD||Someone has to take "charge" for the Chargers|
|Will Fuller||4200||Hou||Looked the part of a first round draft choice|
|Eli Rogers||4100||Pit||Very capable complement to A. Brown|
|Tajae Sharpe||4100||Ten||Was clearly the best receiver on the field for Tenn|
|Jamison Crowder||3600||Was||Cheap option. Had the targets on Monday|
TE was a wasteland last week, with only nine tight ends catching at least five passes. Also note that of the eight tight ends that scored, three of those players had only one reception.
|Greg Olsen||5600||Car||Looks like he will maintain his targets with Benjamin back|
|Travis Kelce||5000||KC||Has been good in the past, can he be consistent in 2016?|
|Jason Witten||4300||Dal||Clearly Dak's security blanket|
|Jesse James||3400||Pit||Yes, he can catch|
|Vance McDonald||3000||SF||Only two catches, but had a TD. Risk on low volume SF offense|
|Virgil Green||2800||Den||Was clearly part of the Broncos game plan|
There were only two defensive/special teams touchdowns in Week 1, both coming from the Vikings. While it is almost certain that will change in Week 2, trying to predict defensive scores is a waste of time. Instead, we should focus on the best chance to put pressure on the quarterback.
|Panthers||3900||Biggest favorite on the board against below-average offense|
|Seahawks||3800||The Rams are among the three worst offenses in the NFL|
|Packers||3200||The Vikings showed nothing on offense last week|
|Ravens||3000||Any team playing the Browns has to be on this list|
|Browns||2500||On the flip side, Baltimore did not show much last week either|
My projected lineup (predominantly in DraftKings cash games) as of this writing:
|Odell Beckham Jr.||WR||9500|
Welcome to the long-awaited Week 1 of the NFL season! Each Wednesday I'm going to share my top picks for DraftKings with some commentary. This is going to be a unique week since the salaries were set over a month ago and a lot has transpired since they were released. There are obvious bargains based on pre-season developments but keep in mind everyone knows them so you'll need to differentiate your team among the high-priced players.
Be sure to check out our DraftKings section as fellow staff members will be sharing their favorite plays for DraftKings contests throughout the week.
Here's my Week 1 top plays.
|Andrew Luck||8300||Second highest game total on the board|
|Drew Brees||8100||Highest projected game total on the board|
|Eli Manning||7500||Been so bad in pre-season that he will be overlooked|
|Derek Carr||7300||Highest projected game total on the board|
|Matthew Stafford||7200||Second highest game total on the board|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||6200||Should be able to dink and dunk into decent numbers|
|Dak Prescott||5000||The price is right to save money for other positions|
|Lamar Miller||7000||Bears defense should not have much of a chance|
|Mark Ingram||6600||Save a few bucks off the top-tier. Should be just as good|
|Rashad Jennings||5400||Expected to see a full workload against poor defense|
|Melvin Gordon||4600||Not a great match-up but cheap. Coming of strong pre-season|
|Spencer Ware||4400||Underpriced if Charles is out|
|Theo Riddick||4000||Lions rushing game showed little in pre-season|
|DeAndre Washington||3700||Should see all the Raiders passes out of the backfield|
|James White||3600||Fits right into to the dink-and-dunk approach|
|Julio Jones||9400||Easy to construct a roster that fits two of the top WRs|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||9300||Suggest rostering two of the top-five WRs|
|DeAndre Hopkins||8800||Nice week one matchup|
|Dez Bryant||8500||Can he connect with Prescott for real?|
|A.J. Green||8400||Often overlooked among the elite WRs|
|Mike Evans||7400||Nice alternative to the very top tier|
|Jarvis Landry||6000||Tannehill wont have time to look deeper than Landry|
|Tyler Lockett||5000||Nice price for dynamic playmaker against bad secondary|
|Marvin Jones||4600||Might be the last time to use him at this price|
|Chris Hogan||3600||Nice price for week one use|
|Terrelle Pryor||3000||Worthy of GPP play with Gordon out|
|Tajae Sharpe||3000||Cheap starter. Concerned about lack of overall targets|
|Rob Gronkowski||7400||Tough to pay this price|
|Gary Barnidge||4700||Looked good with RGIII|
|Zach Ertz||4300||Finished 2015 on a roll|
|Dwayne Allen||3200||Can he excel with Fleener gone?|
|Jared Cook||2900||New start in pass-happy Green Bay|
|Seahawks||3900||Biggest favorite on the board|
|Eagles||3300||RGIII has been known to throw the ball to the wrong side|
|Texans||3200||Texans get to tee off on Jay Cutler. J.J. Watt likely to play|
|Browns||2300||Cleveland gets the rookie QB|
Week 17 is tricky from a DFS standpoint. Several teams are locked into playoff spots and have every reason to rest starters or severely limit snaps.
Stay off Redskins and Seahawks. No Jordan Reed, no Kirk Cousins. They are locked in the four seed. The Seahawks are locked into the five or six seed. Assuming that they do not care which seed they are, they could limit snaps for their starters.
All other playoff teams have at least seeding in play. The Patriots are playing for the number one seed. The Bengals are still playing for the two seed. The Broncos and Chiefs are still playing for the division/wild card and both play late. Houston and Indy are still playing for the division and both play early. The Jets and Steelers are still playing for a playoff spot and both play early. The Panthers and Cardinals are playing for the number one seed. The Vikings and Packers play Sunday night for the division/wild card.
Several players on non-contenders have a chance for personal milestones or league records. I can see scenarios where teams will force-feed certain players if those milestones come into reach.
Odell Beckham Jr. needs nine receptions to reach 100. I see the Giants making sure he hits that number.
Julio Jones (127 receptions) and Antonio Brown (123 receptions) are both in sight of the single-season record of 143 receptions, although it is a stretch. I believe Julio has a much better chance facing the Saints with nothing on the line for the Falcons.
Julio Jones at 1,722 yards receiving is 242 yards away from the single-season record and 278 yards away from 2,000. While those are huge numbers, don’t you believe that if the Falcons really want Julio to get the record, they could not at least get close?
DeAngelo Williams (101 yards) and Frank Gore (109 yards) are both within range of 1,000 rushing yards. Lamar Miller is 188 yards away, but remember he rushed for almost 200 yards in Week 17 last season.
Lastly, Doug Martin is 64 rushing yards behind Adrian Peterson for the NFL rushing title. The Bucs could force additional carries to Martin if he is having success, but that will be challenging against Carolina.
|Cam Newton||Car||7500||Cam needs to play so that the Panthers can secure home field all thru playoffs|
|Ben Roethlisberger||Pit||6900||Threw a week 16 dud with huge ownership. Will rebound with slim playoff hope|
|Drew Brees||NO||6700||Injury was a non-factor. Falcons offer little defense|
|Blake Bortles||Jax||6700||At least 25 points in five straight.|
|Matthew Stafford||Det||6200||Nice match-up to finish the season|
|Eli Manning||NYG||5600||Beckham returns.|
|Matt Ryan||Atl||5500||Gets the Saints to finish a disappointing season on a high note|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick||NYJ||5400||Keep an eye on Buffalo weather, but Fitz in a good spot and still cheap|
|Sam Bradford||Phi||5300||A little off-the-grid, but the Giants clearly quit last Sunday against Minnesota|
|Devonta Freeman||Atl||7600||Looks to cap off one of the top surprise stories of the season|
|Todd Gurley||StL||7400||No reason for Rams to stop playing|
|DeAngelo Williams||Pit||7100||Up into unchartered price territory. Only one who showed against the Ravens|
|Charcandrick West||KC||5700||Still cheap enough to consider|
|Tim Hightower||NO||5500||Getting big volume in Saints offense. A real late season success story|
|Denard Robinson||Jax||5400||Fumbles will eventually get him out of the league, but we only care about this week|
|Danny Woodhead||SD||5000||Woodhead has returned big in the Chargers passing game|
|James White||NE||5000||Tough to watch with low volume, but the pass receptions add up|
|Darren McFadden||Dal||4900||About the only thing that went right for Cowboys this season|
|Karlos Williams||Buf||4800||Split touches but there were plenty against the Cowboys, very iffy this week|
|Bilal Powell||NYJ||4500||Check injury report as he came out late in the Patriots game.|
|Javorius Allen||Bal||4400||Strong game one week after being benched due to early fumble|
|Antonio Brown||Pit||9300||Steelers wont disappoint again|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||NYG||9000||Beckham returns with a vengence. Needs 9 catches for 100 on the season|
|Julio Jones||Atl||8500||Lit up Panthers and now gets the worst defense in the NFL. Single season records?|
|DeAndre Hopkins||Hou||8400||Dislike QB situation. Should be low ownership GPP option|
|Brandon Marshall||NYJ||7900||Thought Pats could take him out. Wrong|
|Allen Robinson||Jax||7800||Coming up huge|
|Sammy Watkins||Buf||6700||Might be first time this season Watkins hits my list. Five straight solid games|
|Eric Decker||NYJ||6500||Been excellent all season. Not the volume of Marshall, but scores TDs|
|Brandin Cooks||NO||6400||Red hot lately|
|Golden Tate||Det||6400||Small hiccup in week 16 but not terrible. Good candidate to rebound|
|Allen Hurns||Jax||5600||Not much statistically different from Robinson but $2200 cheaper|
|Kamar Aiken||Bal||5400||Becoming a viable cash game option. 38 catches in past six games|
|Martavis Bryant||Pit||5300||Loat 80 yard TD that would have looked great in the box score|
|Jordan Matthews||Phi||4700||58 points in past two and faces porous Giants defense|
|Willie Snead||NO||4400||Should score 3x in his sleep|
|Rob Gronkowski||NE||7400||Has to stay in the mix with limited other options in New England|
|Greg Olsen||Car||6800||Still throws in some clunkers but pretty solid 2x floor|
|Jordan Reed||Was||6500||Great in past three. Not sure how Redskins use starters in week 17|
|Delanie Walker||Ten||5600||More than 2x price in 12 of 14 games|
|Julius Thomas||Jax||4900||Overshadowed by Robinson and Hurns|
|Travis Kelce||KC||4700||Good in week 16. Inconsistent targets makes him a GPP-only option|
|Zach Miller||Chi||4600||Going up in price but still sold for 2x-3x price|
|Will Tye||NYG||4000||Burned many in week 16 after double-digit points in five straight games|
|Zach Ertz||Phi||3600||26 catches in past three games|
|Broncos||Den||4000||Broncos need the win|
|Chiefs||KC||4000||KC still playing to win|
|Panthers||Car||3600||Look to rebound off two poor performances|
|Steelers||Pit||3500||Will be highly motivated to rebound|
|Patriots||NE||3200||Dolphins offense has been a mess|
|Rams||StL||3000||Lowest Vegas total I have seen all season|
|Vikings||MIN||2200||Vikings defense has been strong and Aaron Rodgers has not been good|
MY CURRENT LINEUP
|Odell Beckham Jr.||WR||NYG||9000|
This week, I had the opportunity to participate in Howard Bender’s Mock Draft Army 12-team PPR draft. The draft was slightly different from the upcoming NFFC drafts in that there was no 3rd Round Reversal. I had the benefit (I think) of having the first overall pick. My strategy going in was to take the best wide receivers through at least the first three rounds and see where we end up with running backs.
1) Antonio Brown – WR - This was pretty much a no-brainer selection.
2) Randall Cobb – WR – Expecting a rebound season from Cobb with Jordy Nelson back.
3) Brandon Marshall – WR – Long-time Marshall fan. Expecting Ryan Fitzpatrick back at QB.
4) Jordan Matthews – WR - This was the first real decision point. Is the selection a fourth wide receiver or a first running back? Time will tell. The running back pick would have been DeMarco Murray, who was selected at 4.05.
5) Danny Woodhead – RB – Definitely a player I was looking for at the 4-5 turn. Dion Lewis went at 3.08 and Duke Johnson went at 4.09.
6) Rashad Jennings – RB – Looking for a second running back that has a pretty good hold of a job with regular work.
7) Drew Brees – QB – Another key decision point. Is the pick a quarterback or the next tier tight end? I passed on Delanie Walker, who was taken with the very next pick. There was a run on tight ends, which led me to…
8) Zach Ertz – TE – He was great at the very end of 2015. Still looking for a little consistency. In hindsight, Delanie Walker would have been a better choice than Brees in round 7. I really like Eli Manning to put up big numbers this year and he didn’t go until round 10.
9) Jay Ajayi – RB – Was going in round 6 before the Dolphins signed Arian Foster (who went at pick 7.09). The Dolphins are claiming “time-share”, which is fine with me given Foster’s injury history.
10) Devontae Booker – RB – Time to reach a little. If you are not going to take your first running back until round 5, you better get some guys with big potential.
11) Chris Hogan – WR – Why did it seem so obvious that he would end up with the Patriots?
12) Jameis Winston – QB – Expecting a big sophomore season.
13) Rishard Matthews – WR – As a sixth wide receiver, he has a chance to become Marcus Mariota’s safety blanket.
14) Jerick McKinnon – RB – Has a ton of talent and was well worth a shot in round 14.
15) Andre Ellington – RB – An injury to David Johnson could open the door for really big numbers.
16) Austin Seferian-Jenkins – TE – Has been a huge injury disappointment so far in his career. We will see if he clicks with Winston.
17) Andre Roberts – WR – The number three wide receiver on an offense on the rise.
18) Brandon McManus – K – Gotta have a kicker.
19) New York Jets – Def – And we have to use a defense.
20) Quinton Patton – WR – Has been a pet-pick of mine before. With Anquan Boldin gone and no real replacements, maybe Patton excels in Chip Kelly’s system.
After 15 weeks, my DFS confidence level is as high as ever. While confidence does not guarantee a win, I feel like I now understand the psychology of cash games and have settled on a roster configuration and game choice that seems to make sense.
QB – Sure, the top-tier guys like Tom Brady have great floor values. But the price you pay appears to put too much stress on other parts of your roster. I have been targeting QBs in the $6K-$6.5K range like Blake Bortles and Ryan Fitzpatrick. They don’t have to kill it – 250 yards passing and two TDs is just fine for their price.
RB – Every time I paid top-dollar for what seemed like a guaranteed floor, I got burned. So I have settled on cheap running backs with the emphasis on cheap. $10K for both would be great. I might be a tad over this week with David Johnson a must play in cash games due to an expected off-the-chart ownership.
WR – Pay up if you can. The majority of top weekly scores come from the WR position. Each week, at least one of the top guys goes over 40. At least $18K (or 36%) of your budget should go here.
TE – Sure, it is great to have the floor provided by Rob Gronkowski, but like Brady, you have to pay a severe price. While there is some risk, there have been plenty of tight ends under $5K that are consistently earning 2-3x price.
Flex – The flex spot should be a wide receiver if at all possible. A wide receiver can earn their value for the week with one TD catch.
Defense – Very much of a crapshoot as I have yet to find a formula that provides any kind of consistency in rostering a defense that will score 8-12 points. I have been trying to stick with favored home teams against what appear to be weakling offenses.
Lineups – I tinkered early in the season with multiple lineups in cash games. That did not work very well for me. The past several weeks, I have focused on fielding one single lineup in all cash games.
Game Selection – Early in the year, I was chasing the million dollar prize, allocating 25-30% of our weekly budget to GPP tournaments. That failed miserably, as you may have figured. The past several weeks, I have played strictly cash games with the focus primarily on single-entry games with good success. I typically enter several $10, 113-entry double up contests, several $5, 227-entry double ups, and the big $25 double up for a total of $100 in entries.
|Tom Brady||NE||7500||Lack of weapons hurting ceiling. Floor of 18 is pretty solid|
|Cam Newton||Car||7500||No rationale for $300 price drop. Has scored 111 points over past three weeks|
|Russell Wilson||Sea||7200||Offense opened up after Lynch injury. 19 TD passes in past five games|
|Carson Palmer||Ari||7000||Johnson 3 rush TD limited Palmer in week 15. Just bad luck|
|Drew Brees||NO||6800||Great match-up but foot injury is of concern|
|Ben Roethlisberger||Pit||6800||Explosive offense against bad Ravens team|
|Blake Bortles||Jax||6500||At least 25 points in four straight. Another strong matchup|
|Matthew Stafford||Det||6100||Benefits against Saints defense. 12 TDs in past four games|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick||NYJ||5200||Continues to be woefully underpriced|
|Teddy Bridgewater||Min||5200||Need a strong stomach, but coming off big game against weak Giants pass defense|
|Doug Martin||TB||6600||Martin has been racking up yards and Chicago is no run stopper|
|DeAngelo Williams||Pit||6500||16.6 preceded by 23+ points in three straight|
|Matt Forte||Chi||6500||Still split with Langford but dependable receiver|
|David Johnson||Ari||5800||Might have the highest cash game ownership of the season. Was 50% last week|
|Charcandrick West||KC||5700||Solid as long as Ware is hobbled|
|Denard Robinson||Jax||5400||Up $2400 in two weeks. Worth it if he is good to go on Sunday with Yeldon out|
|James White||NE||4700||Won't get a lot of carries, but 21 receptions in past three games. Jets stop the run|
|Tim Hightower||NO||4500||Not a big fan, but he is getting the touches|
|Karlos Williams||Buf||4500||Inexpensive option expected to see 15-20 touches|
|Cameron Artis-Payne||Car||4300||Saw a lot of carries when Panthers were up big. Figure to be up again|
|Shane Vereen||NYG||3900||Cheap option, more of a GPP play|
|Bilal Powell||NYJ||3900||At least 19 points in three straight. Heavily involved in receiving situations|
|Antonio Brown||Pit||9300||Top dollar but seemingly unstoppable at this point|
|DeAndre Hopkins||Hou||8400||Dislike QB situation. Should be low ownership GPP option|
|Allen Robinson||Jax||7500||Pretty high floor. Would not be surprised to see Bortles throw 50 times|
|Mike Evans||TB||7300||Evans always scares me due to the drops. No excuse without Jackson|
|Doug Baldwin||Sea||6700||Price up $2700 in three weeks. A four-game monster stretch with 10 TDs|
|Sammy Watkins||Buf||6700||Might be first time this season Watkins hits my list. Four straight solid games|
|Eric Decker||NYJ||6500||Been excellent all season. Pats figure to focus on taking Marshall out of the game|
|Brandin Cooks||NO||5900||Been inconsistent - sometimes below 10, other times over 20. Sounds like a GPP option|
|Golden Tate||Det||5800||Nice five-game stretch with Calvin struggling|
|Martavis Bryant||Pit||5600||Averaging almost 20 ppg and still only $5600|
|Kamar Aiken||Bal||5400||Becoming a viable cash game option. 30 catches over past five games|
|John Brown||Ari||5300||Five straight good games. Might finally be healthy|
|Michael Floyd||Ari||4900||Over 20 points in four of past six. Just missed TD on great catch at the 1-yard line last week|
|Willie Snead||NO||4500||Back in form over past two games|
|Tyler Lockett||Sea||4500||Up $1500 in three weeks. Can score from anywhere. Seeing more targets|
|Rob Gronkowski||NE||7600||Has to stay in the mix with limited other options in New England|
|Greg Olsen||Car||7000||Still throws in some clunkers but pretty solid 2x floor|
|Delanie Walker||Ten||5600||Finally broke streak of every game with 3+ catches. But both catches went for TDs|
|Ben Watson||NO||5300||Was not heavily involved on Monday until scoring a late TD|
|Julius Thomas||Jax||5100||Heavily targeted in past five. Still reasonable price|
|Travis Kelce||KC||4300||Inconsistent targets makes him a GPP-only option|
|Zach Miller||Chi||4000||Last minute of garbage time last week made his game. Still good price|
|Will Tye||NYG||3500||Double-digit points in five straight games for dirt cheap|
|Eric Ebron||Det||2900||Tough to trust but only needs three catches to earn $2900|
|Seahawks||Sea||4300||Stop Gurley and they are money in the bank|
|Chiefs||KC||4200||Good chance for big points on turnovers off Manziel|
|Panthers||Car||3700||Expect them to turn over and sack Falcons|
|Steelers||Pit||3100||Not a great defense, but a great situation|
|Texans||Hou||2800||I worry about their offense, but no Mariotta for Tenn|
|Lions||Det||2800||Home vs. SF in low total game|
MY CURRENT LINEUP