What’s up y’all!! The time we’ve been waiting for is finally here! REGULAR SEASON FOOTBALL! I’m back this year and focusing all my research on DraftKings. I prefer DK over FD solely based on the full PPR on DK. In this article, I will touch on my strategy I use at each position, then I will give you my plays for Week 1. These strategies that I use might not be used EVERY SINGLE WEEK, but for the most part, I stick to it. I know you guys don’t care about this introduction, so let’s just jump right into it!
The strategy I use for QB in cash is that I usually pay down. In cash games, I obviously look for a high floor. Paying down for a “high-floor” QB allows me to pay up at other positions. There are some outliers to this though. For example, there may be a week that a guy like Tom Brady or Drew Brees has an AMAZING matchup. In those instances, I will look into going expensive at QB. That being said, I will 100% be using this “pay-down” strategy for cash this week.
Carson Wentz – @ WAS – $5,300
This is definitely the chalk call in cash games for week 1. Carson Wentz is extremely cheap and has new offensive weapons around him. I really like the Eagles this year and I think Wentz takes a big step this year. In a game that could get into a shootout, Wentz is just too safe at that price point.
Brian Hoyer – vs CAR – $5,100
This may come to a shock, but I actually like Brian Hoyer a lot this week. His price point alone makes him a very viable pivot from Wentz in cash games. Carolina’s defense is NOT the same defense of the Super Bowl team 2 years ago. They aren’t bad, but they definitely aren’t an elite defense any more. This game has a very solid O/U at 47.5 and the 49ers are underdogs. I could see them playing catchup in this game, meaning Hoyer would be slinging it in the 2nd half. Let’s also not forget that Kyle Shanahan is the new head coach in San Francisco. Remember what he did with Matt Ryan last year? He’s viable in cash, but I really like him in GPPs.
Russell Wilson – vs GB – $6,900
If you’re wanting to pay up at QB this week, here’s where I would go. Let’s be honest here, GB has a pretty trash secondary. Russell Wilson has weapons like Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett, and Paul Richardson. I think he’ll be able to TORCH this secondary and even pick up a few points by using his legs. I think this game could end up being the highest scoring game on the slate. Using Wilson might make your roster construction a little rough in cash games, but I wouldn’t mind it.
Carson Palmer – @ DET – $6,000
Here’s my GPP pick at QB this week. I love Carson Palmer against the Lions this week. He has a FLOOR of 35 pass attempts almost every week and this week I think he might throw 45+ times. I also think this game could end up being a shootout. The Cardinals players said they’ve seen Palmer sling it with more velocity in the preseason, so I want to jump on board early this year. I love the Palmer/DJ/Fitzgerald stack in tournaments, as it’s probably my favorite stack this week.
OTHERS: Mariota (CASH + GPP)/Carr (GPP)/Goff (GPP)/Kizer (GPP DART)
For running backs on DraftKings, I try to find guys who can catch the football. Since it’s full PPR, getting guys that are involved in the passing game increases your floor and ceiling. For running backs that aren’t really involved in the passing game, I focus on great matchups where they’re heavy favorites. Usually if a team is playing with the lead, they will be pounding the rock more. This allows those run-heavy guys to get some major points.
Le’Veon Bell ($9,800)/David Johnson ($9,400)
Here’s some advice that you didn’t need to come here for: play AT LEAST one of them in your cash lineup. The 2 best football players in the league (fantasy wise), hands down. Both of them receive an insane amount of touches, with a handful of them coming in the passing game. They both have an extremely high floor every week, with always the chance of blowing up any game. The way my lineup construction has been going, I currently have DJ in my lineup. Bell will most likely be higher owned and does probably have the better matchup, but as of now, I’m taking the savings and going DJ. I definitely wouldn’t hate you if you picked Bell.
In tournaments, I’m leaning towards not playing TOO MUCH Bell/DJ. I expect both of them to carry 30-40% ownership in GPPs and I’ll probably be somewhere around there with my exposures. Paying down at RB and paying up at WR/TE is a way to get contrarian this week.
Todd Gurley ($6,000)/Carlos Hyde ($4,600)
I’m going to group these guys together, because after you pick between Bell/DJ, I recommend going with one, or both, of these guys. Neither of these guys are heavily involved in the passing game, but I still really like them in week 1. Todd Gurley gets a bad colts defense at home. I could see the Rams jumping out to a 2 TD lead and them just feeding Gurley the rest of the game. He’s chalk, but he’s chalk for good reason.
Carlos Hyde is also a very chalk RB. Even though my guy Johnny Espizito isn’t a fan of Hyde’s talent, at this price, it’s hard to look away. He’s the lead guy in San Francisco and with Kyle Shanahan there, I expect that offense to take a huge jump this year. And like I mentioned with Hoyer, the Panthers defense isn’t as elite as people say. In cash games, it’s hard to stay away from Hyde.
Isaiah Crowell ($5,300)/Christian McCaffery ($5,400)
I’m grouping these 2 guys together because they’re both my GPP plays. Isaiah Crowell is in a solid spot to have a pretty nice game. In my opinion, he is a very underrated running back. We all know how much Hue Jackson loves to just pound the rock. If Cleveland wants to keep this game close, they know they have to feed Crowell the rock. At that price and his 2-5% ownership, he could run for 100+ yards and 2 TD’s and set you up nicely in tournaments.
McCaffery may be a little higher owned than I like in tournaments, but this dude is going to be a beast. Yes, we know Jonathon Stewart will still get carries. And we know Cam Newton will run the ball in from 5 yards out, but I don’t care. McCaffery will be used all over the field. He’ll get carries, he’ll get receptions, he’ll be used in the RedZone, he’ll be used in the slot. In a PPR format, it’s not hard to love this kid. He also has a premier matchup vs the 49ers defense. Fire him up in a few GPPs.
OTHERS: McCoy (CASH + GPP VIABLE)/Freeman (GPP)/Howard (GPP)/Murray (GPP)
My cash wide receivers are usually the possession guys. I love targeting guys that just get peppered with targets. For GPP, I try to find a good guy to stack with my QB. I usually look for maybe the home run hitters for GPPs.
Larry Fitzgerald – @ DET – $5,900
I really don’t know if this will be a popular play across the industry, but I love Fitzgerald on Sunday. Detroit was the worst team against opposing slot receivers last year and guess who will be lining up in the slot for Arizona on Sunday? YOU GUESSED IT! Like I mentioned, the Palmer/DJ/Fitz stack is probably my favorite stack on Sunday. I’ll be using Fitzgerald in cash and GPP’s, as he’ll probably be my highest owned WR.
Michael Crabtree – @ TEN – $6,000
We finally talk about the game with the highest projected total on the slate. OAK/TEN could be a barn burner and I think Crabtree will just get sprinkled with targets. I see a lot of people going to Cooper, which I could see in GPP’s, but I’m 100% going Crabtree in cash. He’s the reception guy for Carr and Cooper is more of the big play threat. Crabtree is also the guy that Carr looks to in the red zone. Crabtree has an insanely high floor this week.
Pierre Garcon – vs CAR – $5,300
If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m definitely a believer in this 49ers offense on Sunday. I think the addition to Kyle Shanahan will do wonders for this offense. Kyle Shanahan’s offense has always run through the team’s #1 wide receiver and that’s exactly what Garcon is. Just from targets/receptions alone, I see him having a high floor and a pretty solid ceiling. If the 49ers get down early, he could be getting peppered with targets all 2nd half.
Kendall Wright – vs ATL – $3,200
I’m going to assume Wright will be chalky in cash, but it’s hard to look passed him. He’s so cheap that it’s hard seeing him flopping. At that price, he needs like 5 catches for 40 yards to make value. Being the #1 option in Chicago, I could see him getting 9-10 targets. He offers amazing value to get a construction like DJ/McCoy at RB and still have serviceable players everywhere else.
OTHERS: Baldwin (GPP + CASH)/Marshall (IF OBJ IS OUT)/Cooper (GPP)/M. Jones (GPP)/Green/Bryant
I usually like to pay down at Tight End in cash. I try to find cheap guys that will see a good number of targets. This allows me to pay up more at other positions.
Zach Ertz – @ WAS – $3,500
And now we get to the ultimate chalk play of the day. With the trade of Jordan Matthews, I see Ertz getting a bump in his already pretty high targets. I expect Wentz and the Eagles to definitely be better this year, which will help Ertz. At this price point, you just have to plug him in and move on in your cash games. In GPP’s though, it might be smart to try to fade him. It is still Zach Ertz. He could very easily have an inconsistent game.
Delanie Walker – vs OAK – $4,300
If you’re fading Ertz, this is definitely where I’d go. Like I said earlier, this game could very easily turn into a shootout. If you played NFL DFS last year, you’d remember that we targeted TE’s against Oakland almost every single week. Oakland just doesn’t have the linebackers to stick with Walker. The Titans do have a lot of mouths to feed in that offense, but I think it’ll take them a few games to incorporate Decker and Davis into the offense.
Jimmy Graham – @ GB – $5,100
Jimmy Graham is definitely a guy I’ll target in GPPs this week. He is still the freak athlete he was in NO. GB defense is not very good at all and if this game gets into a shootout, I could see Graham have a HUGE GAME.
OTHERS: Doyle (GPP)
For Defense/ST, I try to target teams that obviously face bad offense. More importantly, I focus on teams that can put pressure on the QB. Usually pressure creates turnovers. Turnovers could lead to defensive touchdowns.
Rams ($3,200)/Bills ($3,900)/Texans ($3,800)
Thanks for reading everyone! If you can’t tell, I’m very excited for the NFL season to start! Make sure you enter those cash games and also take some chances in some GPPs. If you have any questions or remarks, you can get ahold of me on twitter (@breeden_bryce) or get ahold of the Fantasy Forecast team (@FanForecast). Thanks again and lets SMASH on Sunday!