I won’t be able to do this every week, simply due to the time that it takes to write this, but for week 1 I want to get all my thoughts down in writing, talk about the changes to each team and what teams are going to look like.
Here we go. I give you what I’m calling the Week 1 Fantasy Insight
It’s the first week of the NFL. I often think this would be the easiest week for me to win big money, as there’s a lot of unknowns and only those who really studied during the offseason really know the state of everything. So, I treat this week as a big opportunity. Final roster cuts are being made as I write this. Kahlil Mack was just traded to the Bears a couple hours ago. Players injured last offseason are not sure things to start week 1, like Carson Wentz and Dalvin Cook. We haven’t seen rookies in full game action yet, like Saquon Barkley and Sam Darnold. Rookies and traded players will always be more hyped than the guys who’s situations haven’t changed and we haven’t talked about all off season. Think Matt Ryan, or AJ Green. We’ve hardly talked about them all off season, yet they should be the same Top 10 players at their position that they were last year.
We haven’t even talked about defenses yet. Defenses transform over the offseason too, and right now all we can do is go off of what defenses did last year and how coaching and personnel changes may have speculatively changed those defenses. It’s just another unknown, but unlike rookies and injured guys, this is a factor in every situation whether you like it or not.
There are a lot of unknowns and a conservative approach to this week avoiding the unknown, may make a lot of sense in cash games. However, if you hope to take down a GPP, you have to assume that at least some of these unknown guys and situations may have the debut we’ve been predicting. This article is aimed at pointing out my opinions on what I think is important to factor in to your decision making in week 1.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
The super bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are hosting the Atlanta Falcons in the 2018 NFL Season Thursday Night Opener. The Philadelphia fans are sure to be crazy loud welcoming their champions to the field for the first time since their victory so Atlanta will have to contend with the crowd noise on Thursday night. The weather is currently forecasted to be 86*F with a 6% chance of rain so weather shouldn’t be a factor in this one. The last game the Falcons played was a repeat of this game against the Philadelphia Eagles and Lincoln Financial field in the divisional playoffs.
The Atlanta defense was better than most remember last year. Atlanta allowed the 8th fewest points last season, and the 9th fewest rushing yards last season. The Atlanta defense is solid all the way around although it is lacking some elite talent at any particular position. Nick Foles (FD $7400, DK $5900) gets the start in this one. This suggests Carson Wentz isn’t quite ready to take the field in 2018. Nick Foles played great in the super bowl. In my opinion Foles played better than his skill set should allow him to have played, and the lack of weapons and a solid defense makes me nervous that this isn’t the time to take a chance on him. Why lack of weapons you ask? Jay Ajayi (FD $6400, DK $5500) is questionable for this game. If he misses this one Fanduel and Draft Kings disagree on who would take over his role according to the salary chart. Fanduel has Corey Clement (FD $5000, DK $3600) listed as the next highest price guy. Draft Kings however, has Darren Sproles (FD $4600, DK $3800) at the #2 salary. Personally I want none of these guys. Even if Ajayi plays, Doug Peterson has shown an inability to stick with 1 running back and the Atlanta front is more talented than all of these running backs. Combine that with injury risk, and I’d rather not partake in this backfield.
Alshon Jeffrey will miss weeks 1 & 2, which leaves an underwhelming receiving core of Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, and Mack Hollins? Atlanta’s pass defense was middle of the pack in yardage allowed last year. I don’t expect this to be a very high scoring game to get the season started, so most players in this game I’m not very excited about talking about. Mike Wallace (FD $5300, DK $4200) should be the predominant outside receiver and in 3 receiver sets, which don’t happen that often for the Philadelphia offense, I would guess that Mack Hollins (FD $4500, DK $3700) will get the opposite start. Nelson Agholor (FD $5900, DK $5900) will be on the field in all receiving sets and should move to the slot during most of the 3 receiver sets. Robert Alford, Desmond Trufant, and Brian Poole make up the Atlanta Corners, with a good pair of safeties backing them up. Agholor is the Eagles best, and most involved receiver, and if he finds the end zone he’ll almost certainly hit cash value. GPP value is probably above his likely production in this game. Players like Mike Wallace when they end up at a value like this intrigue me. If Mike Wallace can take a 70 yard TD to the end zone just once during this game he’ll have 13.5 points on FD and 14 on DK. That’s very near GPP value on both sites. Whenever these speed guys are at these prices they’re worth some exposure. It’s unlikely, but certainly within the realm of possibility that Wallace could win you the week with only a few receptions if one of them goes the distance.
The Eagles player that interests me most is the 1 we haven’t talked about yet. That’s Zach Ertz (FD $6600, DK $6600). Zach Ertz should be heavily involved in the passing game. I expect the Eagles run to game to be largely ineffective against the Falcons front. This means they’ll have to throw and if Foles has a good night I expect him to connect with Ertz multiple times in this game. I particularly expect Ertz to be used down on the goal line where the Eagles love to run their 3 Tight End sets. Ertz should be the go to weapon, but keep in mind the Eagles did draft a replacement for their #2 TE Trey Burton in Dallas Goedert (FD $4000, DK $3000) who could also be used in the redone. Zach Ertz is the Eagles player I want most in this matchup. A 8 Rec, 100 Yard, 2TD game is definitely in play for him.
The Philadelphia defense is formidable. They allowed the 4th fewest points in the NFL last season and they were #1 in rushing yards allowed. Their defensive front is fantastic. If there’s a weakness to the Philadelphia defense it’s certainly on the back end. Their secondary is mediocre at best. PFF grades the secondary 18th heading into the 2018 season. Ronald Darby has been great at times. Jalen Mills, and Sidney Jones are average to below average secondary players. Malcom Jenkins is an excellent safety on the back end who can cause problems for opposing QBs and will be a factor for the Falcons offense.
Matt Ryan (FD $7000, DK $6300) is a pretty reasonable price this week on both sites. If the falcons want to win this game I expect them to do it on the arm of Matt Ryan. It’s tough to run on this Eagles front, but if you’d like roll the dice on the Falcons running game it’s Devonta Freeman (FD $7100, DK $6600) and Tevin Coleman (FD $5900, DK $4400). A Broken play could lead to cash value for either player, but odds are neither of these guys will win you the week. In the passing game, we have the monster that is Julio Jones (FD $8300, DK $7600). Julio is 6’3″ and should spend most of the game matched up against Ronald Darby who’s only 5’11”. This could be a problem for Darby. In the divisional playoff game Julio saw 16 targets. He brought down 9 of them for 101 yards in that game. This could be another big outing for Julio against an undersized corner in a game the Falcons have a good chance of winning. Julio is in play in all formats. Mohammed Sanu (FD $5900, $3800) seems underpriced to me from an initial look. It may be the rookie Calvin Ridley (FD $5600, DK $4000) who has that shiny newness to him bringing his price up that is driving Sanu’s price down. Sanu went 3 rec for 50 yards in this matchup last year, and even and underwhelming night like that puts him near cash game value on both sites. I’ll have exposure to Sanu in Thursday slates. I’m not a huge fan of Calvin Ridley and I think he’ll take more than half the season to become a factor. He’s a player who I need to see become a factor, before I’m willing to buy into it. Austin Hooper (FD $4800, DK $2900) is still the Falcons starting Tight End. His price is low enough that you can roll the dice on him, but there are no indicators that this should be a special game for him.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck returns for his debut against a Bengals team that was not very good last year. Andrew Luck spent the last season and a half recovering from Shoulder surgery and also added a foot injury during the preseason.He’s officially questionable to suit up for week 1, but I’m anticipating he’ll play in this matchup. The Colts had a rough season last rear finishing 4-12. The Bengals finished they year 7-9. He’s officially questionable to suit up for week 1, but I’m anticipating he’ll play in this matchup.
The Bengals are a team expect to be much better this season. The Bengals offensive line was one of the worst in football last year. In the offseason they added a couple pieces in free agency and in the draft. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be better, but it can’t be much worse. The Colts defense is expected to be bottom 10 in every category this season, so they probably won’t be the team to expose the Bengals line. Joe Mixon (FD $6900, DK $6100) is a player I expect to take a huge leap forward this year. He is a very talented back, and given a little space, he can cause problems for opposing defenses. Indianapolis allowed the third most points of all defenses last year and the 7th most rushing yards.
The Colts also allowed the 5th most passing yards last year, so Andy Dalton (FD $6800, DK $5800) should be able to find success against this Colts defense. Indianapolis could not get after the QB last season finishing 31st in sacks and PFF ranks their secondary as dead last heading into the 2018 season. I mentioned earlier that AJ Green (FD $8400, DK $7300) hasn’t had much change and therefore doesn’t have the off season hype all over him. His price isn’t particularly low but it is worth noting that FanDuel has him as the 4th most expensive WR and Draft Kings has him 7th. The Bengals also have John Ross (FD $5100, DK $3900), who I’ve been raving about for the last month and a half. That won’t be changing in this article. I am positive that John Ross will beat this Colts secondary multiple times in this game. My concern is if Andy Dalton can hit the Orange Blur deep down the field when he does, but Ross is an excellent play this week in GPP and could easily hit value at his price. Don’t forget Tight End Tyler Effect (FD $5500, DK $3400) is healthy (for now) and is a pretty good price on both sites and could easily make value if he finds the end zone.
The Colts defense isn’t going to be able to slow down the Bengals offense in this game, which will require the Colts to try to keep up offensively with them. The Bengals won’t make it as easy as the Colts will as the Bengals have a solid defense coming into to 2018. The Bengals allowed the 8th fewest passing yards last season and they were average in points allowed. They were susceptible to the run last year though finishing with the 3d most rushing yards allowed. They should be better against the run and remain pretty good against the pass this year. Pac Man Adam Jones has departed the Bengals for Denver so there may be a little gelling to take advantage of in this Bengals secondary.
However if I had to guess, I’d guess that Andrew Luck (FD $7300, DK $6100) is the player who will need some gelling in this one. It’s been over a year since Andrew Luck has played a full NFL game, so there’s bound to be at least a little rust during his return. His price is suppressed so much due to all the unknown that Andrew Luck is worth some exposure. TY Hilton (FD $7200, DK $6800), Ryan Grant (FD $4900, DK $3900), and Chester Rogers (FD $4900, DK $3500) are the starting 3 receivers for Andrew Luck. TY Hilton has the toughest matchup of the week against Corner William Jackson III, who most expect to shadow opposing 1s this season. He is a little known stud at corner who kept Antonio Brown from catching a single ball in their 2 matchups last year. He also played against TY Hilton last season on 10/29/17, and in that matchup Hilton was held to 2 receptions for 15 yards. Jacoby Brissett was at QB during that game, but I don’t expect Hilton to explode in this one. Between Grant & Rogers it’s anyone’s guess. They’ve both had underwhelming pre seasons and I’ll have very low exposure if any to either of them.
The Colt’s running game is a bit of a mess. Marlon Mack (FD $6000, DK $4800) has been dealing with a hamstring injury since early August and he’ll “probably come down to the wire in week 1”. The colts have come out and said that if Mack misses that Jordan Wilkins (FD $5100, DK $3700) will get the start. I’d assume it will be a bit more of a committee than they’re letting on. I’d also think Nyheim Hines (FD $5400, DK $4000) will see some action in week 1 if Mack misses. All that being said, with as messy as this is, this is one of, if not the least safe backfield you can look into. Someone could steal the show and take over and there could be value here. If Wilkins really does get the start you’ll get the starter at the cheapest salary of the 3. If I was going to take a shot in this backfield it would be with him, but I probably won’t be doing that.
Andrew Luck does love his Tight Ends though and now he has 2 competent pass catching Tight Ends. Jack Doyle (FD $5600, DK $3600), and Eric Ebron (FD $5000, DK $3300). Both sites have Doyle graded as the higher tight end, but preseason led me to believe that Ebron may be the TE1 in this situation. I think average players may scroll the list until they find the first Colts TE and end up with the wrong guy. Combine that with the very reasonable price of Ebron, and I’ll have some lineups with him in them this weekend.
Buffalo Bills & Baltimore Ravens
The Bills snuck into the Playoffs with a 9-7 record last season, while the Ravens missed with that same 9-7 record. The Ravens are a team that looks mostly the same as it did last year, while the Bills have gone through quite a few changes, including a new high profile rookie QB. This is one of the most lopsided games of the week. The Ravens are expected to win this by a landslide.
The Bills offensive line is probably the worst in football. PFF ranks them 29th, but the preseason showed this offensive line is going to cause problems. The Bills have been secretive about who they would start at QB in week 1, but their trade of AJ McCarron sure makes it seem like Josh Allen (FD $6000, DK $4400) will be starting this season. Their only other option will be Nathan Peterman who had that 5 turnover quarter mid season last year. Josh Allen is a bit of a controversial player. Some like him, and most do not. I am definitely in the I like Josh Allen camp, however I don’t think this is the time to roll him out there in DFS. He’s cheap, but he will have his hands full during his NFL debut in Baltimore against a very good Ravens front and secondary. If Josh Allen can overcome this somehow, his price is rock bottom for a starting QB. He’ll have help in veteran LeSean McCoy (FD $7300, DK $6000) who is always dangerous and through the preseason doesn’t appear to have lost a step. It will take a broken play for McCoy to really get going, but a couple of long screens could get value for both him and Allen. WR Kelvin Benjamin (FD $5800, DK $5000) and TE Charles Clay (FD $5200, DK $3500) are the other pass catchers to target in this offense. I don’t predict a good day for any player on this offense, but the ownership of Bills players will be very low, and throwing a low dollar flyer lineup of a couple bills could win you the big one if it hits.
***Update*** – The Bills have decided to roll out Nathan Peterman (FD $6000, DK $4200) also known as the human turn over in this one. Peterman basically ruins all upside for any player on this Bills team. I want no Bills with Peterman at the helm, and somehow I want the Ravens defense more.
Baltimore should be able to keep the Bills in check, and will probably be playing from out in front during this game. Let’s start with the obvious. The Baltimore Ravens Defense (FD $4800, DK $3800) is the most expensive defense on both sites and worth it on both sites. I’m predicting multiple sacks and turnovers by the Buffalo Bills in this game. Because of that, I expect there will be a lot of running by Baltimore in this one. The Bills defense is actually pretty good in every area except against the run. The Bills ranked 4th most in rushing yards allowed last season. PFF ranks them 16th in run defense, 31st in pass rush and 7th in secondary coming into 2018. I think the Ravens will look to maintain their lead by running the ball in this game. Alex Collins (FD $6700, DK $5600) should be a cash game lock in this game and has GPP upside in this one too.
Joe Flacco (FD $6100, DK $4900) is the 36th priced QB on Fanduel and the 33d on Draft Kings. It’s kind of absurd pricing for a starting veteran quarterback who’s looked very sharp this preseason. The Ravens probably won’t need to throw in this one, but by the second half the Bills will be selling out to stop the run and the deep shot will be available on the play action pass. At that price I’ll have exposure to Joe Flacco. He’s a cheap QB option that will allow you to spend up at other positions, and will almost for sure hit cash value at this price. Michael Crabtree (FD $6600, DK $5400), John Brown (FD $5500, DK $3700) and Willie Snead (FD $5100, DK $3700) are the receiving options with Nick Boyle (FD $4400, DK $2500) expected to take the receiving TE role while new rookie TE Hayden Hurst is out with a foot injury. None of these players are safe, and if I play any of them it will be John Brown. He’s the only player I see with a lot of upside on a long TD over the top of the defense. The Ravens do also like to throw when they get down inside the 5 and often it goes to the TE in a sneak out run formation. Nick Boyle is the minimum on Draft Kings so if you need to save some salary, 1 TD will get Boyle GPP value.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
The NFC South kicks off with a divisional matchup between last seasons best team and worst team from this division facing off. Last season the Buccaneers finished with a 5-11 record and the Saints the opposite with 11-5. It may surprise you to learn that 1 of those 5 wins for the Buccaneers was against the Saints last year in week 17 on New Years Eve, and yes the Saints did play their starters in that game. The Saints made very few changes to their team this offseason and will be a power house and a team that’s expected to go the playoffs all season, while the Buccaneers have had some offseason troubles and a lot of change sailing into town.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Jameis Winston will not play in this one due to suspension so Ryan Fitzpatrick (FD $6200, DK $5000) will get the start. Honestly this is a pretty uphill battle for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers. The Saints defense is loaded with elite players. They have several top 10 players at defensive positions including 2 of 3 starting corners in the top 8 in the league according to PFF. PFF ranks the Saints secondary 8th overall and they pass rush 11th heading into the 2018 season, which doesn’t look great for the Buccaneers who’s offensive line is ranked 22nd. There are only 2 Buccaneers players I’m considering this week. 1 is Peyton Barber (FD $5600, DK $4100) and the other is DeSean Jackson (FD $5900, DK $4600). DeSean Jackson missed this week 17 matchup last year and rookie WR Chris Godwin (FD $5500, DK $4100) took advantage of the opportunity. He put up 7 receptions for 111 yards and a TD in their week 17 matchup. The reason for that is he get’s to lineup across from their only corner who isn’t elite in Ken Crawley. Crawley is by no means bad by the way, but compared to Lattimore and Robinson he’s a weak spot. Godwin had a successful game because Jackson missed the game, but Jackson is healthy and should resume the starting role across from Crawley in this one. The Buccaneers should have to throw, and DeSean Jackson has the best matchup to take advantage of. Unfortunately that means Fitzpatrick is going to have to get the ball to him and that’s the reason I won’t have much DJAX this week.
That does mean however, that the Bucs will likely emphasize the run so that Fitzpatrick doesn’t have to try to win the game himself. This is also where the Saints were weakest last year. They can be beat in the running game. PFF has the Saints ranked as the 27th ranked rush defense heading into the 2018 season and Peyton Barber was very successful in this same matchup in week 17 last year. Barber had 71 yards and a TD on 17 carries and also had 2 receptions for 18 yards. That stat line from the last time these 2 teams played each other would give him 15.9 on FD & 16.9 on DK which is basically GPP value on both sites. Jameis Winston also ran a TD into the end zone during this last matchup which certainly won’t happen in this one and would likely be a second score for Barber. I like Barber this week to hit value. Ronald Jones II (FD $5600, DK $4900) has forced Barbers price down, but Barber has looked like the starter all preseason and I expect him to be the starter against the Saints in Week 1.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints offense was fantastic all last season and the Buccaneers defense is pretty lack luster. The Buccaneers allowed the 10th most rushing yards to opposing teams last season and the most passing yards to opposing offenses. They averaged 260 yards per game allowed! In the week 17 game Drew Brees (FD $8400, DK $6800) threw for 245 yards and TD, the defense scored a TD and Alvin Kamara (FD $8700, DK $8500) took 1 in as well. I expect the Saints to throw more TDs this season than they did last season and why not start in week 1. A 300 yard 2 TD day is well within possibility for Brees in this matchup. Brees is pretty safe although expensive in this matchup. I expect his ownership to be high, but Brees will be in some lineups for me on Sunday.
On the ground Mark Ingram is going to miss this game with a suspension. So Alvin Kamara should get the bulk of the workload. The Saints depth behind Kamara starts with Vereen who I don’t expect to be a big participant and Full Back Zach Line (FD $4500, DK $3000). Zach Line was actually the recpient of the lone Drew Brees TD in this last matchup, so if you are looking for a super cheap flyer that no one else will own you can take your shot on him. Not something I’ll be doing, but Line could steal a bit of the Mark Ingram role in this game.
Largely the same cast will be catching passes from Drew Brees this year. Michael Thomas (FD $8500, DK $7800), Tedd Ginn Jr. (FD $6200, DK $4300) & Austin Carr (FD $4500, DK $3000) make up the receiving core for the Saints along with receiving TE Ben Watson (FD $4900, DK $3100). All of these players should have opportunities on Sunday and none of the Buccaneers secondary players are good enough to steer me towards 1 player or another so spread out your Saints WR ownership if possible. Alvin Kamara seems like the player to own in this matchup for the Saints, but he’ll be heavily owned and a pivot to a receiving option could lead to a big win.
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots
One of Bill Bellichick’s disciples comes home to New England and will attempt to bring down his old teacher. You could call this the battle of the Bills. Bill O’Brien will try to lead the Texans to victory against the high powered Patriots. We’ll get to see if rookie sensation Deshaun Watson can continue his outlandish performance, and see if the Texans can mirror the stunner the Chiefs started the season with against the Patriots last year. Vegas has this projected as the highest point total of the week so there should be some players in this matchup we want in our lineups.
Deshaun Watson (FD $8200, DK $6700) was unbelievable last year in that 5 game stretch before his injury. He’ll have to take on a solid defense, including one of the best corners in the NFL ,Stephon Gilmore, across from his main target in DeAndre Hopkins (FD $8800, DK $8300). Watson and Hopkins are high priced options in this slate and they are just a little too high priced for my blood. I think the Patriots will have some traps laid for Watson, and this won’t be the stellar performance that we saw all last year. If he wants to take advantage of the easier secondary matchups his other outside option is Will Fuller (FD $6400, DK $5100), who is current dealing with a hamstring issue and is considered “day to day for week 1”. If fuller can’t go then former college QB now WR Braxton Miller (FD $4500, DK $3100) should take his place on the outside, while Bruce Ellington (FD $4600, $3600) holds down the slot. If Fuller misses then Ellington has some interest to me. Hopkins should have some challenges with Gilmore and Braxton has appeared unreliable to me in prior games. Ellington has the quickness to give defenses some trouble and his cheap price intrigues me. It won’t take much for him to hit value.
If the Texans want to keep the Patriots honest with the run they’ll turn to lead back Lamar Miller (FD $6500, DK $5200). Lamar Miller is one of those Boring backs that’s always a little underpriced and week 1 of the 2018 season is no different. Miller is a pass catching back too, so his value is higher than most think. I expect he’ll be heavily used in this matchup, while the Texans try to catchup from behind. It won’t be an easy day for Miller. PFF ranks the Patriots run defense as 3d best in the NFL, and the Texans have PFFs 32nd ranked offensive lines, but I think Millers pass catching will help get him to cash value in this one. He doesn’t possess the upside to be a GPP play.
New England Patriots
The Patriots are back for what seems like another playoff bound 2018 season. They’re going to have to start a little short staffed though.Julian Edelman will be suspended for the first 4 games of the season. Sony Michel (FD $6000, DK $5100) is back at practice, but not a sure thing for week 1. Even if he’s healthy enough to go, he’ll probably start the season behind Rex Burkhead (FD $6300, DK $4200) and James White(FD $5500, DK $4000). Rex Burkhead suffered a slight knee tear in the beginning of August. He’s expected to play, but certainly won’t be 100% for week 1. The Patriots cut Mike Gilislee meaning that if they want a downhill guy that role will fall to Jeremy Hill (FD $4600, DK $3300) the ex Bengal. The Texans defensive line is fantastic. Their whole defense is pretty damn good, but they’re weaker against the pass than they are the run. I don’t think the Patriots will win this game on the ground, but I’d go White and maybe take a shot or 2 with Hill if I wanted some Patriots Running Backs in this game.
Tom Brady (FD $8600, DK $7200) will be a top producer as always. While the Texans defensive line is elite their secondary is the exact opposite and Brady should be able to take advantage of this. The receiving core without Edelman isn’t perfectly clear. Rob Gronkowski (FD $7900, DK $6900) is the premier weapon for the Patriots and the past has taught us when Edelman isn’t on the field he usually has a bigger day than usual. Gronk is viable in all formats.
Chris Hogan (FD $6700, $6100) is the #1 receiver in this matchup. He’ll be on the outside for sure and that’s probably the end of the known. The other 2 receiving options I expect to see for most of the day from the Patriots are Phillip Dorsett (FD $5900, DK $3700) and Cordarrelle Patterson (FD $4600, DK $3500). I’m intrigued with Dorsett in this matchup. He’s looked good in the preseason. I joked in one of our episodes that he was using evil magic to steal Edelman’s ability with those red gloves he’s been wearing, because he’s looked like a very Edelman-esque WR out there on the field. I think Dorsett could have a big game and especially on DK I wan’t him in some lineups. That price tag could be met on receptions alone. On FanDuel I’d probably rather have Patterson than Dorsett because of the price difference, but I would guess Patterson’s snap count is significantly less than Dorsett and Hogan.
San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings
2 Teams with very high expectations enter this matchup to start the 2018 season. Some have the 49ers predicted to make the Playoffs, and I predicted the Vikings to win it all in our prediction episode. Both teams have had a busy offseason and both teams have one of the highest paid QBs in the NFL. This should be one of the most fun matchups of the week to watch.
San Francisco 49ers
Kyle Shanahan will try to design a 49ers offense that can overcome what should be a very good Vikings defense. Leading that offense will be Jimmy Garoppolo (FD $7100, DK $5700). He’ll have his work cut out for him against what PFF grades as the 4th best run defense, the 9th best pass rush, and the 6th best secondary. Jimmy Garoppolo will try to stay undefeated as the 49ers QB with a bit of an underwhelming cast of skill players. Pierre Garcon (FD $6200, DK $4900) and Marquise Goodwin (FD $6400, DK $4600) lead this receiving corps. Trent Taylor (FD $4500, DK $3600) will take snaps out of the slot for the 49ers while George Kittle (FD $5300, DK $3300) handles duties at Tight End. Kittle has ben dealing with a shoulder injury, but is on track to be full go against the Vikings in week 1. Trent Taylor definitely has the best matchup as afar as pass catchers go. Garcon and Goodwin will have their hands full with Xavier Rhodes and Trey Waynes on the outside. The 49ers should look to him often as they attempt to sustain drives on 3d down. I like both Taylor and Kittle in this matchup.
On the ground the 49ers are a bit of a mess. Jerrick McKinnon tore his ACL in practice, so the 49ers will look to Matt Breida (FD $5000, DK $4600) and Alfred Morris (FD N/A, DK $3600) on the ground. Shanahan is being quoted as saying “Breida will get first crack”. You can take that a few different ways. I take it that Breida will get the first series, but that Alfred Morris will be involved as well. Those 2 RBs splitting carries against a great run defense is not something I’m interested in for this slate.
Kirk Cousins (FD $7600, DK $6500) got paid and has the long term contract he’s been asking for. He also got a team upgrade and will try to lead the Vikings to the super bowl this season. Kirk Cousins’ matchup is defensively much easier than the one Garoppolo will face. The 49ers defense is mediocre and the Vikings roster is full of great talent. Dalvin Cook (FD $ 7300, DK $6200) has spent the preseason recovering from an ACL injury last season and should be available to start in this game. The question is will the Vikings give him the role or will they make him split time with Latavius Murray (FD $5500, DK $4800)? My guess is at least to start the season we see a good amount of Murray which limits Cooks upside significantly. Surprisingly, the 49ers run defense is probably stronger than their pass defense coming into this season so it’s also not the spot I would attack if I was the Vikings.
If I were running the Vikings I’s take to the air in this matchup and try out the connection between Cousins and the great weapons on this offense. Stefon Diggs (FD $7400, DK $6300) looked like the go to receiver on this offense in the preseason. His usage combined with his elite talent is something I will have exposure to in DFS this week. Adam Thielen (FD $7600, DK $6900) is not a sure thing for week 1 dealing with a leg injury. If Thielen misses that will put more of an emphasis on Diggs this week. Don’t forget the Richard Sherman is now a 49er and it will likely be his job to keep Stefon Diggs in check this week. The tight end has always been a favorite target of Kirk Cousins and he has a great one in Minnesota in Kyle Rudolph (FD $5900, DK $4500). Rudolph is a fairly expensive option at tight end, but if Thielen misses this game he could be very involved and could reach value.
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins
This matchup feels a little lack luster on paper. The Titans offense has looked flat all preseason after high expectations in the offseason and the Dolphins have made some strange personnel changes this off season.
The Miami Dolphins traded away the best player on their defense over the offseason when they let Ndamukong Suh depart to the LA Rams. The result is the worst defense in the NFL against the run. PFF ranks them 32nd. The Dolphins defense in general is not good and may be just what the doctor ordered for the Titans offense to start the season strong. The Titans new offense is built around Kyle Shanahan’s zone run scheme and the Titans have 2 very good running backs to execute that offense. Derrick Henry (FD $6800, DK 5400) and Dion Lewis (FD $6200, DK $4900). Both running backs could have very good days against a bad Dolphins defense. I expect the Titans to offer a heavy dose of the run and I’ll even have al lineup or 2 with both Lewis and Henry.
If the Titans want to try out the air attack against this defense and their 26th ranked secondary, it will be Marcus Mariota’s (FD $7200, DK $6300) job to pick this defense apart. Corey Davis (FD $6400, DK $5600), Richard Matthews (FD $6000, DK $4800), Taywan Taylor (FD $4500, DK $3600) and Delanie Walker (FD $6100, DK $4900) make up the receiving options on this Tennessee offense. I’ll stick to the running game options in this matchup after seeing how Mariota looked in the preseason, but any of these options could have a good day in this matchup.
The Dolphins are a pretty ugly team coming into the 2018 season. Their offensive line will have trouble with the Titans front. The Titans secondary is ranked 9th by PFF so the receiving core should be outmatched by the defenders. I believe in Kenyan Drake’s (FD $6600, DK $5900) talent and I’ve seen some moments that might suggest Kenny Stills (FD $6000, DK $4700) could be the go to receiving weapon in this Miami offense. I don’t think this is the week for these guys, but I understand the temptation to role them both out there.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Giants
This is an interesting matchup. The Giants have several high profile offensive weapons and the Jaguars are probably the best defense in the NFL. The Giants defense isn’t anything to write home about and the Jacksonville offense isn’t particularly exciting. This matchup should have some players with big days, but figuring out which players may be a challenge.
The Giants defense is somewhere between middle of the pack to below average and so is the Jacksonville offense. Marqise Lee went down in preseason which leaves the Jaguar’s WR Corps a little undermanned. On top of that Blake Bortles (FD $6600, DK $5600) isn’t the worlds greatest passer, and for those receivers to have good days he has to be part of the equation. The Jaguars depth chart is a mess to sort out, but my money is the 3 receivers we’ll see most often are Donte Moncrief (FD $5200, DK $4000), Dede Westbrook (FD $5300, DK $3900), & Keelan Cole (FD $4500, DK $3800). Moncrief’s salary is more than the other 4 receivers on the team combined, so the Jaguars are sort of committed to his success. Westbrook is my favorite receiver from a talent perspective on this roster. Keelan Cole is listed as the #1 receiver on the Jacksonville official depth chart. It’s murky at best and I anticipate low ownership for all 3 receivers because of the uncertainty, but that means there’s victory to be had. I’d suggest exposure to all 3 and if you want a guess mine would be that Westbrook would be the guy to go after.
The player who should have the ball more than all the receivers combined is Leonard Fournette (FD $8000, DK $7100) who is the workhorse running back for the most run heavy offense in the league. Leonard Fournette should be able to find success against the Giants defense and he is viable in both cash and GPP contests.
New York Giants
The Giants and their fans should be excited. They spent all last year without Odell Beckham Jr (FD $7800, DK $7000), and have him back with a long term contract. One of the greatest running back rookie prospects we’ve ever seen has taken over in the backfield in Saquon Barkley (FD $7600, DK $6700). Their second year tight end Evan Engram (FD $6000, DK $4700) had the best year for a rookie tight end in recent history. Unfortunately, all these great weapons are facing the number 1 defense in the NFL. The Jaguars were weak to the run last year only because they were so good against the pass. I think Saquon will have some success in this game, but not enough for me to really force him into my lineups this week. I think the Jags may bring some of the hype down and these players may be big targets for me next week.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
The Browns have been so bad for so long, and this year is the first year in a long time there’s a glimmer of hope for the Browns. The Steelers have been good for a long time and should be again this year. This matchup will tell us whether the Browns are worth they hype.
The Steelers offense should be the same offense we’ve become used to. The Steelers have a tendency to start slow and many, including myself, believe that falls on the shoulders of QB Ben Roethlisberger (FD $8000, DK $6600) who usually comes into the season somewhat out of shape. This year for the first time in a long term there is a rookie QB pushing behind him and experts are predicting this is one of Big Ben’s best years in a long time. As of writing this on 9/3/18 Le’Veon Bell (FD $8900, DK $9400) still hasn’t reported to the team. He started slow last year after arriving late, and his price doesn’t reflect his likely slow start. But, Le’Veon Bell is playing the Browns right?! The Browns defensive line is one of the best in the league. In my opinion this isn’t the week to start Le’Veon who won’t even get a full week of practice in before this game.
The Browns secondary is ranked 30th by PFF heading into week 1. That doesn’t bode well for them against a formidable pass offense and one of the best offensive lines in football. We all know the big names in the pass game on this offense in Antonio Brown (FD $9000, DK $8600) and Juju Smith-Schuster (FD $7000, DK $5900). Both guys are in play this weekend and maybe even in a super stack with Big Ben.
The Cleveland Browns are a team that should be better this year than they have been in a while. Their offensive line is one of the best in the league. They have a quarterback that’s been a top fantasy quarterback for multiple years. They have the #1 draft pick in Baker Mayfield waiting in the wings. One of the greatest wide receivers in recent history is back to their offense. They added excellent skill weapons and in the backfield.
The Steelers defense has looked good in the preseason. The Browns have some great weapons. The Steelers allowed the 5th fewest passing yards last year, and the 10th fewest rushing yards, and the Browns are a different team so you can’t use their statistics from last season. So it’s all speculation, at this point. Tyrod Taylor (FD $6600, DK $5400) will get the start in this one. He’s been dealing with a wrist injury, but should be full go for week 1.
Leading the backfield will be Carlos Hyde (FD $5900, DK $4500) the ex 49ers RB. The Browns did draft a rookie RB in Nick Chubb (FD $5500, DK $4100). They also have the #12 PPR Running back from last year in Duke Johnson Jr. (FD $5800, DK $4700). It won’t be an easy day for these backs against the Steelers defense, but there are fantasy points to be had certainly in the matchup. In their last meeting on New Years Eve, Duke Johnson Jr. had 6 carries for 20 yards and a TD, and 6 receptions for 75 yards. On Draft Kings, that would be good for 21.5 points. A pretty solid day against a solid Steelers defense, that could be repeated again in this matchup. This time I anticipate the workload going to Carlos Hyde though, and he’d be the back I want to own in this one.
If the Browns want to take to the air, they have several weapons to choose from. Hue Jackson made the clarifying statement that Josh Gordon (FD N/A, DK $5800) will play, but won’t start in week 1 against the Steelers and that rookie WR Antonio Callaway (FD $4500, DK $3100) will get the start in his stead. That means that Jarvis Landry (FD $6600, DK $5500) will be by far the best starting receiving presence on the field. Landry was great last year and should be the cornerstone of the Browns passing offense in week 1. He’s also just the kind of receiver that Taylor likes to target. I like Landry a lot in this matchup against the Steelers
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
This is a divisional matchup against what are probably the top 2 contenders in this division. The Chiefs were great last year and lost their offensive coordinator to the Bears. The Chargers are expected to go deep into the playoffs this season.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chargers offense is fantastic at every level this season. The only weakness to the Chargers defense, is the middle. The Chiefs are a team that has formed an offense around their weapons. The 2 weapons that I would use in this game are Tyreek Hill (FD $7300, DK $6500) who is always the fastest guy on the field, and Kareem Hunt (FD $8000, DK $6900). Tyreek Hill always has chance to hit value with his big play ability, and Kareem Hunt should be able to take advantage of the middle of that LA defense. Kareem Hunt also catches the ball and the man throwing it is second year QB Patrick Mahomes (FD $6700, DK $6000). It will be a tough matchup for the Chiefs. Their defense is not very good and they’re only hope of keeping up is to score early and often so the involved players should get a lot of opportunity in this one.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have an exciting offense and are facing a pretty poor defense. This is the same defense that allowed the Bears backup offense to put 21 points on them in the third preseason game. The Chargers should be able to score in this game. The old veteran Phillip Rivers (FD $7500, DK $6400) will lead the Chargers offense once again. He’ll have a full array of offensive weapons at his hands.
In the backfield one of the few workhorse running backs should lead the charge. Melvin Gordon (FD $8100, DK $6800) averaged almost 22 touches a game last year and this game shouldn’t be any different. The Chargers should be playing from out front and looking to chew up the clock at the hands of Melvin Gordon. He’s one of my favorite plays of the week. Rivers also got his blanky back in veteran TE Antonio Gates (FD N/A, DK $2600). Gates just resigned with the Chargers after TE Hunter Henry was lost for the season.
Rivers other passing options are no less exciting. Keenan Allen (FD $8000, DK $7500) finished the year on fire last year, and the Chiefs shouldn’t change that to start 2018. If he doesn’t want to get the ball to Allen he can also use receivers Tyrell Williams (FD $5500, DK $4200) Travis Benjamin (FD $4800, DK $3600), and Rookie WR Mike Williams (FD $5400, DK $3900). Keenan Allen is obviously the premier weapon on this offense, but several of these receivers could have a good day against the Chiefs.
Dallas Cowboys @ Carolina Panthers
2 Rushing QBS, 2 underwhelming receiving corps, 2 high profile fantasy running backs, 2 possible playoff teams face off in week 1. Kelvin Benjamin left the Panthers last season and Dez Bryant departed the Cowboys during the off season.
The Panthers defense looked good during the preseason, and the Cowboys don’t have the offense weapons to deal with a good defense. The only strength the Cowboys offense has is their offensive line and their superstar running back Ezekiel Elliott (FD $8300, DK $7700). Unfortunately, the defensive front is also the strength of the Panthers defense. Zeek is pricy and I don’t think he’ll be able to hit real value in this matchup. If I was the panthers defense I would sell out to stop Zeek and let the very weak Dallas receiving corps try to beat me, so that’s exactly what I anticipate the Panthers defense will do. Zeek is going to have to face 8 man boxes all day.
With Dez gone, the Dallas receiving front has only familiar face and that’s Cole Beasley (FD $4800, DK $3600). The other 2 receivers are new to this offense. Allen Hurns (FD $5900, DK $4700) comes over from Jacksonville, and Michael Gallup (FD $5500, DK $4000) was drafted in the 3d round. It strikes me as odd that the receiver that QB Dak Prescott (FD $7000, DK $5500) has the most familiarity with is also the least expensive. I expect this offense to have some growing pains, but Beasley seems a little cheap to me for this matchup with 2 new receivers in the mix.
The Carolina Panthers offense should be mostly the same offense it was last year. Cam Newton (FD $8100, DK $6900) is coming into his 8th season as the Panthers QB. Cam Newton’s running ability always makes him a fantasy threat. If Cam Newton gets into the end zone he almost always hits Tournament value and should be considered this week. The Panthers claimed they were going to give Christian McCaffrey (FD $7500, DK $6400) 25 – 30 touches a game and no one believed them, but in preseason game 3, “the dress rehearsal”, they gave him 14 touches in the first half which aligns with that perfectly. If McCaffrey is really going to get that kind of workload he will almost certainly hit cash value and may hit GPP value. If that’s going to happen his price will also rise up into the elite RB range for now you can get him at a steal. I’m not sure McCaffrey can handle that workload, but while he’s healthy he should be in several of your lineups.
Devin Funchess (FD $6400, DK $5200) is somehow the #1 WR in this offense again. The Cowboys secondary is middle of the pack so Funchess could have an ok day, but I’m not expecting anything special. Old man Torrey Smith (FD $4900, DK $3500) is the #2 in this offense and the veteran presence to teach rookie WR DJ Moore (FD $5500, DK $4100) the way. DJ Moore should become more and more involved as this season goes along.
Greg Olsen (FD $6300, DK $5400) was a key cog in this offense before getting injury and now that he’s healthy he could return to that role, but we’ll have to wait and see how he looks in the first couple weeks. I’ll put him in a spot or 2 just in case he goes crazy in his first couple weeks back because of his price.
Washington Redskins @ Arizona Cardinals
Adrian Peterson (FD $6300, DK $4700) joined the Washington Redskins just in time to face the team he was on last season. The Redskins also added QB Alex Smith (FD $6900, DK $5600) in free agency. The Redskins quietly improved their offensive and defensive lines. The Redskins have a chance to be good this season. The Cardinals run defense may get pushed around by this Redskins front and whoever is running the ball may have some success. I’d predict that to be mostly AP at this point.
If you want a Redskins WR your choices are Josh Doctson (FD $5700, DK $4500), Jamison Crowder (FD $6200, DK $5000) who is recovering from a groin injury, and Paul Richardson (FD $5700, DK $3900) who came over from Seattle. Tight Ends are also a big part of Alex Smiths game and the 2 starting TEs in Washington are Jordan Reed (FD $5800, DK $4000) and Vernon Davis (FD $4500, DK $3900). Jordan Reed is “on track to play in week 1” after his toe surgery this offseason, and Vernon Davis has the Alex Smith connection from their time together on the 49ers. I’ll need to see this offense play for a few weeks before I can figure out how this offense works, but Crowder would be the option I have the most interest in. That being said this week I’ll probably avoid this game entirely as it’s one of the lowest point totals of the week according to Vegas.
The Arizona Cardinals are my dark horse playoff team this year and that is primarily because of RB David Johnson (FD $8600, DK $8800). David Johnson is fantastic and the focal point of the Cardinals offense. Obviously both Fanduel and Draft Kings know that DJ is fantastic because he is priced accordingly as well. The other staple of this offense is Ol’ Grandad himself, Larry Fitzgerald (FD $7300, DK $6600). I like offenses that have 2 main focuses and the rest of the players are sort of ancillary. The other 2 receivers on this offense are JJ Nelson (FD $4600, DK $3400) and Chad Williams (FD $4500, DK $3200), both of which shouldn’t be major factors. My guess is Sam Bradford (FD $6400, DK $5200) plays QB in week 1 for the Cardinals. Even if the rookie plays I don’t want either of them in this matchup.
Seattle Seahawks @ Denver Broncos
This is a battle between 2 great defenses that have fallen off over the last couple years. Both teams had bottom 10 offenses last year so this one may be a slug fest. This is the second lowest point total of the week according to Vegas.
The Broncos defense lost a couple of pieces this off season, but they should still be a good unit. PFF grades them as the #2 run defense, the #7 pass rush and the #10 secondary headed into 2018. The Seahawks offensive line has been talked about all season as a problem. In the preseason I have to say, they looked better than I expected. I still think the pass rush may be a problem for that O line, but there’s no QB I’d rather have with that pass rush coming than Russell Wilson (FD $7900, DK $6200). Wilson is one of my favorite QBs in the NFL and I still think he can have success in this situation although it won’t be easy. Chris Carson (FD $5900, DK $4500) and Rashaad Penny (FD $6300, DK $4800) will be the go to backs in this backfield. Carson has been the guy all preseason, while Penny has been hurt. It’s a little unclear exactly what the split will be in this backfield, but my guess is that Carson may get more workload than Penny in this first matchup.
If the Seahawks want to take to the air, they’ll have to do it with a less than 100% Doug Baldwin (FD $7500, DK $6200). Baldwin has said he expects to play in week 1, but acknowledges that his knee will need management throughout the season. If the Seahawks want to use another weapon since Baldwin will probably spend most of the afternoon across from Chris Harris in the slot who’s the Broncos best corner. Tyler Lockett (FD $5600, DK $4300) is dealing with a minor foot injury and should be the #2 receiver on the field and spend his time against Bradley Roby. Finally we have new Seahawks receiver Jaron Brown (FD $4500, DK $3300) who will get to play against the weak spot in the broncos secondary in Tramaine Brock. Brown seems like someone I should have exposure to as a very cheap option in an offense where there will be time to run around and make things happen. Brown is a guy I”ll target in DFS this week in multiple lineups including some with Wilson in them.
One last play if you’re looking for a cheap tight end Nick Vannett (FD $4300, DK $2600) is the Seahawks receiving TE and showed that way in the preseason. He’s a super value that you must have in your lineups on Sunday.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. PFF grades the Seahawks defense as the #24 run defense, the #14 pass rush and the #23 secondary. The Seahawks are a defense that can be taken advantage of, but the Broncos may not be the offense to do it. The Broncos added free agent Case Keenum (FD $6300, DK $5100) in the offseason to be their QB. Personally I’m not a believer in Keenum. but I like some of the surrounding cast. The Broncos have name rookie Royce Freeman (FD $6000, DK $4500) their starting running back. As previously mentioned, the days of the Seahawks killer defense are over and the Broncos may be able to run on the Seahawks.
The Broncos may be able to pass on the Seahawks defense also. I’m not sure the connection is there with WR Demaryius Thomas (FD $7000, DK $5700) and QB Case Keenum. I won’t have him anywhere this weekend. However, Emmanuel Sanders (FD $6300, DK $5000) has shown that him and Keenum are on the same page. I’m not super excited about Sanders but I think he could be a good play this weekend.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
Oooohhhh Sunday Night. The Packers and the Bears. It all feels right. One of the best rivalries in football as the first matchup of the NFL season.
Several experts have the Bears taking a jump like the Rams did last year. The Bears have a pretty good offensive line and a pretty good running back to company new offensive coordinator Matt Naggy. That running back is Jordan Howard (FD $7400, DK $6300) and he has a great pass catching accompaniment in Tarik Cohen (FD $5600, DK $5800). Both guys are good and both guys should be involved against this Packers defense. The Packers run defense is #1 according to PFF and they’re going to give the Bears run game some trouble. That’s the reason Howard may have some problems on Sunday night, which is why I want nothing to do with him. Cohen has some value as a pass catcher and may still be viable.
Mitchell Trubisky (FD $6500, DK $5600) is the QB in offense in only his second year. He was certainly not stellar last season, and I don’t predict he’ll take a huge jump this year. He’s the reason I don’t want any of these Bears offensive weapons until I see it happen. I don’t think it’s going to happen at least initially this season. All that being said, Matt Naggy may be able to scheme around a pretty simple Packers defense with a bottom 5 secondary.
Allen Robinson (FD $6500, DK $6300) is the premier weapon on this Bears offense and Taylor Gabriel (FD $5000, DK $4100) will be opposite of him. The most important offensive weapon on the Bears by my eyes from preseason is Trey Burton (FD $5700, DK $4300). Trey Burton was heavily involved in the preseason and seems to be the “Travis Kelce” of this offense. Trey Burton will be in lineups for me this weekend.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers lost Jordy Nelson in the off season, but added Jimmy Graham. They’ve also switched offensive coordinators. Aaron Rodgers (FD $8700, DK $7500) is viable this week and every week. He has best QB of the week upside every week. His go to options are Davante Adams (FD $8100, DK $7800), and probably Jimmy Graham (FD 6000, DK $4800). The bears run defense is too good and this backfield is too crowded for me to take part in any of the running backs, but the passing options are definitely in play. Jimmy Graham is probably my odds on favorite TE to score 2 TDs this weekend.
New York Jets @ Detroit Lions
These are 2 teams with a lot of uncertainty. I think most experts are a little confused about what these teams will really look like during the regular season.
New York Jets
The Jets have a new franchise QB in Sam Darnold (FD $6100, DK $5400). He’ll take on what has alway been a mediocre defense in Detroit. But, Ex Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, is now the head coach of the Lions and maybe this defense will look different. Jermaine Kearse is iffy in this one and even if he plays he won’t be 100%, so the receivers to pay attention to should be Robby Anderson (FD $6400, DK $5700), Quincy Enunwa (FD $5000, DK $4400) and Terrelle Pryor (FD $5200, DK $3400). A rookie QB basically reshuffles the usage chart so the targets could go anywhere. It’s a complete dice roll to guess where the usage is going to go. I love CB Darius Slay and I think he’ll be across from Robby Anderson for most of the day, so I won’t be taking any shots at him. I was all aboard that Pryor Hype train last year and we haven’t quite built our trust back up yet, so I don’t think I’ll be taking any chances on Jets WRs this week.
The Jet running game is made up of Bilal Powell (FD $5400, DK $ 4700) and Isaiah Crowell (FD $6100, DK $4900). Rookie Qbs usually mean a bit more running than normal. PFF ranks the Lions defense as 26th in run defense, so the Jets should be able to have some success on the ground. Powell seemed to get the volume in the preseason, and is the pass catcher, and is a little cheaper so I think I would put my money on him as the RB I want, but it very well could be Crowell and anyone who tells you they know for sure is lying.
The Lions offense is basically identical to what it was last year. The same offensive coordinator is running the offense with Matt Stafford (FD $7800, DK $6500) in Detroit. The receiving corps is the same with Marvin Jones Jr. (FD $6900, DK $6500), Golden Tate (FD $7100, DK $6700) and second year player Kenny Golladay (FD $5700, DK $4800). Ebron is gone so that’s one less target in the receiving game. The backfield is a mess. A lot of experts are predicting Kerryon Johnson (FD $5800, DK $4400) to be the breakout star in this backfield, but I just haven’t seen any evidence of that in the preseason. Until some more clarity is given, I’m avoiding this backfield.
Los Angeles Rams @ Oakland Raiders
A California battle of North vs South with the Rams taking on the Raiders in Oakland. This is expected to be a high scoring affair, but I actually think this matchup will be pretty 1 sided.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams were the number 1 offense last season and they’re taking on last season’s 10th worst defense that just lost Kahlil Mack. The Rams are going to put up some points in this game and they have all the weapons to do it. Jared Goff (FD $7500, DK $6700) leads the Rams offense heading into his third year. The Rams also have last year’s #1 player in fantasy, Todd Gurley (FD $9000, DK $9300). The Rams should be playing from out front and Gurley should see the ball plenty in this matchup. His price makes it almost impossible for Gurley to really hit GPP value.
In the pass game the Rams got a shiny new receiver in Brandin Cooks (FD $7000, DK $5600) to replace Sammy Watkins. They have Robert Woods (FD $6500, DK $6200), and Cooper Kupp (FD $6300, DK $5200) from last year as well. I have a sneaking suspicion that Sean McVay will dial up a fun play for Brandin Cooks in this game so I’d love to sneak him into my lineup especially at his current price.
We’ll close out week 1 answering 1 of the biggest questions of the offseason. What will Jon Gruden’s offense look like? Sorry Raiders fans but I don’t think your going to like this paragraph. I think the Raiders are going to get walloped to start the season. The Raiders have a pretty good offensive line, but Donald and Suh are going to cause trouble for this line. If they want to throw they’re going to have to do so against Talib and Peters. I will not be starting a single Raiders player if I can help it, in my season long or DFS lineups this week.