Daily fantasy football returns in full force this week, with a loaded slate of games on Sunday and two more to follow on Monday night. We already got one game out of the way with Thursday’s Super Bowl rematch between the Panthers and Broncos, but now we’re getting ready for the meat of the week.
One of the biggest keys to winning big in daily fantasy football leagues is finding value, so that’s precisely what we’ll set out to do here each week. Let’s take a look at the top value plays at each major position you’ll want to consider at DraftKings in week one:
Note: To ensure we’re getting the most bang for our buck, we’re going to dig deeper and stick to QBs below $7k, RBs below $6k, WRs below $6k and TEs below $4k.
Tyrod Taylor – Bills ($6.9k)
Robert Griffin III – Browns ($5.6k)
Dak Prescott – Cowboys ($5k)
Once we get past the $7k range at quarterback, it doesn’t take long for us to locate Tyrod Taylor, who is without a doubt one of the best dual threat passers in the league today. On paper Taylor doesn’t have an awesome matchup with the Ravens on the road, but Baltimore is not exactly the elite defensive presence they used to be.
Tyrod Taylor & Sammy Watkins face the Ravens in Week 1, who had our 30th-best pass rush in '15 and won't have top pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil
It’s still not an amazing matchup, but the Ravens gave up the 26th most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2015 – not to mention the 27th most to wide receivers. Pairing Taylor with someone like Sammy Watkins could be a very lethal DFS stack. Oh, and Taylor used to play for Baltimore, so the revenge narrative could also be alive and well.
RG3 is a steep drop down from Taylor, but this is where upside truly meets savings in daily fantasy football. RG3 was a flat out mess in his final days with the Redskins, but he looked much sharper with the Browns throughout August. With some speedy weapons at his disposal, RG3 is cheap enough to take a stab at in week one. A cakewalk matchup with a bad Eagles defense doesn’t hurt, either.
The other big value at quarterback is going to be Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who lit up the preseason and will be starting with Tony Romo (back) out. Prescott could easily fold under pressure, but he’s at home, gets an unproven Giants defense that 30th against fantasy passers in 2015 and also has Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Ezekiel Elliott to bail him out. He should be highly owned, but that might actually make him a must-play in DFS.
Ryan Mathews – Eagles ($5.7k)
DeMarco Murray – Titans ($5.3k)
Jeremy Langford – Bears ($4.7k)
Spencer Ware – Chiefs ($4.4k)
Christine Michael – Seahawks ($3.7k)
Running back is probably the most ideal spot to locate supreme value, considering it’s never fun when the top rushers get hurt or get stifled. Mathews is a good guy to kick things off, as the Eagles should work hard to keep Carson Wentz feeling comfortable. That should equate to 15+ touches for Mathews, and possibly a score. At this low price tag, he could be a huge steal.
The steals keep coming with Murray and Langford, who are even cheaper and may have roles just as good – if not better. Neither have favorable matchups on paper, but again, we’re looking at 15+ touches and likely goal-line duty. All three of these guys are sound values and should help build out elite DFS lineups.
You can save even more if you note the situation in Kansas City, where star running back Jamaal Charles is expected to sit out of week one.
Chiefs RB Spencer Ware averaged 0.65 fantasy points per opportunity in 2015, tops of any RB with even semi-regular use.
That puts Spencer Ware in the driver’s seat for a massive week one outing, and we also may want to give fellow Chiefs backup runner Charcandrick West a cursory glance. No one knows how Kansas City plans to divide the workload yet, which could put both rushers in play.
The other big guy to consider is Seattle rusher Christine Michael, who figures to be the leading man with Marshawn Lynch retired and Thomas Rawls (ankle) still not quite 100%. Michael has a shaky past but he has been terrific all summer and could be looking at a big workload at home against a beatable Dolphins defense.
John Brown – Cardinals ($5.2k)
Corey Coleman – Browns ($5.1k)
Sterling Shepard – Giants ($4.9k)
Willie Snead – Saints ($4.8k)
Marvin Jones – Lions ($4.6k)
Terrelle Pryor – Browns ($3k)
Wide receiver is absolutely the best spot to pay up for, but if you want to save some cash or fade some of the elite receivers, there is a ton of value to be had at the position.
Brown is a good place to start, as he’s barely over $5k and has the speed and role to go nuts. The Patriots aren only a middling pass defense these days, and they’ll also be without some key players. The only real issue is Brown isn’t alone in Arizona and it could be tough to pick which Cardinals receivers work out in week one.
Coleman is just $100 cheaper and much riskier, but he gets a great matchup against the Eagles and has speed for days. You can toss in teammate Terrelle Pryor in with him, too, as both receivers could be high upside/low price plays in week one.
Shepard, Snead and Jones are all about the same price and all could be big for you in week one, as well. Shepard is a very talented rookie and could be busy with Dallas focusing more on Odell Beckham Jr., Snead could be a fun pivot off of Brandin Cooks in a high-powered Saints offense and Jones debuts as a key starter in Detroit’s passing game.
All of these guys carry some risk, but the DK price is very good and there is upside with each of them.
Julius Thomas – Jaguars ($3.8k)
Dwayne Allen – Colts ($3.2k)
Jared Cook – Packers ($2.9k)
Crockett Gillmore – Ravens ($2.6k)
Rob Gronkowski is banged up (hamstring) and Jordan Reed isn’t on the main slate, so tight end could be ugly in week one. The good thing is the value plays are insanely cheap and a number of them carry some interesting DFS potential.
Leading the way is Thomas, who does have a tough matchup with a Packers defense that only allowed 7.7 fantasy points to tight ends per game last year, but he’s a big, athletic target that promises to be a big part of Jacksonville’s passing offense.
Allen is another interesting option, seeing as he’s taking over the top tight end spot in Indy now that Coby Fleener left for New Orleans. Allen was a major red-zone menace just two years ago, so even if he doesn’t garner a ton of looks, he should be a threat to score in week one.
That could be the case for both Cook and Gillmore, both of which have somewhat undefined roles for the start of the year but are very cheap and have the skill-set to spring big plays. Cook has also specifically crushed it in week one in the past:
Jared Cook has gained at least 56 yards in each of his last four W1 games. 4-64, 7-141-2, 4-56 and 5-85. #Packers
Both guys should get a few shots at scoring right away this week and they’re just too cheap not to try out.
Paying up for defense is a tough call at times, as even the best units can have an off game where they give up too many points or just have a hard time getting sacks or turnovers. That’s why targeting good matchups with value plays is often the way to go.
Houston and Green Bay aren’t insanely cheap, but the Texans are at home against what many peg to be a bad Bears team and the Packers get a Jaguars offense that tends to turn the ball over a good amount. Houston is the safer play by a wide margin, but they’ll cost a little more.
The true value play at defense may be Cleveland, as they do have some talent on defense and they’ll be facing a rookie quarterback on Sunday. You’re not really banking on the Browns shutting down the Eagles here, more just getting sacks and forcing Wentz into some mistakes. Cleveland won’t be a perfect fantasy defense, but they offer serious salary cap freedom and should crush their perceived value this week.
That does it for week one’s daily fantasy football value buys at DraftKings. Join us next week as we re-hash these picks and go over the top week two value plays. Good luck in your daily fantasy football leagues this week!
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