By: Randall Blakeslee @_fantasykings
DFS Week 1: By the Numbers
The time is now. It is upon us. The first Sunday of the 2018 NFL season. It is time to get busy. Let us talk Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Believe it or not, the first week of DFS is one of the better times to take advantage of the low pricing of key players. Salaries are given based upon projected outcome, based on last year’s performance, for both the player and the opposing team. For example, X running back is playing against Y team that ranked Z against the run, last year. So, take full advantage of the mismatched salaries. Here are some key plays for this Sunday and Monday:
STEAL OF THE WEEK
James Conner, RB (PIT) $4,500 – Le’veon Bell’s holdout shows no end in sight. While this scenario is a nightmare for redraft owners, it is a prime scenario for DFS players. Bell is an elite talent who runs behind an elite offensive line, which ranks 3rd in the NFL.1 Conner proved during the preseason that he can take advantage in Bell’s absence and produce. He faces a Browns defense that surrendered the second most points on the ground in 2017. The Browns revamped their secondary to the point they are no longer forced to play zone, but they are still the Browns and as such, rank on average around 24th in the league. Either way, with Big Ben, AB and JuJu commanding respect in the air, Conner should face more sub than base packages. Ergo, less stacked boxes. Bell’s salary was $9,400. With Conner’s at $4,500, you’re getting a good RB at less than half the price. This frees up space to grab a top-tier RB or WR. Conner should be fired up in every lineup.
Jarvis Landry (CLE) $5,500 – New team. Better quarterback. Better run game. Better chance of remaining the top option in Cleveland, regardless of who is under center. If he balls out and maintains the targets he saw in Miami, this will be the last week to get him at his current salary. Please note, it will not be easy. Pittsburgh defense ranks 6th against WRs. Also, keep an eye out for the weather.
Royce Freeman (DEN) $4,500 – The preseason breakout rookie, that worked his way atop Denver’s depth chart, faces a depleted Seattle defense at Mile High Stadium. Seattle’s middle-of-the-road defense remains suspect, until proven otherwise.
Jordan Reed (WAS) $4,000 – He is currently not on the injury report for week one. His talent coupled with Alex Smith’s love for his TEs, strike while the iron is hot (aka healthy).
Ravens DST (BAL) $3,800 – Last year, the Ravens were the second highest scoring DST, leading the NFL in both takeaways (34) and interceptions (22). Their roster remains intact and they face Nathan Peterman and the Bills. No further analysis required.
John Brown (BAL) $3,700 – John Brown is a top-notch vertical threat, when healthy. The Ravens’ offensive system seems to fit Brown as he was made for the slot position. More importantly, he is a very precise route runner who creates separation “across the route tree.”2 At this price, he is worth your WR3 or Flex spot, which will free up valuable cap space.
Saints DST (NO) $3,600 – Saint’s DST finished top five in 2017 and they drafted defensive talent that should move them up the rankings. The Saints face the Buccaneers this Sunday and should take an early lead, forcing the Bucs to go to the air often. The Saint’s DBs will remind everyone why they are a force to be reckoned with.
In a previous article I discussed the benefits of stacking a QB and a WR/TE. While it is not fully recommended for redraft, season-long leagues, it is a gaming method in DFS that pays dividends.
Andy Dalton ($5,800) and A.J. Green ($7,300)
Kirk Cousins ($6,500) and Stefon Diggs ($6,300)
Drew Brees ($6,800) and Michael Thomas ($7,800)
Let us get down to brass tax. Even though I know you already have your favorite targets in mind, here are a few recommended line ups. These are merely meant to give you a few ideas of how to balance your roster. If we are being honest with ourselves, drafting or picking our rosters are half the fun but it can be beneficial to see the lineups we recommend.
The salaries are taken from Draftkings. Entering 50/50 contests is the absolute best way to win and double your money. If you decide to go all in and chase the big money, just be sure to enter a few 50/50’s to ensure you win your money back.
This week is a crapshoot simply because we have no idea who is going to boom or bust. After this week, we will have a better idea of who the breakouts are going to be. I will see you then. We will have much to discuss.