DFS Value Plays - Week 1 by Kyle Elfrink
With a fresh season now here, it's time to start thinking about the all-important (and, all-consuming!) decisions that you will have to make in Daily Fantasy Football. Each week here at MyFantasyFix, I'll be profiling my top value plays at each of the five major positions (Sorry, kickers!).
Here's a bullet point list of what you'll find in the article each Friday ...
- Each position features three players that I believe are strong value selections for the upcoming weekend, plus the reasoning behind the choice.
- The price tag indicated in parentheses is what you will find over at DraftKings.com.
- Following a quick write-up of why each particular player is a solid value, I'll offer a suggestion on where you should then take your money savings. This works to provide a run-down of the more highly-priced guys that I do like for the upcoming weekend.
- At each position I will also list the highest-priced player in that spot, alongside a 1-10 score which references how confident I would be in that player earning back that cost (10 being a guarantee).
Of course, when you're dealing with a salary cap structure, a good portion of the players I recommend do not correlate to top-notch starting options in season-long play. About half the time, a DFS recommendation is not a thumbs' up for that same player in your season-long set-up (ex. - Tyrod Taylor, below).
Finally, moving forward each week, I'll recap the previous weeks' suggestions, seeing how successful I was (ah, yes, some actual accountability in the fantasy universe!), while also figuring out what we can learn from the hits and the misses.
Now, on to Week 1! ...
Sam Bradford ($6,900) @ ATL - Monday Night's first of two games shows all the potential of a shootout in Georgia. Nearly all offensive players will be in play and that includes a bargain-basement value like Bradford. As long as he's healthy (and, the over/under stands at 10 games played for the year), Bradford figures to be throwing the ball 30-35 times, connecting on over 60% of his passes, and racking up 250+ yards per game. For Week 1, his cost might stand at its' lowest point all season.
If you save here, spend here - Mark Ingram ($5,600) @ ARZ
Carson Palmer ($6,500) vs. NO - Many forget how well the Cardinals were clicking when Palmer was healthy last season. At the time of his Week 6 injury, the GridBirds were undefeated and the 11-year pro was firing at an all-time best rate of over 270 yards passing per game. He's completely ready and willing for the start of this season and has an arsenal of threats to spread the ball to in a Bruce Arians'-offense that will push the Saints to guard the entire field. 300 yards with a pair of scores is absolutely do-able.
If you save here, spend here - DeMarco Murray ($6,700) @ ATL
Tyrod Taylor ($5,000) vs. IND - There are few bigger gambles available in the first weekend of the season. Taylor was a surprise starting pick for the Bills and his top attribute is what makes him so tempting in DFS ... he can get outside the pocket and hurt you with his legs. Taylor can throw for as few as 180 yards (just over 7 points), but if he tacks on even 60 yards rushing (6 more points), he becomes a steal at this price. Of course, the possibility of things blowing up in your face is there, but because of his price, he truly gives you another $2-2.5K to spend on building a superior roster around him.
If you save here, spend here - Julio Jones ($9,300) vs. PHI
Top of the Chart - Aaron Rodgers ($8,600) @ CHI - 9.2
Doug Martin ($4,500) vs. TEN - A negative word has yet to be uttered about Martin's preseason. He came into camp needing to prove he still has something left and nearly everyone who watched him came away with raves. Still, we've seen so many ugly regular season showings that trusting Martin would be foolish. He should get a load of opportunities versus Tennessee. In fact, he could be one of the 3-4 guys in the entire league that handles 20 carries this week. That's worth paying for because it means opportunity and finding that much opportunity at such a scrape-the-floor price is rare.
If you save here, spend here - Rashad Jennings ($5,100) @ DAL
Danny Woodhead ($3,700) vs. DET - Woodhead is the classic PPR-play and can pay off with as few as 5-6 catches. He's managed four or more in 14 of his last 21 games. Plus, the Chargers always manage to concede another 6-8 carries for Woodhead. Melvin Gordon and Brandon Oliver do most of the heavy lifting, but when the Chargers are in passing downs, Philip Rivers, loves to dump off to Woodhead. Might we add that Antonio Gates (PED) is out and LaDarius Green (possible concussion) is questionable. If you come out with four receptions for 40 yards, plus another 45-50 on the ground, you got a fabulous FLEX play for under four grand.
If you save here, spend here - Lamar Miller ($5,500) @ WAS
Alfred Blue ($3,600) vs. KC - Much like Martin above, Blue is set to handle the pigskin time and time again on Sunday. He might not measure up with a lot of success (say, less than four yards per chance), but 'a cheap TD and 80 yard'-request is not too stiff of a challenge. Remember, this price was set before the injury to Arian Foster, so there's incredible value here. The one hesitation is that in a tournament set-up, you can bet that a huge portion of other DFS entries will have Blue on their roster, as well, leaving little for you to gain on your competition.
If you save here, spend here - C.J. Anderson ($7,000) vs. BAL
Top of the Chart - Jamaal Charles ($7,900) @ HOU - 8.9
Terrance Williams ($4,000) vs. NYG - Sunday night's tilt between Dallas and the NY Giants also should stand out as an offensive treat. The big stars are all there, but their price tags are also of the Nieman Marcus variety. Williams, though, comes in as a positive steal. He'll be starting opposite of Dez Bryant and I expect to see Dallas throw the ball near 40 times (a total that they reached just once in 16 regular season games a year ago), as they move on from the run domination of DeMarco Murray. Williams had eight scores in limited chances last year and has always excelled at home (9 of his 13 career TD catches are in Big D). You won't get many receptions, overall, but the ones you do get should be productive point-getters.
If you save here, spend here - Golden Tate ($6,300)
Eddie Royal ($3,900) vs. GB - Alshon Jeffrey (calf) may or may not play, but either way, he'll be at less than 100%. Marquess Wilson has been overmatched, thus far, and doesn't figure to get a lot of early-year looks when the Bears need a big catch. Enter Royal, who profiles as a first-down machine when the Bears need a few yards on 3rd down. Green Bay figures to post plenty of points on the board and the Bears will have to throw the ball. Royal is a decent bet to be the target on 7-9 of Jay Cutler's passes, which makes him a perfect sub-4K grab.
If you save here, spend here - Eddie Lacy ($7,500)
Kamar Aiken ($3,300) @ DEN - Can Aiken take advantage of a strong opportunity? We truly do not know, but at this cost, it's worth seeing what you can get. The Ravens are in dire need of some young blood out wide and the assumed help, Breshard Perriman, never got rolling in camp and will be out for all of September. Aiken is entering his 5th season and it's do-or-die time for him to prove he's ready. Admittedly, the odds aren't great here, but just like if you go with Taylor at QB, Aiken eats a 3rd WR spot, while giving you a trucks'-worth of money to throw at other positions.
If you save here, spend here - Dez Bryant ($8,700) vs. NYG
Top of the Chart - Julio Jones ($9,300) vs. PHI - 9.6
Larry Donnell ($3,200) @ DAL - Tight end is full of mysteries entering the new season. After the first handful of players at the position (whom all cost a load), it's a wide-open guess as to who will pay off. In fact, until we get about a third of the way through the schedule, finding value plays in this spot will be a challenge. Donnell is a boom or bust prospect, but we know that Eli Manning throws as much as any other QB when his team is inside the 5. Obviously, Odell Beckham is the headliner when Manning is in the pocket and looking for a score, but Donnell might be the 2nd option, working inside the hash marks.
If you save here, spend here - Jonathan Stewart ($5,800) vs. JAC
Ben Watson ($2,600) @ ARZ - The Josh Hill storyline died a quick death. That leaves us, and the Saints, with Watson as their initial tight end. The team has said all the right things about the long time vet, but that doesn't mean much until we see it in the flesh. This is a dart throw, but it's worth noting that over the past couple of seasons, the Cardinals have virtually ignored the opposing tight end and allowed a good deal of big efforts. If you're blowing cash at QB/RB/WR, this is where you're landing at TE.
If you save here, spend here - Justin Forsett ($6,200) @ DEN
Virgil Green ($2,500) vs. BAL - When it comes to the tight end spot in Denver, most of the attention is on Owen Daniels. And, it should be. He's a better bet for chances between the 20s. But, as the Broncos move closer to the goal line, you might see more of Green in there. Here's why ... he's a better blocking tight end and, thus, should be on the field more often in the red zone. And, knowing Peyton Manning, the fake hand-off and roll-out the other way is a staple. That roll-out usually ends with a short TD pass to a tight end who gave a late release off the line in area of the misdirection. It's a stretch, but, hey, we are looking for values, right?!
If you save here, spend here - Randall Cobb ($8,000)
Top of the Chart - Jimmy Graham ($5,600) @ STL - 8.4
New York Jets ($2,900) vs. CLE - I can almost always guarantee you of this ... each week, the three defenses that land in this section will almost always be facing off against unproven or overwhelmed quarterbacks. That's certainly the case with the Jets getting a chance to feast on a Josh McCown-led offense that features no threats in the passing games and a below-average rushing attack. McCown has come up a victor in one of his last 11 starts and in those 11 games, he led a team to over 20 points ... once. He's just a bad QB who any defense should be able to take advantage of.
If you save here, spend here - Gio Bernard ($4,700) vs. OAK
Tennessee ($2,800) @ TB - Does Tennessee have a particularly strong defense? No. But, again, they make this list because they're facing a quarterback making his first-ever NFL start ... and, they're cheap. All it takes for a cheap defense to pay off is a couple of picks, a couple of sacks, and keeping the opposing offense under 14 points (which DK provides bonus points for accomplishing). In fact, if that happens vs. Jameis Winston and the Bucs, you'll have a major score here for the price you paid.
If you save here, spend here - Eli Manning ($7,400) @ DAL
Tampa Bay ($2,800) vs. TEN - And, now of course, we have the other half of the 'Rookie vs. Rookie' matchup. One item that the Buccaneers have over the Titans is that they are at home and I feel that their defense is more capable of forcing the big play or turnover. Beyond that, their opponent, Marcus Mariota, will likely be quick to bail on the pocket in his first NFL start. And, we've seen it over-and-over, if you get a young quarterback outside the pocket, he is susceptible to an awful decision and the bad pass that follows. Both teams run the same to roster, but I like the Bucs for the better point-per-dollar return.
If you save here, spend here - Adrian Peterson ($7,700) @ SF
Top of the Chart - Seattle ($3,400) @ STL - 8.1
You can hear Kyle, Monday-Thursday from 8-10 ET and Friday's from 10-midnight ET, on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive', on Sirius 210, XM 87.
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