Welcome to a free sample of the Week 1 edition of MyFantasyFix's premium daily analysis. Below are a few of our player write-ups in our premium analysis subscription where we'll go position-by-position and discuss the relevant plays for FantasyAces, DraftKings and FanDuel and differentiate between cash game values and GPP/tournament options. Much of our analysis is being fueled by our premier weekly player projections from our sister site, Fantistics InsiderFootball, which are provided as a supplemental download when you also subscribe to our cheatsheat package.
The quarterback position is an interesting one to attack this week. Since the salaries for Week 1 were released several weeks ago, recent injuries and/or trades have created huge potential values across all the positions.
Dak Prescott (DAL) -
Prescott is going to see extraordinarily high ownership in all formats, particularly in cash games, as he fills in for the injured Tony Romo. He faces a Giants' pass defense that ranked 28th in the NFL last season and while he is a rookie, he was really impressive in pre-season action completing 39 of his 50 pass attempts with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. Mind you, much of that action did not come against starting NFL defenses. Getting exposure to Prescott makes sense in cash games, but it's important not to go overboard. Generally, paying up at quarterback is a sound strategy for both cash games and tournaments and could turn out to be an even bigger priority this week since a) there are so many values at RB and WR and b) such a large percentage of the field will be scooping up the value with a rookie QB and it could instantly give you an advantage at the position if you pay up for a safer option. With that said, Prescott is almost a free play and opens up a ton of cash to use on some of the other top plays (think Gurley and Julio), particularly when he's paired with Spencer Ware. It's not going to take a massive day for him to return value for you and the opportunity cost of starting him over a higher upside quarterback is likely going to be more than outweighed by the opportunity benefit of starting Julio or Gurley over the next best options at those positions.
Derek Carr (OAK) -
If you don't want to pay all the way up at the position, but you're still looking for a little more safety, Derek Carr pops out in our Week 1 Projections and Analysis as being the best projected cost per point on the slate. Oakland travels to New Orleans and Vegas already has this game tabbed as the highest scoring one on the slate, with the Raiders coming in at an implied point total of 25. A season ago, the Saints ranked dead last in pass defense and the Raiders relied heavily on the passing attack in the second half of 2015, averaging 43 passing attempts per game. Carr looks like a great cash game value in what should be a shootout, but I'm probably looking elsewhere for tournaments since he threw for more than 2 touchdowns in just 5 of his 16 games last year and the Raiders lack a strong WR2 option behind Amari Cooper.
Top Options (Value Aside) -
Aaron Rodgers (GB) -
Jacksonville has improved their defense from last year and they have a lot of exciting young talent, so this unit could easily surprise the Pack, but it's unlikely they'll be able to immediately make huge improvements to their 19th ranked passing yards allowed and 25th ranked passing touchdowns allowed from 2015. Their defensive line did hold strong against the run, especially around the goal line, and actually ranked 6th best in terms of rushing touchdowns allowed. As a result, we'll likely see Aaron Rodgers attempt to throw it inside the red zone as opposed to run the ball, and since the Packers have the 4th highest implied point total on the slate, that also means Rodgers has really high touchdown upside. If you go with him, you're going to have to make sacrifices elsewhere, which is something we don't believe is absolutely necessary for this slate of games. As a result, we prefer to focus our exposure to A-Rod in tournaments where we can stack him with Jordy Nelson (likely on a snap count) and Jared Cook (Jax struggles to defend tight ends) to get contrarian.
Brock Osweiler (HOU) -
A new system and a difficult matchup places Brock Osweiler squarely in the tournament-only category. The Texans have a new-look offense headlined by their Lamar Miller acquisition and they face a Bears defensive line that looked like swiss cheese at times last season. That points to a game plan that will keep Lamar Miller heavily involved. From a contrarian's perspective, that thought process is really good news. Osweiler has two really dynamic options on Nuk Hopkins and Will Fuller and while the Bears secondary was really strong last season at paper, it actually looks to be the team's main defensive weakness heading in 2016 after signing Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman to bolster the front line and inside linebacker positions.
How to use:
The running back position is one of the most predictable positions in term of usage on a weekly basis. As a result, it's usually a good idea to find value with running backs in order to save your money for wide receivers. That's because 15-20 carries for a $9,000 back often churn out results not all that better than 15-20 carries for a $5,000 back. Sure, there are certain concessions you take in terms of talent, etc, but the most important aspect of pricing is opportunity and when a cheap back falls into a starting role, you need to pounce. Like at quarterback, there are certainly values to be had at the position thanks to injuries. Just realize that the significantly discounted backs will also likely be heavily owned, giving your opponents more bankroll to play with if you choose to go another direction.
Spencer Ware (KC) -
No Jamaal Charles means Spencer Ware will draw the start and split carries with Charcandrick West. Ware played well while filling in for Charles last season, averaging 5.6 YPA with 6 touchdowns in 11 games. However, outside of 3 games, all of Ware's usage was below 10 carries per game. West saw much higher usage on a weekly basis, averaging about 15 carries per game after Charles tore his ACL, but Ware has been the better back in camp, has seen a more consistent workload and is the safer bet for Week 1. With a juicy matchup against San Diego, Ware is a really strong option in cash games this week in order to pay up for Todd Gurley or Julio Jones.
Latavius Murray (OAK) -
While 5th round rookie DeAndre Washington is knocking on the door, Latavius Murray is still the lead back in Oakland and the matchup against New Orleans' porous defensive line is enticing. At just $4,950 on FantasyAces and $5,600 on DraftKings, he appears to be a core cash game play for both of those sites, while also being attractive on FanDuel. The Raiders have shown a tendency to run the football in the red zone as opposed to pass the ball (Derek Carr ranked 22nd in red zone pass attempts in 2015 while Latavius Murray ranked 9th in red zone rushes). There should be plenty of red zone chances on Sunday and at his current price, Murray seems like a steal.
Top Plays (Ignoring Value):
Todd Gurley (STL) -
Todd Gurley is the Los Angeles' Rams offense and he's clearly the top overall running back play in DFS this week (with about a 50% higher scoring projection than the next highest back on each site). Expect to see him average one of the largest workloads of any running back this year, making him a "sure thing" in any cash game where you want to spend up the money. We know about the impressive pedigree and it's a plus matchup against San Diego, but given the number of strong value plays at the position and the need to pay up at wide receiver, we're less inclined to pay up for Gurley this week. With that said, if you can find the money, he's definitely one of the few players on this slate that we're very confident in returning value despite a top-end price tag. If you pay up, it makes more sense to do so on DraftKings (despite the full PPR) than FanDuel or FantasyAces.
Devonta Freeman (ATL) -
With Tevin Coleman lingering, it's likely Freeman won't see the 16 rushing attempts per game that he was involved with last year, but even if Coleman rotates in for 40% of those, 12 carries from Freeman might be enough to return value, especially on full PPR sites. Since Freeman is the clear passing down back in Atlanta, he's what one of Matt Ryan's favorite check down options, so his 6 targets per game don't appear to be in danger. People will likely shy away from Freeman, especially if they're rostering Julio, since there are so many other value options this week. Take advantage and grab Freeman in GPP's for the sky-high upside and pretty darn high floor.
Mark Ingram (NO) -
People will be so infatuated by the wide receivers and quarterbacks in this game that the running backs will probably get overlooked. Ingram, however, is an intimidating presence around the goalline and his 38% red zone conversion rate (within 10 yards) was one of the best in the NFL in 2015. Without an established big red zone target for Drew Brees, the Saints have been willing to try to push it into the end zone via the run since Jimmy Graham was traded.
How to use:
Due to their dependence on the quarterback, wide receivers are often the most volatile in terms of projecting week-to-week performance. With that said, the best way to attack the position is by seeking the players with the highest percentage of targets on their particular teams. In most cases, this strategy isolates the elite, first and second tier wide receivers from the rest of the pack. For DFS, it's generally best practice to pay up at wide receiver by seeking high usage value at the running back position.
Amari Cooper / Michael Crabtree (OAK) -
We've discussed in great detail why we want exposure to the Oakland offense in this game and the same principles apply for Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. The latter will be much lower owned than Cooper, but could easily return close to the same value at a substantial discount, particularly on DraftKings and FantasyAces. If you want a piece of Oakland 26 implied point total, but aren't necessarily sold on Cooper, Crabtree is a fine alternative, especially if it allows you to pay up for Todd Gurley. Nonetheless, Cooper is an excellent value in his own right, but while Cooper dropped off in the 2nd half of 2015, Michael Crabtree actually picked up his productivity. After November 1st, Crabtree averaged 9 targets per game. Either player can be used in cash games and Cooper has a higher floor, but Crabtree is likely going to be overlooked.
Marvin Jones (DET) -
Marvin Jones isn't going to command the same workload as Calvin Johnson, but he's definitely going to see a huge portion of Megatron's former targets. Jones and Matt Stafford showed excellent rapport in the pre-season and Jones was actually the most active receiver in the red zone for the Lions in the exhibition games. Jones has a knack for the big play and shouldn't have any issue getting open against a Colts secondary that allowed the 3rd most yards per completion (11.6) and allowed their opponents to score a passing touchdown 61% of the time. That second point is significant since the Lions lack a true goal line back, meaning the Lions will be more likely to throw the ball in the red zone. He's in play for all formats on all sites.
Top Plays (Ignoring Value):
Julio Jones (ATL) -
With Antonio Brown facing Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. drawing a tough Dallas secondary, we believe it's essential to try to find a way to pay up for Julio Jones. While he is nursing an ankle injury, Jones has a great history against Tampa Bay (535 yards and 3 TDs over last 4 games) and he's playing at home in the dome, where he has similarly strong history. When he's not nursing soft tissue injuries, Jones easily performs like the best receiver in the NFL and he's cheaper than Antonio Brown on each of the 3 sites and he has a better matchup than Odell in Dallas. In terms of consistency, it doesn't get much better than Julio's targets with the big guy getting double digit targets in 14 of the 16 games last season.
DeAndre Hopkins / Will Fuller (HOU) -
We already know that Nuk is a playmaker, but it seems like the Texans found themselves another game-changer in Will Fuller. Brett Osweiler wasn't the most efficient quarterback for Denver last season, but he's still an upgrade over Ryan Mallet in Houston and is a strong enough game manager to take advantage of the very weak Chicago Bears secondary. As we mentioned above, the Bears' defensive passing statistics in 2015 are a little misleading and will likely force Hopkins' and Fuller's exposure down. This creates an interesting stacking opportunity in tournaments.
How to use:
For the most part, you'll want to approach the tight end position by identifying the players with touchdown upside. As a result, you'll want to pay special attention to those players with high red zone rates. Among the leaders from 2015 were Jordan Reed, Gary Barnidge, Greg Olsen, and Rob Gronkowski, who each averaged at least one red zone target per game. Seeking touchdowns is especially important on sites like FanDuel or Aces where it's not a full PPR. Since tight ends generally do not see the same number of targets as wide receivers, their value is more heavily weighted towards scoring touchdowns.
Dwayne Allen (IND)
- With Coby Fleener out of town, Dwayne Allen is now the primary tight end target for Indianapolis. The Colts lack a good passing threat out of the backfield, so any short check downs will head down Allen's way and Luck figures to look to Allen in the red zone, as well. He's near minimum priced across the industry and is easily the best tight end value available this week in a game that could result in the highest game total.
To view ALL of our positional write-ups, sign up for a free 7-day trial here: http://www.myfantasyfix.com/amember/signup/
Screenshots of Premium DFS tools
Want to see more ? Register for a free 7 day trial at MyFantasyFix.com and let us help you take down some of that money in your Weekly High Stakes Football Contests. Subscription options include Game Play Analysis (see above) and Site Specific Cheat Sheets (DraftKings and FanDuel) which highlight our weekly play recommendations based on the salary structure of each game provider (click here for more info). Also included in both subscription packages is the Fantistics Weekly Player Projections, click here to start your free 7 day trial.