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DFS: Plays and Fades for Week 1

Happy return from the long, fun, exhausting (or was that just me with my non-stop kiddos?) Labor Day weekend. To celebrate Northwestern's domination over Stanford this weekend (go Cats!), the return of college football in general, and the impending start to the NFL season, we're going to talk about something new today. I'm bringing guest writer Mike Monlux back from last season to give you all a bit of his daily fantasy advice. This guy knows what he's doing and I know many more of you are playing DFS this year - so read up! I'll be back later today or tomorrow with some thoughts and links for Week 1. 

Week 1 DFS

Playing DFS the first week of the NFL season has its challenges, primarily the fact that we’re working with incomplete information since we haven’t actually seen any real games yet. Our opinions on players are based on last season, tidbits from training camps, and limited preseason action. While it may be tempting to wait a week or two to delve into creating too many DFS lineups until we’ve seen some action on the field, just remember that everyone else is in the same boat with regards to lack of concrete information. Because of this uncertainty, I look at the first week as the best opportunity of the season to outwit your opponents and find value in players before the rest of the field catches on. I approach the first week by trying to find players that you could see having a significant salary bump come Week 2. 

I’m going to provide some plays that I like for Week 1, with their salaries on Fanduel (FD), and Draftkings (DK), and also provide a few DFS-specific links. After the first week of games, I’ll risk embarrassment and ridicule and post my results from two of my entries, a 50/50 “cash game” on Fanduel, where 50% of the field doubles their money, and the Draftkings Millionaire Maker tournament which will probably have more than 500,00 entries, so you can see how the lineups differ. 

Let me know on Twitter if you have any questions or feedback if there’s anything you’d like me to provide in future DFS posts. Good luck this week!

QB Plays
Tony Romo vs Giants ($8,700 FD, $7,300 DK)
I see the Cowboys being far more pass-happy this season, and the Giants have an injury-riddled backfield. This game feels like a shootout, and Romo makes for a nice mid-range QB play. Pair him with Dez Bryant and/or Terrence Williams in tournaments.
Carson Palmer vs Saints ($7,700 FD, $6,500 DK)
The Saints just lost Keenan Lewis, their top CB, to an injury. Bruce Arians loves to throw deep, and I could see Palmer hooking up with John Brown for a long TD or two. Palmer has nice upside at this price.

QB Fades
Andrew Luck vs Bills ($9,200 FD, $8,300 DK)
There’s always a chance Luck puts together a monster stat line, but he’s playing against what should be an excellent defense, and a team who will try to slow the game down. I don’t think Luck is worth the high price tag this week.
Tyrod Taylor ($5,000 FD, $5,000 DK) & Kirk Cousins ($6,000 FD, $5,000 DK)
Grouping these two together because they are both essentially minimum priced (FD & DK released salaries before they were named starters). This is tough, because normally I’d be all over a min-priced QB (and I may throw Taylor in to a tournament). I just feel there is enough value out there at other positions that you won’t need to roll the dice on these two.

RB Plays
Eddie Lacy vs Bears ($8,500 FD, $7,500 DK)
I’m not exactly going out a limb with this pick, but I’m having a tough time leaving Lacy off any of my entries, cash or tournament. Green Bay should win this game handily, which means they’ll likely be run-heavy the second half. My only worry is Green Bay not wanting to ride Lacy too hard this early in the season, and that we see James Starks in the second half. If it comes to that, Lacy should already have done enough damage for him to have a solid stat line. This is the safest pick at any position.
Lamar Miller vs Redskins ($7,300 FD, $5,500 DK)
Simply put, Miller is priced too low on both sites, so this is a value pick. I like the Dolphins offense to make a big leap this season, and all indications are that this is unquestionably Miller’s backfield. The Redskins look like a train wreck right now, so this should be a favorable game script for Miller. 

RB Fades
Melvin Gordon vs Lions ($7,100 FD, $5,500 DK)
I’m not ready to take the plunge, and I’m taking a wait-and-see approach with Gordon. It appears that Danny Woodhead will be on the field quite a bit, and Gordon hasn’t looked like an electric talent in the preseason. I’d rather have Woodhead at a far cheaper salary, or Miller or Frank Gore at a similar salary.
Alfred Blue vs Chiefs ($5,800 FD, $3,600 DK)
Blue’s price is attractive enough, given that he should have a bigger role than was anticipated when salaries were released, and he will probably have a high ownership percentage. Similar to my view on the cheap QBs, I just think there is enough value at other spots, and I don’t consider him a must-play. I don’t like the look of Houston’s offense, and I’d rather play it safer at RB.

WR Plays
John Brown vs Saints ($6,000 FD, $4,500 DK)
There are all kinds of value options at WR, including Davante Adams, Stevie Johnson, and Eddie Royal, but Brown at this price is my favorite. As I mentioned earlier, the Saints have some issues in the defensive backfield, and by all accounts Brown has looked excellent in camp. Brown has upside as a deep threat, and also a high floor, especially if Michael Floyd misses Week 1.
Julio Jones vs Eagles ($9,000 FD, $9,300 DK)
Jones is the most expensive WR on both sites, but there are enough value plays to comfortably fit him in your lineup. I think he’ll be the most targeted WR in the league this season, and in what should be a fast-paced shootout with the Eagles, I’m not leaving him off my rosters.

WR Fades
TY Hilton vs Bills ($7,800 FD, $7,600 DK)
This may be a moot point, as Hilton could miss Week 1 with a concussion, but I would be fading him anyway. Hilton is typically a great tournament target, as he is capable of breaking a long TD at any time. He generally performs better on turf though, and again this could be a slower-paced game versus a good defense. I’m also curious to see how the targets shake out with all the new weapons the Colts have.

TE Play
Tyler Eifert vs Raiders ($5,000 FD $3,500 DK)
Eifert is a screaming value on both sites. He missed 2014 with an injury, but let’s not forget he was a first round pick in 2013. The Bengals have hinted that their offense will be more wide open this season, and Eifert should see plenty of looks in the middle of the field and in the red zone. At this price, even a mediocre game won’t destroy your lineup.

TE Fade
Jimmy Graham vs Rams ($6,900 FD, $5,600 DK)
I’m not convinced that Graham will be spending as much time blocking as has been written, but it’s enough of a fear that I’m not willing to pay up for him this week. I’d rather take Martellus Bennett or Greg Olsen if you’re paying for an upper tier TE. 
Here are a few DFS resources that I find very helpful:

  • Rotoworld Daily is a relatively new section of the always top-notch Rotoworld site.
  • DFS Report is a site I’ve used often for NBA and MLB DFS as well as NFL. Thoughtful and easy to digest analysis.
  • Rotogrinders focuses specifically on DFS, and features analysis from some of the most successful DFS players out there.


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