Week 1 is finally here and it’s time to start the season off right by cashing in DFS. Today’s focus is going to be on the players I have my eye on as NFL FantasyDraft Week 1 GPP Targets (for the main Sunday slate).
The key to having success in GPPs (guaranteed prize pool tournaments) is said best by Matt De Lima from Scout Fantasy in his 2016 article titled DFS Strategy: GPP Life where he states:
The key to winning GPPs is to find those scarcely owned players whom other people don’t have. Take a chance on a No. 3 WR with a good matchup or a backup RB who is getting the call in place of an injured starter. If these players produce, your chances of winning a GPP will go way up.
Here are some guys who should be low-owned on the FantasyDraft site for Week 1 that can pay dividends in your GPP tournaments.
NFL FantasyDraft GPP Quarterbacks:
Alex Smith ($11,100)
I’m all on board for paying down for quarterbacks this week on the FantasyDraft app. Alex Smith is the 14th listed quarterback on the site just under Andy Dalton and Andrew Luck. I’m thinking he goes under the radar (low ownership) with DFS players paying up at the position. Smith should have no issue having his way with a sub-par Arizona pass defense. Also, in Smith’s 15 games during the 2017 fantasy football season, he averaged 23.67 yards rushing. That is something you’re not going to get from most quarterbacks, so I love that added value he brings to the table.
Philip Rivers ($11,900)
He is not going to be as low-owned as Smith, but Rivers is at a nice price point in a week where most DFS players are paying up at quarterback. The Chiefs ranked 26th in fantasy points against for opposing quarterbacks and they’re most likely going to be missing safety Eric Berry. Phil should have no problem moving the ball against a poor pass defense in a week where TeamRankings.com has their implied total sitting at a nice 25.8 points.
Paying down for Phil will allow you to roster high-priced running backs/wide receivers that will help get your lineup in the money.
Ryan Tannehill ($10,200)
Tannehill is going to be incredibly low-owned this weekend. I do not love him by any means, but the Titans defense does not scare me one bit (they ranked 23rd vs. QBs in fantasy points per game allowed in 2017). I have faith in Tannehill putting up enough fantasy points to at least keep your lineup in the hunt. You can get a lot of pricey studs elsewhere if you pay down for Tannehill.
NFL FantasyDraft GPP Running Backs:
Leonard Fournette ($12,900)
Leonard is by no means an “under the radar” player for Week 1, but I do believe he will be slightly overlooked on FantasyDraft this Sunday. People are still under the mindset that Fournette is a power-back who only can run the football. There is no doubt Fournette is a helluva runner, but he is going to show everyone on Sunday how effective he can be in the passing game.
In a full-point-PPR format like FantasyDraft’s, Fournette should not be the 8th running back listed on their board (let alone $4,800 less than Le’Veon Bell). He will be owned in a handful of lineups this week, but I anticipate the majority of DFS players to flock to higher-priced, known PPR commodities like Alvin Kamara and David Johnson.
Assuming this is the only weekend we’ll see Leonard priced under $13k, now is a great time to take advantage of the low price and get him in your lineup.
Kenyan Drake ($10,400)
Drake isn’t the sexiest of picks for Week 1, but he is going to be heavily featured on Sunday. Assuming DeVante Parker does not play, there really aren’t a whole lot of offensive weapons in the Miami offense. At a relatively low price tag, Drake should be able to put up a solid fantasy outing against Tennessee. Look for him to catch 4-5 balls, and rush for at least 75 yards. If he can find his way into the end zone, he will have a great fantasy output with rather low ownership.
Carlos Hyde ($9,900)
Hyde was a tough call when doing my lineup research for Week 1. I love him being priced under $10K against a Steelers defense that ranked 27th in fantasy points per game vs running backs in 2017. Hyde has always been a decent pass catcher, so he checks the PPR upside box that I always look for when filling out a GPP lineup.
Hyde also checks my “game script box” for this match-up against the Steelers. What I mean by that is, although the Steelers are only a 3.5-point favorite on TeamRankings.com, I expect them to have their way with the Browns offensively. If this holds true, that should lead to the Browns chasing points for most of the game and plenty of opportunities for Hyde to get some cheap points with catches. The only thing that scares me here is the potential usage of Duke Johnson. I’m not a big fan of playing Hyde this week, but you can roster him at a great price in what should be very low ownership.
James White ($7,800)
It is always tough to project a New England Patriots running back game script, but with an implied total of 28.2 (second highest on the board behind the Saints), you’re going to want to get some exposure to the Patriots’ offense. White is a very solid PPR player who may also get some carries on Sunday. At this low of a price, I LOVE getting him in my GPP roster. He allows us to pay up at other positions and he should be relatively low owned.
Jordan Wilkins ($6,500)
It appears Jordan Wilkins is going to get the start for the Colts on Sunday. He looked solid in the preseason and is a solid pass catcher out of the backfield. Andrew Luck never threw the ball deep in the preseason, so it’s safe to say his shoulder is not yet back to 100%. I like what that means for Jordan Wilkins – plenty of check downs and short pass designs. He is also a solid runner, so there is a ton of upside to be had if Wilkins can get it going early.
The Colts have the 5th highest implied totals (according to TeamRankings.com) on Sunday’s slate at 25.8 points, so you know the experts in Vegas are expecting a solid offensive showing. I want to get a piece of this offense. Getting the Colts’ starting running back at near minimum-price, is a great way to do so.
C.J. Prosise ($6,000)
This is the extreme bottom of the barrel type of play. I don’t advise getting Prosise into your roster, but he may be worth a dart-throw in a large field GPP this weekend. He is at minimum price, and the Seahawks are going to have a lot of trouble moving the ball against a stout Denver defense. I am still a firm believer that Prosise is the most talented runner in Seattle. If my game script prediction goes as planned, the Seahawks are going to have to get creative and get Prosise involved if they want to score points.
I think he is a lock to be under 1% owned in large field tournaments and has the ability to rip off a big play at any time. If you roster Prosise, you have a ton of flexibility to pay up elsewhere. Why not put him in a lineup or two and see what happens?
Ty Montgomery ($9,300)
Jamaal Williams ($10,000)
Matt Breida ($8,400)
NFL FantasyDraft GPP Wide Receivers:
A.J. Green ($14,000)
Similar to Leonard Fournette, A.J. Green is far from an “under the radar” fantasy player. I have been doing a lot of research into this week’s DFS slate, and it doesn’t appear that too many people are talking about A.J. Green‘s match-up against the Colts. In my GPP lineups, I love fading the top 4 WR plays of Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, and Keenan Allen.
I am going almost exclusively with A.J. Green as my WR1 or pairing him with one of the 4 names mentioned above if the salary cap allows me to. Green has a solid match-up against the Colts’ less-than-stellar passing defense and should be a lock to find the end zone. In a week where many DFS owners will pay up for Antonio Brown and Mike Thomas, let’s lock A.J. Green into our lineups.
Emmanuel Sanders ($10,400)
I LOVE the price on Sanders this week. People will see him squaring off against the Seahawks and get scared of the match-up. The Seahawks defense is not what it used to be a of couple years ago. Sanders is primed for a great PPR fantasy outing on Sunday and you can bet he will be in almost all of my tournament and cash lineups this weekend while ownership is low.
I have no idea why he is significantly cheaper than Doug Baldwin, Larry Fitzgerald, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Devin Funchess. I’m assuming his price is going to go up after this week, so lock him in while you can at this cheap price.
Danny Amendola ($9,500)
Personally, I am not a fan of Amendola whatsoever, but this week is a nice spot to get him in the roster. The Titans were nothing special in 2017 in regards to defending the slot, so there is no reason to shy away from Amendola in that regard. With DeVante Parker most likely being ruled out for Week 1, someone is going to have to catch the ball for Miami. That someone is going to be Danny Amendola.
I don’t love the price point here, as you can get a similar player in Cole Beasley for only $7,100, but he is likely to be low-owned and can easily catch 7-10 passes on Sunday. He should get plenty of volume in the Miami passing attack and pay off in the PPR format at FantasyDraft.
Taywan Taylor ($7,100)
This is strictly a hail-mary type of play. It looks like Rishard Matthews is going to sit out for Week 1 and that should open the door of opportunity for speedster, Taywan Taylor. Taylor has absolute break-away speed and only needs one play to pay off for DFS players. If Matthews is indeed ruled out this week, Taylor is another 1% ownership type of player I’ll have shares of in my GPP lineups.
Cole Beasley ($7,100)
Devin Funchess ($10,800)
Jamison Crowder ($10,800)
Cordarrelle Patterson ($7,000)
NFL FantasyDraft GPP Tight Ends:
Most of my GPP player mentions have been made with the intention to pay up at tight end for Rob Gronkowski. Rob is most certainly not going to be low-owned, but we don’t have to be contrarian with every roster position. If you plan on pairing up two pricey running backs or wide receivers and can’t afford Gronk, here are the guys I’m going with:
Charles Clay ($7,300)
The Bills are going to be down early and often in this game against the Ravens. The Ravens do have a very solid defense, but if there was one position that hurt them last season, it was the tight end (they ranked 25th in fantasy points per game versus the tight end in 2017).
The Bills have a brutal wide receiver core to start the season, and even if they had some notable wide receivers, they would have their hands full this week in Baltimore. I like Charles Clay to be the player Nathan Peterman leans on to get back into the ballgame (assuming the Ravens most likely have an early lead). Clay is always a favorite in the Bills’ passing attack and should have no problem in regards to target share this week.
Jordan Reed ($8,900)
I look at this one as a “play him while you can” opportunity. Jordan Reed is no stranger to missing games, but you have to like his chances to produce when he’s healthy. In what should be a low ownership week, you’re getting an excellent price for a top-end talent tight end. Look for Smith to actively target Jordan Reed while he is on the field. Might as well try to cash in on Jordan Reed before his hype and his DFS prices increase.
Trey Burton ($7,500)
The Green Bay Packers were one of the best defenses versus the tight end position in 2017, and DFS players can take advantage of that with Trey Burton. In what should be a low-ownership situation, there is no reason to shy away from getting Trey Burton into your lineup.
As much as I have mentioned last year’s defensive statistics for defending one of my plays, just know I hate those stats. There isn’t a whole lot to go on for Week 1 analyses so it’s always a nice thing to reference, but the truth is: that was last year. Who knows how new personnel (coaches/players, etc.) will impact team defenses going into 2018?
I like Burton to be overlooked simply because of how stout the Packers were against the tight end in 2017. The Packers have an implied total of 27.2 points on TeamRankings.com, so it’s more than likely that the Bears need to play catch-up in Sunday Night’s game at Lambeau Field. This should lead to plenty of opportunities for Trey Burton.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($6,300)
Tyler Eifert ($7,500)
NFL FantasyDraft GPP Defense/Special Teams:
It’s no secret that the vast majority are going to be plugging in the Ravens’ Defense in this week’s DFS slate. They are a great play based on what we know about the Buffalo Bills and Nathan Peterman. For those of you that want to zig instead of going with the Ravens’ zag, here are your best options for low-owned DST fantasy points:
Minnesota Vikings ($6,400)
The Vikings are going to go under the radar this week in regards to DFS. People are going to fade using them due to the recency bias with Jimmy Garoppolo and the respected Kyle Shanahan offense. I’m all about getting then in my lineups this weekend. They should have plenty of opportunity to get sacks and create turnovers.
The Niners only have an implied total of 19.8…so it looks like the experts in the gambling industry see the Vikings’ upside this weekend as well.
New Orleans Saints ($6,800)
Feel free to pick on Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers this weekend. The Bucs have an implied total of only 20 points, so this game could get ugly in favor of New Orleans. I’m expecting them to be the second highest owned DST this week in DFS, but they’re a fine play regardless.
Washington Redskins ($5,600)
If you’re looking to save some money at the DST position, roll with the Redskins. The Arizona Cardinals offensive line is a disaster, and the Redskins can get sacks with the best of them. If they can put early pressure on Cardinals’ quarterback, Sam Bradford, the Redskins can run away with this one. I don’t love the play, but they’re a nice salary saver in the DST slot.
Denver Broncos ($6,400)
Green Bay Packers ($6,100)
New England Patriots ($5,100)
NFL FantasyDraft GPP Sample Lineup (Without Gronk):
QB: Alex Smith
RB: Alvin Kamara
WR: A.J. Green
WR: Emmanuel Sanders
TE: Trey Burton
FLEX: Kenyan Drake
Flex: Carlos Hyde
DST: Baltimore Ravens
NFL FantasyDraft GPP Sample Lineup (With Gronk):
QB: Philip Rivers
RB: Melvin Gordon
WR: Keenan Allen
WR: Emmanuel Sanders
TE: Rob Gronkowski
FLEX: Taywan Taylor
Flex: Kenyan Drake
DST: Minnesota Vikings
There are a lot of great GPP plays this weekend and they should lead to a profitable Week 1 for all readers. Win or lose, it’s going to be great to finally see some NFL Football and get this 2018 fantasy season up and running. Best of luck to everyone!
Be sure to check out Matthew Vecchio’s NFL FantasyDraft Week 1 Best Plays for more information on the slate!