NFL FanDuel DFS Picks for Week One – Cash Games
I imagine the feeling we all have about this Sunday is similar to how Harold and Kumar felt when they finally got to White Castle – but without the well, you know.. Relieved, excited, and just slightly terrified about all the decisions you made preparing for it. The opening game on Thursday didn’t exactly scream “the highest level of football on earth” but it gave us just enough to want a whole lot more of it and now we get a full day of NFL FanDuel action.
Week one DFS is always a blast to sort through since all of the ‘data’ on hand is mostly from last season combined with speculation about what we think will happen.
Teams have overhauled their rosters and made changes to their offensive philosophies but we haven’t seen any of them in full. If you’ve been dialed in more than most, this is the best possible week to take advantage of those who haven’t. Thankfully, I have been. As usual, I’d appreciate any followers on twitter @TheFFGator.
We’ve had six months to talk. Let’s get to it.
NFL FanDuel Cash Game Lineup – Week One
Quarterback – Andy Dalton – $6800
The Bengals signal caller couldn’t have asked for a better matchup in week one. He faces a Colts secondary that ranked 28th in the league in terms of grading at Pro Football Focus, and 30th in yards per game surrendered to the pass. He torched the Bills during the first half of their week three dress rehearsal and Indianapolis is a downgrade at nearly every position.
Dalton will continue his love affair with AJ Green and has a brand new weapon in John Ross to open up additional man coverage looks for them both. The projected breakout of Joe Mixon should lend itself to more play action opportunities as well. All of this adds up to an excellent opportunity for the Bengals offense as a whole, and Dalton could easily land in the top five this week. He’s a no brainer at his price on FanDuel.
NFL FanDuel – Running Back Plays
Running Back – Alvin Kamara -$8,700
Okay I have to ask: why haven’t I seen more Alvin and the Chipmunks references? Great show, classic Christmas album. Maybe just a single touchdown highlight with “ALVIIIIIIN!” would be worth it.
Anyways – Kamara will get a healthy workload without Mark Ingram in the lineup, and his skillset has only improved since he took off last season. Sean Payton and the Saints have had an entire offseason to build their scheme around Kamara and Michael Thomas, and there’s no better time to show it off than against a Bucs team that ranked 28th in the league in terms of opponent rushing production.
Labeling Kamara a running back is an insult to his pass catching ability, and he should feast in both departments against a team that will likely struggle to keep it close. He’s one of the safest plays in all formats, and he comes with one of the highest ceilings.
Running Back – James Conner – $5,000
You knew this one was coming. Conner should slide right into the Le’Veon Bell role on Sunday and potentially see 20-25 carries and a handful of targets. Conner isn’t even close to Bell in terms of pure talent, but the situation is locked and loaded. He flashed in the preseason and should see a game flow that works in his favor.
I suspect him to be rostered in the majority of GPP contests this weekend, but a large chunk of the cash game field will be too confused to take a chance on him. Conner is going to be a bell cow and has a good chance at an RB1 performance. Lock him in and don’t look back.
NFL FanDuel – Wide Receiver Plays
Wide Receiver – AJ Green – $8,400
Everything I mentioned in regards to Andy Dalton applies to his best friend downfield as well. Green should have every opportunity to dominate the target share all over the field, including the red zone. He’ll spend most of his night lined up against Pierre Desir, which creates a matchup that’s one of the top ten best for this week according to PFF. In the first quarter against the Bills Green was targeted eight times, indicating the plans they have for him to carry the offense.
Indianapolis will have to key in on Joe Mixon on early downs and make sure John Ross doesn’t sprint pass their entire team, which should leave a lot of open space for Green to make a living in your lineup. His ‘return to glory’ campaign starts in week one. The price is high, but it will be worth the cost of admission.
Wide Receiver – Larry Fitzgerald – $7,300
Old reliable continues to be just that – reliable. He’s had three straight seasons of 100 receptions and the return of David Johnson should only help him out. Sam Bradford broke the NFL completion percentage record the last time he was a starter for a significant period of time, and he did so by throwing quick routes to his slot receivers. Larry is his slot receiver, and he’s performed in that role better than anyone in history. Fitz matches up against Fabian Moreau, which grades out as the second best matchup for any receiver on Sunday. He’s the ultimate security blanket for the Cardinals, and he will have a similar effect as an under the radar play in cash games.
Wide Receiver – Keelan Cole – $4,500
Cole is one of the next men up in Jacksonville, and his shockingly low price this week can’t be overlooked. Ideal cash game strategy includes identifying players that will provide 2x value on their price, so Cole only needs to produce nine fantasy points for him to do his job.
He was listed on the depth chart as the starter in two wide sets, meaning the Jags view him as one of their top two options in the passing game. He should have a steady target total throughout the game, and he’s capable of breaking a big play at any time.
Janoris Jenkins will likely shadow Moncrief for the majority of snaps and when you have a player like Leonard Fournette in the backfield, opponents can’t afford a double team. Cole should have a high floor, low ceiling performance which is more than enough from someone in the bargain bin.
NFL FanDuel – Tight End, Flex and DST Plays
Tight End – Rob Gronkowski – $7,900
The Patriots depth chart is not pretty on paper. They’ve cut a lot from the offense in favor of trying out new talent, and there’s a lot of question marks past the top three guys. Brady always finds a way to make those around him perform to their highest level, but he’s down to just Chris Hogan and Gronkowski for a few weeks.
Hogan would be an excellent play, but a matchup against Houston’s secondary screams “Gronk Game”. He could easily garner fifteen targets by the time the clock hits zero and his red zone usage has always been historically great. The game is projected to be a shootout (over/under is 50+). There’s no chance a contest like that wouldn’t go in Gronkowski’s favor, Tom just loves him too much. Don’t get cute, Gronk Smash.
Flex – Derrick Henry – $6,800
This may come as a surprise to some people, and I get that. It’s not about Henry’s ability as much as it is about Miami’s atrocious attempt at a run defense. They ranked in the bottom five in nearly every rushing category last season, and surrendered five YPC in the preseason this year. The second worst team wasn’t even in the same ballpark.
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The defensive scheme they run is suspect at best (essentially a wide nine), which lines up both ends on the outside of the offensive tackles, which allows for easy yardage right up the gut for someone like Henry who excels in that department.
Henry should see the goal line work as well, and there might be a lot of it. Miami is one of the teams you should target weekly in DFS, and this is a great week to start. Either Tennessee back would be a perfectly fine play, but Henry should see more volume and the chance to find the end zone, potentially more than once. He may not be your favorite flashy running back, but he will be a thorn in the side of Dolphins fans in a couple days.
Defense/Special Teams – New Orleans Saints -$4,600
Pairing your D/ST with your primary running back selection is a classic cash game strategy. The selection here is even more obvious because the Saints could post one of the top three weeks overall as well. They play a Tampa Bay team lead by journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick who comes armed with a very questionable running game. They’ll likely have to play catch up with the high powered Saints offense, so it bodes well for the likes of Marshon Lattimore and his pass snatching bandits (patent pending).
The Saints defense ranked in the top six in the NFL in BOTH pass yardage and rush yardage surrendered. Combine that with a subpar option at QB trying to play catch up, you’ve got yourself a winner.
I’ll continue to do these week by week, but in the mean time throw me a follow on Twitter and don’t hesitate to tell me why I’m an idiot.