CHI @ DET
Over/Under 42.5 DET -2.5
My initial thoughts are to lean on the Bears side in this one. Their run defense is in the top 3rd of the league and Trubisky is a year older and theoretically wiser. However, the Lions know their run offense is bad so they readily plan accordingly. Taking into consideration the game total and the nature of these two middling teams, it’s probably a betting stay away and a DFS stack stay away as well. I just don’t like this game for fantasy potential.
If David Montgomery sits, then I like Tarik Cohen at 4900. Montgomery is questionable and he’s logged two full practices in a row, but if he plays, I’m not sure the usage is there for either of them to get enough out of their price tag. I think Montgomery plays. Trubisky just won the starting job but he’s notably on very thin ice with Nick Foles just waiting for Trubisky to screw something up. In that context I expect Mitchell to be very conservative and that reduces the Allen Robinson target share and potentially boosts targets towards Cohen and the ageless Jimmy Graham, who doesn’t have a floor or a high ceiling. Miller is overpriced at 5000 and Ted Ginn Jr is overpriced at 0, (best game last year as the WR2 on the high-powered offense Saints was 11.6 fpts) Get the heck out of here Ginn! The Lions defense is generally a team to target against but it’s very difficult to put a lot of confidence in this Bears team to take advantage. The Bears defense will start out well and then should get pretty exhausted watching the Bears offense go 3 and out most of the game.
On the Lions side of the ball WR1 Golladay is out and that puts Chicago’s best corners on 5500 Marvin Jones. The price isn’t terrible for the expected usage with the trash backfield that Detroit has but the upside for Jones requires a breakaway TD at some point. He’s likely not going to be able to nickel and dime that Chicago secondary to death to get his numbers where we need them. WR3 Amendola is questionable and even if he was playing he’s certainly not the answer to any of our questions. The only guy I’m not opposed to on DET is TJ Hockenson at $4200. The price is probably a little higher than what it should be based on last year’s stats but he’s gotta have the safest floor on his offense. He’s finally healthy and if anyone has a big game in this one its Hockenson (or Tarik Cohen if Montgomery sits)
MIA @ NE
Over/Under 42 NE -6.5
This is also probably a fairly reasonable stay away. This game total is low and both teams as currently constructed are likely in for a poor year. Why didn’t the Dolphins make a push for a decent RB1? Fournette would have been good. Pretty much any free agent is better than what they have in their backfield now, all of them combined.
The path to victory for the Dolphins is for Fitzpatrick at 5300 to be on full display against a good 2019 NE defense who lost a lot of talent in the offseason. TE Gesicki is coming in injured so he’s a stay away. If you think this MIA team scores a few times in this one, then you have put your faith in a 6000 Davante Parker or a 4500 Preston Williams. Parker has a great price but I’d rather take Preston Williams if I’m taking either because he gets more RZ looks per game than Parker does and whoever ends up in the endzone between the two will be the difference.
On the NE side of the ball, Cam Newton draws no interest from me at all. In his first game on a new team with a bad shoulder against a defense who has all their money in their corners, no way Jose. This game and probably this entire season hinges on how well Cam plays in the first half of the season. A lot of people are talking up 4600 Sony Michel in this game but he’s coming back from a surgery, generally unhealthy, and even when healthy not particularly productive. James White at 6k is a much better option from an upside standpoint but that price is a lot to ask for a team with a 3 headed monster in the backfield, who refuses against all reason to get away from the committee approach. The only thing I like about this game is the line; I think MIA is better than the +6.5 they’re getting here.
PHI @ WAS
Over/Under 42.5 PHI -5.5
I don’t like this game either. The game total is low and neither team is really that good. The Eagles have a slightly better roster, especially at QB but the WAS team has a better coach. That almost lends to a draw or a lower scoring affair. WAS is terrible against the run and if we had a healthy RB Sanders we’d be more interested in playing him, he’s just coming in with a hamstring issue and there’s very little reason for him to get a lot of touches in this particular game when its not really necessary. Desean Jackson is getting a lot of pub in this spot because of other injuries on offense but he serves more to lengthen the field than he does take on more of a number 1 role in that passing offense. At 4900 Jackson is at a great price, but against a heavy pass rush from WAS, his upside doesn’t seem to be high enough to get excited about. His QB isn’t great and he’s much more likely to look to hit both TEs with targets. It wouldn’t surprise me if each TE gets a TD with a Miles Sanders goal line TD tossed in. Sanders stat line lends itself more towards a 40 yard, 3 catch game with a TD, at 6300, that’s not good enough, and that’s if he plays. If he doesn’t play, his backup Scott at 4800 is an expensive trap. I’m not playing any eagles. (UPDATE: Sanders is out. Boston Scott is in. This doesn’t change much other than adding a slight boost Desean Jackson who is still not a great play but its probably moved up to a good play, under the assumption that the gets an extra quick slant target or two and maybe a jet sweep.)
The coach is better this year as the team got rid of Gruden and brought in the former HC and OC of the Carolina Panthers, Rivera and Scott Turner respectively. The desire and proactivity is there for the coaching staff but as you’ll notice I’ve spent the first part of this DFS discussion on how good the coaching staff is instead of the players. Ultimately, regardless of how good Terry McLaurin is, Dwayne Haskins is not very good and he’s going to limit the success of his WR corps. The backfield doesn’t look great either. The only play I really like in this game is the WAS D at the bare min 2000. There’s not a lot of upside with it, but there are going to be a lot of defenses priced above them that get just as many fpts as they do. Washington needs to play a better QB (#Alex Smith) and they need to start Bryce Love at RB. If/when these necessary changes are made during the season, we can start looking to draft some pieces of this offense.
*Edit* I’m willing to give minor consideration to Haskins with the new OC in this one, particularly because the QB is at the min price 5000. I don’t feel good about it, but i’ll have a share or two because a change in OC can do wonders for helping a QB gain confidence and be a part of a gameplan that accentuates his strengths. Anywhere I draft Haskins I’ll get a piece of his WR1 McLaurin at 5600 or WR2 Sims at 4700.
GB @ MIN
Over/Under 45 MIN -2.5
Finally, we’re slowly creeping towards higher expected scorelines. I always enjoy this matchup because both teams know exactly what the other wants to do and neither can prevent the other side from following their gameplan. I don’t like the GB offense from an overall quality standpoint. Rodgers is obviously fine, but his receiving group is so sparse, that he’s really hard to even consider playing unless the conditions match up perfectly. This is not one of those times as the MIN D is actually pretty well-rounded and is sure to make things difficult for the superbowl winning QB. Davante Adams at 7300 may be the highest owned on the slate. His volume is through the roof and he’s mostly the only passing option on offense for the Packers. I could talk about MVS or Lazard or any of the 4 TEs vying for targets, but I’d be wasting both of our time.
The Vikings are going to run everything through Dalvin Cook at 7900. As the second most expensive RB on the slate, he makes a great pivot from a popular CMC. The usage is there in the run game, the pass game and he’s still the primary part of the team’s gameplan. The floor is there and he’s got one of the highest ceilings in the league. He’s one of my favorite plays on the slate. Cousins and company most likely won’t be throwing the ball downfield too often without Diggs in the mix and with Cook still the focal point. Adam Thielen at 6700 is the clear cut #1 and will be in several winning lineups throughout this season. WR2 Justin Jefferson is overpriced at 4800, with literally zero experience in the league. Outside of Cook and Thielen, TE Irv Smith Jr at 3100 may be a consideration if you need the salary savings. He’s very talented and should take a step up this season in the passing game. This might not necessarily be his game, but I will say that his big game is coming and whoever gets in early enough to catch it will set themselves up for a big payday. I’m looking forward to seeing how the TE snap counts shuffle out between Smith and Rudolph. Overall, I’m probably only playing Cook from this game and a sprinkle of Adams.
IND @ JAX
Over/Under 45 IND -8
The more I look into this one, the more I dig this game. The passing offenses here have a true opportunity to be the collective dark horse to lead in fantasy potential this Sunday. Philip Rivers might not have the same offensive weapons that he did in previous seasons but T.Y. Hilton 5800 and co should get some great looks in this one. Other than Hilton the rest of the top 3 receivers on the roster are dirt cheap (Pascal 4200 and Campbell 3900), they’re not good but they’re cheap. The Jags D is not good and I know Rivers would like to galvanize the troops by giving T.Y. Hilton the Keenan Allen treatment and just pepper him with targets until he lands himself in the endzone. TE Jack Doyle at 3600 is a good play here too. Although I like Rivers to make things happen in this game, at 6000 I don’t necessarily like his fantasy upside.
With Fournette gone, the run game for the Jags is in complete disarray. The next in line Armstead has Covid-19 complications. The next, next in line Ozigbo has a hamstring injury that landed him on IR. The next, next, next RB who has now been confirmed as the starter is James Robinson at the min RB price of 4000. A lot of ownership should gravitate towards a starting RB at minimum pricing. He doesn’t really have to do too much to pay off that salary either. A TD, a couple catches and 50 yards rushing and he’s hitting value. I’ve looked at film of the guy from his college highlights, hoping to find some diamond in the rough material but even in his best footage he looked sluggish, with poor footwork and a glaring weakness in his lateral mobility. Ultimately his successes in the highlight reel appeared to be more indicative of poor competition than illustrative of his masterful football talent. Any time a starting RB is at the DK min, I’ll generally have them in my player pool but I don’t feel good about his chances of success against a professional level defense, so I doubt I’ll have him in many lineups. I look forward to watching him develop over the season though. Plus, Chris Thompson was brought in to take 3rd down reps from the guy so Robinson could bust if he can’t stumble into a huge missed D assignment at the right time on first or second down when the team is ahead. It’s a really tight window for that dude to find success.
However, because of all the disdain I have for the RB position on the Jags, I like the passing game a lot. DJ Chark at 6300 is in for a big year and has blow up potential in every game. Dede Westbrook at 4600 is priced well for his talent and I think priced below what his usage should be in this game. I don’t know how the team uses 4400 utility knife Laviska Shenault Jr who has legitimate rookie of the year potential if JAX can find ways to incorporate him into their offense successfully. He’s probably not a good play this early on in the season, but mentally stash this guy in your mind and we’ll find just the right spot later in the season to get him in our lineups. I’m almost 100% positive this guy wins someone a Showdown top prize at least once this season. I’m not necessarily fond of any particular of the low priced TEs on the Jags, Eifert 3300 and O’Shaughnessy 3000, but I sure do like their pricing. At least one of these two should get into the endzone this week, it’s just so hard to distinguish which of the two it will be, that I’ll take the TD points from the QB instead of trying to decide. Gardner Minshew at 5800 is high on my QB list this weekend. I like Minshew, Chark and Westbrook.
SEA @ ATL
Over/Under 49 SEA -2.5
Finally we get to the game with the highest point total on the slate and I’m mostly going to fade. It’s a toss up who wins this one and I won’t be on either side before or live betting.
Wilson is obviously expensive at 7000 when his team sure likes to run. Last year against the same ATL squad he put up a shade under 16 fpts. A one off DK Metcalf at 5800 or Tyler Lockett at 6500 makes sense if you think one of the 2 stumbles into a pair of TDs, although it’s worth keeping in mind that Wilson likes to get the TEs involved and he’s got a nice selection of 4 different TEs at his disposal this season including newly inked Greg Olsen at 4000. Per coach Carroll, the RB position will be a timeshare of Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde and as a result I’m not a fan of either. If I get a piece of this offense it’ll be through Lockett, who led the team in RZ targets and had an RZ completion percentage 40% higher than DK, and an overall completion percentage that was 15% higher last season. Metcalf is a stud, that I’m sure I’ll get a piece of later on down the line.
ATL! On paper, Julio could be in store for a big game. That 7700 pricetag seems pretty pricey though. Calvin Ridley at 6100 has slightly lower upside but a much more palatable price. Matt Ryan at 6700 is overpriced for a game that SEA wants to grind out on the ground and also one where the team wants to give at least 16-18 quality touches to their new star RB1 Gurley at 6100. I think Ridley is going to be popular and he’s probably the only play I like on the ATL side per dollar, but I still think his pricetag is more indicative of the hyped game total and skewed a little bit overzealous for how this young player starts the season.
CLE @ BAL
Over/Under 48 BAL -7.5
Before diving in, I expected to target plays in this game more than I’ll end up doing. Ravens are going to win this one. The problems arise from a draftkings standpoint, with the pricing in correlation with the way in which this game should go. The Ravens like to run from the QB on down. Lamar at 8000 should get you 24 fpts without a sweat, the problem is, so will a lot of other lower priced QBs. And, the team added a 2nd RB that they’re dying to give reps to in 5000 JK Dobbins. He’s probably going to shoulder half of the RB reps and those reps are likely going to be slightly more overall than we would have expected last season from the RB position on this team. Essentially, Dobbins is a really good RB and as a result he’s going to take yards from Ingram and he’s going to take yards and usage from Lamar. Unfortunately, Ingram (5500) and Dobbins are already priced appropriately and thus there’s less upside based on pricing. All 3 of these ravens could get a rushing TD and 50 rushing yards and then we’ve gained nothing by picking any of them; and this is a fairly likely scenario.
We mostly want to steer clear of the Ravens WR position in this game and often in most games. WR1 Marquise Brown has a great pricetag of 5100 but the team just doesn’t need him to do much for the Ravens to win. He also struggled mightily against the CLE D last season; in two games against CLE he scored 6.2 fpts in week 4 and 1.6 fpts in week 16. Any scoring close to that is going to sink your lineups fast. The only guy I like on this offense is Mark Andrews. The Ravens target their TE more than anyone in the league and with Hurst no longer getting TE reps, he should soak up a lot of that usage overall and in the RZ. Andrews, already leads the team in RZ targets, with 6 more than Brown who we already expect to struggle in this matchup. 6000 is a lot to pay for a TE, when we need all the salary savings we can get with the money we want to invest into the slates WRs but Andrews appears to be a very solid play in this matchup.
On the other side of the ball I really like CLE in a vacuum. I like them to just suck. I kid, no I like them in other matchups just not this one. This is another one of those times where we’d be wasting each other’s time if I listed all the reasons why I didn’t like OBJ or Landry or Chubb or Hunt in this matchup at their pricetags. Bottom line, the Ravens are going to run the ball down their throats and they’re going to target Andrews nonstop for short route after short route and that’s not a situation that lends itself to the Browns having enough time of possession to hit the numbers that we’d want their guys to hit for us.
NYJ @ BUF
Over/Under 39.5 BUF -6.5
An extremely low point total and a spread the size of a TD is not lending itself to a lot of fantasy value on the surface. Buffalo controls the pace of most of its games like the great FC Barcelona. It doesn’t matter what plan their opponent rides in with, they simply won’t have much time to implement it. Ultimately, I see this as a field goal fest so if you have any season leagues maybe grab a hold of the Bills kicker if he’s available. Both sides have backfields with uncertainty and also the RB position holds the best skill sets on each corresponding team. It’s going to rain and that’s going to slow things down a bit too. Josh Allen will have a ton of upside in matchups where the other side dictates the pace, or in some way can affect the pace, and I just don’t see the Jets doing that. They’re terrible. Skip this one with me so we can focus on better plays to consider.
LV @ CAR
Over/Under 47.5 LV -3
CMC, come on down!! This matchup looks to be almost as exciting as the top priced back on the slate. Neither defense will put up much of a challenge in the matchup, so top players on each side are fair game. On the Viva Las Vegas side of the ball, $5900 Derek Carr is going to look to get acquainted early with his new wide receiver group. The only problem is that Carr can’t accurately throw very far. That’s one of the biggest reasons his TE leads the team in targets and by a margin that almost doubles the next closest receiver. At WR1.5 Brian Edwards is one of the most talented rookies you’ll ever see. Look him up on Youtube and any of his highlight reels are sure to amaze you. He’s soo good!! In college, he excelled specifically on deep routes. That’s not good for the Raiders because that’s exactly the type of routes that Carr doesn’t excel at, the type that he in fact negatively-excels at. At some point, when the coaching staff can figure out how to hit him on shorter routes, Edwards will be able to put up a ton of stats, I just don’t expect that to be figured out in week 1. 5100 Henry Ruggs however, may have lower athleticism and size, and overall skill but he did his damage in college on shorter more Carr-Friendly routes. Between the two, at least from the onset, I expect Ruggs to fall just under Waller as the top pass-catching option on the team. Speaking of Darren Waller, at 5900, he’s a good option, especially as the top receiver, on a receiving staff with so much new, he’ll be the old friend Carr leans on if/when things get rocky in Carolina. The only negative thing about Waller this season is the addition of veteran Jason Witten to the roster. The veteran is sure to take away RZ targets and targets in general from Waller throughout the season. With all of the current injuries at the WR on this team, Waller still has a good chance at success.
RB Josh Jacobs at 6800 is in position to do well in this game. I’m not sure if he gets all of the pass catching reps that the coaching staff is throwing out there but he’s averaging close to 20 rushing attempts a game and he gets a ton of RZ looks. I’m not sure how much I’ll have of him because I like Ruggs and Waller more, but he’s growing on me. I’ll have him in my player pool for sure.
On the CAR side of the ball, here comes pricey CMC to make or break your day. 10,000 is sooo much to pay for any player at any position in any matchup. Look at that game log and you’ll see exactly why. He’s a bonafide stud with the highest RB usage in the league. He’s also fairly gamescript proof as he gets reps regardless of scoreline in most instances. The matchup is good, the problem is what his addition does to the remaining salary cap you have to fill out the rest of your roster. I don’t think I can get up that high, but the associated game theory involves CMC getting some of his and then someone else on the Panthers stealing the TDs. In my estimation, I’d guess that would be 6600 DJ Moore. I don’t trust new addition Robby Anderson or anyone else at WR on the CAR squad. DJ Moore put up stats last season with a less than par QB committee and Bridgewater at 5900 is at least an upgrade. He doesn’t put up fantasy stats too often to consider drafting though. Don’t bother with TE until we see how the target-share pans out on this offense with all of the newness.
LAC @ CIN
Over/Under 42 LAC -3
Alright, I think this game is ultimately a toss up because the CIN QB Joe Burrow is a talented guy and he’s got a great group of receivers to work with.
On the LAC side of the ball, I like Austin Ekeler at 7000 a lot. He should get a lot of carries with Melvin Gordon gone and he should continue to get decent work in the pass game, especially with a new QB who is very conservative. In fact, I think Ekeler may get a couple receptions more than his average expected catch rate just through dump offs when his conservative QB Taylor doesn’t want to throw down field. This type of QB mentality is perfect for this kind of RB and also good news for a quality TE. Hunter Henry at 5300 is priced like he’s about to get some targets in this one. I don’t like the pricing, but I do like the usage. I’ll add him to the player pool but this is one I don’t feel great about price-wise even though him and Ekeler are probably the only right selections on this offense.
On the CIN side, the pricing is VERY enticing. Joe Burrow at 5800 screams value with his talent level, it just comes down to how good you feel about Burrow in his first professional game of his life. He did well in college, in the SEC no less, but NFL defenses are a different level. I’ll have some exposure because he’s priced well and also because his WR group is pretty darn good. Tyler Boyd at 6100 is well priced for a team that could be throwing a lot from behind, and he has so much TD equity. The guy I actually like the most on this team is AJ Green. For the first time in forever 5700 AJ Green is healthy!! I don’t know if his coming out again party is this week, but I think it’s coming. At the RB position Joe Mixon could do well if Burrow can march his team down the field first and get a lead going. On a short week, with the Bengals playing this coming Thursday, I like Mixon to do better in that matchup against the Browns. Soft pass on Mixon here.
In summary, in this matchup I mostly only like Ekeler, with Henry as more of a high floor play with uncertain upside. Joe Burrow, Tyler Boyd and AJ Green in this situation are just flyers to consider to differentiate.
TB @ NO
Over/Under 47.5 NO -3.5
Alright, this has to be the one we’ve all been waiting for. The Tompa Bay Buccaneers vs the New Orleans Saints, what a classic matchup we have here. We have literally no idea how the TB offense actually shakes out in terms of targets. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. I like Tom Brady at $6500 and I might even have some lineup shares with him naked since I have no idea what his offense is going to look like. I am excited about it though. I’m not playing anyone at the RB position for Tampa. At WR, Chris Godwin at 7100 is an option if Evans plays. If Evans is out, then Justin Watson 3800 takes the starting spot and gets the cushier corner coverage that switches off of Evans and onto Godwin. At TE, we’ll learn a lot about this team after this game. Gronk or OJ could score a pair of TDs, or they could each grab one and heck maybe Brate jumps into the mix too and finds himself in the endzone. Brady loves chunking it to the TE so really anything is possible. I don’t have a good feel for any of the offensive weapons besides Brady.
On the Saints side of the ball, TB has a solid rush defense, so we can expect Brees and staff to find success through the air. Michael Thomas should get his usual 10 targets and play well, but that 9000 pricetag is expensive! I like Emmanuel Sanders at 5700 for the price savings and also a nice TD pivot away from Thomas. Brees is going to have success in the air in this one, and I think Sanders will be on the end of it as the QB tries to welcome the newest member to the offense in the best way he knows how. Cook at 5500 is too expensive, and the success of the team doesn’t depend on him doing well like it does with other TEs at similar price points.
I think Tampa wins this one.
ARI @ SF
Over/Under 47.5 SF -7
Alright I’ll make this easy for all of us. This game may be postponed due to the air quality in SF as a result of the wildfires. With the country on very high alert regarding all things health-related right now, postponement is a real possibility. As a result, I’m not going to touch this game. If it plays and I get burned by it, no pun intended, then so be it. I’d rather give myself chances elsewhere than end up with a dead lineup because I just had to get in Mostert regardless of this postponement situation. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to draft some of these guys in the weeks to come.
Good luck in Week 1!!!