Managing Your Money- DFS Week 1

If you play fantasy football you’ve heard about daily fantasy football leagues. A lot. That is unless you’ve been living under a rock. And that rock was located in an undeveloped country. With a horrible wifi signal. Sites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel have taken fantasy sports to a whole new level. It gives players another avenue to quench their football thirst and an opportunity win a little cash in the process. Does everyone win money? Absolutely not. However, that doesn’t stop people from playing, and every week we’ll put together some players and strategies that could help you put some money in your pocket. I myself was a mere 13 points away from an $80,000 payday last year. One tiny, bone headed roster swap at the last second turned my kid’s college fund into $300 that I likely squandered out of frustration. I have the screenshots to prove it if you’re curious. That being said, had I done my homework it’s possible my bank account would look a little different than it does today. Hopefully, we’re able to provide you with that one pick that will lead you to your big payday. Each week we’ll pay close attention to value picks and sprinkle in the occasional high priced super star. Listed below are a few players from each position I’m adding into my lineups in week 1.

Side note: the values and scoring we use are from Draft Kings. I prefer them for two reasons. They utilize PPR scoring, and they have an additional flex spot on the roster with no kickers. Having to study kicker trends is terrible.

Quarterbacks:

Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – Value $5,000

In all honestly, this one could potentially burn me a little bit. There are several teams I’ve put together that have the Dak Attack in my QB slot. I simply can’t overlook how inexpensive a starting quarterback in a dynamic offense is when putting together my lineup. The Cowboys face off against the Giants this week, and they’re far from an elite defensive team. Considering Prescott’s impressive (albeit small) sample size, I’m buying in. His low price frees up too much potential at other positions.

Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – Value $7,200

The reason I’m buying Stafford this week is two fold. First off, the Colts are not a very good defensive team. They finished 26th in the league last year against opposing QBs and didn’t do much to help their cause in the offseason. Secondly, the Lions backfield is far from a force to be reckoned with. Ameer Abdullah will get the starting nod after struggling much of last year, and Theo Riddick is largely a passing down back. I’m expecting this game to put up a decent amount of points, and Detroit will likely do it through the air.

Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Value $6,600

Again, this is a pure bargain play here. Tampa Bay has a solid offense with the potential to put up a lot of points against an Atlanta team that wasn’t very good against the pass last year and has struggled to consistently move the ball in the preseason. Winston’s price tag frees up a lot of cash for other positions. After the rapport he showed with his star wide out Mike Evans during the preseason, I’m finding myself stacking them if I can afford it.

Derek Carr – Oakland Raider – Value $7,300

I own stock in Carr in multiple fantasy leagues this season and expect him to do big things for the Raiders in 2016. He’ll be a trendy pick this week as he takes on a Saints defense that gave up a TON of points last year. This game has the highest projected point total in week 1, so Brees will be another popular pick. I’m rolling with Carr at a reduced price to help free up some cash at other positions. Stacking him with either Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree should be popular this week as well.

Hail Mary play:

Robert Griffin III – Cleveland Browns – Value $5,600

RGIII is someone I’d insert into my lineup after saying a little prayer and crossing my fingers. While Griffin has looked serviceable in the preseason, he is quite likely the same turnover prone quarterback we’ve seen in Washington over the last few seasons. The Browns should be better on offense this year after adding a lot of young talent at the wide receiver position, but I think they’ll need some more time to develop. He’s got an outside shot to put up some decent numbers at his current price, so he’s purely a value play this week.

Running Backs:

Duke Johnson Jr – Cleveland Browns – Value $5,100

Speaking of value plays on the Cleveland Browns offense, let’s take a look at Duke Johnson Jr. The Duke had some decent games last season as a rookie due to the Browns playing from behind and being forced to throw the football quite a bit. His week 4 line of 9 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown in week 4 last year put him on the fantasy map. The Eagles should be a solid offense this season, even with the Eagles rolling out rookie Carson Wentz in the first week. If Cleveland falls behind, then Duke could put up some solid numbers for his value.

Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks – Value $3,700

Holy steal, Batman! As odd as this is to type, Christine Michael as officially earned the starting job in Seattle. Granted, this is likely due to his preseason performance, as well as the fact that Thomas Rawls seems to be having a rough time from the ankle injury he suffered at the end of last season. While Rawls is anticipated to be involved to start the season, the Seahawks may be looking to decrease his playing time early on to free him up later in the season. Either way, the Seahawks play the Miami Dolphins to start the season. If I can get a starting running back for the price of players like Chris Johnson and Benny Cunningham against a middle of the road defense, then sign me up.

Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – Value $7,000

If there’s one player that defines the term “underutilized” it’s Lamar Miller. He finished as a fantasy stud last season despite never getting the full workload in Miami. Enter 2016. Miller is now employed by the Houston Texans. This is a team that shipped off a former Pro Bowler in Arian Foster (to the Dolphins nonetheless, ah the irony). The Texans want to run the football. They paid big money for former Broncos backup QB Brock Osweiler in the offseason, but I’m betting they’ll want to limit his exposure early in the season. Houston plays Chicago in week 1, which is a team that is not very strong defensively. As the 8th most expensive player at running back on Draft Kings this week, Lamar Miller will put a dent into your budget. However, I think he’s worth it based on the matchup.

DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers – Value $7,000

DFS sites have gotten ahead of the curve and slapped a hefty price tag on Williams after his impressive performances last year after LeVeon Bell’s injury. The Steelers are a great team offensively and have┬ábragging rights on the best wide receiver in the league. The Redskin defense will be forced to respect Big Ben’s arm in addition to his weapons, so I’m looking for Williams to pick up right where he left off as the bell cow to begin the season. This should be a competitive game where a lot of points are scored.

Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – Value $7,800

Gurley comes with the highest price tag at the position this week and for good reason. He was incredible last season after missing the first few games and looks to build on his performance this year. The Rams are going to want to run the football. A LOT. It’s looking like they’ll be rolling out Case Keenum to begin the season after a horrendous preseason by first overall draft pick Jared Goff. Gurley faces the 49ers in week 1, and I have no reason to believe he won’t have a big day against a team that could very well finish with the worst record in the league. He’s worth the price if you can find value at other positions.

Hail Mary play:

Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – Value $4,000

I’m looking at Riddick solely based on his value and potential game script. The Lions and Colts should both theoretically put up quite a few points. If the Colts pull away early, it will force Detroit to throw the ball in an effort to play catch up. This is where Riddick excels, so he could have a good day if the game unfolds like it should.

Wide Receivers:

Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders – Value $7,200

Cooper should be highly owned in leagues this week and for good reason. His rapport with Derek Carr should take a step forward this season, and the Raiders are a team on the rise. Oakland travels to New Orleans to battle the Saints, and the game has one of the highest projected point totals to start the season. The Saints struggled to keep opposing wide receivers in check last year, and that should carry over into 2016. I think Cooper is moderately priced considering his talent level and matchup.

Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Value $7,400

Mike Evans was a huge breakout candidate last year but didn’t quite live up to the hype. He was still very good, but he led the league drops and didn’t score many touchdowns. Evans and Jameis Winston appear to be clicking in the preseason, so I’m expecting a huge third year for the former Texas A&M Aggie. The Falcons had a decent┬ádefense last year, but they’re not particularly strong in the secondary. This game has the potential to be a high scoring affair, and Evans is the go to guy in the Bucs offense. He should be under owned and put up enough points to justify his price tag.

Willie Snead – New Orleans Saints – Value $4,800

Snead was a popular pick in daily leagues last season due to his high usage rate in a high powered offense and low price tag. That trend is looks to be continuing to kick off 2016. Brandin Cooks is the number one receiver for the Saints, but I’m rolling with Big Willie due to the huge disparity in price. The Saints will face off against the Raiders in week 1, and this game has huge scoring potential. Give me a piece of that matchup at a bargain all day long.

Tajae Sharp – Tennessee Titans – Value $3,000

Sharp made waves in the Titans offense this preseason and is currently listed as the WR 2 on the depth chart behind Rishard Matthews, and I’m including him purely as a basement bargain. Sharp vastly outperformed Matthews in the preseason and looks to be a better athlete. The Titans play the Minnesota Vikings in week 1, who will surely try to stop Tennessee’s two headed running attack. If the Titans fall behind and are unable to move the ball on the ground they may resort to airing it out. Sharp could pay off big time considering his value.

Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – Value $8,300

The Jaguars were fantasy gold last season. Their explosive offense and terrible defense created a perfect storm of fantasy scoring. Jacksonville should be better defensively, but I like their matchup against against the Packers in week 1. Both offenses should put up enough points to keep things competitive, which is why I don’t mind paying up a little for an elite talent like Robinson. I expect Bortles will look his way early and often.

Hail Mary play:

Travis Benjamin – San Diego Chargers – Value $4,100

Travis Benjamin was solid in a few games last season with the Browns despite dealing with subpar quarterback play. He joins an explosive offense in the San Diego Chargers this year and could be a sneaky play from time to time. The Chargers have elite receiver Keenan Allen back this year, so expect him to eat up a lot of targets. However, San Diego plays a stout Kansas City defense in week 1, and I would anticipate them wanting to shut down Allen right off the bat. If he draws a lot of double coverage, then that could open things up for Benjamin to have a good day.

Tight Ends:

Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans – Value $4,500

Walker was a stud last season for the Titans racking up over 1,000 yards on 94 catches. What’s more impressive is the 25% target share he saw in Mariota’s first season. That number figures to decline this season with the talent the Titans added at wide receiver, but I still like Delanie this week considering his price tag. The Titans play the Vikings in what should be a relatively low scoring game, but Walker’s value and rapport with his quarterback could pay off.

Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns – Value $4,700

Barnidge found the fountain of youth last season and was a hugely popular waiver wire addition. The Browns were not very good offensively in 2015, which made him a top target in a passing attack without much to work with. The Browns added a ton of young talent in the draft, which should help RGIII spread the ball around more this season. However, young receivers typically take some time to develop, so I like Barnidge to remain the go to guy early in the season. The Eagles defense is opportunistic, but they are prone to giving up points. I like Barnidge this week given his value, which should free up some cash to spend up at other positions.

Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – Value $3,900

Eric Ebron has been a frustrating fantasy prospect over his first few seasons in the league. He is a freak athletically but injuries have kept him from becoming an elite tight end. Once again, we are all looking for him to have a breakout year with the departure of Calvin Johnson from a team that throws the football more than most others in the NFL. The Lions are up against the Colts this week, and this game has high scoring potential. Indianapolis isn’t much of a challenge defensively, so Stafford should find success. If Ebron can take advantage of his situation he could put up a decent amount of points at his $3,900 price.

Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins – Value $6,600

Reed was impressive last season with the emergence of Kirk Cousins in what turned out to be a beneficial one-two punch in fantasy football. There are two tiers of tight ends in terms of fantasy production: Gronk. And everyone else. Reed is at the top of my list of everyone else. I’m staying away from Gronk this week due to the Patriots QB situation and them facing a smothering Cardinals secondary. Cousins and Co. face off against the Steelers, so look for a lot of scoring to occur. At $6,600, Reed is worth the price. Expect him to be one of the highest owned tight ends this week though. You’ll need to find value at other positions if you’re rolling him out.

Hail Mary play:

Jesse James – Pittsburgh Steelers – Value $3,400

James caught a break with Ladarius Green being added to the Steelers PUP list, which moves him into the starting tight end on the depth chart for the first six weeks of the season. I’m adding him purely as a bargain play with some upside. The Steelers offense will have to deal with star CB Josh Norman in his season debut with the Redskins, which could limit Antonio Brown a bit. If that happens Big Ben may resort to spreading the ball around a little more, so James is a flier that could pay off.

Defense:

Philadelphia Eagles – Value $3,300

An inexpensive defensive option playing a turnover prone RGIII at home in his first game with a new, extremely young receiving core. Count me in.

Arizona Cardinals – $3,600

On paper this would normally be a head scratcher. In reality the Patriots should struggle without Tom Brady against an elite Cardinals defense. They shouldn’t be highly owned, so there’s some upside there as well.

Who I’m Stacking:

Stacking is a common practice in daily fantasy football. The thought is combining two or more players on the same team yields more fantasy points if those players perform well and is mostly used by pairing a quarterback with his receiver. Common sense tells us that if a quarterback is playing in a favorable situation, then one of his receivers will reap rewards as well. Listed below are a couple of QB/WR combos I’m stacking in week 1.

Jameis Winston/Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Total Value $14,000

Evans is one of the higher priced WRs, but pairing him with a value pick like Winston opens up cash flow for players at other positions. Each of them has an opportunity to put up big points against a soft Falcons secondary. I loved the chemistry between the two in the preseason, and the Bucs have a great matchup to start 2016.

Derek Carr/Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders – Total Values $14,500 or $12,800

The Raiders matchup against the Saints has all the makings of a high scoring football game to kick off the season. There will be a multitude of players being deployed on these two teams this week. The reason I’m leaning towards the Raiders offense is mostly due to price. Carr and Cooper come in with a total asking price of $14,500, which when compared to the price to stack Brees and Cooks comes in at $15,800 seems pretty reasonable. A sneaky play here would be to throw in Crabtree over Cooper and save yourself a cool $1,700 to spend at other positions. Both receivers should have a productive day.

Hail Mary play:

Tyrod Taylor/Sammy Watkins – Buffalo Bills – Total Value $13,800

This is a pure value stack that I’m rolling out in a couple leagues for two reasons. First, Taylor was sneakily good last season. He just signed an incentive laden contract and needs to produce. Second, the Ravens were terrible at defending the pass last season. If these two can connect for some big plays it’ll give you a leg up on the competition as neither one should be very highly owned, particularly Taylor. The price tag of both players also frees up cap space for more high value building blocks.

Steal of week one:

Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – Value $4,400

News broke earlier in the week that Jamaal Charles will like be inactive or limited in week one of the season. This automatically catapults Ware into fringe RB2 territory. He played very well in Charles’ absence last season and faces a San Diego defense that is mediocre at best. He will most assuredly be a highly owned player in week one, but Ware’s value as a starting RB is too much to pass up on. His addition to your lineup adds a ton of cash to spend up at other positions of need.

Daily fantasy will always be a fickle beast. Figuring out how to capitalize on match ups and spend your money wisely is almost always the key to being successful. If we’re able to help you identify a few trends that’ll help you win a few weeks, then I’m more than happy with that.

This concludes our inaugural DFS take on what you should be doing with your money in week one of the NFL season. We here at No Huddle have a passion for fantasy football and would be more than happy to address any questions or concerns you may have. Hit us up @No_HuddleFFB on Twitter if you’re curious to see our thoughts. If you liked this article or any others give us a follow as well.

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