Ladies, gentlemen, children of all ages (or legal gambling age),
If you’re reading this it can only mean one thing. The 2017 NFL season is upon us!!! I’m back again this year to share my daily fantasy football picks with you. Each week I’ll select a handful of players at each position that I think could help you win some cold hard cash. I’m not necessarily going to be building a lineup for you, however, I will give some reasoning behind my thoughts on each player that will hopefully allow you to select some building blocks for your team each week. We at NoHuddle had a fair amount of success last season, so hopefully we’ll get lucky again. Besides, it’s free fantasy advice. What’s better than that? Without further ado, let’s dig in and take a look at week one!
Side note: the values and scoring we use are from Draft Kings. I prefer them for two reasons. They utilize PPR scoring and have an additional flex spot on the roster with no kickers. Everyone hates kickers.
Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
Value – $6,900
Russell Wilson was disappointing as a fantasy asset for a good chunk of last season. He was plagued by leg injuries early and never seemed to fully recover. Wilson is a player that uses his mobility to create space and make plays on the run, so having that ability hampered was a big reason he failed to meet expectations in 2016. However, he has looked sharp in preseason and seems primed for a bounce back year. The Seahawks’ first test will come against Aaron Rodgers and the explosive Packers offense this week. While Green Bay boasts a multitude of weapons for their elite quarterback to utilize, their defense was lackluster much of last season. In fact, the Packers D came in dead last in the league against quarterbacks one year ago. Wilson is tied for the sixth most expensive signal caller this week, and I like his chances at putting up big numbers in what should be a high scoring affair.
Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans
Value – $6,800
The general consensus is that Mariota takes another step forward this season after improving upon his rookie campaign in 2015. A broken leg suffered in the second to last came last year caused The Flyin’ Hawaiian to finish just outside of QB1 status last year. The good news is the Titans added pieces in the offseason to help their franchise quarterback. The additions of Corey Davis and Eric Decker should add to the arsenal already in place consisting of DeMarco Murray, Delanie Walker, and Rishard Matthews. Mariota has the fortune of kicking off this season in a favorable matchup at home against the Raiders. Oakland themselves have a high powered offense (more on that in a minute) but have a tendency to give up big points to opposing quarterbacks. I expect Mariota to get off to a solid start in the first game of the year.
Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders
Value – $6,700
Remember last season when the Colts made Andrew Luck the highest paid quarterback in the NFL? Well it didn’t last long. Oakland ponied up and whipped out the checkbook for Carr in the offseason, which ensures he’ll be their guy for the foreseeable future. While he’s a valuable fantasy asset, Carr still finished on the bottom tier of QB1s last season and edged out Andy Dalton by only eight points in standard leagues. The Raiders see themselves as a playoff contender (and many analysts agree), so pulling the trigger to keep Carr makes senses. While Oakland did bring Beast Mode back from retirement, I still see this offense turning to the passing game to generate yards. The Raiders do play on the road against the Titans to open up the season, but their defense finished 29th against opposing quarterbacks last year. I can see this one turning into a shootout between two talented signal callers.
Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
Value – $6,000
Yup, you read that right. Carson Palmer graces our article this week for the first time in what feels like ages. They say there’s never a gradual downtrend in production when a quarterback starts to decline. It’s more like falling off a cliff. This proved to be the case for Palmer. After a stellar year in 2015, the veteran quarterback finished 19th at his position last season. He barely edged out Joe Flacco and Alex Smith in points if that tells you anything. Still, he is the captain of a talented offense. Arizona has arguably the best pass catching back in all of football in David Johnson, still has Larry Fitzgerald doing his thing, and has an explosive playmaker in John Brown. This team has the talent if Palmer can get back on track. Their matchup against the Lions this week is a favorable one as Detroit finished almost last in the league last year against the quarterback position. If you want to shave a few hundred bucks off your budget this week, then I think Palmer is a decent option.
Hail Mary play:
Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Value – $5,300
Uhhh guys? Carson Wentz is only $5,300 this week. I mean, I get it. We saw flashes last season, but the kid was a rookie. $5,300?!? You know who is going to cost you more than that? Derek Anderson and Jimmy Garappolo. Those guys aren’t even starting for their teams! I’m more than willing to take a flier on Wentz for that price. I don’t think he finishes in the top ten, but he’s a better option than more than a few of the guys priced above him. I played around with it and was able to fit both Julio Jones and Antonio Brown on my team. That’s insanity. It’s even more intriguing when you consider that the Eagles made the move to add weapons and bring in Alshon Jeffrey. Wentz will square off against Josh Norman and the Redskins this week, but it’s actually a favorable matchup. Washington finished 28th last year against quarterbacks. Fly Eagles fly.
Before I begin, Le’Veon Bell is an absolute must start this week. His nearly $10,000 price tag is tough to swallow, but there’s enough value to where you can make it work. That being said I’m giving you my favorite mid-tier guys. No Hail Mary play here.
Bilal Powell – New York Jets
Value – $4,900
I know, I know. Endorsing the Jets offense this year is blasphemy, but who else do they have? They have no quarterback. They have a rag tag team of receivers. I see the run game as the main point of production this season. Even though Powell is a little aged, he’s been underutilized for most of his career. That cannot be said about his counterpart, Matt Forte, who is already nursing an injury. The one thing Powell has going for him is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield and make big plays. I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up finishing as the Jets’ leading receiver. With all of that out in the open, the Bills have struggled mightily against the run as of late. I expect the Jets will want to keep the ball on the ground to keep pressure on whoever they decide to roll out at quarterback. He’s well worth the $4,900 price tag.
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears
Value – $6,300
I’ve said before that Jordan Howard is this year’s Todd Gurley, and I stand behind that comment. Howard exploded onto the fantasy scene in a big way last year, and was drafted as a top ten pick in many leagues this season. My main concern with Howard is that he is going to be the focus of every defense he faces. Defensive coordinators in the NFL aren’t worried about Glennon and Trubisky. I assume they’ll want to force the Bears to beat them through the air. With all of that in mind, I’m putting some faith in Howard to start the season. While Chicago does have issues with talent or offense, they’ll face a Falcons defense at home that could not stop opposing running backs last season. Howard is a top ten talent that comes at a discount this week.
Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams
Value – $6,000
By all accounts Gurley was a bust last season and left those that drafted him at the top of the first round feeling more than a little frustrated. He barely finished above Bilal Powell as the 15th scoring running back. However, there is some cause for optimism this year. The Rams brought in a young new coach with an offensive background and added talent through the draft. The key for Gurley’s success will be whether Jared Goff is able to take a step forward in his sophomore season and keep opposing defenses from putting eight guys in the box. I’m liking Gurley’s matchup this week against a Colts team that will be without Andrew Luck. The Rams should be able to move the ball on the ground against a soft Indianapolis run defense, which makes Gurley an intriguing play.
Isiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns
Value – $5,300
Crowell just can’t get any love. Sure, he plays on a below average football team. However, he finished just 48 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards last season and is undeniably the lead running back for the Browns. Although they are still likely to finish with only a few wins, Cleveland has actually made improvements from last season. The big question mark this year will be the quarterback situation. Hue Jackson had already named rookie DeShone Keizer the starter for week one, but who knows is that lasts. Similar to the Rams, I expect Cleveland will wait to run the ball to keep the pressure off of their young quarterback. Combine that with the fact they’ll face a Steelers defense this week that finished 26th against running back in 2016, and I like Crowell’s odds to have a big day. After all, he did rush for over 150 yards against Pittsburgh in the last game last season. At $5,300 he’s practically a steal.
Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts
Value – $4,300
Seriously, when is Father Time going to start rapidly declining? Frank Gore is 34 years old and is still rushing for 1,000 yards a season. There has to be a point where he can’t sustain that kind of production anymore, right? Well if he does I don’t think it’s going to start this week. No Andrew Luck means Scott Tolzien will get the start against the Rams this week. It also means there’s no way the Colts want to rest the outcome of their first game of the season on their backup’s shoulders. Expect Indianapolis to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible against a Rams defense that has proven to be vulnerable against the run in the past. Gore is a guy you can build a solid lineup around due to his low price point.
Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks
Value – $6,700
I feel like Baldwin is one of the more underappreciated receivers in the league. He’s been one of the more consistent players at his position over the last couple of years and has great rapport with one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He finished last season just six catches shy of 100 receptions, had over 1,100 yards with seven touchdowns, and even threw a touchdown pass. I like Baldwin this week for all of the reasons I gave for endorsing Russell Wilson. I anticipate we’ll a lot of scoring from both the Packers and Seahawks, so this is a game where you’ll want a piece of the action.
Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders
Value – $6,000
It’s not often that we see the second receiver on a team consistently outperform the number one guy, but that’s exactly what we’ve seen in Oakland over the last two season. While Amari Cooper continues to see the spotlight, Michael Crabtree quietly puts up solid numbers on a regular basis. In fact, Crabtree saw 13 more targets than his teammate last season and scored seven more fantasy points. Most of that stems from the lack of attention Cooper sees in the red zone, but it’s still worth noting. For those reasons I intend to continue to fade Amari Cooper until there’s some sort of shift in the distribution from Derek Carr. Crabtree is a whopping $1,200 less than his counterpart this week and is facing a Titans secondary that can be exploited. I’ll take that all day.
Pierre Garcon – San Francisco 49ers
Value – $5,300
Ok, you’ll need to take a leap of faith with me on this one. Yes, Garcon is getting older. Yes, he no longer has Kirk Cousins throwing him the ball. Yes, he now plays for one of the worst organizations in the NFL over recent years. However, he has the advantage of being the go to guy on his team for perhaps the first time in his career. Furthermore, the 49ers aren’t necessarily overflowing with talent that will make Garcon compete for targets. While Brian Hoyer is a step down from Cousins, he had actually been a serviceable quarterback at times in his career. One of Hoyer’s biggest strengths is knowing where his playmakers are and getting them the ball. In this situation that is Pierre Garcon. There’s a reason Kyle Shanahan brought Garcon over as he coached him when he spent time with the Redskins as an offensive coordinator. The veteran receiver will face the Panthers in his first contest of the season, and Carolina was extremely shaky against the pass last year. However, they do boast an imposing run defense. Look for them to shut down the rushing attack and make Brian Hoyer beat them with his arm.
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
Value – $8,500
If there’s one top tier wide receiver I’m playing this week it’s Julio Jones. The Steelers will roll the Browns, so Antonio Brown shouldn’t be needed too often. OBJ is dealing with an injury. Jordy Nelson has a tough matchup against Richard Sherman. There’s some concern that the Falcons take a big step back this season due to the massive Super Bowl hangover they likely have after an epic choke job against the Patriots. If there’s ever been a team to snap that trend, it’s the Falcons this season. They return virtually every offensive starter. The only cause for concern is Kyle Shanahan moving on to Sam Francisco. I don’t believe that hinders Julio too much though. Atlanta will travel to Chicago this week to face off against a Bears team that has question marks all over the place. The Bears secondary ranked 25th against receivers in 2016, so look for Jones to get off to a strong start.
Hail Mary play:
Kendall Wright – Chicago Bears
Value – $3,200
You know those question marks I just mentioned above for the Bears? Well, their quarterback situation is one of them. Chicago brought in Mike Glennon for a decent chunk of money in the preseason but then turned around and selected Mitch Trubisky in this year’s draft. Glennon is pegged as the week one starter, but who knows how long that sticks. Chicago was delivered a devastating blow when Cameron Meredith, their top receiver, was lost for the season just a couple of weeks ago. At this point, nobody really knows who is going to step up and fill that role. Kendall Wright has just as good of a chance as anyone. He’s one of the most experienced receivers on the roster and has a 1,000 yard season under his belt. Kevin White can’t say that. My assumption is the Falcons turn this game ugly real quick, which will force Chicago to throw the ball to stay in the game. At $3,200, Wright is just as good a dice roll as anyone else they have.
Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers
Value – $6,200
The Super Bowl hangover was real for the Panthers last season. Cam was banged up. The defense couldn’t stop anyone. It was hard to watch. One of the lone bright spots on the team in 2016 was Greg Olsen. Despite his quarterback’s subpar play at times, Olsen still finished as the 3rd highest scoring tight end. He’ll put a dent in your budget this week as he’s the second priciest tight end after Gronk, but there’s plenty of optimism that Newton should bounce back this season. San Francisco isn’t necessarily an advantageous matchup for Olsen, but they did rank 18th against tight ends last season. If I’m spending money one of them this week, then it’s Greg Olsen.
Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks
Value – $5,100
Everyone loves a comeback story. Jimmy Graham had one to tell after last year. This guy was impossible to stop with Drew Brees in New Orleans. He left for greener pastures to join the Russell Wilson and was hampered by injuries for most of his time there initially. Just when some counted him out, Graham looked like his old self last season as he finished fourth at the tight end position. I’ve already declared my love for Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin this week, so why not throw Jimmy Graham in the mix too? He’s got one of the better matchups among the big five at his position this week. As I’ve already stated, I see the Seahawks and Packers matchup turning into a shootout. Graham should be worth his $5,100 price tag this week.
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts
Value – $3,700
Fair warning: I might have a tiny man crush on Jack Doyle. He’s not looked great in the preseason, but that’s understandable with Scott Tolzien under center. This pick might be more relevant in a few weeks after Luck returns, but my theory on backup quarterbacks is they tend to rely on their security blankets early on. In this case I think that’s Doyle. The matchup for Handsome Jack isn’t exactly ideal either considering the Rams finished within the top ten against tight ends last season. Again, this is a man crush and a fiscally responsible pick considering Doyle comes with a cheap price tag.
Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
Value – $3,500
How is a player that finished 6th at his position priced 13th to start week one? Zach Ertz was mostly an afterthought in drafts last season but quickly became a fantasy commodity at tight end. Offseason reports say that the chemistry between Ertz and his quarterback is no fluke, but the addition of Alshon Jeffrey will take away some looks from Ertz this season. That being said, how the rushing attack plays out in Philly is anyone’s guess. Is Blount their guy? Will Wendell Smallwood take a step forward? Will we finally see Darren Sproles decline? All of those questions are relevant this week as the Eagles take the field against Kirk Cousins and their high powered passing attack. The Redskins we’re vulnerable against tight ends last season, so I think Ertz is a steal this week.
Hail Mary play:
Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills
Value – $3,200
We finally got confirmation today that Tyrod Taylor will be available for the season opener. I like Charles Clay this season as a sleeper for a few reasons. The main one being the fact that the Bills traded away both Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods in the offseason. They brought in Jordan Matthews to fill the gap, but there’s no guarantee he’s totally healthy. Zay Jones is a rookie with no NFL regular season experience. Taylor is going to need a reliable target to start the season, and that could be Charles Clay. The Jets have been said to have one of the worst things rosters in NFL history this year, so the Bills shouldn’t have much of a task in their opening week.
Who I’m Stacking:
Russell Wilson/Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks Total Value – $13,600
Alright, at this point you should’ve picked up the hint. I like Seattle players in my lineup this week. Green Bay should present a favorable matchup for both Wilson and Baldwin for all of the reasons I mentioned above. The only reason you don’t see many Packers players this week is strictly due to the price tag.
Brian Hoyer/Pierre Garcon – San Francisco 49ers Total Value – $10,400
This was almost a Hail Mary play for me this week, but I decided against it. As I mentioned earlier, Brian Hoyer knows who his playmakers are. His only playmaker that is certain to start the season is Pierre Garcon. Will Hoyer put up big numbers? Who really knows? Still, these two players can be had at a bargain. That should allow you to fill out your lineups with studs at every other position.
Hail Mary play:
Sam Bradford/Stefon Diggs – Minnesota Vikings Value – $11,900
I’m throwing this one out there simply based on the matchup. Despite being mostly disregarded after his time with the Rams, Sam Bradford was actually a decent plug and play option in fantasy last season. He’s not going to put up insane numbers, but he’s definitely got a shot to score you over 20 fantasy points. Especially against a Saints defense that was notorious for getting shredded by opposing quarterbacks in 2016. Stefon Diggs is still the Vikings number one receiver. We’ve seen this guy come out of the gate hot in two consecutive seasons, but he’s had issues staying healthy over the long haul. I think he starts off with a bang once again against New Orleans this week.
Steals of the Week:
CJ Anderson – Denver Broncos
Value – $4,600
The mention of CJ Anderson causes heartburn for many fantasy players. After a promising start to his career, he missed most of last season with an injury. Still, he was actually off to a pretty solid start as he put up over 11 fantasy points in five of seven games before getting hurt. The Broncos offense looks basically the same as it did in 2016, which means Anderson is still listed on top of the team’s depth chart. Devontae Booker has battled a wrist injury throughout the offseason, and the team will likely want to ease Jamaal Charles into action. $4,600 for a starting running back facing a below average Chargers run defense is a great value in my opinion.
Jamison Crowder – Washington Redskins
Value – $5,600
The departure of Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson made Jamison Crowder skyrocket up draft boards in the offseason. The addition of Terrell Pryor has halted some of that optimism, but I still think Crowder leads the Redskins in targets this season. He’s entering his third season and has developed into a valuable fantasy asset, especially in PPR leagues. Pryor is priced $500 more than his counterpart, and I think Crowder actually puts up more points against the Eagles to begin the season. He’s a value pick with high upside this week.
I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it each week. I’m truly passionate about fantasy football and love any opportunity to share my opinions with you. As always, hit us up @No_HuddleFFB on Twitter for any questions you might have. Get rich this week!!!