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The NFL season is alive and well! It’s Week 1 of the regular season, and that means yours truly is back at GoingFor2 giving you all the best GPP advice for DraftKings that I can, week in and week out. It’s great that the NFL season is here, but Week 1 is one of the more difficult weeks in daily fantasy sports. New faces and old ones in new spots make it tough to predict how well they can pad the stat sheet right out of the gate. Hopefully, I can help. Here’s a look at who I think has an opportunity for a big impression in the opening week.
The Gamefly DraftKings GPP Plays for Week 1
Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs. OAK $6,800
I’m predicting big things from Mariota in his third season. With newcomers like Eric Decker and Corey Davis, along with returning veterans Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker, Mariota now has a plethora of receivers to throw to. His ability to scramble as a runner also makes him a fantasy favorite. Mariota and the Titans get the Raiders in Week 1, a team that gave up a ton of yards in 2016, and ranked 26th against quarterbacks.
Carson Wentz (PHI) @ WAS $5,300
Wentz is another player that I expect to take it to the next level in 2017. I liked what I saw out of Wentz in the preseason with his poise and maturity really starting to show. The Eagles added a pair of veteran receivers this offseason with the signings of Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery to give Wentz some viable options for 2017. If you’re looking to save some money at the QB spot, Wentz is a great option against Washington’s weak secondary.
Todd Gurley (LAR) vs. IND $6,000
Arguably the biggest bust of 2016, Todd Gurley is in position to bounce back in a major way for 2017. With new head coach Sean McVay in town, the Rams offense as a whole should be revitalized into something that is actually worth watching. A strong dose of Gurley is expected, and he could easily surpass the 1,000-yard mark and double digit touchdowns this year like he did as a rookie. The Colts defense is still subpar so this is a great place for him to start.
Christian McCaffrey (CAR) @ SF $5,400
Given that this is DraftKings, I’m taking a strong look at McCaffrey in my lineups every week. Normally, I would hit pause on a rookie for Week 1, but McCaffrey provides great value this week at his price point. The time-split with Jonathan Stewart is not ideal, but McCaffrey is Carolina’s passing down back for the foreseeable future. The 49ers ranked dead last in 2016 against running backs, and although I’m expecting they improve in that area some, I am making the bold prediction that McCaffrey will score at least once in his first official NFL game.
Bilal Powell (NYJ) @ BUF $4,900
Many fantasy experts are sleeping on Bilal Powell this year, but I’m not one of them. I understand that the Jets suck, and that Powell has never been an elite running back, but he has all the tools that you want from a RB in PPR formats. The Jets are trying to shop Matt Forte, and if successful, it would practically put Powell in a bellcow role. Just take a look at what he did at the end of last year when Forte was out. Powell is the only thing the Jets have so teams will key on him, but the mass volume is there. At his price range, he is one of the most valued players for Week 1.
Terrelle Pryor Sr. (WAS) vs. PHI $6,100
Again, because this is DraftKings, wide receiver is typically the position where I prefer to “pay up”. It is also a good position, however, to find some strong value with the middle tier guys. While Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are in excellent matchups themselves against Cleveland and Chicago, respectively, there are some middle tier guys who are just as threatening to put up big numbers in favorable matchups.
Pryor has been hyped all offseason since his move from Cleveland. Him alongside Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed provides Kirk Cousins with, yet again, a great set of options. This game against Philadelphia has the potential for a lot of fantasy points, and I look for Pryor to collect on that in his first game as a Redskin.
Michael Crabtree (OAK) @ TEN $6,000
You could pay extra for Amari Cooper here at $7,200, but I don’t see enough drop-off from Cooper to Crabtree, which is why I tend to lean Crabtree’s way most of the time. Oakland’s offense is again loaded with options, and now with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, teams will be forced even further to respect the run against them. That leaves the opportunity for things to open up down the field. I expect strong production from both Cooper and Crabtree in 2017. Tennessee was one of the worst teams in the league last year against the pass. They went out and addressed it in the draft, but it will take some time before they start seeing results.
Adam Thielen (MIN) vs. NO $4,800
Thielen came on strong in the last half of 2016, and is now fighting with teammate Stefon Diggs as the team’s primary receiver. Even if he loses, Thielen is in prime position to be a top fantasy option in PPR formats. Thielen has spent the majority of his time this preseason working out of the slot. This may limit Thielen’s opportunities at touchdowns, but he could just as easily rack up catches on a week-to-week basis. New Orleans hasn’t been able to play defense since the beginning of forever. Thielen should have no problem finding ways to get open against this defense.
Greg Olsen (CAR) @ SF $6,200
It’s time to pay the piper so to speak. I’ve given plenty of valued options at other positions, but tight end is a good position this week to spend a chunk of your salary. Look no further than Greg Olsen. At, arguably, the thinnest position in fantasy football, Olsen has remained one of the elites, and this year should be no different. His numbers scaled back some in 2016, but a lot of that had to do with the play of Cam Newton. If Newton can get back to form somehow, Olsen should have another big year, potentially as a top three tight end. He draws a fantastic matchup in Week 1 on the road against the 49ers.
Buffalo Bills vs. NYJ $3,900
The Bills are the expensive defense of the week, and against the Jets it’s easy to see why. New York is awful, and they are a team I plan on streaming against quite often as the season goes on. Albeit not great, the Bills defense is a respectable one for fantasy, and this is a game where they very easily could create some turnovers, and possibly score. Whoever the Jets roll out as their starter for Week 1 is probably not good enough to be most team’s 3rd option.
Other Notables: Houston vs. JAX $3,800, Pittsburgh @ CLE $3,600