It is the moment we have all been waiting for. Week one of the NFL is right around the corner. Both FandDuel and DraftKings have come out with some massive GPP contests, giving fans the opportunity to cash in big. Both sites have also announced their World Championship live final, with plenty of qualifiers available this Sunday. While taking down a GPP is very difficult, week one of the NFL might be the best chance. We only have last seasons data to go off of and there is no way of knowing how each team will look after all of the off-season changes.
This all being said, we are here to take a look at some plays for week one. Through the course of the year, I will be writing GPP lineup advice articles to steer you in the right direction with picks and plays. Let’s dive into this Sunday’s NFL main-slate for both sites.
Cam Newton (CAR) $8,100 vs. DAL
While everyone is looking at Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson in the Texans @ Patriots game, a lot of other quarterbacks in great spots should go overlooked. As we know, Cam Newton is one of the best rushing QB’s in the NFL. Last season, he averaged over 60 rushing yards per game in the second half of the season. Only 12 other running backs averaged more rushing YPG in that span. There is always rushing touchdown upside in every game which gives the Panthers QB even more intrigue. Even if we don’t see a lot of rushing attempts this game/season, the Panthers have surrounded Newton with some incredible receiving options. Last year, Christian McCaffrey caught 80 passes providing a great check-down option. Three-time ProBowler, Greg Olsen is fully healthy and first-round pick D.J. Moore will make his NFL debut. Moore is an elite athlete who will compliment Devin Funches nicely and round out a very talented group of offensive players for Cam Newton.
Other Options: Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Case Keenum
Case Keenum (DEN) $5,100 vs. SEA
As the 21st most expensive quarterback, Case Keenum is a fantastic value option on DraftKings this upcoming Sunday. After leading the Vikings to a great 2017 season, Keenum cashed in and has now landed in Denver. The Broncos will host the Seattle Seahawks, who could have a bottom five defense this year. Denver opened at a -1.5 favorite, which has since moved to a -3. The total in this game is low and no one is really understanding how bad the Seahawks defense actually is. This will keep ownership extremely low on the Broncos who are in a great spot. Courtland Sutton and Royce Freeman are great additions to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Denver has struggled at the quarterback position since the Peyton Manning days. While Keenum is certainly not Peyton Manning, he is a very serviceable fantasy QB who is stepping into a potent offense.
Other Options: Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Andrew Luck
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) $8,300 @ CAR
The chalk is Alvin Kamara. He will be the highest owned player on this slate at any position. On DraftKings, he is a must play (in my opinion). However, on FanDuel, where we are given just .5 points per reception, Kamara is slightly devalued. When we play the ownership game, the Cowboys stud back is an interesting option. With the lack of receiving options in Dallas, Zeke is a lock for a massive workload this season. After increasing his targets per game from 2.7 to 3.8 (2016 to 2017), Zeke should get an increase in pass catching production as well. It is not out of the question to expect 30+ touches each week. The Panthers are a fairly good defense, but they have a smaller defensive front. A beast like Elliot, who falls forward on every rush, should be able to get extra yards by breaking more tackles than usual. The Cowboys offensive line is banged up and most people will shy away from the top tier back. At what could be single digit ownership percentage, Elliot is a great GPP option.
Other Options: Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Alex Collins, Jordan Wilkins
Alvin Kamara (NO) $8,500 vs. TB
The only reason to not play Kamara on week 1 would be ownership. Otherwise, he checks all of the boxes as the top running back. Last season, the Saints back averaged 19.9 FPPG on a 38.5% opportunity share. With the suspension to Mark Ingram, we can only assume that number is going to jump up to at least 80%. Which will positively correlate with his fantasy production. In two games against Tampa Bay last season, Kamara had 280 all-purpose yards to go along with three touchdowns. He scored 63 DraftKings points in two games. Le’Veon Bell may not play and David Johnson has an abysmal offensive line in front of him. These are the three running back options in the $8,000+ range. Without any sort of pivot, Alvin Kamara is the clear number one option. We should not overthink this.
Other Options: Christian McCaffrey, Alex Collins, Lamar Miller
Antonio Brown (PIT) $9,000 @ CLE
The DFS community is becoming very educated and gone are the days of finding “sneaky” plays. There is so much content out there with plenty of experts sharing their opinions. First and foremost, Antonio Brown is never a bad play. He is the best wide receiver in the NFL and is always worth consideration. What intrigues me most about Brown this week is the projected ownership. There are plenty of reasons to avoid playing Brown which should limit others going to him. First, the Houston at New England game will garner all of the attention. It has the highest implied total with a lot of great players to pick from. Including DeAndre Hopkins, Chris Hogan, and Rob Gronkowski. Second, the extreme home/road split stats Ben Roethlisberger has shown over his career. Everyone is now aware of just how different of a player he is on the road. Last, his price. He is the highest priced player at any position and needs around 20 fantasy points to pay off value. All of that being said, there are also great reasons to roster Brown. The Steelers wideout scored over 20 points on nine occasions while hitting over 30 in two games. Last year, the Steelers opened the season in Cleveland, where Brown caught 11 passes for 182 yards. If Le’Veon Bell does not suite up, Ben’s favorite receiver could see a similar workload.
Other Options: Michael Thomas, Keenan Allen, Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry, D.J. Moore, John Ross
Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) $5,000 vs. SEA
My personal favorite season-long fantasy wide receiver of 2018 is Emmanuel Sanders. After a disappointing 2017 campaign, a healthy Sanders should be in-line for a huge season. Case Keenum is a huge upgrade at quarterback, which is where the discussion starts. In Minnesota last year, Adam Thielen had a career year hauling in 91 catches for 1,276 yards and four touchdowns. Keenum clearly showcased his love for the slot receiver which should translate with Emmanuel Sanders. The Broncos slot-receiver is a much more talented receiver who when given the targets, makes the most out of them. The 31-year-old caught four of eight targets for 61 yards, from Keenum, in the third preseason game. He received half of the total targets from the new quarterback, debunking any fear of rookie Courtland Sutton stealing production.
Other Options: Keenan Allen, Jarvis Landry, Danny Amendola, Keelan Cole
FanDuel and DraftKings
Jordan Reed (WAS) $5,800 (FD) / $4,000 (DK) @ ARI
Although Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, has the best opportunity to score the most points in week one, Jordan Reed is an interesting ownership pivot. The Redskins have been extremely careful with Reed leading up to the start of the season. Given his injury history, it is always unsettling to roster Reed, in any fantasy scenario. However, his upside makes him one of the best GPP options in DFS. The Cardinals are one of the weaker defenses against the tight end position, allowing 47.2 YPG and 7.1 Pa/G in 2017. In addition, Washington will showcase their new starting quarterback Alex Smith. Over the years, tight ends have thrived with Smith at the helm. Just ask Travis Kelce and Veron Davis. If Reed can play the majority of the snaps Sunday, we could easily see him score the most fantasy points at the position at an incredible discount.
Other Options: Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert, Benjamin Watson, Mike Gesicki
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