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Gun's Week 1 Breakdown

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  • Gun's Week 1 Breakdown

    Posting this for transparency and potential VIP'ers to get a look at the style of article to expect. This was posted Wednesday Night/Thurs morning.. so obviously some needles moved and some circumstances changed going into Sunday.







    Steelers are fantasy sweethearts and are HUGE favorites here. There will be tons of ownership here, potentially on both sides.


    Le'Veon Bell should rival David Johnson as the highest owned back IN ALL FORMATS. His volume coupled with being a big road favorite is exactly what you want. In daily fantasy we're often trained to "fade chalk in GPP's." Don't go too crazy on that line of thinking in NFL where stud-variance isn't as high as daily sports. While the term "hitting value" returns to our vocabulary, Bell breaking 20+DKP is a common result when you explore range of outcomes. Great floor for all formats. The fade justification at his high price would be if he didn't break 30 fantasy points. And I would not bet on that happening. Last season Bell broke 30DKP in 5 games, including 37.1DKP against the Browns in a 24-9 victory.

    The Browns front line best proven player is Danny Shelton. He'll be joined by an unproven Myles Garrett and Trevon Coley and a proven liability in Left End Emmanuel Ogbah. The Browns secondary will spend much of the game worried about the location of Antonio Brown and the return of big play threat Martavis Bryant. If/When Bell sneaks past the front line, Bell is likely setup for 8+ yard gains with big play upside. If I run 100 lines, 70 of them likely have Bell.

    While the Cleveland Browns secondary doesn't grade horribly, Antonio Brown is a matchup proof receiver that always has 100 yard, 8 reception upside. The concern here will be how much meat is left on the bone at his price once the game script seesaw is setup for clockchewing run plays. If I had to only choose between playing Bell or Brown, I end up with Bell. But AB is a matchup proof monster.

    If you're new to NFL DFS and have been watching NFL as a casual fan, You might be taken back by the unexplainable home/road splits of Ben Roethlisberger. It's truly incredible. He hasn't put up more than 10 TD's in a season the road in the last 3 years. Finding a reason for these splits is easier said than done. I may allow that to limit my interest in Ben here as I also don't normally target large favorite quarterbacks. Last year Ben had less than 10 fantasy points .vs. The Browns on the road. While Bell had 37.

    I won't let this completely eliminate my exposure as Big Ben has won several Milly Makers in his day with Brown, Bell AND Bryant together. He's had several 5 TD games.

    Martavis Bryant returns after a lengthy suspension. He'll be a GPP play every week this season opposite Antonio Brown. Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell will constantly draw all the attention allowing him to slip by for the home runs.

    Twice in 2015.. The full Steelers stack won the Millionaire Maker on DraftKings. If you plan on playing every week, It's worth tossing that stack in every week for history's sake.


    I know what you're thinking.. Nobody from the Browns! But I disagree, whole heartedly. If you're going to grab Steelers it's +EV to consider leverage plays to fire back at your handcuff's/stacks.

    I 100% believe the Browns are a better team than people think they are.. And maybe that's not saying much, I think they'll surprise people early. I'm not calling for an upset here, But I will be running out some Browns players in my roster builds.

    The right side of the field is the weakest for the Steelers secondary. Strong Safety Sean Davis, Left Outside Linebacker Bud Dupree and ex-Brown Cornerback Joe Haden create a preflop weakness as they all graded out terribly last season. If Browns get desperate and trail, This could be positive for outside receivers on the strong side. Would expect that to be Corey Coleman for much of the game but I would also consider the more reliable Kenny Britt.

    Kenny Britt had a very quiet 1,000+ yard season last year for the Rams. That's certainly incredible considering the lack-of-talent they had under center. Do you think DeShone Kizer has a chance to be better than Jared Goff? He's certainly looked capable in preseason.

    DeShone Kizer is somebody I think could be cash game viable this week. I know, I know.. That's crazy, right? Kizer is $4,800 on DraftKings and $6,000 on FanDuel. He's cheaper than several backup QB's. Probably because he wasn't expected to start when pricing came out. Outside of an injury, This game script calls for Kizer to have plenty of opportunities to air it out. Volume of opportunity at this price is extremely enticing. Kizer had just a 51% completion rate in a successful Browns preseason, so I certainly understand the skepticism. But punts in NFL payoff in 2nd half garbage time. We're looking for prevent defense and a touchdown in the 2nd half. If he managed 2 TD's, I think he pays off his price.

    One strength of the Browns this year will be their offensive line. Pro Football Focus graded out the O line as the 2nd best in the NFL. Another plus for a rookie quarterback to potentially have a little bit more time in the pocket to make a decision.

    It also perks my eyebrows slightly for lead back Isaiah Crowell. Any running back behind a good offensive line is in consideration but Crowell showed upside with poor quality around him last year so I'm excited to see him flourish with an improvement class of teammates. I feel the same about Crowell in this spot as I do Bilall Powell above. Not optimal spot for cash, but certainly can have usage in any game script with some sneaky PPR upside to go with his great yards-per-carry numbers from last year.


    Currently a Vegas Pick'em between the Cards and Lions here. Suggests a potential shootout and the Lions were known for close games in the 4th quarter last year. This opens up a wide range of options for a fantasy perspective.

    On the record, I disagree with the Pick'em take here. I'd put the Cardinals at -3. But that's solely on the back of David Johnson as I worry about Palmer .vs. the outside secondary of the Lions.


    David Johnson is the all formats target here. Much like Le'Veon Bell, He is essentially matchup proof week-to-week. Lions have a pretty stout secondary with CB's Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson. Glover Quinn and Tavon Wilson as the Safeties are also great players. The biggest hole in the Lions defense is the middle of the field due to a weak linebacking core. This is a plus position for slant routes and slot receivers.... Oh.. and ridiculous running backs who can run you over and catch out of the backfield. This led to the Lions defense allowing the highest completion rate in football last year. If David Johnson gets receptions over the middle with open field in front of him, All bets are off. The make-or-break cash game decision this week will be "LeVeon Bell or David Johnson?" For me, LeVeon Bell checks a few more marks.. but Bell also missed the entire preseason and camp. High floor/High upside play and I can't argue you if you roll David Johnson over Bell.

    Larry Fitzgerald as a savvy veteran is interesting in a close game. As I mentioned above, Despite a strong-on-paper secondary... Lions allowed the league's highest completion rate. Inside the 10 yards line last season, Fitz saw 11 targets for 4 receptions and 3 TD's. While a 32% target share inside the 10 for the season is nice.. a 36% catch rate feels a little more GPP-worthy if he's dealing with someone like Darius Slay. But again, with that defense's woes over the middle and the completion rate allowed, A slant route becomes a TD. Targets will always be there for Fitz and I don't hate him as a WR3, particularly on DK.

    Carson Palmer isn't likely to make my roster builds but while I've been dogging the linebackers for opposing QB's completion rates last year, A lot of blame also falls on front defensive line. The Lions defense registered just 26 sacks last season.. Tied with the Browns for second fewest in the league. The secondary can only cover guys for so long if there's no pressure on the quarterback. With that said, I don't think too highly of Palmer in his golden years here but if David Johnson catch-and-shoots a pair of TD's, Palmer suddenly becomes a viable option.

    John Brown is nothing more than a deep tournament option for me here. But even then I'm not sure if a GPP winning point total is anything more than an extreme outlier in the range of outcomes.

    Cardinals Defense a very intriguing tournament defense. They are the 18th priced defense on DraftKings and have #1 upside. This defense led the NFL in sacks last year and registered 14 interceptions for 3 defensive TD's.

    Chandler Jones is an elite defensive edge rusher who accounted for 11 of the teams sacks last year and forced 4 fumbles (2 recoveries). Jones will most often line up against the Lions Left Tackle Greg Robinson and Left Guard Graham Glasgow. Both of which grade HORRENDOUSLY. This put's Matthew Stafford's blindside at risk and further builds the chance of Chandler Jones adding to his force fumbles and sack numbers. Stafford is no stranger to getting sacked either, He hit the ground for 37 sacks last season.. 6th most in football.

    This secondary features Patrick Peterson, one of the league's top corners. He should help neutralize the WR1 while Tyrran Mathieu and Justin Bethel are above average as WR2 corner and slot corner.

    The Cardinals Defense last year-to-this year loses defensive end Calais Campbell (HUGE LOSS) and both starting safeties Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger. All 3 guys were ranked top 10 in their position by PFF so hard to rely on "next-man-up" in Week 1 on the road to pick up where this defense left off last year.

    Matt Stafford was super efficient last year with a 24:10 TD:INT ratio on a 69.7% completion rate. If Cardinals were the home team and benefitted from crowd noise, I might be a little higher on the defense here but for now they're just a tasty GPP option for me with above average risk.


    If I'm looking at last year's DVOA for the Cardinals, Their leaks came against WR#2 (29th) and Slot Receiver (16). Cards were 5th .vs. TE and #1 .vs. pass catching RB's.

    Being #1 .vs. Pass Catching RB's is especially notable considering the huge impact we've seen from Theo Riddick. In 10 games last year, Theo logged 53 receptions on 67 targets with 5 TD's. In a full season in 2015, Theo logged 80 receptions in 99 targets for 697 yards and 3 TD's. He's averaging over 5 receptions a game. Nice floor for PPR. He's certainly a weapon for Stafford to check down to under pressure, and Chandler Jones should ensure that. And like I said, losing both Top 10 safeties from last year's squad nearly makes their #1 DVOA .vs. Pass Catch RB's useless. Because of the volume and the Vegas spread/total for Riddick, You'd have to at least consider him here here. Ameer Abdullah is listed as a co-starter with Riddick on the depth chart. It should be noted that he went down in Game 2 last year with a fractured foot, creating more opportunity for Theo before he went down.

    If I'm playing Matthew Stafford here, It's only because I'm following Vegas calling a close game and The Lions led the league in +/- 7 point games in the 4th quarter last year giving him ample opportunity to make plays happen.

    Painting a picture of being under pressure, If I'm considering Stafford then I'd handcuff him to Golden Tate in the slot. I don't love it but he makes more sense than Marvin Jones and/or preseason stud Kenny Golladay on the outside and could PPR his way into a good day with big play potential. Tate had a 69% completion rate last season with an 8.5 average depth of target and 11.8 yards per reception. Lions were infamous for "run-by-pass" last year and Tate could slow grind his way to value. At $6,500 on DK I'm probably not holding my breathe on the 100 yard bonus (got it 3 times last season, once .vs. The Saints) so I'd really be looking for him to fall into the endzone and I have some good news.

    Anquan Boldin, Last year's starting slot receiver, led the team in targets inside the 10 yard line last season with 7, hauling 5 catches for 4 TD's. 25% target rate in that situation. Boldin is no longer with the team (or in the league) and Golden Tate is now the starting slot receiver. Pushing the chains back, Boldin also led the team in targets inside the 20 yard line hauling 12 catches for 6 TD's. I suppose it's perfectly reasonable to funnel those passing tendencies to Tate now.


    I'll be honest, I love both of these defenses this year so I'm not sure tournament winning upside comes out of this game.

    Jaguars secretly have 2 of the best cornerbacks in the league in Jalen Ramsey and ex-Texans A.J. Bouye.


    The Texans Defense will be one of my favorite defenses this week. Low point total for the visiting Jaguars who announced that they would stick with Blake Bortles under center for Week 1. In his 3 year career, Blake Bortles has thrown 69 TD's to 51 INT's. An already mistake prone QB should see plenty of pressure on drop backs with J.J Watt back on the line. Corners Kevin Johnson and Jonathan Joseph grade well and should put plenty of stress on Bortles and his accuracy woes as he seeks out Allen Robinson.

    Lamar Miller is interesting but not sure I see enough upside for tournament exposure, But if he collected 2 TD's in a grind-it-out battle .vs. a stout Jaguars defense, it could pay off. As I mentioned above, CB's Ramsey and Bouye are one of the top CB combo's in the league preflop and this should funnel usage to Miller. Miller would a positive correlation to playing the Texans defense as a Blake Bortles turnover could put Texans inside the 40 a few times. Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson are 2 absolute studs for the Jags on the defensive line.

    Nick Novak would be someone I write down for Kicker on FanDuel. As you'll see below, I have the Jaguars as a stout defense. They could certainly be a "bend-not-break" team and Novak could benefit from some inside the 40 stalls. Indoor stadium as a home favorite is great game script for him.


    The Jaguars Defense is the only thing I could make a legit case for.. as I've said they are LOADED on paper. But I think their biggest weakness is their quarterback. My lack of faith in Bortles means I believe the Jags stall a lot, fail to the move the chains and leave the defense on the field more than you'd want to tire them down. I would also be concerned with Blake Bortles turning the ball over and giving the Texans great field position, putting this defense behind the 8 ball and possibly suffering death by field goals if nothing else.

    Leonard Fournette is interesting but I think he may carry higher ownership than the matchup deserves based on name-value. Both teams will probably pound the rock plenty and his price tag is low enough that 70 yards and a TD is not the worst case. He's been dealing with a nagging foot injury and there's enough resistance in this matchup that I can stay away.

    Lastly, I just want to note that I can see this as a run-heavy game where both offensive coordinators try to lull the defense to sleep with carry-after-carry-after-carry and then play-action pass a bomb or 2 downfield to take a chance. Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins both have big play potential and usually see plenty of targets throughout the course of a game. Chip and a chair. Also for you Allen Hurns fans, He has been listed below Keelan Cole and preseason sweetheart Dede Westbrook in the depth chart. Would completely avoid him.


    Bills are a sizeable favorite here and the process is all about playing running back's on team's who are large favorites.


    LeSean McCoy is a cash game target for me here. Has PPR potential and this could potentially be a 20+ carry game. Historically we've had to be concerned about McCoy getting "vultured" by guys like Mike Gillislee or Jonathan Williams. He appears to have a stranglehold on things now with his backup being Joe Banyard. McCoy's volume this year with a 24 implied point total is extremely optimal.

    Jordan Matthews is a notable GPP target for me. This team traded away Sammy Watkins and picked up Jordan who has been a target monster for the Eagles in the past. He'll likely line up against Buster Skrine in the slot and being able to feast against a horrible Jets defense.

    As of 9/4, Matthews is listed as questionable with a chest injury after suffering a chip fracture of his sternum.

    If Matthews is out (or if you want a super deep tournament play), You might look at Zay Jones. He would be unlikely to make my short list either way.

    Tyrod Taylor was a high floor, low ceiling play last year due to his mobile upside. Field Yates reported that he has passed NFL Concussion Protocol and he will play this game. I'm not fearful of the Jets pass rush flushing him out of the pocket for some scramble upside but a QB .vs. the Jets will be a consideration every week this year, The cheaper the better. Probably more of a cash game play than a GPP play, But Tyrod led all NFL QB's last season with rushing TD's (6) so again, versus the Jets could be the salary saver dream matchup that goes low owned.

    Bills Defense should be trendy as will most defenses against the Jets.


    The Jets are expected to be one of the worst teams in history (seriously, ask Vegas). So targeting players from this team week-to-week will not be trendy. I think the Bills Defense will be a popular choice for good reason.

    Bilal Powell would be a guy I can get behind, however. There is strong talk of Matt Forte being traded by this "rebuilding" team and this could happen before Sunday's game (or they could even opt to ice him for injury protection). If Forte is out. Powell becomes a lucrative tournament play on DraftKings. Normally I would not target extreme underdog RB's but Powell is a check-down catch-and-shoot threat that could put together a great ROI on his $4,900 salary with 3-6 catches, some running yards and a TD. 3 of his last 4 games last season saw him put up over 25DKP (including Week 17 .vs. the Bills). Seeing prevent defense in the 2nd half would be garbage-time goodness. I may not necessarily need Forte to be out to play him, either.

    If you're really desperate for PPR and want to trust Josh McCown (Who I don't think is a horrible quarterback), Game script would likely be in a fantasy QB's favor as a big underdog and you could make a case for Robby Anderson who may see 1st round draft pick Trea'Davious White. Josh McCown's 54.5% completion rate last season for the horrendous Browns with a 5 game sample size isn't optimal, But he had some more encouraging numbers (and games) the year prior with a 63.7% completion rate in 8 games with a 12:4 TD:INT ratio. Jermaine Kearse and Jeremy Kerley are new additions to the team and if Anderson lines up with White, Kearse/Kerley may see Shareece Wright. Wright not a great CB but Kearse isn't a great WR. In the grand scheme of things, Overthinking exposure to Jets players is not something to waste time on.

    When Josh McCown had weapons 2 years ago (Travis Benjamin, Andrew Hawkins, Isaiah Crowell, Gary Barnidge) we saw a tendency for him to use his tight end, Gary Barnidge. This could be a clue for us to keep an eye on Austin Sefarian-Jenkins going forward, but he'll be serving a suspension this week. Eric Tomlinson the backup more-than-likely doesn't meet one of my lineups this weekend.


    Here's a game that should offer some high profile interest with a popular and fantasy friendly Falcons offense matching up against a suspect Bears team.


    Much has been made of the offseason departure of Kyle Shanahan and skeptics expect a depressing follow up to a SuperBowl year largely in part to a chance at OC. But Julio Jones is an elite level receiver and matchup proof no matter who's calling the plays. The "best" Bears CB is Prince Amukamara and I'm not convinced he's good enough for the Bears to assign shadow duty to Julio which could naturally match him up with Marcus Cooper. Out of 120 qualified cornerbacks, only 6 CB's had worse pass coverage grades according to PFF. Good luck. Obviously Julio will draw a lot of double coverage and Bears have a respectable core of linebackers and safeties but Falcons are not ashamed to get Julio the ball behind the line of scrimmage with bubble screens and quick slants.. He'll get his opportunities.

    Game script is highly favorable for Devonta Freeman. Against a team that has Mike Glennon under center and an extremely questionable receiving core.. We can expect plenty of carries for Freeman to protect a lead and chew the clock. Devonta Freeman truly has David Johnson upside week-to-week, however, the presence of Tevin Coleman poses a threat to Freeman's upside and often neutralizes the huge day upside. Freeman posted 2 games last season above 30dkp which is still enough to be relevant in GPP's but a little harder to trust in cash games (not impossible though). Both Freeman and Coleman are huge threats to catch-and-shoot out of the backfield. For what it's worth, The Bears were #8 in DVOA last season .vs. pass catching backs.

    Matt Ryan is $6,900 on DraftKings. He was $6,900 or less just five times last season and with pass-happy Steve Sarkisian as his new OC, It's viable to see him thrive here. Would certainly have Ryan/Julio handcuffs in tournaments. The lopsided spread doesn't check off on a list of "what you want" typically but you certainly couldn't rule out a possibility of 3 passing TD's and 300 yards passing.

    The points should be there for the Falcons, Our job is to gamescript scenarios in our roster builds to get those points. I'm not super excited to play Mohamed Sanu here as he could potential be a 4th read, low volume guy for Ryan depending on the package.

    Falcons Defense could be playable if you assume a lopsided game that has Mike Glennon trying to connect with a crippled receiving core. CB's Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant are above average CB's and Middle Linbacker Deion Jones is a servicable MIKE to lead the defense to success. The Falcons had a below average pass rush last year and just 12 interceptions.. however, they did cash in on 5 defensive TD's. Tied for most in the league. GPP Option.


    Jordan Howard profiles as the most intriguing Bears option this week. He's likely their best player and throughout the year will be their best weapon. Even in such a negative game script, His $6,300 price tag on DraftKings has me drawn. His 5.2 yards per carry is the 2nd most amongst all RB's last season with over 200 carries (2nd to LeSean McCoy) and he logged over 1300 yards in just 15 games of work. He was also viable out of the backfield with 29 receptions on 46 targets. He did have 8 drops in those targets but the volume was there (and Jay Cutler and Matt Barkley were throwing those footballs). Not that Mike Glennon is some extreme upgrade but... he can't be worse? This potential to catch-and-shoot is particularly intriguing as Falcons were 27th in DVOA .vs. Pass Catching RB's and through the first 15 weeks (I leave off meaningless Week 16), Falcons allowed the most receptions to RB's in football (100) and the most receiving yards (823) on 5 TD's. Bears won't win but using Howard is their best bet.

    Zach Miller becomes my 2nd most interesting Bears option here at Tight End. WR's Kevin White and Deonte Thompson have decent-to-tough matchups against Trufant and Alford with the added liability of Mike Glennon under center. Gamescript will call for the passing game here and Zach Miller's $2,800 DK tag and $4,500 tag could make him viable in all formats on a Sunday Main slate that doesn't have Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski to pay up for. Outside of Greg Olsen, You can't expect huge outputs preflop by Tight End this weekend so if Miller delivered a very cheap 10+ point game on either site, I think that makes him a fine play. Through the 1st 15 weeks, Falcons allowed 83 receptions to Tight Ends (7th most in NFL) for 950 yards and 8 TD's. Zach Miller led the Bears in targets inside the 10 yard line converting 4 receptions on 5 targets for 3 TD's. Cameron Meredith, Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal combined for 10 more targets for the Bears inside the 10- They are now all absent from the team.

    Kendall Wright deserves consideration as a slot receiver on an underdog team. He's very cheap on both sites and could easily hit value on PPR sites.

    Mike Glennon is a deep GPP streamer option I suppose.. And the Glennon/Zach Miller combo could be a cheap GPP handcuff if you're trying to build a Bell/Johnson and/or McCoy line. Hard to get excited for it though.


    Another potential blow-for-blow shootout with 2 of my favorite offenses to watch. I'm more excited about this Vegas pick'em than the Cardinals/Lions.


    Throughout the year I will be overweight on stacking Derek Carr with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in GPP's. And I very likely give that a shot here.

    The Titans secondary was ranked 20th going into this season by PFF. I honestly think they could outplay that projection as I do like the addition of CB Logan Ryan (who didn't allow a TD in his final 10 games w/ the Patriots last year). They also drafted Adoree Jackson in the 1st round. Jackson is unproven in the NFL so we can't overrespect his draft stock too soon.

    The question for me here is do we see any shadow assignments by Logan Ryan? I don't think a DC can really say "We don't have to put our best on Michael Crabtree, let's focus on Amari Cooper." Though I will be listening to beatwriters as the week progresses to see if the Titans disagree.

    So if no special assignments are designated. Natural formations could see Amari Cooper opposite Leshaun Sims who had a few strong games last season (his best performance came against the Broncos offense) but overall isn't anyone to fear and is outclassed by Amari Cooper here. Cooper saw a healthy 127 targets last year pulling in 83 receptions and over 1100 yards with 5 TD's. 8-10 targets any given Sunday is the expectation. This volume and big play upside (and potentially most favorable matchup) makes him viable in all formats for me.

    Michael Crabtree had MORE targets than Amari Cooper last year with 142. This is pretty much a 2 man show and that's why I envision myself rolling the dice weekly on the 3 man stack. The risk in Crabtree here would be a possible natural matchup with Logan Ryan while leading the league in dropped passes (13) with 2 fumbles. The dropped passes may be a little unfair as he had the 9th most targets in the league, it's bound to happen. The Good here is Derek Carr locks in on Michael Crabtree in the RedZone. Last season only Jordy Nelson (GB), Kyle Rudolph (MIN) and Brandon Marshall (NYJ) saw more RedZone targets. Crabtree had 21 targets inside the 20 converting 12 receptions and 6 TD's. Even more luring is he had 8 targets inside the 10 with 4 receptions and 4 TD's. His completion rate in the clutch leaves much to be desired but the volume is there and our goal is to script opportunity and leave the conversion to the players. While Crabtree isn't usually the 100 yard receiver of the two, He did haul 8 catches on 11 targets for 102 yards against the Titans last year. He outscored Amari Cooper who caught 4 of 9 for 62 yards.

    For triple stacks.. Cooper is the yardage guy with Crabtree being the TD guy.

    Marshawn Lynch came out of retirement to put on a Raiders uniform and will be the RB1 for the Raiders in Week 1. The Raiders boasted a top 5 offensive line last season and going forward, with the exception of Marshall Newhouse at RT this line rivals #1 in the league. So, sure.. a RB behind this line could thrive. But I don't know if I'm buying a 30+ year old, out-of-retirement RB on the road in Week 1. Name value could make him trendy and might be attached to undeserved ownership that I could take a stand against. Titans allowed the 2nd fewest rushing yards per game last season. I don't see myself playing Lynch in any format.


    Marcus Mariota is back from a crushing injury at the end of last season and he's worth watching week-to-week. The only thing stopping me from considering Mariota in cash formats is the fact that the Titans have one of the best offensive lines in football with one of the league's best 1-2 punches at RB in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. This culminated in the Titans having the 3rd highest run play percentage last season and subsequently the 3rd lowest pass play percentage. But for GPP's Mariota has a nice arsenal of receivers in Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis and Eric Decker. Lest we leave out Delanie Walker who assumes WR target volume and the sneaky pass catching threat of DeMarco Murray. This profiles Mariota as a low floor but very high ceiling play and we'll see him at the top of GPP's a few times this season.

    Perhaps a little more cash-friendly, DeMarco Murray had a fantastic 2016 campaign with the Titans and was the only RB to have a rushing, receiving AND PASSING touchdown. He's a jack-of-all trades. The glooming concern will be the evolving Derrick Henry working behind him but until further notice Murray is still playable in all formats for me. He could be slept on in a sea of LeVeon Bell, David Johnson and LeSean McCoy this week and has pivot justification at reduced price in a closely projected game. In this matchup last year he dropped 29.5 DKP rushing for over 100 yards, a TD and catching all 5 of his targets. Oakland was bottom 10 .vs. the run last year and bottom 10 .vs. pass catching RB's in DVOA.

    While figuring out Rishard Matthews, Eric Decker and/or Corey Davis is likely to be frustrating enough for me to full fade, I'm intrigued by Delanie Walker at TE. Walker is an appropriate 10.17% of total salary on FanDuel at $6100 but he profiles as a better bargain on DraftKings at $4,300 (8.6% of salary). To explain his volume and impact on the offense. In just 15 games last year at Tight End, He had the 6th most targets and receiving yards and 2nd most TD's (7). Only Greg Olsen had a larger ADOT (Average Depth of Target) for qualifying TE's. He was basically a slot receiver. Titans base offensive package was a 2 TE set. The addition of Eric Decker likely paves the way for 3 WR sets to spread the field more but I don't think that eats into Walker's snap counts. Walker converted 7 of 13 red zone targets into 5 TD's. With this point spread and the absence of Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski, Walker is an every format TE option for me.


    In baseball I often talk about "grand scheme of slate" pictures and single game impact. It's hard to believe that this game impacts the slate much and can't really see myself having any exposure here.


    The Bengals have a log jam at RB. Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill have made this backfield a crapshoot for a while and now we introduce the highly touted Joe Mixon. This is a stout Ravens defense and I don't see myself gambling on a RB here. I'll be waiting for a few games worth of data, usage and snap counts before I end up here.

    Tyler Eifert dips into conversation on a slate deprived of Gronkowski and Kelce and we have seen Andy Dalton use him liberally in his healthy games. But Eric Weddle and that strong Ravens backfield ranked #3 in DVOA .vs. TE's last year and we saw less than 5 TD's given up to TE's all year by the Ravens. Couldn't graduate him to anything more than an overpriced GPP play preflop. With that said, Eifert did drop 17.8 DKP against the Ravens last season. 15+ from TE could win a GPP.

    A.J. Green will be a target monster again this year and I'll be a buyer. But in this matchup, I'll likely pass. But we can game script a defense that funnels the ball in the air and A.J. Green is a legitimate double digit target threat every week. He'll dance with an above average Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr at CB backed by a strong safety core. His volume of work alone is worth a look... but extremely hard to get excited for.

    This Bengals offensive line leaves much to be desired and although this is a top heavy defense that registered only 31 sacks last season, I don't think there's enough meat on the bone at Andy Dalton's price for me to be a buyer. Dalton exceeded 20DKP just once in his final 8 games last season. He scored less than 15DKP in both games .vs. The Ravens.


    Jeremy Maclin is probably the most interesting piece on the Ravens team for me as the slot receiver successor to Steve Smith Sr. Flacco obviously has a lot of built in tendencies to target his slot receiver and Maclin could be a quiet threat to PPR his way to a 20DKP game.

    The Ravens led the NFL in Pass Play percentage last year at 64%. A change at offensive coordinator and the addition of Danny Woodhead suggests they'll look to the run a little bit more but I need to see it first. If Vontaze Burfict's suspension is upheld and he misses this game, Maclin has a positive matchup against Darqueze Dennard in the slot and we run a smaller risk of a dirty helmet-to-helmet knockout. Not a must play price on Maclin but certainly one of the more intriguing options this entire game produces preflop. Steve Smith dropped 14.8DKP and 13.9DKP in the matchups .vs. Ravens last year.

    No interest for me in Joe Flacco or his outside receivers.

    You could sell me on Danny Woodhead as an elusive catch-and-shoot PPR big play threat but I wouldn't get excited for it.


    NFC East matchup that is sitting around a pick'em with momentum slowly shifting toward the Eagles.


    The Eagles offensive line is expected to be the best in football. This is a big plus if you can navigate a crowded backfield presumably led by Legarrette Blount and Darren Sproles.

    This Redskins defensive line will be outclassed so if Eagles are moving to a more ground-and-pound style (which I think they are), This could be a sneaky spot to play Blount. But with an undefined role it can only be a GPP option for me.

    Darren Sproles is always a DFS wildcard as he's likely to see more than a few catches out of the backfield and he's dangerous in the open field. He's also listed as the Punt Returner and has kick return upside (good for a couple a year). Perfectly justifiable play on DK due to price.

    Carson Wentz gets a trendy look this week behind this O Line. We have some moving parts to watch, particularly how the absence of Jordan Matthews plays out. Eagles ran the league's slowest pace last season and I don't see that changing so I'm finding reasons to not be as high as the field on Wentz and trying to pivot, But I certainly wouldn't waste time talking you off of Wentz.

    My interest in Alshon Jeffery hinges on the assignment of Josh Norman. Last year we saw spots where Norman did not shadow the opposing team's clear #1 WR but also saw him on shadow duty in other spots? If Norman isn't on shadow duty, Jeffery should eat Bashaud Breeland alive.

    If Norman can neutralize Jeffery on shadow to where I don't feel like Jeffery wins GPP's, I'm not sure I run to trust Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor but they would benefit from the weaker matchup.

    The more interesting "receiver" to me is Tight End Zach Ertz. In just 14 games last season, Ertz saw the 5th most targets in the NFL amongst tight ends with 101. He converted those targets into 78 reception, 816 yards and 4 TD's. If he plays the full 16 games, there's a chance he leads all active TE's in targets. Conversely, The Redskins allowed THE MOST receptions to opposing TE's last season (105) and over 1,000 yards. This includes Week 14 when Ertz went 10 for 13 with 112 yards for 24.2 DKP. Because of this, Ertz is an every format consideration.


    As I said above, Eagles ran the slowest offense last season dominating time of possesion while Washington was 21st in TOP.

    This clock seesaw leans heavily in favor of the Eagles and this certainly is a negative check against the Redskins offensive fantasy players.

    The gaping weakness in the Eagles defense is their corners. Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby are certainly exploitable and I could see Kirk Cousins christening Terrelle Pryor (who will be trendy).

    Until I see game data develop for the outside receivers, I would have to anticipate Cousins to continue a tendency of favoring his tight end(s).

    Jordan Reed, when healthy, is one of the most fantasy relevant tight end's in the game. Even though he missed 4 games last year, He still was amongst the top 10 most targeted TE's in football. The volume will be there as long as he's there.

    Last season he converted 66 receptions in 85 targets for 686 yards and a staggering 6 TD's. He saw 7 targets inside the 10 yard line for 4 receptions- all 4 of them TD's. He's playable in all formats until proven otherwise but does have a higher standard at this position fantasy-wise due to receiver-like price point.

    With all that said, The Eagles were 2nd in DVOA .vs. Tight End last year and this is an extremely tough matchup to pay up for. But volume of opportunity still exists.

    Handcuffing Cousins to Reed is plausible but I'm not excited to roster Cousins.

    Lastly, Redskins backfield is similar to the Eagles. Noone has a stranglehold on volume and fading this spot can burn me once or twice or year but just a situation I'm avoiding.

    It appears as if Rob Kelley is the first dibs look. But Thompson, Jones and lurking Samaje Perine will make this a spot of little interest to me.


    This game saw a 6 point swing from open after Luck was ruled out. This will present to us one of the chalkier RB/Defensive pairings.


    Todd Gurley will be viable in all formats this week as a home favorite on a rejuvenated football team. I'm rooting for a bounce back season for Gurley to look more like his rookie year and this is surely a favorable situation for him. He'll be facing an Andrew Luck-less Colts that will likely struggle to move the chains giving him constant dibs against a Colts defense that surrender 120.4 rushing yards per game last season. Gurley saw a lot of 8 man boxes last year and I think the addition of Sammy Watkins and Head Coach Sean McVay can put a stop to that real quick.

    The Rams Defense under new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is an all formats play and using Gurley with the Rams Defense will be a positive correlation play for all formats. The Colts offensive line has been a liability for a few seasons and likely a catalyst behind Andrew Luck's constant injuries. Filling in for Luck is Scott Tolzien who doesn't offer much hope. The late addition of Jacoby Brissett in the preseason stands to reason that the Colts 1) don't have high confidence in Tolzien and 2) may not have high confidence in Luck's return for Week 2. If Brissett joined the team sooner, he'd likely start this game.

    Sammy Watkins is in consideration as Sean McVay likely had a method to his madness to strike that deal and has had plenty of time to develop some chemistry between Goff and Watkins. He'd be just a GPP play for me but draws a favorable matchup against an offten bruised up Colts secondary. It has already been confirmed that Vontae Davis will miss this game due to a groin injury.

    I can't get excited to play Jared Goff as he's done nothing to show me he could win me a tournament. But if he threw 2 TD's he'd probably be an okay stocking stuffer. For what it's worth, many analysts agree that he's looked great in camp and McVay could make this top draft pick into a stud.

    Cooper Kupp had a strong preseason and I'm a sucker for cheap slot receivers. Jamison Crowder was serviceable under Sean McVay's guidance often last year and can support Kupp PPR'ing his way to a strong WR3 performance.


    Can't say that I'll have any Colts exposure but if I'm drawing straws, I guess T.Y Hilton? He's a big play threat if Tolzien can get him the ball but I honestly don't think I would get there in even the deepest of tournaments.

    Run the game 100 times.. Does any Colt project as a potential assistant to winning a GPP? I can't see it. Despite an anemica offense that kept them on the field in many games, Rams Defense allowed just 24.6 points per game last season and just 233 passing yards per game.


    Can the Panthers be fantasy relevant this year? I hope so!


    Everyone on the Panthers has an extremely favorable matchup and I will be stacking combinations this weekend for sure. In DVOA, 49ers were 31st against WR1, 27th against TE and 25th against Pass Catching RB's.. And dead last .vs. the run. Fans can only hope they've improved but they've done nothing to warrant the benefit of the doubt in my eyes.

    Kelvin Benjamin is in a dream matchup against a 49ers defense that was abismal at stopping WR1. Cam Newton has said more than once this preseason that he's expecting a big year from Benjamin so count me in on Benjamin exposure.

    The 49ers cornerbacks Dontae Johnson and Rashard Robinson are not only outclassed in terms of talent. But they over mismatched. Kelvin Benjamin has 4 inches on Robinson and 3 on Johnson (giggity). He should feast and beast and is plausible in all formats.

    Much like the rest of the team, Greg Olsen draws a favorable matchup and should dominate the 49ers midfield. Olsen started all 16 games last season and led the NFL in Tight End targets with 122 (80 receptions, 1,073 yards, 3 TD's). He's had 3 straight seasons over 1,000 yards and Kelvin Benjamin back on the field helps him.

    Normal game script for a severe favorite like the Panthers would suggest chewing the clock for the bulk of the 2nd half but we've seen Panthers step on necks and throttle up even with a comfortable lead. In Week 2 of last year, Panthers obliterated the 49ers 46-27 and Cam Newton had 4 TD's. The offense didn't score their 1st TD in that game under just under 10 minutes left in the 2nd quarter (a wide open dart to Greg Olson for a long bomb). This was Newton's only TD of the 1st half.

    Panthers were up 37-27 with 3:31 left in the 4th quarter and Cam threw another endzone shot for Funchess. Even though this game is on the road this time, I can see Panthers not letting up.

    I think Cam Newton can be forgotten about this week and if he's under 7% owned then I think that's injustice. At full health he is a do-it-all quarterback with a deep playbook and plenty of weapons at his disposal. Do not forget about him if you're making multiple lineups.

    Christian McCaffrey evidently has pages in the playbook dedicated to him and I'm sure Del Rio will get him a quick taste of live season action. I'm not sold that he's as pivotal of a grab as an Olsen/Benjamin at his price but certainly wouldn't dismiss him completely. I think we'll be looking to define his involvement and role within the offense going forward and while I think he's a superb talent with a high floor, I'm worried if there are too many moving pieces around him to cap his upside.


    This is a new look offense led by Brian Hoyer under the direction of Kyle Shanahan. I think more highly of Brian Hoyer than many others and through a disappointing season last year, The Panthers secondary had severe leaks.

    With that said I do think the Panthers defense severely underperformed in the absence of Josh Norman but when I look at this defense on paper, I can't help but assume they can only improve on last year's campaign. James Bradberry was a stud and Luke Kuechly is possibly the best Middle Linebacker in the NFL for my money.

    And Captain Munnerlyn rejoins the team after being a pivotal part of a stout Vikings Defense the last 3 years.

    With that said, This is a league of prove me wrong and until the Panthers secondary shows improvement... You'd have to consider leveraging your Panthers stacks with some great gamescript offensive players.

    Marquise Goodwin is building momentum going into the weekend as an extremely cheap receiver with positive gamescript. He's just $3,200 on DraftKings and could pay off that tag at WR3 with as little as 3-5 catches and 50 yards. He's a speedster and showed it in preseason by smoking one of the league's better CB's Xavier Rhodes for a 46 yard touchdown. He'll likely get a diet of Bradberry which isn't optimal but it's more justifiable than ever based on price and gamescript. Volume of opportunity is just too high for such a low price.

    The other consideration here is Pierre Garcon who becomes the face of this receiving core after some solid-but-nothing-special years with the Redskins. He's not quite astonishing cheap as his counterpart but still fits the mold of a sharp leverage play and checks off positively for gamescript. Both Goodwin and Garcon are undersized versus their CB matchups.. In this scenario I go with the faster guy to create space, Goodwin.

    I have a little more respect for the Panthers than most so I'm not likely to overcharge exposure to the 49ers here, But all bets are off in garbage time and we'd expect a decent amount of it here.

    Carlos Hyde will be someone I use sparingly this season as I think he's an extremely high ceiling back that managed to produce impressive numbers with little talent around him. Between you and me, I consider Brian Hoyer a massive upgrade to Gabbert/Kaepernick and this can only benefit Hyde going forward. But I still have questions about the 49ers offensive line and my over-respect for the Panthers defense doesn't have me in love with 'Los Hyde this week. But certainly wouldn't eliminate him from a player pool.


    This game carries a Vegas total that's enough to drive me insane as I don't see it.


    I'm very low on Seahawks here despite such a high vegas total. I have tons of doubts about this Seahawks offense (especially on the road) and Russell Wilson has been inexplicably sub-average against the Packers in his career.

    This includes a 5 interception game deep into last season against a secondary that DFS players lined up to stack against.

    The Seahawks offensive line remains very suspect and untrustworthy. So I'll probably be going against Vegas (and perhaps the field) in lowering my exposure and expectations of this Seahawks offense.

    Doug Baldwin fits the mold of a high targeted slot receiver so I certainly don't disagree if you looked at the game total and played Baldwin. This is very much so a secondary that projects poorly with Devon House and Quinten Rollins at CB and Clay Matthews is coming off his worst season yet.

    Green Bay was 5th in DVOA .vs. Tight Ends last season so that certainly doesn't do anything for me to salivate over Jimmy Graham but Green Bay did allow 81 receptions and 943 yards to the TE position so they weren't unbeatable. But you'd have to sift through injuries week-to-week to put it altogether.

    I can't see myself buying into a confusing backfield behind a terrible offensive line despite Eddie Lacy's revenge narrative. But splitting with Thomas Rawls against an above average run defense on the road with that O-line just isn't somewhere I end up.


    The Seahawks defense will drive ownership down on an underpriced Aaron Rodgers so that opens him up for me in tournaments, again, considering the game total.

    This Packers offense should be pass heavy once again and Rodgers often threw 40 or more pass attempts a game last season. With that said, I can't completely disrespect this Seahawks defense and I love the addition of Sheldon Richardson.

    Jordy Nelson could be one of my favorite tournament plays. I think he will run extremely low owned due to price and matchup and he has tournament winning upside, even in the toughest of matchups.

    A catalyst for his upside is Aaron Rodgers tendency to go full tunnel vision on his favorite receiver in the redzone. Jordy saw a staggering 28 targets in the redzone last season and 15 targets inside the 10. 9 of his TD's came within the 10 yard line. I'm not betting on Ty Montgomery .vs. the Seahawks rush defense in the redzone and will continue to assume that Rodgers seeks out Jordy.

    He's purely a GPP option though, as his price sets a high expectation and inherit risk due to matchup (and his injury proneness) but week-to-week he'll have one of the higher floors in football. In the Packers 38-10 victory over Seattle in Week 14, Jordy caught 6 of 7 targets for 41 yards and 2 TD's. He was touchdown dependent on his way to 22.1DKP.

    Richard Sherman rarely shadows receivers so we can expect the Packers to attach Jeremy Lane with Jordy early and often. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are deep tournament options only for me here.

    It also stands to note that the Packers will run plenty of 2 TE sets with newly acquired Lance Kendricks and Martellus Bennett. Martellus Bennett is the more appealing of the two due to veteran presence and has PFF has graded him out as a top 10 TE talent in 4 of the last 5 seasons. The Black Unicorn will further spread out defenses for the Packers this season and while this might not be the week to get liberal with him, his $4,100 price tag could be soft enough to payoff.

    Seattle was below league average in DVOA .vs. the TE last season.


    Could be my least favorite game of the week from a fantasy perspective.


    The Giants Defense was one of the best in football last year. An incredible thought when you absorb the fact that they backed up one of the lowest scoring offenses that was 3rd lowest in the league in time of possession.

    An incredible Cowboys campaign with Dak and Zeke saw it's only 2 meaningfull losses against this division rivalry defense, Giants.

    Because of how popular the Cowboys are and the hype narrative on Ezekiell Elliott who will play this Sunday, I think they'll draw more ownership than they deserve so I'll likely bold stand fade and hope for the best no matter how much a high floor late night hammer appeals to me.

    Jason Witten is probably the most interesting play to me as a career "Giant Killer." He looked good in preseason and has a veteran presence to get open and PPR his way to value on DraftKings when not tasked with blocking assignments. I probably don't end up actually playing him but he makes sense.

    Dak Prescott probably goes higher owned than the matchup deserves and I'll sit back on this one. Giants allowed the 2nd fewest passing touchdowns last season and their secondary remains elite. This also deflates any interest I might have in Dez Bryant "throwing up the X."


    As much as I love Eli Manning he's appearing more and more like an aged liability behind a porous offensive line. The inability for the Giants to establish a run game has allowed defenses to zero in on Odell Beckham Jr and most games last year had a game plan of "get the ball in Beckham's hands and see what happens."

    That gameplan could be at risk as it's Thursday and Odell Beckham Jr. is still questionable to play this game and as the clock ticks, this feels more and more like an annoying "game time decision" that will tempt me to reserve lineups for him Sunday morning and hope for a low owned late hammer.

    The Cowboys secondary is exploitable and the addition of Brandon Marshall should spread them out even more. It boils down to trusting Eli Manning behind that offensive line to get them the ball.

    Neither Orlando Scandrick nor Nolan Carroll would be enough to slow down Odell who led the league in targets last season. With that said, this is a division rivalry game and division games tend to be low scoring as defensive coordinators become very familiar with opposing teams over the years and while Odell has created a brand off of his amazing catch against the Cowboys, he really hasn't had a break slate fantasy point game against them.

    If Odell misses this game, This becomes the Cavaliers without LeBron James and I concede the Giants chances of victory on the road.

    Again, Giants ranked 3rd to last in time of possession last season while the Cowboys were 2nd to just the Eagles.

    If Odell does get ruled out and you agree that Giants could trail in this game. I would be more accepting of playing Sophomore stand out Sterling Shepard and potentially pass catching RB Shane Vereen.



    Drew Brees in a dome?!


    Hard to get excited for anyone in this new and very loud Minnesota Stadium but Drew Brees is an upper echelon talent that you'd have to at least respect.

    I think I lean more toward the Vikings defense holding their own but Drew Brees to Michael Thomas is a volatile connection to lookout for this season.

    Thomas should draw a lot of Xavier Rhodes and the Saints will be without Willie Snead (and this team no longer features Brandin Cooks). Preflop the advantage goes to the Vikings defense overall.

    As fate would have it, Adrian Peterson would make his debut against his former team in Minnesota. This is, again, a cluttered backfield with the talented Mark Ingram threatening to split carries with AP.

    Adrian Peterson is much like Marshawn Lynch for me. He didn't show me much in his last season and is in a tough matchup with someone else eating at the same table. Can't see myself playing him at all, but certainly just a narrative street tournament only play- if that. Don't see myself interested in Mark Ingram, either.


    I'd expect a 3 game slate with the Giants/Cowboys, Saints/Vikings and Chargers/Broncos and the Vikings will be the chalky team to target here.

    I love the spot the offense is in and while I don't know that I full stack it on a Thurs-Mon slate. I have to consider several targets.

    Only the 49ers allowed more points per game than the Saints last season. They were a weekly bullseye.

    Kyle Rudolph is my favorite target. Rudolph had the 2nd most targets of all tight ends last year (120) and the 2nd most RedZone targets in the league (22).

    Stefon Diggs is moving to a more established role as an outside receiver while fantasy darling Adam Thielen works the slot. Both extremely viable plays here.

    Dalvin Cook, though an unproven rookie, profiles well in this spot as well on an offense that sorely missed a reliable RB the last few seasons.

    I'd full stack the Vikings on the 3 game slate and if I was desperate for a late night hammer on a Thurs-Mon slate, It would certainly come from this Vikings offense.

    The Vikings Defense at home was a wall last year and overall allowed less than 20 points per game while racking up 4 defensive TD's. As popular as the Vikings offense should be on that 3 game slate, I wonder how much respect Drew Brees draws to diminish their ownership on slate that also boasts the Giants and Broncos as pivots?


    Chargers are in a death spot on the road .vs. one of the best defenses ever.


    There's noone on this team that I can look at and say, "In Denver .vs. that secondary, this person can win a tournament."

    While the absence of Wade Phillips might scramble the brain a little bit, The talent on this defense is next level and they have been absolutely elite against the pass the last 2 seasons.

    Out of frustration, We see teams run the ball more often against this defense so I guess you could justify Melvin Gordon on a short slate. But he's an extremely touchdown dependent option.

    Philip Rivers and his offense will be something I look to this season as I love the potential upside of a healthy Keenan Allen. But Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr are not where I will hang my hat on.


    Broncos are equally aggravating in this spot. This offense didn't have much spark to it last season and noone projects as must have.

    A very cluttered RB situation is something I'm avoiding.

    Demaryius Thomas and/or Emmanuel Sanders would likely be the extent of my interest here. Should Demaryius Thomas line up across Jason Verrett, He should bully him. Verrett is 5 inches shorter than Thomas and his lack of size has gotten him and the Chargers secondary in trouble often.

    Casey Hayward, however, helped the Chargers defense rank top 5 in DVOA .vs. WR1 last season so I don't want to put too much faith in Trevor Siemian here.

    Broncos Defense at home is nearly playable against any opponent. In Week 8 last season, Rivers threw a ridiculous 47 pass attempts against this defense with a sloppy 42.6% completion rate. He had 1 TD and 1 INT. That amount of potential pass volume is playing with fire against this defense who recorded 6 interceptions, 6 fumble recoveries, 25 sacks and 3 defensive TD's in 8 home games last season allowing a ridiculous 16.9 points per game.