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DFS GEMS: Week 1

At long last, another NFL season is finally upon us! For those of you who are new to this article the premise is to help identify some key value points in the DFS landscape each week. I angle towards GPP contests (guaranteed prize pool) and lean towards DraftKings as my platform of choice. The aim is to not only remind you of a few names that may be on your radar already but to also dig up a few potential gems you may have overlooked. Not all of these guys will be your traditional studs but if all goes according to plan, they should perform like studs! In order to fit those big names into your lineup, you’ll need to squeeze the budget elsewhere and those values are exactly what we aim to help identify each week. Buckle up and let’s look at our DFS value picks for week 1!


Jared Goff QB, L.A Rams (DraftKings $6,700/ FanDuel $7,500)

So the key to DFS is not only identifying the sweet spots but also balancing the budget. Much like with traditional fantasy football there is a lot of value to be had when it comes to the quarterback position so don’t feel like you need to spend a huge chunk of your budget on a signal caller each week. For me Goff has a lot of appeal in week one and comes in at a moderate price given his potential output. The Rams’ Monday night week 1 grand finale looks like it has a ton of fantasy potential, boasting one of the week’s highest over/under’s at 49.5. The Rams are on the road but favored by 3 giving them an implied point total just over 26 points. The Raiders were the 8th most generous defense to opposing passers in 2017 and with the loss of pressure monster Khalil Mack (traded to the Bears earlier this week) I find myself very intrigued by Goff’s prospects. At $6,700 you can get creative and pair him with Todd Gurley ($9,300 DK) if you like potentially securing all of the Rams’ touchdowns if the cards fall the right way.

Matthew Stafford QB, Detroit Lions (DraftKings $6,500/ FanDuel $7,800)

Stafford is a known value in the fantasy community but may be easily overlooked this week. The Lions have a Monday night tilt at home vs. the lowly Jets in a game with a modest 44 point over/under. To the untrained eye that may not look like an enticing match up but not so fast my friends! The Lions are expected to score nearly 26 of those 44 total points coming in as 6.5 point favorites. Combine that data with the fact that the Jets were the 3rd most generous defense to opposing quarterbacks a year ago and I think we have a sneaky value and a good shot at the ultra coveted “low-owned, high output QB” – I am all in on the Monday night signal callers!

Running Backs

Alex Collins RB, Baltimore Ravens (DraftKings $5,600 FanDuel $6,700)

When you are seeking out your running backs you want to look for moderate prices with high potential for volume and a cake match up – this game vs the Bills certainly looks the part! Baltimore is at home facing a rookie quarterback and are currently 6.5 point favorites. I know its last year’s data but the Bills were the leagues friendliest defense for opposing Running backs in 2017 so even if they did manage to improve in the offseason they are still likely bottom 10! Everything about this game points to high volume for Collins and with such a juicy match up and friendly price tag I am having a hard time keeping him out of ALL my lineups in week 1.

Jamaal Williams RB, Green Bay Packers (DraftKings $6,000 FanDuel $6,100)

Taking advantage of opportunity is everything when it comes to an NFL running back these days. Jamaal Williams finds himself in prime position to seize the lead back role in Green Bay at least for the short term. We as fantasy owners/managers must likewise sieze this opportunity to utilize the lead back in arguably the league’s most potent offense. The match up on paper vs the Chicago Bears doesn’t scream “must start” but its certainly nothing to shy away from either (The Bears ranked as the 23rd softest opponent for opposing backs in 2017) What draws me to this game is the 47.5 point over under and the Packers’ 27.75 implied point total as they enter the contest as 8 point favorites. The game script looks promising for Williams at $6,000, start him with confidence despite the less than stellar match up on paper.

Dalvin Cook RB, Minnesota Vikings (DraftKings $6,200 FanDuel $7,300)

Week 1 has so many exciting match ups and this contest is certainly among the most intriguing as Jimmy Garropolo leads the 49ers on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are stout but the 49ers might just be able to put up more of a fight than Vegas may think. Currently they are 6 point underdogs on the road at Minnesota but there are points to be had in this one with a 46 point over/under. The Vikings are projected to score over 24 of those points and Dalvin Cook should lead the charge vs the 6th most generous rush defense in 2017. There is the chance that this game gets out of hand if the Vikings put the strangle hold on Jimmy G. If that happens let’s hope Dalvin gets what he needs in the first half. This thought also makes Latavius Murray a solid pivot point at $4,800 if you run low on cash. The point here is that the match up is quite nice, we just need the game to stay close for Cook to hit his mark.

Kareem Hunt RB, Kansas City Chiefs (DraftKings $6,900 FanDuel $8,000)

This match up vs the Chargers is a little under the radar for those who are just skimming the surface on their research (the Chargers ranked as the 13th friendliest match up for opposing RB’s in 2017) Hunt absolutely shredded the Chargers in two contests to the tune of 389 total yards and three scores (one by air) last season. The Chiefs are underdogs on the road and currently only expected to score 22 points but Hunt is game-script proof! He is such a big part of this offense that he could easily account for half of those points by himself and he’s proven he is capable of doing so based on his track record vs this team. Its not Patrick Mahomes’ first start but I still expect Andy Reid to lean on his work horse back in what should prove to be a big game for the second year back.

About David Olivarez

David has been writing fantasy football content steadily since 2012 on the web and has been a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association since 2014. He focuses on Daily Fantasy Sports and Trade Analysis. Feel free to ask him questions on Twitter!