Monday - Mar 8, 2021

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DFS GEMS: Week 1

At long last, Week 1 is finally upon us! This season, we’ve added some easy-to-read charts to aid in our goal of taking down huge guaranteed prize pools (GPP)! In the charts below, the team rankings compared to each position will be referencing their ranking in average DraftKings (DK) points allowed throughout 2018 (32 being the easiest matchup, 1 being the toughest). The numbers in Bold pertain to the player that is recommended. All Vegas line numbers are current as of this writing (Wednesday) so keep watch for line movement as the week winds down but generally, that won’t change the recommendation too often. Once we get to Week 4, we’ll shift to looking at how teams are performing this season since by then we’ll have a decent, current sample size to go off of. 

This series will focus on GPP tournaments. If you are a cash game player, you may find some of these recommendations useful but keep in mind the focus is on large field tournament plays. Every week I’ll make a point to throw in a few names at each position that could serve as that key “differentiator” in your lineup. If you are looking for locked in, safe plays, you may not always find them here. A little chalk is fine, but in large tournaments, you need to be willing to take some chances!

As the largest prize pools are on the Sunday morning/afternoon main slate, that is where all of these picks will come from. I’m more than happy to lend my thoughts on Thursday, Sunday and Monday night plays as well, just hit me up on Twitter – @tradefantasy

Without further ado, let’s dive into it!


QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (DraftKings $5,700; FanDuel $7,600)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Was 46.5 46 18 20 17 23 11
Phi -8.5 -10 28 25 19 29 4

Wentz is bound to be a pretty popular play this week and for good reason. It’s hard to fade him when Philadelphia sports a 28-point implied team total coming into the game as 10-point favorites. Combine that with a Washington defense which ranked in the Bottom 12 versus quarterback and wide receiver in average DraftKings points allowed per game in 2018 as well as Wentz’s affordable price tag and he’s just about a lock. He’ll be a bit chalky but Wentz looks like a safe passer to invest in this week. 

QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco (DraftKings $5,800; FanDuel $7,200)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
SF 49 50.5 25.25 24 23 25 7
TB -2.5 Pick 25.25 30 28 27 24

Garoppolo has looked awful pretty much all preseason, which can likely be attributed to shaking off the cobwebs from a lost 2018 campaign that began with such promise. If Patrick Mahomes taught us anything last season its that we can’t be too quick to rush to judgment when it comes to assessing a player based on his preseason performance. If you recall, Mahomes looked like absolute garbage during the 2018 preseason slate then came out firing on all cylinders in Week 1. Now I’m not saying Garoppolo is anywhere near Mahomes’ level but when you play a defense as leaky as Tampa Bay, you don’t have to be! Tampa Bay ranked in the Bottom 7 versus all four skill positions a year ago and should return similar results this season. San Francisco, for its part, isn’t exactly stout on defense either. This game has shootout written all over it so you know you want a piece or two. With Jameis Winston’s $6,600 price tag, I’ll take the discount on Garoppolo betting on the bounce back.

QB Russell Wilson, Seattle (DraftKings $6,300; FanDuel $8,200)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
CIN 43.5 43.5 17 29 32 16 31
SEA -9 -9.5 26.5 12 21 17 8

Again, this one might be a little chalky but as you can see above, all the measurables are there for the taking. Last season, Top 10 DraftKings quarterbacks on average met the following criteria:

– Had an implied team total of 24

– Faced an opponent who ranked 18th in average DK points allowed to passers

– Were favored at least 3.5 points 41 percent of the time.

There are obviously many other marks we can look at but those three alone give us an identifiable target to hit. Given the figures we see above I’d say our chances are pretty good! With a spread that big, expect some pretty high ownership but if he goes off as he should, you may need him in your lineup if you plan on taking down a large pot this weekend!

QB Dak Prescott, Dallas (DraftKings $5,900; FanDuel $7,500)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
NYG 46.5 45.5 19.25 18 26 8 22
DAL -7.5 -7 26.25 10 11 7 23

I’m hoping this game’s modest over/under will keep ownership somewhat moderate. The 26-plus implied team total is very nice and above average versus the Top 10 DK quarterbacks from a year ago. Why am I referencing the Top 10 from 2018 again, you say? Well, I’m glad you asked! In 2018 a whopping 81.25 percent of all millionaire maker lineups were comprised of players who landed in the Top 10 at their respective positions. In theory, if you land several players in the Top 10 you stand a strong chance of a significant payday, which should be your goal! Aside from wide receiver, the New York Giants were pretty pedestrian against all skill positions last season. Many might think that logically a rough “on paper” matchup might correlate with a subpar outing from the quarterback but let’s not forget that Prescott can get it done with his feet as well as his arm. Ezekiel Elliott’s return only helps Prescott so don’t freak out now that Ezekiel Elliott is finally signed, he catches lots of passes!

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!