Thursday - Oct 17, 2019

Home / DFS / DFS GEMS: Week 1

DFS GEMS: Week 1

Running Backs

RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (DraftKings $5,500; FanDuel $6,400)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
IND 48 44.5 19 11 15 1 30
LAC -3.5 -6.5 25.5 6 24 5 14

Indianapolis wasn’t exactly strong against the run last season but wasn’t overly soft either. Ranking smack in the middle of the league in average DK points allowed to opposing rushers would temper his ownership a bit if it weren’t for all of the Melvin Gordon news attracting players to Ekeler like a magnet. That said, at running back you really want to focus on touches more than anything (usually) and Ekeler is just about assured to get the lion’s share of totes in a game that might get out of hand against Andrew Luck Indianapolis. Who knows, maybe Jacoby Brissett will surprise us and keep it close. That’s just fine as Ekeler is currently the projected lead back in this offense. The bottom line is a game-flow proof running back is just about assured 20 touches or more. At $5,500, that’s hard to pass up.

RB Rashaad Penny, Seattle (DraftKings $4,900; FanDuel $5,900)

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

For the record, Chris Carson ($5,700 DK) is the chalk at running back this week but I feel like we’ve got enough chalk on the board already as it is. As 9.5 point home favorites against this bottom feeder rush defense, you have to think Penny gets some run in this game and I don’t think the game will need to get out of hand for Penny to get some additional touches either. It seems sans A.J. Green Cincnnati is set to get rolled up according to Vegas so if you are looking for a potential difference maker in your GPP lineup, Penny hitting four times his value certainly isn’t the craziest thing that could happen this Sunday. I don’t advise over-exposure but I’m definitely going to have a piece or two out there with a good bit of Carson as well.

RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota (DraftKings $6,000; FanDuel $7,400)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
ATL 47.5 47.5 21.75 32 29 28 12
MIN -4.5 -4 25.75 3 9 3 13

Cook’s not the place to expect to achieve your variance this week but if he pops off as he should against this generous Atlanta rush defense you’ll likely need him in your lineup just for the sheer points he could put up in this game. His price paired with the matchup and implied team total screams “start me!” so make sure you fade him in a few spots too just in case he busts. The likelihood of that happening seems slim but with fantasy football, you never know! If he pops he’ll be in a lot of winning lineups but if he flops you’ll be in a contest with a lot of dead money as well. Food for thought but you definitely want to use Cook in several spots this week.

RB Kerryon Johnson, Detroit (DraftKings $5,800; FanDuel $7,000)

Team O/U (open) O/U (current) Implied Team Total vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
DET Pick -2.5 24.75 13 14 9 15
AZ 49 47 22.25 5 31 10 3

After the release of Theo Riddick, it looks like Detroit is going to actually make Johnson a true feature back this season. I don’t doubt that C.J. Anderson will garner a few touches as well but this appears to be Johnson’s backfield and he’s got himself an excellent matchup this week at Arizona. I want to go on record stating that as a lifelong Detroit Lions fan I absolutely 100 percent DO NOT trust them! That said, the measurables for this matchup are right where they need to be. Much like Dalvin Cook, I do expect high ownership but yet again, If he hits you’ll be grateful you have him!

RB Jordan Howard, Philadelphia (DraftKings $4,200; FanDuel $5,800)

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

This dude is boring. He’s boring to own, he’s boring to watch, he can’t catch, he’s got a hot-shot rookie in town, he runs like he’s wearing snow pants … the list goes on. Good! I want people to be on Miles Sanders and not on Howard this week because Philadelphia should roll up Washington to start the season. You see how much Philadelphia is favored and you see the matchup against the 17th-most generous rush defense (average DK points allowed). The matchup is solid but it’s not bottom of the barrel so it may fly under the radar a bit. A season ago, Top 10 DK rushers averaged 4.78 times return on investment. Twenty points out of Howard in this contest seems like a very reachable target and a great way to achieve Top 10 status while saving some of that precious budget.

RB Chris Thompson, Washington (DraftKings $3,500; FanDuel $5,100)

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

I think there’s a good bit of action in this game, more so on the Philadelphia side of the ball but if you want to be “sneaky, sneaky” maybe consider throwing Chris Thompson in a few lineups? He flat out goes off for a game or two at the beginning of each season before he inevitably goes down for the count so let’s use him while we can. Based on the game data above, this projects to be a negative game script for Washington and for as talented as Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson are, the passing down work is dominated by the talented scat-back Thompson. I’d expect ample targets for Thompson as Case Keenum runs for his life behind a patchwork offensive line. Don’t forget DraftKings is full points per reception (PPR) league – and who knows, Thompson might just take one or two to the house. He’s certainly shown us he can get it done without significant volume. If you spend up elsewhere, this flex play could really pay off!

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!