I write a lot of DFS articles and while The Fire Sale is primarily a re-draft column, I want to add some DFS material to touch all bases. During the year I’ll be adding a little DFS advice to the end of my Fire Sale columns for those interested.
Last week, DraftKings salaries came out for Week 1 and DFS is now legal again in the state of New York. It was a big week in the Casale household. I was so giddy I wrote about some of my favorite Week 1 plays after glancing over the card.
Here are two plays at each position I like for Week 1 at DraftKings. I’ll have many more opinions throughout the coming weeks. If you have any questions or comments hit me up on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy.
Now on with The Fire Sale…
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders ($7,300) – Carr is my favorite quarterback play for Week 1. He’s $1,200 cheaper than the most expensive quarterback on the board (Aaron Rodgers). Carr faces last year’s last ranked defense versus quarterbacks. I know it’s a new season but even if the Saints defense improves, their numbers against quarterbacks were horrendous in 2015. New Orleans allowed 297.2 yards and an NFL-worst 2.8 touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks last year. The 297.2 yards ranked second worst in the league only to the Giants. Carr has an excellent Week 1 matchup. He also has two receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree that can exploit an overmatched secondary. Anything can happen on opening weekend but I feel confident Carr will put up strong numbers against the Saints and he has a reasonable salary.
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots ($6,200) – Anyone who thinks Bill Belichick is going to have Garoppolo just hand the ball off and hope the defense wins games doesn’t understand Bill Belichick. Belichick drafted Garoppolo in the second round to be his backup quarterback. It’s time. Melon! We need ya! Get your suit on! After Matt Cassel took over for Brady in 2008 he throw 30+ pass attempts in 12 of his next 15 games. Garoppolo has weapons and his salary ranks 24th among quarterbacks for Week 1. He’s throwing the ball 30+ times versus the Cardinals and he’s going to have success. If you think differently, you don’t understand Bill Belichick.
Rashad Jennings, New York Giants ($5,400) – The Cowboys defensive line is currently being held together by duct tape. Dallas has more guys serving suspensions than they do on its active roster. Recent reports suggest Jennings will be given the majority of touches early in the season. That’s music to the ears of Giants fans because Andre Williams is the worst running back in the NFL. If it weren’t for Curtis Enis, Williams would be the worst running back in NFL history. If Williams still gets carries this year, Giants fans should demand the person he has X-rated pictures of in the organization step forward. Jennings racked up 521 yards from scrimmage on 86 touches over the final four games last year. When Jennings gets the ball he produces. Jennings is being undervalued in both season-long and DFS right now. He will have no trouble racking up 100 total yards against a decimated Cowboys front seven.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals ($4,800) – I love Bernard in this matchup. It’s tough to just line up against the Jets defense and hammer big backs like Jeremy Hill at them. However, the Jets did allow 5.1 receptions per game to opposing running backs last season. Bernard should be a focal point of the offense in Week 1 with TE Tyler Eifert expected to be out. He’s a matchup-play kind of running back and this game sets up well for him to excel. Bernard caught at least four balls in a game six times last season. I like him to haul in around five passes against the Jets and play much more than Hill. It’s his kind of game.
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,800) – People still don’t believe. Let’s pretend for a moment you’re not me. You’re not the guy who has been promoting Hurns for the last two years. You’re not the guy who bought a Hurns t-shirt from his company when they were 15 percent off for St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s pretend you’re not insane. Hurns is still dripping with value for Week 1. I agree that Allen Robinson is the No. 1 receiver in Jacksonville but is he the top receiver by a margin of $2,500? Perhaps, but Robinson’s salary is $8,300 and we know he’ll be widely owned in a game against the Packers that’s expected to be high-scoring. I’d rather go for the cheaper option in Hurns. A lot is being made of Jacksonville’s defense but I’m not buying the hype, at least not early in the year. Blake Bortles will have to throw a lot to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense. Hurns topped 15 fantasy points eight times last year. He should eclipse that mark again in Week 1.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals ($3,600) – If you’re looking for a low-cost roll of the dice at receiver in Week 1, Boyd is your man. I’ve made my love for Boyd no secret this summer. I believe Boyd will be the top rookie receiver in fantasy football and he’ll start off making an impact in Week 1. Eifert will likely miss the opener against the Jets and A.J. Green draws Darrelle Revis. Now, Green is still going to see his targets but there’s an opportunity for someone else to step up. I like Bernard and Boyd both as value DFS plays in Week 1. Boyd is competing with only Brandon LaFell and Brandon Tate for playing time. LaFell is hot garbage and Tate has been a non-factor as an NFL receiver for six years. I expect Boyd to start and be impressive from Day 1.
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles ($4,300) – Quick, name a receiver on the Eagles not named Jordan Matthews. Sorry, Rueben Randle and Chris Givens don’t count. I was talking about NFL-caliber receivers. Ertz is my favorite tight end play for Week 1. He should see double-digit targets against the Browns, yet his salary ranks seventh among tight ends. Ertz only scored two touchdowns in 2015 but caught 35 passes over his final four games. He scored 20+ fantasy points three times over that span. Sam Bradford will start the season as the Eagles quarterback and with few options at receiver, Ertz will continue to be heavily targeted.
Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers ($3,100) – As I stated above, I’m not sold on the Jaguars defense being the ’85 Bears early in the season. Jacksonville was dreadful defending tight ends last year. The Jaguars allowed 5.1 receptions, 60.3 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game on 7.6 targets to opposing tight ends. That ranked sixth worst in fantasy football. I expect the Jaguars to improve in this area but in Week 1, Rodgers will have opportunities against a defense with a lot of new faces still learning to play together. Rodgers was hit or miss in 2015. He scored double-digit fantasy points seven times. He also scored five points or fewer seven times. I like to go cheap on my tight ends. I like the matchup for Rodgers to have one of his bigger outings.