Week 1 did not disappoint. It was high-scoring and it had outstanding performances with a few surprises mixed in. Baltimore, Tampa Bay and the New Y0rk Jets lit up the scoreboard, just like we all thought. For daily fantasy (DFS) purposes I cannot remember a week over the last few years in which all of the players that were expected to do well actually lived up to their billing. This week, all in all, was very ‘chalky.’ You likely didn’t do extremely well if you went the contrarian route. Needless to say, don’t expect this to continue.
As for us in this article. My DraftKings lineup delivered 182.06 points. It was a cash in most bigger tournaments, and just outside the cash-line in most larger cash games. The same can be said for the Fanduel lineup. It scored 153.96. Writing these on Tuesday can cause a few issues in this process at times, especially if we are truly focusing on winning at the cash game category. As the week progressed last week, it become pretty obvious that if you were seriously putting together a major cash game lineup, it needed to feature James Conner for cheap salary relief. This allowed you to pay up and surround him with other elite plays. And again, almost ALL of those studs delivered. The other highest-owned running back was Alvin Kamara. He was also the type who made all the sense in the world to play because if he does poorly, it won’t hurt you too much because you know going in he will have extremely high ownership. If he goes off, like he did, you better have him rostered. Long story, short, if I wrote the article Sunday morning instead of Tuesday evening, Conner would have absolutely been in my lineups and Kamara would very likely would have accompanied him.
No excuses, though, as we move on to Week 2. I want to put together good lineups, that is it. I feel a little less comfortable this week and the coming weeks gauging ownership percentages this early in the week. So again, my focus is still going to be providing content on high floor options in DFS to keep the grind going, but you should be willing to use these lineups in both cash games or tournaments, as you deem what is best as Sunday inches closer. Let’s get it.
QB Alex Smith ($6,000) – Washington led the entire game Sunday at Arizona, but it was obvious that coach Jay Gruden is going to let Smith air it out plenty. Chris Thompson is such a good player, they have to find ways to get him the ball by spreading out the defense and giving him space to work. Smith’s floor should be around 20 points again against an Indianapolis defense that will be often targeted by DFS players this season.
RB Melvin Gordon III ($7,400) – In my opinion, he looked like the best running back in football on Sunday (Todd Gurley played Monday). He looks faster and more fluid than ever, and has a real chance to be THE top receiving running back in the league. On Draft Kings, that is gold. He won’t get 13 targets every week, but also don’t expect too many more games where he does not find the endzone. Gordon won’t be below $8,000 for too many more weeks, so take advantage now.
RB James Conner ($6,700) – The odds are pretty slim he does NOT rush for 100 yards against the Kansas City defense at home. For a player under $7,000, he has as good of chance of scoring 25-plus points as you will see in DFS all season long. Pittsburgh is ticketed to score around 30 points and might have to protect Ben Roethsliberger a little if he is injured. Conner will be the main cog in the offensive attack again. He is producing like LeVeon Bell, but costs much less.
WR Quincy Enunwa ($4,700) – One of the main reasons I am paying up at running back this week is because I really like a lot of value at the wide receiver position. The New York Jets game-planned to get him the football and peppered him with 10 targets Monday night in a game they had well in hand. A 53 percent target share for $4,700?? Sign me up every time.
WR Demaryius Thomas ($5,600) – Emmanuel Sanders blew up last week, like I predicted, and now he has shot up to 600 more expensive than Thomas. Thomas still received 10 targets last week and could easily reach 100 yards against a weak Oakland secondary. A solid 26 percent target share a week ago, just behind Sanders’ 28 percent, does not warrant this much of a price change. Thomas is still a play-maker, so don’t be surprised if he gets loose this week for a long touchdown with more attention diverted elsewhere.
WR DeAndre Hopkins ($8,000) – His ownership percentage will likely be even lower than normal this week, but it shouldn’t be. Hopkins has historically never done well against New England and that trend held up last week. I expect Hopkins to bounce back in a big way against a secondary that was just scorched by Kenny Stills and Miami. Hopkins still got a whopping 34 percent target share in Week 1 and you get a slight discount from the other top wideouts.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones ($2,900) – This is less about the fact Jared Cook tore up the Los Angeles Rams from the tight end position Monday Night and more about how Arizona is using Seals-Jones. He is the clear second option in the passing game, and they will be throwing it around the yard plenty against the Rams as big underdogs. Arizona did not run that many offensive plays in Week 1, but Seals-Jones was in every play but four. At a deep discount, he is a value play.
FLEX RB T.J. Yeldon ($5,600) – I am obviously going into this week with the impression Leonard Fournette will not play. Yeldon is the clear handcuff and is already a very good pass catcher. No matter the game-flow against New England, he will be heavily involved; a good bet to catch 4-5 passes and get redzone work. Good salary relief for somebody getting 20 touches.
DEF Washington ($2,700) – The Washington defense, and mainly its front seven, played extremely well in the opener. That does not bode well for an Indianapolis offensive line with issues to work out. For a defense under $3,000, Washington delivers clearly the best chance at pressuring the quarterback on its home field.
PIVOTS: A little riskier proposition, but with the Fournette hamstring up in the air. Feel free to swap out Yeldon and Enunwa for Dante Pettis and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Again, Marquise Goodwin’s status will be of upmost importance here. Pettis has big play ability and Smith-Schuster racking up eight catches with a touchdown is likely in a shootout with Kansas City.