Everyone loves fantasy football, but many still aren’t familiar with the quickly growing game that is daily fantasy sports. If you aren’t familiar, go check out Draftkings.com . I hope to break down strategy and just overall understanding of this new way to play fantasy sports in a later post, but I want to get my picks out there for those who are at least somewhat familiar with this already.
So I broke down each position, posting my 1. top plays, which are my favorite plays regardless of price for the week, 2. “punts”, or solid options at a dirt cheap price that I expect to return decent stats to allow you to use your salary cap at other positions, and 3. best value plays, which are essentially just a mix between my expectations and their price. These are the guys you really should try to get into your lineups.
My take on these is from a cash game perspective. That is for head-to-head games, 50/50s, or even triple ups. You know, the lobbies with the high percentage of entries who cash out.
My last little lineup I put together doesn’t have a catchy name just yet, but it’s my bolder than bold calls to have a great game this week. Most (if not all) will bust, but these are the guys that will give you a chance to win $1 million dollars if you play in the millionaire maker. I hope all of them hit, but I really just am looking to have their ownership percentage under or at 2%.
Top 3 QBs:
Eli Manning, $7,400– He’s the 8th most expensive QB, yet my #1 play this week. The Giants’ most talented running backs are pass catchers, and even without Cruz tonight, Rueben Randle should be just fine as a #2 option against a very poor secondary. Take advantage of this price tag for a top tier play.
Aaron Rodgers, $8,600– he’s without Jordy Nelson for the 2015 season, but don’t let that shy away. It’s Aaron Rodgers. He finished as a top 2 QB in 2014 even without the volume that some offenses give their passing game, so you can count on this guy for great production. Only reason he isn’t #1 is the chance Eddie Lacy takes more TDs rushing than you would hope for. The Bears defense is vulnerable in all aspects.
Drew Brees, $8,000– He may be on a decline in his career, but don’t write him off just yet. Bree gets an Arizona defense in week 1 who are very good against the run. I expect the Saints to run more this year, but not in week 1. Brees will get the volume and be a safe option at QB.
Tyrod Taylor, $5,000– he’s a starting QB that can rush for yards at the minimum price. The Colts defense isn’t scary by any means. If you feel comfortable punting the QB position, this is a great play.
Top 3 values:
Sam Bradford, $6,900– Chip Kelly made Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez viable fantasy options in 2014, and by all accounts Bradford is much more talented player than those two. Kelly went out and traded for this guy, so as long as his knee is intact, I expect big numbers. The Falcons defense, by the way, is really, really bad.
Carson Palmer, $6,500– I think people will be off Palmer this week, which is an opportune time to roster a proven QB in a pass happy offense with a plus matchup. I don’t think Palmer’s ceiling is too high, but at this price his floor will be a great option to let you put your budget into the skill position.
Ryan Tannehill, $7,400– A popular breakout pick this year, Tannehill gets a weak Redskins secondary in week 1 and looks to prove he has made significant strides in the offseason. It appears all of his WR options will be healthy, so let’s see if this breakout season is legit.
Top 3 RBs:
Eddie Lacy, $7,500- Perhaps some think it’s always a risk to rank Lacy as their #1 RB option when Aaron Rodgers can just take over a game at will, but let’s not forget how reliable Lacy was last year for Green Bay. The Packers are a more balanced offense than some may think, and without Jordy the offensive touches need to go somewhere else. Do I expect a significant increase for Lacy because of this? No. But it makes him a much safer play on a week to week basis.
Adrian Peterson, $7,700– Peterson returns this year after being suspended for 15 games in 2014, and he gets a 49ers defense who suffered a massive loss of personnel. Peterson is in an offense that has all the chances to be sneaky good this year, but it all starts with his production. Norv Turner is known to rely on his RB to catch the ball, so this may be the year we see Peterson really improve his receiving stats. The sky is the limit this week.
Jeremy Hill, $7,100– Not going to be involved in the passing game, but Hill is an emerging star who gets a great matchup to begin the 2015 season. The Raiders were sneaky good against the pass last year (probably because everyone just ran on them), so I see Hill being very active this week.
Benny Cunningham, $3,000– He is on track to be the starter this week, and Tre Mason may be inactive. If he is, then Cunningham is going to get 20+ touches. You afraid of the Seattle defense? Don’t be too afraid. They are without Kam Chancellor in week 1 and just aren’t the same team on the road. Still a poor matchup, but at this price, it’s worth a try.
Danny Woodhead, $3,700– Not too much upside, but Gordon has yet to solidify himself as a RB that deserves a huge workload. Woodhead appears to the the red zone RB right now in SD, so I like his chances to get a TD.
top 3 values:
Chris Ivory, $4,100– Starting RB in run heavy offense against a poor run defense. Yup.
Jonathan Stewart, $5,800– Have you seen the passing options? Have you seen the jaguars defense these past few years? Do you remember Stewart in the last few games in 2014 when he was finally healthy?
Tevin Coleman, $4,800– He is the starting RB with freeman banged up, and the Eagles defense is a plus matchup. It’s a risky play considering he’s a rookie and we don’t know what this Falcons offense will look like this year, but at this price and matchup its a good bet.
top 3 WRs:
Odell Beckham Jr., $9,200– not much has changed since last year’s stretch when OBJ put up the best stretch in fantasy football history. Great matchup. Great player. You won’t regret this pick.
Julio Jones, $9,300– highest priced WR, and probably the more popular play in comparison to OBJ. You can’t go wrong with either, as Julio gets an Eagles secondary who has troubles slowing down any receiver. Julio Jones is much more than just any receiver.
Dez Bryant, $8,700– all top 3 plays are in prime time, and all three are looking to keep their great end to the 2014 season. The Cowboys running game may get sloppy with no real 3 down back to start the year, and the Giants safety duo might be the worst in the league. Dez will have a field day on Sunday night.
Cecil Shorts III, $3,600- A talented WR in his first year with Houston. When he was healthy in Jacksonville, he was a viable starter in fantasy. He’s healthy right now, and Kansas City is without their top CB. Great punt play.
Cole Beasley, $3,400- a sneaky PPR play in a game with a high expectancy for points. He will be lowly owned and has a decent shot at a TD.
Stevie Johnson, $3,700- We forgot about Stevie when he got lost in the 49ers depth chart in 2014, but now in SD he is expected to be active in the passing game. Gates is out for 4 games, so those red zone looks have to go somewhere. Stevie isn’t washed up just yet and isn’t a bad bet this week.
top 3 values:
Devante Adams, $4,400– If you aren’t starting him in cash games, you are at a huge disadvantage.
Vincent Jackson, $6,000– Mike Evans is banged up, and Winston seemed to favor Jackson in the preseason anyways. Tennessee is a plus matchup, and Jackson is the #1 option in week 1.
Jarvis Landry, $5,600– Popular play in the 2nd half on DraftKings, Landry is a target monster who offers a high floor at a good price. Will his sophomore year bring a higher ceiling with bigger plays and more TDs? I like his chances.
top 3 TEs:
Greg Olsen, $5,300– The only NFL starting talent that catches football on the roster. Jaguars are terrible vs. TEs. It’s a no brainer #1 option this week.
Martellus Bennett, $4,300– If you want to save some cash here, Bennett is a fine play. Jeffery just may be a decoy this week, and Bennett has a history of starting the regular season hot. Chicago will be throwing a lot today, and Bennett will be a target monster.
Travis Kelce, $4,800– Mini Gronk is looking to increase his role in the KC offense in 2015, assuming he can stay healthy. Do we trust this offense to throw a lot? No. But Kelce doesn’t need too much volume to be a nice play in fantasy.
Jordan Reed, $3,300– He has all the potential to be a top fantasy TE, and with no other relevant players on the roster at the position, he’s in store for the workload.
Owen Daniels, $3,400– If you are still a believer in Peyton Manning, then this is an easy punt play.
Larry Donnell, $3,200– He was the surprise TE to start 2014, but obviously his huge production had to regress. Oddly, Donnell still stayed somewhat active in the offense throughout the year, and I see no reason why he can’t find the endzone once or twice this week.
top 3 values:
Not much to say about values. The prices are too close, so it’s your decision on a punt play or top pick.
top 3 DSTs:
My GPP “million dollar maker” players
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, $5,600
RB: Benny Cunningham, $3,000
RB: Matt Jones, $3,700
WR: Mohamed Sanu, $3,300
WR: Phillip Dorsett, $3,600
WR: Andrew Hawkins, $3,500
TE: Garrett Graham, $2,500
FLEX: WR Michael Crabtree, $4,400
DEF: Raiders, $2,300