DraftKings Best Lineup for Week 1
If you’ve never played weekly salary-cap fantasy games, you’re missing out on what’s quickly becoming the hottest new trend in fantasy football and a great way to make some quick cash. No longer are you locked into a team for an entire season (or longer) and subject to the pain of injuries and poor performance. Instead, each week you pick a new set of players to fill your lineup. This is an exciting format that takes away a lot of the stress that goes with season-long fantasy leagues.
For those not familiar with DraftKings’ format, you are awarded a total budget of $50,000 to fill a roster of nine players (QB, RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, TE, FLEX (RB/WR/TE), K and D/ST). You must pick players from at least two different NFL teams that represent two different games that week. The scoring rules are similar to most PPR scoring leagues, but you can check out the details over at DraftKings for more information there.
Now that we’ve gotten the introductory information out of the way, here’s the most valuable DraftKings lineup for Week 1.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts ($8,700)
While it can be tempting to spend a few hundred dollars more on a guy like Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Matt Ryan this week, Luck is projected to put up almost identical numbers and costs $500-1000 less.
In his rookie campaign, Luck was good at home last season, throwing 12 of his 23 touchdowns and only five of his 18 interceptions, with 2,145 yards and a 54.9 completion percentage. The Raiders’ defense was ranked 23rd against the pass last season, giving up an average of 236 yards per game, 28 total touchdowns and had only 11 interceptions (tied for 23rd worst). Luck should have no problem standing in the pocket and picking this defense apart for big numbers.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs ($8,600)
Charles is lucky enough to begin the season matched up against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had the worst overall defense in the league last season.
Charles will benefit from new head coach Andy Reid’s offensive scheme, as he will touch the ball 20-plus times both on the ground and in the passing game. Plus, the addition of a legitimate quarterback in Alex Smith will keep the offense balanced and keep the Jaguars’ defense from stacking eight or nine in the box against the run. Charles is projected to finish the week as the best fantasy running back, with 18.6 total points.
David Wilson, New York Giants ($5,800)
Wilson has seen a big boost in his value since Andre Brown went down with a broken leg. Wilson will now get the bulk of the carries on all three downs, as well as goal-line situations.
With a decent secondary and good pass rush, the Dallas Cowboys will do a good job of keeping Eli Manning and the Giants’ passing game in check, which means New York will turn to Wilson and lean on him heavily. Dallas’ defense was ranked 22nd against the run last season, allowing 125 yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry and 17 rushing touchdowns.
We have Wilson projected as the 13th best fantasy ‘back this week, with 15.7 points.
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts ($6,800)
This goes back to starting Luck at quarterback. Wayne is his favorite target, and will do work against the Raiders’ lackluster secondary.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,400)
The Chiefs will use Charles and the running game to open up things for Alex Smith in the passing game. Jacksonville will be relying on cornerback Alan Ball, who finished 2012 with an overall grade of -1.2 and a coverage grade of -0.2; as well as two rookies in corner Dwayne Gratz and safety Jonathan Cyprien. Smith should have no problem finding Bowe early and often.
Zach Sudfeld, New England Patriots ($3,000)
With Rob Gronkowski still sidelined after multiple offseason surgeries, Sudfeld will get the start for New England on Sunday. He’s a talented, athletic, strong and quick pass catcher, that will cause a big mismatch against the Buffalo Bills’ linebackers over the middle.
It’s no secret that Tom Brady loves his tight ends, so don’t be surprised to see Sudfeld have the most or second most targets outside of Danny Amendola by day’s end. We have him projected to finish the week as the fifth best tight end, with 11.2 fantasy points.
Ben Tate, Houston Texans ($3,000)
Reports out of Houston are that Arian Foster has practiced all week and will be good to go for the Texans’ first game against the San Diego Chargers. Even if Foster starts the game, Houston will likely look to ease him into things, so expect Tate to get between 10-15 carries — which will be good enough for at least 8.7 fantasy points.
Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots ($3,900)
The Patriots will come out of the gate looking to score early and often (as always), both through the air and on the ground. Gostkowski will get plenty of PA opportunities, as well as a chance at a field goal or two. He’s currently projected to be the sixth best kicker this week, with 7.8 fantasy points.
Defense and Special Teams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($3,600)
Tampa Bay had the No. 1 rushing defense in the league last year and added Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and Johnathan Banks to solidify the weakest part of their defensive squad, the secondary.
The New York Jets have an extremely underwhelming offense, with a questionable line and almost no talent surrounding rookie quarterback Geno Smith. Tampa Bay will have no problem stopping the Jets all day, en route to a projected 10.4 fantasy points and sixth place finish.