First reactions to the Week 1 FanDuel salaries
It’s official. The Week 1 prices are out on FanDuel and you can set lineups right now.
Really, go set a lineup. You can change it as many times as you want up until kickoff, so grab your spot now.
The prices are set. There will be no movement before Week 1, so that means there are a ton of bargains out there, especially as depth charts start to shift during preseason play.
But right now, today, here are some quick observations to get you back into the DFS groove.
You have to love Eli Manning for $7,200 at Dallas. It seems like every time I go to Twitter, another Cowboy defensive player is going to be missing. Manning has Odell Beckham Jr., but I’m interested in how he’ll utilize the other receivers against a soft defense. I think they will try to get rookie Sterling Shepard a touchdown in Week 1 to send the “you have to defend players not named Odell” message. I also think there will be a sentimental value to getting Victor Cruz in there for a salsa touchdown dance to welcome him back. Look at me, I’m already on narrative street …
The chalk pick will likely be Derek Carr for $7,700 at New Orleans. He’ll probably be the highest-owned player based on the Saints’ historically bad 2015 defensive unit and the hopeful projections many have placed on the Raiders’ offense.
Taking Blake Bortles for $8,400 against the Green Bay Packers seems like a waste of your salary cap. The Packers have a strong defense. They put up 50 sacks last season, fourth in the league. They caught 16 interceptions, ninth in the league. Blake Bortles led the league with 18 interceptions and was sacked a league-high 51 times. This is not a winning combination.
Jimmy Garoppolo might only be $6,900, but he’s playing the Arizona Cardinals. That’s risky.
Instead, play Sam Bradford for $6,900 at home against the Cleveland Browns. The offense will be slower paced under head coach Doug Pederson, but Bradford’s floor will be high. Spend that money elsewhere and you will have a nice roster.
DFS Tip: Go for the bargains if you’re playing cash games, but if you want to win a tournament, you have to hit at quarterback. The average score of a quarterback in a winning Sunday Million lineup was 29.16 FanDuel points. All but two of the 17 winners had a quarterback that scored over 20 points. The two with less happened in Weeks 16 and 17.
FanDuel has a half-point PPR scoring system. That doesn’t completely throw value in the direction of pass-catching backs, but how can you ignore Charles Sims priced at $4,700 at Atlanta? Last year the Falcons gave up the fourth-most FanDuel points to opposing running backs. In Week 1 they allowed Darren Sproles to catch seven passes for 76 yards. I’m operating under the assumption that Sims can do the same, if not better. At that price, he’s almost a must-start.
I have a feeling that I’m going to go all in on the Giants for Week 1 because Rashad Jennings is only $6,000. Plenty of Paul Perkins buzz continues to swirl online and he’s priced at the $4,500 minimum. If there is a clear winner in the running back battle, that player will be in my lineup.
Matt Jones is the starting running back in Washington and yet he’s only $6,000 at home versus Pittsburgh. Duke Johnson is priced at $5,600, which is $100 less than Isaiah Crowell.
If you want to go deeper, Theo Riddick tied with Danny Woodhead for the most receptions last season (80) and yet he’s priced at $5,100 at Indianapolis.
The running back roster battles are just getting started so more bargains are on the way.
DFS Tip: Being boring at running back is the way to go. Eight players made up for 58.8 percent of all the running backs in winning lineups. Those eight players were Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams, Devonta Freeman, Tim Hightower, Chris Ivory, David Johnson, Lamar Miller and Todd Gurley.
Pony up and pay to get Odell Beckham Jr. for $9,100 at Dallas. And if you get bargains at other positions, pair him with Dez Bryant for $8,000. I want both sides of this divisional matchup between two bad defenses. Chalk or not, you don’t want to miss out.
Sammy Watkins is only $7,300 at Baltimore. If he’s healthy, this guy put up more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games last season. He’s going to get fed the ball and Baltimore gave up the fourth-most points to wide receivers in 2015.
Golden Tate is the WR1 in Detroit now that Calvin Johnson is gone. It seems like that hasn’t completely set in, because he’ll only cost you $6,900 at Indianapolis. A lot of DFS players will be concerned with Vontae Davis, so his ownership rate will be lower than it should be. He’s an early contrarian pick that I’m going to keep on my radar.
But really, it’s the deep bargains that have me most excited. If Sammie Coates wins the WR2 job in Pittsburgh, you can get him for $5,200. All of you “Michael Thomas of New Orleans” believers will be thrilled when you get to roster him in his opening game for $4,900. And my favorite sleeper in all fantasy formats, slot receiver Bruce Ellington, is $4,700. Ellington will play against the stout Los Angeles Rams defense, but those points per reception do add up and that price tag is incredibly enticing.
DFS Tip: Spend your money at wide receiver. 16 of the 17 Sunday Million lineups had one of the following players: Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr. The only week that didn’t have one of those players was Week 16. That was when Beckham was suspended, Jones went up against Josh Norman, Houston started Brandon Weeden and the Steelers bombed at Baltimore. Get a stud wide receiver. Period.
Rob Gronkowski will always be the most expensive tight end. This year he starts out at $8,700. The next-most-expensive tight end is Jordan Reed at $7,400. I don’t know if you can justify paying almost nine grand for Gronk when he has Garoppolo at quarterback and is going up against the Arizona Cardinals.
Philip Rivers has been incredibly vocal about how he wants to get his buddy, Antonio Gates, as many records as humanly possible this year. I believe him. Gates is a good bargain at Kansas City for $6,200.
Two of my favorite tight end sleepers, Vance McDonald and Lance Kendricks, are both priced at $4,700. If you want to go low at this position, those two are good targets.
DFS Tip: Gronkowski was in only one winning Sunday Million lineup in 2015. Why? He’s incredibly expensive compared to everyone else and your roster composition will reflect that. Gronk is a fabulous cash play, but in a tournament, you might want to spend that money elsewhere.
I don’t know why FanDuel has a thing against Robbie Gould, but the guy was the fourth-highest-scoring kicker last year, averaging 9.25 points per game. And yet here he is at the $4,500 minimum, ripe for the taking at Houston. He was underpriced all last year, as well.
You know who else is at the $4,500 minimum? Second-round draft pick Robert Aguayo. Tampa Bay at Atlanta is the very definition of high scoring potential. The Buccaneers drafted him for a reason, and so should you.
DFS Tip: Kickers are people, too. 70.6 percent of the Sunday Million winning lineups had kickers that scored at least 11 FanDuel points. That player is a ninth of your roster. Ignore at your own risk.
Jared Goff will hopefully evolve into a good NFL quarterback. Today, I’m taking the opponent and looking at a bargain. The San Francisco 49ers are a much-maligned team, with most people down on them and Chip Kelly in general. In Week 1 they face a rookie quarterback with a questionable offensive line and will only cost you $4,400.
The most expensive defense going into Week 1 is the Kansas City Chiefs, but playing them for $5,100 against the San Diego Chargers doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sure, the Chargers’ offensive line is porous, but Philip Rivers has a tendency to start seasons off strong. It’s the final eight games of the season when his stats tank.
The Green Bay Packers are another serious bargain. As I noted in the quarterback section, Blake Bortles was sacked more than any other quarterback last season and threw the most interceptions. They’ll only cost you $4,300 so they need to be considered.
DFS Tip: Defense is about the opponent. Houston was in three winning Sunday Million lineups in 2015. Carolina was in two. All of the other weeks were one-week wonders in good matchups.