DraftKings offers a six-player lineup on single-game slates where the lead player, “captain,” scores 1.5 times his fantasy points. The tradeoff is that the player awarded extra points also has a 1.5 multiplier tied to his salary. These contests are incredibly close, leaving no room for error for some looking to take home a massive top prize in GPPs formats.
Based on this week’s pricing, it is nearly impossible to structure a winning team with Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford, Stefon Diggs, and Cooper Kupp if one of those players fills the captain slot in the lineup.
Buffalo has three viable cheats (Zack Moss – $4,500, James Cook – $4,200, and Isaiah McKenzie – $3,600).
The Bills should give Moss some carries with a reasonable chance to get a shot or two at the goal line.
Cook is a player Buffalo wants to get involved in the passing game while having the speed to hit on a long score if given daylight at the second level of the defense. However, his role/opportunity is unknown heading into Week 1. Cook has a range of zero to hero.
In August, McKenzie missed some time with a groin issue, but he looks ready for opening day. His summer reports were positive about winning the Bills’ WR3 role. He projects to be the best value of the three Buffalo players, meaning there will be a ton of overlap with him as the captain by playing the game’s top four players. With this lineup structure, the only out at the sixth spot in the lineup looks to be Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell (if active), Tommy Sweeney, and Brycen Hopkins. I don’t see any other player with a chance to see enough snaps to post a winning score. This game plan will undoubtedly result in many teams tying for first (they split the prize pool for all the positions filled by the winning teams).
Allen Robinson, WR, Los Angeles Rams ($6,200)
Since signing with the Rams, Robinson's stock has risen steadily in season-long fantasy football drafts. He projects to be a top-tier WR2 in PPR formats. His lower salary compared to Cooper Kupp ($12,400) and Stefon Diggs ($9,000) should make him a popular play in this format. I don’t know if the Bills can slow down Kupp, but they will game plan to do so.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills ($9,000)
The Rams will try to match up CB Jalen Ramsey with Diggs on many plays, but I don’t fear this matchup. Ramsey isn’t the same player as he was at his peak in Jacksonville. Top wideouts can beat him one-on-one. Diggs is a volume receiver with a much better price point than Kupp. I trust Allen to get him the ball if he is open.
Gabe Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills ($7,200)
There has been a lot of love for Davis in August in the high-stakes fantasy football market. He fits the big play/high-scoring profile, but his matchup isn’t ideal. If Los Angeles decides to take away Diggs, he will have plenty of targets. I expect many daily investors to pair him with Allen Robinson in lineups at the expense of one top player.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills ($7,000)
I view Singletary as an easy fade in a single-game format. Buffalo tends to pull him when they are close to the goal line and Cook will get in his way on passing downs.
Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Los Angeles Rams ($4,800)
Henderson and Cam Akers were limited in practice in late August. Their issues look to be behind them, pointing to a split role in Week 1. Henderson has salary cap relief on his side while possibly having a higher ceiling on passing downs. His better-looking status points to him being on many teams.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Buffalo Bills ($5,000)
Despite Isaiah McKenzie getting better reports this summer, Crowder has the higher salary in this matchup. His NFL resume suggests he should be the better player over the long haul but gambling on picks in these contests doesn’t end well in most weeks.
Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams ($5,600)
After an excellent end to 2020, Higbee failed to repeat last season. Unfortunately, his salary looks to be above his opportunity. He scored over 15.00 fantasy points in PPR formats once in 2021 (6/55/2).
Josh Allen is the best player in Week 1 in the Thursday night matchup. His ability to run sets a high floor. He should be the top choice for the captain slot.
An against-the-grain roster would be Allen, followed by kicker Matt Gay (the Bills’ defense forces the Rams to kick field goals on most drives). I would then key Allen Robinson and Darrell Henderson Jr. with Stefon Diggs, leaving me $8,200 for the remaining best options (Cam Akers, Gabriel Davis, Dawson Knox, and Tyler Bass).