Another NFL season is upon us and with it comes fantasy football – both of the seasonal league variety and the growing segment that is daily fantasy sports (DFS). This season I am shifting more of my money and efforts to DFS than last year. I will be offering weekly advice to help you build your lineups, and hopefully help both of us win some money too.
I will be focusing more on the cash game strategy, and by default may be intending these posts for the more novice DFS players. I am not a high-stakes tout, nor will I pretend to be and I am not intending for someone to read these posts and enter high entry tournaments expecting a big win.
What I will be doing each week is listing some top plays for the week at each position as well as a few value plays to help you start building your DFS lineup(s) for the upcoming week. More often than not I will not focus on the Thursday night games, although this week’s offering is one filled with fantasy goodness. I will be entering some lineups for those slates as well, but be forewarned this post will not include the Kansas City-New England matchup this week.
As always any questions, arguments, or glowing praise can be sent to me via Twitter @fantsychillpony.
Week 1 Core Plays
These will be my top plays of the week. These are players who I will try to have in as many lineups of mine as possible. If I can, I will use three or all four in one lineup. A reminder that for cash games going with an elite quarterback is typically recommended. If you go value at quarterback he MUST meet value for your loaded lineup to be worth it.
QB: Russell Wilson, Seattle at Green Bay ($8,000 FanDuel/$6,900 DraftKings)
Wilson and the Seahawks hit the road in Week 1 against Green Bay’s high-octane offense, making this game a projected high-scoring affair. Vegas has Green Bay favored by 3 with an game total of 51 points.
Green Bay’s defense, primarily the secondary, leaves plenty to be desired, and Wilson who appears to be fully healed, should be able to extend plays with his feet and find his top weapons (Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin) without too much trouble. Even though the Seahawks added Eddie Lacy to the backfield if they intend to keep up with the Packers in Lambeau the passing game will need to be involved.
RB: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh at Cleveland ($9,300 FanDuel/$9,800 DraftKings)
Bell is a fantasy stud and he is as safe as they come in DFS from week to week. I typically like to focus on RB playing at home, but a select few are safe no matter the location. Bell is the best DFS play each and every week. Why not use him this week at any cost, while loading up on higher volume receivers at fair prices? The Steelers are heavily favored over the young Browns even though this game is in Cleveland. Bell will be utilized heavily, and will certainly be productive. He costs plenty, but rarely fails to meet value. As many as 24 points in DraftKings leagues are not a stretch this week at all.
WR: Doug Baldwin, Seattle at Green Bay ($7,500 FanDuel/$6,700 DraftKings)
Baldwin will be a lock for most of my DFS lineups this week due to his price tag and matchup. The combination of Russell Wilson and Baldwin should be a productive and affordable one, which then presents an opportunity to add few big names at running back (including Le’Veon Bell). Baldwin averaged a little more than seven targets a game in 2016 and with a more mobile Wilson in a high-scoring game, he should be a lock for similar usage this week. His sure hands also increase his appeal as a red-zone target. With a projected 24 points for the Seahawks, Baldwin figures to be a part of the scoring.
WR: Stefon Diggs, Minnesota vs. New Orleans (Mon.) ($6,600 FanDuel/$6,000 DraftKings)
Diggs was a top target for Sam Bradford and the Vikings last season even though he was hampered by injuries off and on. When he was healthy, he averaged nine targets and was quite productive. This week he faces a Saints defense that had its share of issues in 2016 and was the fifth worst against WRs. New Orleans could be improved, but Diggs still figures to see plenty of passes thrown his way. His move to the outside doesn’t concern me as much, but a slight decrease in targets is possible. Even so at this price Diggs is a fine option as a WR2 or WR3 this week.
TE: Delanie Walker, Tennessee vs. Oakland ($6,100 FanDuel/$4,300 DraftKings)
Greg Olsen is the highest-priced tight end for Week 1 and I couldn’t fault anyone for playing him even at that price. In cash games especially he is as safe as they come. However, Walker feels safe to me as well in Week 1 and will save us a whopping $1,900 on DraftKings.
The Titans are favored to win this week with Vegas odds of -2 along with 26.25 implied total points. This is good for third best at the position, and second if you take out the Thursday night game. Walker is a big target and should remain a safe checkdown and red-zone option for Marcus Mariota this season.
Value Plays of the Week
QB: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia at Washington ($7,100 FanDuel/$5,300 DraftKings)
RB: C.J. Anderson, Denver vs. Los Angeles Chargers (Mon.) ($7,200 FanDuel/$4,600 DraftKings)
WR: Zay Jones, Buffalo vs. New York Jets ($5,100 FanDuel/$3,500 DraftKings)
— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.