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Of all the weeks on the NFL schedule, week one is perhaps the best for daily fantasy football players. Not only does it finally give all of us what we’ve been craving for the last seven months (due to prices being set nearly a month ago), it presents the best opportunity of the season for us to find bargains on most daily sites.
Over the next 17 weeks and into the post-season, I’ll be highlighting some of the best bargains throughout the industry. Keep in mind that most of these suggestions are made for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments with more than 50 participants where players are looking for bargains to fill out their lineups after already inserting their “studs” for the week. They shouldn’t necessarily be considered in head to head or 50/50 games.
Now, on to this week’s bargains.
Shaun Hill, QB STL
Had I been writing this article a week and a half ago, I would have included Sam Bradford ($6,000 on FanDuel) on this list. After all, the Rams are favorites at home in week one and face the Vikings, who gave up more passing touchdowns (37) than any other defense in 2013 and didn’t do much over the offseason to improve.
Since Bradford went down for the year with a torn ACL, many fantasy owners have cringed at the thought of Hill ($5,000) taking over in St. Louis. But he’s, at the very least, been a competent backup since he entered the league and is certainly capable of putting up numbers against a below average defense.
Hill is an obvious choice when looking for a discount behind center for week one in large field tournaments. Because he’s the cheapest starting quarterback on most sites, he may be on a lot of rosters.
Chad Henne, QB JAX
The Jaguars travel to Philadelphia on Sunday. Head coach Gus Bradley will likely depend on their running game and defense to try to control the clock but the Eagles’ offense should put up points, forcing the Jags to play from behind. A year ago, Philly gave up more yards through the air (289.8 per game) than any other team in the league which could mean garbage time points for Henne ($5,600) and his receivers.
Considering his price and matchup, Henne is worth considering for those looking to save some cap space at quarterback this week.
Ryan Tannehill, QB MIA
Every dynasty owner is well aware of the upside Tannehill ($6,500) possesses. Going into his third season, he has the potential to breakout and that breakout could start as soon as this weekend at home against the Patriots. In week 15 at home against New England last year, Tannehill posted the best fantasy game of his career. He completed 25 of 37 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions that afternoon.
With the addition of Darrelle Revis, the Patriots defense should be improved, but is still susceptible through the air. If you’re a believer in a breakout season from Tannehill, this is your chance to capitalize on his low cost throughout the daily industry.
Fred Jackson, RB BUF
Many daily players will be looking to the Buffalo backfield for production this weekend. Many consider C.J. Spiller ($7,600) to be a deal against the questionable Chicago run defense, but the real bargain is his running mate, Fred Jackson ($5,800).
The Bears gave up 5.3 yards per carry a year ago, the worst in the league by a large margin and the second most touchdowns on the ground (22). Jackson isn’t flashy, but he gets consistent carries, is part of the passing game and gets all the goal line work in Buffalo. If you’re trying to fit a high profile tailback into your roster like Jamaal Charles ($9,800) or LeSean McCoy ($9,400), Jackson can ease the burden on your salary cap.
Shonn Greene, RB TEN
When it comes to the Tennessee backfield, all the talk among dynasty owners this offseason has centered on rookie Bishop Sankey ($5,600) but the fact is, Shonn Greene ($5,100) will still be the starting tailback for the Titans when they travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs on Sunday.
While the Chiefs had one of the best fantasy defenses a year ago, they struggled against the run, giving up 4.5 yards per carry and 120 yards per game.
Greene won’t be in a lot of lineups this weekend, but at his price, he should at least be considered.
Carlos Hyde, RB SF
The Cowboys defense is going to be absolutely dreadful this year and their run defense looks to be especially terrible. The first opportunity to take advantage of their week defense belongs to San Francisco.
For the record, all 49ers are useable for daily players in week one at Dallas but Hyde ($6,200) makes this list on a complete gut feeling. Many will look to veteran Frank Gore ($7,200) in daily leagues but I feel like saving $1,000 of cap space by going with the rookie is the move here. With the Cowboys’ defense being so poor, he’ll almost assuredly get 10-15 touches. My bet is that he finds paydirt on one of them.
Other options: Rashad Jennings ($6,700), Toby Gerhart ($6,100) and Andre Williams ($5,000).
Justin Hunter, WR TEN
Hunter ($4,800) is another breakout candidate for dynasty owners who could pay off big time in daily leagues this weekend. Although Kansas City had one of the best pass defenses in the league last year and returns most of their talent on that side of the ball for 2014, they did give up 12 touchdowns (tied for most in the league) in the preseason and Hunter has the type of talent that can take over a game no matter who lines up across from him.
If dynasty owners are correct about Hunter’s upside this year, this may be our only chance to get him under $5,000 on FanDuel.
Miles Austin, WR CLE
With Josh Gordon now suspended, Austin ($4,800) takes over as the number one receiver in Cleveland. Most fantasy owners know Austin as a perennial injury risk, but all indications are that he’ll enter the Browns’ week one contest in Pittsburgh at full health.
The Steelers’ pass defense isn’t as strong as it once was and due to the lack of options at receiver for the Browns, Austin should be targeted early and often. He should be on the radar of those looking for a bargain at wideout.
John Brown, WR ARI
Typically, it’s difficult to trust a number three NFL wide receiver in daily leagues but Brown ($4,500) may be the exception due to his stellar preseason and rock bottom pricing on all sites.
Recent news out of the desert says Brown could be on the field for as much as 60% of the Cardinals plays, which suggests he may be in line for a nice role in their offense. He caught ten passes for 165 yards and an impressive touchdown in the preseason and will try to take that momentum into the regular season against the Chargers on Monday night.
Most players will see how he plays over the first couple weeks before inserting him in their rosters so those looking for a high-risk, high-reward play at receiver could gain an advantage by going with him early.
Marques Colston, WR NO
With the over/under set in the mid-50s, Las Vegas is expecting the New Orleans/Atlanta game to be one of the highest scoring games of the weekend and I have to agree. There’s a good chance the game becomes a shootout and daily players will want a piece of that action. If you’re unable to get Julio Jones ($8,000), Roddy White ($7,000) or Jimmy Graham ($8,100) into your lineup, Colston ($5,700) may be a good fallback option.
Other Options: Danny Amendola ($5,400), Kelvin Benjamin ($4,900) and Marqise Lee ($4,800).
Travis Kelce, TE KC
My favorite cheap play of the weekend is Kelce, who’s listed at the FanDuel minimum of only $4,500. With Dwayne Bowe suspended for week one and only Donnie Avery ($4,500), A.J. Jenkins ($4,500) and Junior Hemingway ($4,500) available at receiver, Alex Smith will have to target somebody against the Titans on Sunday and Kelce is most likely to get those looks. He’s an excellent play for bargain hunters this weekend.
As a side note, if you’re looking to insert a high priced stud into your lineup this weekend, Jamaal Charles may be the best of the best. Andy Reid is going to feed him the rock often with the lack of depth elsewhere.
Zach Ertz, TE PHI
Another game expected to be high scoring this weekend will take place in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Jaguars. The Eagles are double-digit favorites but have a lot of mouths to feed with Riley Cooper ($5,900), Jordan Matthews ($5,200) and Jeremy Maclin ($5,000) all looking to get involved in the offense. Any of them would be good plays in daily leagues this week but Ertz ($4,500), due to his low salary, may be the best bargain of the Eagles pass catchers in week one. At the minimum salary on FanDuel, he could pay huge dividends to daily players.
Other options: Ladarius Green ($4,500).
Follow me on Twitter for more daily nuggets as well as lineup advise: @dmeylor22.
Find Dan on Twitter at @dmeylor22
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