Editor’s Note: We’re going to be bringing you an unprecedented amount of content this year during the season, mostly dynasty related. However, seeing the explosion of DFS games, we’ll also be ramping up our Daily coverage, similar to last season. Even if you don’t play in DFS games, these articles can help you in making lineup decisions or judging current value of your dynasty assets.
NFL football is finally here!
I can’t believe we all survived the off-season. It’s finally time to win some money in the Daily Fantasy Sports world. Chris Heil and Nick Whalen will be going up against each other weekly in a Heads Up competition in NFL DFS on FanDuel. Neither player used anyone from the Thursday Night game, but that doesn’t mean to fade the Thursday challenges – it just means pricing or match-ups did not work out for either when building their lineups.
Chris Heil’s Picks
Phillip Rivers, SD
$8,100 vs Detroit
Looking over quarterbacks was a bit difficult for week one. There is value if you spend less and use Tyrod Taylor. How many points do you think he will score? Also, what is his own percentage? That’s right, I’ll stick with someone who I can rely on. I was able to pull some stats from 4for4.com and found red zone tendencies. The Chargers scored a passing touchdown in the red zone 84% of the time last year and ran for a touchdown the other 16%. They were able to break down as well – Rivers passed to a wide receiver 55% of the time, a running back 3% of the time and a tight end 42% of the time. In this situation, I knew I had to stack a wide receiver or a tight end. I was fine with the stats and a match up against a Detroit defense that has to play on the road.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA
$8,600 @ St. Louis
I selected my quarterback with the statistic of passing touchdown percentage in the red zone. I thought I should do the same with the rest of the team. Seattle was second in rushing touchdowns inside the red zone last year – they scored rushing touchdowns 50% of the time. If the Seahawks passed, there was a 35% chance it was to a running back. The wide receivers only got the ball 35% of the time as well. We’ll see how Jimmy Graham changes these numbers, but I’ll take my chances in week one.
Jamaal Charles, KC
$8,900 @ Houston
This is the only player on my team I’m nervous about. It’s funny since he’s my most expensive play, too. The Chiefs finished fourth in rushing touchdown percentage last season. There is a reason I went with Charles here, though. They rushed for a touchdown 47% of the time in the red zone. The Chiefs also passed to running backs 53% of the time when throwing there. Based on that, I figure my chances of Charles scoring when in the red zone is very high. The Houston defense is no joke, but this could be a solid play especially in GPP as everyone will fear the defense.
Jordan Matthews, PHI
$6,800 @ Atlanta
In a game I (and Las Vegas) see as being a very high scoring affair, I need to have a piece in the game. Matthews is now the number one receiver in Philadelphia. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sam Bradford/Matthews stack is the most used one during the first week. Bradford has a great price and Matthews has every opportunity to shine. Only one team threw to wide receivers more in red zone last year – the Eagles passed in the red zone 63% of the time and 78% of those targets went to wide receivers instead of running backs and tight ends. A neat little stat – the Eagles passed to running backs in the red zone 0% of the time for a touchdown last season and that was when they had LeSean McCoy.
Vincent Jackson, TB
$7,200 vs Tennessee
I mentioned Philadelphia passed for touchdowns to wide receivers second most in the league last year. The Buccaneers finished first in passing to wide receivers for touchdowns – 86% of the time a wide receiver was scoring a touchdown on a pass last season. I know there are new coaches and new quarterback in Tampa, but I still love the height and skill level of Vincent Jackson. Jameis Winston will target Jackson early and often.
Stevie Johnson, SD
$4,700 vs Detroit
I had to stack in this situation and there was no way I could pass up this value. I started drooling when I saw this price. Keenan Allen was priced a little too rich for my blood and he will face majority of the coverage from Detroit. I look at Johnson being the number two wide receiver on the team. When the Chargers pass it for a touchdown (84% of the time in red zone) and 62% of those throws are to wide receivers, I knew I had to roster one. Stacking, pricing and stats all made sense on this one.
Josh Hill, NO
$5,200 @ Arizona
Arizona has been bad against tight ends for years now. Last year was no different as they finished third in allowing most points to them. Josh Hill is being forgotten about and is going to show up in a huge way in week one. Let everyone else sleep on him as you plug and play and win some money with this him. The Saints were only behind the Patriots when passing to tight ends in the red zone. I know Jimmy Graham is gone and Rob Gronkowski plays for New England, but the price and offense make this almost a must play. The Saints pass the ball in the red zone for a touchdown 67% of the time and the tight end was targeted on 52% of those throws last year. Even with Graham gone and Ben Watson in the fold, this price is too much to pass up.
Brandon McManus, DEN
$4,500 vs Baltimore
When you can get a player at a lower cost who can produce steady points, it’s a must. This will be a great game for two 2014 playoff teams. It will be a lot closer than expected and I love the opportunities McManus will get in this game. Anytime you can get a kicker in Denver, go for it.
$4,800 @ Jacksonville
This defense has every chance to finish as the number one defense in week one. They don’t give up many points and they are strong all over. One stat I look for when selecting a defense is sacks. In 2014, Blake Bortles was the most sacked quarterback. Sacks are very important not only do you get points for those. You then get the quarterback to possibly make bad decision and throw interceptions.
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Nick Whalen’s Picks
Sam Bradford, PHI
$7,500 @ Atlanta
Chip Kelly’s quarterbacks have averaged 30 passing touchdowns per season in the NFL. Bradford is the most talented of the bunch, which has included Mark Sanchez, Nick Foles and Michael Vick. The Eagles at Falcons game should be one of the highest scoring of the day, which will only produce more passing attempts for Bradford. Marcus Trufant is a great CB, but the rest of the Falcons secondary can be picked apart. Look for Chip to scheme some magic in week one and Bradford to have a big day. He’s also the 17th highest priced quarterback, that’s a steal.
Eddie Lacy, GB
$8,500 @ Chicago
Remember the slow start for Eddie Lacy in 2014? I’m expecting the opposite against a poor Chicago rush defense. After the Jordy Nelson injury, the Packers kept two fullbacks on the roster. The Packers are going to pound the rock after getting up early against Chicago. Lacy should also see a handful of receptions in this contest. Only the seventh highest priced running back, Lacy is at a good price.
Frank Gore, IND
$7,500 @ Buffalo
The Bills run defense will be below average without Kiko Alonso gone and Marcell Dareus on a one game suspension. The Colts offense will get up early in this one and lead to many touches for Gore. I also think he will vulture some goal line carries and get several receptions as the Colts relied on their running backs in the passing game in 2014.
Julio Jones, ATL
$9,000 vs Philadelphia
With Roddy White and Jacob Tamme banged up, I expect the Falcons passing game to flow through Julio. Now I hope he can overcome the attention and double teams from the Eagles secondary as well. But Julio is used to it and has insane upside every week. Week 12 in 2014 he went 10/189/1 and week 13 he went 11/259/1. Not only will you get upside, but also his floor is high as 4/58/0 was his worst game in 2014.
John Brown, ARI
$6,000 vs New Orleans
Coming from a Division II college, many expected a longer development process for John Brown. However, in the six games he played with Carson Palmer last season, Brown caught three touchdowns and even had a 119-yard game. The Cardinals are still unsure if Michael Floyd will be able to play in week one. Speaking of injuries, the Saints defense is taking a beating this preseason. Star CB Keenan Lewis will miss at least the first month of the season, opposite CB Brandon Browner and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro both just returned from injuries in early September. If those injuries weren’t enough, the prized free agent acquisition in 2013, free safety Jairus Byrd, will likely miss week one as well. All in all, Brown is a promising young receiver and he plays against a depleted secondary with little preseason chemistry.
Davante Adams, GB
$5,500 @ Chicago
The Chicago Bears defense is still a mess and it appears new defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, hasn’t found a fix to one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Oh goodie, they play Aaron Rodgers in week one and it shouldn’t be close. The Jordy Nelson injury has provided a great opportunity for Adams to step up and get a ton of targets. While I expect the offense to run more and use bigger (TE/FB) formations, Adams is still a great buy at this price point.
Martellus Bennett, CHI
$6,200 vs Green Bay
The Bears offensive line is such a mess, they just switched their best offensive lineman, Kyle Long, to right tackle last week. I would expect a short passing game to negate the pass rush Green Bay will likely provide with Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews. The good news is Bennett has looked great in preseason in short routes, which utilize his great athletic ability and physicality. The Bears will be going to him early and often with most of their wide receiver corps banged up as well.
Cody Parkey, PHI
$5,000 @ Atlanta
One of the best kickers in the NFL gets to play on turf in week one. The Eagles offense will move the ball with ease against a below average Falcons defense and set up Parkey with many opportunities.
Just take them against the Redskins.