06 Sep Week 1 NFL DFS (Sunday Only)
As we inch ever so closer to kick-off of the NFL season, and we have most of our season-long drafts out of the way, it is time to start devising a plan to win some money in the DFS realm. Every week I will come out with an article that includes a cash lineup (which should be used for the 50/50, double-ups, triple-ups, and even H2H if you want to go that route). If you are just a beginner at daily fantasy sports I would advise you stay away from Head-to-Head games for a few reasons: you could match-up with a shark (name for someone who can be considered a pro), you could have a great high-scoring roster and still lose, whereas, that high-score would have won you the same amount of money in 50/50 contests, and although new rules are in place to even the playing field in terms of skill level, you still could find yourself as shark meat if you don’t know what you are looking for. So my suggestion is to stick to the large field 50/50 and double-up contests, specifically ones with a single entry where you avoid the possibility of being “trained” out of cashing. What that means is having experienced high-level players putting in hundreds of identical lineups in large field 50/50 contests and pushing the cash lines to a higher level, possibly leaving you in the dark.
Here are some examples of what to look for in terms of contests you want to avoid.
While the ideology that beating half of the field in a 45,000 person field may seem easier than say beating half of the field in a 100 person field does seem logical, I will explain why it’s not always the case. The MASSIVE or GIANT double-up contests you see above are usually the contests in which more experienced players or sharks enter hundreds of lineups, and/or people with all week on their hands to tinker with lineups and get as many in as they can into these big contests. I have found through trial and error that the contests ranging anywhere from 50-250 spots with single or at least single digit entry limits have lower pay-lines. I believe this is due to the average joe coming onto these websites on Sunday morning and throwing in a random lineup for a dollar or five dollars, and not putting much effort or strategic wherewithal into the lineup.
The contests above are the ones you want to focus on especially if you are a beginner, but remember to have fun. We all want to win money doing it, and if you are buying into their commercials that say you can win a life-changing amount or “boat-load” of money, while they hold some truth, to be frank with you it is very uncommon and unlikely if you do not actually do this for a living. Nevertheless, if anybody ever has any questions regarding contest selection you can find me on twitter: @zaksauer in which my email address is also available there for you to use as well.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff shall we!
DraftKings Cash Lineup
QB: Andrew Luck ($8,300) vs. DET- Great match-up in a game that should be a shoot-out, could have paid down a little bit at QB, but found value elsewhere.
RB: Spencer Ware ($4,400) vs. KC- Superb value seeing as all signs are pointing to Jamaal Charles missing Week 1 and Spencer Ware has been the guy taking all the reps with the first team unit. They should easily handle this weak San Diego team and be running the football the whole second half to run the clock out.
RB: James White ($3,600) @ ARI- Unfortunate injury to Dion Lewis, but this opens the door for White to retain his role while on the shelf. Without Brady on the field, Arizona should take the strangle hold early forcing New England and back-up QB Jimmy G. to throw the ball a ton. Look for White to get at least 4-5 receptions which should pay off his salary, and he can do much more than that. Another great value play here.
WR: Donte Moncrief ($6,000) vs. DET- A player who doubled his reception and touchdown total from his rookie season last year, and that was without the services of Andrew Luck for most of the season. As I mentioned I believe this game will feature a ton of passing and Moncrief is the Colt’s best red-zone option. Going to project something along the lines of a 6/70/1 stat-line for Donte in Week 1.
WR: Deandre Hopkins ($8,800) vs. CHI- With Antonio Brown not available on the Sunday only slate, as he plays Monday Night, I like Hopkins the most of all the “big WR” at that high price-point. Julio is a little nicked up (per usual), OBJ plays Dallas where last season his two game-logs look like this: WK1 5/44/0 and WK7 4/35/0, Dez is without Romo and we have seen how horrendous that turns out (although it looks like those times may change with Prescott at the helm), and AJ Green faces off with Revis and the tough secondary of the Jets. While I envision a lot of running the clock out for Houston in the second half, Hopkins can be the main factor the Texans may go up big in the first half against the mediocre Bears.
WR: Keenan Allen ($8,000) @ KC- Rivers had to throw the ball more than any other QB last season to the tune of 600+ attempts. If Allen did not suffer a freakish injury falling on a pylon his numbers would have extrapolated to the amount of targets and receptions that Antonio Brown and Julio Jones lead the league with last season. Without any improvements to help San Diego’s rushing attack, I foreshadow Rivers and Allen having a busy afternoon together if they want to stay in this football game against division rival Kansas City. Do not be surprised if Keenan Allen has the best numbers for a WR in Week 1, and if healthy could hang around the top-5 at the position which would see a price increase to the elite level.
TE: Zach Miller ($3,700) @ HOU- Tight End is usually a position that I punt, in other words, taking the salary relief and using money elsewhere as this position is so volatile from week to week. As I eluded to in the Hopkins write up, I believe Houston will be trying to run clock out with a substantial lead at some point in the second half. Which for game-flow theory that means Chicago will be airing out the football quite a bit. With an unknown commodity in Kevin White and often-injured Jeffery probably getting most of the double coverage, this leads me to believe that Miller could pick up where he left off at the end of the season and have himself a solid game. The last three games of the season Miller saw at least six targets in each and had at least five receptions in all of them, leading to double-digit points in all three contests which easily pays off his salary.
FLEX: Michael Thomas ($4,000) vs. OAK- Rookie out of Ohio State has already built a solid report and gained the trust of Drew Brees in OTA’s, training-camp, preseason, etc. We know Brandin Cooks is the number one target for New Orleans, and they have a new tight-end in Colby Fleener which remains to be seen how often he is used. Nevertheless, Thomas has taken over the role of Colston for the Saints, one in which was productive especially near the red-zone for so many years. Add in the fact that this game will be taking place in the SuperDome where this team always seems to put up better offensive numbers, and I think we have ourselves a perfect storm (not a hurricane Katrina joke).
DEF: Texans ($3,200) vs. CHI- Well it appears that although J.J Watt had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back, and any other normal human being would probably have been on the PUP list returning after Week 6, he is on track to play Houston’s opener. What other factors does anybody with any knowledge of football need to know other than hearing J.J Watt good-to-go, up against Jay “Interception Machine” Cutler. Should be a nice afternoon for this Texan squad on defense and perfectly fits into the salary.
FanDuel Cash Lineup
QB: Andrew Luck ($8,700) vs. DET- Read above.
RB: Spencer Ware ($5,400) vs. SD- Read above.
RB: Adrian Peterson ($8,200) @ TEN- Unfortunate injury for Teddy, really stinks to see such a stand up guy beginning to come into his own as an NFL QB suffer such a horrific injury. What it does besides make Minnesota look awfully desperate trading a 1st and 4th round draft picks to acquire Sam Bradford, is put the onus on AP to take an even bigger workload. Not playing in any preseason games is nothing to worry about if you have paid attention to the NFL over the last few seasons, as that’s just not his gig. While we have this preconceived notion that RB hit this cliff after age 30, AP is of a different breed and we have to remember he did miss a whole season and more due to injury and suspensions, while redefining how we look at the time and ill-effects of rehabilitation of ACL injuries. He still is one of the best RB in the game still, and while he is match-up proof, Tennessee’s defense does not scare me too much.
WR: Donte Moncrief ($6,200) vs. DET- Read above.
WR: DeAndre Hopkins ($8,400) vs. CHI- Read above.
WR: Mike Evans ($7,900) @ ATL- While Evans is coming off of a disappointing sophomore season in which he saw his TD number drop by a whopping 11 scores (14 rookie season, 3 last season), every expert and myself are expecting a bounce-back season for the Tampa wideout. He struggled with drops all season, but Jameis still threw to him a ton, as he quickly developed into the rookie QB favorite target. Winston played really well as a rookie, and many expect him to take another step forward as a player this year too. This dynamic duo will look to start off on the right foot in Atlanta here on in Week 1 against a defense that lost a couple of solid players. I am expecting Evans to return to that double-digit touchdown plateau he exceeded as a rookie, and why not start filling that stat column right out of the gate here in Week 1.
TE: Coby Fleener ($5,400) vs. OAK- After a season where we saw the rebirth of Ben Watson as an adequate offensive option, the Saints bring in Fleener who struggled to stay healthy with his time in Indianapolis. There is no denying that the talent is there, just have yet to see him play a full season will a clean bill-of-health. Watson (out for season) now with the Baltimore Ravens, has opened up a big opportunity for Fleener to really redefine his career as a productive NFL tight-end. In an offense that seemingly made Jimmy Graham a household name at the position, and turned Ben Watson’s skeleton into a top option at the position last season, Fleener could be poised to really break out, that is only if nothing breaks in his body.
K: Steven Hauschka ($4,800) vs. MIA- Usually do not look to spend up on kicker but had the couple hundred left over to do so. Typically you want to roster a kicker on a team with a solid offense that can move the ball up-and-down the field creating a ton of field goal and extra point opportunities, and Hauschka fits the bill especially at home against a weak Miami Dolphin team.
DEF: Texans ($4,900) vs. CHI- Read above.
Good luck everybody, and remember to have fun. If you have any questions about anything you can go ahead and find me on twitter @zaksauer.