NFL DFS DraftKings Lineups & Picks for Week 1
Football season is back, and we’re back with a full slate of NFL DFS games at DraftKings and FanDuel. We’re listing our NFL DFS best picks at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end to target in Cash and GPP lineups.
Please note the advice below is relevant for daily fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, and lots of other factors. This is important to consider when constructing a roster. Injuries can also play a huge role in NFL DFS on a weekly basis. So always, always check the starting lineups when playing for an NFL slate.
Football Millionaire: $20 entry, $5M guaranteed – $1M to 1st!
Play Action: $3 entry, $2M guaranteed – $200K to 1st!
Slant: $9 entry, $500K guaranteed – $50K to 1st!
First Down: 1 entry, $250K guaranteed – $20K to 1st!
Best Week 1 NFL DFS Quarterbacks
Drew Brees vs. TB ($6.8k DraftKings, $8.4k FanDuel)
Brees enters this season at 39 years of age, with a suspended Mark Ingram, a superstar in Alvin Kamara, and a reliable receiver in Michael Thomas. He also has a killer Week 1 matchup at home against the Bucs. Last season, Brees threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots in the Saints’ home opener, and he racked up 508 yards and three passing touchdowns in two games against Tampa Bay last season. That’s not the most mesmerizing stat line, but Brees and the Saints have the highest implied total on the slate, and the Bucs are without Jameis Winston. There’s blowout concern here, as this game may not be competitive. But Brees should still get his given the Bucs ranked second-to-last in DVOA against the pass in 2017.
Kirk Cousins vs. SF ($6.5k DraftKings, $7.6k FanDuel)
The San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo head to Minnesota this week to face one of the best defenses in the league. They’ll also be facing the Vikings’ new franchise quarterback, Kirk Cousins. The former Washington starter has a downhill runner in Dalvin Cook and three very strong receiving options in Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen, and Stefon Diggs. The 49ers finished 28th in DVOA against the pass last season, and the Vikings have an implied scored of 26 at the time of this writing. That’s the fifth highest on the slate. Cousins threw for 330 yards and two scores against this Niners defense last season, and his team is a definite improvement this year. He’s a strong QB option given the relatively high implied total, matchup, and likely need to prove himself and (in the process) show Washington what they’re missing.
Cash Game Options: Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton
Best Week 1 NFL DFS Running Backs
Saquon Barkley vs. JAX ($6.7 DraftKings)
Last season, the Jaguars ranked 27th in RB DVOA. That was basically the only bad mark against that incredible D. Their defensive backfield is still elite, making the running game much more attractive. The Giants will also be interested in marching out their shiny new RB in Saquon Barkley. Jacksonville allowed 116 yards on the ground per game to opposing backs, and the Giants will make a concerted effort to get the ground game going in support of the aging Eli Manning. New York will also have Odell Beckham Jr. suiting up Week 1, which takes some pressure off the No. 2 overall pick. The Giants will demand a lot from Barkely, starting Sunday. Don’t take the wait-and-see approach with him; get in before his salary moves north.
James Conner @ CLE ($4.5 DraftKings, $5.0k FanDuel)
With Le’Veon Bell missing in action, Conner will be the lead back in Pittsburgh. He’s just too cheap not to consider (strongly) in Cash games and GPPs. Conner will take on starting duties on the road in Cleveland with the Steelers favored by four. A blowout would benefit the running back, who will likely see plenty of work regardless, considering Ben Roethlisberger has historically struggled on the road. That secure volume makes for a very strong floor while he has some upside if he can get work in the passing game. Unfortunately, Conner did not catch a single pass last season. Now, to be fair, he didn’t get much work in the running game either — just 32 carries. All that is to say, we don’t fully understand what to expect, but at these prices, you really should be strongly considering rolling the dice.
Cash Game Options: Melvin Gordon, David Johnson, Leonard Fournette, Peyton Barber, Christian McCaffrey, Rex Burkhead
Best Week 1 NFL DFS Wide Receivers
Chris Hogan vs. HOU ($6.1 DraftKings, $6.7k FanDuel)
Last season, Tom Brady and the Patriots had themselves one helluva game against the Houston Texans at home. Brady threw five touchdowns in that game, four of them to wide receivers. Two of the four went to Chris Hogan. The other two? They went to Brandin Cooks, who now is playing on the other side of the country. While Tyrann Mathieu is probably a good value add for this Houston defense, desperate to take the next step while J.J. Watt is in his prime, the secondary hasn’t really gotten better over last season, in which they 25th in DVOA against the pass, 24th in DVOA against WR1, and 30th in DVOA against WR2. The Pats are projected to score just under 30 points, and Cooks is gone, while Julian Edelman is suspended. Chris Hogan is a safe, high-upside play at a very reasonable price tag.
Keenan Allen vs. KC ($7.5 DraftKings, $8.0k FanDuel)
There are plenty of tempting receivers in this price range, but Allen provides a much safer route than the others. In his final four home games last year, Allen was targeted 47 times. He converted 36 of those into catches for 507 yards and four touchdowns. He had just six touchdowns all season. With Hunter Henry out for the year, Allen’s importance in this offense cannot be overstated. He’ll be a target machine this week against a Kansas City team that completely pivoted post-Alex Smith (yes, even on defense). Last season, they allowed opposing WR1s to run rampant, finishing second to last in DVOA against the position. Make no mistake: KC’s defense got worse over the offseason, and Allen will reap the benefits. Frankly, he is priced a little too low in this one.
Jarvis Landry vs. PIT ($5.5 DraftKings, $6.6k FanDuel)
Facing division rivals at home, the Cleveland Browns hope to start this season with a different tone. Facing the Steelers, that is a tall order. The Browns will potentially keep this competitive, but the onus is on the Steelers in this one: it’s their game to lose. That bodes well for Browns receivers, and the only one we can really trust at this point is possession receiver extraordinaire Jarvis Landry.
Last year in Miami, Landry had 10 double-digit target games, and he racked up 160 targets on the season (112 catches). Tyrod Taylor is seeking to reestablish himself as an NFL starter in Cleveland, and his versatility could lead to more opportunities for Landry through broken plays and more aggressive offensive sets. While Carlos Hyde will be used to balance this offense with a running game, a double-digit target outing for Landry is very much in the realm of possibility. That said, his ownership should be depressed given the “uncertainty” around his viability as a DFS receiver in Cleveland. I’ll start fading Landry at these prices once the targets dry up. This week, I’m in on him in Cash and GPP, especially at DraftKings.
Cash Game Options: Antonio Brown, Golden Tate, Adam Thielen, DeAndre Hopkins, Emmanuel Sanders, Larry Fitzgerald, Keelan Cole
Best Week 1 NFL DFS Tight Ends
Delanie Walker @ MIA ($4.9 DraftKings, $6.1k FanDuel)
The Miami Dolphins do not have a bad defense entering 2018, but their linebacking corp will likely struggle in coverage again this season (looking at you, Kiko). The Dolphins ranked 28th in DVOA against tight ends, and Walker is coming off a 74-catch season. That’s an improvement over 2016. While he’s 34 right now, there is a new coaching staff in Tennessee, and, thus far, an added emphasis on empowering Marcus Mariota to throw more. Walker and Corey Davis are the most obvious to benefit, but only one of those two is a solidified stud. Walker is poised for a big week against an exploitable defense, just as long as they actually take the training wheels off Mariota.
Eric Ebron vs. CIN ($3.3 DraftKings, $5.0k FanDuel)
Ebron disappointed in Detroit, but there’s hope with a more versatile Andrew Luck. He is a big, athletic tight end, and he showed off his ability with five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown in his best performance of the preseason. Ebron is, of course, risky given Jack Doyle is technically the starting tight end. But as disappointing as Ebron was in Detroit, the lack of Doyle’s progression in Indianapolis may be just as concerning. He struggled with drops last year and lost two fumbles, a career high. Sure, he’s going to get the benefit of the doubt, but the new coaching staff, coupled with Andrew Luck, give Ebron a shot at a fresh(ish) start in Indy. He’s a high-risk, high-reward sleeper.
Cash Game Options: Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce, Jack Doyle
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