Week 1 of NFL DFS is here, and we’re looking to cash in on the big daily fantasy football money at FanDuel. From the first week of the regular season through the NFL playoffs, we’ll bring you our top daily fantasy NFL GPP picks for each position and recommend some cash games plays as well.
As with any daily fantasy sport, the advice below is relevant for fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, gameflow, and several more factors. This is important to remember when constructing a roster on any of the daily fantasy sites.
FanDuel Week 1 Tournaments
FanDuel Quarterback Picks
Deshaun Watson @ NE $8,200
Deshaun Watson is not a play I would consider in Cash games, but he’s definitely one you have to think long and hard about in tournaments. Especially in SuperFlex contests which FanDuel has decided to bring back in 2018. Watson is making his first start since suffering an ACL injury on a non-contact play at practice. He was unreal in his first seven NFL games, throwing for just under 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Texans’ QB averaged 38.4 rushing yards per game which is like starting with a touchdown. He has one of the best wide receivers in the game in DeAndre Hopkins, who led the league in touchdowns last season, and an explosive deep threat in Will Fuller. If you ask most, they probably don’t want to risk Watson in New England with question marks surrounding his knee. Fine, take the low ownership and crazy high ceiling. This is the highest game total of the week after all. Also keep in mind that New England allowed the third most passing yards in 2017 and the most receiving yards to wideouts.
Andy Dalton @ IND $6.8
This play may throw some people off, but Andy Dalton is in a prime spot to succeed in Week 1 of the NFL season. The Indianapolis Colts surrendered the third most yards in 2017 and the fifth most passing yards to Quarterbacks. They have nobody in their secondary who can cover A.J. Green or run with John Ross. Keep in mind, Dalton had more games with at least three passing touchdowns last season than Drew Brees and Matt Ryan combined.
Others to consider: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton
FanDuel Running Back Picks
Leonard Fournette @ NYG $8.0
Leonard Fournette may be a better cash game than a tournament play, but either way you need to get him in your lineups. Nobody ran the ball more than the Jacksonville Jaguars last season and that won’t change with the addition of Andrew Norwell. Fournette started his NFL career with a touchdown in his first six games. He had 10 total as a rookie and added four more in three playoff games. He’s a lock for about 20 touches each week, with all the goal line work. Last season, Fournette averaged 20.6 carries and 3.7 targets per game and would have finished second in the league in touches for not a couple missed games.
Melvin Gordon vs. KC $8.0
Melvin Gordon finished fourth last season with 342 touches and third in rushing attempts inside the 20 and 10-yard lines. The loss of Hunter Henry (second on team in red zone targets), likely means more work for the Chargers’ running back. The Chiefs allowed the eighth most rushing yards last season and the fifth most yards overall. Football Outsiders had them as the worst rush DVOA defense in the league. Gordon is fresh off a campaign where he had a career high 83 targets, 58 catches, 476 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. He has 24 scores in his last two seasons after scoring zero as a rookie.
Alex Collins vs. BUF $6.7
Some people forget just how solid Alex Collins was last season. The Ravens’ back has six rushing touchdowns and 20 receptions in his last six games. He completely took full control of the backfield, and enters this season as the team’s starting running back. The Ravens are heavy home favorites up against one of the worst offensive unites in the league. The Bills are rolling out Nathan Peterman who struggled heavily at times last season, and Baltimore has one of the better defensive teams in the game. Buffalo allowed the most fantasy points to running backs last season and Collins should get a lot of play in the second half.
James Conner @ CLE $5.0
Given the fact Le’Veon Bell is holding out and James Conner is $5K, you kind of have to roll him out in a lineup or two don’t you? Conner may be one of the highest owned running backs in tournaments, but he’s almost a must in cash. Especially given the fact FanDuel has added a flex position which allows you to play a third running back if you want. Bell had over 400 touches last season and while Conner will unlikely get the ball 30 times a game, he’s set up to do some damage in this offense. Conner racked up 101 yards on 21 touches in Pittsburgh’s third preseason game and is the clear-cut number one guy out of the backfield now. The 23-year-old had a 20 touchdown season and a 26 touchdown season in two of his four years at PIT. Yeah, he can play.
Others to consider: Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, Christian McCaffrey, Royce Freeman
FanDuel Wide Receiver Picks
Michael Thomas vs. TB $8.5
Tampa Bay gave up the most fantasy points to wide receivers last season, and the Saints will be without Mark Ingram this week. It could mean more work for Michael Thomas who has been one of the steadiest wideouts in his two seasons in the NFL: 196 catches, 2,382 yards, 14 touchdowns. Drew Brees handed the ball off in the red zone last season way more than he usually does and Ingram had a lot to do with that.
T.Y. Hilton vs. CIN $7.2
Whatever recent memory you have of T.Y. Hilton from last season, erase it. Hilton has averaged 81 catches, 1,250 yards and six touchdowns per season over his last four with Andrew Luck. The Colts are lacking a defense, strong run game and other weapons for Luck. Hilton led the NFL in receiving yards (1,448) in 2016.
Marvin Jones vs. NYJ $6.9
In season long, Marvin Jones finished as a Top 10 wideout in PPR leagues, and a Top 5 in standard formats. FanDuel awards half a point per catch, so it doesn’t heavily favor slot guys like his teammate Golden Tate. Jones has totaled over 2000 yards in back-to-back seasons with the Lions and his one of the better deep threats in the game. His 18 yards per catch in 2017 was the highest mark in the league and his 16.9 the season before ranked fifth. He led the Lions with 15 red zone targets last season and Eric Ebron (second most) has took his talents to Indy.
Others to consider: DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, Chris Hogan, Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, Keelan Cole
FanDuel Tight End Picks
Jimmy Graham vs. CHI $6.0
When looking for a tight end to play, it’s all about just finding someone who can score a touchdown. Jimmy Graham led the league in red zone targets, catches and touchdowns last season. His new quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, finished in the Top 2 in red zone passing attempts in 2016, 2015 and 2014. One of his favorite red zone options was Jordy Nelson who was cut by the team in the offseason. Rodgers and Jimmy are hooking up in their first game together, there’s no question about it.
Jordan Reed @ ARI $5.8
This is just a reminder to only play Jordan Reed in tournaments. Reed has been far to fragile over the last few seasons to risk playing in high stake games. He’s had numerous concussions over the years and dealt with four separate injuries in 2017. Even throughout preseason, he was bothered by a toe injury. As of Wednesday, he’s off the injury report and ready to play Week 1. The matchup against Arizona and the injury history should shy people away. He has a crazy high ceiling and is worth a play in bigger tournaments given his upside.
Others to consider: Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Delanie Walker
FanDuel Defense Picks
Baltimore Ravens vs. BUF $4.8
This is pretty simple: The Ravens defense averaged the second most FanDuel points per game last season and they have one of the easiest matchups this week. They are at home to arguably the game’s worst offense in the Buffalo Bills. Nathan Peterman is scheduled to start for Buffalo and he had five interceptions and a 49 completion percentage four games last season. This is not a great spot for him.
New Orleans Saints vs. TB $4.6
Football Outsiders ranked the New Orleans Saints’ pass rank as the fifth best in the league last season. All they did was select DE Marcus Davenport in the offseason to improve their D. They also have a juicy matchup against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. New Orleans were a Top-5 scoring unit in 2017 and finished seventh in the league in sacks.
Others to consider: Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings
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