When playing NFL DFS, it’s vital to consider which players are best suited for lineups in particular contests.
Players with a safe “floor” and guaranteed volume are much better suited for Cash games (50/50, H2H, and Double-up formats), whereas players with a bit more upside relative to their price tags can often pay off in large tournaments with Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs).
Note that these players often come with high risk, but potentially high rewards that can separate your lineup from a massive field of thousands. The players in our All-GPP lineup may fit under the salary cap on some DFS sites, but not others. This is simply meant to be a guide of suggested players to consider in tournament formats.
NFL DFS WEEK 1 TOURNAMENT PICKS
Fantasy Football Millionaire: $20 entry, $5M guaranteed (DraftKings) – $1,000,000 to 1st!
Play-Action: $3 entry, $2M guaranteed (DraftKings) – $200,000 to 1st!
Sunday Million: $9 entry, $3.5M guaranteed (FanDuel) – $1,000,000 to 1st!
Sunday Bomb: $44 entry, $444k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Top NFL DFS Tournament Plays for Week 1
With injury questions once again circling Cam Newton, his ownership rate may be low in Week 1. Yet the dual-threat QB has one of the highest ceilings at his position. Plus, his upside is tantalizing in a home matchup against a high-powered Rams team that finished second in Weighted DVOA offense last season. The Rams played at the third-fastest pace in neutral situations and the fourth-fastest pace in games with a six-point differential. The Rams’ ability to get out in front led to them allow the seventh-most TD passes (30), and they coughed up an above-average 275 rushing yards to QBs last year. This contest is one of only three games on the Main slate with a point total of 50 points or higher, so a stack with Newton and Curtis Samuel or Greg Olsen could pay off, differentiating from the masses drawn to Christian McCaffrey.
Other GPP plays to consider: Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford
Since he missed nearly the entire 2018 season with various injuries, Devonta Freeman should also be overlooked in a tough matchup at Minnesota. The Vikings ranked 11th in DVOA rush defense last year, but 27th against RBs as receivers. Freeman should be close to a three-down back this season with Tevin Coleman now in San Francisco and only Ito Smith available to give him a breather. The Falcons ranked seventh in pace in neutral situations last year, and the Vikings were eighth in pace during second halves. This game has plenty of shootout potential, and Freeman has multi-touchdown upside.
With Tevin Coleman slated to lead the 49ers backfield, Matt Breida has become old news in the DFS community. People may quickly forget how the shifty back went off for 159 scrimmage yards in Week 2 against Detroit and burned this Bucs defense for 140 yards in a 27-9 loss in Week 12 last year. The Niners offense stands to improve this year with Jimmy Garoppolo starting, and Tampa is slated to play even faster under new HC Bruce Arians. These teams were both top 10 in pace last year, and this contest has been assigned a 50.5-point total. Should the visiting Niners fall behind, Breida will likely see far more work against a Tampa defense that tied for the most total TDs (22) and receiving TDs (6) allowed to RBs last season.
Other GPP plays to consider: Todd Gurley, Kerryon Johnson, Devin Singletary
The slow-paced Titans offense hardly screams upside, and Derrick Henry should draw most of the looks from DFS players after his late-season surge in 2018. But if Cleveland’s new-look offense is able to take off and Tennessee is forced to throw throughout the second half, Corey Davis could have a big afternoon. Marcus Mariota rarely pushed the ball downfield, but 15 of his 32 completions that sailed 20-plus yards downfield went to Davis. The Western Michigan product has a scary low floor considering he’s averaged 3.7 receptions per game in his career, but the 6-foot-4 receiver is a great red-zone option to consider against a middling Browns secondary.
Since the Jets and Bills offenses both have very modest reputations, this game should have low ownership across the board. Yet Buffalo’s offense took a significant step forward with Josh Allen under center, as he passed for 200-plus yards in his final five starts. Meanwhile, the Jets finished 28th in Weighted DVOA on defense, while allowing the seventh-most pass plays of 40-plus yards (11) last season. John Brown is a great downfield weapon for Allen to target and the second-year QB brings upside to his skill players with his aggressive mindset.
Another player to consider in the 49ers-Bucs late game, Marquise Goodwin is underpriced given his track record with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. He averaged 77 receiving YPG on 8.17 targets per game over Garoppolo’s six starts in 2017. Goodwin flashed some upside after Garoppolo’s ACL tear last season and has hardly drawn any interest this preseason while Garoppolo has struggled. That makes a potential Niners stack very contrarian in GPP formats in a juicy matchup. Tampa allowed the fifth-most TDs (22) to WRs last year and the highest passer rating (110.9) to opposing QBs. Since San Francisco allowed the second-highest passer rating (105.4), this is a great game to target. Goodwin could eat up targets with fellow starter Dante Pettis (groin) dinged up.
The Jaguars have a slew of intriguing WRs to consider in Week 1 against the high-scoring Chiefs. Since Marqise Lee has struggled to connect with Nick Foles, Chris Conley is a one-trick pony facing his former team, and Dede Westbrook figures to draw coverage from solid DB Kendall Fuller, we’re looking further down the depth chart. At 6-foot-4 with 4.34 wheels, D.J. Chark is a potential home run hitter. The Jags may deploy him against a Chiefs defense that allowed a league-high pass plays of 20-plus yards last season. The LSU product impressed throughout summer training camps. Now, he could be poised to break out with Foles calling the signals.
Other GPP plays to consider: Tyler Lockett, Curtis Samuel, Devante Parker, Randall Cobb
George Kittle is drawing a lot of attention as the potential top TE play this week, but the Bucs TE could wind up producing a better line. With Cameron Brate (calf) limited and aging, Howard is now the clear No. 1 option in an offense that figures to be more aggressive under new HC Bruce Arians. Howard has blazing speed for a TE and averaged 16.6 yards per reception over his first two seasons. The Niners are a perceived tough matchup for TEs. Thus, his ownership could be low as he sits in an appealing price range.
Other GPP plays to consider: Hunter Henry, Greg Olsen
Expect the Colts (+7) to be galvanized by the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck and the corresponding increase to their status as road underdogs this Sunday. Indy is still a well-coached team with a stellar defense that improved throughout last season, finishing eighth in weighted DVOA. The Colts recorded 38 sacks last year and added Justin Houston, who has recorded a whopping 73 sacks since 2012. Philip Rivers is quite immobile, and the Chargers running game could struggle with Melvin Gordon out, leading to a one-dimensional attack and potential turnovers.
Other GPP plays to consider: Jets, Cardinals, Dolphins