Welcome back to football everyone! I’m thrilled to be starting off another year of NFL FanDuel write-ups (although I really wish they’d just do away with the kicker), and tonight kicks off a fun week one slate with New England taking on the Chiefs. For the purpose of sticking to the “main” slate, this article will deal with the players from Sunday only, but I’m on twitter @jac3600 for any questions regarding any slate, and your FTA+ subscription entitles you to projections, chat, and fully customizable optimizers.
If you’re new here, be sure to take advantage of our FREE 2 week subscription offer to FTA+. Don’t forget, the TB/MIA game has been postponed so don’t use any players from there, and I’m also finding FanDuel’s pricing to be WAY looser than DraftKings for this initial week. Let’s get started!
Fanduel NFL Lineup for week 1 2017
Aaron Rodgers, GB ($8300)
I hear a lot of people on twitter already shying away from Rodgers because they’re playing the Seattle defense. Guys, you don’t bench your studs against ANYONE, and Rodgers is easily one of the best chase plays on FanDuel’s softer pricing scheme this Sunday. Seattle was quite average in pass defense DVOA last year (13th) and Green Bay has the fourth highest implied team total at 27.5 points. No quarterback in the league tops Rodgers as far as involvement in the team’s TDs, as Rodgers has accounted for almost 82% of his team’s touchdowns the last three years. You can still fit in massive skill players alongside Rodgers this week.
Other options – Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson
Marcus Mariota, TEN ($7800)
I think Mariota more fits the mold of a GPP play, but he carries a ton of upside with the damage he can do with both his arm and his legs. The Raiders ranked 25th in pass defense DVOA and this game has one of the largest O/U’s on the slate at 49. There are tons of mouths to feed for Mariota, and Khalil Mack is banged up for Oakland.
Other options – Dak Prescott, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr
Carson Wentz, PHI ($7100)
Wentz is a really fun GPP play this week (pricing is soft enough that you don’t need the savings for cash). Wentz should see a big time boost to his efficiency with the addition of Alshon Jeffery and last year Washington ranked 24th in pass defense DVOA. The Eagles’ implied point total sits at 25, and this should be a fast-paced divisional battle with two rising QBs.
Other options – Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, Carson Palmer
LeSean McCoy, BUF ($8500)
This is probably the only time I’ll have someone ranked ahead of BOTH LeVeon Bell and David Johnson, but that’s how infatuated I am with McCoy this week. The Bills have literally removed any shred of competition for McCoy to get touches out of the backfield, as Mike Gillislee is now on New England and Jonathan Williams has been cut. Joe Banyard and Mike Tolbert are not backup RBs and the Bills are 10-point favorite which should mean heavy running of the football for four quarters. Need any more convincing? The Jets traded away their only effective run stopper in Sheldon Richardson. Barring an injury, I see no scenario where McCoy doesn’t obliterate his value threshold.
Other options – LeVeon Bell, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott
Todd Gurley, LAR ($7300)
I can’t envision going into cash game battle with any other combo besides McCoy and Gurley. The Rams’ bellcow is coming off a bust of a season, but he’s expected to bounce back this year and gets a cookie of a matchup to start with. The Colts ranked dead last in rush defense DVOA a year ago and they’ll be without Vontae Davis in this one (what else is new). Third-down back Lance Dunbar is out for this one which means Gurley should see a boost in the passing game. The Rams are favored by just under a TD which, again, means a favorable game script for the running game.
Other options – Devonta Freeman, DeMarco Murray, Jordan Howard, Lamar Miller
Carlos Hyde, SF ($6800)
This is the first play I’ve recommended that is involved in a negative game script, but he’s still a solid value. The Panthers are a stout defense but they did rank 18th in rush defense DVOA last year. Hyde has generally been a disappointment in his career but Kyle Shanahan offers new hope for the resurrection of any RB. Hyde may fly under the radar but he’s another RB with very little competition in the backfield.
Other options – Ty Montgomery, Christian McCaffrey, Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell
Antonio Brown, PIT ($9100)
One of Brown, Julio Jones, or Odell Beckham will headline the WR position almost every week, but this week is one to spend on RBs, not WRs. Brown has averaged double-digit targets every week over the past three years, and is facing a Browns team that ranked 27th in pass defense DVOA last year. The problem is the fact that Pittsburgh should be up big in this one which could limit Brown’s touches in the second half.
Other options – Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, AJ Green
Doug Baldwin, SEA ($7500)
There are some that still refuse to believe the fact that Baldwin has made the transition to WR1, but he certainly has. Green Bay allowed the fifth most FPPG to opposing WRs last season and their secondary projects to be just as bad this season. This is a premier game on the week’s slate and Baldwin represent the top skill option in a Seattle offense primed for a bounce-back.
Other options – Dez Bryant, Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper, DeAndre Hopkins, Alshon Jeffery
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI ($6400)
Fitz is a lock for me on FD this week (on DK too, for that matter). His career numbers in September blow away his numbers from the other months and he gets a tremendous matchup opposite Quandre Diggs this week. Fitzgerald has lost his down-field ability but he’s still Carson Palmer’s main target in that offense and his price tag is simply too low.
Other options – Michael Crabtree, Kelvin Benjamin, Terrelle Pryor, Davante Adams, Pierre Garcon, Golden Tate, Martavis Bryant, Randall Cobb
Greg Olsen, CAR ($6600)
With Rob Gronkowski playing Thursday, Olsen takes the top spot at the TE position. Carolina does not play at the pace you look for when targeting an offense in NFL DFS, but he should still challenge for the most targets even with Kelvin Benjamin back. San Francisco is a good matchup as they ranked 27th last year in TE defense DVOA.
Other options – Jimmy Graham, Delanie Walker
Zack Ertz, PHI ($5900)
Ertz is likely going to be my landing spot for TE in cash on both sites. Ertz and Carson Wentz have already shown amazing chemistry that should only improve, and the elimination of Jordan Matthews from the team should open up a lot more targets in the middle for Ertz (Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are both outside receivers). Washington ranked 25th in TE defense DVOA last year and Josh Norman shadowing Jeffery should flood a few more passes to Ertz.
Other options – Martellus Bennett, Jason Witten, Evan Engram, Charles Clay
TOP FIVE DEFENSES FOR CASH GAMES
Los Angeles Rams ($4600)
Buffalo Bills ($4700)
Houston Texans ($5100)
Carolina Panthers ($4900)
Pittsburgh Steelers ($4800)