Every NFL camp is open, the Hall of Fame game is less than a week away, and DraftKings just became the first DFS website to post week one contests. While we are still keeping an eye on the DraftKings lobby for NFL preseason week one contests, we are more than happy to analyze the first slate that truly counts.
These picks are sure to change by the time the first week of the season rolls around as preseason injuries always create value/ownership % issues with these early first week prices.
Kirk Cousins – $6,500
As high of hopes as I have for Jimmy G, Kyle Shanahan and co, they are in for a world of hurt opening at Minnesota in week one. There is no way San Francisco has TOP much higher than 20 minutes in this one which will mean plenty of opportunities for Cousins, Diggs, Thielen, and Cook to rack up yardage against a 49ers defense that was in the bottom 10 in just about every category last season.
Case Keenum – $5,1000
Expect to see Case Keenum thrive in another dream situation here in Denver. The weapons are the same as last season, but fit Bill Musgrave’s system much better. Of the ‘value’ quarterbacks priced $5,500 or lower, I just trust Keenum and his matchup better than Fitzpatrick, Taylor vs the Steelers, or Manning vs the Jags.
David Johnson – $8,800
How quickly we forget that David Johnson’s 2016 season was far and away better than what Gurley did in 2017. While this is a totally different system that saw him targeted 120 times in 2016, I think Johnson benefits from better quarterback play, and there still isn’t a ton of competition for volume in this offense. Combine that with a matchup with a Washington defense that gave up the most rushing yards last season, and a juicy 4.5 YPC average, and I think he puts up the biggest RB number in week one.
Saquon Barkley – $6,900
We are all in on the Saquon hype train this season… The Giants rebuilt offensive line, commitment to the running game, and hiring of Pat Shurmur all add up to a ton of work for Barkley. Shurmur was basically able to plug and play running backs last season with the Vikings, and actually made Trent Richardson a top 10 fantasy back at one point in his career. The matchup looks good on paper, the Jags gave up plenty of RB production last season, but if Dareus avoids suspension it really changes this defense and makes them one of the best run defenses in the league.
Alex Collins – $5,600
Based off our initial look at the prices, we likely won’t be going too much lower than $5,600 at the running back position for week one. While we think Dixon ends up taking over the third down and passing down work, Collins is the guy here in Baltimore, and this is a great matchup. The Bill run defense was atrocious last season, particularly down the stretch where they gave up two solid games to Kenyan Drake, 300 yards to the Saints backs, and 200 yards to the Patriots backs. Aside from drafting Star, they did little to improve the front seven this offseason and will likely struggle with Alex Collins’ running style.
Keenan Allen – $7,500
Give me Keenan Allen all day in this 2018 Chargers offense. Mike Williams will take some red zone targets, but is mostly going to be a deep threat. Kennan fills the role as Rivers favorite target, move the chains guy, and will likely have to absorb tight end targets as well with Henry’s injury.
Stefon Diggs – $6,300
Diggs is another player we are extremely excited about heading into this season, and he happens to get a great matchup in week one. As good as Diggs has been in the past two seasons, he gets a massive offseason upgrade at both quarterback and offensive coordinator. He’s also in a contract year and fits DeFilippo’s system perfectly.
Demaryius Thomas – $5,700
Just like Diggs, Demaryius Thomas gets an offseason upgrade at both QB and OC as well as a favorable week one matchup. This Seattle defense is a shell of it’s former self, and will seemingly lose it’s leader Early Thomas by the time week one gets here. Despite the recent drop in production, Thomas is undoubtedly a top 10 receiver in this league and Musgrave will find a way to get him the ball.
John Ross – $3,900
If you are doing any best ball or early drafts, make an effort to get shares of John Ross. He will likely be featured heavily this season, even more with Bernard’s production constantly dipping and Eifert’s back issues. Ross is already stealing headlines just a few days into camp, and the hype train will likely be full steam ahead by the time week one rolls around.
Jordan Reed – $4,000
Assuming he’s healthy for week one (why wouldn’t he be?) Jordan Reed is a no-brainer at $4,000. Washington doesn’t have possession options outside of Crowder and Reed. Doctson and Richardson are both nearly exclusively deep threats at this point in their careers. As long as he’s healthy, which will likely be 2 or 3 weeks out of the season, Reed is a legitimate top 5 tight end.
Mike Gesicki – $2,900
Speaking of talented tight ends, Gesicki oozes talent and is going to end up being a focal point in Gase’s offense this season. Tennessee is a slightly better than average tight end matchup, but at $2,900 Gesicki doesn’t need 100 yards and a touchdown to reach value.