After 7 months without a meaningful NFL game, week one is finally here and DraftKings is rolling out an epic slate of contests. This includes two millionaire maker contests: a standard salary Roman Millionaire Maker, and a Showdown contest for Thursday night football.
We will cover the Thursday night slate, including the million dollar Showdown contest on Thursday morning… This article is going to break down the main Sunday slate, which on DraftKings includes the eight 1 o’clock games and four 4 o’clock games.
Before we jump into our favorite plays from this week one slate, here is a look at the games in this slate as well as the top Vegas team lines as of this morning:
Week One Quarterback Targets
Drew Brees – $6,800
This is a clear mismatch with Brees that we whiffed on twice last season. Brees has historically shredded bad pass defenses, but last year averaged just over 16 fantasy PPG against a Bucs defense that gave more more passing yards than any other team in the league. He was able to lean on his run game in both matchups last season, but won’t have on half of that two headed RB monster with Ingram suspended for the first four games. We expect Brees and Payton to have a pass-heavy game plan ready for the Bucs in week one.
Andy Dalton – $5,800
Sure we could have went with a sexier pick, maybe Mahomes in a decent matchup or Mariota in his debut in Matt LaFleur’s system, but we are rolling out the Red Rifle in week one. Dalton enters with a year under his belt in Lazor’s system and a loaded arsenal of weapons at his disposal. In the end, he faces a Cols defense that is beyond atrocious. They were dead last in yards allowed per attempt, and were in the bottom 5 in every other stat relevant to pass defense. Combine that with a pass rush that could only manage 25 sacks on the year, and you have the perfect DFS matchup.
Week One Running Back Targets
David Johnson – $8,800
As you would expect from an upper body injury, Johnson looks great and should see a Le’Veon Bell type workload again here in Arizona. I think he also benefits from the Bradford signing, and gets an OC in Mike McCoy that knows how to utilize the RB as a pass catcher (Danny Woodhead). The most glaring reason for getting in on him early this season is this matchup with the Redskins. Washington was by far the worst run defense in the NFL last season, giving up the most yards on the season and a healthy 4.5 YPC.
Kareem Hunt – $6,900
We just don’t know what to expect from the DFS community in terms of Hunt ownership in week one. On one hand, his price of $6,900 is an absolute steam when you look at the two games he had against the Chargers last season (389 yards and 3 touchdowns for 35+ DraftKings PPG). On the other hand, he also put up 10 or less points in 5 straight games down the stretch of the fantasy regular season. Combine that with the fact that Andy Reid’s play calling was apparently to blame for that and he’s back calling plays this season with Nagy gone, and Hunt could disappear once again. We are betting that he has a massive three down role for the Chiefs and gets back to the Jamaal Charles type production we saw for stretches of 2017.
James White – $4,000
We love this week one spot for White, and it has nothing to do with the injury concerns attached to Burkhead and Michel. The reality is that the Pats real depth concern is at receiver, just look below at who they kept on their 53 man roster for week one. Beyond that, we know Brady is a creature of habit, and with that in mind there is no way he’s throwing the ball to Dorsett and Patterson more than a handful of times this week. Short of handing the ball to an injured Burkead 25 times, there is no way the week one game flow dictates that White isn’t heavily involved with the Pats offense on Sunday. At $4,000, I think he reaches 3x value without needing a carry this week.
Week One Wide Receiver Targets
Michael Thomas – $7,800
If you asked me what two fantasy receivers I would want last season, it was Michael Thomas and Keenan Allen. The target share was consistent, and both guys were extremely efficient. Thomas had only two games all of last season with fewer than 8 targets, and one was a fluke 52-28 win against Detroit that saw the Saints score 21 points on defense. He will likely see double digit targets in week one as the Saints lean on the passing game slightly more to get them through Ingram’s four game suspension. The Bucs at the bottom of the league in just about every pass defense category last season, and enter this season as one of the 2 or 3 worst secondaries in the league.
Stefon Diggs – $6,300
The narrative heading into this offseason was the there was no way the Vikings were going to keep Diggs. One that many believe came from within the organization. Beyond that, not only was he getting less targets than Thielen, but less than Kyle Rudolph. Enter John DeFilippo and Kirk Cousins and suddenly Diggs gets a 5 year/$72 million extension, and is getting targeted on seemingly every play he is on the field. I think he’s a top 10 fantasy WR this season, and is a huge bargain at $6,300 in this matchup with a 49ers secondary that was obliterated by opposing number one receivers last season.
Danny Amendola – $4,200
We are all missing the boat on Amendola, this guy will be extremely productive for the 4 or 5 games he is healthy this season. He is a proven slot receiver stepping into a void left by arguably the NFL’s best slot receiver. Beyond just that, this offense was solid when it was Tannehill and Gase. They were top 8 in completion percentage and QB rating for the 2016 season, and happened to make the playoffs that season. Amendola will be a DFS steal early this season, and is certainly worth the $4,200 price tag.
John Ross – $3,900
After a somewhat explosive preseason, Ross may turn into a bit of a chalk pick this week at just $3,900. The Colts return PFF’s worst ranked secondary, a unit that gave up the 4th most production to opposing number 2 receivers and the 2nd most to opposing slot receivers. Ross clearly has established a rapport with Dalton and a role in this offense, one that should be able to exploit this vulnerable Indy secondary.
Week One Tight End Target
Eric Ebron – $3,300
I’ll take the low hanging fruit on this one, and yes I know, not Ebron… again? Already? While he likely won’t be a season long mainstay in these articles, I think the matchup and price put him in the conversation this week. Ebron moves from an offense that really didn’t feature the tight end to one that threw to the position on 30.3% of targets last season. The Colts face a Cincinnati defense that was an extremely favorable TE matchup last season both in fantasy terms and in DVOA. They return the same safeties that struggled in coverage last season, and will likely stick William Jackson on T.Y. Hilton opening up even more targets for Ebron and Doyle. Reich has always ran tight end heavy offenses, and Ebron gets a clean slate with a fan base that won’t boo him every time he takes a breath.