Welcome to the ultimate FanDuel NFL week one resource. This article will identify who we think the chalk plays are for the week, who our top sleepers for week one FanDuel contests are, and of course which players we will be targeting in our lineup.
Players with our highest predicted ownership %.
Carson Palmer | Derek Carr | Dak Prescott
Unless you have a situation like we saw in week one last season where Brees and Carr faced off in what was certain to be a points bananza, quarterback is the least chalk-prone position in DFS.
It’s clear that DFS players love Palmer’s week one matchup with the Lions, and with good reason. Detroit allowed apposing QBs to complete over 72% of their passes and gave up a 33/10 QB/INT ratio.
Derek Carr faces a Titans defense that was great against the run and atrocious against the pass in 2017. Couple that with the fact that Carr has looked great this preseason, and I think you could see Carr as a top 3 owned QB in week one. That being said, I do believe the Titans secondary is improved, and there is a chance the Titans dominate ball possession in this matchup with a Raiders defense that has looked terrible through the preseason.
The Dak Prescott pick is based more on what I’m reading than what I feel. Dak seems to be one of the expert consensus picks for week one, but I’m not on that bandwagon. The Giants defense is deep and dangerous, and Dak will be playing without Zeke. I think you can get the same number of points you will get from Dak out of some of our sleeper picks below.
Chalk Running Backs
Le’Veon Bell | David Johnson | Darren McFadden
Paying up on the high dollar, chalk running backs in this slate is tempting but dangerous. On one hand, Bell, Johnson, Freeman, and Murray all have great matchups, volume, 3 down roles, and play for great offenses. On the other hand, it’s hard to expect them to reach 3x value. David Johnson had an awesome season in 2016, but still only reached 3x his current FanDuel salary 5 times. The upside is locking in 3x+ value for 15%+ of your total salary, the downside is an ‘average’ game that locks in 2x or even less for 15% of your salary.
McFadden is going to get volume carries behind the best offensive line in football, but even at $5,800 will need to find the end zone to reach value. There are a lot of questions about how this time share will work: what will the split be, will Morris get the goal line work, and will McFadden get 100% of the third down work… In the end they face a Giants defense that doesn’t give up anything to opposing RB’s and held Zeke to 11 FanDuel PPG last season.
Chalk Wide Receivers
Antonio Brown | Larry Fitzgerald | Terrelle Pryor
As rare as it is to see a high dollar RB reach value, it’s even rarer to see a high dollar WR reach 3x value. In fact, AB only hit 3x his current salary three times last season. Combine that with just how different AB and Ben have been on the road over their careers, and I don’t see any way I will roster him on FanDuel. Nonetheless he is arguably the most popular WR on expert websites.
An affordable Larry Fitzgerald in a juicy matchup with the porous Lion’s pass defense may prove impossible to avoid. However, Fitz only exceeded 2x value for his current salary twice in his last 14 games. As long as he remains healthy, we have John Brown as the WR1 on this roster, and his skill set is particularly more valuable against a Detroit defense that is more susceptible to the quicker inside receiver.
Terrelle Pryor is an obvious value on FanDuel, and is a guy that will find his way into plenty of my lineups. That being said, I would caution against going crazy with 50%+ ownership of a player making his first appearance for a new team.
Chalk Tight Ends
It’s not rare in a slate like this to see a value tight end as the clear chalk play. With FanDuel players scrambling to load their lineups with Bell, Johnson, Murray, Brown, Jones, all of whom have favorable matchups, they will essentially punt on a bargain tight end. Based on everything I am reading, most experts like Miller at the FanDuel minimum salary of $4,500.
Our Top FanDuel Week 1 Sleepers and Bargains
FanDuel Price – $6,400
The situation with both of our sleeper quarterbacks for week one is the same: new QB-friendly system, playing at home, favorable matchup, and priced as a bottom 5 QB. I get it with Goff, he was bad in a bad system in his rookie year, but Hoyer is a different story. He was great in a bad system last season, averaging over 300 yards and 21 FanDuel PPG in his four starts. He’s playing for a guy that knows how to game plan and play call, and has better weapons around him than you might think. The 49ers face a Panthers defense that was bottom 10 in opponent passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage last season.
FanDuel Price – $6,600
Goff was bad last season, but he was dropped into an extremely toxic situation. The ship was collapsing around him and the offense was tied to a coordinator and scheme that wouldn’t have succeeded in this league 20 years ago. If there is one thing we know McVay can do, it’s turn around a passing game in a hurry. Goff has the best matchup on the board, and the addition of Sammy Watkins adds yet another playmaker to a much improved group from a year ago.
FanDuel Price – $6,400
If you believe the word coming out of Ravens camp this offseason, West is in line for a monster season. The Ravens are said to be committed to getting back to running the ball, and think West can be a 25 carry-per-game bellcow back. With Flacco yet to see action this preseason, they will need him to be for week one. The fact that Burfict was just suspended shouldn’t hurt West’s chances of putting up decent numbers in the matchup.
FanDuel Price – $6,100
The question for Ameer isn’t ability, he’s proven that he will produce when given touches in this system. The question is can he stay healthy, and we are betting he does this season. Unlike a guy like Dalvin Cook, injuries were never a concern for Abdullah throughout high school and college. When he’s healthy his combination of vision, acceleration, and speed make him a nightmare for opposing defenses. Just ask the Patriots’ ones who just gave up 99 yards to him in less than a half of work.
FanDuel Price – $5,700
We touched on Brown briefly earlier. While the matchup with Detroit is favorable for Brown, Fitzgerald, and Johnson, it’s Brown that we expect to have the monster game. The Lions will play man coverage all over the field, and Brown is a one-on-one problem. He’s a great route runner, gets good separation, and can rack up YAC.
FanDuel Price – $5,600
It seems as though the fantasy world is giving up a little too quickly on White. By one way or the other, he is finally the WR1 in Chicago, and wasn’t awful as the WR3 in his limited time last season. He averaged 9 targets, and given how much better the passing game has looked this preseason, if he can even just maintain that role, he should be a solid fantasy receiver. At $5,600, he can reach value in week one without reaching the end zone.
FanDuel Price – $5,200
Anderson was one of our favorite CFB DFS players when he was at Temple. He’s a versatile player with experience as a possession receiver, but the speed to break big plays. He would have been off our radar if anyone other than McCown had been named the starter, but the Jets passing game could show a pulse. We particularly like Anderson in this matchup with a Bills secondary that is pretty thin and playing in their first game in McDermott’s 4-3 system.
FanDuel Price – $5,100
Funchess has been in just about every sleeper article we wrote this offseason, yet he remains undrafted and off the radar. With Benjamin the starter opposite him, Funchess is going to see the number two corner in every game. He has the size, speed, experience in this system, and the support of HC Rivera who has stated several times this offseason that getting Funchess involved in the offense was a top priority. He should be in line for a breakout performance against a 49ers secondary that will struggle all year.
FanDuel Price – $4,500
As a Big 10 fan, I’ll be the first to tell you that this kid can play. A TE coming out of Iowa, his athleticism is going to surprise a lot of fans this season. His performance this offseason was the driving factor behind trading Vance McDonald, a proven commodity at the position.
FanDuel Price – $4,500
Experts that don’t watch games, and simply look at snap counts and targets view the LA tight end position as a competition, but Higbee hasn’t gotten virtually every snap as the TE1 in this offense. The Rams will run a ton of two tight end sets in McVay’s system (Washington OC last season), so both players are fantasy relevant. That being said, I think Higbee is the tight end to target early this season, in a tight end centric offensive system.
Our Favorite FanDuel NFL Week 1 Plays
FanDuel Price – $8,300
After the drama that surrounded their 2016 campaign, don’t expect to see the Packers start slow again this season. I also wouldn’t buy into the bs they are selling about an improved secondary. The Seahawks won’t be able to run the ball to keep it out of Rodgers hands, and the Packers won’t be able to run it on Seattle’s loaded front 7. All that being said, there is no stopping this guy so this game could turn into an old fashioned shootout.
FanDuel Price – $7,900
Cam is back healthy, and really for the first time in his career, has a legitimate stable of playmakers around him. Benjamin has had a solid camp, Funchess looks like he’s finally ready to become the weapon they drafted early in 2015, and McCaffrey is a game changing RB that is another weapon in the passing game. The 49ers offense will be vastly improved this season, the defense and secondary, however, will not. Look for Cam to put up an efficient 25+ fantasy point performance on the road in week one.
FanDuel Price – $9,400
The Lions defense looks like it is much improved from a year ago as they have added depth to the secondary and front 7. That being said, Johnson indoors is just too much for this team to handle. He’s our clear number one back in this slate, and should have a 30+ point week here.
FanDuel Price – $7,300
Already looking more engaged in an actual NFL system, Todd Gurley is in line for a massive bounce back season. The improvements to the passing game are already obvious, and opposing defenses will no longer be able to put 8 guys in the box. We also expect to see Gurley have his best season as a pass catcher in this system. Clearly the week one home matchup with Indy is about as good as it gets in this slate.
FanDuel Price – $6,800
Look at the Packers game log from a year ago. Adams played his best, and was the clear WR1 for Green Bay in matchups with tough defenses. Some of his biggest games came against Seattle, Minnesota, NY Giants, Eagles, and the Bears… each in the top half of the league against the pass last season. I think Adams will have low ownership in week one, but could put up a solid 6/75/1 stat line. In a tough matchup with a loaded group of receivers around him, Adams ownership % should be low, giving you an enormous advantage if he has one of his 20+ point performances.
FanDuel Price – $6,500
If this guy is active and healthy, you own him every week. Cleveland’s secondary is young and beatable, and Ben and Martavis should test them over the top early and often in this game. Look for him to score at least one touchdown, and his ability to contribute in the shorter passing game this preseason is a sign that he will play a massive role in this offense in 2017.
FanDuel Price – $5,900
Ertz flashed his upside last season when we saw him put up three games over 16 points in the last 5 weeks of the season. I think that trend continues into this season, and he has a Jordan Reed type year in Philly. He has looked impossible to cover this preseason, and has really filled the hole that the Jordan Matthews trade left. Obviously you love the matchup with a Redskins defense that looks like it will be atrocious against the pass again this season.