Welcome to the first week of my DraftKings NFL daily fantasy column. Over the course of the season I will be dishing out some of my favorite picks and maybe some guys you should stay away from. (You’re welcome in advance.) I will only be doing Sunday slates so no Monday or Thursday games here, sorry I work and go to school full time. These columns are going to be geared more towards Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) tournaments. So we’re looking for those picks that people might not always use that can give you an edge. These picks are meant to help you build your lineup and are by no means guarantees. (See what I did there.) Some picks will be long shots that won’t pan out. You’ve been fairly warned. Injuries and bad games happen, always use your own judgement. Let’s get right to it.
Aaron Rodgers (GB) – $8500
Drew Brees (NO) – $8100
These two are obvious high output guys with potential for multiple TDs and 300+ passing yards. Both match ups have potential to be shoot outs, which means lots of lots of back and forth high scoring passing games.
Matt Stafford (DET) – $7200
If you want a less expensive pick Stafford is your guy. He has lots of targets in another potential shootout game with Indy. I will be plugging him into most of my lineups. I’m thinking low ownership but we’ll see come Sunday.
Derek Carr (OAK) – $7300
Lots of weapons for Carr. Cooper and Crabtree are more than capable in this match up. Latavius Murray could get 4-6 targets out of the back field. An improved O-line. Tons of upside here. The Vegas line for this one is 51 so we should see plenty of scoring.
Dak Prescott (DAL) – $5000
All aboard the hype train. I’m honestly staying away from this pick in most of my lineups. I have a feeling he is going to be heavily owned because of his current price. I’m going to fade to the guys mentioned above. I think Dallas leans heavy on the running game to minimize turnovers. I’m expecting a lot of safe and short passes.
Amari Cooper (OAK) – $7200
Julio Jones (ATL) – $9400
Brandin Cooks (NO) $7700
All of these guys are number one wide outs and should see a lot of targets this week with great match ups.
Doug Baldwin (SEA) – $6600
Eric Decker (NYJ) – $6600
Sammy Watkins (BUF) – $6900
Baldwin had 4 multi-TD games towards the end of last season with a total of 14 in the regular season. Decker is arguably FitzBeards favorite target with 12 TDs last year. That’s one TD in 12 out of 15 games. Watkins is a clear cut number 1 with great chemistry with his QB and is a big deep threat.
Willie Snead (NO) $4800
A great WR2 lining up opposite Cooks. Brees likes to spread the ball around. He had an impressive 17 yard grab for a TD in week 3 of the preseason. Very capable low end pick and a nice stack if you’re starting Brees.
Will Fuller (HOU) $3700
It’s lights, camera, action for the Notre Dame rookie and I think being at home only helps this young wide out. Fuller earned the WR2 spot in the preseason showing great chemistry with QB Brock Osweiler who could have also have a good week against a Bears team that has a lot of work to do on the defensive side of the ball.
Vincent Jackson (TB) – $4400
Rishard Matthews (TEN) – $3300
Chris Hogan (NE) – $3600
I won’t necessarily be playing these guys myself but there is potential. There’s a lot of depth and question marks around the league at the WR position. These guys might help fill in your lineup if you’re low on $$, but are mostly hit or miss.
There’s only two guys $7500 or over for RBs week one. David Johnson and Adrian Peterson; both look good this season but there is a lot more bang for your buck elsewhere. If you really like one of them or both, start ‘em. I personally don’t like the match ups and there are plenty of other options for production here.
LeSean McCoy (BUF) – $6400
If you’re reading this you are a Hard Foul Sports fan which likely means you’re probably a Buffalo fan. So just to clarify things, I’m going to try and be unbiased as I can towards the Bills this season. I use to have a rule about about not betting on the home team BUT I’ve learned rules are made to be broken. I’ve already listed Sammy above so it should be no surprise that McCoy is on my list. He’s a clear RB1 and he’s great shape. I’m not saying put him in all your lineups but when you know you’ve got a good thing run with it, or let Shady run with it.
Rashad Jennings (NYG) – $5600
Jennings is splitting work with Shane Vereen but I think it will be more along the lines of 60/40 or 70/30. Jennings will most likely get most of the goal line, red zone and 3rd down work. While Vereen gets a lot of the passing downs. This could be a sneaky low owned pick if he breaks into the end zone once or twice.
Latavius Murray (OAK) – $5600
If you haven’t noticed the OAK vs NO trend by now you’re not paying attention. New Orleans defense is atrocious against the run and I think Murray plans to have a field day. As mentioned earlier the O-line has improved in Oakland which should benefit Murray. He might not get as many snaps as last season with the addition of rookie back DeAndre Washington who will play passing downs, but he is still the starter and has an opportunity to start this season off on the right foot.
Spencer Ware (KC) – $4400
Jamaal Charles is almost certainly out for week one. Charcandrick West is active for Sunday according to Kansas City media and he is listed ahead of Ware on the depth chart. West just came off an elbow injury. That being said, Ware has had a good preseason. KC has been known to go with the hot hand when Charles is out. Without West in the game Ware is a great value play. Elbow injuries make me think West fumbles and the go to is Ware. This will be an interesting one to watch.
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) – $7300
This Dallas bell cow rookie will see the majority of the work this week. I expect the Cowboys to lean on the run heavily to minimize turnovers. He has a high ceiling and a great offensive line in front of him, but a rookie at this price makes me skeptical. If Dallas gets up early expect them to keep the ball on the ground and manage the clock.
I liked this pick at the beginning of the week but now I’m second guessing and fading him out of my lineups. I’m going to let the rookie prove himself before I start plugging him in at that price. Use him sparingly.
Mark Ingram (NO) – $6600
Lamar Miller (HOU) – $7000
Doug Martin (TB) – $6800
If you’re willing to spend on Gronk be my guest but without Tom Brady under center I’m not certain. He should still get plenty of targets and red zone looks, but TE is just not a spot I’m willing to spend that much on. If you really like him that much I’d say put him in your flex spot and pick another TE that could have an unexpected day. Also he’s listed as questionable and will most likely be a “game time decision.” That’s Belichick for ya.
Update: Rob Gronkowski did not travel with the team to Arizona on Friday and is not expected to play. Adjust your lineups accordingly.
Jason Witten (DAL) – $4100
I’m thinking a lot of check downs and easy throws for Dak on Sunday which gives Witten a high upside crossing over the middle. At age 34 Witten is nearing the end of his career but there’s no denying 10 Pro Bowls in 12 seasons. I think he gets targeted often and is going to work hard to be open for his team and his QB.
Clive Walford (OAK) – $3000
Walford will likely be low ownership as most people will be looking at Oaklands WRs and Murray mainly. Walford is the primary passing down TE and could be overlooked by a New Orleans defense occupied with other threats. If Carr can find and connect with Walford on important downs there could be real value here.
Jared Cook (GB) – $2900
Cook looks to jump Richard Rodgers on the depth chart. I think both could be in play this week; Aaron Rodgers likes to spread the ball around. I like the competition, and Cooks had the better preseason which gives him an edge. This is a deep sleeper pick.
Coby Fleener (NO) – $4900
Julius Thomas (JAX) – $3800
Martellus Bennett (NE) – $3400 Only if Gronk is out! Be sure to check the inactive list Sunday.
Update: Gronk appears to be out, Bennett should be tremendous value.
High End/Solid Start
Texans – $3200
Almost 50 sacks last season and a Bears offensive line that’s being shuffled around again. Jay Cutler will be hurried, knocked down and sacked.
Titans – $2600
Both teams are facing inexperienced and questionable QBs each for their own reasons. Which makes each of them viable options for low cost/high reward. Turnovers are a high possibility in both games.
Chiefs – $3600
Seahawks – $3900 (Highest End, Miami looks better this year but the 12th man is in effect.)
Dallas Dak Stack
Dak Prescott – $5000
Ezekiel Elliott – $7300
Dez Bryant – $8500
Jason Witten – $4100
This is a just a purely for fun play to make the game more entertaining to watch. I’m going to throw this lineup out into the ether and see what happens. You could even plug in the Dallas defense if you like and hope Eli and crew won’t produce and turn the ball over a ton. I might sub out Bryant for the less pricey Terrance Williams and see what happens. If Dallas somehow manages to blow out the giants this lineup could end up paying dividends. It’s a long shot but who knows; any given Sunday.
And thus concludes the first week of my DraftKings daily fantasy picks. I hope you found something useful here. Posts from here on out may not be as long; since week one can be very unpredictable, I wanted to cover a lot. Thanks for sticking it out with me and good luck this week!
– John Bandinelli (@This_Dude_John)