Taylor walks us through her favorite value plays for NFL Week 1 on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Week 1 is finally upon us and the painful wait is finally over. If you’re still here, congratulations, guys, we made it. Week 1 of the NFL season is notorious for mispricing, and value isn’t a difficult thing to find. The difficult thing is identifying which value spots to attack. Here are a couple of my favorites at each position.
Carson Wentz – 5700
The MVP candidate is back to his previous form and, per all accounts, is firing on all cylinders. Wentz gets the ever-exploitable Washington secondary, who gave up an average of 20 DK points to opposing quarterbacks in 2018. Wentz, himself, hit the 300 bonus and amassed a pair of scores in the previous matchup. Imagine kicking off your comeback tour against, arguably, the worst team in the NFL, and being priced as QB12. Durability is truly the only question with Wentz and in DFS, say it with me, NOT MY PROBLEM. He has the best weapons he’s had in his career, both out wide and in the backfield. The addition of DeSean Jackson does wonders for Wentz’s ceiling, and the artillery of Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz gives you a solid floor.
Jacoby Brissett – 4400
Now, because pricing is erratic in week one, I’m not campaigning for a $4400 QB in cash games. However, it’s sort of a no brainer to go profit off of backup pricing after the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck, who was priced as the QB2 on the slate. The dual threat should get plenty of opportunities with the Colts entering as a 7 point road to dog to the Chargers. It’s highly unlikely they’re to be able to play ball control for the whole game. The floor at his salary is the most attractive of the week at QB. There are no apples-to-apples statistical comparisons, given Brissett’s previous action came under a somewhat incompetent coaching staff, but also no arguing that he’s got plenty of guys to throw to and isn’t afraid to use those legs. If you wanna make some high-priced stuff fit, Brissett is the guy.
Dalvin Cook – 6000
I’m not going to lie to you, Dalvin Cook is going to be massively owned this Sunday. Unless you live under a rock, or don’t have Twitter, you know the Dalvin Cook hype is very real, and it should be. As if getting Kubiak (who has never had a finish outside the top 10 in rushing yards as a coach or coordinator) as his OC wasn’t enough of a boon, he showed he’s had plenty of time to recover from his ACL surgery (with that glorious 85 yard TD against the Cardinals two weeks ago). Most importantly, Cook gets the Atlanta Falcons in week 1, and you really honest to God can’t ask for more than that. They were a DVOA dream in 2018. How bad were they against running backs? They allowed THE most receptions, the SECOND most receiving yards, and an average of 30 DK points a game. $6000 for Cook in this matchup is simply a gift, as any other week he’d surpass $7.5k. I can guarantee this is the cheapest we see him this season.
Mark Ingram – 5100
No matter what we think of Lamar Jackson, there is certainty that Baltimore will run the football often and are walking into a matchup with one of the worst teams in the league: Miami. The defense should set Ingram up for scores often, and he brings a real ceiling and floor despite likely not getting much work as a receiver. We’ve all heard that Lamar Jackson is going to throw throw throw this year, but here’s the thing: NFL teams are ferocious liars. The Ravens D is the best it’s been in years, and I don’t see this game going way other than ball control. There’s a strong chance Ingram is matchup-dependent this season, in the mold of Marlon Mack in 2018, but this is a sweet one.
Tony Pollard – 4500
If you check Twitter, Zeke is really close to a deal. Unless you check again 30 minutes later, in which case Zeke is very far from a deal. If I was a betting woman (and I am) we’re not seeing Ezekiel Elliott suit up in week 1. Pollard is, without a doubt, the best point per dollar RB on the slate, and likely sees true bellcow usage until Zeke returns. Take advantage of the pricing before it inevitably skyrockets, ’cause it’s going to. To reiterate the floor, bear in mind Zeke had just one singular game under 15.2 DK points last year and this is likely the role Pollard falls into. Now, of course they do not have the same ability level, but don’t forget opportunity is the most important factor at play, and I will take “Zeke Lite” for $4500, please and thank you.
Don’t forget this is a value piece. There are plenty of great WR plays over 5k, but here are the ones under 5k to take a long look at.
Dede Westbrook – 4800
With Marquise Lee not yet 100%, Westbrook will be the de facto number one option early in the season until it becomes more of a committee approach (if the WR room ever gets to full health, which is a BIG “if”). Foles was quite happy to look Westbrook’s way in the preseason, and added some nice touchdowns to the highlight reel. Chiefs/Jags garners the highest total of the slate, a juicy 52, and I don’t have to tell you the Chiefs are basically inept defensively, ranking bottom 5 in yards, receptions, and targets to wide outs last year. This is gonna be a fun game, and Dede is my favorite way to get a cheap piece of it. Real floor and ceiling here.
Marvin Jones – 4800
He’s not bringing the floor Dede brings, but his ceiling is far greater than his salary in most every game. Obviously a stronger tourney play than he is a cash play, as his “boom” AND his “bust” can be quite real. The bust side isn’t a death knell, though, as he did see at least six targets in seven of nine games played last season. If Arizona plays as fast as we expect them to, the possessions and available targets for Marvin could be at their peak for the entire season, so he can’t be ignored.
Marquise Goodwin – 4000
There is certainly a lot we don’t know about how Shanahan plans to deploy his WRs. The two bankable things we have are: My God, that man hates Dante Pettis, and Goodwin will have a starter role to kick off the season. It’s no secret Goodwin is capable of busting huge plays, and what better venue to try that out on than the sieve-like secondary of Tampa. His 2018, as a whole, was pretty shaky due to his health, but let’s not forget the last six weeks of 2017 saw him average 7.8 targets per game which translated into an average line of 5.3 catches for 86.2 yards (but amazingly only one score in that span). Everyone is going to be stacking the heck out of Tampa/San Fran, but with so much attention on Godwin and Kittle, it’s likely Goodwin goes under owned due to pure uncertainty.
Evan Engram – 4800
Ironically enough, Engram and the Giants are ringing in the 2019 season the same way they ended the 2018 season: Very bad, with Eli at the helm against the Dallas Cowboys. In that game, Engram posted a glorious 5/81/1. Engram only had one other game last season where he hit 70 yards with a score. Yup, that was the other Dallas game. Also taking into account his usage sans OBJ, the season should start out with a bang for Engram. He saw 115 targets in 2017 while OBJ was injured, and that’s the volume level to expect again.
Delanie Walker – 3500
It feels like we’re getting the AARP discount on Delanie with this pricing, and I am here for it. He is still, almost inarguably, the best pass catcher on the team, and the most likely to get a receiving score. In a game they will be trailing on the road against Cleveland, I think it’s safe to assume they’ll be losing early and continuously, which will force their run-heavy game plan to the scrap heap. This is generous week 1 pricing for Mariota’s safety blanket. I can’t call him the best value at the position, but that’s only because of my next guy.
Mark Andrews – 3000
Even if he plays limited snaps, he’s priced as a team TE2, yet he’s the runaway best bet to lead the team in looks against the NFL’s worst team. Floor is somewhat questionable, but he has real ability and is likely the top red zone option. This salary is highly unlikely to repeat itself.
While all the position spots have players that are simply too cheap, the DST slot is the complete opposite. All of the top defensive plays cost at least 3000, and with the value we’ve uncovered everywhere else, what’s the benefit of not paying up? Don’t hesitate to attack ceilings at this position in week 1: You can afford it.