The NFL regular season is just around the corner and it’s about time to start thinking about the week 1 DFS slate. Obviously, things change, but finding value right now is normally useful note-taking for later on. Generally, certain options open up due to injuries and reports and the value that stands right now, may be overshadowed by the time the slate actually starts. I am going to run through a top-tier option and a value option at each position.
Drew Brees should be a lower-owned option on this slate by the time it rolls around. In his price range, I assume Big Ben will be the chalk. There are also a bunch of other options in the elite tier that should spread the ownership around. Brees gets a sub-par Buccaneers defense in New Orleans. The Saints will be without Mark Ingram for the first 4 weeks of the season, which I think only increases their likelihood to throw the ball. Kamara is a better receiving back than Ingram and he should get more looks than he did last year. Michael Thomas, Brees’s #1 option, was productive in the receiving game twice last year vs. Tampa and I expect that to continue as well.
Tyrod Taylor is in an interesting spot for week 1. I am very curious to see how many people are on/off of Tyrod here. The Browns’ offense has looked really good in the preseason and the weapons are seemingly super talented. Jarvis Landry has shown that he isn’t just a possession receiver. David Njoku has shown his ability to find the end zone with his freak athleticism. The Browns also get back Josh Gordon and have three NFL quality running backs in Hyde, Johnson, and Chubb. The Steelers should be able to put up points vs. the Browns’ D, forcing Tyrod to throw a lot. I hope this spot goes overlooked with all of the new options down here, but I suspect it will be a common talking point leading into week 1.
Christian McCaffrey has been a beast in the preseason. His production is great, but the usage is even better. He has played almost every first-team snap so far and gotten a lot of touches in not a lot of snaps. Norv Turner and Ron Rivera have mentioned “25-30” touches for CMC and that is AMAZING. CMC is one of the most explosive runners in the NFL and probably even has more big play upside than some of the stars of the league. If he is the goalline back and catching 5-10 balls a game, CMC is going to be considered an elite running back this season, like ELITE elite. I want to jump on this train early and get in before he is the most popular player on the slate.
Rex Burkhead was recently diagnosed with a “slight tear” in his knee. Supposedly, this isn’t a big issue and the Pats are just resting him for now. If Sony Michel is out and Burkhead is in, he will be the chalk come Sunday morning. Burkhead is a great player for the Pats. He’s a grinder that tries really hard and does everything at a good enough level to leave him on the field in every situation. This dude blocked a punt and scored a rushing touchdown within 5 minutes last season if that puts it into perspective. I love Burkhead for the price here.
Chris Hogan is one of my favorite plays at the wide receiver position on this slate. Hogan has Brady’s trust in the red zone and that’s what I need. We have already seen this connection in the preseason and it should continue, especially without Edelman for the first 4 weeks. I think Hogan gets a lot of work in what I think will be a high scoring game in week 1.
Emmanuel Sanders is in a great GPP spot in week 1. By week 4, everyone and their mom will be talking about how the Seahawks are great to target this season. They are old, hurt, and lacking some of the star power they used to have. Sanders should see the Seahawks #2 corner behind Demaryius Thomas, and that is a great situation to attack. I think Sanders puts up over 10 DK points, even if he doesn’t catch a TD.
Rob Gronkowski is just so good. He gets a decent matchup in an uptempo game and the Patriots are lacking options. I have recommended 2 other Patriots, but the prices and situation allow all of them to get there. Gronk and Travis Kelce are too close in pricing. I would lock in Gronk every week and feel very comfortable in the long-haul that I beat Kelce more times than not. The pricing at TE is off and I think taking advantage of it with Gronk is a great way to go about it.
David Njoku has been solid in the preseason and I expect him to see a decent amount of looks in a much better offense than people think. Njoku is a great athlete and very capable of scoring a touchdown and getting 15 fantasy points at a cheap price tag against a Steelers’ defense that isn’t the best out there.
Enjoy the NFL!