Week 1 of the NFL season is finally upon us, and it is time to start breaking down some of the best daily fantasy plays for the week that can be used in almost every site’s main slate of games. I want to talk about a top-end receiver and running back, a value at each position, and then throw in a wild card at either the quarterback or tight end spot depending on the value.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
I think that Zeke is going to be a great contrarian play on most sites due to the general uncertainty revolving around his physical condition without going through any training camp. Every single report that I have seen surrounding this issue is that Zeke is in great shape and should get most of the snaps this weekend.
Christian McCaffrey is likely going to be the most owned high-priced RB on most sites, and I love CMC as much as anyone, but in my main rosters, I think I will likely be attacking the Carolina passing game and looking to get contrarian at the running back spot.
Zeke has three-touchdown upside in any spot, and he comes into this game as a seven-point home favorite. That is a fantastic setup for a back that could be under-owned for his overall talent level.
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
Ekeler has proven to be a really productive running back with the Chargers when he has gotten the opportunity. With Melvin Gordon away from the team, Ekeler should get a chance to shine in the role as the best back on this team.
The Chargers are big favorites on the road, with the line currently at 6.5 points, but I think this game could be very high-scoring and fast based on the playing styles of these two teams. This style is not always conducive for running backs, but I think that Ekeler thrives in this environment.
The Chargers will never be in a hurry to score, but they also will always want to score. Ekeler is an excellent option in the receiving game too, so he is really not too reliant on the game script in this offense.
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
The debut of Odell Beckham Jr as a Brown is almost here, and I cannot wait to see the kind of season Odell puts up in the prime of his football career with a much-improved offense and quarterback around him. Listening to Odell talk all offseason, he seems like he is anxious to get out on the field and prove that he is the best receiver in the NFL.
Beckham is now going to an offense that doesn’t allow him to be the center of attention, with Nick Chubb, David Njoku, and Jarvis Landry all being well-respected names in football circles. Odell should get opportunities to make plays in this offense, and I expect him to excel in that role. I am jumping on the OBJ train early this season.
Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers
Curtis Samuel is one of the freakier athletes in the NFL, and the reports out of Panthers camp were outstanding. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that he has never seen a player make a jump like Samuel has from their second to third year in the league.
There are even reports that Samuel looks like the WR1 in this offense over DJ Moore in training camp. Samuel was a high school track star that picked up football late in his athletic career, which gives me reason to believe that he really could make significant jumps at this point in his career. I love Samuel at a huge discount on almost every major site.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford? Did I really just write that?
I love the Lions offense this week against a Cardinals team that will likely end with one of two outcomes. The Cardinals offense could be dynamic and fast, scoring a lot of points and forcing a lot of possessions for the trailing Lions. This would be good for Stafford.
The other outcome is that the offensive line still stinks and the defense stinks. This results in Kyler Murray getting swarmed and the Cardinals see a lot of three and outs, giving the Lions good field position.
Either way, I expect Stafford to be in line for a big week. At a price like Stafford has across the industry and the likely low ownership, I love Stafford this week.