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Week 1 DFS Sleeper and Value Picks DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football


It's time. Week 1 of the NFL is here. You've been sitting there watching preseason games, training camp coverage, last year's highlights, Hard Knocks, anything you can to get a taste of the NFL back in your life. It's just not the same though. All those did was make you hungrier to get your piece of the DraftKings pie. Maybe you'll even become the face on the DraftKings commercials that everyone shakes their fist at for being so lucky come next year.

Before any of this is possible, you've got to become the most informed, most knowledgeable, most aware DFS player you can be. Or maybe you just need to surround yourself with rabbit's feet, horseshoes, and four leaf clovers. Regardless, let's go with that informed route. Here are several great sleeper and value picks that the Week 1 slate is offering.

 

Quarterbacks:

Sam Bradford, QB, Eagles: $6,900 - @ ATL.

I guarantee you that his price goes up next week. Bradford's ownership isn’t going to be low, but a good quarterback at the helm of a Chip Kelly Eagles offense is going to provide excellent value at under $7,000. I certainly am not intimidated by Atlanta’s defense, and you shouldn’t be either. The pure volume that this offense generates is reason enough for me to pull the trigger, let alone that Bradford has good weapons that you can stack with him as well. As an aside, don’t you love having a Monday night hammer to drop on your opponents?

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: $6,000 - @ TB.

Here’s a guy that should be pretty low owned (unless you match up against an Oregon fan), as there are just so many other quarterbacks that catch the eye before one gets to Mariota. Mariota has a great chance to provide some rushing yards, which is great for your quarterback, but the guy is also rumored to be able to throw a decent spiral. Tampa Bay and Lovie Smith are still running the Cover 2, which tends to leave quite a few holes in the coverage (namely for tight ends) which Mariota and company can exploit. The Bucs have a good run defense, but they get beat through the air, and so Mariota is a nice sleeper play for $6,000.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills: $5,000 – vs. IND.

It is physically impossible to write a Week 1 DFS article without mentioning Tyrod Taylor. When the prices for Week 1 were released, Taylor was an afterthought behind E.J. Manuel and Matt Cassel. Look at him now, all grown up. Taylor now has the keys to the Buffalo offense, and while his weapons are banged up, you are buying Taylor based on his ability to run and make defenses think. I said Mariota is threat for "some rushing yards”, well Taylor could very well put up a line that makes you think you rostered 2004 Michael Vick. Okay, the hype train typed that one out, but his rushing skills as a quarterback are legitimate (11 preseason rushes for 108 yards). The question is how effective he can be as a passer, but you can’t nitpick for $5,000. You are scoring a true dual threat quarterback for the minimum price. Value, value, value.

 

Running Backs:

Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: $4,500 – vs. TEN.

Martin, a.k.a. The Douggernaut (he doesn’t like that other nickname), is a cheap RB1 who will get the goal line work for you in Week 1. Don’t get me wrong, the Buccaneers offensive line is not good. Martin generated a lot of buzz this preseason on the heels of some really strong runs. However, if you really break down Martin’s showings of elusiveness this preseason, you see a lot of defenders getting through pretty quickly. This is about value though, and getting a good looking Doug Martin for $4,500 against a bottom tier rushing defense is a solid option. I'd look for a 18-60-1 floor out of him with hopes that he breaks a long one. Also, Tampa Bay is favored here, which usually bodes well for the rushing game as a general rule of thumb.

Chris Ivory, RB, Jets: $4,100 – vs. CLE.

One might struggle to wrap their head around how this price point was settled on, but you won’t hear any complaints here! Ivory is going to be the darling of many a sharp player’s lineup at this price. He has a strong grip on the starting job for the Jets and gets a juicy Week 1 matchup against a subpar Browns rushing defense. For added DraftKings fun, Ivory has purportedly been working on his pass catching skills, so you may find a few receptions from him on Sunday alongside healthy rushing numbers. The Jets and new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey should be able to execute their gameplan without having to take too many chances. Getting a full-fledged starting running back for $4,100 is pretty absurd, don’t miss out.

Ryan Mathews, RB, Eagles: $3,600 - @ ATL.

Well, he’s not a “full-fledged starting running back”, but he’s about as close as a backup is going to get. When you get close to the absolute minimum you can’t be too picky, and Mathews is the cheapest RB that I see as providing value relative to their price point. One can’t be entirely sure how the touches get doled out, but as it’s been stated, Philly’s offense will create plenty of opportunities. If Mathews finds the end zone, then you’re well on your way to making excellent value on that alone.

 

Wide Receivers:

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars: $5,400 – vs. CAR.

The receiver with one of the greatest nicknames in the NFL, AR-15 is poised to continue on his quest to soak up all of the targets from Blake Bortles. You’re smart, you’ve seen the chatter about how he was on pace for 130 targets before getting hurt last year even though he barely saw the field in Weeks 1 and 2. He has the trust of Bortles, and he has the skills to back it up. You’re catching on though, you know that this game doesn’t have a particularly high projected point total according to Vegas, so what gives? Well you’re also aware that Julius Thomas is out for a while, and the Panthers defense should force Jacksonville to throw as Carolina front seven is a force and they're projected to win. Allen Hurns gets some attention with all of this and Marqise Lee still banged up, but AR-15 is a good PPR option in a game that should see the Jaguars having to move the ball through the air with limited options.

Reuben Randle, WR, Giants: $5,100 - @ DAL.

Reuben Randle isn’t held in the highest regard, his poor route running skills and general inconsistency are popular talk in Giants’ circles, but opportunity is calling this Sunday in Dallas. Victor Cruz is still ailing and has just been ruled out for Week 1. This means that Randle will get his chance to operate as the WR2 alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and benefit from the coverage that he should draw. These Giants-Cowboys matchups tend to be high scoring affairs, with Vegas setting the bar at 51.5 points. Randle will get his chance to be part of the fun, and you will want to consider throwing him on a team so you can join in as well.

Davante Adams, WR, Packers: $4,400 - @ CHI.

Remember when I said one can’t write a Week 1 DFS article without Tyrod Taylor? I should have saved that for Davante Adams. In 2014 Davante Adams came on the scene as young gun who would be Rodgers’ guy in three wide sets. As such, he was listed at $4,400 heading into 2015. Then tragedy struck, and the Packers’ #1 receiver, Jordy Nelson, went down with a torn ACL. Randall Cobb is bumped up to #1 on depth chart, with Adams now operating as the #2 receiver in an Aaron Rodgers led offense. Everyone knows what Rodgers can do. He is a great passer and makes everyone around him better. The fact that you can snag Adams for under five grand feels like robbery. Not only is the opportunity there, but he gets to step into the role with a Week 1 audition against a terrible Chicago Bears defense. Vegas has this game slated for 49 points, so there’s a lot of action projected to go around. Adams is in the running for having the highest owned percentage, so it is up to you whether you want to “block” your opponents by hopping on the train, or go “contrarian” and fade him, but the value is undeniable.

Eddie Royal, WR, Bears: $3,900 – vs. GB.

Speaking of that high scoring Green Bay-Chicago game, there is another side to consider. This play was more desirable when the news was worse on Alshon Jeffery’s calf, but his status is far from cemented and this is a play to keep in mind as injury reports come out Sunday morning. Eddie Royal would be a great PPR play if Jeffery cannot go, ceding red zone targets only to Martellus Bennett. Even if Jeffery does play, Royal is a good option as the odds are very strong that Chicago will be playing from behind and Cutler will be slinging it. I’ll be honest though, if Jeffery does suit up and I’m already forced to dip below the four grand mark, I’ll probably just roll with this next guy.

Stevie Johnson, WR, Chargers: $3,700 – vs. DET.

Let’s look at a couple of factors here: Antonio Gates is suspended. Ladarius Green is now dealing with a concussion (he is still trying to get cleared, keep an eye out, but it seems doubtful). I defy you to find any positive news about the San Diego rushing attack. With all of that under your belt, you reasonably conclude that the wide receivers are going to be involved. The Detroit Lions are no slouches on defense (though one should note that run stopping linebacker DeAndre Levy is now out), with plus cornerbacks on the outside in Rashean Mathis and Darius Slay. Stevie Johnson avoids all of this as he runs most of his routes out of the slot, where he should see plenty of targets from Philip Rivers. Johnson is dirt cheap, and could put up a 7-75-1 line without surprising me.

 

Tight Ends:

Delanie Walker, TE, Titans: $3,400 - @ TB.

Recall the point about Tampa Bay running the Cover 2 and that there are weaknesses inherent to the system that can be exploited. Enter: Delanie Walker. Well, pretty much enter whoever is playing tight end opposite the Buccaneers, as they ranked 20th in DVOA against tight ends (DVOA = Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a stat from Football Outsiders which they explain here). Combine this with a weak Titans run game against the strong Bucs run defense, and Walker becomes an enticing option. Walker gets to operate over the middle and be a plus red zone target for Mariota. If you don’t want to pay up for Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, or Martellus Bennett in Week 1, this is a nice play.

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins: $3,300 - vs. MIA.

As of my writing this, Jordan Reed is still healthy. Durability has always been what held Reed back from climbing the ranks of tight ends. If he is healthy, he is a good option. We talked about how Washington will most likely be playing from behind, and Reed has always proven to be a great pass catching option when he’s on the field. Cousins and Reed were only on the field together for two games last year, with Reed putting up good totals in them (8-92-0 and 5-54-0). That makes for 17.2 and 10.4 points respectively on DraftKings, which exceeds that 3x value you're hunting for cheap DFS plays.

Richard Rodgers, TE, Packers: $2,500 - @ CHI.

So you fell in love with so many plays at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver that you are left with barely anything for tight end. You start to freak out a bit as you scroll through the names available at the minimum. Here’s your choice. We talked about how many points are projected to come from this game, and how Jordy Nelson is out. Ever since Jermichael Finley fell off, Green Bay has somehow not produced a fantasy relevant tight end despite all of the offensive production the Pack generate. If there was ever a chance for Rodgers to come onto the scene, it would be this week. If you need to roll the dice on a dirt cheap tight end, look no further than the guy who made some noise in the preseason (5-58-1) and gets to feast on a Bears defense that ranked dead last in DVOA against tight ends in 2014.

 

Defense/Special Teams:

Miami Dolphins, D/ST: $3,000 - @ WAS.

The Dolphins defense was above average last year (tenth overall according to PFF, grading out as having the second best pass rush), and they just got Ndamukong Suh to make a very scary defensive line. This line gets to tee off on the likes of a crummy Redskins offensive line that is protecting the likes of Kirk Cousins. While the Dolphins are dealing with quite a few injuries to their secondary, the hope is that the Dolphins can pull away quickly against an also crummy Redskins defense, forcing Cousins and company to have to deviate from their gameplan early and take risks that can be capitalized on. Feast on Cousins and swim with the Dolphins.

New York Jets, D/ST: $2,900 – vs. CLE.

The Jets defense is a great play this week. They have plenty going for them heading into this matchup with the Cleveland Browns. In case you didn’t see the news, the prodigal son has returned with Darrelle Revis rejoining Gang Green (Antonio Cromartie is back too). Not that Cleveland receivers were going to light the world on fire, but one should feel that much better about the matchup when compared to the 2014 Jets “who the heck is that” secondary. Josh McCown is not a good quarterback, Dwayne Bowe was brought in to compete for a wide receiver job and is barely clinging on. Jordan Cameron is gone. Duke Johnson Jr. just started practicing again. The Jets have an incredible run defense and corners who can shut down Cleveland’s mediocre receivers. All of this, on top of the lowest projected Vegas point total (40), the Jets being favored, as well as being the home team, should make you feel very confident in playing the Jets while saving a few hundred dollars versus those top defense options.

 

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This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New... Read More


Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right? Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift. Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain. The... Read More


FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


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Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

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Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


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Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More