It’s the first official week of regular season NFL games and it is time for everyone to build their bankroll by utilizing DFS on a weekly basis. FanDuel makes it easy and there are more DFS apps coming up so it is the perfect time for you to get in the game. I know that DFS can be scary to begin playing even for the most informed fantasy players, but with my help, you should feel confident to set a lineups, watch the games, and win.
In this first article, I’ll walk you through players positioned to win week 1 in both cash games and GPP games. What’s the difference between game modes, you ask? The objective of cash games is to find a safe lineup. There are fewer players in the contest, which means that DFS players should be looking for a lineup with a safer floor, as opposed to guys with high upside. Obviously, upside is important, but you want a sure thing in cash games. GPPs, on the other hand, are the game mode that fantasy players should participate in if they are looking to cash-in big while losing more frequently. GPP typically has a higher payout because there are more players in the contest that you are competing against. The goal in GPPs is to find a lineup that has a huge week while no one else predicted it to. You want players with low ownership % and high upside, so being contrarian is the way to go.
Cash Game Picks
Carson Wentz – $7,600
Part of the DFS challenge is finding extreme value at certain positions so that you can have some salary left to spend on other positions and QB is one of the best positions to find this kind of value. With that said, we are looking at a fully healthy Carson Wentz coming into this season – something we have not seen since his 2017 season where he threw for 33 touchdowns in just 13 games. He also had 294 rushing yards in that stretch as well. Wentz now has the best weapons around him he ever has, and if he is fully healthy, I would fully expect him to start running in tough situations again. The Eagles are favored to win against Washington at home in week one, which may lead to a lot of carries for his RBs. I still expect Wentz to throw for 250+ yards and at least 2 TDs the first week, which is what we should be looking for in a QB at a good price in cash games.
Dalvin Cook – $7,400
Dalvin Cook is a great running back to build your week one lineup composition around. The Vikings have preached this offseason about how they are going to run the offense through their backfield and pass less often this year. Cook is an extremely talented player and when combining this with a ton of volume, Cook is slated to have a huge year this season. Cook’s talent shines when you look at his statistics. Last year, Cook had 66 evaded tackles on only 133 carries which shows his ability to create his own space. Fanduel is also 0.5 points per reception, and Cook shines in the passing game along with running between the tackles. Last year, he had 305 receiving yards which is almost 30 per games in only 11 games. At $7,400 this week, Cook has enough volume to not bust and enough upside to put your lineup ahead of the pack for the price that he is at.
Chris Carson – $6,600
Chris Carson is a mid-level salary player this week as the Seahawks take on the Cincinnati Bengals. Last year, Seattle showed fantasy players exactly what they want to do – run the ball until it does not work anymore. Luckily, it was a successful offensive approach last season as they rode the back of Carson’s 247 carries to a 10-6 record. Some fantasy players may be scared of Rashad Penny taking work away from Carson, but the Seahawks have may it clear that Carson is the top back and should get a similar load to last season. The icing on the cake is that Chris Carson is playing the Cincinnati Bengals defense this week who gave up 2204 rushing yards last year and wound up as the 32nd defense against the run. The other great part about this week for Carson is that the Seahawks are favored by almost 10 points in this game which means that he should see positive gamescript with the possibility of having to close out the game. He’s going for a great price in DFS this week – grab him!
Stefon Diggs – $7,200
Admittedly, I have been much higher than the consensus on how Stefon Diggs is going to perform this season. Most fantasy analysts believe that Diggs is going to have a good year, but I expect him to outperform players such as Antonio Brown and even his teammate Adam Thielen on the same offense. Near the end of the year, Kirk Cousins looked to have a great rapport with Diggs and I believe that this is going to continue into this season. Last year, Cousins targeted his receiver 148 times for 102 receptions. Diggs also converted 9 of his receptions into touchdowns which speaks to his targets that he is receiving near the goalline. He offers an extremely safe floor, as long as he can stay healthy, and he could easily be the number one WR on the team if Thielen continues to fall off from the cliff like we saw him do near the end of last season.
Mark Andrews – $5,400
Mark Andrews established himself last season as a great player to be considered a breakout candidate this upcoming season. Once Lamar Jackson took over last season for the Ravens, Mark Andrews became one of his favorite targets while throwing the ball. Last year, Andrews averaged 16.2 yards per reception which was #2 in the league. He finished the year with 11 yards which was also #2 in the league. If Andrews ends up being Lamar Jackson’s favorite target as I am projecting, he should end up being a great option in this offense. Andrews faces a Dolphins’ defense that I am projecting to not be that great this year as they are planning on tanking the season and have proved that in recent trades. Andrews at $5,400 this week is a great value as a cheap tight end which is one of the positions I prefer to spend down at to bolster the other positions in my lineup.
GPP Game Picks
Jimmy Garoppolo – $7,200
Jimmy Garoppolo was known to be the savior coming into San Francisco until he tore his ACL in week 3. Garoppolo has been overlooked coming into this season as a great option for fantasy, which is great to have in GPPs because he is bound to have a lower ownership percentage. Since he tore his ACL last year, we have not been able to observe how he is going to perform in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. I have high hopes for Garoppolo being able to perform this season, even if his rushing upside is not there because of his injury last season. I trust in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme and think that he will utilize Garoppolo’s skillset in the best way possible. This entire game is great for DFS in week one as the total for the game is currently set at 50 points. Both Tampa Bay and the 49ers are not projected to have great defenses which could potentially lead to a shootout. Tampa Bay led by head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Jameis Winston should be able to move the ball down the field with ease against the 49ers, which will lead to Garoppolo having to chuck the ball to make up the point differential if they get down early.
Le’Veon Bell – $7,900
Fantasy players are sleeping on Le’Veon Bell this year which is exactly what we want in this game mode for DFS. I have heard many people saying that they are going to stay away from Bell in week one so that they can wait and see how his role in the offense plays out. The point of GPPs is to set your lineup with players who most people are sleeping on and get them during their breakout week. Bell fits this description perfectly as someone who you want to play a week earlier than everyone is expecting him to breakout. I would expect Bell’s ownership percentage to be lower than 15% on this slate, and we may even see it dip below 10% which is a great start to a winning lineup if he has a huge week. The Jets do not have a lot of great offensive pieces on their team and I fully expect Bell to handle the full workload. It may not be a great matchup against Buffalo who’s defense has been on the rise as of late, but as long as the volume is there for Bell, I believe that he is talented enough to have a blowup week to start the season.
Tyreek Hill – $7,600
Tyreek Hill is the quintessential GPP pick for your lineup any given week. He is a player who in his best games will give you game-winning production because of the deep threat he poses down the field. With Patrick Mahomes throwing Hill the ball, Hill should continue his reign as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Hill last year had an average of 15.3 yards per target which speaks to his ability to catch the long balls down the field. It has also been stated that Hill will not have a great week because he will be shadowed by one of the league’s best cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey this week. Although Jacksonville may stick Ramsey on Hill, this only makes Hill a better GPP play. Many DFS players will not consider Tyreek as a play in their lineup because of the attention he will receive this week. I project Hill to be at a low ownership percentage even though he is one of the most talented WRs in the league. I could see Hill going off this week for 150+ yards and at least a touchdown if he has success beating the coverage deep.
John Brown – $5,500
The Bills should make a huge leap as an offense this year with their sophomore quarterback Josh Allen leading the team. Josh Allen was among the best fantasy quarterbacks near the end of the year last season and he projects to be even better this year considering he has better weapons around him such as John Brown. John Brown has had the potential to be one of the best wide receivers in the league since his time in Arizona, but has been derailed by either injury or he has not been on great offenses that know how to utilize him properly. Now that he has Josh Allen who is known for his deep ball, John Brown should have a chance to have a breakout season as he projects to be the #1 target on the team. Brown had 17.0 yards per reception last year, which was #8 in the entire league. He should be heavily targeted this season and he has the opportunity for a ton of huge plays. Brown is also on a team that not many people believe in so I believe that his is a great GPP play because the offense he plays on will not get much attention.
Zach Ertz – $7,100
Zach Ertz is the tight end that I am looking to in most of GPP lineups this week. Ertz is a great week one play because he is a mid-tier tight end at a position where most people will either be looking to pay up for players or will end up completely punting the position and will go for a cheaper option. Many people believe that Ertz will not be able to repeat his production from last year because of the record setting targets he received last year. Granted, Ertz will more than likely not repeat the target volume that he saw last year, but I believe that he will still end up as a top two tight end this season. Carson Wentz has been known to hyper target Ertz, and I still believe that Ertz will end up as the #1 target for an offense that will be one of the best in the league. The Eagles also play the Washington Redskins in week one. The Eagles are favored this week, and the Redskins’ defense does not have anyone that worries me in terms of covering Ertz. I could see Ertz going for 100+ yards and 2 touchdowns which is great for a player that could see a low ownership percentage this week.