DraftKings NFL Bargain Plays: Week 1
Finding value plays is a great way to get some stars into your Week 1 lineups- let’s look at some underpriced players in great situations to capitalize on in DraftKings NFL Bargain Plays: Week 1 .
Quarterback – Below $6,500
Brock Osweiller – HOU vs CHI – $6,300
Osweiller left his uneven playing time in Denver for a sure thing in Houston this past offseason. Head coach Bill O’Brien has shown a knack for coaching up players at the quarterback position (cough Hackenberg cough), and has an interesting subject in Osweiller. Entering his fifth year in the league, the 6’7 quarterback has been said to have a full command of BOB’s offense as the season opens. The Texans have gone very young at wide receiver, but Osweiller is not without playmakers with DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, & Braxton Miller as our most likely trio of wideouts to start the year. Hopkins brings the steady hand who is simply looking for consistency from his QB, while Fuller & Miller both continue the youth movement in Houston.
For the opener, Osweiller will get to throw against one of the worst secondaries of 2015. The Bears ranked 32nd overall on defense and 23rd against the pass according to Football Outsiders. Chris Raybon, over at 4for4football, published a great piece on Tuesday on three things to know on every team’s defense. He pointed out the Bears play a very conservative deep coverage that limits deep balls. For Osweiller to put up points, it’s going to have to come at a high volume.
Houston is a -6.5 favorite in this contest with a 44 o/u as of the publishing of this article. Osweiller should be lower owned with an opportunity to put up some big totals.
Robert Griffin III – CLE at PHI – $5,600
Before the Tony Romo injury opened the door for Dak Prescott’s minimum salary price tag, the pre-season yielded some hopes for Robert Griffin III being the best value play of the slate. RG3 solidified his role as the starter in Cleveland early on and has shown himself to be at least capable of running the Hue Jackson offense thus far.
Jackson expects his quarterback to continue to feature a strong deep ball and the ability to throw on the run. Cleveland media is even reporting Griffin is expected to have some runs designed for him early on. All this adds up to a potential breakthrough for the much maligned former second overall pick. He takes on the Eagles in week one. The Eagles defensive backfield has weak spots on the outside which should help get him going.
At their price point, the opportunity cost of a RGIII & Terrell Pryor pairing is a legitimate option on DraftKings that opens up a world of salary cap for other spots. Gary Barnidge, Duke Johnson, and Corey Coleman (if healthy) all help bolster the upside play here for Griffin.
Dak Prescott – DAL vs NYG – $5,000
What can be written about Dak Prescott that hasn’t already been? Even before the Tony Romo injury, there was some Cowboys fans who were hoping Prescott would be the man under center come week one of the NFL season. Those fans got their wish when Romo went down with the fracture in his back.
Prescott represents an intriguing prospect and one that has shown flashes of being a dynamic playmaker in the preseason. In his three preseason appearances, he went 39 of 50 passing for 454 yards with five TD passes, two rushing touchdowns. His ability to stretch defenses with his feet will make many fall in love with him this year.
The Giants secondary ranked 31st over against the pass last year according to Football Outsiders. Their front seven should be vastly improved, but the back four should still be ripe for big plays. The biggest question will be whether or not to fade Prescott to find lower ownership elsewhere. His minimum salary on DraftKings makes him a likely candidate for a lot of cash lineups. In GPPs, he may be the player to fade to get some lower ownership on guys like Osweiller, Griffin III, and even mid-tier starters like Matthew Stafford.
Running Back – Below $5,000
Spencer Ware – KC vs SD – $4,400
News has continued to come out of Kansas City that Jamaal Charles is unlikely to play in the first game of the season for the Chiefs. This opens up the door for Spencer Ware. Last year, Ware was extremely efficient with his carries, amassing 403 yards and six scores on 72 carries.
While we’ll want to keep our eyes out for any indication Charles could be in line for carries, Ware makes for a great play against San Diego.
The Chargers struggled last year against the run and should provide a great week one matchup for Ware. The biggest question will be if Ware is a fade candidate in GPPs. His workload and price tag make him an easy plug and play.
Isaiah Crowell – CLE at PHI – $4,200
It becomes that unsettling feeling when you discuss more than one member of the Cleveland Browns during any fantasy football discussion. We know what the Browns have been and we know what they most likely will be by the end of the year.
While many have focused on Duke Johnson, a matchup with the hapless Eagles run defense turns my eyes to Isaiah Crowell. A lot of offseason news from Crowell surrounded his Instagram account and some poor choices the back made. Now, he has performed well enough to be the lead back for the Browns heading into week one. This isn’t an ideal pick due to Duke Johnson’s work on third downs and passing situations, but I see Crowell as an interesting pivot for tournaments. Philadelphia was one of the worst against the run last year and I don’t see a ton that is going to change.
Theo Riddick – DET at IND – $4,000
Theo Riddick fits into my Detroit stack theory of the week. With Calvin Johnson gone, it’s easy to write-off Matthew Stafford but this will continue to be a pass happy offense. The Colts secondary is absolutely decimated and should yield some big totals. Though Riddick continued to struggle in the run game, he hauled in a league leading 80 receptions at the running back position in 2015. Riddick is a dynamic pass catcher who should have plenty of opportunities in this potential high scoring game.
Christine Michael – SEA vs MIA – $3,700
To quote the Beatles, “I read the news today, oh boy….” Christine Michael is listed atop the depth chart for this weekend’s game gainst Miami. Thomas Rawls continues to work his way back from his ankle injury. It seems head coach Pete Carroll is more than happy to go into this contest with Michael. You should be too at $3,700. With the Seahawks a 10.5 point favorite over the Dolphins, Michael should be heavily involved in clock management and the opportunity cost at this low a price is too good to ignore.
Wide Receiver – Below $5,000
Marvin Jones, Jr. – DET at IND – $4,600
By now, it should be fairly apparent where some of my stacking will be going this weekend. Marvin Jones slots in as WR2 in Detroit with Golden Tate on the other side of the ball. The Colts defense is absolutely beset by injuries in its secondary. On top of that, this game has a high over under and should see Matthew Stafford keeping pace with Andrew Luck in pass attempts. Jones makes for a great play with Stafford or even as a one-off for salary relief at the position.
From all indications Jones and Stafford have bonded really well on the field this year and the former Bengal should be a preferred Red-Zone option along with Eric Ebron. I’d expect a high point total outing this week and a price in the low 6k range next week.
Will Fuller/Braxton Miller- HOU vs CHI – $3,700/$3,000
As stated above in writing up Brock Osweiller, the Chicago Bears defense is not in a good spot here. While I don’t think the entire offense is in play for Houston, I do believe you can make a case for Osweiller, Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins, and the two rookie wideouts, Will Fuller and Braxton Miller. Fuller has the gigantic big play ability which may be limited by the Bears deep coverage. That limitation may be the upside we are looking for from Braxton Miller. A third round pick this year, Miller seemed like he’d be on the outside looking in this season. Miller strung together some impressive preseason contests and Cecil Shorts was cut, opening the door for Miller in the slot.
The Texans have an implied team total of 25 points heading into this game. A stack of Osweiller, Miller to the second power feels right for me.
Terrell Pryor – CLE at PHI -$3,000
From one quarterback turned wide receiver to another. Terrell Pryor has emerged in Cleveland as a legitimate deep threat option for RGIII. While no one thinks this transition to wideout is complete for Pryor, it does look as though he will continue to grow into the role this season. Travis Benjamin is gone to San Diego, Corey Coleman has been battling injuries, and Josh Gordon is suspended to start the year. Put all of that together with the Eagles giving up the third most DraftKings points to wide receivers last season, a RGIII and Pryor tandem, at such a low price point, should open up worlds of options elsewhere.
Tight End – Below $4,500
Eric Ebron – DET at IND – $3,700
By now, you’ve noticed a theme. The Lions are a team that need to be targeted. While the Colts have the higher implied team total in this game, the pass happy Detroit offense, coupled with the lack of bodies in the defensive backfield make for a prime matchup for all pass catchers for Detroit. The Colts finished as yielding the 8th highest DraftKings points (according to Pro Football Focus) per game last season. The right combination of Stafford, Tate, Jones, Riddick, and Ebron should net you some high point returns.
Jesse James – PIT at WAS – $3,400
With the news that Ladarius Green is out for at least six games, Jesse James steps into the starting tight end role for the Steelers. At 6’7, James looks the part and showed flashes of upside in his time at Penn State. With issues at wide receiver beyond Antonio Brown and with Le’Veon Bell on the shelf, James may be forced into a bigger role in the offense to start the year. The Redskins were a middle of the pack team against the tight end last year and James price tag near minimum salary opens him up to plenty of upside.
Defense/Special Teams – Below $3,300
49ers DST vs LA – $3,100
An over-under of 43 and Case Keenum as your opposing quarterback give you plenty to like for the 49ers opener. The biggest concern is the problems San Francisco had containing the run last year as Todd Gurley gets set in the backfield. The low total along with Keenum’s potential for turnovers make the 49ers a potential value.
Browns DST at PHI – $2,300
It just felt right to recommend one last Browns play. With the trade of Sam Bradford, the Eagles turn to Carson Wentz as their starter. While Wentz seems to possess big upside, his wide receivers have yet to truly establish themselves and we’re all still waiting on Zach Ertz. Philadelphia will rely on Ryan Matthews at running back, who has upside but has also yet to establish himself. You could do a lot worse at 2,300 than focusing on a rookie quarterback who make a few mistakes when the intensity gets turned up.