NFL Week 1 Quick Outlook

DraftKings Salary Overview – NFL Week 1

It’s been something that most football fans have been anticipating since Super Bowl 50, Week 1 DraftKings salaries are out. To kick off the season, DraftKings is running a $3 tournament with a first place prize of $1 million dollars. Yes, you read that correctly, you can turn $3 into ONE MILLION. There are plenty of contests aside from that one, so make sure to get in on all the action. We have a little over a month left before the season kicks off, which means that there is more than enough time to find out where the best value plays are, players who might be highly owned, and which players might be overpriced, but still make a great play nonetheless.

Preseason can change a lot heading into Week 1. Injuries can occur, which may open up value for certain players. Roster changes are possible and this too will create some potential value. It is important to keep a close eye on all the teams during the preseason because this is where you can separate yourself from the pack heading into the season opener. My initial thought on pricing is that it appears fair across the board. As always, there are some spots that appear to be enticing at first glance. I’ll go over some of the potential value plays, but keep in mind this is a very early list of players.

Quarterbacks
One of the first quarterbacks that stood out to me was Tony Romo – $6,800 who sits at reasonable price tag. Romo has fared well against the Giants throughout his career, averaging 272.9 passing yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game against them. He also holds a 103.3 passer rating against them. In his last five games against the Giants, Romo has a 14 to five touchdown to interception ratio and is averaging over 280 yards per game. The Giants were one of the worst pass defenses last season allowing 19.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. This sets up Dallas for a favorable QB situation at this price. NOTE: Tony Romo suffered a back injury during the third preseason game and rookie Dak Prescott will be starting for the Cowboys.  While we would normally avoid this situation as most rookies need practice time and lots of reps to have a fighting chance.  On the other hand, through the first three preseason games, Prescott leads all signal callers with 454 yards and he also has five touchdowns and zero interceptions.  He will likely be a popular play in all formats for his ability to provide a 3x floor when considering his minimum $5,000 salary on DraftKings.

The Cleveland Browns quarterback situation is worth monitoring. Both Robert Griffin III – $5,600 and Josh McCown – $5,000 will battle it out during training camp for the starting gig. Believe me, I’m fully aware that neither of these guys are trustworthy or great options by any means, hence the price, but this is just too good of a matchup to ignore. The Eagles were one of the worst pass defenses in the league last season. They allowed 280 passing yards per game and surrendered 36 passing touchdowns. Both of these quarterbacks would be tournament plays only due to their volatility, but they are definitely worth keeping an eye on during the preseason. NOTE: Griffin will start in Week 1 in a matchup where he should be playing catch up and at a discounted price.

Running Backs
There are several solid options at this position. For starters, Thomas Rawls – $6,000 seems fine to me, especially in a matchup against the dreadful Dolphins run defense. Despite signing Ndamukong Suh to a huge deal last season, Miami continued to struggle against the run. They surrendered 113.9 rushing yards per game to go along with the 13 rushing touchdowns. In addition, they allowed 5.1 receptions and 44.9 receiving yards per game to opposing backs. Rawls displayed his upside last season on several occasions as he rushed for more than 100 yards multiple times, including a 200+ yard game. Assuming he’s fully healthy and is expected to get the bulk of the carries, he should be in a great spot to hit value and even exceed it.

Ryan Mathews – $5,700 is someone who many stay away from in season long leagues due to his track record with injuries, but fortunately for DFS players, that’s not something to be concerned about. Mathews is expected to be the Eagles workhorse this season and has a favorable matchup in Week 1. Despite allowing just seven rushing touchdowns last season, the Browns gave up 108.9 rushing yards per game. In the only game that Mathews received over 20 carries last season, he rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns. With DeMarco Murray out of the picture, Mathews should see many more 20+ touch games and be the team’s red zone back. He could go overlooked Week 1.

Latavius Murray – $5,600 is a player that I am targeting in season long leagues and could be a running back I focus on in Week 1. He faces off against the Saints who finished last season as the third worst run defense. Opposing backs averaged 113.6 rushing yards per game against them and scored 17 total touchdowns. Murray should see plenty of touches and will likely get all of the goal line duties in this contest. At his $5,600 price tag, it would take a Saints blowout for him not to pay off his salary. The Raiders defense and offensive line has improved, which favors Murray in this instance. Keep a close eye on the Vegas lines heading into this matchup.

Wide Receivers
Much like the Colts Brain trust, I have high expectations for Donte Moncrief – $6,000 this season and it could begin as early as Week 1 against the Lions. If you look at Moncrief’s numbers from the 2015 season, when QB Andrew Luck was playing, he’s definitely someone you want to consider. He averaged 4.6 receptions, 50 yards, and nearly a touchdown per game while Luck was under center. In fact, he scored a touchdown and scored double digit fantasy points in five of the seven games Luck played. Moncrief is entering his third season and has breakout candidate written all over him. There are several of other receivers in his price range that may get more attention making him even more appealing to me.

Michael Crabtree – $5,500 averaged 15 fantasy points per game last season and scored double digit fantasy points in 11 games. In his last game of the season, he was priced $5,900 and now he starts off this year at $5,500 in a great matchup. The Saints surrendered 159.7 yards per game and allowed the most touchdowns (27) to opposing receivers last season. Crabtree was targeted in 23.2 percent of the Raiders pass attempts in the red zone last season. He also finished the season with 9.1 targets per game. It’s very clear that he built a chemistry with his quarterback last season and I’m expecting that to carry over to this year. If this game becomes a shootout, which is always possible against the Saints, Crabtree could see a significant amount of targets and be in a prime spot at a fair price. Even if it not a shootout, he offers a safe floor at a good price.

Tight Ends
If you don’t pay for Rob Gronkowski – $7,400, I usually suggest to look for value. At first glance, Clive Walford has my attention at $3,000. The Saints were dead last against tight ends in 2015. They allowed 11 touchdowns and surrendered 80.6 yards per game against opposing tight end. While Walford’s role in this offense is still uncertain, he did look like the team’s best tight end in the second half of last season. He’s definitely someone you want to keep an eye on during the preseason because if he has a strong preseason, he can carry that over into the regular season at a great price and in a dream matchup.

Defense
My strategy is simple- start from the cheapest defense and scroll up until you find the defense you’re most comfortable with. Target defenses that will get you sacks, are capable of turning turnovers into touchdowns, and can score on special teams. With prices out for the first week and FanVice launching, I decided to give a quick outlook at my initial thoughts on some players who appear to be good value. I’ll be breaking down each position moving forward onto the start of the season with value plays, elite plays, and potential fades. I look forward to helping all of you have profitable DFS NFL season.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter: @Armando_Marsal