Draft Kings

Draft Kings Week One: Who to Start and Sit?

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Throughout the NFL season, Football Insiders’ fantasy expert Michael Gonzalez will be providing advice to help you assemble your Draft Kings team. He will be providing three solid plays at each position – a high-priced option, middle-priced option and low-priced option – so you can find talented players for your roster and stay under the $50,000 salary cap.

He’ll tell you who the best values are based on their Draft Kings salary, while also letting you know who to avoid since they are overpriced or have a tough match-up. Be sure to sign up for Draft Kings’ week-one league, which has a $2 million top prize and $10 million in total prizes. Here are Michael’s value picks for week one:

QUARTERBACKS

Aaron Rodgers ($8600) vs Chicago Bears

Let’s start with the obvious. Aaron Rodgers, the best quarterback in the game, is the most expensive player. However, he’s worth it. Last year, in the two games Rodgers played against the Bears, he absolutely lit them up. In those two games, he combined to throw 10 touchdown passes, zero interceptions and 617 yards. The Bears allowed the second-highest point total to quarterbacks last year. A bad passing defense against the best quarterback in the game? Give me Rodgers in week one.

Matt Ryan ($7500) vs Philadelphia Eagles

Matt Ryan is the seventh-most expensive option in daily fantasy for Week One, but this is great value for him. In my opinion, he’s $500 cheaper than he should be. He’s playing against Chip Kelly and the Eagles, so don’t be surprised if this ends up being a shootout and Ryan needs to throw the ball. If that does happen, it bodes well for Ryan’s owners, as the Eagles gave up the third-most points to opposing QBs last year. Expect Ryan to put up big numbers, connecting early and often with Julio Jones.

Carson Palmer ($6500) vs New Orleans Saints

Carson Palmer is healthy, and he’s a solid low-tier option. He has weapons around him with Michael Floyd, Josh Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Ellington among others His job is just to get the ball out of his hand quick, and not make mistakes. He has looked sharp in training camp, and was perfect in his first preseason game. New Orleans gave up the fourth-most points to opposing QBs last year. I expect big things from Palmer in the opener; play him before he gets hurt.

Who to Avoid?

Russell Wilson – If you listened to our first fantasy football podcast, you know I’m not high on Wilson. In week one, he’s facing a Rams defense that is vicious up front. St. Louis was in the bottom tier of teams when it came to opposing QB scoring last year. Wilson may not get off to a hot start.

Cam Newton – Kelvin Benjamin is down, which hurts Newton. Not to mention, he’s the sixth-most expensive option and that isn’t very good value. There are better plays in Week One.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Eddie Lacy ($7500) vs Chicago Bears

As I mentioned above, it’s very possible that Aaron Rodgers has a huge day. An owner can also expect a touchdown or two from Lacy, who should get plenty of carries and probably some catches out of backfield as well. Green Bay will probably go up early, and grind it out in second half with Lacy. The Bears’ defense wasn’t bad against the run last season, but they weren’t very good. Lacy feasts in the Packers opener.

Joseph Randle ($5900) vs New York Giants

Joseph Randle is someone I own in a lot of my fantasy leagues and one of the sleepers I discussed in our first podcast. He’s also someone you get great value out of Week One in Draft Kings. He’s going against the New York Giants, who gave up the eighth-most points to opposing running backs last year. He should get a lot of touches and he’s playing behind the same offensive line that DeMarco Murray thrived behind last season. I expect big things all year out of this back, but particularly in the opener.

Frank Gore ($5400) vs Buffalo Bills

No, I’m not an idiot; I understand the Bills are a very good defense. I’m putting Frank Gore here because of a guy named Andrew Luck. I just don’t see him starting the year off on a bad note. I see Luck excelling in this game, and that opens things up for Gore. I don’t think the Bills will score much in Week One, as there are still so many questions with that offense and now the possibility of LeSean McCoy not being 100 percent. I see the Colts going up big, and handing the ball off to Gore a lot later in the game. He may not put up the monster numbers of more expensive players, but he’s great value here and you can play Gore with confidence in week one.

Who to Avoid?

Marshawn Lynch – He’s very expensive and, as I said in the Russell Wilson notes, I can see St. Louis doing very well against Seattle’s offense.

C.J. Anderson – He’s facing the best run-stopping defense in the league in Baltimore. I expect the Broncos to try to run early, get shut down and end up throwing the ball quite a bit. If that happens, Anderson won’t be as involved in the offense and he won’t be worth the price tag.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Dez Bryant ($8700) vs New York Giants

In his first game against the Giants last year, he had nine catches for 151 yards. In the second game vs. New York, he had seven catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns. With that type of data, it’s hard to bet against the guy who is only the fourth-priciest option at WR. If you want to spend money on a receiver, Bryant is the best value.

Mike Evans ($7700) vs Tennessee Titans

Jameis Winston recently said he and Mike Evans will be the new Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. That may be a bit of hyperbole, but it’s clear that Evans is Winston’s go-to guy. They will be starting their season off at home in Tampa Bay, and facing second-overall pick Marcus Mariota. Winston will want to prove why he was chosen ahead of Mariota, and Evans should get a lot of targets. He’s only the 11th-priciest option for the opening weekend, but may put up big numbers.

Mike Wallace ($6000) vs San Francisco 49ers

He’s a really cheap option, and I’m predicting he catches a deep ball for a TD in week one, which makes him worth the price tag. Teddy Bridgewater is poised for a breakout year, and Wallace will benefit from his progression. The 49ers used to sport a good pass defense, but I’m banking on Wallace catching a deep ball to start the year off right.

Who to Avoid?

Calvin Johnson – He’s an expensive option playing a Chargers defense that is decent against the pass. Also, Matt Stafford may spread the ball around more this year. This may not be a good week to spend a lot of money on Megatron.

A.J. Green – The Raiders are pretty good against the pass, and gave up the sixth-lowest points to opposing WRs last year. Get ready for a heavy dose of Jeremy Hill. Green may have a solid game, but he’s not worth all the money you have to pay to grab him in week one.

 

TIGHT ENDS

Greg Olsen ($5300) vs Jacksonville Jaguars

This is Cam Newton’s most trusted target. Now, especially with Kelvin Benjamin going down, Greg Olsen is going to be the guy Newton looks for all year. He’s the second-most expensive option among tight ends in the opening week, but he’s worth it because he’ll get a lot of targets and he’s facing a Jags defense that isn’t great against opposing tight ends. If you have extra cash when you’re looking at tight end, Olsen is the best option.

Kyle Rudolph ($3500) vs San Francisco 49ers

A Norv Turner offense is great for fantasy players, and especially for tight ends. Rudolph and Teddy Bridgewater seem to have nice chemistry, and Rudolph is going to be a big part of their offensive strategy this year. Rudolph is nice value as a mid-tier TE.

Eric Ebron ($2900) vs San Diego Chargers

Last year, there was lot of hype surrounding Eric Ebron, but after some injuries and a quiet rookie campaign, he’s being overlooked a bit. The Lions grabbed him early in the draft last year, and for good reason. He’s looking good in camp, and he may be the third option for Matthew Stafford this year. The best news is that Ebron is going to be cheap for the first few weeks of the season. That means you can load up at other positions and take a flier on Ebron as your relatively cheap final selection.

Who to Avoid?

Colts’ TEs – Buffalo was the best defense against tight ends last year, so look away from Indy’s tight ends in week one.

Zach Ertz – In the podcast, we discussed why we are low on Sam Bradford. I’m low on his receiving options as well. Also, Ertz facing an Atlanta defense that was good against the TE position last year, so there are better options elsewhere.

 

DEFENSES

Seahawks ($3400) vs St. Louis Rams

If you have been in a cave the last few years, Seattle has a very good defense. And when they are facing an unproven offense, such as the Rams, they are worth the price. They are the most expensive option in week one, but they’re a very safe pick

Texans ($3000) vs Kansas City Chiefs

J.J. Watt and the Texans are starting their season at home and I can’t see them being a letdown against the Chiefs. With Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Co., Houston is a solid mid-tier option in Week One, even facing an upgraded Chiefs offense that sports one of the most electric backs in the game.

Buccaneers ($2800) vs Tennessse Titans

Lovie Smith is taking over defensive play-calling for the Bucs, so we’ll see how that helps the team. However, the biggest reason to play them is that they start the season at home against the weak Titans and are super cheap. Don’t be surprised if the Bucs shut down Mariota in his first start, but don’t expect them to be a reliable option week to week.

Who to Avoid?

Bears – This is bad defense playing the best offense in the league. Please don’t tweet at me asking if you should start the Bears.

Bengals – Don’t sleep on Oakland. Derek Carr is entering sophomore year, Latavius Murray is leading their rushing attack and Amari Cooper gives them a dangerous weapon in the passing game. The Bengals are the second-most expensive option at defense in week one. Why pay all that when there are seemingly better picks?

 


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