5 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 1

Before you start to finalize your lineups for Week 1 in daily fantasy football, it's time to step into the confessional. You need to come to grips with something first, and the results of your penance can be a beefed-up bankroll.

Repeat after me: "I'm going to be wrong. A lot."

This isn't an indictment of you at all. You probably know your football and have done the right homework to get prepped for the 2018 season.

But it does not matter. Football is high-variance beast, waiting to prey on those who fail to acknowledge its gluttony for disappointment. There's no better time to get things wrong than at the start of the year.

When each team steps foot on the field this week, it'll be our first time seeing them in their new situations. Players have changed uniforms over the offseason, some have progressed, and some may not be the players they once were. It's hard to know the effects of all of this without seeing it in action, and that means we're bound to whiff somewhere on Sunday.

This isn't true just for us as individuals. It's also true for the public, meaning popular DFS plays will flop spectacularly. It's true for Vegas, too, where lines are far less efficient now than they will be in Week 7. We have company in our misery.

This is not to say, however, that all hope is lost and that we should just sit out Week 1. Personally, I'm way too hyped to have NFL DFS back to do that, and I'm sure a lot of you are feeling the same way. We just have to know how to navigate these mine-filled grounds and take advantage of the weirdness that's bound to ensue.

If we focus hard on how situations have changed during the offseason, we may be able to pinpoint matchups to target that the public has either overlooked or rejected completely. If we react to change before others do, we'll dig up high-upside plays at low ownership, and we may be able to sidestep all the ills that come with Week 1.

We're still going to get stuff wrong; that part is unavoidable. But if we can just find those few plays that bust out on Sunday, we can deal with a couple of dead lineups.

In order to try to do this, we're going to get some assistance from numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP), our in-house efficiency metric that shows the expected points added or subtracted on each play throughout the course of the season. The full-season stats from 2017 are going to be largely irrelevant due to the factors listed above, but we can still use tools like these to pinpoint matchups that are ripe for exploiting.

We'll be focusing exclusively on the main slate here, trying to identify matchups that may be a bit sweeter than they appear at first glance. Which mismatches should we be looking to exploit in Week 1? Let's check it out.