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FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 1

After starting your lineups with David Johnson at running back, who else should you play on FanDuel?

If you've never played daily fantasy football on FanDuel before, it's time to start. Unlike traditional leagues, you're able to select the players you want on that specific day only, giving you a different squad to root for each and every week.

Here at numberFire we offer great tools for premium members. The analysis below is meant to help you understand why some of these players are top picks in our tools and projections because we don't want you going into the weekend completely blind. We want to help you. Keep in mind, however, that things can change drastically if an injury is announced, so make sure you're double checking the tools and projections as close as possible to kickoff.

Let's break down the main slate on FanDuel for this week.


Matt Ryan (FanDuel Price: $8,500) - Ryan is the priciest passer on the main slate, but it's for good reason. Ideally, we'd want Ryan at home, but this Chicago Bears defense sets up for Ryan and the passing game nicely. The Bears ranked 19th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play in 2016, but that had a lot to do with the seventh-highest sack rate in the league. Ryan led the league in Passing NEP per drop back and Passing Success Rate (the percentage of drop backs that increased expected scoring) in 2016.

Regression will hit this offense, and the absence of Kyle Shanahan will also, but Ryan should give a strong return if you want to pay up for quarterback on the main slate and has a much easier path to production than Aaron Rodgers has against the Seattle Seahawks, though Rodgers is our highest projected quarterback value of Week 1.

Marcus Mariota ($7,800) - Mariota posted a dud in this game last year (17 of 33 for 214 yards and 2 interceptions for 6.76 FanDuel Points) in Week 3, but I like him at a price discount this week to open the season. The Tennessee Titans have a 26.25-point implied total as 2-point favorites, and this game has the second-highest over/under of the week (50.5 points). Oakland was 25th against the pass last year by our metrics, and the uptick in pass-catching options gives Mariota more chances to exploit a secondary that does have holes.

Carson Palmer ($7,300) - Another road passer, Palmer projects to have a strong opening to the season against the Detroit Lions, who were 31st against the pass last year by our metrics. Detroit was 25th in FootballOutsiders' situation-neutral pace in 2016, so that's a concern, but that's really about it for Palmer in Week 1. The spread has flipped from -1.5 to +1.5 for the Arizona Cardinals, meaning Palmer should be able to throw from ahead or at least avoid throwing while trailing.

Jared Goff ($6,600) - Spending down at quarterback is always nice when it's possible, and there are a few options this week. However, Goff -- yes, Jared Goff -- is probably in the best spot of all of them against the Indianapolis Colts. Indy will be without Vontae Davis (because of a groin injury) and Clayton Geathers (who is on the PUP with a neck injury). The Colts ranked 27th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play in 2016 as it was, and Goff now has Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp to throw to.

Running Backs

David Johnson ($9,400) and Le'Veon Bell ($9,300) - As a rule of thumb, your running back selection process should include players on teams that are both favored and playing at home, especially on FanDuel, where your players receive just half a point for a reception. Johnson and Bell are the exceptions because of their receiving work, goal line work, lack of competition, and independence from game script (meaning, they'll play whether their teams are ahead or behind). That opportunity is vital to fantasy scoring for running backs. Johnson's Cardinals draw the Lions, of course, and Bell's Pittsburgh Steelers are eight-point favorites on the Cleveland Browns. Play them both if you can.

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