DRAFT Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 1
With the NFL season finally here, season long drafts have wrapped up, but there are still ways to scratch the fantasy itch. DRAFT provides one of these outlets in the form of weekly snake drafts. These draft range from three, to six, to ten participants with multiple entry fees and prize pools. Each draft lasts five rounds with owners selecting one quarterback, two running backs, and two wide receiver/tight end flexes.
Week 1 features will see the wide majority of teams field healthy rosters. That means rosters will be deep regardless of draft position. However, value plays can still be found in each of the five rounds, based on projected volume and juicy defensive matchups.
Let's take a look at who you should be looking to roster this week.
Drew Brees - Drew Brees often comes off the board behind the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, and Tom Brady, and that could be the case to start the year, especially after a down 2017 for his standards. Playing against a Tampa Bay secondary that ranks 30th in numberFire's pass defense metric, Brees should be able to pass early and often. Last season, Brees attempted his fewest passes since 2009. But with Mark Ingram on suspension for the first four games, that number could easily increase. Usually available in the third-to-fourth round, Brees offers big upside at quarterback.
Philip Rivers - Philip Rivers offers an ideal play for those who punt quarterback completely. Rivers finds himself in a matchup against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that ranks 21st in pass defense, according to numberFire's metrics. The Chiefs were particularly susceptible to receivers last year, having given up the most receiving yards to the position. The Chiefs shook up their secondary a bit this offseason, letting Marcus Peters walk and signing Kendall Fuller. Stud safety Eric Berry looks questionable for Week 1, making the Chiefs once again look like a defense to attack. With their starters on the field this preseason, they gave up scoring drives to Matt Schaub and Chase Daniel. As a quarterback available in the last round of drafts, Rivers should provide an anchor to a team with strengths at each of the other positions.
Todd Gurley - Volume drives fantasy production, and Todd Gurley represents the upper echelon of NFL talent and opportunity. Gurley warrants first-overall consideration due to his projected volume and matchup. Our metrics project Gurley to finish as the second-highest scoring running back on the week. He and the Rams will take on an Oakland Raiders squad that ranks 30th in our defensive ranks. Favored by 4.5 on the betting line, the Rams have the third-highest implied team total, at 26.75 points, and are tied for the second-highest over/under (49.5), according to PaddyPower.
Leonard Fournette - For those taking a running back heavy approach outside the top five picks, Leonard Fournette presents a supreme value. The Jacksonville Jaguars were the league's run-heaviest team in 2017 and will likely do the same after adding stud guard, Andrew Norwell, and losing number-one receiver, Marqise Lee. The Jags will face a New York Giants that allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to running backs last season and could be without edge rusher Olivier Vernon. As a three-point favorite, game script should work in Fournette's favor after he eclipsed 20 touches in ten of 15 games last season.
Jordan Howard - With snake drafts only going five rounds deep, a late-round running back strategy can pay off if executed correctly. Howard often slips into the third and fourth round of snake drafts but could see touches on-par with some of the league's elite talents. With Matt Nagy as head coach, the Chicago Bears are expected to improve offensively. Nagy recently noted that Howard will have a third-down role, which could lead to more touches. While the Bears are 7.5-point underdogs, the Green Bay Packers allowed the sixth-most rushing yards to running backs and rank as our fourth-worst defense to start the year. Howard offers major upside in the back half of drafts.
Michael Thomas - For those looking to take a contrarian approach at the top of drafts, Michael Thomas looks to be an excellent option at receiver. Often slipping to the late first/early second, Thomas finished sixth in targets last season in what was an oddly low-volume season for the New Orleans Saints' passing game. The Saints are 9.5-point favorites and have the highest implied team total on the slate, at 29.5. The Buccaneers look particularly vulnerable against the pass. They allowed the third-most receiving yards to wideouts last year, and Thomas is anything but your average pass-catcher.
A.J. Green - Often available in the late second or even third round, A.J. Green arguably presents the best value on the slate. After a down year where Cincinnati ran the fewest plays in the NFL, Green often slides into the third round of drafts. Green faces off against an Indianapolis Colts secondary that allowed the second-most receiving yards to wideouts last season and ranks dead last in numberFire's pass defense rankings. Our projections currently rank Green as the third-highest receiver for Week 1, creating a fantastic buying opportunity.
Chris Hogan - With Brandin Cooks in Los Angeles and Julian Edelman suspended, Chris Hogan looks to be the biggest beneficiary in the New England Patriots' offense. Their opponent, the Houston Texans, rank 25th in pass defense, according to our metrics. The Patriots currently have the second-highest implied team total on the slate, at 28.25, and should feast against a Texans secondary that is more vulnerable than their front seven. Hogan projects to finish as WR9 for Week 1, putting him in an ideal spot for your second wideout.
Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.