Week 1 NFL FanDuel Late Afternoon Slate Breakdown
Week 1 of the NFL season includes four games on FanDuel's 4:05pm ET slate with one standing out above the rest as a potential shootout.
The Los Angeles Chargers host the Kansas City Chiefs in a game with the highest projected point total at 48, making that an attractive game to stack. When it comes to small slates, don't be hesitant to stack multiple players from opposing teams in hopes of a high scoring game. Full-on game stacks can differentiate your lineup with a limited player pool, and help you climb the leaderboard in a tournament.
|Matchup (Team Implied Score)||Game Total|
|Kansas City (22.25) at Los Angeles Chargers (25.75)||48|
|Washington Redskins (21.25) at Arizona Cardinals (22.25)||43.5|
|Dallas Cowboys (20.0) at Carolina Panthers (22.5)||42.5|
|Seattle Seahawks (19.75) at Denver Broncos (22.75)||42.5|
This afternoon slate also includes a bevy of attractive plays at running back and it's going to be enticing to jam as many of them into lineups as possible with FanDuel's new flex position. Replacing the kicker position, the new flex spot opens up a lot of possibilities, and our own Jim Sannes has broken down which positions we should target for the flex if you're interested in learning more.
While the main slate draws a lot of attention every Sunday with its massive prize pools, this week's afternoon slate on FanDuel includes a $250,000 NFL Rush tournament, which pays out $50,000 to the winner and costs just $4.44 to enter. Additionally, the $33 NFL Bomb has a $40,000 guarantee and pays out $8,000 to first place.
Now, let's break down the top plays and fades at each position.
Lock: Philip Rivers ($7,500) - In a game projected to be the highest scoring on the slate, Rivers will face off against a Kansas City secondary that is shaping up as one of the league's worst entering the season. The Chiefs were desperate for cornerback help and signed 31-year-old Orlando Scandrick after he was cut midway through training camp by the Washington Redskins. Scandrick is expected to play slot corner for the Chiefs, and adding to the concerns in the Chiefs secondary, star safety Eric Berry may miss this game as he continues to sit out practice with a heel injury. The third-most expensive quarterback on the slate, Rivers has struggled historically against the Chiefs -- last year, he had just 1 touchdown and 6 interceptions over 2 games. But at home against a depleted secondary, RIvers is a prime target on the slate.
Fade: Dak Prescott ($7,000) - The Cowboys enter 2018 with all sorts of question on offense. How will the offensive line perform without Travis Frederick? Who will step up at wide receiver and tight end with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten no longer on the roster? Not only are those questions concerning, but Prescott enters Week 1 as a road underdog on a team with an implied point total at just 20. With the Cowboys also being a run-centric team -- they ranked third in rushing attempts last season -- Prescott's projected passing volume and questions surrounding his supporting case make it difficult to play him.
Sleeper: Case Keenum ($6,300) - Of the eight starting quarterbacks on the afternoon slate, Keenum is the cheapest, which makes him attractive for the salary savings. But the matchup is also great for Keenum. The Seahawks defense is no longer the imposing unit it once was with stars like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, and others no longer on the roster. As a home favorite against a rebuilt defense, Keenum is squarely in play, and we'll talk about a teammate you can stack him with in a moment.
Lock: Melvin Gordon ($8,100) - As mentioned above, the Chargers have a plum matchup against a Chiefs defense that we expect to be pretty poor in 2018. But unlike Rivers, Gordon hasn't struggled historically against the Chiefs. In two games against Kansas City last season, Gordon went for 79 total yards and a touchdown, and 169 yards and a touchdown. The third-most expensive running back on the slate, Gordon's ceiling is as high as any player.
Fade: Chris Carson ($5,900) - Carson looked impressive in the preseason, beating out Rashaad Penny for the starting gig, but his Week 1 matchup is one to avoid. The Broncos fielded one of the best run defenses last year, allowing the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (89.4) and the lowest yards per carry (3.3) to opposing running backs. With Penny expected to siphon some touches as well, the matchup makes Carson tough to trust.
Sleeper: Royce Freeman ($6,000) - As we touched on earlier, we'd ideally like to play a running back in our flex spot due to their elevated floor and ceiling compared to wide receivers. And in an effort to find some cost savings at running back, Freeman is an enticing option. The rookie from Oregon impressed throughout the preseason and has been named the Week 1 starter. The presence of Devontae Booker caps Freeman's receiving upside, but Freeman should see a majority of red zone work for the Broncos, and he's playing on a home favorite against a rebuilt Seahawks defense.
Lock: Tyreek Hill ($7,300) - The Chargers defense is shaping up to be one of the league's best with a talented secondary and imposing pass rush. But in a game that could be the highest scoring on the slate, there's no reason to fade Hill as he has torched the Chargers in the past. Hill produces as many big plays as anyone in the league, including stat lines of 5-77-1 and 5-88-1 against the Chargers last season. Additionally, Hill showed a rapport with Patrick Mahomes in the preseason, leading the Chiefs in targets (14).
Fade: Doug Baldwin ($7,500) - Baldwin is the second-most expensive receiver on the afternoon slate, and it remains to be seen how effective he can be as he works through a knee injury. His cost and injury concern, combined with a matchup against a tough Broncos defense, make him a player to avoid. Last season, the Broncos allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, and Baldwin will be matched up often with the Broncos' best corner, Chris Harris.
Sleeper: Emmanuel Sanders ($6,300) - Sanders is the eighth-highest priced receiver on the afternoon slate, $700 less than his teammate Demaryius Thomas. But it was Sanders, not Thomas, who showed a promising preseason connection with Keenum. Sanders saw 15 targets during the preseason, compared to 7 for Courtland Sutton and 5 for Thomas. We've already touched on how the Seahawks defense will have a number of new starters and Sanders makes for a great stacking option with Keenum.
Lock: Greg Olsen ($6,300) - Olsen missed nine games last season with a Jones fracture in his foot, but reports have been positive on Olsen all preseason, and he saw five targets in the Panthers' third preseason game. Looking like there will be no lingering effects from last year's injury, Olsen draws an attractive Week 1 matchup against the Cowboys. Last season, the Cowboys allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Olsen should continue to be a primary target for Cam Newton even with the Panthers adding D.J. Moore, who is expected to play behind Torrey Smith. In his eight games last season, Olsen averaged 6.25 targets per game.
Fade: Travis Kelce ($7,100) - Contemplating whether to pay up for the most expensive tight end on the slate is a weekly headache. This week, it's Kelce who carries the highest cost and enters a tough Week 1 draw. Last season, the Chargers allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, including stifling Kelce twice. Kelce's stat lines against the Chiefs last year were 1-1-0 and 6-46-0, but his struggles against the Chargers extend beyond last season. In eight career games against Los Angeles, Kelce has been held without a touchdown.
Sleeper: Ricky Seals-Jones ($5,100) - In his second season, Seals-Jones is expected to see a significant bump in playing time after catching just 12 passes over 10 games last season. Per Graham Barfield of NFL.com, Seals-Jones played on 27-of-31 first team snaps with Sam Bradford in the preseason. The matchup is also promising for Seals-Jones, as the Redskins surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2017.
Blair Ames is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Blair Ames also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Bames31. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.