4 DraftKings Studs to Target In Week 1
Week 1 of the NFL season has finally arrived and now we need to understand which players we can count on in daily fantasy football.
There are a handful of high-priced studs we want to target on DraftKings this week. These players stand out amongst the other options and are projected to be one of the top point scorers on the main slate, according to our models.
Let's dive in and see who is worth their high price tag.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DraftKings Price: $6,600
Projected Points: 19.9
There might not be a better spot for Jameis Winston to kick off the season. At home as a one-point favorite in the third-highest game total (49.5) on the main slate. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't make any additions to a weak running attack from a season ago that only accounted for 11 rushing touchdowns. That was only 23.4% of the team's total touchdowns in 2018. Bring in Bruce Arians aggressive throwing offense, and pair it with three strong red zone receiving threats in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard should be a good recipe for Winston to succeed against the San Francisco 49ers.
We saw this exact matchup in Week 12 last year, where Winston carved San Francisco up for 25.9 DraftKings points. The 49ers have not made any significant additions to that atrocious secondary which allowed a league-high 35 passing touchdowns. Our power rankings have the secondary as the third-worst heading into this season. Opposing quarterbacks put up 20.4 DraftKings points per games against the 49ers last season.
Winston is the second-highest priced quarterback on the DraftKings main slate, making him a strong tournament option. Our projections have him finishing as a top-five quarterback play in Week 1. Pairing Winston with one or two of his pass-catchers would optimize the Buccaneers upside in this favorable matchup.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
DraftKings Price: $8,800
Projected Points: 23.8
At home in the second-highest game total of the main slate, Christian McCaffrey looks to be one of the top choices at the running back position. Game script doesn't really matter for McCaffrey's fantasy outlook, as he had the most receptions amongst all running backs with 107 last season. McCaffrey is such a weapon as a receiver, he had a 0.44 Receiving Net Expected Points per Target which came in fifth amongst running backs with at least 35 receptions. McCaffrey also soaks up all of the Panthers red zone work, he handled 60 touches from within the 10-yard line in 2018.
Our power rankings have the Los Angeles Rams as middling defense, that is weaker in its run defense. Last season, the Rams gave up 16 total touchdowns to opposing running backs which was tied for the eighth-most. On offense, the Rams ran the third-most plays per game and scored the second-most points in the NFL, which should cause the Panthers to play up in pace as evidence by the game total, which should produce more opportunities for McCaffrey to rack up fantasy points.
McCaffrey comes in as the top-scoring Week 1 running back in numberFire's projections. With Carolina's offense so concentrated, and McCaffrey being right at the top of the pecking order he seems like a smash play in one of the best game environments of the week.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DraftKings Price: $7,900
Projected Points: 16.4
We already hit on Jameis Winston, and now we can touch on his big-play threat in Mike Evans. This week's game against San Francisco is one of the three best game environments according to the games 49.5 total. Evans has been a prolific deep threat since entering the league in 2014. He has been within the top five for air yards in every season, and finished second with 17.7 yards per reception amongst pass catchers with at least 50 receptions last season. Evans was strong in numberFire's efficiency metrics in 2018. He had a 0.95 NEP/Target (4th amongst receivers with 50 receptions) and 95.35% success rate (2nd amongst receivers with 50 receptions).
The matchup against San Francisco is a dream spot for Evans. 2018 was a year to forget for the 49ers, they allowed the most touchdowns to receivers and fifth-most deep receiving yards. While they did improve the defensive line with Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, the secondary they are returning basically remains unchanged. Evans makes for a strong option when choosing between the high priced receivers, our projections have him as the top-scoring wideout.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
DraftKings Price: $7,100
Projected Points: 16.0
The Kansas City Chiefs head into Week 1 with the highest implied team total at 28. We know that Travis Kelce is one of Patrick Mahomes favorite targets, as Kelce had 9 or more targets in 12 of the 16 regular-season games last season. Kelce also tied for fifth in red zone targets which turned into scoring the third-most red zone touchdowns amongst all pass catchers in 2018. The matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars bodes well for Kelce to kick 2019 off in style.
Jacksonville has a bonafide secondary, one that keeps fantasy owners second-guessing their decisions. The dynamic duo of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye is up there is one of the best in the league. Last year, they helped the Jaguars allow the fewest touchdowns (7) and fewest DraftKings points per game to the wide receiver position. An absolutely insane stat is that the Jags allowed more touchdowns (8) to tight ends than to wide receivers. All this information only means one thing, we should expect to see a lot of Kelce used in the middle of the field to avoid the strength of the Jacksonville D. Our projections have Kelce with the highest receiving touchdown probability amongst all skill position players this week.