NFL

Daily Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Primer: Week 1

With just two wide receivers on the Sunday main slate priced over $8,000, you won't have to break the bank to fill your lineup with quality wideouts in Week 1.

In this preview, I'll break down the wide receivers into three categories based on FanDuel's prices: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.

Players to build around are more expensive, but their ceiling is high enough that you should consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are cheaper options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the expensive stars. Players to avoid are guys you might normally consider at their price tag but who have a tough matchup this week and are unlikely to live up to their usual expectations.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.

Receivers to Build Around

Odell Beckham, Cleveland Browns ($8,200) -- In his Cleveland Browns debut, Odell Beckham will undoubtedly be motivated to make an instant impact, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Baker Mayfield feeds him the ball often in this matchup. Beckham will likely line up against Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson on the majority of snaps, which has the potential to be a colossal mismatch if Jackson doesn't improve upon his 2018 campaign. According to Sports Info Solutions, Jackson allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per coverage snap in 2018 (out of 90 qualifying players). At 25.5 points, Cleveland has the eighth highest implied total of the weekend, and Beckham is a good bet to contribute to those points against Jackson.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($7,900) -- This matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers has shootout potential with the second-highest total of the week at 50.5 points. If it approaches that number, expect a big game from Mike Evans. In 2018, the Bucs scored at least 24 points 11 times. In those games, Evans averaged 17.2 fantasy points per game, compared to just 11.7 points when Tampa was held under 24 points. A close game would also put the game script in Evans' favor based on his usage in past seasons (San Francisco is favored by one point). In 2018, Evans had a 22.6 percent target share overall, but that number climbed to 27.1 percent in the second half when the score was within seven points, per Sports Info Solutions.

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions ($6,900)v-- The Arizona Cardinals are entering Week 1 with just one cornerback who saw the field in 2018 (31-year-old journeyman Tramaine Brock). Despite the fact that the Detroit Lions have become a run-oriented offense under Matt Patricia, it would be foolish for the Lions to not attack this inexperienced Cardinals D early and often on Sunday. In the 15 games he played in 2018, Kenny Golladay led the Lions with a 23 percent target share in the red zone, making him a good bet to score against this weak Cardinals defense.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers ($7,700) -- According to Sports Info Solutions, no team played more zone than the Indianapolis Colts under defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus in 2018, and it made them one of the most effective units in the league. But don't be scared to use the Chargers' top playmaker in this matchup. While zone defenses can give certain quarterbacks issues, Philip Rivers was consistently effective against zone in 2018, especially when targeting Keenan Allen. When facing zone, Allen averaged almost three more yards per target than he did against man coverage.

Coverage Catch Rate Yds/Tgt
Allen vs. Zone 76.4% 10.5
Allen vs. Man 63.6% 7.7


Our projections have Allen as a top-five receiver this week, and it's justifiable based on this favorable matchup against the Colts' zone.

Value Plays

Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,900) -- No team allowed more 20-yard receptions than the Kansas City Chiefs did in 2018, and Dede Westbrook was the Jaguars' primary big-play threat in 2018, leading the team with 15 such plays. With a competent quarterback (Nick Foles) taking over for Blake Bortles, Westbrook's big-play potential should rise this season. This matchup has the highest total of the week (51.5 points), and the Jaguars will likely need to air it out to keep up with Kansas City's high-octane offense. For these same reasons, D.J. Chark ($4,900) is also worth a consideration if you're looking to gamble on deep sleeper with low ownership.

Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans ($5,200) -- Marcus Mariota targeted his slot receiver with 43.5 percent of his passes a season ago, which bodes well for Adam Humphries, who takes over that role in the offense this season. The Titans are 5.5-point underdogs in Cleveland, which also creates a game script favoring Humphries. While Tennessee wants to be a run-heavy team, Mariota may need to throw the ball often in the second half to keep pace with a potent Browns offense. And with Denzel Ward and highly-touted rookie Greedy Williams matching up with Corey Davis on the outside, Mariota may begin to favor the easier passes to Humphries in the slot.

Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys ($5,000) -- The slot receiver has played a minor role in the Dallas Cowboys' offense in recent years, but this is an ideal matchup for Randall Cobb. In 2018, the New York Giants allowed 9.4 yards per attempt to slot receivers, the second-worst rate in the league, according to Sports Info Solutions. Dallas has first-hand knowledge of this weakness in the Giants' D as Cole Beasley, who Cobb is replacing, caught six passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in Week 16 against the G-Men last year.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles ($4,800) -- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside should strictly be a tournament dart throw, but the upside is significant due to his skillset and dirt cheap price tag. During his three seasons at Stanford, Arcega-Whiteside was targeted in the red zone 40 times and came away with 22 touchdowns -- an incredible 55 percent touchdown rate, according to Sports Info Solutions. He's a master at boxing out defenders in the end zone, and that skill should transfer to the NFL. He may not have a huge role in the Philadelphia Eagles' offense immediately, but he could be used as a red zone specialist this weekend.

Receivers to Avoid

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($8,500) -- Julio Jones reportedly plans to suit up for the Falcons despite a contract dispute but, given his hefty price tag, it's probably safest to avoid him in this matchup. In 2018, only five receivers scored at least 15 fantasy points against the Vikings -- three of which were Rams receivers in a Week 4 shootout.

Robby Anderson, New York Jets ($6,300) -- If you're expecting a breakout season from Sam Darnold, you might be inclined to gamble on Robby Anderson at this reasonable price tag. In the long run, that logic may hold true, but this is a tough Week 1 matchup for Anderson. In 2018, the Buffalo Bills were the only team which did not allow a 20-fantasy-point game to a wide receiver. This game also holds the second-lowest total of the week (40.5 points). So if the game plays out at expected, there likely won't be many opportunities for Anderson against a solid Bills secondary, which includes star corner Tre'Davious White.


Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. 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.