3 Daily Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in Week 1
We have loads of pieces on numberFire dedicated to helping you figure out which plays you should target in your daily fantasy football contests on FanDuel and DraftKings. And you should definitely check them all out!
But an underrated aspect of the DFS process is figuring out who you shouldn't play. Narrowing down your short list of potential plays by avoiding those who are overpriced and/or in tough matchups goes a long way towards ensuring that you create optimal lineups.
Let's go through three guys to consider fading on this week's DFS main slates.
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
FanDuel Price: $6,500
DraftKings Price: $5,000
Loading up at positions like wide receiver and running back can be very tempting, and in order to do that, rostering a cheap quarterback is typically a must. One player who doesn't make a whole lot of sense to play this week, despite a reasonable price tag, is Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Seattle Seahawks, the Bengals' opponent in Week 1, have one of the most ferocious passing defenses in the league. They ranked 11th against the pass last year, and that was before they added Jadeveon Clowney into the fold. Plus, the Bengals are dealing with some injuries up front, including the loss of first-round draft pick Jonah Williams to a shoulder injury.
Seattle ranked 21st in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks in 2018 (20.7 fantasy points per game), and Dalton was merely average as a passer a season ago. Among the 33 quarterbacks who recorded at least 250 drop backs, Dalton ranked 17th in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back (0.14).
There will be opportunities to roster Dalton signal-caller in 2019, but this might be a week to pass on him with Cincinnati projected for only 17.25 points, second-lowest on the main slate.
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
FanDuel Price: $9,200
DraftKings Price: $9,000
It's likely that if Barkley comes anywhere close to returning value on his investment, it will come through the passing game, as the 'Boys were outstanding against the run a season ago, ranking as the third-toughest rushing defense.
The Cowboys did allow 101 catches to opposing running backs, but that will likely require the aging Eli Manning to show significant improvement. His 0.10 Passing NEP per drop back was only 21st in the league a year ago.
Barkley is an outstanding talent, but with a hefty price point and slated as heavy underdogs (+7.0), he's tough to stomach this week, especially with so many quality value running backs available.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel Price: $7,600
DraftKings Price: $7,600
Not so fast, my friend.
Despite falling far short of expectations in 2018, the Jacksonville Jaguars still boasted a defensive unit that was still a challenge to deal with, as they ranked ninth overall and sixth against the pass, per our schedule-adjusted numbers. Their excellence was shown by allowing only 17 passing touchdowns on the season, with just seven going to wide receivers -- a league-best number. It's no surprise they allowed a tiny 16.6 fantasy points per game, also a league-best, to wideouts a season ago.
When we peek at the Jags schedule-adjusted per-play passing metrics, they allowed -0.04 Passing NEP per drop back. That's not a typo -- your team lost points with every time they dropped back to pass versus Jacksonville.
Tight ends had some receiving success against the Jags, grabbing eight touchdown passes, so if you want a piece of the KC pass game this week, Travis Kelce may be the way to go. It's hard to ever completely fade Tyreek Hill because of his insane big-play ability, but he shouldn't be a core player this week given the likely shadow coverage of Jalen Ramsey.
Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. 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.