FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Afternoon-Slate Helper: Week 1

The Week 1 late afternoon DFS slate on FanDuel features five NFL games kicking off between 4:05 and 4:25 p.m. EST. These are all juicy fantasy matchups with totals over 44, with the highest being the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers hitting 51.5.

Winning these short slates can be challenging with the limited player pool, so variance is key. Let’s check out the best players at each price point.

High-Priced Studs

David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals ($8,100)

David Johnson offers the same upside as Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley do, but he comes in at $1,000 cheaper. DJ is likely the safest back on the slate, as Elliott hasn’t practiced with the team all offseason, and Barkley is up against one of the toughest linebacker corps in football.

Johnson is an easy pivot off of those two as he faces a Detroit Lions defense that ranked 27th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play and 17th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play last season. The Arizona Cardinals’ line could hold back the ceiling of this team, but they project to play at a fast pace, giving their fantasy assets more opportunities.

Johnson’s projected workload makes him a locked-in RB1 on this short slate.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($7,900)

In a game with the highest projected total on the slate, Mike Evans has an excellent matchup versus Ahkello Witherspoon and Richard Sherman. Evans put up six catches for 116 yards on eight targets in their matchup last season, so he’s a safe bet to produce regardless of the coverage.

Stacking this game with assets from both teams will likely be a popular strategy this Sunday, especially on this shorter slate.

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers ($7,300)

With every 49ers receiver failing to live up to expectations this offseason, George Kittle is locked in for a massive target share in this game. With Nick Mullens at the helm last season, Kittle was targeted 12 times against the Buccaneers. They limited him to just six catches for 48 yards, but Jimmy Garoppolo should raise Kittle's efficiency.

The Bucs also ranked 28th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play in 2018, so this entire 49ers passing game is in a good spot. Kittle is the only tight end we have projected for double-digit fantasy points on this slate.

Mid-Priced Upside Plays

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions ($6,600)

With the Cardinals attempting to go fast-paced, the Lions will get a boost to their plays, as well. Arizona’s secondary is on life support as Patrick Peterson is suspended and Robert Alford is on Injured Reserve. This sets up Matthew Stafford’s primary pass-catchers with incredible matchups against backups and rookies. Stafford should be able to carve up this defense.

Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks ($6,600)

Brian Schottenheimer has stated that he wants to get his running backs more involved in the passing game. If that were to happen, Chris Carson would be a game script-independent back in an ideal matchup.

The Seattle Seahawks are 9.5-point favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals this week and have the highest implied team total. Carson should be able to operate on all three downs and then milk the clock in the second half against a defense that ranked 27th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play in 2018.

Our projections have Carson as the second-best running back value on the slate.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions ($6,900)

As previously stated, the Cardinals are down their top two cornerbacks. This leaves Kenny Golladay matched up with Tramaine Brock and Byron Murphy. "Babytron" has at least five inches and 20 pounds on each of them, not to mention Golladay's 92nd-percentile Speed Score on PlayerProfiler.

This game could lean run-heavy if the Lions gain a lead, but a Stafford-Golladay-Marvin Jones stack could have some sneaky upside on a short slate.

Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants ($6,400)

Evan Engram presents a nice tight end pivot off of Kittle. With Golden Tate suspended, the only bonafide New York Giants pass-catchers are Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Engram. While the matchup isn’t ideal against what is the eighth-ranked Dallas Cowboys defense by our numbers, this consolidated target share makes for good value.

Bargain Bin Prospects

Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers ($5,400)

Whether you buy his starting depth chart status or not, Matt Breida is going to have a significant role in this 49ers offense. While both are good receivers out of the backfield, Breida edged out Tevin Coleman in Reception NEP per target (0.64 to 0.56) a year ago. He was also significantly better than him in on the ground, with a clip of 0.08 Rushing NEP per carry to Coleman’s -0.01.

Most coaches don’t care about the advanced metrics, but we should. Breida is likely to be more efficient than Coleman and earn more work on third down in this game. This matchup projects to be a shootout with a 51.5-point total, so passing down work will be valuable. Play the better back at a discount.

Dare Ogunbowale, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,500)

In the opposite backfield is Dare Ogunbowale. The pass-catching specialist out of Wisconsin in locked into the third-down role on this Bruce Arians offense. The one area that the 49ers' defense was strong last season was in the trenches, ranking eighth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play.

This means Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones likely won't be on the field much, opening the door for Ogunbowale to steal plenty of snaps. Don’t be surprised if he smashes and earns more work going forward.

Jonathan Taylor Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Jonathan Taylor Smith also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jtsmittyyy. 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.