4 NFL FanDuel Studs to Target in Week 1
Spending your available salary in any DFS lineup on a stud can make or break your lineup. These high-priced plays will take up the majority of your salary cap, so it’s critical to carefully consider which ones you’ll want for each slate. Whether it’s trying to capture a safe floor in a cash game or chasing a huge game to help you win a tournament, nailing the expensive players is one of the keys to making winning NFL lineups on FanDuel.
Football is finally here. After an off-season that saw many changes both on and off the field, there are some studs from last season who are still looking like some of the best plays this year. Let's see who those players are and talk about why they are in position to start another year off strong in 2020.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
FanDuel Salary: $9,400
Projected Points: 23.3
Lamar Jackson obviously had a record-breaking 2019 season, demolishing teams with his arm and his legs. The Cleveland Browns were his victims twice, as he scored 26.48 FanDuel points in Week 3 and 29.82 in Week 16. There's a good chance he can put up a similar score in this season's opening game.
The Baltimore Ravens have the highest implied team total for any team on the main slate, sitting at 28 points according to our daily fantasy matchup heat map. The Cleveland defense was 25th in Net Expected Points allowed on a per-play basis when adjusted for schedule. They were 30th against the run using the same metric, and Jackson burned them last year for 169 rushing yards across their two meetings last season.
Lamar is at the top of numberFire's projections for any player at any position and is projected for nearly three points more than any other player.
One of the benefits of playing Jackson is that he is virtually game-script proof. If Baltimore gets ahead, he can be a part of the ground game, and if they are trailing, he will be throwing to try to catch up. He'll be one of the top quarterback options all season because of both his safe floor and high ceiling, and that's no different in Week 1.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
FanDuel Salary: $10,000
Projected Points: 20.7
Another player who had a historic season last year was Christian McCaffrey, becoming the third player in NFL history to rush for 1000 yards and have 1000 yards receiving.
He scored 413.2 fantasy points in FanDuel scoring, while no other running back had over 300. What sets McCaffrey apart is his his volume in the receiving work, as he broke his own record for catches in a season by a running back with 116.
The Carolina Panthers will face the Las Vegas Raiders in their season opener. The Raiders' defense was not a good unit last season, ranking 31st in schedule-adjusted defense. They were especially bad against the pass, ranking 25th in fantasy points allowed in the air.
New Panthers starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suits McCaffrey's style quite nicely, as Bridgewater had the lowest average depth of target for any quarterback last season. This should mean that McCaffrey will continue to rack up the catches and has a nice matchup to do just that.
CMC is our highest projected running back for the Week 1 main slate, coming in over three points higher than the second-highest projected back, Dalvin Cook. There is a decent gap in the salaries between the two players, but if you decide to pay up for McCaffrey, you gain access to a passing game workload that is unmatched at the position.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
FanDuel Salary: $8,200
Projected Points: 14.2
Since entering the league, Julio Jones has been one of the most consistent wide receivers in the league. Last season was no different, as he caught 99 balls for nearly 1,400 yards. The Atlanta Falcons have relied on him to be a major part of their offense for nearly a decade, and that doesn't look to change heading into his age-31 season.
One of the reasons the Falcons have rely on Jones so much is just how much they pass the ball. They threw the ball over twice as much as they ran, the only team in the league that can say that. This resulted in Julio having the second-most targets in the league at 157. His Week 1 game looks to set him up to see lots of targets as well.
The Falcons will take on the Seattle Seahawks in a game that has a 49.5 total, tied for the highest on the main slate. When these two teams played last season, Jones caught 10 passes for 152 yards. The days of Seattle's Legion of Boom secondary are no longer, as they ranked 27th in fantasy points allowed against the pass last season.
With the total being high and the spread being a close 1.5 in favor of Seattle, the game script could set up perfectly for Julio to have an eruption game to start the season.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers,
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Projected Points: 14.1
What a journey it's been for George Kittle in his short three-year NFL career. He went from a fifth-round draft pick to the highest paid tight end in the league, and he set a record for most receiving yards by a tight end in 2018. There's no sign of his production taking a hit this season. In fact, there's a case to be made that he's in line to have an even bigger season in 2020.
Kittle's San Francisco 49ers are facing the Arizona Cardinals, and he couldn't ask for a better matchup to kick off the season. The Cardinals were circled on the calendar for every tight end last season, as they allowed 1148 yards and 16 touchdowns against the position last season, according to Pro Football Reference.
Kittle had a massive 28% target share last season, the highest for a tight end and fourth-highest in the NFL. With the health uncertainty of wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, Kittle could be utilized heavily in this game.
The 49ers have the second-highest implied team total on the slate, with 27.25 implied points. Kittle could see the most targets on a team with that healthy team total, making him easily the top tight end on the slate. The projections back that up, as well, as Kittle is projected for over three points more than the next highest player at the position.
He's a fine play in cash games because of the targets he should see and could make for a sneaky stack with Jimmy Garoppolo in tournaments.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. 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.