Daily Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in Week 1
As you're filling out your DFS lineups this weekend, it'll be tempting to simply target the biggest superstars. However, player's salaries don't always align with their expected production in a given matchup.
In this preview, I'll highlight a few players who might ordinarily be on your radar, but are probably best to avoid this week. These aren't going to players you absolutely must avoid due to injuries or playing-time demotions, but rather players who are in a bad spot due to a matchup or a salary that has risen too high to justify adding them to your roster.
Let's take a look at four players who may not live up to expectations in Week 1.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
DraftKings Salary: $8,100
FanDuel Salary: $9,400
In cash games, you can still justify Lamar Jackson, but he's entering a salary range where he may not be an option in tournaments. On DraftKings, Jackson was valued higher than this salary just once last season and his FanDuel salary matches his season-high. This week's matchup against the Cleveland Browns potentially poses a risk to Jackson -- at least in terms of limiting his fantasy ceiling. With an improved offensive line paving the way for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Browns offense appears to be built to run the ball and control the clock -- a tactic used by new head coach Kevin Stefanski throughout the 2019 season as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator.
Jackson's playmaking ability always makes him a candidate for a monster game, so it's not crazy to slide him into some lineups. However, with his salary substantially higher than any other quarterback on the slate, he doesn't hold the same value he did throughout the most of his breakout 2019 campaign and he probably isn't the quarterback to build a majority of your lineups around in Week 1.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts
DraftKings Salary: $5,700
FanDuel Salary: $5,400
It's easier to justify rostering Jonathan Taylor on FanDuel, where there are 26 running backs with a higher salary, compared to just 16 on DraftKings. However, it's safest to avoid him on both platforms due to his uncertain role in the offense. Head coach Frank Reich recently described Taylor and Marlon Mack as a "one-one punch" and has not given an indication as to which runner is expected to see more work.
It's also unknown to what extent, if any, Taylor will play a role in the passing game. During his career at Wisconsin, Taylor caught just 42 passes and had a concerning 18 percent drop rate, according to Sports Info Solutions. With Nyheim Hines -- who's seen 139 targets over the last two years -- still on the roster, the Colts may not be able to generate enough touches for any of their running backs to hold much fantasy value.
Le'Veon Bell, RB, Jets
DraftKings Salary: $5,600
FanDuel Salary: $6,500
The case against Le'Veon Bell this week is mostly about the game script. The New York Jets are 6.5-point underdogs to the Buffalo Bills and carry the lowest implied total on the slate at 16.5 points. Assuming this game goes as expected, it looks like Bell may not see a significant workload, and his odds of reaching the end zone are diminished against solid Bills defense.
Another issue for Bell is the potential loss of playing time to Frank Gore. Last year, Bell accounted for 72 percent of the Jets touches by running backs. According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, however, training camp touches have been split 60-40 between Bell and Gore, and head coach Adam Gase acknowledged overworking Bell early in the 2019 season. With a lighter workload in a low-scoring game, Bell probably doesn't have much fantasy value this week.
Odell Beckham, WR, Browns
DraftKings Salary: $5,900
FanDuel Salary: $6,900
During the offseason, I wrote about Odell Beckham's potential to improve in 2020, but the Ravens pose a difficult test for him in Week 1. As previously mentioned, a run-heavy game plan makes sense for the Browns against Baltimore, especially given Stefanski's history of running the ball in Minnesota. Additionally, the Ravens defense excels at limiting the downfield passing attack, where Beckham is most dangerous.
Beckham led the Browns with 46 targets at least 15 yards downfield, which represented 34 percent of his total targets, according to Sports Info Solutions. Against passes 15 or more yards downfield, Baltimore allowed a 39.3 percent completion rate, the fifth-lowest in the league. The combination of a tough defense and a potentially unfavorable game plan makes this a tough spot to roster him, even though he should have value in future weeks.
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.