Week 1 DFS Targets

September 7, 2018





Mitch Trubisky – CHI ($5600)

Green Bay surrendered the 4th-most fantasy points in the league to opposing quarterbacks in 2017. Although they spent their first two draft picks on CBs, it is going to take some time for this coverage unit to come around. Unless Jaire Alexander or Josh Jackson surprise the NFL, I expect soft coverage for receivers year-round. As well, if Trubisky’s going to break out like we think he might, Week 1 is the perfect time to take advantage. He’s got new weapons that I’ll stack with Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton. Although they play in Green Bay, this is warmer weather than this matchup is used to.



Ryan Fitzpatrick – TB ($5000)

Fitzpatrick is one of the least expensive starters you can plug into your team to save extra money for big names elsewhere. I always chase injury and suspension where the DraftKings model can’t handle it. While Mike Evans and company might have a little difficulty against cornerback play (expect shadow coverage from Marshon Lattimore against Evans), the Saints as a whole were middling in allowing points to QBs in 2017. As Vegas projects Tampa Bay with this week’s largest losing margin in this high-scoring game, expect a lot of negative game script for Fitzpatrick and company. With options like Evans, Jackson, Godwin, Brate, and Howard, Fitzpatrick will have his pick of the litter for the loads of drop backs he’ll take under center.


Running Backs



James Conner – PIT ($4500)

A cloud of doubt has been hanging over Le’Veon Bell for all of the preseason, and now our worst fears for the contract hold-out have come true. While $4500 isn’t a punt price, James Conner is now the official Week 1 starter against the Cleveland Browns. I know the Browns are an improved team, but Vegas’ 4-point line in favor of the Steelers seems a bit shy. I expect a heavy run gamescript from a team that gave DeAngelo Williams an average of 27 carries and 6 targets substituting for a missing Bell.  



Matt Breida – SF ($4600), Alfred Morris – SF ($3600)

With Jerick McKinnon out for the season, San Francisco will primarily be looking to Alfred Morris and Matt Breida to fill in the gaps. Though neither will fill in McKinnon’s shoes, they’re discounted enough at the moment that they should be making their way onto plenty of rosters. Alfred Morris seems like the obvious choice as he’s currently listed as the starter and he’s $1000 cheaper than Breida, but I expect better play out of Breida, especially given DraftKing’s PPR scoring. Morris might get the early down work, but unless he lucks out on a touchdown, I think Breida has a much safer floor. Make this decision depending on how much wiggle room you have with your salaries.


Wide Receivers



A.J. Green – CIN ($7300)

A.J. Green is the 7th most highly priced WR on DraftKings, but of the top WRs, he’s always had a lot of big play potential. With big game bonuses, I like Green’s chances of a monster game. Although he recently turned 30, I think Week 1 is going to be a strong start to a strong year. In 2017, the Indianapolis Colts surrendered the 7th-most points in the league to wide receivers. Green will be drawing coverage primarily from Pierre Desir, who is a woeful mismatch against one of the decade’s best WRs.



Larry Fitzgerald – ARI ($6600)

While we absolutely should be concerned about the quarterback play in Arizona, the un-aging Larry Fitzgerald never seems to disappoint. Sam Bradford currently has the start, and while that could change, I like his pairing with Bradford. Over his career, Bradford has targeted slot receivers on 24.8% of throws. If Fitzgerald maintains his 60% slot routes from last year, he’s in for a lot of looks. I think the more telling narrative is this the Cardinals listed Chad Williams as the No.2 man on the depth chart over Christian Kirk and JJ Nelson. That sort of mediocrity behind Fitzgerald gives me every confidence that Bradford will be targeting Fitz a lot.


Tight Ends



Vance McDonald – PIT ($3200)

The Cleveland Browns gave up the 2nd-most points in the league to tight ends in 2017. Although Ben Roethlisberger’s home/away splits are measurably different, I’m not shying away from Pittsburgh’s air attack against Cleveland, especially at the tight end position. At less than half the price of Gronkowski, there is a very real chance McDonald’s numbers resemble top tight end play if the Browns are as soft against the TE in ’18 as they were in ’17.



Trey Burton – CHI ($4300)

While he’ll cost a bit more than McDonald, Burton is underpriced in my opinion. Week 1 is usually when Vegas gets hit the hardest, because it’s difficult to see where the season going. I have Burton higher in my season-long rankings than most and I think it will take some time for the DFS models to correct to his true value. As well, this is a plus matchup for Burton. While Green Bay was fairly stingy to tight ends in 2017, the Bears are rolling in with a whole new level of play and Burton will draw coverage from the still-raw Josh Jones.


Defense / Special Teams



Baltimore Ravens ($3800)

This one isn’t rocket science. Although you might have to pay a few hundred extra dollars to get the top DST in DFS, it’s always a good idea to start a defense playing against a rookie quarterback making their NFL debut. Mistakes are going to be made, and even if they’re not (think uber-conservative Tyrod Taylor), the Buffalo offense simply won’t generate. As a bonus, this is the lowest projected scoring matchup in Week 1.



Detroit Lions ($3400)

If you want to save a bit of cash and pay for a similar situation, look to the Lions. While they are currently competing with the Bills for the worst wide receiver depth, the Jets are also starting a rookie under center in Sam Darnold. I’m not as down on Darnold as I am with Buffalo’s Josh Allen. While starting a high pedigree QB his rookie season is a great move for fans, it rarely works out to win games. Darnold’s start, however, means that he beat out veteran Josh McCown, who has attacked some defenses in the past. Am I going to take advantage of this rookie start? Absolutely; I’m just not as confident that he’ll have a worse game than Josh Allen.


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