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NFL DFS Overview: Week 1

Heath gives his gut reactions to each game for the main slate of games.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I’m taking a look at each game this morning, offering my initial take. These aren’t final takes, but they are getting close to final, for better or for worse. Let me know if you think I’m missing anything key—let’s all help each other get better in the fake (daily) game.

49ers at Vikings

I’m inclined to get away from this game. The Vikings were stout against the run and the pass a year ago, so I think they are a sneaky GPP option. But I don’t love them given the presence of Jimmy G (and knowing what he did to that elite Jags defense late last year). It looks like a Latavius game from where I’m sitting, so I don’t love Cook. Maybe a dart on Kyle Rudolph or Stefon Diggs here and there, but mostly I’m not into this one. I do think Breida is fine in PPR places if he’s cheap, as the Niners should be chasing.

Texans at Patriots

The news of the morning is Will Fuller’s likely absence, which means we might see more Bruce Ellington, maybe Ryan Griffin, maybe Jordan Akins. DeAndre Hopkins looks like a better play than AJ Green today, at least from a volume and a game-flow standpoint. The Texans should be chasing, while the Bengals might coast...on the Patriots side, we have a classic logjam at running back. Jeremy Hill, Rex Burkhead, James White...who to use? I’m actually most into White on PPR sites if he’s cheap. His role is the most assured, while Burkhead might vie with Hill for red zone work and early down work. Obviously Chris Hogan and Gronk are in play as Tom Brady’s best red zone targets.

Steelers at Browns

It’s a rain and mud-fest today, as well as a windy one. I’m into the Browns DST as a way to be a little contrarian, but I think most sharp DFSers already feel the same. Carlos Hyde is the sneakier play given his early down and possible red zone usage, as the masses will be using James Conner (rightfully so). Vance McDonald is out, but I still am not interested in Jesse James. There are other tight ends with higher ceilings. I still like Antonio Brown on PPR sites, even with the weather.

Bengals at Colts

Andy Dalton chalk week? Yikes. Sure, it’s a great matchup against a putrid Colts defense. But I don’t think Andrew Luck and the Colts will put up a major fight. I’d rather take a chance on Joe Mixon, and perhaps even the Bengals DST given the long layoff that Luck has endured. There’s some merit to using Jack Doyle on your PPR sites given that we don’t know for sure that Luck will be able to attack deep. I don’t play DraftKings much, but Doyle at $3,600 reads like a no-brainer. Should be obvious, but yours truly isn’t into Tyler Eifert. He’s “healthy” but they are already talking about limiting his snaps. I can find scoring upside with no yardage easily enough at the tight end position.

Jaguars at Giants

The Jaguars were first in the NFL with 141.4 rushing yards per game last year. Totally into Leonard Fournette on FanDuel (play him while he’s healthy). The Giants are without top pass-rusher Olivier Vernon, which means 31-year-old Connor Barwin is now New York’s best hope at generating pressure. Bortles might have tons of time to throw...while everyone is laboring over Keelan Cole or Dede Westbrook, yours truly is going to simply get some Austin Seferian-Jenkins shares. This is the premier matchup for tight ends in fantasy football until we see differently, and “ASJ” is off the injury report. Sign me up.

Buccaneers at Saints

The Saints should literally run away with this one. I’m totally fine with Alvin Kamara and the Saints defense as a correlation play. But if the Saints get up big (likely) will they really have a need to feature Kamara? Why not utilize Mike Gillislee and Jonathan Williams? I’m in the camp that is playing David Johnson over Alvin Kamara in GPPs today. Michael Thomas is a fine play everywhere, too—but most of you know that already.

Bills at Ravens

It is an Alex Collins ($6,700) day on FanDuel. This one has some winds and will be wet. Buffalo has a poor offensive line and Nathan Peterman at yes, the Ravens DST will be chalk today. I’ve done DFS long enough to know that anything can happen, though. I have built a few Peterman lineups and included Kelvin Benjamin and Charles Clay. The Ravens were susceptible to the tight end a year ago and are without cornerback Jimmy Smith. Baltimore’s slot corner Tavon Young has been a camp standout, so at least I didn’t have to work in Jeremy Kerley. A few Peterman lineups is just being crazy, though. Mostly I’m just into Collins and the Ravens DST in this one.

Titans at Dolphins

A hot and humid day in Miami. It looks like DeVante Parker is out, and Jakeem Grant is in. That said, I think there’s merit to fading guys who recently came out of concussion protocol (Grant). That leaves us with Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson, and Danny Amendola to choose from. I actually think Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, and Adoree’ Jackson are a formidable cornerback grouping. So I’m out on all this Danny Amendola chatter—I think Jackson will lock him up in the slot today. Add it all up and I’m more into Kenyan Drake—the Titans currently list their best coverage linebacker (Jayon Brown) as a backup behind Wesley Woodyard and Will Compton. First round pick Rashaan Evans is still on the shelf with a hamstring injury. On the Titans side, give me Delanie Walker for some positive TD regression today (he only had three scores last year). I’m okay with Dion Lewis in PPR places today, as this looks like a “Dion game” to me. But I’m not going crazy for him or for Derrick Henry, who look bad for each other as far as DFS is concerned.

Chiefs at Chargers

Joey Bosa is out, so Patrick Mahomes’ outlook is a bit better. But it still isn’t good. I still like the Chargers to beat up the Chiefs today. I think Kendall Fuller chasing Keenan Allen around is the toughest matchup for a Chargers wideout today, so I don’t mind darts on Tyrell Williams or Mike Williams to round out some lineups. I expect the 31-year-old Orlando Scandrick to get roasted by someone today—the trick is just figuring out who. Perhaps Mahomes salvages what might be a tough start with some garbage time heroics, but I’d rather not bank on that. I’ll take Melvin Gordon in some spots...but it’s weird to say I’m mostly “off” of this game.

Cowboys at Panthers

Curtis Samuel is out, and Greg Olsen popped up with a back injury yesterday. Odd, but it only increases my love for Run-CMC—especially on PPR sites. Honestly, this is a game I don’t love given the dearth of receiving options for Dak Prescott and both teams desire to be run-oriented teams. I may miss out on some value here.

Seahawks at Broncos

The chatter in the DFS world right now is about Denver’s advantage in the thin air, especially early in the season (before players are in game shape). The Seahawks will be without RCB Dontae Johnson, and this looks like a secondary to attack. I like Emmanuel Sanders to begin the year with a bang, and he is my favorite play in this game. The Broncos DST is appealing for GPPs, too—they won’t be owned with Russell Wilson on the other side.

Redskins at Cardinals

All the Sam Bradford, David Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald in my “beat the score” lineup today. On the Washington side, it’s Jamison Crowder or Jordan Reed, but I’m not really excited about the ‘Skins today. Mostly I’m just into using DJ as a leverage play off of Alvin Kamara’s wild ownership. Ricky Seals-Jones is a stud play wherever he is cheap, too—Bradford has a long history of favoring tight ends.

Bears at Packers

It’s a Jamaal Williams day! Enjoy it, people. It won’t last long (when Aaron Jones returns). I’m into Trey Burton despite what was a tough matchup for tight ends a year ago—Travis Kelce also has a tough matchup, so it’s not like the elite tight ends are in great spots. Mostly I’m into Gronk if we are talking tight ends...anyway, it’s pretty much Jamaal Williams for me in this one. I don’t hate the Packers DST, either.

Jets at Lions

We have some muddy running back waters in Detroit, as well as muddy receiving waters. I’m not really into figuring out who Stafford is going to favor, and I don’t play much PPR so I can’t just plug in Golden Tate and be done with it. On the Jets side, I do like Quincy Enunwa if I need a cheap wideout. And I do like Bilal Powell, since it makes sense the Jets will be chasing.

Rams at Raiders

Another game I’m not wildly into. I’m not sure what Jon Gruden is doing in Oakland, but I know I don’t like it. Todd Gurley and I’m done with this one, thanks.