Written by Rob Schwarz Jr., Writer and DFS Expert, @chiruxin on the Fantasy Life App and @chisportsnut25 on Twitter
Disclaimer: If you do not want to read the fluff, scroll down for my lineup.
Wow, the season is finally upon us! Not sure about you, but I find this time of year more exciting than I found Christmas time as a child. There is so much anticipation that builds in the months of July and August, yet you have weeks before your fantasy teams either end up in the toilet or are on the fast track to the playoffs. Now add Daily Fantasy Sports or DFS as I will likely call it in every article going forward. This added perk in the fantasy world has changed my love for the game. Let me explain why.
I co-manage a team with one of my closest friends. This league is a 2QB league and last season we paired Dez Bryant with Tony Romo. Like many other fantasy teams in 2015, injuries derailed our team. Losing Bryant and Romo for most of the season was not a nail in the coffin, but it greatly affected our team. Scooping up Derek Carr and Ryan Fitzpatrick helped stop the bleeding, but it was not pretty.
Now picture this. We are paid for weekly awards, so our season was not ruined financially either. However, once your team falters so drastically, it is hard to keep a happy interest. This is where DFS helps! DFS is a great tool to not only have fun, but also earn some cash if played right. If you read my DFS for Dummies article, you will know I am not a millionaire. Part of the reason that is true is because I never play more than $10 a week and that is typically split up into many contests. That said, I have brought in close to $700 over two years playing NFL, NBA and MLB.
Why am I telling you this? Well, would you want advice from someone who is $700 in the positive or someone who is $50,000 in the negative? I have helped others win more money than me, but I have a strict financial rule not to play more than I can afford-even if that limits my chances at big money.
Now that I have bored you, let us take a look at Week 1 and I will explain what to expect from me throughout the season. I typically play in cash games. If you do not know what cash games are, read the DFS for Dummies piece and come back. We won’t wait for you, but since this is on paper you can just scroll back here.
Alright, Week 1. What does Week 1 mean in fantasy? Well it typically means most the stars are healthy and available. It also means you have no idea what to expect from teams. Preseason gives little insight into a team’s chances in the regular season. We also have this same conundrum with certain fantasy players. Obviously we know what to expect from guys like Antonio Brown or Julio Jones. But what about guys like Jordy Nelson who is coming off a major injury? When it comes to Week 1 I look at guys with high floors and add some value plays who may have boom potential. Every week I will give you a higher priced guy, a mid-priced guy and a budget buy for each important position. Then I will give you a lineup I like for the week. Alright, enough talking, on with the show!
I typically do not spend up at this position. I like to find guys that fall into the second level price range. Looking at the list, the prices and the matchups I have found to like the following options.
Drew Brees - $8,100 (NO vs. OAK)
If you want to pay up at the position, Brees is the guy. He has a good matchup against an Oakland defense that should be beatable through the air. We all know the Saints love to pass the ball and Brees should score two or more touchdowns.
Derek Carr - $7,300 (OAK @ NO)
I am actually more interested in the guy on the other team of this matchup. Derek Carr is who I will be leaning on for my lineup. He has good weapons and they could find themselves having to throw the ball more than 40 times.
Dak Prescott - $5,000 (DAL vs. NYG)
Here is your punt option and I would only suggest this for tournaments. Dak has looked decent in preseason, but that does not mean it translates to the next level of competition. With Tony Romo being out, Prescott will face a division rival and will need to rely heavily on Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott
Since I do not spend up at quarterback often, I like to spend up on one running back spot and at least one wide receiver spot. Here is who I like for Week 1.
Lamar Miller - $7,000 (HOU vs. CHI)
As a Bears fan it pains me to point out how much I like Lamar Miller for Week 1. That said, it sounds like Pernell McPhee might not play for the Bears and they are a young defensive team. More importantly, I think Houston uses Miller appropriately and he has a breakout season.
Matt Forte - $6,100 (NYJ vs. CIN)
I’m not sure what pains me more. Talking up a guy who is going against my Bears or talking up a guy the Bears let walk away for next to nothing. Although, I thought the decision to let Forte walk was the right one, it still pains me to cheer him on while wearing another uniform. At this price, Forte should be a great option against the Bengals. Forte should be healthy and receive a bulk of the touches. Bilal Powell does not scare me this soon in the season for stealing touches.
Charles Sims - $4,400 (TB @ ATL)
I am not a fan of Doug Martin. Shocking since he helped me make the playoffs last season. I just think Martin will fall off from his 2015 performance. Why? Easy. Unlike Powell, I think Charles Sims does take carries away as early as Week 1. Sims should see eight to 10 touches in this game and at this price he is worth it if you want to spend up at other positions.
Julio Jones - $9,400 (ATL vs. TB)
Hard to argue using Jones even at this price tag. He will see double-digit targets and should score at least once against the Bucs. Using him will mean we have to find good value with lower priced guys.
Michael Floyd - $5,900 (ARI vs. NE)
Not on purpose, but I’m noticing I have mostly guys at home. Weird. Anyway, I am very big on Floyd this season. New England has an okay defense, but without Chandler Jones, they will likely see a dip in QB pressure. What does this mean? It means Carson Palmer can throw the ball around and Floyd should see plenty of targets.
Tyler Boyd - $3,600 (CIN @ NYJ)
I am a big proponent of Boyd. I think he will have an opportunity to provide the most upside among the rookie receivers. Based on opportunity alone, Boyd should be the starting second receiver, opposite A.J. Green. At this price, Boyd will be in many of my lineups.
Zach Ertz - $4,300 (PHI vs. CLE)
I was high on Ertz last season and he kinda let me down. So, why not go back to him again? I think Ertz has the potential to be a top five tight end in the NFL this season. He should easily be a solid option Week 1 against the lowly Browns.
Michael Bennett - $3,400 (NE @ ARI)
Everyone knows Rob Gronkowski is the better TE in New England. However, Bennett is known as Mr. September by many for a reason. As the Cardinals are worrying about how to stop Gronkowski, (which we all know they won’t) Bennett will be left as the third best target in the offense.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - $2,800 (TB @ ATL)
I know, I know. ASJ has worked with the backups and also started throughout the preseason. So, how do we know what to expect? Well, pay attention before kickoff and if he doesn’t play you can hopefully pay an extra $100 for Cameron Brate. Either one at this price has great value. That said, ASJ has more athleticism and should find a way to make the big plays. He has a great matchup and should be able to exploit the Falcons’ defense.
That does it. I don’t think giving you options for Defense is that important. I usually just plug in the best one that meets my salary needs. In this case I took Minnesota. Here is one of the few lineups I will deploy Week 1. Please note: I will make changes based on news that comes out before game time. You have to pay attention!