By Rob Scwarz (@chiruxinDFS)
I have found a new love in the daily fantasy world. Well, in this case it is more weekly than daily, but it follows a similar philosophy. FLAFFL House is sponsored by an app called DRAFT. I am not for pushing a product if I do not like it, but this app is going to blow up over the next couple years. In fact, it already has this offseason.
Before I get into strategy for Week 1 of the NFL season, let me explain what Play Draft is actually about. They had best-ball contests you could join as late as September, 1. Do you like to draft? Do you join multiple leagues to fulfill your draft addiction? Well, best-ball leagues and the weekly contests DRAFT offers allow you to draft a team.
With best-ball leagues you draft a team (typically some combination of safe players and high-ceiling players) and you forget it. Wait, what? Forget it? Yes, you draft your team and the app will automatically put in your best lineup each week. No more looking at your optimal lineup and thinking, if only I played them this week! Instead, that backup you intelligently drafted who finally goes off for 25 fantasy points is never left on your bench. These leagues are great because you can play in 35 leagues and not feel overwhelmed.
The weekly drafts are different. Instead, you draft a team for only that week. They have two options. One is an actual snake draft (which I prefer) and the other is called “Dream Team” where you chose players without salary limitations like on FanDuel or Draft Kings. On the DRAFT app, you draft a Quarterback, two running backs, and two flex positions that can be either a wide receiver or tight end. The snake draft version is my favorite. Like any fantasy draft, you are allotted a draft position. Then you have to draft your players. This format separates the app from others in the industry.
In this article I am going to break down each week and give a list of the players I think are worth a look. So without further ado…Here. We. Go!
If you play in a 6-team draft, I have noticed you can wait at the quarterback position. They obviously go a little sooner as far as rounds go in the 10-team drafts. I feel that you can wait a little longer this week too as more than enough quarterbacks have decent matchups.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
This is an obvious one. Well, maybe not as obvious as it seems. The Packers are facing off against the Seahawks. Although Rodgers is easily one of the most talented quarterbacks to play the game, the Seahawks defense is not one to sneeze at. In his last two games against the Seahawks, Rodgers has thrown for a combined 495 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
I am not big on Big Ben this season. I think he’s a middle-of-the-road quarterback. However, you cannot deny he has great weapons in Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and hopefully Martavis Bryant. The best part is he is facing off against the Cleveland Browns. These are the same Browns who just cut cornerback Joe Haden. Last season the Browns were 29th in DVOA against the pass. Losing Haden is not going to help.
The risk here is that Roethlisberger struggles on the road versus being at home. Playing against the Browns, I don’t think that matters. He did not do much against them in 2016, but in 2015 Roethlisberger threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in each game against Cleveland.
Others to consider: Cam Newton, CAR; Derek Carr, OAK; Tom Brady, NE; Carson Wentz, PHI; Carson Palmer, ARI and Marcus Mariota, TEN
The two top running backs to go off the board in redraft or almost any league format both have great matchups in Week 1. You cannot go wrong with choosing either. Plus, what I like most about the snake-drafts is only one person can own a player. If you are lucky enough to get the first or second pick, these two guys are your best options. Since these two are obvious, I am going to just give a quick snippet for each and more details about other backs to consider.
1a. Le’Veon Bell, PIT
I would take Bell over Johnson and I think the only reason why is to be contrarian. They are basically equal when it comes to outcome possibility, but most people will be on DJ. Bell faces a bad Browns defense. (27th in DVOA against run; 20th in DVOA against pass catching backs)
1b. David Johnson, ARI
Johnson will be a little chalkier I think than Bell. Either way, only one of each can be owned in this format on DRAFT. DJ is facing off against a Lions defense that ranked 19th in DVOA against the run and 29th against pass catching backs. Plus, he is the centerpiece of the Cardinals defense and should see plenty of touches.
Note: I do not suggest playing both in the Dream Team contests. They will be too chalky. If you want to win the grand prize (or close to it) you will need to be contrarian. I chose one of these backs and paired him with someone a little more off radar.
2. Jay Ajayi, MIA
Here is one of the few running backs I would consider this week. Ajayi will be facing off against the Bucs in Week 1. Tampa Bay did not make any big splashes to their defense in the offseason. They hope the development of Vernon Hargreaves will take another step forward, but I do not see that helping them stop the run anyway. Tampa Bay was 26th in DVOA against the run in 2016. Ajayi had a breakout season last year. I am not as high on him as others but I love his Week 1 matchup.
Others to Consider: Davonta Freeman, ATL; Jordan Howard, CHI; Melvin Gordon, LAC; Todd Gurley, LAR; Dalvin Cook, MIN and Mike Gillislee, NE (Ezekiel Elliott if he plays)
1. Antonio Brown, PIT
I would not recommend playing Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Big Ben on the same team. I am talking to you, Dream Team contestants. That said, two of the three could possibly work! As far as the snake drafts go, Brown would be the guy I’d look at if I were to miss out on one of the two running backs. He faces off against the Browns who was 30th in DVOA against the opposing team’s number one receiver. That should get worse or stay the same with Joe Haden gone.
2. Julio Jones, ATL
I am not as high on Jones as many this year. He just does not do anything for me and has too many games where he disappears in the red zone. The narrative is he will see more red-zone targets this year. I need to see it before I believe it. Jones plays my Bears in Week 1. I think Chicago has strengthened their defensive backs tremendously in the offseason. You cannot even judge them based on last year’s numbers where they were 27th in DVOA against the opposing team’s top receiver. That said, I think Julio comes out swinging. Couple that with Chicago struggling to move or hold onto the football, the Falcons should have plenty of scoring opportunities.
Others to ConsiderDavante Adams, GB; Doug Baldwin, SEA; Michael Crabtree, OAK; Brandon Marshall, NYG; Adam Thielen, MIN and Pierre Garcon, SF
On the DRAFT app, you play two wide receivers, a wide receiver and a tight end or two tight ends. This week, I am only considering one tight end over the other receivers.
1. Rob Gronkowski, NE
I have never owned Gronkowski in a fantasy league. This year, I own him in two! I think his ADP has dropped enough where he can return WAY above value if healthy. What is nice about weekly contests, he only has to stay healthy for this one game. The Chiefs defense could scare others away from owning Gronk, but do not shy away. The Chiefs did not change much on defense this offseason and last year they were 20th in DVOA against the tight end position. Add in the fact Gronk seems to be on a mission this offseason and I think he is a guy to own outside of the top two receivers I mentioned.
Others to Consider: Greg Olsen, CAR; Travis Kelce, KC; Zach Ertz, PHI; Jason Witten, DAL
That wraps it up! Check out the DRAFT app and find me on there as @ChiRuxin. See you in Week 2!