DraftKings NFL GPP Lineup Advice: Week 1
If you checked out my FanDuel GPP lineup advice piece, you’ll recognize a few of the names below. However, scoring differences, salary differences, and the usage of a Flex position on DraftKings results in some fresh blood on this team that wasn’t touted on the FanDuel GPP roster.
Russell Wilson (SEA): $6,900 @ Packers
Wilson’s one of four plays who carries over from the FanDuel GPP suggestions. He’s tied to the game boasting the highest over/under total this week at 51 points, according to Pinnacle. The Seahawks are three-point road underdogs, and that could aid him in his quest to pile up points if the Seahawks end up playing from behind. Seattle struggled to run the ball effectively last year, and, on paper, their line still looks shaky as a run-blocking unit. Wilson has upped his pass attempts and passing yardage every year in the NFL, and now healthy after playing banged up last year, he’ll likely be a bigger threat on the ground again. He rushed for a single-season low of 259 yards and just one touchdown in 2016, but he’d rattled off three straight seasons of 500-plus rushing yards prior to last year and scampered for 489 as a rookie. His dual-threat skills fuel a huge ceiling, as does a matchup with the Packers. Green Bay ranked 23rd defending the pass last year, per Football Outsiders (FO), and they coughed up the seventh most DraftKings points per game to quarterbacks, according to Pro-Football Reference. Finally, it can be easily argued Wilson enters the year with his best collection of receiving talent in his career with Tyler Lockett healthy and Paul Richardson looking to build on his promising finish to last year, not to mention the one-two punch of Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham as well as second-year pass-catching back C.J. Prosise.
David Johnson (ARI): $9,400 @ Lions
Johnson was the only player to exceed 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year with 2,118. I like him a lot in all game types at FanDuel, but I absolutely love him at DraftKings with the full-point per reception scoring. The difference in scoring is worth noting due to the ease with which Detroit allowed backs to carve them up as pass catchers. The Lions were tied for the seventh most receptions allowed (88) to running backs last year, per Pro-Football Reference, and FO ranked them 29th defending running backs as receivers last year. The Lions were no great shakes defending the run, either, ranking 19th by FO. Johnson is a do-it-all beast, and he’s well worth his exorbitant salary this week.
Todd Gurley (STL): $6,600 vs. Colts
Gurley is coming off of an awful follow-up season to his explosive rookie year, but he has a great opening matchup and plenty of reason to generate optimism about a bounce back. FO ranked the Colts dead last defending the run last year, and they ceded the sixth most DraftKings points per game to running backs. With Andrew Luck out Week 1, the Rams are four-point favorites at home. The spread and location of this week’s games are important, because Gurley’s played well under those conditions in his career, as Adam Levitan pointed out on Twitter. The Rams fired milquetoast head coach Jeff Fisher last year after 13 games, and they hired an offensive-minded head coach, Sean McVay, in the offseason. McVay spent the last three years as the offensive coordinator in Washington, and he’ll have some new weapons to work with thanks to the additions of Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp, among others. Jared Goff was awful and overwhelmed as a rookie, and that didn’t help Gurley’s cause on the ground, but more weapons on offense as well as a head coach capable of running an offense that’s a little more sophisticated than the one run last year bodes well for Gurley returning to 2015 form — or at least playing better than he did last year.
Doug Baldwin (SEA): 6,700 @ Packers
Baldwin’s the alpha in Seattle’s pass-catching crew after leading the team in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns for the second year in a row. Last year, he ranked tied for seventh in receptions (94), 11th in receiving yards (1,128), and tied for 16th in touchdown receptions (seven). He’s not only the best pass-catcher in Seattle, he’s one of the better receivers in the entire NFL. This week, he’ll be opposed by one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Green Bay ranked 23rd defending the pass, according to FO, and they did little in the offseason to fix up a leaky secondary that ranked 28th defending No. 1 receivers and allowed the second most DraftKings points per game to receives in 2016. While I don’t have any Packers featured, I’m a fan of using at least one of the receivers — or tight end Martellus Bennett — along with the Wilson/Baldwin stack.
Kendall Wright (CHI): $3,200 vs. Falcons
As promised, there is some fresh blood in this piece, and it starts with Wright. The difference in scoring and salaries is huge in getting Wright the nod. He’s just a couple hundred dollars above the minimum salary for non-tight ends and defenses, and he’s listed as a starting wide receiver with Kevin White on Chicago’s depth chart. He’s easily both the most experienced and accomplished receiver on the Bears, and in 2013, he reeled in 94 receptions for 1,079 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s not a huge touchdown scorer, but he’s not allergic to the endzone, either, with 18 touchdown receptions in 66 games (41 starts). The last three years have been underwhelming for Wright, but he demonstrated rapport with starting quarterback Mike Glennon in the preseason and caught six passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. The Bears are the fourth biggest underdogs getting 6.5 points at home, and game flow should result in the Bears airing it out often to try to play catch up against one of the highest-powered offenses in the NFL. Wright is in a great position to easily hit value, but at such a small salary, he has a chance to provide a huge ROI.
Zach Ertz (PHI): $3,500 @ Redskins
Jordan Reed (WAS): $5,900 vs. Eagles
I’ll tackle the analysis of these two tight ends together since they’re opposing each other in the same contest. The NFC East showdown’s over/under total of 47.5 points with a narrow one-point spread favoring the Eagles. The Redskins won both games against the Eagles last year scoring exactly 27 points in both contests while the Eagles scored 20 points in their first meeting and 22 in the second. Ertz stepped up in the second game against the Redskins reeling in 10 of 13 targets for 112 yards receiving after being held to only one reception on three targets for 22 yards the first time these two foes played. The monster showing against the Redskins was part of a big finish to his 2016 campaign, and even with the addition of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith (the team also traded Jordan Matthews), Ertz should remain a key cog in the passing attack. Washington is a favorable draw for him to kickoff 2017 after they allowed the third most DraftKings points per game to tight ends and ranked 25th defending the position, per FO.
Reed missed four games last season, but he was good when on the field averaging 5.5 receptions and 57.2 receiving yards per game and scoring a half-dozen touchdowns through the air. The per-game averages don’t do him full justice, either. In Week 14 and Week 15 combined, he played only 29 of 112 offensive snaps (25.9%), according to Pro-Football Reference, while dealing with a shoulder injury. He reached double-digit targets in five of 12 games played last year, and he surpassed 60 yards receiving in six games. I have hope for Reed having a low ownership rate in GPPs this week due to the stinginess of Philadelphia’s defense defending tight ends. They allowed the second fewest DraftKings points per game to tight ends in 2016, and FO ranked them first defending the position. Reed isn’t your run-of-the-mill tight end, so I’ll take Philadelphia’s dominance against the position last year with a grain of salt as it relates to stopping one of the best tight ends in the game.