DraftKings NFL Lineup Advice: Week 1 (Thur/Sun/Mon)
It is finally here! The first game of the 2018 NFL season is just one day away with the Falcons opening up the season against the defending World Champion Eagles in Philadelphia. I’ll be writing two DraftKings Lineup Advice columns each week this season for FantasyPros.
This article will come out on Wednesday and give an “early look” that includes any potential options for the Thursday Night game, my initial thoughts for possible cash game core plays, and a look at a couple of players to keep an eye on as the week progresses that could become good values if their role expands. My second article will be a DraftKings cash game lineup advice column that will be published on Fridays.
Looking forward to a great NFL season. Let’s kick it off!
Mike Wallace (PHI – WR): $4,200 vs. ATL
The Eagles will be without WR Alshon Jeffrey in the opener on Thursday night, while WR Nelson Agholor has also missed time in the preseason but is expected to play. The absence of Jeffrey should increase the snap count and targets for Mike Wallace, and he can still get behind a secondary for a deep ball. The Falcons ranked 25th against WR2s in Defensive Value Over Average (DVOA) according to FootballOutsiders last season.
Early Cash Game Core
Alvin Kamara (NO – RB): $8,500 vs. TB
Alvin Kamara had a sensational rookie season. The level of efficiency that he produced could be hard to duplicate. While his per touch stats might regress some this season, he could be in line for an increased volume, especially the first four weeks while Mark Ingram (suspension) is out. The Saints picked up Mike Gillislee off the scrap heap to be the Ingram replacement to begin the season but around 20 touches for Kamara is a very reasonable expectation. Combine the increase in touches with a favorable matchup at home against the Buccaneers who allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs last season and Kamara could explode out of the gate this season.
Stefon Diggs (MIN – WR): $6,300 vs. SF
Stefon Diggs seemed to be the favorite target for new Vikings QB Kirk Cousin in the preseason over Adam Thielen. Many expect a break out season for Diggs this year and mark me down as one of them. Diggs will face a 49ers secondary that allowed the 11th most fantasy points to opposing WRs last season with a 27th DVOA ranking against opposing WR1. They have made some potential improvements to their secondary, however, they have also improved their offense with Jimmy Garoppolo which could force the Vikings offense to keep their foot on the gas.
Jack Doyle (IND – TE): $3,600 vs. CIN
With Andrew Luck returning to the field this season for the Colts after missing 2017 with a shoulder injury, the entire Colts offense should get a boost. In the early going, when Luck may still be building up some arm strength look for more underneath passes which will directly benefit Jack Doyle. Doyle and Luck could chew up the middle of the field against a Bengals defense that had a 30th DVOA ranking against the TE position last season. I absolutely love his $3,600 price point.
Ravens (BAL – DST): $3,800 vs. BUF
I’m not sure if a defense will make my list of early core plays very often but the Ravens defense just screams “play me” in the opening week. They will be at home as a touchdown favorite in a game with the lowest Vegas total of the entire week. Meanwhile, Nate Peterman, who threw five picks in his first NFL start last season and completed less than half of his passes (24-of-49), will be under center for the Bills. The Ravens defense is the most expensive of the week, but they could be worth every penny.
Players to Watch
Jordan Wilkins (IND – RB): $3,700 vs. CIN
Marlon Mack‘s availability for Week 1 is in doubt due to a hamstring injury which opens the door for rookie Jordan Wilkins. The fifth-round pick out of Mississippi could be in line for the bulk of the touches out of the backfield in both the running and passing game with a favorable matchup against a Bengals defense that allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing RBs last season.
James Conner (PIT – RB): $4,500 @ CLE
With Le’Veon Bell still not at practice for the Steelers as of this writing, James Conner could be the big beneficiary in the backfield for the Steelers in their opener against the Browns. However, Conner’s price isn’t the most attractive as running backs like Rex Burkhead, Peyton Barber and the aforementioned Wilkins all come in at a lower price. Also, the Browns run defense was solid last season, despite always being on the losing end of the scoreboard. Even if Bell doesn’t play, Conner might be a pass for me.