I can’t express to you how excited I am to see some football. It seems crazy that the NFL is starting with the MLB and NBA both going on too, as this is truly the craziest year of my life. In any case, we get to kick things off on Thursday between the Chiefs and Texans, so let’s start there!
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Thursday Slate (HOU-KC)
We have arguably the best team in football facing a Texans team that lost some key pieces in the offseason. That has made the Chiefs a monster favorite in this matchup, with their offense projected to score 32 points. That’s a huge total, and it makes guys like Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce all great plays. It also makes Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks nice values too, with the Texans likely playing catch-up in the second half.
Monday Slate (PIT-NYG, DEN-TEN)
It’s the opening week, so that means we get two games on Monday Night. The first one is a matchup between the Steelers and Giants. This is a game where the running backs should thrive, with Saquon Barkley and James Conner looking like great plays. In terms of value, Sterling Shepard and Diontae Johnson are both too cheap.
The second game is a matchup between the Broncos and Titans. Derrick Henry is the best play in the game, as he led the NFL in rushing last season, and he takes on a subpar Denver run defense. I really don’t trust either of the quarterbacks, but A.J. Brown and Courtland Sutton both have tons of upside, too.
Quarterback of the Week
Cam Newton (NE): $6,100 vs. MIA
I think people forget how valuable this guy can be in DFS. In the first 13 weeks of 2018, Cam never scored fewer than 16 DraftKings points while averaging 24 fantasy points per game. That’s pretty much on par with what he did in 2016-17 as well, and we have to assume that he’s at full health. What makes him interesting here is the fact that he gets to face the Dolphins, who owned a 27th OPRK against opposing quarterbacks last season. That pairs nicely with the fact that Sony Michel and Damien Harris are both nicked up, which puts a lot of responsibility on Cam’s shoulders. Don’t count out the fact that this his debut, too, and he’ll want to show out for his new team.
Cash Game Running Back
Christian McCaffrey (CAR): $10,000 vs. LV
Well, duh! This one is simple, and we’re going to keep it simple. McCaffrey led all players with 31 DK points per game last season, and that was actually higher than any quarterback, too. What’s even more amazing is the fact that he scored at least 22 DK points in all but two games last season, which gives him the best floor of any player out there. The matchup is the icing on the cake, though, with the Raiders ranked 24th in total defense last year.
GPP Running Back
Tarik Cohen (CHI): $4,900 at DET
With David Montgomery possibly missing this game, Cohen should be the guy. That means we’ll be getting 10-plus carries and at least 5-10 targets, and that’s all you can hope for from such a talented playmaker like Cohen. If you look at the three games where Cohen had at least five carries and five targets last season, he scored at least 12.4 DK points in all of them en route to a 15-point average. That would be a monster game at this price, and we also love that he faces a Lions team who owned a 29th in OPRK against running backs last year.
Cash Game Wide Receiver
Michael Thomas (NO) $9,000 vs. TB
You’re paying for the best wide receiver in football, but you’re likely to get exactly what you pay for. Amazingly, Thomas scored at least 16 DK points in all but three games last season, leading all wide receivers with 25 DK points per game. That alone makes him trustworthy, but he also gets to face the worst secondary in the NFL from last season. That was certainly evident when he averaged an absurd 36.3 fantasy points in his two meetings with the Bucs last year.
GPP Wide Receiver
DeSean Jackson (PHI) $4,900 at WAS
DJax is literally the definition of a GPP wide receiver. This is a guy who mixes 150-yard games with 25-yard performances throughout the year, but we’re feeling like this could be one of the big ones. One of the major reasons for that is because he’s finally healthy and won’t have to compete with Alshon Jeffrey for touches. That looks even better when you consider that he gets to face a 24th-ranked Washington defense, too. In Week 1 against them last season, Jackson had eight catches for 154 yards and two TDS, if you needed any more incentive.
Tight End of the Week
George Kittle (SF) $7,200 vs. ARI
The Cardinals set records with how bad they were against tight ends last year, surrendering the most fantasy points in the league against them. That would be good news for anyone, but we’re talking about the best tight end in football. Not only did he average 14.5 DK points per game for the season, but Kittle also provided six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown in his one game against Arizona last year. Also, Emmanuel Sanders’ departure and Deebo Samuel’s injury make Kittle the only legitimate receiving option left.
D/ST of the Week
Indianapolis Colts: $3,100 at JAC
This is always tough to figure out in Week 1, so let’s just go with a great matchup. We have to assume that the Jaguars are going to be the worst team in the NFL, and that makes them someone we want to target when selecting D/STs. What makes that even crazier is the fact that Indy ranks seventh in price. Anyone who faces this treacherous offense should be top-five in pricing, and it’s not like the Colts are bad by any means. This is a club that ranked 14th in forced turnovers and 16th in sacks last season, which makes them a viable option against such a bad team.
Beyond our daily fantasy football content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Football Tools. From our Lineup Optimizer – which allows you to build winning DFS lineups in seconds for Cash and GPP contests – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.