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Top FanDuel NFL DFS Upside Picks: Week 1 (2020)

Sep 12, 2020

Russell Wilson is worth every penny this week.

Welcome to Ball Street DFS, where finance and fantasy meet. In this weekly article, I apply financial metrics to the fantasy football world to give you an edge when building your FanDuel lineups. 

Today, I’ll be highlighting 15 players who, based on investment metrics, are oozing with upside and need to be plugged into your Week 1 DFS lineups.

Before we dive in, let me break down the lingo we use on “Ball Street.” First, the focus of this article is a value I coined “Upside per Dollar,” which will be referred to as UPD. “UPD” is the product of a modified financial formula that determines how much “blowup potential” a given player offers you per dollar of your investment (his FanDuel price). In short, UPD tells you which players present the most potential bang for your buck. Below, I will highlight the 15 players who boast exceptionally high UPD scores for Week 1. 

Each position group is broken down as follows: 

Blue Chips: the studs presenting massive upside that come with a higher price tag
Mid-Caps: the more affordable upside picks
Penny Stocks: the cheapest upside plays FanDuel has to offer
*Cash Cow: The one must-start UPD standout among all 15 listed players

Lastly, if you’re looking to go all-in on this week’s upside picks, you can check out Ball Street’s “All-Upside Lineup” at the bottom of the article. Follow me on Twitter @ballstreetdfs to track the results from Week 1 and beyond!

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Blue Chips

Russell Wilson (SEA) vs. Atlanta ($8,400)
Facing a weak Falcons secondary in a potential shootout, Russ is worth every penny this week. His rushing upside doesn’t hurt, either.

Drew Brees (NO) vs. Tampa Bay ($8,100)
The Saints have a juicy implied team point total of 26 as Brees takes on Brady’s Bucs. Give me shares of number 9 in a healthy offense that will benefit from the offseason addition of Emmanuel Sanders.


Aaron Rodgers (GB) vs. Minnesota ($7,600)
Despite Green Bay’s run-heavy approach, we all know the elite upside Rodgers brings to the table in an offense entering its second year under Coach LaFleur. I’ll take that gamble all day at a non-elite price, even against a tough Minnesota defense.

Penny Stocks

Daniel Jones (NYG) vs. Pittsburgh ($7,200)
Jones gets a tough matchup at Pittsburgh to start the season, but that’s more than baked into his price. I’m all for taking an inexpensive shot on him to bolster my lineup at RB or WR.

Running Backs

Blue Chips

Aaron Jones (GB) vs. Minnesota ($7,800)
Jones put up over 150 yards from scrimmage AND at least one touchdown in BOTH of his meetings against Minnesota last season. I love his upside this week in a LaFleur offense that should take a step forward in Year 2.


James Conner (PIT) vs. New York Giants ($6,800)
The bell-cow of what I expect to be a rejuvenated Steelers offense under a healthy Roethlisberger, I want Conner at this price wherever I can get him. Coach Tomlin’s confirmation of Conner’s every-down role only supports his upside. 

Kenyan Drake (ARI) vs. San Francisco ($6,600)
Among the top RBs in UPD, Drake presents massive upside in Arizona’s offense, despite taking on the 49ers in Week 1. Last season, he put up 242 all-purpose yards and a touchdown against San Francisco in two meetings. 

Penny Stocks

Jerick McKinnon (SF) vs. Arizona ($5,000)
An athletic freak, McKinnon provides an appealing upside in San Francisco’s passing game at a dirt-cheap price. He’s a Week 1 dart throw that could be utilized within the 49ers running back rotation more than most expect.

Wide Receivers

Blue Chips

Chris Godwin (TB) vs. New Orleans ($7,700)
With teammate Mike Evans questionable for the season opener, I like Godwin’s chances at a monster game in what could be a shootout between two Super Bowl contenders.


Marvin Jones Jr. (DET) vs. Chicago ($6,200)
An overlooked player with a nose for the end zone, I am a big fan of Jones’ TD upside in a Stafford-led offense, especially at this price. He’s an even more appealing play if teammate Golladay misses Week 1.

Penny Stocks

*DeSean Jackson (PHI) vs. Washington ($5,600)
Once again, the Eagles WR corps is banged up. The next man up is a healthy Jackson, who hung 8/154/2 on the Redskins in Week 1 of last year. *Jackson is this week’s Cash Cow – get him in your lineups.

Tight Ends

Blue Chips

Darren Waller (LV) vs. Carolina ($6,900)
Given the turnover among Las Vegas’ pass-catchers, I’m expecting Derek Carr to rely heavily on the Raiders’ breakout tight end against the Panthers. 

Zach Ertz (PHI) vs. Washington ($6,700)
With a depleted receiving corps heading into Week 1, Carson Wentz will look to Ertz early and often to keep the offense humming against an uninspiring Washington defense. 


Tyler Higbee (LAR) vs. Dallas ($5,800)
Higbee ended the 2019 season on a tear, dismantling the Cowboys for 12 catches and 111 yards in their Week 15 meeting. At just $5800, his UPD leads all mid-cap tight ends.

Penny Stocks

Mike Gesicki (MIA) vs. New England ($5,400)
With both Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson opting out of the 2020 season, I’m expecting Gesicki to soak up their vacated targets in the slot. In a game where the Dolphins will likely be playing from behind, he presents too much upside to ignore at just $5400. 

Ball Street’s Week 1 All-Upside Lineup 

QB – Drew Brees ($8,100)
RB – Aaron Jones ($7,800)
RB – Kenyan Drake ($6,600)
WR – Chris Godwin ($7,700)
WR – Marvin Jones ($6,200)
WR – DeSean Jackson ($5,600)
TE – Zach Ertz ($6,700)
FLEX – James Connor ($6,800)
DEF – Eagles ($4,500)

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