We made it. The much-anticipated start of the NFL season has arrived. With no preseason to serve as an appetizer for football action, we will be diving straight into the main course this coming weekend.
Teams could be rustier out of the gate than they usually would, but unpolished NFL action is better than nothing. We can all agree on that.
When looking at an NFL DFS slate, I usually begin with these two steps:
- Examining Implied Team Totals and Game Over/Unders
- Identifying Teams to Target and Possible Stacks
Each week, I will share my findings with you after I have completed these first two steps. Throughout this piece, I will reference implied team totals, winning probabilities, and game over/unders that are acquired from our consensus odds collected over at BettingPros.com.
As a note, I hope that you have plenty of players in the Texans-Chiefs and Cowboys-Rams games in your season-long fantasy lineups, but these Primetime games are not part of the main slates on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Games/Teams to Target
- Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (Over/Under 49.5)
- New Orleans Team Total: 26.5
- Tampa Bay Team Total: 23.0
- Seattle @ Atlanta (Over/Under 49.0)
- Seattle Team Total: 25.25
- Atlanta Team Total: 23.75
- Cleveland @ Baltimore (Over/Under 48.5)
- Baltimore Team Total: 28.25
- Cleveland Team Total: 20.25
- Arizona @ San Francisco (Over/Under 47.0)
- San Franciso Team Total: 27.0
- Arizona Team Total: 20.0
DFS Stacks to Target
All salaries are from FanDuel, but these stacks can be utilized on DraftKings as well.
Jimmy Garoppolo (QB – SF): $7,400 / George Kittle (TE – SF): $8,000
The Niners have the second-highest implied team total on the slate at 27 points. The matchup could not be any better for the defending NFC Champions. In 2019, the Arizona Cardinals ranked first in both fantasy points allowed to QBs and fantasy points allowed to TEs. Fresh off signing a $75 million contract that made him the highest-paid TE in the NFL, George Kittle finds himself in a smash spot on opening weekend. The Arizona Cardinals project to play with incredible pace on offense. Those quick drives will allow Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco offense to return to the offense. Oddsmakers have this game within a TD, and I expect the Cardinals to be able to score as well, which will keep San Francisco in a neutral game script.
Matt Ryan (QB – ATL): $7,800 / Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL): $6,600
I’ve been looking forward to this matchup since the NFL schedule was released shortly after the NFL Draft. Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson facing off in a dome immediately projected as a shootout. Vegas agrees, as the consensus Over/Under for the game is 49.0 points. I’m going with the Atlanta side because the Falcons offer slightly more salary relief. The Seahawks allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the WR position in 2019. I’m also a fan of pairing Matt Ryan with TE Hayden Hurst ($5,200) or WR Julio Jones ($8,200), but Ridley carries plenty of upside while giving you more flexibility with the rest of your lineup. Also, do not be afraid to create a game stack by rostering Seattle weapons like WR Tyler Lockett ($6,800) or WR D.K. Metcalf ($6,400).
Philip Rivers (QB – IND): $7,100 / T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND): $7,100
Philip Rivers highlights the “Old Faces in New Places” for the 2020 season. While it will look odd to many as he suits up in an Indianapolis Colts uniform for the first time, he will be doing so against a familiar foe. Despite only joining their division recently, Philip Rivers has faced the Jaguars nine times in his career. In those starts, Rivers has averaged 296 passing yards, a 69% completion percentage, and a 24:5 TD:INT ratio. Simply put, Philip Rivers has dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars throughout his career. Following the departures of Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, the Jacksonville defense projects to be one of the worst in the league. With a much better offensive line in front of him, Rivers will have the time he needs to pick apart a weak Jaguars secondary. The Jaguars allowed the second-most fantasy points to QBs and the tenth-most fantasy points to WRs last season. I expect Rivers to find his number one target early and often in this matchup as the Colts have an implied team total of 26 points.
Miles Sanders (RB – PHI): $6,800 / DEF Philadelphia Eagles: $4,500
The Eagles come in as six-point road favorites at Washington in a game that has a low Over/Under of 43 points. This creates a perfect storm to pair the starting RB with the Eagles with a defense that figures to rack up sacks. In seven starts in 2019, Washington QB Dwayne Haskins was susceptible to turnovers with seven interceptions and six fumbles. I expect a strong Philadelphia defensive line to be able to pressure the young QB and induce turnovers. Meanwhile, the Eagles could hold a lead and elect to run the ball to protect both the lead and their franchise QB Carson Wentz who they have struggled to keep upright due to injuries on the offensive line in recent seasons. Sanders is over $3,000 cheaper than Christian McCaffrey and is priced near RBs with uncertain roles or capped upside. Monitor Sanders’ health throughout the league, but I love the idea of pairing him with his defense and betting on a positive game script for the Eagles.
Josh Allen (QB – BUF): $7,900 / DEF Buffalo Bills: $4,700
Okay, it’s not very often that we stack a QB with a defense. However, I think this is a possibility with both Lamar Jackson and the Ravens defense as well as this Bills stack. I decided to highlight Allen because he will likely have lower ownership while providing salary relief. What we do know is that the Bills are 6.5 point favorites in a game with an Over/Under of 39.5. However, it will be tough to predict the touch distribution in the Buffalo backfield at the beginning of the season.
Additionally, I would not recommend a Buffalo pass catcher in a game with a low Over/Under. Therefore, the clear beneficiary is Josh Allen. The Jets’ defense is anything but imposing, particularly with the recent departure of safety Jamal Adams. In his two year career, Josh Allen has been part RB in his own right. He carries tremendous rushing upside that can be unlocked when the Bills are in a positive game script, as they are projected to be on Sunday. In his 28 career starts, the 2018 seventh-overall pick has averaged seven carries, 41 rushing yards, and 0.61 rushing TDs per game.
Meanwhile, the Jets offense has an offensive line that cannot protect its franchise QB Sam Darnold and fails to meet expectations while being led by Adam Gase. Similar to the Eagles defense, I expect Buffalo to generate pressure, sacks, and turnovers to help keep the Bills offense on the field. While Sam Darnold did miss some time, the Jets allowed the most fantasy points to opposing defenses in 2019.
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