Chris Carson
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

To kick off the fantasy football NFL season, make sure you favor the matchups over the big names in Week 1 to snag those winnings.

It’s like Christmas morning for every fantasy football diehard. One of the toughest parts about playing DFS in Week 1 is not knowing the teams’ rotations or how the new coaches and players will fit.

I recommend, for this week, going off last year’s stats and attacking the teams that were weak against the positions. Play the matchups, and whoever you play at quarterback, pair him with a receiver; if they connect on a touchdown, it’ll be double the pleasure.

QB:

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Bucs $6,600

Jamies Winston’s biggest downfall in the early part of his career has been the number of interceptions he throws. The San Francisco 49ers had a grand total of two interceptions last season. Both teams struggle on defense and this game should be the highest-scoring of the weekend. Huge upside with Winston this week and I recommend pairing him with Chris Godwin ($6,200).

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens $6,000

Lamar Jackson rushed the ball an average of 16 times a game last season. That, right there, is enough for anybody to roster him. The rushing totals give him a solid floor (never scored below 16 fantasy points in a game) and if he improved at all in the passing game, he has a chance to be around 25 fantasy points this game. Good floor with high upside this week. I would pair him with tight end Mark Andrews ($3,000).

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals- DraftKings price $5,600

Kyler Murray is the biggest question mark heading into Week 1. The Arizona Cardinals have an awful defense, which means he will be on the field. Next, Kliff Kingsbury brings a high-octane offense that will be among the league leaders in plays per game. He brings a high fantasy floor with his rushing abilities, and if he does anything with his arm this week, he could be the fantasy breakout star at QB that few saw coming.

RB:

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions $5,800

The Arizona Cardinals defense gave up the most rushing yards per game last season (154) and did little to improve the poor rush defense. Kerryon will be the workhorse back for the Lions and this will be the cheapest he will be on DraftKings all season. When he saw 15 or more carries last season in a game, he averaged 17 fantasy points a game (without scoring a rushing touchdown). Lock and load Kerryon Johnson in your lineups this week.

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks $5,700

Chris Carson is my favorite play of the week. The Seattle Seahawks are a run-first offense that will feature Carson as the lead back. In the games he received 19 or more rushes, he averaged 23 fantasy points per game. Paying down for running back this week is a contrarian play that will lead to low ownership and with his upside (along with Kerryon Johnson) that should lead to us winning some money this weekend.

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers $4,000

This is the ultimate contrarian play. Most DFS players will bet on Austin Ekeler, but he and Justin Jackson will share the workload this week. When they get close, if the Chargers decide to run the ball at the goal line, I believe Jackson will be the back they give the ball too. He will also be involved in the passing game and all it takes is one big play for him to pay off his cheap price. If you are looking for a cheap flex play who should see around 10 to 12 touches, Jackson is the play this week.

WR:

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings $6,800

With Stefon Diggs questionable with a hamstring injury, this means Adam Thielen is in store for a monster number of targets. Thielen checks all the boxes for when it comes to being an elite play, a good matchup, a ton of targets heading his way and he comes at a discounted price because of the late injury to Diggs. I love Thielen this week and he has shown in the past to explode when Diggs has missed games.

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals $5,800

The Seattle Seahawks have the worst secondary in the NFL this year. With A.J. Green to miss the first couple of weeks of the season, Boyd will be in line to take over as the top option in the passing game. Cincinnati will be behind in this game which means they will pass often. He’s cheap and is in a great matchup … lock and load.

DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles $4,500

DeSean Jackson is the ultimate DFS play but what makes this week different than any other? First, he’s back in Philadelphia and he’s looking to prove that he hasn’t lost a step. Second, this is the ultimate revenge game going against the Washington Redskins. If you roster Jackson this weekend, just realize you are rostering him because you are hoping for that one big play. Play him in GPP’s and not cash games, he’s too risky.

TE:

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs $7,100

The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is one of the best units in football; however, their biggest weakness is stopping tight ends. Most will avoid Kelce this week because of the tough matchup but last season these two teams played, and he scored 18 fantasy points. You need to differentiate your lineup to win in GPP’s and this week I am recommending playing two tight ends.

Evan Engram, New York Giants, $4,800

In the two games against the Dallas Cowboys last season, Evan Engram averaged 20 fantasy points per game. Now that OBJ is out of town, there are around 150 more targets to go around and Engram should benefit the most from this. Cheap price, good matchup and he will be a focal point in the offense.

DST:

Philadelphia Eagles, $3,600

The Philadelphia Eagles front seven will put constant pressure on Case Keenum and that equal fantasy goodness for DFS. There will be a handful of sacks, and with the pressure on Keenum, that could lead to rush throws and interceptions. Plus, DeSean Jackson returning punts only adds to the upside of playing the Eagles defense this week.

Seattle Seahawks, $3,100

There aren’t many other defenses that stick out to me this week besides the Philadelphia Eagles, but Seattle is in a great position. They get Cincinnati which has to travel to the west coast and without their top player in A.J. Green. The secondary is awful, but the front seven should get enough pressure to get sacks and turnovers to be worth rostering.

 

Elite Access