Week 1 Review
After many long months without DFS, Week 1 didn’t deliver the joy most of the DFS community was hoping for. Chalk plays failed to pay off and the money lines dropped lower than usual. Still, we got to watch actual football and form more informed opinions and we can take that with us into week 2. Firstly though, no avoiding the results.
Quarterback started us off so well, with both Jameis Winston and Sam Darnold returning great dollar to points ratios. Even Ryan Tannehill put up just enough points at 17.18 to not kill your team. Mike Davis failed like much of the Falcons offence, despite running a route on 87% of Matt Ryan’s dropbacks, in a game many had high hopes for. Javonte Williams saw identical usage to Melvin Gordon but didn’t do anything close to enough to make it a good play. Thankfully one running back hit for us, Chase Edmonds was used as the lead back and returned over three times his cost. Play of The Week, Tee Higgins, hit nicely returning 15.8 points, despite missing time for cramps. Marvin Jones eventually got there in garbage time in the Jags’ surprise loss to the Texans, resulting in a whopping 5x salary to dollar cost. After that, it was sadly a bunch of terrible results. Green Bay were awful, and Tonyan saw just 2.8 points. The theory was correct on Kansas City giving up points to tight ends, but it was all David Njoku, instead of Austin Hooper and there’s very little to say about the rest.
Results so far:
Great plays – 5
Good plays – 1
Bad plays – 8
After a slow start, we’ve got another great slate ahead of us and it’s clear to see that a lot of people will head straight towards the Cowboys at the Chargers to start their builds. There are no doubt some studs worth paying up for this week but I think there’s plenty of bargains to be had like usual and whether you’re attacking the Cowboys game or another, be sure to be conscious of overall ownership levels. One stack that I think will be less owned is featured in my Stack of The Week, and don’t forget you can keep up with my $100 Bankroll challenge here also.
Mac Jones @ New York Jets – $5400 – under/over 42.5
Mac Jones made his regular-season debut against a tough Miami defence and put up an impressive 7.2 yards per attempt, on a completion percentage of 74.4. The only knock to Jones Week 1 production was the lack of fantasy points, finishing as the QB27 in Draftkings points, with 15.24. The Jets are a far weaker defence than Miami and we should look to target them at all opportunities. No team allowed more yardage to tight ends in 2020 than the Jets, and whilst a new system is in place I’m not convinced the Jets have the pieces to deal with Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. Whilst choosing between them is difficult for DFS, having the man who throws the ball to them should see us pick up plenty of points and I’d expect Jones to throw for more touchdowns than his solitary one in Week 1.
Matthew Stafford @ Indianapolis Colts $6400 – under/over 48.5
Stafford’s home debut couldn’t have gone much better than it did. He posted a near-perfect passer rating of 156.1 and torched the Bears defence for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns, whilst completing 76.9% of his passes. Next up he faces a Colts team that Russell Wilson decimated in Week 1. Russell Wilson picked up almost a hundred yards of passing through play-action alone, and we saw Stafford eclipse that to the tune of 140 yards against the Bears. I’d heavily expect Stafford to be as successful as Wilson and pick up more deep shots against a secondary that doesn’t look to have enough to deal with elite competition. This will be a game I target a lot this weekend.
Joe Burrow @ Chicago Bears $5800 – under/over 45.5
Like many teams who have a strong defence for a period, I believe the Bears are still being credited with a reputation that isn’t deserved. I do not doubt that Khalil Mack will enjoy a good day against the incredibly weak Bengals offensive line, but elsewhere their defence features very few household names. Matthew Stafford finished the week as QB9, scoring 27.34 points on the Bears, including a 73.1% target share for his wide receivers. The Bengals finished Week 1 bottom of Mike Leone’s Pass Rate Over Expectation metric and that low pass rate is being reflected in the over/under for this game being set at 44.5. However, I believe that the Bengals tried to avoid Joe Burrow having to throw a lot in Week 1 but as they see him become more comfortable their pass rate will creep back up to closer to last year’s 16th in the league. Despite the reports coming out of camp Burrow looked calm and efficient throwing for a 74.1% completion rate, with two touchdowns and 261 yards against the Vikings. You can find more on this game in my Stack of The Week article.
Teddy Bridgewater $5400. Andy Dalton $5200.
Zeke Elliott @ L.A Chargers – $6200 – under/over 55.5
*Play of The Week*
Elliott caught a lot of column space for his performance in Week 1, good and bad. Most level headed folks would point towards him being used in pass protection against a dominant Buccaneers defensive line and say it was a smart move to not try and force the run. The only disappointment in my mind was the lack of pass-game usage against a team known to give up passing plays to running backs. Zeke saw his lowest yards per route run of his career, at 0.14 yards (H/T Rich Cooling for that). However, this week he takes on the less intimidating L.A Chargers, who allowed Washington running backs to average 4.7 yards per carry on 23 attempts in Week 1. The ownership seems to be heading towards stacking the passing game, but I like the idea of being slightly contrarian and picking the 12th highest price back of the week in a spot where Zeke should be able to bounce back nicely.
Chase Edmonds V Minnesota Vikings – $4900 – under/over 50.5
The Cardinals love to play fast under Kliff Kingsbury and during their Week 1 win over the Titans, they played at the second-fastest pace across the league combined with the seventh-highest pass rate whilst in neutral situations. That type of play kept Chase Edmonds busy until the game looked dealt with and James Conner saw his snap counts increase. Edmonds has been knocked by some as too small to carry a big workload but he put up a good showing in Week 1 with 12 carries for 63 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Edmonds also hauled in all five of his targets for 53 receiving yards. Now he faces a Minnesota defence that allowed Joe Mixon to put up Week 1’s best stat lines for a running back. I’d expect to still see plenty of James Conner, but for now, at this price, I’m coming back to Edmonds again in all PPR formats.
Damien Harris @ New York Jets – $5400 – under/over 42.5
Harris might have cost New England the game with a costly fumble in Week 1, but his usage was very promising. True to form, Belichick kept carries away from the rookies and inexperienced players and fed Harris 23 carries on 40 snaps. Slightly surprising, but very welcome, were the three targets that came his way also. If not for the fumble then Harris’s 100-yard game would have people feeling very pleased. The Jets defence had their work cut out against Christian McCaffery in Week 1, and whilst Harris doesn’t possess CMC’s otherworldly rushing ability, the opportunity is the key in backfields and I don’t believe the Patriots will feed Stevenson or Taylor over Harris whilst the game is close. I expect Harris to see a large portion of the workload and possibly reduce James White’s role this week as the game script favours the Patriots.
David Johnson @ Cleveland $5200 (expect a game script that favours him more than last week).
Trey Sermon @ Philadelphia $4600 / Elijah Mitchell $5000. If Sermon is active I expect him to bounce back from last week’s embarrassing spot on the inactive list. If he doesn’t, Mitchell will be chalky but necessary.
JuJu Smith-Schuster v Las Vegas Raiders – $5700 under/over 46.5
JuJu led the Steelers receiving core in snaps played, with 91.4%, and finished second in target share only to Diontae Johnson (25.0% to 31.3%). Unfortunately, in a tough matchup against the Bills Smith-Schuster was only able to secure 50% of his eight targets. Thankfully for him, he gets a softer matchup in Week 2. The Raiders will be full of confidence after their chaotic win over the Ravens, but they allowed plenty of short to medium receptions and I would expect that with Big Ben’s arm looking poor, the Steelers aim to hit that area heavily. As the team’s primary slot receiver JuJu should command a healthy target share once again.
Will Fuller Vs Buffalo Bills – $4800 – under/over 47.5
RULED OUT FOR “Personal matter”
Terrace Marshall Vs New Orleans Saints $3300 – under/over 44.5
Like many other budget rookies in Week 1, Terrace Marshall didn’t quite live up to five months of hype. Playing on 53.1% of snaps he saw a healthy six targets at a share of 18.2% of the Panthers total. Marshall turned his receptions into a healthy 8.7 yards per reception and if his snaps total increases, we should see more production. The Saints may be riding high after decimating the Packers in Week 1, but they will enter Carolina without top cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, and edge rusher, Marcus Davenport. With the Saints, three-point favourites the Panthers should be forced to keep throwing, and maintain their above-average pass rate over expected, which was 13th in the league in Week 1.
Darnell Mooney $4200 V Bengals
With Will Fuller Ruled out for a personal matter I wanted to add in another play for at the position and Darnell Mooney is one of my favourites. As covered elsewhere, I really like the Bengals @ Bears game and expect most players to enjoy good games. Mooney saw seven targets for a 17.5% target share in Week 1 along with running a route on 40 snaps. Dalton struggled to set Mooney up with YAC opportunities in Week 1 but against the Bengals weak defence I’m expecting him to do a lot better in that area in particular.
Cedrick Wilson $3100 @ L.A Chargers (the cheapest way to get access to a pass-heavy game).
Cole Kmet Vs Cincinnati Bengals – $3700 – under/over 45.5
I spent a large majority of the offseason waiting and hoping for the Bears to cut the vastly overpaid Jimmy Graham and hand over this position cleanly to Cole Kmet. Despite my wishes, the Bears opted to keep Graham around, but seem to have turned the majority of the role over to Kmet anyhow. Kmet out-snapped Graham 79.3% – 20.3% and out-targeted him 7-2. Whilst Andy Dalton is not the most inspiring quarterback he did well enough getting Kmet catchable balls and this week’s matchup against Cincinnati isn’t imposing, as they come off the back of allowing 10.25 yards per catch to tight ends in Week 1. Kmet works particularly nicely as a bring back on Bengals stacks.
Gerald Everett Vs Tennessee Titans – $3600 – under/over 54.0
Whilst Everett will continue to share playing time with Will Dissly in this playing scheme, Everett got the touchdown in Week 1 and red zone targets can be sticky. This week the Seahawks take on the Titans, fresh off an embarrassing game against the Cardinals. On paper, the Titans might look like they did a good job against the Cardinals tight ends, who had zero catches, but the reality is that Maxx Williams is the only tight end on that team and he had one target. The Seahawks are far more likely to test this weak defence with their tight ends and I like playing Everett both on his own and as part of stacks.
Adam Trautman @ Carolina Panthers – $3000 under/over 44.5
The offseason started with people talking up Trautman’s chances of breaking out before the tape dawg’s made folks realise that Trautman had been an inline blocker in 2020 and ran very few routes. Through training camp this narrative continued to gain speed with converted wide receiver, Juwan Johnson, picking up the hype. Johnson scored two touchdowns in week one, on just three targets. As impressive as that is, Trautman saw twice as many targets and out-snapped Johnson 51-12. This is by no means a sure thing but at $3000 it’s one of the cheapest plays I like.
Panthers $2700 v NO – Slightly underrated Panthers defence and when you’re playing Jameis Winston, anything can happen.
Chargers $2600 v Dallas – With a shootout on the table and plenty of passing expected, I like this sneaky good Chargers secondary to land some points.
As always, you can find me on Twitter @bestballuknfl – you can also catch my Stack of The Week on my site nflbestball.co.uk along with my $100 Bankroll challenge. Any questions you have, I’m always happy to help.