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James Davis

Daily Fantasy Football Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, DraftDay and Draftster for Week 1

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Catching up on Week 1

If you want our full slate of picks for week, click here. I go position by position and give you whom I believe to be the best plays, dollar for dollar, for Week 1's games. This article is going to be a little bit different. Instead, I'm going to focus on particular lineup formation strategies that might help you juke and jive and get a leg up on your opponents that they might not see coming. Cool? Cool. Let's do this thing.



The whole concept of a sleeper in one week fantasy football games needs to be adjusted. First of all, there's no real such thing as a "sleeper," in that you're not really going to sleep on a guy until he wakes up. What you're looking at with cheap plays are guys who are priced very reasonably who could go off if all things break right. Sniffing out the best cheap plays with upside is really the only way to have a chance in hell at taking down some of these utterly massive NFL tournaments. You'll pay up for the big names, and then hope your bargain plays pay off. That's where we come in - here are some sleepers that we love for Week 1.

Another quick note: When we're thinking about sleepers, the reason we want to play sleepers in football are to get in high priced studs with massive upside. Basically, we're trying to catch lightning in a bottle at a position with relatively low upside (like QB) so we can fit in the big dollar guys at high upside position (like TE or WR). To that end, I'm much more likely to play RB or QB sleepers than WRs. Makes sense? Awesome.

Chad Henne - FD 5600 DK 5200 DD 4900 DFSTR DRAFTSTER
Having fun yet? I think the case for Henne is actually quite strong, and as I've looked this over more closely, I'm annoyed that I didn't just include him straight up in my picks column. Think I'm crazy? Prepare to have your mind blown. The Jaguars' offense struggled to connect on passing TDs in the Red Zone last year, but a lot of that seems to be due as much to bad luck as it was to bad execution. They actually had the 16th most red zone passing attempts last season, but the 5th fewest red zone passing TDs. This pace simply can't keep up. Henne had a 60.6% completion rate last year, which plants him in the mix with RG III (60.1%), Tom Brady (60.4%), Andrew Luck (60.2%), and Matthew Stafford (58.5%). Sure, he lacks some of the excellent red zone targets that those other guys do, but in week 1, he's facing the Eagles. The Eagles allowed the most passing yards of any team last year. I really think Henne & his gang of young receivers have tremendous upside - more on them later.

Shaun Hill - FD 5000 DK 5000 DD 5000 DFSTR DRAFTSTER
You laugh! But these are supposed to be sleepers, dude. Anyway, the Vikings allowed the 2nd most passing yards in all of football last year and a ridiculous 37 touch downs, and Hill's relatively efficient approach could lead to a game far beyond what his bargain basement salaries suggest he is capable of. Going cheap on QB (a relatively safe position) allows you to invest quite a bit more and grab big dollar WRs and TEs that can generate SERIOUS upside. The bottom line is this - the Rams aren't going to just hand the ball to Zac Stacy 50 times in this game. And if they don't, Hill could put together a decent little outing.

Trent Richardson - FD 6400 DK 5300 DD 4900 DFSTR DRAFTSTER
Hold your nose! That's Trent Richardson's smell emerging from the locker room! Check it out - the case against Richardson is well documented. He's unexplosive, can't break a tackle, and generally not a super player. "Slow down, James!" you're thinking, "Quit it with the Richardson love-fest!" Right, I don't want to be overly negative on my own pick. But let's get a few things straight. First of all, if you followed the eBook, upside from RBs comes from TD opportunity a lot more than it comes from big play upside. The Colts have a lot invested in Trent Richardson, and I don't think Ahmad Bradshaw will do anything to unseat him in week 1. Now, I couldn't recommend him any less for really any other fantasy format - but while he has the job in Indy, he could be a sneaky play in a game with a high total while the Colts' management attempts to save face on what is looking like a terrible trade.

Chris Johnson - FD 6500 DK 5100 DD 4900 DFSTR DRAFTSTER
Chris Johnson went from being one of the very best in the whole league to merely good last year, and a lot of fantasy owners got burned. While Chris Ivory was better on a YPC basis last year, the Jets didn't bring in Johnson because they love Ivory. With the uninspiring collection of weapons around Geno Smith (I'm not sure how Decker will survive without a cyborg throwing to him), I have to think that Johnson will get a chance to prove himself against a lost Raiders team that should get eaten for lunch. A long story short? The price is right, and the upside is real - especially if the Jets run away with it. Ivory will definitely get some touches, but if Johnson does become something of a feature back, his price will skyrocket after week 1.

Kenny Britt - FD 4500 DK 4000 DD 5000 DFSTR DRAFTSTER
He showed signs of his pre-injury form with some explosive downfield play, and the Rams really don't have anyone else. I'm not as high on him as some others (and I tend to avoid punting wide receiver, given the huge upside of the top guys), but he's a legit vertical threat, and one has to imagine that Shaun Hill will throw to someone against the Vikings' poor pass defense. You're getting ostensibly a #1 at pure punt prices, and the price will jump by 25% if Britt does anything here.

Marqise Lee - FD 4800 DK 3500 DD 5000 DFSTR DRAFTSTER
Lee is sort of a quintessential flyer during week 1. If his increased target levels during preseason are to be believed, he might emerge as the Jags' #1. Which is sort of like being the most honest politician. But still. Against an Eagles team that allows a lot of passing opportunities, Lee could see a lot of looks while the Eagles focus on Cecil Shorts. Sort of the flyer of all flyers, but I'm feeling it.

Stack Targets


The Conventional

The San Francisco 49ers
As I posted in our main picks article, our projection system loves the 49ers to have a very nice day against the Cowboys and their defense which allowed the 3rd most passing yards last season. The question becomes: whom do we pair with Kaepernick? Well, for week 1 it's something of a dicey proposition. Personally, I'm not going with Boldin. Crabtree seems over his old issues and feels like the obvious choice, but Davis ate up a lot of red zone looks last year in his absence, and the big tight end and the Niners QB seem to have a pretty good comfort level. I'll probably hedge and try both, but I'm leaning towards a Kaepernick/Crabtree stack.

The Philadelphia Eagles
Another rather chalk play, but people will be dissuaded by the uncertainty around the WR situation in Philly. An interesting play here would be to grab Foles & McCoy, figuring that the Eagles fast pace might lead to a nice day for Foles complimented with a lot of short passes to McCoy. But me? I'm going pure home runs with Foles and Maclin. I think the Jags will stay in this more than people think, but that won't stop the Eagles from putting up some very nice passing yards in the meantime.

The Crazy

The Jacksonville Jaguars
I wrote a ton about it above, but there's a lot that says the Jags' pretty bad offense actually ran a lot worse than they really were last year. Now, they aren't going to go lighting the world on fire or anything - but you can get Chad Henne and Cecil Shorts III for dirt cheap against an Eagles' passing D that allowed the league's most yards last year. While Marqise Lee is a promising talent, one has to think that Henne is likely to stick with what's comfortable to him. I also think you could make an argument for going truly insane and taking the best players elsewhere alongside Henne & Lewis. But yeah. That's why this is the crazy section.

Give a follow on Twitter @dailyfantasysr and @dougnorrie.

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Thanks, and good luck!


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