featured Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

09/04/2017
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy Football Running Back GPP Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings Week 1 - 9/10/17

We already covered David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and Carlos Hyde in our Week 1 picks for FanDuel and DraftKings. Those are more cash game suitable and likely represent much of the chalk we'll see in the first week of the NFL. These plays are more off beat and mean taking more risk in your life.

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Melvin GordonMelvin Gordon FD 7400 DK 6600
Opponent DEN
Proj Points FD - 15.23 DK - 16.65
Despite missing three games to end the season, Gordon still finished 2016 as a top 10 overall fantasy running back thanks to close to 20 carries and 4.5 targets per game. Only David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott saw more per game volume than Gordon and he comes into 2017 with a clean bill of health and his role in the offense solidified. Denver was a top defense last season, but it’s worth noting they were significantly worse against the run than the pass. In fact, Denver ranked 28th in league allowing an average of 130 yards per game on the ground. He’s not available on the main slate, but I really like Gordon as a GPP play for the full week’s slate and definitely looking ahead the shorter Monday set of games.


Dalvin CookDalvin Cook FD 6500 DK 5900
Opponent NO
Proj Points FD - 12.69 DK - 14.62
Rookie running backs are one of the hardest positions to prognosticate on early in the season. Coach-speak and preseason usage are rarely fantastic ways to decipher what a rookie’s workload will look like once the games actually start in earnest. Cook enters the season as the Vikings’ starting running back though a healthy Latavius Murray waiting in the wings does have me a little concerned about how many touches Cook sees early in the season. The Vikings are -3.5 favorites over New Orleans who ranked dead last in non-weighted DVOA last season though it should be said they were better defending the run than the pass. But, they weren’t good against either. The Vikings ranked near the bottom of the league in rushing attempts last season (24 runs per game average) though that could be a chicken/ egg thing considering the bodies they ran out there (McKinnon, Asiata, etc) were significantly worse talent-wise than Cook and a primary reason they spent a second round draft pick shoring up the position. And one has to like that Cook spent some of the preseason as a part of the passing game out of the backfield. As a DraftKings GPP play he stands to realize some upside if the game script goes the Vikings way and they can establish some scoring early.

Christian McCaffreyChristian McCaffrey FD 6500 DK 5400
Opponent SF
Proj Points FD - 13.29 DK - 15.13
Speaking of rookie running backs with upside, McCaffery’s stock was all over the place in season long drafts leading into the season as everyone tried to understand his ultimate role in the Panther offense. I’m not sure how much more clarity we have reading now heading into Week 1. It’s clear he has a boatload of talent showing in the preseason that he can catch balls out of the backfield and all run between the tackles. But Jonathan Stewart is still on the team and should start the season carrying some of the early down running load as well as the goal line work. That means a lot will need to go right for McCaffery to see tons of Week 1 upside. But this is certainly the team you want to face. The 49ers were completely brutal on defense last season, especially against the run where teams wore them down to a 31st in the league DVOA ranking against the rush. Carolina is a -5.5 on the road and could look to clock manage later in the game with a lead. Between McCaffery possibly getting work there and his PPR upside if he’s heavily involved in late down passing schemes I see him as a tournament flyer for sure.

Jay AjayiJay Ajayi FD 7800 DK 6500
Opponent TB
Proj Points FD - 15.33 DK - 16.61
It’s never great to start your team’s season with Jay Cutler’s butt under center, but the Injury Gods have dealt the Dolphins a bum hand and here we are. Last season Ajayi had a super high coefficient of variation (.64) in games he started which ranked the highest of anyone not name Mark Ingram. This is the nerdy way to say, his performances were all the f#@k over the place. Three of his games ranked in the 28 of best running back single games last season, meaning at times he blew it out of the box. But it isn’t anywhere close to consistent. The Fins are underdogs at home, but they’re face a flawed Tampa Bay team without their starting running back and still employing a crazy volatile Jameis Winston under center. Ajayi will likely be crazy low-owned in week one and we’ve seen times when he’s put up week-winning performances.

Now’s your chance to get DFSR PRO, which will give you access to our NFL optimizer for FanDuel and DraftKings, our MLB Optimizer, and our new Player Lab! Get started for free by clicking the button below.

First time with NFL? Be sure to read our free MLB and NFL Ebooks on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.

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