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Doug Norrie

Five Too-Early DraftKings and FanDuel Week 1 DFS Plays - 8/13/18

Last week FanDuel and DraftKings released their prices for Week 1 about a month early. That gives us a long runway to start fiddling with lineups while we wait for the slog of the preseason to come to a merciful end. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some early optimal lineups and see where our system is possibly looking to start the season. 

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I ran the top 50 lineups for FanDuel and DraftKings. The percentages next to each name are how often they appeared in those lineups. 

DraftKings Top 2 Lineups

FanDuel Top 2 Lineups

Is the Browns’ Hype Train Enough to Play Baker?

Baker MayfieldBaker Mayfield FD 7900 DK 6400
Opponent TEN
Proj Points FD - 21.32 DK - 21.79
The Browns come into the season with unbelievable amounts of hype, most of it deserving with the upgrades they made in the offseason. From Week 11 on last season, Baker Mayfield scored the seventh-most fantasy points in the league among quarterbacks and now has a top 5 (or higher?) wide receiver at his disposal in Odell Beckham Jr. The latter finally gets a quarterback with a real-life NFL arm and it stands to reason the Browns step on the gas early and often in Week 1 with their new toys. We tend to like running quarterbacks a bit more for cash games. Mayfield *only* ran for 131 yards in 2018 though did at least show the ability to get out of the pocket when necessary. The Browns have the fifth-highest implied total on the main slate (25.5) and Baker sure seems like a safe option to open the season.

Expensive Volume RBs on Bad Teams

As of this printing, Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon are still holding out/demanding trades, putting their respective availability for Week 1 in serious doubt. If either (or both) sit there’s almost assuredly going to be punt running back plays to slot in. That’s why this is the “way too early” edition of the picks.

Saquon BarkleySaquon Barkley FD 9200 DK 9000
Opponent DAL
Proj Points FD - 20.38 DK - 23.05
Barkley was second in the league behind Ezekiel Elliott in total running back usage (rushing attempts + receiving targets) with 382 looks in 2018. This was 11% more than the next closest running back, Christian McCaffrey, who had 343. The Giants were borderline negligent with Barkley’s usage considering how bad the team was and there’s no reason to suspect that stops at all this season. Even priced all the way up in the top tier, Barkley would be one of the safest plays on the board considering how the Giants use him. Even as early 7.5 underdogs to the Cowboys, he would likely be about as safe a play as you could make at the position.

Le'Veon BellLe'Veon Bell FD 7900 DK 7100
Opponent BUF
Proj Points FD - 19.33 DK - 21.5
After sitting out the 2018 season with the Steelers, Le’Veon Bell has a new home on a team likely to treat him much the way the Giants worked with Barkley. In 2017, Bell had 427 total looks for the Steelers, a mind-boggling amount that was 14% more than the next closest guy, Melvin Gordon (367). In fact, the difference in usage between Bell and Gordon was the difference between the second and eighth most used running back that season. There’s no doubt Bell enters Week 1 as a full bell-cow runner with the receiving chops to maintain a high floor. He’s the fifth-most expensive running back on DraftKings. I doubt the Jets paid top dollar for the dude to not give him the ball a ton.

Value Wide Receivers

Tyler BoydTyler Boyd FD 6900 DK 5800
Opponent SEA
Proj Points FD - 13.58 DK - 16.55
A.J. Green went down in Week 6 last season and from that point on, Tyler Boyd led the team with 42 receiving targets (tied with John Ross who was an efficiency disaster) and 408 yards. A.J. Green is already hurt to start the season and will miss at least the first few games. That should open up targets once again for Boyd. He still has Andy Dalton hucking the ball which isn’t amazing, but with the opportunity opening up I suspect we see Boyd as a chalk play to start the year.

Dede WestbrookDede Westbrook FD 5900 DK 4800
Opponent KC
Proj Points FD - 11.16 DK - 13.69

Westbrook led the Jaguars with 101 target and 717 receiving yards in 2018 and enters the season as the team’s WR1. But even more important than the depth chart status is the Jaguars signed Nick Foles in the offseason to replace Blake Bortles. Last season Foles completed 72% of his passes when filling in for Carson Wentz. Bortles completed 60% for Jacksonville. There’s such a clear upgrade in efficiency from the signal caller now that one can assume Westbrook will take another step forward in the passing game. It helps too that the Jaguars come into the game against Kansas City at underdogs and could have to air the ball out to play catch up or even keep that game close.

image sources

  • AP_18364774248073 (1): AP Images

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