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Daily Fantasy Football Cash Game Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings Week 1
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Let’s start off the season with some safety. I don’t really need to go about explaining why Mahomes is the top quarterback to run to start the season. He is just about as good as it gets in the game and returns his two top weapons in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Last year Mahomes finished second overall in passing yards despite playing one fewer game than the rest of the top group and his 38 TDs to six INTS was second-most efficient among quarterbacks after Aaron Rodgers. This could be a pace-down matchup for the Chiefs considering how much the Browns like to run the ball, but again we are getting the best quarterback in the game. But the Chiefs have the highest implied total on the main slate for a good reason.
While Tannehill wasn’t in the very upper tier of fantasy quarterbacks, it wasn’t for lack of efficiency. His 33 touchdowns to seven interceptions was among the best in the league, with the former number sitting seventh in the league. That doesn’t sound all that great until you realize his overall attempts were 18th in the league. When he put the ball in the air, good things happened. And there is reason to suspect the Titans do more of that this season. They brought in Julio Jones for a reason and it’s hard to imagine Derrick Henry keeping up the insane, on the ground, usage, he’s had over the last few. This is a good spot against the Cardinals in what projects to be a high-scoring game.
Strongly consider Kyler Murray going up against those Titans.
Cook was behind only Derrick Henry in terms of carries and yards last season though that would have been closer had the former not missed two games. He still was awesome, racking up 1,557 yards on the ground and another 361 through the air. He still doesn’t factor into the passing game as much as you would like, but his big-play ability is second to none. In terms of DVOA, the Bengals had the 27th ranked defense last season, though they were a bit better against the run. This is still a good matchup for Cook with the Vikings -3.5 road favorites against Cincy.
James Robinson FD 5900 DK 6400
Proj Points FD - 16.21 DK - 18.1
After Travis Etienne lost for the season with a Lifrsanc injury, James Robinson almost immediately became the chalk play for Week 1 at running back. Pricing had already been released before the injury and he should enter as close to a three-down back once again in this Jaguars’ offense. Last season, even on a bad Jacksonville team, Robinson was able to manage over 1,000 yards in 14 games on more than 4.5 yards per carry. He also averaged more than four targets per game in the passing attack. Yes, this is a new quarterback situation with Trevor Lawrence but it is clearly an upgrade on what they had last season. One caveat here is that there is some worry that Urban Meyer only wants Robinson as a two-down back. Stay tuned.
Mike Davis FD 6200 DK 5400
Proj Points FD - 14.07 DK - 15.53
Mike Davis is another way we might be able to save some at the running back position and spend up for quarterback and wide receiver. He comes over from Carolina to the Atlanta Falcons and looks locked into possibly every-down duty with this team. It helps that there is little quality depth behind him at the position on Atlanta and he was used in this fashion last season when he filled in for Christian McCaffery. Davis is adept in the passing game, totaling 70 targets last season even though he started only 11 games. He might see a similar workload in the Atlanta offense this season.
Marquez Callaway FD 5200 DK 3400
Proj Points FD - 10.86 DK - 13.25
Callaway could be the highest-owned player on the Week 1 main slate, coming in at near-punt level prices and starting the season as the Saints WR1. Michael Thomas is out, Emmanuel Sanders is gone and this Saints’ team is looking thin in the wide receiver corps. To be fair, Alvin Kamara is probably the high target man, but in terms of route runners, Callaway should lead the group. He was impressive in the preseason and isn’t going to sneak up on anyone this week at these prices. For cash games, this is an easy call. For GPPs there is a case to fade simply because the ownership will be so high.
Stefon Diggs FD 7900 DK 7600
Proj Points FD - 16.15 DK - 19.68
Think Digg enjoyed the move to Buffalo last season? He ended up leading the league in targets, receptions, and receiving yards pulling off the clean sweep with Josh Allen. It was such a phenomenal season and the stage is set for another one this time around. The Bills moved him all over the field last season basically running routes evenly from left, right, and the slot. He has an above-average matchup against the Steelers secondary and the Bills should continue to air it out. He is also a bit cheaper than some of the other stud WRs with every bit the same amount of upside.
Brandon Aiyuk FD 6500 DK 5700
Proj Points FD - 12.54 DK - 15.13
Aiyuk is an interesting case to start the season. On the one hand, he had an amazing second half of the season, putting up double-digit target games in four of his last six and just being one of the better receivers when he could actually stay on the field. But that was without George Kittle in the mix for some of it, which could have inflated the target share. He draws one of the best matchups of the slate against the very weak Detroit secondary and if he is anything like the middle/ end of the season then you could be getting elite production in the middle tier.
Travis Kelce FD 8500 DK 8300
Proj Points FD - 18.17 DK - 21.87
Kelce nearly laps the field at this position. Sure, you have to pay for it, but more often than not it is completely worth it. Kelce is a WR1 who happens to play tight end. Last season he was second overall in receiving yards, and 6th overall in targets. Only Darren Waller came anywhere close to these numbers at tight end, and from an efficiency, standpoint was well behind Kelce. In starting a new season, like we said with some of the receivers, taking known commodities is the safest way to go, and that’s the case with Kelce whose role is set in stone.
George Kittle FD 7000 DK 6300
Proj Points FD - 12.91 DK - 15.64
I’d like go with fully known quantities here and while some will talk themselves into Kyle Pitts (and maybe for good reason) I’d prefer to just pay up and know mostly what I’m getting out of the box. While Kelce will be a staple of cash games, Kittle isn’t light years behind him. This was still a guy who averaged more than eight targets a game when healthy last season and that was with bad quarterback play. There is reason to expect the numbers to even climb some this season with the under center situation, while fluid, at least having more talent. Again, this matchup against Detroit is such a good one as well.
Defense / Special Teams
Broncos FD 4100 DK 3300
Proj Points FD - 6.24 DK - 6.24
Last I looked, the Giants still planned on starting the turnover-happy Daniel Jones under center. Sure, they have Saquon Barkley back, but he was just cleared and the rest of the skill position guys are already banged up. You have to like this spot for the Broncos who were an above average defensive unit last year.
Panthers FD 4600 DK 3600
Proj Points FD - 6.24 DK - 6.24
The Jets are still a couple of years away from thinking about being any good and come in with a rookie quarterback under center, career journeymen in the backfield and one of the weakest skill position groups out there. There is a reason the Panthers are a little more expensive in this matchup. We might be targeting the Jets all season.
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- Chiefs Chargers Football: (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)