The Fantasy Football Ghost gets us started off right in the new season with some intriguing DraftKings NFL cash plays for Week 1
It’s finally here! The start of the new football season means more than just NFL football every weekend, it also means we can get our daily fantasy sports (DFS) fix playing on DraftKings every Sunday! There is nothing like watching your NFL team, dynasty fantasy team, redraft fantasy team and a team you designed specifically for this weekend all come home with the win. That last part is why I’m here, to help you make some money with cash games on DraftKings. Last year I focused on FanDuel, but I wanted to switch things up a bit this year and moved my weekly piece over to the other side of the DFS fence, it looks to be a whole new challenge and whole a lot of fun on the horizon.
So, here’s the deal, I will put forth a few players each week that I think you should work into your cash line ups. Some weeks I might only have a single player at a position, the next week I may have three, it is all going to depend on the strength of the slate, the values present on a given week and the match ups. The following week I will recap how my picks fared. A successful week will be determined by the players I suggest averaging 2.5 times their value, while an unsuccessful week will be an average under 2.5 times value.
Now that we’ve got the ground rules set, let’s dive in!
DraftKings NFL Cash Plays for Week 1
Drew Brees – $6,800
This feels like a foregone conclusion, Drew Brees is going to open his 18th year as an NFL player with a pretty sound thrashing of divisional rival Tampa Bay. The Saints open the season as the slate’s biggest favorite and they also have the highest implied point total as well as they are projected to score roughly 30 points. Brees posted the highest completion rate of all season-long starters last season with a rate of 7.13% while the Buccaneers gave up an average of 260.6 passing yards per game last year, the highest of any team in the league. Tampa Bay also ranked second-worst in the league in terms of defensive passing DVOA while the Saints had the fifth-best passing DVOA. With Brees priced at only $6,800, there is much need to overthink this decision, these are easy points from a player that constantly outperforms his price tag.
Andy Dalton vs. Colts – Indianapolis had the league’s worst DVOA against the pass last year and gave up the tenth most fantasy points to quarterbacks
Tom Brady vs. Texans – Another one that’s hard to miss when Houston gave up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season and the Patriots had the league’s top DVOA rank in the passing game
Alex Collins – $5,600
Alex Collins might not be the sexiest pick to open the NFL season, but this is a player primed to have a big game against a Buffalo defense that had a litany of issues stopping the rush last season. The Bills finished last season ranked as the easiest team for opposing running backs to score fantasy points against. Buffalo averaged the fourth-most rushing yards allowed last season and allowed a league-most 1.3 rushing touchdowns per game. Collins, on the other hand, had the eighth-highest yards per rush total of all running backs, amassing 4.6 yards per rush last season. Baltimore is also tied as the second-largest favorite on the slate, indicating a possible situation in which the Ravens might look to run down the clock later in the game, increasing Collins’ potential for late points.
Other Running Backs:
David Johnson vs. Redskins – Washington had the fourth-worst defensive DVOA against the rush and gave up the eighth most fantasy points against running backs
Melvin Gordon vs. Chiefs – Kansas City had the worst defensive DVOA against the rush last year
Keenan Allen – $7,500
You might have to pay a little more for Keenan Allen but there is a whole lot to like about his match-up against Kansas City to start the season. First, the Chiefs gave up the second-most fantasy points to wide receiver last season, with 37.4 points allowed to the position per game. As if that wasn’t enough to salivate over, Kansas City was also the league’s second-worst team against #1 WRs, allowing an average of 8.7 passes to the position per game, good for an average of 90.3 yards. Allen, meanwhile, posted the third most yards after the catch of any WR in the NFL, the third most yards per route run of fantasy relevant WRs, and the 13th most air yards. This favors heavily in his favor as the Chiefs surrendered the most air yards of any team in the league, meaning it could be a very long night for Kansas City’s secondary as Chargers figure to target Allen not only often, but on deep passes as well.
Other Wide Receivers:
Antonio Brown vs. Browns – Cleveland had the fourth-worst defensive DVOA against #1 WRs last season and Pittsburgh had the fourth-best passing DVOA
DeAndre Hopkins vs. Patriots – New England gave up the fourth most fantasy points to wide receivers last year and had the seventh-worst defensive DVOA vs. #1 WRs
Rob Gronkowski – $6,900
This one also seems a bit obvious but there will be plenty of times when paying up for Rob Gronkowski doesn’t make sense, but this is not one of those weeks. If you can manage to fit Gronkowski into your line up, then you better pull that trigger. Gronkowski will face off against a Texans team that gave up 14.2 fantasy points to opposing tight ends, the fifth-most in the league. New England also comes into this game projected to score 29 points, the second-highest implied point total on the slate. Alone, Gronkowski held the top spot among tight ends for receiving yards, air yards and average depth of target, while ranking second in yards after catch. Houston had the sixth-worst defensive DVOA against tight ends last year, allowing an average of 6.6 passes, good for an average of 57.9 yards, while Gronkowski had the second-best DVOA among tight ends, indicating a severe mismatch is at hand come Sunday.
Other Tight Ends:
Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Giants – The Giants ranked second to last against tight ends last year
Vance McDonald vs. Browns – Cleveland ranked dead last in defensive DVOA against tight ends last season
That’s it for Week 1 folks. Come back next week when I will recap how these picks fared and will share with you another crop of players that look primed to win us all some money in cash games. Good luck everyone!