Before we get into the week 1 DFS picks, I should probably tell you a little bit about my philosophy regarding DFS.
For one, I generally stay away from cash games. They are not a bad investment, especially for a beginner to DFS. However, I get a very little thrill from cash games. Part of it is that I’m a cheap bastard and therefore the stakes I play are proportionally lower than expertise level.
Therefore, winning say half a tank of gas for the cost of say half a tank of gas plus a percentage doesn’t really thrill me. I also know that my strengths are in picking contrarian and punt picks; not this stud from that stud. And that strength leads me to often play in GPPs.
Not only do my strengths align with GPPs, but playing GPPs also get my juices flowing much more. I know the odds of winning are lower and I know the percentage the sites take are no better than cash games either. And it destroys my analytical mind that I might have a 25% chance to just double my money and even winning big money might be a 2.5% chance to win 10X my money. But I enjoy the hunt for the big win. And here’s the honest truth, I rarely finish on top. However, I have finished on top before and I do seem to cash often enough that I continue to make money on DFS.
Therefore, I will placate the cash game players and provide at least one cash game play I’d make every week. I will also provide at least one contrarian or punt play every week as well, more likely a few of them. Finally, I will provide a lineup I am at least considering in both FanDuel and DraftKings every week.
I know there are other DFS websites including FantasyDraft and the Yahoo game amongst others. However, most weeks I will focus on FD and DK, because that’s where the majority of players play (to my chagrin, as I would like to see the DFS industry have more players). But I will sometimes discuss the other sites, and I will also try and include at least one player who has a price discrepancy between the two sites worth exploiting.
With that all laid out, here are this week’s picks.
Mark’s Week 1 DFS Picks
Week 1 DFS Picks: Cash Game Pick
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals FD $9400 DK $9400
Week 1 is not the week to get cute, especially in cash games. You play the studs. So we start with the consensus #1 pick. Johnson was a stud last year. He never put up less than double digit Fantasy points, averaging over 25 Fantasy points a week. Plus, the Week 1 matchup is not a tough one. Expect Johnson to run wild on the fast track of Detroit, who was also in the bottom half of rush defenses last year. And no that’s not a misprint of him being $9400 on both sites. He’s a great buy on Fan Duel, but still worthy on Draft Kings. Fire up Johnson and don’t let cost or doubt cause you to do otherwise.
Week 1 DFS Picks: GPP Game Punt/Contrarian Pick
Paul Richardson, WR, Seattle Seahawks FD $5200 DK $3700
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Richardson is not a pick for the timid. But that’s one of the reasons I like him, as I expect his ownership to be very low. However, if you need to know what there is to like about Richardson, read here. But I also really him this week in particular as Green Bay did not do much this offseason to upgrade their secondary, which gave up the most fantasy points to WRs last year. Allow me to repeat that–the most fantasy points to WRs last year. Richardson could easily put up nothing as it becomes the Doug Baldwin show too. But when it comes to GPP, no guts no glory. And something tells me Richardson will be glorious.
Week 1 DFS Picks: Potential Fan Duel Lineup
QB: Jared Goff (Los Angles Rams)
RB: Leveon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers) and David Johnson
WR: Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams), Sammy Watkins (Los Angeles Rams), Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals)
TE: Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers)
K: Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens)
D: Buffalo Bills
Week 1 DFS Picks: Potential Fan Duel Comments
Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. The Jets are going to be historically bad this year and I’m going to be picking the defense playing them a lot this year. This week, of course, is just the start of that trend.
Justin Tucker? He’s the best kicker in the NFL. Period.
Greg Olsen, one of the best TEs in the game against a not very good 49er defense? Yes, and thank you.
Remember how I said Detroit was not very good against the run last year? Well, they were even worse against the pass. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game becomes a shootout and I want as many Larry Fitzgerald shares as possible.
As you move up to the other two receiver slots, it becomes very interesting. I think Fitzgerald and the Buffalo Bills are going to have very high ownership, so we need to deviate. And what better way to deviate than choosing one of the least confident inspiring air attacks in the Los Angeles Rams? But Indianapolis was horrible against the pass last year and that team seems to be moving in the wrong direction. I’m stacking against Indy this week. It also enables me to save some salary which is key for my next set of picks.
Because I am spending up at running back. I expect a lot of owners to have either one of these running backs. However, I expect most owners to avoid the weight of having two expensive players at RB. And I presume I don’t need to tell you why to play either of these players, right? Furthermore, the pricing is a little softer on these players on Fan Duel this week than DraftKings. Take advantage!
Week 1 DFS Picks: Potential DraftKings Lineup and Comments
TE: Maxx Williams, (Baltimore Ravens)
We start at TE where the Bengals gave up the third most points to TEs last year. Of course why I am choosing Williams over the other options at TE? For one, TE is a good place to differentiate in a GPP. Secondly, I think he will be the Ravens TE who does the most this week. Benjamin Watson and Nick Boyle each caught one pass this preseason for 11 and 10 yards respectively. Williams had three catches, including a long one for 40 yards. I like this pick a lot
QB: Carson Wentz, (Philadelphia Eagles)
I’ve been preaching to grab Wentz this year. It starts immediately. I might even start him in my billion dollar contest.
RB: LeSean McCoy (Buffalo Bills) and Frank Gore (Indianapolis Colts)
I already told you the Jets stink. This should be one of McCoy’s best games all year.
The Rams best defensive player is Aaron Donald, who has yet to report. Gore could be a real bargain.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Doug Baldwin (Seattle Seahawks)
See above for Fitzgerald.
Best wide receiver in the game and against Cleveland? I’ll take it.
I already told you it could become the Doug Baldwin show. Two touchdowns and over 100 yards is not even his ceiling this week.
Flex: Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers)
The PPR format helps McCaffrey. With the budget I have left, he makes way too much sense against the questionable 49ers defense in a game that I think might be very high scoring.
Not enough salary left to get the Bills, and I like the value they present as a pivot.
Finally, one last thing. While I have confidence in these lineups, my recommendation is don’t make these your exact replica Week 1 DFS picks. Mix it up a little. After all, we will both be annoyed if we have to split that big payday!
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