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What is the best thing about Fantasy Football? Alright, league winnings, as well as league punishments handed down to the respected individuals is all kinds of fun. But nothing really compares, to getting yourself ready for the season with draft prep. If you are playing Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) on either of the two main sites, such as DraftKings or FanDuel, you pretty much have a draft every single week! Every DFS player is looking for those sleeper picks who people won’t know about to get an edge on their opponent.

A few differences between season long Fantasy and Daily Fantasy. In Daily, game flow is very crucial and one of the main element I look for when creating my lineup. You may see a trend of the guys I listed below, where I really pick on the Eagles/Browns and Lions/Colts matchups as a result of the poor defenses and the probability of a high scoring affair. Another key element is figuring out your league format. You could be in a pool of hundreds of thousands of people where you may want to have a few ‘diamond in the rough’ players in your lineup, due to the fact that, you want your lineup to be different compared the thousands of people you are competing against.

Take a guy like Latavius Murray for example. Oakland Raiders Running Back taking on the Saints, in the SuperDome, where they ranked last defensively in almost every category and didn’t make many splash moves during the offseason. That sets up to be a juicy matchup right? The only problem here is that every fantasy owner sees it. Not to mention his very reasonable price of $5,600 (DK) and $6,600 (FD) He will be owned in a lot of DFS leagues and is a nice play in 50/50 formats (place in first half of league) but not in tourneys, with his ownership percentage projected to be high.

Everyone has their game day ritual or ways of picking between two players to set their lineup that Sunday morning. In DFS, rituals are formed and it can be tough picking between certain players. I’ve heard of some crazy ways people pick between players, whether it be flipping a coin, having your grandmother pick the player or I don’t know, have your dog make the million dollar decision…

Good friend of mine, actually writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com and is a fantasy nerd, last year had a tough call on December 13, between Randall Cobb against Dallas and Doug Baldwin against Baltimore. Dog goes with Baldwin, friend goes with Cobb. 82 yards and three touchdowns later for Mr. Doug Baldwin my dog, I mean, my friends dog of course, is strutting around like a champ. Alright, enough with this dog being a fantasy legend, lets get into some DFS sleepers.

Week 1 DFS Sleepers

Mid-Tier Quarterbacks

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs – Home vs. San Diego Chargers- $6,500 (DK) $7,000 (FD)

I think one of the top guys to go with in a double up or non tourney play. He is one of the  most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL. He is the definition of safe. Over the last five seasons, here are his interception totals; 5,5,7,6,7. The catch here, is that the guy doesn’t throw a lot but taking on the Chargers weak defense and may be without lead back Jamaal Charles, he may need to throw in this one. His rushing ability gets hidden at times as well.

Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills – Road vs. Baltimore Ravens- $6,900 (DK) 7,200 (FD)

Could absolutely be an interesting, cheap guy for tournament play here. Maybe, people still don’t trust the name and may fade this game, but the TT train (Yes I made that up, just flows off the tongue doesn’t it) was fantastic last season. Love quarterbacks who can run as well. If you are a little worried about the train hitting the tracks onto Baltimore, he was actually better on the road than at home. Yes, his completion percentage dropped from 69% to 59% but his 11:1 touchdown to interception ratio is quite nice for DFS.

Diamond In The Rough Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys – Home vs. New York Giants- $5,000 (DK) $5,000 (FD)

Got to think he will be owned in a number of leagues, priced at the quarterback minimum on both sites as well as taking on a Giants team that was awful at defending the pass. Bottom five in both yards and touchdowns allowed. At 6’2”, 230 lb. he can be a weapon with his legs. In college he ran for a total of 37 touchdowns and ran for north of 2,500 yards in his final three seasons at Mississippi State. In Fantasy as I stated in my introduction, game flow will be a huge factor. Both the Cowboys and the Giants have pretty putrid defenses, so look for this to be a high scoring affair.

Robert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns – Road vs. Philadelphia Eagles- $5,600 (DK) 6,900 (FD)

Coming off a very solid preseason, RGIII taking on the Eagles is as good as it gets. Having ranked right there with the Giants in the bottom five in both yards and touchdowns allowed. Besides the signing of Rodney Mcleod, the eagles look to be in a bit of a rebuilding mode. Side note as well, some of Griffin’s best games have come against the Eagles. In five games, he has ten touchdowns to five picks. 242.2 passing yards per game and 33.4 rushing yards. Could be a very nice tourney play at a nice price.

Mid-Tier Running Backs

Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs – Home vs. San Diego Chargers- $4,400 (DK) $5,400 (FD)

May actually be the most owned player on DFS for week 1, especially if Jamaal Charles doesn’t suit up. Perfect guy in a double up. Now if Charles does end up active for this game, I would still think about using Ware and absolutely recommend him in tournament games. Great matchup against the Chargers who were sixth worst in terms of rushing yards given up and fourth in touchdowns allowed. Again he will be owned in a lot of leagues but if he has a big day at that price, you don’t want to be the one not rostering him.

Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions – Road vs. Indianapolis Colts- $4,000 (DK) $5,100 (FD)

I tend to look for pass catching running backs when figuring out my lineup because of the PPR format where you get one point per reception. It really adds up, and it did last year for Riddick. The guy was an absolute monster in PPR leagues one year ago, racking up 80 catches on 99 targets. Just to put into perspective, look at DeMarco Murray going for $1,300 more on DK taking on the stout Vikings. A quick projection here for Murray; 15 carries for 85 yards, 1 reception for 5 yards. That would add up 10 fantasy points for DeMarco. Quick riddick projection; 5 carries for 15 yards and 7 receptions for 60 yards. That’s a grand total of 14.5 fantasy points for Riddick. This game is also going to be an absolute shootout. Hunt for the passing down backs and you will be rewarded!

Mid-Tier Wide Receivers

Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts – Home vs. Detroit Lions- $6,000 (DK) $6,200 (FD)

Love the price on Moncrief, specifically on FanDuel and you can’t go wrong with this matchup. I am telling you, points will be scored in this game. If the combined total doesn’t reach 50, I’ll shave my head. May be over exaggerating a bit, but the ball should be thrown around a lot with these two dreadful defenses and two pass happy teams. I could get out there and throw on the Colts defense all day! Ok, that’s over exaggerating, but Moncrief should absolutely be in the mix in both tourney and 50/50 games.

Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs – Home vs. San Diego Chargers- $6,500 (DK) $6,800 (FD)

If I were to ask you straight up, what were Jeremy Maclin’s numbers last year, I bet you would come up short on every single one of the main categories. 92 receptions on 131 targets for 1,140 yards and eight touchdowns. I didn’t own him in any leagues last season so I was blown away at looking deeper into his 2015 campaign. Going up against the Chargers, week one is a nice way to start out. Get him into every lineup you can.

Diamond In The Rough Wide Receivers

Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys – Home vs. New York Giants- $3,200 (DK) $5,000 (FD)

The Cowboys will look to feed the ball to Elliot a ton this game but I could easily see the Giants getting a couple quick scores which could lead Dallas to throw the ball in the second half. Dak looked for Beasley quite a bit throughout the preseason and developed a nice rapport with one another. Love his DraftKings price but his FanDuel tag is up by a steep margin. Could be a game changer in a tourney play.

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals – Road vs. New York Jets- $3,600 (DK) $5,600 (FD)

Don’t think you will see Boyd visiting Revis island at all in this game with AJ Green probably doing most of his stay on the island. This game could get ugly. May see a score of 17-13 but Tyler Boyd, the rookie out of Pittsburg had a nice showing this preseason. With Revis shadowing Green, Dalton will have to look to his secondary options in LaFell and Tyler Boyd.

Mid-Tier Tight End

Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns – Road vs. Philadelphia Eagles- $4,700 (DK) $6,300 (FD)

Barnidge accounted for 79 receptions on 125 targets and nine total touchdowns. A very nice season for a guy who had Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel and Austin Davis attempting to throw him the ball. I believe RGIII will at least be an upgrade and he developed some chemistry with Barnidge throughout the preseason. With the Browns without their top dog in Josh Gordon for the first four games, I would feel good plugging big play Barnidge into your tight end spot against the middling Eagles. Sorry I keep picking on you Eagles.

Diamond In The Rough Tight End

Clive Walford, Oakland Raiders – Road vs. New Orleans Saints- $3,000 (DK) $4,700 (FD)

Really reaching here, but all due to the matchup, Walford gets the bump. No need to go on explaining Walford’s position on this list. The Saints are just awful.

Defenses

Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns.

Texans may be owned in half of leagues with a nice matchup verses the Bears and JJ Watt expected to be ready to go week one.

The Browns are a nice tourney play in part because they are taking on the Eagles. They are tied for 31st in terms of DK price. Calling for a Joe Haden interception.

What can we say we have all learned here in this DFS Week 1 piece? Find the matchups, figure out the game flow and most importantly, trust all dogs.

Josh Carlson

Josh recently graduated in 2015 with his Bachelor's in Business Administration, from Husson University. He currently works for Sports Radar covering professional teams in the Texas area. You can also find him blowing money on DraftKings and FanDuel. Always remember the motto: Numbers do tell a story. Find him on facebook as well as twitter @Josh_Carls0n. Yes, that is the number zero in my last name. I love numbers.

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