NFL DFS – Week 1
The NFL season is underway as we prepare for the Week 1 Sunday DFS slate. This year my NFL Hot Sheet will take on a more abbreviated look with the same Hot Sheet matrix as usual but without the game-by-game breakdown. Instead, I will list out a condensed list of my top DFS plays of the slate at each position along with a brief write up of each player. Of course, the Week 1 Hot Sheet is based on last season’s numbers, don’t get too committed to the numbers until we start to get some games from this season.
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Note: DVOA referenced in this article stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average which is a metric from FootballOutsiders.com. Rankings for receivers by position (WR/TE) are based on grades from ProFootballFocus (PFF).
Top DFS Plays
- Matt Ryan (ATL) – The Falcons game against the Seahawks features one of the highest Vegas totals on the slate. You’ll notice a theme to most of my picks this week where I want players that are in familiar situations with continuity on the roster from last season, which Ryan has along with his primary WRs. The Seahawks allowed 275 passing yards per game (27th) last season, so Ryan should be on his way to a 300+ yards game with at least a couple TDs.
- Tom Brady (TB) – I know that Brady doesn’t have that same continuity that I talked about with Ryan, but if anyone can make a smooth transition to a new team and receivers, it is him. To start his Bucs career, Brady gets to play the Saints in a game with the highest Vegas total on the slate. It could be a back and forth, high-scoring affair that is perfect for fantasy production for Brady.
- Gardner Minshew (JAX) – The Jaguars are expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this season, which is a perfect script for Gardner Minshew and the passing game to rack up garbage time fantasy production. Minshew proved he can put up numbers last season both with his arm and his legs. You’ll have to be patient with him as most of his production will likely come in the second half.
- Dalvin Cook (MIN) – Cook shredded the Packers for 191 total yards and a score last season. He should be the main focus of the Vikings offense and should be motivated as he looks for a new contract. The Packers allowed 109 rushing yards (26th) for 4.86 YPC (28th) and 0.9 TDs (28th) per game on the ground to opposing RBs.
- Josh Jacobs (LV) – The Raiders are likely staring to rookies at wide receiver, so they will likely look to pound the rock on the ground with Jacobs against a Panthers run defense that ranked dead last (32nd) in DVOA while giving up 1.7 rushing touchdowns per game to running backs. Jacobs is one of the most likely players to get two or more scores in Week 1.
- Alvin Kamara (NO) – The matchup isn’t good against a Bucs rushing defense that ranked 1st DVOA last season. However, Karma still averaged just under 20 DK points in the two meetings with Tampa last season. His salary is just too low on DraftKings for one of the primary options on a Saints offense that has the highest projected team total according to Vegas.
- James White (NE) – White is the perfect type of RB to roster on DraftKings with his heavy involvement in the passing game. Look for Cam Newton to take advantage of his new pass-catching back against a Dolphins defense that allowed 8.7 yards per reception (25th) and 0.4 TD receptions (29th) to RBs last year. White could also be more involved on the ground this year than in previous seasons with some health issues in the Patriots backfield.
- Chris Thompson (JAX) – I’m expecting the other Jaguars RB (James Robinson) to be more popular than Thompson, but it is Thompson who will benefit the most from the expected game script this week (and most of the season) as the Jaguars play from behind against the Colts.
- Julio Jones (ATL) – As I mentioned above with Matt Ryan, Jones has plenty of continuity from working with Ryan for years and has a great game environment and matchup against the Seahawks. Jones put up 10 receptions for 152 yards in a meeting with the Seahawks last season.
- Davante Adams (GB) – Adams has averaged 8.3 receptions for 88.8 yards in four games versus the Vikings over the last two seasons with two scores in those matchups. He will continue to be the primary option in the Packers passing game and has a lot of chemistry with Aaron Rodgers.
- Chris Godwin (TB) – Godwin should get a lot of targets working out of the slot against the Saints who rank 30th against the slot. We all know that Brady loves feeding the slot receiver over his career and with Mike Evans now out, Godwin could see even more looks.
- Calvin Ridley (ATL) – Doubling-down on Falcons WRs with Ridley. Both Ridley and Jones can have big days in the same game as they did early last season when they both scored in each of the first two weeks of the year. Ridley was starting to breakdown down the stretch last season with at least five receptions and 76 yards in each of his last four games with three scores during that stretch.
- TY Hilton (IND) – Hilton is one of my favorite WR plays of the week and a player that could be in for a big season now that he has a professional QB (Rivers) slinging him the rock. The Jaguars secondary allowed some big plays to WRs last season giving up 14.2 yards per reception (27th).
- DK Metcalf (SEA) – On the other side of the potential shootout in Atlanta is the Seahawks. Metcalf outperformed expectations last season as a rookie as he started to become a to-go option for Russell Wilson. Metcalf has the physical ability to make a big play or be a huge red-zone target with his size against a smaller Falcons secondary.
- DeSean Jackson (PHI) – Jackson wasn’t on the field much last season, but he did manage to have a huge Week 1 against Washington with 8 receptions for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He gets another Week 1 matchup against Washington this year and will look for a repeat as the healthiest outside receiver for the Eagles.
- Darren Waller (LV) – The Raiders are expecting to start two rookies WRs, which means that Waller should be leaned on heavily in the passing game early in the season. He’ll face a Panthers defense that allowed a league-high 13.3 yards per reception to TEs last season.
- Rob Gronkowski (TB) – Gronkowski should benefit from the absence of red-zone threat Mike Evans on Sunday and from his familiarity with Brady.
- Ian Thomas (CAR) – There is a lot of uncertainty with the cheap TE options on this slate but Thomas should be able to get some chances against a Raiders defense that allowed 54.8 yards (21st) and 0.6 TDs (30th) to the position last year.
- Bills (BUF) – At home as a touchdown favorite in a game against the Jets with one of the lower Vegas totals on the slate.
- Patriots (NE) – The Patriots defense was excellent last season and get a Week 1 matchup against Ryan Fitzpatrick who is not afraid to throw into coverage and toss a few picks.
- Chargers (LAC) – Talented defense facing rookie QB Joe Burrow in his first professional action with no preseason to prepare.
- Raiders -3
- Falcons +2.5
- Chargers -3
- Cowboys -2.5
- Broncos +3
- Colts/Jaguars Over 45
- Jets/Bills Under 39.5
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