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DFS Advice: DRAFT NFL Week 1 Tips

DRAFT Advice: Week One

NFL football returns this week, which means Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) season has officially kicked off. This season, I will be bringing you a weekly column on advice for winning big while on DRAFT. DRAFT is my favorite DFS format, but it differs significantly from traditional platforms. It requires a unique strategy, and a desire to play big.

This column is based on 6 teams, 5 round draft games. This is the standard format, but all of my advice can be tailored to smaller and larger games.

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Round 1: Out of the Gates Running

Week 1 features some great match-ups for running backs and the main slate (Sunday games) excludes some top name wide receivers. That has led to running back to be the most desired position in the first round this week. Here are the first six players coming off the board, on average, on the main slate:

Player Team POS ADP
Saquon Barkley NYG RB 1.2
Christian McCaffrey CAR RB 2.3
Ezekiel Elliott DAL RB 4.7
David Johnson ARI RB 8.3
Travis Kelce KC TE 8.6
Julio Jones ATL WR 10

Data collected from DRAFT.com ADP. 6 team $5 entries from 9/2-9/5

If you have a top 3 pick, this is easy for you. I would take Barkley, McCaffery, and Elliot in the same order their ADP suggests they should go. David Johnson, however, is a red flag for me. Arizona is still working out its air raid offense and Johnson is playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Detroit’s front four is solid, and they could plug the middle of the field and shut down Johnson. Le’Veon Bell (ADP 10.8) would be my running back choice if picking 4-6.

Round 2: Embrace the Early Stack

I love a good DRAFT stack. This week my top choice is one that will likely cost your second and third-round picks: Tyreek Hill and Pat Mahomes. Mahomes and the Chiefs travel to Jacksonville in a game that Vegas pegs as the highest total on DRAFT’s main slate. I normally do not advocate for a quarterback early, but Rodgers, Brees, and Watson are all out of play on Sunday. Hill has an ADP of 14.6, so you should be locked in to grab him in the 2nd round regardless of draft position. He matches up against Jalen Ramsey, but should be able to stretch the field in the same way he did last season. That leads you to Mahomes with an ADP just outside of the 3rd round. If you wait on Mahomes, you likely won’t want a quarterback until the 5th round.

Player Team POS ADP
Patrick Mahomes KC QB 20
Baker Mayfield CLE QB 58
Matt Ryan ATL QB 63
Carson Wentz PHI QB 71
Jared Goff LA QB 78
Cam Newton CAR QB 79

Data collected from DRAFT.com ADP. 6 team $5 entries from 9/2-9/5

Round 3: Big Value with Gurley

Todd Gurley is currently being draft in Week 1 as RB9. He faces a very advantageous match-up against the Carolina Panthers who have inexperience along their defensive line and questions as an overall unit. Despite offseason rumors, which have plunged his ADP in all fantasy football formats, Gurley should not see limited work on Sunday. I have him ranked ahead of Nick Chubb (ADP 10.7), James Conner (ADP 12.6) and Davlin Cook (ADP 16.7), all of whom are going before him.

Wait on Gurley until the third and get a first-round return on value.

Round 4: Waiting on Wideouts

With running backs dominating the early rounds it makes sense to wait on wide receiver. Mike Evans (19.7) and Adam Thielen (24.6) are both strong options that you can get with fourth-round ADP.

Mike Evans and the Buccaneers will face off in a shootout against the San Fransisco 49ers. Vegas has this game pegged for a 50.5 total, the second-highest on the Sunday slate. According to PFF, Mike Evans’ match-up against Ahkello Witherspoon creates the 5th best advantage of the week. Evans finished 2018 as the WR6 overall and caught 6 balls for 116 yards against the 49ers in Week 12. There is no reason he should be going this late.

Similar to Evans, Adam Thielen will find himself in a high scoring affair when the Falcons travel to play the Vikings in Minnesota. Kirk Cousins will have to push the tempo to keep up with the Atlanta Falcons, who had one of the most efficient offenses in the league last season and have only gotten better this offseason. Thielen presents a nice floor in Week 1. He had at least 5 receptions in 13 games in 2018, had 9 games over 100 receiving yards, and caught a touchdown in 9 games.

 Round 5: Late Round Targets

I like to use my round 5 piece of advice to fire off five players that are worth taking high upside fliers on. Here we go:

  • Kerryon Johnson (ADP 31.3): Johnson’s offensive line has a huge advantage over Arizona’s porous defensive front. Matt Patricia will look to establish the run early and then keep it going when Detroit ultimately goes (and stays) up against a developing Cardinals offensive scheme.
  • Amari Cooper (ADP 32.2): Cooper will likely draw man coverage from Giants’ rookie DeAndre Baker. With Zeke back, Dallas will be able to control the pace of play and Prescott will hone in on Cooper and his deep play and red zone threat. Cooper practiced fully on Thursday and is expected to play at full health in an advantageous Week 1 match-up against their division foe.
  • Tyler Lockett (ADP 43.2): Seattle’s defense, now with Jadeveon Clowney, should overpower the Bengals weak offensive line. This should lead to the Seahawks controlling the time of possession, allowing for Lockett to receive plenty of targets even if the Seahawks do continue to be a run-heavy team. Lockett caught a touchdown in 10 games last season and I expect him to find the endzone again Sunday.
  • Evan Engram (ADP 47.5): Taking a tight end on DRAFT is rarely chalk. Engram, though, looks to be the top receiving target outside of Barkley on the Giants. New York should find themselves in a negative game script quickly and should be forced to pass the ball 30-35 times. Engram very well could see a third of those targets.
  • Lamar Jackson (ADP 79.4): Jackson’s ADP is significantly lower than these other targets, but he is QB7 on the main slate. Jackson’s floor is not present-the Ravens could easily switch to their 3 headed running machine if (when) they go up early on Miami. Jackson, though, could contribute significantly to the passing and running game early on. He has the potential to shred a young and weak defense in multiple ways, giving him the upside you want when playing DRAFT.

 

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