Daily Fantasy

DraftKings Chalk, Pivots & Punts: Week 1


Pittsburgh Steelers (24.5/-4) at Cleveland Browns (20.5/+4)

Ben Roethlisberger ($6600) & Antonio Brown ($8600) will be a very common stack, possibly with one of the TEs (whoever is healthy) showing up as a 3rd stack member on a lot of rosters. CLE was the worse team vs. TEs last year, and people are going to try to go back to that well. The Browns were also the worst team at home vs WR1s. With Bell looking like he’ll miss this game, James Conner ($4500) will be a popular play as well. He could be auditioning for the starting RB spot next year for as long as Bell remains out. Antonio Brown had his way with CLE in this game last year as Bell was just getting his toes wet for the season. I don’t see any reason why that can’t happen again this year and this week. Brown will likely be my most rostered player for this week.

Jarvis Landry ($5500) will likely be the most owned Brown, but his ownership may still be a bit depressed this week. If the Steelers passing offense hits like everyone is expecting, then CLE is going to need to keep up. Todd Haley is a pass happy OC, so that make Landry a solid play, and gives Duke Johnson ($4700) a boost as the preferred passing down RB since he has the floor buffer of receptions. Carlos Hyde ($4500) will also get run in this one as long as they can keep the game within reach. Hyde will be running behind a solid OL vs a middle of the road run defense. Hyde posted strong red zone numbers in attempts and conversions last year, so he has TD upside to offset a lack of passing game involvement. However, if CLE falls behind early and has to start passing that means Tyrod Taylor ($5400) will be accruing points. Taylor has been a DFS hero in the past, and has the running ability to cushion his floor. Taylor/Landry could be a solid contrarian stack for this game.

Kansas City Chiefs (22.25/+3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers (25.75/-3.5)

The Chargers have a pretty stacked pass defense on paper, so I don’t think anyone on the Chiefs will be super chalky. Kareem Hunt ($6900) and Travis Kelce ($6400) should have no trouble seeing their typical volume, so they will have ownership, and are probably the best plays from the Chiefs in this one. Hunt had 155+ yards on the ground and a TD in each meeting last year with the Chargers, and box score scouting plus my match-up chart indicate Hunt is a great play this week. Tyreek Hill ($6500) had 5 catches and a TD in each of these games last year, scoring over 20 points each, so he could see his share of ownership as well. Based on data from last year, the Chargers were soft against a team’s #2 WR, which will be Sammy Watkins ($5100) for the Chiefs. We didn’t see Sammy get going in the preseason, so either he’s not acclimated to the offense yet, or Andy Reid is keeping something up his sleeve. If you believe the latter, Watkins will make a fine punt play.

Keenan Allen ($7500) may end up chalky this week due to the perceived, and actual awfulness of the Chiefs pass defense. My concern is KC traded for one of the best slot corners in the league when they sent Alex Smith to WAS for Kendall Fuller. This is a turn off for me in this match-up, and I’d rather pivot to Tyrell Williams ($4200), who did nothing in these match-ups last year, although he did see 7 targets in each game. If Rivers connects better with him on those targets this year, there could be some big plays to be had. I also like what I saw from Mike Williams ($3900) in the preseason, in particular, his red zone usage. He’ll be a cheap pivot/punt away from Allen in this game as well. Chiefs didn’t look good at stopping the run this preseason and Melvin Gordon ($6800) is a high volume back, so I have interest in pivoting off the pass game to him to be a bit contrarian in some line-ups. I also like that Chargers Defense/Special Teams ($2800) against the gun-slinging Mahomes. He makes some dangerous throws at times that can lead to a pick 6 against this type of secondary.

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Seattle Seahawks (19.75/+3) at Denver Broncos (22.75/-3)

Russell WilsonThis game has the second lowest total on the main slate. Seattle does not offer up a lot of attractive options this week. Denver was stout against the run in Mile High last year, Pete Carroll’s road opener records are ugly, and the Seahawks just don’t look good on paper this year. Russell Wilson ($6200) is always in play because of his running ability, and I have a feeling he’ll be running a lot in this one, whether that’s behind the line of scrimmage or forward for yards. He has play-making ability with his arm as well. His targets are an “85%” Doug Baldwin ($6200) who will likely see a lot of Chris Harris in coverage (which is not ideal), Tyler Lockett ($4300) who could make some plays against Roby or Brock, and Brandon Marshall ($3700) who looked washed last year. There’s also Nick Vannett ($2600) at TE who has yet to do anything noteworthy in the NFL or college but will be the opening day starter at TE, a spot that DEN will allow some points too. I don’t want to fade the Hawks completely, so I’ll probably roster Lockett or Wilson, but very sparingly.

The Seahawks defense will be without veteran LB K.J. Wright and have lost a lot in the secondary this year. It is undetermined if Earl Thomas will play or not, so this could be a perfect spot for the Broncos to get things going. The match-up data I have shows WR3 (often the slot WR) and the TE are great match-ups for the Broncos, which would be Emmanuel Sanders ($5000) and Jeff Heuerman ($2600). There has been a bit of hype around Sanders this off-season from fantasy folk, so I expect he’ll have plenty of ownership, which makes pivoting over to Demaryius Thomas ($5700) semi-appealing as a contrarian play. Also hyped this off-season was Royce Freeman ($4500) at RB. He’s been given the starting job over incumbent Devontae Booker ($4600), but DEN didn’t show during the preseason that they are planning on targeting him too much in the passing game, so he’ll have to get most all of his points from rush yards and TDs. Last year SEA didn’t allow a lot of Rushing TDs and gave up 0 multi-TD rushing performances on the road. I’ll wait a week to see how the touches and usage go in the DEN backfield before I make any bets there. I’m interested to see how many snaps Phillip Lindsay ($3000) gets, as he’s got that Danny Woodhead role look about him. A little narrative street here, this will be Marshall’s first game back in DEN since he played there to start his career, and he claims he has set his goals on winning comeback player of the year this year, claiming to be 100% healthy again.

Dallas Cowboys (19.75/+3) at Carolina Panthers (22.75/-3)

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This game is also second to lowest in implied point total, and features a pretty good run defense on the Carolina side, which makes Ezekiel Elliott ($7700) a little riskier – even with his locked in volume. Add in the OL issues and I’m not going to spend up on Zeke this week. I do have interest in Dak Prescott ($5500) though. CAR was dreadful vs the pass last year, and he has run in 6 TDs each ot his first two seasons. I’ll have him in a couple of line-ups, and might pair him with either Cole Beasley ($3600) or Allen Hurns ($4700), since CAR gave up the most points to opposing WR3s at home last year.

DAL has a fairly strong run defense, and CAR has OL troubles of their own, but I’d still expect recency bias for Christian McCaffrey ($6400) and he will be in quite a few line-ups. I’ll have some exposure, but won’t go big there. Greg Olsen ($5400) and D.J. Moore ($4100) might be other options I look at to take advantage of DAL’s secondary, which was better on the road than at home last year, but still showed leakiness.

Washington Redskins (21.5/+1) at Arizona Cardinals (22.5/-1)

It’s hard to get excited about many of the options in this game, which sucks because I like to have exposure to the last game of the night for swap purposes and just for longevity of scoring throughout the day. Nothing is worse than having a good score only to see a SNF player drop you below the cash line. From WAS, the only options that seem relatively useful will be Chris Thompson ($4700) as the pass-catching back and Jordan Reed ($4000), who will perhaps go low owned do to recency bias and lack of public trust. New DC Holcomb doesn’t plan to feature Patrick Peterson in a shadow role, so any one of the WRs could potentially have a good game against Jamar Taylor.

The match-up data suggests David Johnson ($8800) is in a smash spot here, and his preseason looked like he was motivated to do the smashing. Besides Antonio Brown, he is my next favorite play on this slate. WAS allowed the most rush yards per game on the road last year and a top 8 25.6 FP to the RB1+RB2 (which is what DJ is on his own) on the road. WAS also allowed the second most points to the TE1 on the road last year, making Ricky Seals-Jones ($3000) a sneaky late play if you can’t pay all the way up for DJ in this match-up but still want to get in on the action.

 

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