DraftKings NFL Week 1
Before we jump into things, let me provide you with a simple introduction for this year’s column. Hello, my name is Michael Hauff, and for the next few months, you and I are going to win money together. That’s right, through playing daily fantasy with DraftKings we are going to perform what will feel like weekly smash and grab jobs.
Now before you start daydreaming about spending your winnings, the question is how do we get ourselves from depositing funds to withdrawing them. The way in which this weekly column is going to help you do that is by using the Gridiron 3X philosophy.
Don’t forget to read how DraftKings does their scoring which you can view by clicking here.
Too many amateur daily fantasy players see that they have $50,000 budget to fill a roster and like a puzzle, they try to spend as close to that number as possible. That, unfortunately, is not the best way to go about putting your lineup together. Selecting players is like making a big purchase in your personal life. It isn’t always about buying the most expensive item and it also isn’t about spending as little as humanly possible. When spending money it is really about getting the most out of your investment and seeing how far your dollar will take you. That is precisely how you should view your DraftKings lineup.
What is 3x?
Gridiron 3X is an NFL Daily Fantasy strategy where the goal is to build a lineup that scores 150 points or more. The reason why that number is so important is that 150 points is usually the required score to reach the winning side of a tournament. Once you can begin to see players in fantasy point production rather than DraftKings dollars, you can gain a better sense of the required fantasy output the player needs to archive in order for you to reach your 3X goal and win.
Using an example from last season, Alex Smith, the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs at the time, had a Drafts cost of $5,400. Using the Gridiron 3X method, Alex Smith needed to score 16.2 fantasy points (5.4 x 3=16.2) in order to reach his 3X goal. The best tip I can offer you when using this strategy is to see the dollar amount in decimals. If you remember, Alex Smith threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns against the New England Patriots. That hair-raising start would leave Smith with 34.02 points scored and therefore delivering you a fantastic return on your investment.
So now we have the DraftKings scoring, and we have the Gridiron 3X philosophy explained. With introductions and details now out of the way, here are some names that can deliver you a great return on your investment in week 1.
Tyrod Taylor ($5,400)
On Sunday afternoon, Tyrod Taylor and the Browns stand on the threshold of new beginnings. For the Browns, it is the hope of getting back to winning and fridges of bud light across the Cleveland area. For Taylor, it is the opportunity to delay the Baker Mayfield era and state his claim as being a leader. Opposing the Browns for the second straight season opener is division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. As always, a mobile quarterback presents an enticing dynamic for DraftKings scoring and while I don’t have Taylor projected with a rushing score, the yards he’ll accumulate when he tucks the ball and runs will make the difference here. A Todd Haley offense will simply ask more from Taylor than what was asked of him in Buffalo. So while Taylor, if nothing else is known for protecting the football, with more attempts, could come turnovers and I have an interception projected into his score. That being said though, with the help Todd Haley, and more dynamic playmakers than the Browns had in 2017, this offense will catch the Steelers defense off guard a few times and if you start Taylor, your DraftKings lineup will benefit from it.
Philip Rivers ($6,400)
While last year is considered ancient history to most, it’s been hard to ignore Rivers’ terrific season in 2017. 28 touchdowns, a little over 4,500 yards, and just 10 interceptions. Rivers, who likely flew under the radar in your redrafts will continue to do so in week 1 of DFS play. The Chargers signal-caller sits as the tenth most expensive quarterback in DraftKings and will set his sights on a familiar foe in the Kansas City Chiefs. This is a Chiefs defense that fell off hard in 2017 and really showed no signs in the preseason of reversing that trend. Let’s not forget, as of this writing, Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry is still dealing with a nagging heel injury. Rivers has a career-best completion percentage in the month of September and I think those good times continue to roll in week 1. I’m looking for Rivers to finish 25-30 yards short of 300 in this one.
Honorable mention: Joe Flacco ($4,900) vs. Bills
Christian McCaffrey ($6,400)
In his rookie campaign, the question was simply whether Christian McCaffrey could sink or swim in the NFL. Now in his sophomore campaign, the question on everyone’s minds is just how high could a Norv Turner offense propel the Panthers back. We will get a taste of that answer in week 1 when the Carolina Panthers welcome in the Dallas Cowboys. This is a Cowboys defense that allowed the fifth most receiving yards to the running back position. With a full understanding that the Cowboys defense is improved, I still like Norv Turner to get the most out of McCaffrey immediately. The report in early August was that Ron Rivera and Norv Turner anticipated McCaffrey getting 25-30 touches a game. I still find that a tad ambitious but projecting the Panthers back with 20-23 touches is more than enough to surpass three times his week 1 price tag.
Rex Burkhead ($4,200)
Have you ever come across a price tag in DraftKings that you almost felt like it was an error? Yeah, that is how I feel about Rex Burkhead and his $4,200 price tag. If anything, his cost is as low as it is because of an injured knee that was being reported in mid to late August. As of this writing, Burkhead was a participant in practice this week and appears to be on track for a week 1 matchup against the Houston Texans. As Rotoworld has reported, all signs point to Burkhead being a focal point in this offense. Considering the Julian Edelman suspension and the Patriots keeping only three receivers on their final roster, do not be shocked to see Burkhead lining up in the slot. To close the regular season last year, Burkhead likely won you redraft leagues and daily fantasy cash. Expect more of the same to kick things off this Sunday.
Honorable mention: Kerryon Johnson ($4,400) vs. Jets
Adam Thielen ($6,900)
Last season, a majority of Adam Thielen’s success came from the slot position. So despite having a new offensive coordinator and quarterback, it is still comforting to hear that one of Minnesota’s most talented pass catchers will remain in the slot. While there is a lot to love about the weapons in Minnesota, I like Thielen to be one of the most productive Vikings this Sunday when they take on the 49ers. The addition of Richard Sherman has added some intrigue to the secondary but it should be noted that Sherman didn’t bring the legion of boom with him. Last season, Thielen caught 36% of his passes on third down and I expect that to be a reoccurring theme in this Sunday’s game. Don’t worry yourself with the left leg injury that was reported from practice last Tuesday. The Vikings pass catcher will haul in seven receptions and will be a terrific return on your investment.
Chris Hogan ($6,100)
This may seem like I’m picking on the Houston Texans but my Patriot selections have more to do with the Patriots and their limited weapons than anything else. Wide receiver Chris Hogan, who appears to be a man on an island, should get considerable attention from Tom Brady. As the Patriots reach the red zone, play action will be the name of the game. Between the twenties though, Brady will be looking to Hogan often and in a daily fantasy format that allows a full point per reception, I see dollar signs in this selection. Last season, 70% of Hogan’s receptions came between the twenties. I’m not naive, at some point, Bill Belichick will find a no-name receiver and turn him from a zero to a hero. But, In week 1, Brady will go with what he knows and that’s Chris Hogan.
Honorable mention: Michael Crabtree ($5,400) vs. Bills
Delanie Walker ($4,900)
A lot of the Titans talk this summer was centered around the upcoming sophomore season of Corey Davis. While the conversation was certainly a warranted one, it left Delanie Walker being a top tight end that almost nobody was talking about. If this Gridiron 3X article has anything to say about it though, after week 1, Walker will be a name worth discussing again. This Sunday, Walker and the Titans will head to Miami to take on a Dolphins team that allowed the most points to tight ends in 2017. Walker, who was the third most targeted tight end last year has dealt with a nagging toe injury this preseason but appears to be a full go for the season opener. In each of Marcus Mariota’s first three seasons, Walker has never received less than a 100 targets and I see no reason why that won’t be a reoccurring theme in 2018.
Honorable mention: Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($3,200)
Mike is a hardcore fantasy football fan. He has been doing serious writing for a couple of years now and loves finding the next big sleeper that no one is talking about. He also isn’t afraid to go against the grain and predict the next big bust. The fantasy community is as strong as ever and Mike is ready to help you win a title!