DraftKings Plays Week 1
Despite the efforts of the Coronavirus, the NFL season is kicking off on time. After we all share in a collective sigh of relief, it is time to put together some winning daily fantasy lineups.
One of the most effective ways to help you win big on Draft Kings is to project which players can score three times the amount of their weekly price. Determining which players can achieve that is the exact purpose of this weekly article that Gridiron Experts has titled, 3X.
What is 3X?
If you are looking for an explanation as to what we mean by a player delivering three times their weekly salary, let’s use Nick Chubb as an example.
In his Week 1 matchup against the Ravens, Nick Chubb carries a price of $6,500 on Draft Kings. Chubb scoring three times his salary would mean that the Browns running back would score 19.5 points (6,500 x 3).
For a frame of reference on players hitting this mark, here are some Quarterback numbers from last season. It should come as no surprise that Lamar Jackson led all quarterbacks with 13 games of scoring three times his Draft King’s price. Second to Jackson was DeShaun Watson with eight games.
On top of a player scoring three times his cost, it can be extremely beneficial if they’re doing it at a value. While his 2019 season was cut short due to injury, Matthew Stafford is a player who comes to mind. In his eight games played last season, Stafford was able to score three times his cost on five occasions. Four out of those five times, Stafford was outside the top-10 in most expensive quarterbacks. His average finish in scoring in those games, seventh.
Now, let us take a look at who can help you cash-in in Week 1.
Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,800)
For Jimmy Garoppolo to achieve 3X status in Week 1, he will have to score 17.4 points. Hitting that mark should be well within the realm of possibility when the 49ers welcome in the Arizona Cardinals. Last season, Garoppolo had four games in which he scored more than 20 points. Two of those four games came against a Cardinals defense that allowed more points to quarterbacks than any other team. More specifically, the Cardinals were top-10 in points allowed to the position in five out of their eight road games.
The pricing of Garoppolo in this matchup seems like a gift to me. In his two 2019 matchups against the Cardinals, Garoppolo was priced at $6,500 and then $6,700. Those two prices had the 49ers signal-caller in the top seven of the most expensive quarterbacks. Fast-forwarding to this upcoming week, Garoppolo plays a Cardinals team that he averaged 33.27 points against, and he is seventeenth in cost at the position. Sure, the Cardinals’ defense should be improved, but I feel as if this is a lapse in judgment on the part of Draft Kings.
Cam Newton ($6,100)
Life after Tom Brady will begin in New England this Sunday when the Patriots welcome in the Miami Dolphins. Lining up under center for the Patriots will be Cam Newton, who will need to score 18.3 points to hit his 3X mark. There are a couple of elements that support a strong start from the former Carolina Panther.
While I will grant you that 2018 feels like ancient history, it still serves as a barometer as to what Newton can do when healthy. In that season, Newton exceeded his 3X expectations in nine out of his 14 games played. While hitting 3X is the theme of this article, Newton was also a top-10 quarterback in seven games. Following a forgotten 2019 season and almost a full calendar year of healing his injuries, Newton will now face a Dolphins defense that in 2019 was in the top-10 in points allowed to quarterbacks on eight occasions. Two of those eight games came against an offense orchestrated by Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels.
Another thing to take into account is the rushing ability of Newton. Second-year running back, Damien Harris is on the IR and will be out of the Patriots lineup till at least Week 4. Up next for injured Patriots running backs is Sony Michel, who is recovering from off-season foot surgery and will reportedly be eased back into the Patriots offense. With those injuries at the running back position, we will find out early if Newton has anything left in his legs. Taking all of this into account with the opposing quarterback being a daily fantasy darling, Ryan Fitzpatrick, I fully expect Newton to be in a position to deliver three times his cost.
Other 3X Options: Tom Brady ($6,500), Carson Wentz ($6,300), Derek Carr ($5,900)
Boston Scott ($4,800)
Initially, Miles Sanders was nominated as one of the top running backs this week. That was brought to a grinding halt when it was announced that Sanders would not be making the trip with the team to Washington as he would continue resting his hamstring. Following that, all eyes are on Boston Scott who will now assume the lead ball-carrier duties for the Philadelphia Eagles.
If there is any silver lining that comes from this it would be the price tag. Initially, Sanders would have come with a price-tag of $6,300. The salary demands for Scott are not nearly as high as he comes in with a DraftKings price tag of $4,800. For Scott to reach his 3X expectations, he will need to score 14.4 fantasy points.
Scott is a player who caught the eyes of daily fantasy players late last season when he had two with 20 or more fantasy points. While both of those games came against another NFC East team, the New York Giants, Scott also had a good game against this same Washington defense when he scored 13.50 points back in Week 15.
Washington allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to backs last season. While the inclusion of Chase Young and Ron Rivera as head coach are improvements, there will be growing pains. Those expected growing pains will only make the transition from Sanders to Scott smooth. The injury to Sanders might have Scott feeling like a chalk play but he will be a productive one at that.
Marlon Mack ($5,300)
Here is the point of the article in which I go full heel. Despite the infinite amount of declarations that this backfield belongs to Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack will still have a presence. Week 1 will serve as a prime example when Mack and the Colts will head to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. For Mack to deliver on his 3X expectations, the 24-year old back will need to score 15.9 fantasy points. Against the Jaguars defense, that number is certainly within reach.
On paper, the Jaguars were sixth in fewest fantasy points allowed on a per-game basis to running backs. In reality, the defense will be feeling the effects of several player departures. That even began to show in the second half of last year as six of the seven games that the Jaguars allowed fewer than 25 points to the running back position had come in the first half of the season.
Lastly is the Colts’ impressive offensive lines. Ranked as the best offensive line by Pro Football Focus, the Colts should be able to control the line of scrimmage and allow Mack to rush to the next level of defenders with ease. Have no fear, Jonathon Taylor supporters. While I believe that Mack has the better Week 1 performance, Taylor still holds value at his $5,700 price tag.
Other 3X Options: Josh Jacobs ($6,800), Antonio Gibson ($4,000), James White ($6,000)
DeSean Jackson ($4,900)
Among all positions, in each of the last two seasons, there has only been one player to finish Week 1 in the Top-5 in points scored. That player is DeSean Jackson, and he will look to make it three straight seasons this Sunday when the Eagles take on the Washington Football Team.
For Jackson to deliver on his 3X expectations, the Eagles veteran will need to score 14.7 points. While Jackson’s 2019 season was brief, he still managed to do his damage against Washington. In their Week 1 matchup last season, Jackson would pummel the Washington secondary as he scored 38.40 fantasy points. That outing would be Jackson’s best fantasy performance since Draft Kings started recording NFL stats in 2013.
On top of the defense being a historically ideal matchup, Jackson looks to be one of the few healthy options at wide receiver for the Eagles. Fellow veteran pass-catcher, Alshon Jeffery is expected to be out until Week 7. Then there is Eagles’ rookie Jalen Reagor who has been out of action with a shoulder until returning to individual drills this week. As of this writing, Reagor’s status for Week 1 has yet to be determined.
Even if Reagor winds up playing, my gut instinct is that Wentz will look to lean on Jackson’s experience early and often. Coupling that with a Washington secondary that has been in the top half in points allowed to the position over the last two years, there is a reason why DeSean Jackson is considered chalk.
Jamison Crowder ($5,200)
No matter how experienced a daily fantasy player you are, at some point, we have all scrolled past a player with a bad matchup. To me, Jamison Crowder in Week 1 is a player that you should not look past. Crowder and the Jets will begin their 2020 season with a trip to Buffalo to take on the Bills.
Last season, the Bills allowed the fifth-fewest points to the wide receiver position. As previously mentioned, this particular matchup is not one to bypass. Last season, Crowder was one of 16 wide receivers to be targeted more than 120 times. What might surprise some is that 22.1% or Crowder’s targets came against the Bills secondary.
With those targets, Crowder would tally for just 165 yards and one touchdown. Those numbers might not seem eye-popping but let’s not forget that DraftKings is a point per reception format. The 22 receptions that Crowder would haul in during those two matchups would allow the Jets pass-catcher to eclipse his 3X in both games. If Crowder maintains his position as the Jets slot receiver in Week 1, I fully expect Sam Darnold to target his veteran receiver.
Terry McLaurin ($5,600)
Despite the injuries on the offensive ball for the Eagles, I expect that the Washington Football Team will need to play catchup. While Antonio Gibson is the understandable flavor of the week on social media, when Dwayne Haskins drops back this Sunday, Terry McLaurin will be the number one target.
Last season, the Eagles were one of six defenses to allow 20 or more touchdown receptions and the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Likely covering McLaurin this weekend will be Avonte Maddox, who was given a lackluster 59.9 grade by Pro Football Focus. While Darius Slay will have an impact on the Eagles secondary, he is not likely to line up against McLaurin for the entirety of the game. If McLaurin does have a concern this weekend, it is making sure that the connection between Haskins and himself is leaps and bounds better than it was last year.
When reading up on some of the other players mentioned in this article, there is a reoccurring theme of players previously outplaying their Week 1 opponent, and McLaurin is no different. In his two matchups against the Eagles, McLaurin crushed our 3X model as he scored a combined 53.5 fantasy points. The Washington and Eagles matchup packs a daily fantasy punch.
Other 3X Options: DK Metcalf ($5,800), Marvin Jones Jr. ($5,500), Parris Campbell ($3,900), Henry Ruggs ($5,100)
Ian Thomas ($3,400)
In Week 1 of last season, only one tight end that finished in the top-5 in scoring at the position carried a price tag of more than $4,000. With that in mind, if you are looking for a bargain at the tight end position, the Panthers’ Ian Thomas is a player to keep an eye on.
In what will be Matt Rhule’s head coaching debut, the Panthers will welcome in a Las Vegas Raiders team that last year was responsible for allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Thomas scored 10+ points in only one game last season, but that was while fighting a losing battle for targets with Greg Olsen. As Olsen has headed to Seattle, there are now 82 vacated targets to be had.
The other plus for Thomas is the Panthers having a stable quarterback in the form of Teddy Bridgewater. While the addition of Robby Anderson seems like an unorthodox fit with Bridgewater, Thomas is a player who suits Bridgewater’s skillset well. There were three times in Bridgwater’s five starts last in which a tight end scored 10+ points. Short and intermediate passes will be the name of the game this weekend, and Thomas will benefit from it.
Mark Andrews ($6,000)
While I do not tend to bet large on tight ends, Mark Andrews is a player who can prove to be worth the investment. For Andrews to deliver on our 3X model, the Ravens tight end will need to score 18 fantasy points.
This Browns’ defense has been consistently bad against tight ends for a long time. So long that you have to go back to 2015 to see the last time the Browns were not top-10 in points given up. In regards to 2019, the Browns were one of just two teams to allow double-digit touchdowns to the position.
All of that bodes well for Andrews, who last season had four games with 20 or more fantasy points. One of those games came against this Browns defense. On top of leading the Ravens in targets last season, Andrews also had 17.3% of his targets against the Browns. With the understanding that Andrews is the second-most expensive tight end on the Week 1 slate, he is a solid play.
Other 3X Options: Jared Cook ($5,500), Hayden Hurst ($4,300), Jack Doyle ($3,600)