It’s time folks. The moment we have all been waiting for ever since DraftKings launched their Week 1 prices as Sunday quickly approaches. Tinkering lineups no less than a hundred times, there are endless possibilities to construct a masterful lineup. Luckily, we dive into the best and most valuable plays that you can choose from when painting that beautiful masterpiece of a roster. Without further ado, here we go:
Per usual, these follow standard Draftkings prices containing games in the Millionaire Maker (No Thur/Mon games)
- Top Shelf
- Ben Roethlisberger ($7,300) – Any time you get the chance to play the Cleveland Browns, it’s generally taken advantage of. The lone bright spot of the Browns defense was All-Pro corner Joe Haden, who was just released and signed by the Steelers. Big Ben takes his loaded offense with the best receiver in football to take on a depleted and bad secondary. What’s not to like?
- Retail Price
- Russell Wilson ($6,900) – Wilson had a disappointing 2016 campaign, which might scare people away from taking him Week 1. Don’t be afraid. With a now healthy ankle his mobility and scrambling brings extra points to the table. Between a lack of a running game in Seattle, a poor Packers defense, and Seattle being in a road/underdog scenario, the stars are aligning for Russ to right the ship.
- ***Derek Carr ($6,700)*** – Carr made this list over Mariota because similar to Wilson he finds himself in a road/underdog scenario. Carr had a breakout 2016 and took that next step as a QB and leader. The Titans were a very underwhelming secondary and one of the NFL’s worst defenses when it came to opposing fantasy QBs. It will be interesting to see how much Marshawn Lynch is used in the offense, but most production should come through the air.
- Kirk Cousins ($6,400) – Cousins finished third last year in passing yards, and expects to have an even better 2017 campaign. Some new offseason additions out wide and the return of All-Pro tight end Jordan Reed should set Cousins and the Redskins offense up for success against a struggling Eagles secondary.
- Carson Palmer ($6,000) – Palmer is very under appreciated, especially knowing that David Johnson is the alpha of the offense. However, Johnson is a huge part of passing game, along with the other talented Cardinals receivers. Palmer will be an underdog on the road in Detroit, who also happens to have a below average secondary. He could put up nice numbers for a low price.
- Bang For Your Buck
- Carson Wentz ($5,300) – Wentz was a throwing machine his rookie year in Philadelphia. The end numbers weren’t great, but the volume was there. Year Two should be much better for Wentz as the team went out and added Alshon Jeffery to the roster. On top of that, Philadelphia has no stud running back, and the team refuses to name a featured guy. Should mean more action for Wentz against the Redskins. Just don’t pick on Josh Norman.
- Top Shelf
- Le’Veon Bell ($9,800) – Bell returns to the Steelers fresh and ready to torment defenses again. He’s mentioned that he’s ready and planning for 30 touches Week 1 against the Browns. Even if he doesn’t reach 30, he’s a lock for 20+ points. In the event that he does get 30 touches, you could see numbers North of 40 points against that shit team.
- LeSean McCoy ($8,200) – McCoy is the lone bright spot left in the Buffalo offense. Sammy Watkins is now gone and Jordan Matthews is dealing with an injury still so Tyrod Taylor doesn’t really have many weapons to work with. McCoy will be option A,B and possibly C Week 1 so his volume and usage work should be sky high.
- Retail Price
- ***Todd Gurley ($6,000)*** – I love Gurley in Week 1 after seeing that Scott Tolzien will be starting for the Colts in the opener. With the Rams at home, they should be in control of this game while setting the tempo on the ground, allowing Goff to come along slowly. The Colts have notoriously been ATROCIOUS at stopping the run, so I’m salivating over Gurley’s potential. He’s been performing much better under Head Coach Sean McVay’s offense so far.
- Christian McCaffrey ($5,400) – I’ve done a remarkable heel turn on McCaffrey heading into 2017. His talent is just too much to be kept on the sidelines as Carolina will find ways to get the ball in his hands. The threat of a big play every touch he has is beyond real. He should be unleashed Week 1 against a bad 49ers roster.
- Isaiah Crowell ($5,300) – Everything that happened for Crowell this offseason was just pure gravy. The Browns beefed up their offensive line to make it one of, if not the, NFL’s best. Then, coach Hue Jackson expressed his interest in feeding Crowell a lot more this year. If Cleveland is going to make it a game against Pittsburgh then they will have to establish the run and control the clock through the ground game.
- Bang For Your Buck
- Bilal Powell ($4,900) – Powell’s low salary has to come from the fact that his team is a goddamn dumpster fire. Pretty ignorant if you ask me, seeing as Powell was one of the best players in all of fantasy to end 2016. He got so many touches that his numbers went through the roof. He’s the only real threat to do serious damage in New York, so in a matchup with Josh McCown vs Nathan Peterson it’s likely to be the running backs that get it done.
- Rob Kelley ($4,300) – Kelley was able to hold onto his starting role all offseason despite many thinking Samaje Perine would take over. Perine in fact struggled, meaning Kelley’s got a longer leash and the majority of ground game to work with for the opener. A starter going at this price is hard to pass on.
- Darren Sproles ($3,900) – With the Eagles refusing to name a featured back, that puts LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood and Sproles into the mix for RB usage. Blount stinks, Smallwood is a nobody, so I see Sproles being the real productive one for Philadelphia. His PPR usage will help to pad his stats with short dump offs and screens.
- Top Shelf
- Antonio Brown ($8,800) – As we mentioned earlier, the Browns stink and just cut their best corner in Joe Haden. That leaves nobody to cover the best receiver in the NFL. It’s almost too good of a play here and shocking that Brown isn’t above 9k.
- Julio Jones ($8,500) – The Falcons have expressed interest in targeting Julio Jones more frequently in the red zone. Great news for a player with only four touchdown catches last season (shocking, I know). Against a bad Bears team, Julio and the Falcons should have no problem moving the chains and putting up good numbers.
- Retail Price
- Doug Baldwin ($6,700) – Dougie Fresh finds himself matched up against a bad secondary while getting his healthy QB back. There isn’t much surrounding talent in the Seahawks offense aside from Jimmy Graham, so Baldwin should get plenty of looks in the opening weekend.
- ***Terrelle Pryor ($6,100)*** – Pryor was the big offseason addition for the Redskins. Immediately upgrading from the terrible Browns team to a pass heavy offense in which he’s the WR1. Pryor’s large frame should enable him to dominate in the red zone and become one of Cousins’ favorite targets. A Philadelphia team that has struggled at corner over the years seems ripe for the picking. Pryor needs to be in my lineups Week 1.
- Martavis Bryant ($6,000) – Bryant has finally been fully reinstated and is ready to roll Week 1 against the Browns. Similar to Brown, he’s facing a cupcake team while historically boosting Big Ben’s stats just from his presence. Bryant’s ceiling is almost as high as Brown’s but going for a fraction of the price.
- Kelvin Benjamin ($5,900) – Kelvin, I’m sorry for all the mean things we at the RSJ said to you during the offseason about your weight. You should take it out on the 49ers defense in Week 1 thanks to your large (in-shape) frame while being a force in the red zone. We know Newton loves to target Benjamin, and I’m expecting a Benjamin much closer to 2015 than 2016.
- Bang For Your Buck
- John Brown ($4,800) – When on the field, Brown has proven to be a game changer. He caught two balls for two touchdowns in his last preseason game, showing his massive boom/bust potential. On the road against Detroit is a plus matchup for Brown to use as a deeper play if looking for roster flexibility.
- Robby Anderson ($3,800) – After the injury to Quincy Enunwa, Anderson was left as the WR1 for the Jets. Not much to brag about, but a WR1 is still the primary guy. The departure of Stephon Gilmore in the offseason weakens the Bills previously strong secondary, potentially enough for Anderson to squeak out a solid performance at an extremely low cost.
- Cooper Kupp ($3,700) – Kupp has gotten plent of attention from both the media and Jared Goff, seeing as he’s been the latter’s favorite target this summer. Kupp has the makings of a Cole Beasley-esque PPR guy that can get you a solid double digit performance and maybe even sneak a touchdown in there. Colts corner Vontae Davis is expected to miss this game too, allowing the Rams to pick on the Colts secondary even more.
- Kendall Wright ($3,200) – Wright finds himself here after Cameron Meredith went down with a knee injury for the year. Kevin White is the popular guy right now, but hasn’t displayed the ability to stay on the field at all. Wright has had past success, and is likely to make a bigger impact Week 1 for Mike Glennon and the Bears. At this price, Wright is worth taking a look at for a flier.
- Top Plays
- Greg Olsen ($6,200) – Olsen dominated the beginning of the 2016 season and was one of the most consistent tight ends to start. His production dipped toward the end of the season, but when he and Cam Newton were clicking the numbers were there. San Francisco doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of opposing offenses so Olsen could play a big role in Week 1.
- Jimmy Graham ($5,100) – Graham looked like a man possessed when he was healthy last season. The red zone monster was unstoppable at times, and now his healthy QB is back against a bad defense in Green Bay. The Seahawks will have to throw, making Graham a very nice option.
- Bargain Plays
- Delanie Walker ($4,300) – With all the new offseason additions for the Titans at receiver, Walker is still Mariota’s most trusted and favorite target. Their matchup against Oakland has the highest Over/Under total at 51.5 so a shootout is likely. Walker hooked up with his QB for a touchdown in the second preseason game and has proven to be a touchdown threat every game he plays in.
- ***Zach Ertz ($3,500)*** – Ertz is in a great spot this week against the Redskins. I loved him in my initial Way-Too-Early Lineup almost a month ago, and I love him even more now. The departure of Jordan Matthews allows Ertz to play more in the slot and creates a ton of more targets for the tight end. With Josh Norman likely to lock down Jeffery, Ertz should be the main weapon for Wentz and the Eagles.
- Top Plays
- Buffalo Bills ($3,900) – The Bills have a very good defense and get the luxury of opening against the New York Jets at home. There’s really not much more to say here, it’s the Jets we’re talking about. That’s how bad they are.
- ***Houston Texans ($3,800)*** – The Texans have one of the NFL’s best defenses that doesn’t really get talked about like the Broncos or Seahawks. Opening the year at home against the Jaguars is mouth watering considering turnover machine Blake Bortles still has the grasp on the QB1 job. Houston will eat him alive.
- Los Angeles Rams ($3,200) – When the news of Andrew Luck being OUT Week 1 hit and Scott Tolzien was named the starter, I rushed to updated my lineup. The Rams have a sneaky good defense and I love to play home teams, so when I saw LA matched up against Tolzien for much less than the top two, I had to pounce.
- Dallas Cowboys ($2,900) – Here’s a stretch play if you really need flexibility. The Giants could possibly be without elite receiver Odell Beckham Jr Week 1 due to an ankle sprain. They have limited weapons at receiver outside of Beckham, and their top running back is Paul Perkins. Add in the fact that Eli Manning has the very likely chance to self-destruct on a common basis and Dallas might not look like that bad of a play after all.
Good luck everyone. Go get em’ Week 1. Feel free to tweet me your lineups or ask me any questions at my Twitter Handle @theJMcGuinness.