2018 Fantasy Football: DraftKings NFL Week 1 Picks, Sleepers and Strategy

Take advantage of the early salary release to find Week 1's best plays.

Here we go folks. It’s that time of the year and real meaningful football is ready to be played. The salaries have been out for awhile now, allowing us to dissect and find the best plays for you to make some money in Week 1.


  • Deshaun Watson ($6,700)
    • Some might be driven away from Watson fresh off his ACL tear that ended his 2017 season early. He torched the Patriots defense last year as a rookie, who now also enlist a new defensive coordinator and lost top two corner Malcolm Butler in the offseason. This matchup also has the highest over/under total of 51 so a shootout is expected.
  • Andy Dalton ($5,800)
    • Using Dalton in this situation would be strictly to attack the Colts weaker secondary. As three point underdogs, they will be having to keep up and move the ball effectively. As we’ll get to later, the Bengals top option has a favorable matchup and Dalton is expected to have low ownership.
  • Tyrod Taylor ($5,400)
    • People are falling in love with Tyrod thanks to HBO’s Hard Knocks, especially with the new weapons surrounding him. The Browns are home underdogs that will need to keep up with Pittsburgh’s stout offense. The price is so low on Taylor that it’s very difficult to pass on when you can expect a reliable performance.

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  • Alvin Kamara ($8,500)
    • There’s a good chance Kamara is one of the highest owned players this week in Ingram’s absence. The team also released Boston Scott before signing Mike Gillislee. The Saints are huge home favorites, and we’d expect Kamara to see a heavy workload with plenty of touches.
  • Christian McCaffrey ($6,400)
    • If the preseason is any indication, then McCaffrey is in for a big time workload this year. One of the benefits of salaries being released early is you are getting CMac at a discounted price where people thought he’d be splitting with CJ Anderson. McCaffrey should run wild over the Dallas defense.
  • Alex Collins ($5,600)
    • The Ravens have a big spread over the Bills this week favoring the run game. Buffalo also possesses some elite secondary players, which should make it tough for Flacco to throw often. Collins would be a great stack with the Ravens defense.
  • Rex Burkhead ($4,200)
    • Rex is another guy looking to see a high ownership percentage. With Michel working to come back from injury, and Edelman on suspension, there are limited playmakers for the Patriots offense. Burkhead figures to work early downs as well as down on the goal line in a high scoring game. One of the better bargains this week.
  • Peyton Barber ($4,100)
    • Barber won the starting job for the Bucs in their opener in New Orleans. While the game script isn’t very favorable for Barber, the action he should see as well as his usage numbers should be respectable for his current price tag. Tampa Bay will need all the help it can get.

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  • Antonio Brown ($8,600)
    • I liked AB a good amount heading into Cleveland already, but with Lev Bell likely holding himself out from action that’s a huge piece of work to be distributed out. Brown has dominated in games where Bell has been sidelined and is blessed with the top WR/CB advantage score over Terrance Mitchell per ProFootball Focus.
  • AJ Green ($7,300)
    • Green also finds himself in a favorable WR/CB matchup in his contest with the Colts. They possess a weaker secondary that Green should be fully capable of beating. The Bengals offense trending up as a whole.
  • Stefon Diggs ($6,300)
    • The connection between Diggs and new QB Kirk Cousins is very apparent through their preseason work. He’s the big play threat looking to put up serious numbers. He may be lined up against Richard Sherman, but the former all-pro corner is looking a little slower than normal and capable of being burned.
  • Emmanuel Sanders ($5,000)
    • Another guy that has risen up our draft boards this preseason, Sanders has caught the eye of his new QB. He’s filling into the crucial Adam Thielen role on short crossing routes racking up receptions. Sanders had the highest target percentage of all WR’s with their starting QB this preseason. And he now faces a super depleted Seahawks defense no longer resembling the Legion of Boom.
  • Kenny Stills ($4,700)
    • We weren’t big on DeVante Parker this year and now he’s out for Week 1 leaving Stills as the starter and guy to rack up receptions. The return of Tannehill should help the offense raise it’s level of production.
  • Keelan Cole ($3,800)
    • Similar to McCaffrey, Cole benefits from early pricing and the injury to Marqise Lee. Cole is the guy billed to replace and fill in mostly during Lee’s absence. His super low price of $3,800 is going to attract a lot of attention.

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  • Rob Gronkowski ($6,900)
    • With the lack of weapons surrounding Brady in New England’s offense and security blanket Julian Edelman on the shelf, Gronk should see serious work Week 1 and will possess a big advantage over the weaker Texans defense.
  • Jack Doyle ($3,600)
    • The return of Andrew Luck is the story to follow for the Colts and how Luck’s shoulder holds up. I’m not sure if he’ll be throwing bombs to Hilton just yet, and the top receiver also faces a tough matchup in Dre Kirkpatrick. Doyle on the other hand, should be peppered on short routes, and has the top matchup against Bengals Shaun Williams.
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($3,200)
    • ASJ is dealing with an ankle injury, but the flow chart rests for nobody. The Jags face the Giants in Week 1 who are notoriously bad against the tight end. We saw David Njoku catch two scores in preseason action against them, and how much can you really trust Bortles to open up the offense.


  • Baltimore Ravens ($3,800)
    • It makes sense why the Ravens are the top defense this week. One of the league’s better defenses starting at home against a Bills team which will trot out Nathan Peterman as it’s QB. The Bills lack serious weapons, and Peterman has shown to be very turnover prone.
  • Carolina Panthers ($3,200)
    • In our team previews, it might have shocked you to see the Dallas Cowboys ranked so low. Think about it though, no more Dez or Witten, and Dak Prescott just isn’t that good of a QB. If Kuechly and the Panthers defense can lock in on Zeke, it could be a long day for the Cowboys offense.
  • Arizona Cardinals ($2,500)
    • I like the Cardinals if you need a cheap defensive option to plug in. Home game with Patrick Peterson to take away the Redskins top receiver and Chandler Jones on the outside racking up sacks. Washington has lost Guice, and we don’t know how healthy both Thompson and Reed are. Lot of question marks surrounding that team early on.

Do you have any early leans? Sound off below or hit me up on Twitter!


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