This week sees the long awaited return of the NFL and it’s time for everyone to set their first line-up/s of the season. This season I’ll be taking a look at DraftKings and pick players who I consider to be value each and every week of the season. The line-up at DraftKings consists of a quarter back, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end, one flex player and a Defense/Special team – from these I’ll be picking ten overall and at least one in each position.
Week One Fantasy Picks
Nick Foles – Philadelphia Eagles $8,500
The Eagles/Jaguars game is expected to be the second highest scoring game of the weekend and the Phillies are ten point favorites. Foles had the highest QB rating last season of 119.2 (Manning had a rating of 115.1, which shows how well Foles played) although he did only start ten games. The Jags were 25th in pass defense last year and although they might improve under Coach Gus Bradley, I don’t see major improvement.
Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears $7,800
With Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in the line-up, this quarterback has an easier job than most – and Cutler is a QB who had the best QB rating of his career last year. The sportsbooks have this as the fifth highest scoring game of the week and the Bears are seven point favorites. They face the Bills and Cutler and the Bears offense will expect to spend plenty of time on the park.
Montee Ball – Denver Broncos $7,000
What’s the best thing for a running back? A quarterback who is on fire and a defense who know it, so expect the Colts to focus on Manning. Knowshon Moreno took advantage of this fact last year, running in ten touchdowns and with Moreno now a Dolphin expect Ball to fill his boots successfully this year, who had more yards per rush than Moreno last year. They face the Colts who were 26th against the rush last year.
Frank Gore – San Francisco 49’ers $5,200
Last year the Dallas Cowboys were 27th when it comes to defending the run and expect Frank Gore to take advantage of this fact. Gore is a solid low salary pick this week who rushes for over a thousand yards year on year. This game is expected to be the 4th highest scoring game of the weekend, so expect offenses to dominate.
Chris Johnson – New York Jets $5,100
It will be interesting to see how Johnson fares with the Jets this year, the move to a new team possibly giving him a new lease of life. The offensive player of the year in 2009 has rushed for over a thousand yards every year since he joined the NFL. Johnson can score points both running and receiving and is a solid value pick.
Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos $8,100
Last year Thomas caught more touchdown passes than any other player in the NFL and although a repeat of last season by Manning and Thomas is unlikely, they’ll still be at the very top of the game. Although expensive, I see Thomas worth it this week, this game expecting to see more points than any other this week.
Jeremy Maclin –Philadelphia Eagles $5,700
Pairing up a quarterback with a wide receiver can be a very good tactic in daily fantasy sports and the Foles/Maclin combination could be a good one both this week and all season. Maclin missed 2013 with an ACL injury, but is expected to be the “go to guy” in the Eagles offense with DeSean Jackson now plying his trade with the Redskins.
Erik Decker – NY Jets $5,200
Decker caught eleven touchdown passes in 2013, although with Peyton Manning throwing the ball a wide receiver will expect to have a good season. Now playing for the Jets, it will be an interesting year for Decker, who has improved in yards per game year on year. This week the Jets host the Raiders who were 28th against the pass last season.
Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49’ers $4,800 Davis caught for 13 touchdowns last year at an average of 16.3 yards per catch. This game will be high scoring, so expect many chances for Davis, who scores a higher proportion of the 49’ers touchdowns than any other player for any other team in the NFL. For less than $5k, Davis is a bargain this week.
The New York Jets $3,900 – As you may have noticed I am drawn to the Jets this week, having picked both a running back and a wide receiver from this team. Because of this and with home field advantage, I expect the Jets to be in possession for a good amount of the game – limiting the Raiders opportunities to score.