0 NFL Week 1 Breakdown | DFS Karma

NFL Week 1 Breakdown


Note: Injury Concerns will be updated for each team on Saturdays when there's more clarity on each situation. I also have excluded the Tampa Bay/Miami game due to the postponement.


Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots

Projected Vegas Score: Patriots 28.5, Chiefs 20 

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- Are you ready for some football?! Finally, the NFL season is upon us and we open up with a marquee matchup on Thursday night between the defending champion Patriots and the Chiefs. Alex Smith remains the starter for Kansas City, though his days may be numbered with the Chiefs spending a first round draft pick on Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes flashed in the preseason but not enough to unseat Smith just yet. I pretty much never will have interest in Smith as a fantasy option due to his game manager mentality, especially against an even better Patriots secondary than last season. As for the Patriots it's the same old story, we are headed into what feels like the 100th season of Brady/Belichick and there's no signs of slowing down. The Chiefs have an above average secondary, but the reason I'm not particularly interested in Brady is with this game falling on Thursday and there being better options on Sunday. 


Running Backs- Our old friend from last year, Spencer Ware, went down with a season ending injury in preseason which now thrusts rookie Kareem Hunt into heavy usage for the Chiefs. I'm high on Hunt going forward, but would rather wait to use him in DFS with him lining up against a very good Patriots run defense on the road in a game the Chiefs will most likely be trailing early. As for the Patriots, it's kind of the same old story in their backfield as well. There's four names in consideration here with James White and Dion Lewis returning, and the additions of Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee via free agency. I'm pretty high on Burkhead based off the preseason and some of the buzz around the Patriots writers, but like Hunt i think it's smart to wait until we get a look at how these guys will be used throughout each game script. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- With the departure of Jeremy Maclin in Kansas City that pretty much leaves us with our old buddy Travis Kelce and last years breakout star Tyreek Hill. The Patriots typically like to key in on one guy and completely shut him off, so it's kind of tough to guess if that will be Kelce or Hill. Kelce has thrived in the past when Maclin missed games so it will be hard for fantasy owners not to expect a big season from him. I don't see Hill getting over the top much tonight, both of these guys have tough matchup and i don't really expect the Chiefs to score a ton in this spot. For the Patriots, we add in Brandin Cooks who comes over via trade with the Saints and we subtract Julian Edelman who went down with a season ending injury in week three of the preseason. Cooks should have a nice season, but he draws a matchup with Marcus Peters on Thursday and that's not something i want to attack. Rob Gronkowski is back and healthy and primed to have a monster season for the champs. He has what looks like a tough matchup on paper with Eric Berry, but Gronk had no issues handling Berry in their playoff meeting last season and i would expect more of the same on Thursday. Chris Hogan will reportedly move into the slot with Edelman going down and Brady already looked his way a ton after Edelman got hurt in the preseason. Hogan is probably my favorite point per dollar play on the Patriots in week one. 


Overall Outlook- I would have more interest in this game if it was on Sunday because i really don't play Thursday-Monday slates and if i do I'm more inclined to fade the Thursday game based off ownership. I don't think i would want to spend up on Gronk here, so if i was looking for a play from the Thursday game it would be Chris Hogan. 


New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills 

Projected Vegas Score: Bills 24.5, Jets 16 

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- In what lines up as one of the ugliest games of the week, there's not much to cover here. Josh McCown enters his 107th year in the NFL and he will lead the Jets out of the tunnel on Sunday afternoon. Tyrod Taylor looks like he will play after suffering a concussion in the preseason. The Jets are so bad that normally i would say we might have interest in Tyrod here but I think the Bills are just going to ground and pound with LeSean McCoy. I don't have interest in either of these guys week one. 


Running Backs- The Jets are still clinging onto Matt Forte, and I will have interest in Bilal Powell going forward but not until they officially give up on Forte. As for the Bills, we can look to fire up LeSean McCoy in this spot. He's a home favorite, which we love for DFS, and the matchup is better than it appears on paper. The Jets just traded Sheldon Richardson and with the departure of Sammy Watkins, Shady is all the Bills really have. They are only carrying three backs on their roster, one of which is Mike Tolbert who really isn't a running back. The other is Joe Banyard who has under 25 rushing attempts in his career. There's a realistic possibility that Shady will see 98% of the carries in week one and he shouldn't have a problem getting in the end zone. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The Jets wide receiver corps is filled with guys that casual NFL fans probably have never heard of. They have preseason darling Robby Anderson coupled with talented rookie ArDarius Stewart and recently re-signed Jeremy Kerley. I don't have much interest there with the terrible quarterback situation. The Bills made news recently when they traded Sammy Watkins for Jordan Matthews. After Matthews it's rookie Zay Jones who i expect to be okay in the future, but I don't have any interest in week one. 


Overall Outlook: It's pretty much LeSean McCoy or bust here. Shady is a top play in all formats but outside of that it's pretty ugly in this game. 


Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears

Projected Vegas Score: Falcons 27.5, Bears 21

Injury Concerns:

Quarterbacks- And here...we...go! Finally, an appealing game. I expect the Bears to have a more funnel like defense this season with a stellar front seven and weaker secondary. Matt Ryan is coming off an MVP campaign and while i expect some regression from his gaudy 2016 numbers he's still an above average NFL QB. I think it will be interesting to see how this offense looks as a whole with the departure of Kyle Shanahan for San Francisco. The Bears are like the Chiefs in the sense that they spent a top draft pick on a QB but are choosing to sit him for a veteran, though the Bears are a much worse team overall than the Chiefs. Mike Glennon gets the nod for Chicago in week one but I'll take a hard pass there. 


Running Backs- It's pretty much the same story for the Falcons this season with their two-headed monster being Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Like i said above, I think the Bears are going to have a decent run defense this season, but the Falcons should be winning and the game script favors running backs. It will be tough to know how Steve Sarkisian will use these two backs in comparison to how they were used last season. The Bears bring back their breakout player from last season, Jordan Howard. They also signed Benny Cunningham and drafted Tarik Cohen, and i expect both to steal passing down work from Howard this season. That situation is scary as a whole because the Bears should be trailing which means we could see some increased work for those pass catching backs in week one. 


Wide Receivers- Julio Jones headlines the Falcons receivers and I don't expect him to get force fed like he did last season under Shanahan, but i do expect them to utilize him in the red zone more this season. It's hard to use Mohamed Sanu or Taylor Gabriel in DFS, though Austin Hooper is an intriguing salary saver at tight end. Cameron Meredith went down with a knee injury in preseason which now leave us with Kendall Wright and Kevin White for the Bears. White has an absolutely terrible matchup against Desmond Truant, who ranked 38th in coverage last season according to Pro Football Focus, but also missed the entire second half of the season. Kendall Wright should slide into a slot role and could be a strong point per dollar play, especially in full PPR. 


Overall Outlook- The Falcons have a monster total but I'm not sure if the game script will benefit Ryan/Julio enough for me to go overweight on them. Devonta Freeman is a strong tournament play. I would like to use Jordan Howard, but i think the pass catching inability is too risky for me to use him in anything other than a large field GPP. Kendall Wright is playable, but i prefer him on Draftkings. 


Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals

Projected Vegas Score: Bengals 22.75, Ravens 19.75 

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- A couple of familiar faces headline this game with Andy Dalton squaring off with Joe Flacco. Dalton looks to rebound after an underwhelming 2016 season, and i think he has a safe floor here but there are much better plays in his price range. Flacco didn't play a single snap in the preseason but appears ready to go for this game. I would look elsewhere for my QB in week one. 


Running Backs- The Bengals have a three headed monster with Jeremy Hill, Gio Bernard and Joe Mixon. As excited as i am to watch Joe Mixon, none of these guys can really be used until we get some clarity on the situation. The Ravens have one of the worst running back situations in the NFL with Terrance West set to start for them Sunday. They brought in Danny Woodhead via free agency this season and he is a PPR darling. I think he will be semi-popular week one and I'm personally not going to chase that. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- A.J. Green, A.J. Green and more A.J. Green. Green is back healthy and looked sharp in his time with Dalton in the preseason. Many will highlight that he has a tough matchup on paper with Ravens CB Jimmy Smith, but Green has punished Smith throughout his career. He missed both Ravens matchup last season, but lit them up in 2015 including a 200+ yard game. Tyler Eifert is also back healthy for the Bengals, but the Ravens have a strong history against tight ends. The Ravens brought in Jeremy Maclin from Kansas City, and while i like him going forward i think it's too risky in week one. 


Overall Outlook- A.J. Green is one of the top plays in all formats this week. Outside of him it's pretty iffy, with guys like Eifert and Maclin being reserved for GPPS. 


Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions 

Projected Vegas Score: Cardinals 25, Lions 23

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- Nothing changes here as it's Carson Palmer for the Cardinals against Matt Stafford for the Lions. The stars are aligning for Palmer it seems like in week one at he's one of my favorite tournament options. It's in a dome, he's favor, high total and the Lions defense is not intimidating whatsoever. For Stafford, he has a tough matchup against a really good Cardinals secondary and i don't typically like using underdog QB's in DFS. 


Running Backs- DAVID FREAKING JOHNSON. In case you haven't heard, this guy can play football. He's pretty much an absolutely elite play every time he takes the field going forward and is expected to get around 30 touches per game this season. For the Lions, it's a bit of a different story. They feature two similar backs in Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. Neither of these guys are locked into set heavy volume, which really turns me off for the time being. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Larry Fitzgerald is still alive and well, and he has a great matchup in week one against Quandree Diggs/D.J. Hayden. If we get reports that John Brown will be a full go Sunday, i have interest in him as well. But, Fitz is one of my top WR plays on the week in all formats. The Lions have a pretty crowded WR situation, much like their backfield. Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, talented rookie Kenny Golladay and often injured Eric Ebron lead their arsenal of pass catchers. The only one I have any interest in for week one is Tate, and that's for tournaments only. 


Overall Outlook- Palmer-Johnson-Fitzgerald onslaught. I also love John Brown and I'm hoping people overlook him this week after he hooked up for two scores with Palmer in week three of the preseason. After that i might mix in some Tate in GPPs, but I'm not that excited about it. I'm all over the Cardinals in week one. 


Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns 

Projected Vegas Score: Steelers 27.5, Browns 19.5

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- Ben Roethlisberger meets rookie Deshone Kizer in his first start for the Browns...their 750th starting Quarterback in my lifetime. As Rotoworld.com's Rich Hribar pointed out in his weekly matchups article, "Ben Roethlisberger has ranked higher than QB12 in just two of 17 games in 1PM road kickoffs over the past five seasons." It's no secret that Ben has horrible home/road splits all together, and i have interest in some Steelers skill players but i think i'll pass on paying up for Ben in week one. As for Kizer, he flashed in the preseason and does have some rushing ability. His price tag is insanely cheap across the industry, he's in play as a GPP flier. 


Running Backs- LE'VEON FREAKING BELL. Much like David Johnson this guy is just an anomaly when it comes to fantasy running backs. I think the Browns defense will be improved this season, but nobody is stopping Bell and after holding out all of camp he should be fresh and ready to go in week one. He's an elite play in all formats. The Browns are reportedly going to run the ball more this season and that bodes well for Isaiah Crowell. In 2016, Crow averaged 6.0 YPC out of the shot gun, and his rookie QB will be working from the shot gun quite often. I hate taking underdog backs, but Crowell makes sense as a GPP leverage play and i will have some exposure. Duke Johnson has been working as the slot receiver on 3rd downs in the preseason for the Browns and he always has PPR potential, but i'll wait and see how he is used in comparison to Crow this season. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The rich get richer and the best offense in the NFL gets even scarier with the return of Martavis Bryant. Bryant is the perfect compliment to Brown in the receiving corps and he actually has the better matchup of the two. With the departure of Joe Haden, the Browns will stick Jamar Taylor on Antonio Brown who ranked 17th in coverage last season according to Pro Football Focus. Brown is Brown though, and he's matchup proof. The Browns get back Corey Coleman and bring in Kenny Britt from the Rams. Of the two, i prefer Coleman for the big play ability but he's nothing more than a deep GPP flier at this point. 


Overall Outlook- Bell, Brown and Bryant are all elite plays in all formats. I really do like Crowell as a leverage play in tournaments but i won't be too overweight. Kizer/Coleman are worth a dart if you're running a lot of lineups. 


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans 

Projected Vegas Score: Texans 22.5, Jaguars 17 

Injury Concerns:

Quarterbacks- This lines up as one of the ugliest games of the week and there's not much to see here. The Texans spent a high draft pick on the talented rookie Deshaun Watson, but for some reason are sticking with Tom Savage as the starter for the time being. Blake Bortles gets the nod for the Jaguars after almost losing his job in training camp, but we aren't looking to use him in DFS. 


Running Backs- This is actually a really interesting spot for Lamar Miller, who people seem to have forgotten about. The Jaguars ranked 14th against the run in 2016, and i think their defense is going to be really good but with both back running backs nursing injuries Miller could get fed here big time. Game script should also fall in Miller's favor with the Texans expected to be winning this game, he's viable in all formats. The Jags spent a high draft pick on Leonard Fournette, but he's been nursing an injury and saw limited preseason reps. I really don't want to target the Houston defense either, who will get a big boost from the return on J.J. Watt. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Pretty much more of the same here. Both of these secondaries ranked inside the top 10 against the pass last season and there will be a lot of defensive talent on the field in this game. Allen Robinson would be good if he had a better Quarterback, I don't see how the reward could outweigh the risk for any of these options. 


Overall Outlook- I expect this to be a low scoring and ugly game overall. I don't have any interest outside of Lamar Miller and the Texans defense, who are the top D/ST play on the slate. 


Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins 

Projected Vegas Score: Eagles 24.3, Redskins 23.3 

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- This game is appealing on both ends and is expected to be a close game in Vegas. Carson Wentz looks to build on a solid rookie campaign as he faces off with division opponent Kirk Cousins who still doesn't have a long-term deal. The Redskins have Josh Norman, but I don't think their secondary is scary as a whole and Wentz is priced down enough that he's a strong option in week one. Kirk Cousins is one of my favorite NFL Quarterbacks and I think he is continually underrated. I will be interested to see how he handles the departure of Sean McVay and to be honest their starting offense looked bad in the preseason. I always have my eye on Cousins, but there are better DFS options in week one. 


Running Back- Both of these backfield situations are ugly and I don't see myself having any exposure to either side. The Eagles have LeGarrett Blount, Darren Sproles and three other running backs that could see some type of work...I'll pass there. Rob Kelley returns as the starter for the Redskins but the Eagles have one of the top run defenses in the NFL, and the Redskins could be trailing in this game leading to more work for the pass catching back Chris Thompson


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- While I'm bearish on Cousins this week, I do think that some of the Redskins pass catching options are in consideration. Jordan Reed has routinely ripped up the Eagles and newly brought in Terrelle Pryor might see increased work in his first game with his new team. Jamison Crowder will lock into the slot role and should see plenty of targets in week one. I prefer Crowder/Pryor to Reed, but i have interest in all three. The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery in the offseason and then traded away Jordan Matthews to Buffalo. Josh Norman will reportedly shadow Jeffery week one and I want absolutely no parts of that in DFS. Zach Ertz should see increased work from the slot with Matthews gone and we know he has a rapport with Wentz. With Norman locking up Jeffery, Ertz is in a smash spot week one. 


Overall Outlook- Wentz to Ertz stacks will be popular and for good reason. I like that spot a lot for them, especially on Draftkings where they both are way too cheap. I also like the three pass catching options I listed above for the Redskins, but i have Crowder and Pryor well ahead of Reed. 


Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

Projected Vegas Score: Titans 26.5, Raiders 24

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- No we are talking! This is one of the juiciest games of the weekend fantasy wise and feature two great young Quarterbacks in Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota. The Titans added Logan Ryan to help address secondary concerns, but I still don't think they will be an above average secondary. The Raiders have probably the worst linebacker corps in the entire NFL and Mariota has some shiny new toys on offense. Both of these guys are in tremendous spots week one. 


Running Back- The Raiders made big news in the offseason signing Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. I have 0 exposure to Lynch in season-long leagues and I'm just very skeptical about a running back returning after not playing for over a year, and remember the last time he did play he wasn't even good. As for the Titans, it's the same story as last year with DeMarco Murray leading the charge and Derrick Henry waiting in the wings. The Titans are only carrying three backs on the roster which shows they must be pretty confident that Murray is healthy. As a home favorite in a high total game, Murray is playable in all formats. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Two of my favorite DFS receivers, who happen to be on the same team, are Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Both of them saw over 140 targets last season and there's no reason not to expect more of the same this year. Crabtree is the best bet for a touchdown, based off the red zone looks. But, Cooper and Carr looked sharp in the preseason and Cooper is due for some positive regression in the TD department after only scoring five times last season. The Titans brought in Eric Decker from the Jets and spent a top ten draft pick on Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews also returns after developing some nice chemistry with Super Mario late last season. Davis is expected to be limited because he's nursing an injury, but we also can't forget about Delanie Walker. As i mentioned above, the Raiders have guys off the street playing at linebacker and this is a stone cold smash spot for Delanie. He's my favorite person to stack with Mariota. 


Overall Outlook- I love both sides of this game and I will be all over them. Carr, Cooper and Crabtree and Mariota, Murray, Walker and Matthews. 


Indianapolis Colts @ Las Angeles Rams

Projected Vegas Score: Rams 22.75, Colts 18.75 

Quarterbacks- Andrew Luck will miss this game as he is still recovering from shoulder surgery, which means Scott Tolzien will start for the Colts...poor Colts fans. Jared Goff will start for the Rams as he looks to prove that he has what it takes to be a Quarterback in the National Football League. Just go ahead and cross Scott Tolzien off your list, in fact, delete him from your player pool. I'm higher on the Rams than a lot of people this season and I really think a lot of the public underestimates how bad of a coach Jeff Fisher is. Sean McVay becomes the youngest coach in NFL history and he's one of the brightest offensive minds in the game. The Colts defense is a dumpster fire and they just lost Vontae Davis to injury. Goff is actually in consideration for tournaments this week. 


Running Backs- Todd Gurley seemed to "check out" mentally about half way through last season and I really can't blame him when he was just running into a brick wall over and over again. The Rams offense should be much improved this season as well as their offensive line. The Colts were below average against the run last season and as a home favorite, Gurley is playable in all formats. As for the Colts, we have 1,000 year old future-hall of fame Frank Gore still hanging around. I'm pretty sure my grandpa watched Gore run when he was a kid, maybe he did and this is just the myth of Frank Gore. Anyways, the Colts offensive line is one of the worst in the league and there's no way you should be playing Gore in DFS. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The Rams made a nice splash late in training camp when they traded for Sammy Watkins, who has all the potential in the world but has never been able to stay healthy. They also have talented rookie wideout Cooper Kupp who Goff locked onto quickly in the preseason. Both of them are in consideration for week one, but I'm not running to put them in my lineups. You can pretty much just cross any Colts wideout off your list, even T.Y. Hilton who takes a massive hit as long as Luck is out. Jack Doyle is intriguing as GPP dart though, Tolzien should be inclined to check down and Pagano's offensive system is built for tight ends. 


Overall Outlook- Goff, Watkins and Kupp are all tournament options along with Doyle while Gurley is an elite play. Kupp enters cash considerion on Draftkings due to his price, but i 100% expect Gurley and the Rams D to be the highest scorers from this game. 


Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

Projected Vegas Score: Packers 27, Seahawks 24

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- This is one of the top games on the board with now healthy Russell Wilson clashing with Aaron Rodgers. Russ has reportedly been working harder than ever this offseason and he couldn't possibly open up in a better spot than against the Packers swiss cheese secondary. The Packers secondary was historically bad last season and they really did nothing to address the needs, basically citing that they will just try and outscore you plain and simple. It's interesting to note that Dom Capers has been able to shut Russ Wilson down in their past few meetings, but I'm willing to give Russ a pass with him being hurt and the offensive line struggles last season. As for Rodgers...its Aaron freaking Rodgers, we know he is good. That being said this is an extremely tough matchup and while he is a home favorite and he will be throwing a ton I don't think he's cash game viable. Generally i pay down at QB in DFS for cash games so that leaves Russ and Rodgers as tournament plays in week one. 


Running Backs- The Seahawks simply have too many mouths to feed at RB and I'm completely off them as DFS plays. I'm extremely high on rookie Chris Carson going forward but he most likely isn't going to get much work this early in the season and there's three other guys competing for carries, including Eddie Lacy (BARF!). The Packers look set to give Ty Montgomery the reigns and what a way to kick off the season against this Seattle run defense. Seattle ranked 5th against the run last season and just added Sheldon Richardson via trade...I'll pass here. I think most of the scoring will come through the air in this game. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Like I said above, the Packers secondary was historically bad last season. They ranked 32nd against the pass were routinely torched week in and week out. Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett are all in play for the Seahawks with Paul Richardson as a GPP option as well. Lockett looks to be a full go and also will be returning kicks. Nobody will be able to stop Baldwin or Graham and i really like all three of these options this week. It's tough to target guys against the Seahawks and i won't be looking to do it. If you're getting crazy with in a tournament and using Rodgers i would look at Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb. Jody can move into the slot and avoid Sherman while people are off Cobb based off last season when he i healthy this year and is a leverage play off Davante Adams. 


Overall Outlook- This game has an insanely high total but might be a bit better for real life watching than fantasy. I like the Seahawks side of this a good bit and will have tournament exposure to Russ, Baldwin and Lockett. As for the Packers I might throw them on one YOLO team but I think even if they score 3 or more times it could be spread out amongst different guys anyways. 

Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers 
Projected Vegas Score: Panthers 26.5, 49ers 21.5 

Injury Notes: 

Quarterbacks- Cam Newton is ready to go week one facing off against the 9ers new coach/QB combo in Kyle Shanahan and Brian Hoyer. I'm not buying all the talk of "Cam not running" anymore because this rumor gets floated out there every season and then what happens...Cam runs. Why? Because thats what Cam does, he likes to run and he even has been quite himself saying he doesn't want to stop running. I think I have some interest in Cam as a GPP play, he absolutely destroyed the 9ers in week two last year, though if they jump out to an early lead they will most likely coast and grind out the clock. As for Hoyer, I think he's an underrated real life QB if they get down early he will have to throw a lot. He's a deep GPP flier at his cheap price tag. 


Running Backs- Both running backs in this game line up as decent DFS options, Carlos Hyde for SanFran and rookie Chrstian McCaffrey for the Panthers. Jonathan Stewart is a good compliment to McCaffrey and i expect them to pretty much split the touches, with McCaffrey racking up some catches. Hyde is set to be the bell cow for the 49ers this season but he will have to deal with a subpar offensive line. He is too cheap across the industry however and is cash game viable. He saw increased work in the passing game in the preseason and should be a three down back. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The return of Kelvin Benjamin. I'm set to call week one that after many are turned off after being burned last season. Benji draws an incredible matchup against Rashard Robinson who he has 4 inches and 50 pounds on. He should eat him a live and looked really good in the preseason. Pierre Garcon lines up as the X receiver for Shanahan and should be a PPR monster this season. 


Overall Outlook- I actually have a lot of interest in this game with Kelvin Benjamin being one of my favorite plays this week. McCaffrey and Hyde will both be popular and can be used in all formats. Cam and Hoyer are GPP viable and Garcon can be used in all formats, I think he will get fed 9+ targets from Hoyer. 


New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

Projected Vegas Score: Cowboys 25.75, Giants 21.75 

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- The ageless Eli Manning squares off with second year Dak Prescott in the Sunday night prime time showdown. I actually don't have any interest in either of these guys for DFS purposes this week. Eli Manning will likely be without Odell Beckham and is a road underdog while Dak has a very tough matchup with the Giants defense and Zeke Elliot is in fact playing. There are much better QB plays in this price range this week. 


Running Backs- While Zeke Elliot is playing Sunday Night for the Cowboys, i have no interest in paying up for him. The Giants have an elite run defense and they held Elliot in check in both meeting last season. With so many stud running backs in good spots, there's no reason to risk it. I'm off the Giants backs as well. Paul Perkins won't have a long leash and the Cowboys ranked 8th in DVOA against the run last year (via: Football Outsiders). 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- If Odell Beckham is out, I immediately have interest in Brandon Marshall and rookie tight end Evan Engram. But we will have to wait and see closer to Sunday for news. Janoris Jenkins has absolutely owned Dez Bryant throughout his career and there's no way i can justify paying up for him. The one Cowboys pass catcher I do have interest in is Jason Witten. Future HOFer Jason Witten just never seems to go away and he has had great success against the Giants in the past. If the Cowboys get in the Red Zone he's a good bet to get more than one look with how stingy the Giants run defense is. 


Overall Outlook- This should be a fun real life game to watch, but it's not very sexy from a DFS perspective. If Odell is out we can maybe look at some Giants pass catchers and I'm fine with a Witten dart in GPPs. 


New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings 

Projected Vegas Score: Vikings 25.25, Saints 22.25

Injury Concerns: Willie Snead (OUT)

Quarterbacks- Nothing new here in this matchup as it's Drew Brees against Sam Bradford. Brees is notorious for his home/road splits and this game falls under the road category...though his splits weren't quite as extreme last season. This still is a tough matchup on the road against a strong Minnesota secondary that features Terence Newman and Xavier Rhodes. Brees makes for an intriguing low owned play for DFS on a two game slate, but i'm not really excited about it. It's a different story for Bradford on the other side who has a fantastic matchup with the lowly Saints defense. The Saints ranked 30th in DVOA against the pass in 2016 (Football Outsiders) and just lost one of their only good defensive backs in Delvin Breaux. Bradford doesn't like to go deep, but this matchup is so good I won't worry about it and he will have his full arsenal available (Thielen/Diggs/Rudolph). 


Running Backs- Dynamic playmaker Dalvin Cook joins the Vikings along with veteran Latavius Murray while we see Adrian Peterson alongside Mark Ingram for the Saints. Cook is by far the play for the Vikings, he should see bell cow usage and has big upside against this Saints defense. Murray might steal some goal line work, but we don't know that for sure and it's not worth the risk. AP lines up in a huge revenge spot against his former team, but we know he will lose passing down work to Mark Ingram and there's a strong chance they are trailing early in this game. You could look at Peterson in GPPs potentially, but i prefer Cook and Melvin Gordon by far. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- With Willie Snead being suspended it provides clarity for the Saints with Michael Thomas, Tedd Ginn Jr and Coby Fleener being the main guys. Fleecer should see the most benefit from Snead being out and i like him for DFS purposes as a pivot off of Rudolph/Gates/Henry. I don't want any Thomas as he will see a lot of Xavier Rhodes but Ginn is worth a look in large field GPPs because he only needs one play to pay off. Adam Thielen is moving primarily into the slot for the Vikings  where he should rack up targets from Bradford while playmaker Stefon Diggs moves outside. I like both of these options a good bit tonight and have no issue using both with Bradford in DFS. Tight End Kyle Rudolph is a solid bet for red zone targets and the Saints defense can't cover my dog. 


Overall Outlook- As you can tell i LOVE the Vikings and am more bearish on the Saints in this matchup. I will have loads of Viking but if you are playing multiple lineups it doesn't hurt to have a Brees one just in case. 


Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos 

Projected Vegas Score: Broncos 22.5, Chargers 19.5

Injury Concerns: 

Quarterbacks- First off let me say that I think this game is going to be close. The Broncos mad news by resigning Brock Osweiler, but it's still Trevor Siemian squaring off with Philip Rivers. Both of these secondaries are legit and i really have no interest in either of these guys outside of deep GPP shots on a two game DFS slate. The first game is much better from a passing perspective. 


Running Backs- I don't think many will want to play Melvin Gordon here against the Broncos but i actually like him a lot tonight. I think the loss of TJ Ward will affect the Broncos at first more than people think and Gordon was solid against the Broncos last season. In two games against Denver he averaged 4.1 YPC and racked up 44 receiving yards. He's the best bet for a touchdown on the Chargers. The Broncos backfield situation is murky with C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and rookie De'Angelo Henderson all in consideration. Charles looked good in limited action in the preseason, but i'll wait and see here. 


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Again, the passing situation in this game is gross as a whole. Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams will both have to deal with a Denver secondary that ranked number one against WRs last season and Casey Hayward/Jason Verrett is an elite tandem for the Chargers. Demaryius Thomas posted decent numbers against Verrett the last time he say him, but there are much better options on this slate. Antonio Gates/Hunter Henry could be the way to go if you really want some pass catching exposure in this game but good luck guessing who scores. Gates got more attention in the preseason and he needs just one more touchdown to pass Tony Gonzalez for the most by a tight end in NFL history...I think i'll side with him tonight. 


Overall Outlook- Melvin Gordon and Antonio Gates are my main targets from this game. I also like the Chargers defense as a GPP play in DFS, i don't think the Broncos offense is that good and they will be minutely owned on a two game slate. 


Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)












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