FanDuel & DraftKings NFL Top Cash Game Picks – Week 1 (2017)
(Note: Keep an eye out for my top point-per-dollar play)
RB - Le’Veon Bell (PIT@CLE, FDPPG: 26.3, FD Salary: $9,300, DKPPG: 26.3, DK Salary: $9,800):
There have been reports that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn't sure what kind of workload Le'Veon Bell will have in this contest due to him missing all of preseason while holding out for a new contract. Nevertheless, expect a very solid game from Bell in this one versus one of the worst run defenses in the league (Cleveland). Bell destroyed the Browns D last season to the tune of 146 RUSH YDS, 55 REC YDS and 1 TD. He's going to cost you a pretty penny on both FanDuel and DraftKings, but he should be worth it.
RB - David Johnson (ARI@DET, FDPPG: 23, FD Salary: $9,400, DKPPG: 26.6, DK Salary: $9,400):
If you're worried that Le'Veon Bell's playing time might be somewhat limited on Sunday for the reason I just listed above, David Johnson is just about as solid of a secondary top-tier play as they come. Johnson is easily one of the best running backs in all of football and who much like Bell, is an all-around type of back who not only runs the ball well, but is a solid receiving back as well. The Lions D is just about average against the run and pass, so I don't seem them posing as much of a threat against a guy who had a whopping 2,118 RUSH+REC YDS and an eye-opening 20 TDS (RUSH+REC) in 2016/2017. However, Johnson will be pretty costly to own on both DFS sites, too.
QB - Aaron Rodgers (SEA@GB), FDPPG: 24.2, FD Salary: $8,300, DKPPG: 26.1, DK Salary: $7,000):
Aaron Rodgers will be facing a top-notch Seahawks secondary this week (ranked 6th in OPRK against QBs on DraftKings), but he's been known to do well against even the toughest of D's before throughout his career. Case in point, he did just that against Seattle last year finishing with three TD passes, 0 INT, almost 250 PASS YDS (246) and completing close to 80% of his passes (78.3). He is easily one of the top three QBs in the league still and has plenty of weapons to choose from. The trio he has at WR: Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are tough to maintain and newly acquired TE Martellus Bennett brings a whole new element to an already solid Green Bay passing game. He also has a starting running back that typically catches a good amount of passes (Ty Montgomery). Rodgers is another pricey pick at the QB spot, but is one that typically doesn't disappoint.
QB - Russell Wilson (SEA@GB, FDPPG: 17.5, FD Salary: $8,000, DKPPG: 18.3, DK Salary: $6,900):
Russell Wilson is a top-tier player but a borderline mid-tier one thanks to his salary and that's a decent deal here considering what some of the best QB's are going for right now on FanDuel and DraftKings. Another huge plus is his ideal matchup versus one of the worst PASS D's in the league right now (Green Bay). Now yes, Packers D can get picks, don't get me wrong (tied for second in the league in that stat category last year), but their secondary gave up the most REC YDS, the second most PASS YDS and were one of the worst at minimizing PASS TDS last season. Wilson should be one of the best QB plays in all of FanDuel and DraftKings in Week 1 when it's all said and done.
QB - Derek Carr (OAK@TEN, FDPPG: 18.3, FD Salary: $7,700, DKPPG: 19.3, DK Salary: $6,700):
Since his rookie season in 2014/2015, Derek Carr has shown the ability to get better and better as a starting quarterback as the years have passed. His QB Rating has improved each season (it went 76.6, to 91.1 and then 96.7), he continues to keep his PASS YDS at season's end like he did the year before close to 4,000 (3,937 last year), had close to 30 TDS (28) in 2016/2017 and really kept his INT total way down last year finishing with only six of them. He has Tennesse D waiting for him later this week (ranked third worst in the league last year in PASS TDS against and were about average in PASS YDS against) but they'll be no match for him and Oakland's solid receiving core of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Carr is a reasonably priced QB to go with this week who could wind up being one of the highest scoring DFS NFL players of Week 1.
RB - Todd Gurley (IND@LAR, FDPPG: 11, FD Salary: $7,300, DKPPG: 12.5, DK Salary: $6,000):
Yes, it's clear that Todd Gurley had a brutal season last year running the ball but his offensive line at the time was in large part to blame for that. The Rams have seemingly corrected that problem now as seen in the preseason at times this year, so Gurley is looked at by many DFS NFL writers as a decent bet for a bounce-back season mostly due to that reason. However, I (and I'm sure other writers) am basing a bounce-back year from him more so off of his 2015/2016 season (1,106 RUSH YDS and 10 TDS in 13 games) in which he was phenominal showing top back skills and ability to break through tackles. One would think he has to be able to come back and play like his former self at some point even with a fairly decent run blocking offense finally. That's what I'm going to guess is going to happen this week against an Indy D that is one of the top-10 worst in the league in RUSH YDS against and that is slightly better than average in PASS TDS against. It's also a plus for FanDuel and DraftKings Gurley owners in Week 1 that his price tag is doable and his volume of carries will probably remain high all season long, so keep your fingers crossed that the many rushing attempts he'll probably get on Sunday will eventually lead to at least 100 RUSH YDS and hopefully a TD or two.
WR - Doug Baldwin (SEA@GB, FDPPG: 12.9, FD Salary: $6,900, DKPPG: 17.4, DK Salary: $6,000):
Since I obviously wouldn't be against NFL DFS players going with Russell Wilson this week, it should be easy for you to see why I would recommend Doug Baldwin too at the moment. He's cheaper than a top-tier WR pick but should perform like one this week. After all, he faces a Green Bay D that stinks at stopping REC YDS and TDS. Baldwin should see plenty of targets his way since he finished with 1,100+ REC YDS and seven TD catches last season. One has to keep in mind that he had 14 REC TDS the year before too, so I expect his REC TD total to come closer to that mark this year. He has great upside in this matchup.
WR - Michael Crabtree (OAK@TEN), FDPPG: 12.2, FD Salary: $6,900, DKPPG: 14.9, DK Salary: $6,000):
Amari Cooper is looking like a solid receiver pick in Week 1 potentially, but his teammate, WR Michael Crabtree, is a good one too since he not only has the potential to finish with similar stats offensively to Cooper this week, he might even do better. For starters, Crabtree finished with a higher FPPG than Cooper last season on both FanDuel and DraftKings: 12.2 and 14.9 to Cooper's 11.9 and 14.5). The next notable factor is that he comes in on both DFS sites considerably cheaper than Cooper ($6,900 and $6,000 on FanDuel to Cooper's $7,600 and $7,200 on DraftKings). Also, Crabtree doesn't typically finish with 100 REC YDS a game for his squad, but he did finish with 102 REC YDS last year versus Tennessee (a D that was one of the worst at giving up PASS YDS last year) and I wouldn't rule out a REC TD too from him on Sunday (Titans D was middle of the pack last year in the league in the amount of REC TDS they gave up).
WR - Davante Adams (SEA@GB, FDPPG: 13.1, FD Salary: $6,800, DKPPG: 16.4, DK Salary: $5,200):
Aaron Rodgers faces a tough Seattle D this week, but I expect him to have a nice game anyway and to the find Davante Adams (who had 91 catches and a surprising 14 TD catches with 1,214 YDS REC last season) in the end zone for at least one TD catch while finishing with close to or over 100 YDS REC versus them. I don't say this just because I have a gut feeling or a hunch he will either, I say this because Adams caught a TD pass last year against the Seahawks and also added 104 REC YDS to boot against them. I also love his price tag on both DFS sites, especially the one he has on DraftKings right now and that's the clincher for me on what makes him a no-brainer to go with right now on both DFS sites.
WR - Martavis Bryant (PIT@CLE, FDPPG: N/A, FD Salary: $6,500, DKPPG: N/A, DK Salary: $6,000):
I'm not exactly sure what to expect from Martavis Bryant (who was suspended last year but now is back and ready to go) this week, but I know this. He is typically a solid receiver (has a career 76 catches, 1,314 yards and 14 TDS spread out in 22 games played in two seasons total prior to last season) and since he faces a brutally bad Cleveland secondary on Sunday that gave up the most REC TDS in the league in 2016/2017, top Steelers receiver Antonio Brown should be covered pretty tightly all game by the Browns D and that should help create space for Bryant to roam pretty freely all game. Also, it can't be ignored that he finished with remarkable numbers against Cleveland in their matchup on 11/15/2015 sporting six catches for 178 YDS and one TD, so that's another thing to keep in mind since this new Browns team isn't much different than the one he faced then. This is another cheap pick I love for Week 1 on both FanDuel and DraftKings.
WR - Larry Fitzgerald (ARI@DET, FDPPG: 11,9, FD Salary: $6,400, DKPPG: 15.5, DK Salary: $5,900):
For over a decade now, Larry Fitzgerald has been a steady offensive weapon for the Cardinals at the wide receiver position. He caught 107 passes for 1,023 YDS and six TDS last season and shows to still be ready to rock at a top level even at the age of 34. He goes up against a Lions D this week that ranks 23rd against WRs in OPRK, so there's a lot of potential here to do well this Sunday for this pick. Price wise, he's another lower tiered player that's alluring to go with and that won't hurt your DFS team's budget on either FanDuel or DraftKings.
RB - Rob Kelley (PHI@WAS, FDPPG: 9, FD Salary: $5,800, DKPPG: 9, DK Salary: $4,300):
First off, what needs to be mentioned here is that Rob Kelley sported the following stats since taking over as the team's starting running back in Week 8 last year: 601 RUSH yards and six touchdowns. Those are some pretty good numbers that should not be overlooked and his matchup against a Philly D coming up should be a fairly easy one for Kelley who put up the following stats against them in the two contests he faced that team in last season: 21 carries for 122 RUSH YDS and one TD in total. He may have rookie RB Samaje Perine breathing down his neck for some carries, but Perine hasn't done much this preseason due to being behind in camp and that reality won't warrant too much concern over that happening any time soon. Kelley's a great buy this week with unlimited potential.
TE - Zach Ertz (PHI@WAS), FDPPG: 10.3, FD Salary: $5,900, DKPPG: 13.5, DK Salary: $3,500):
Zach Ertz is one of Eagles starting QB Carson Wentz's favorite targets at the moment and should be heavily involved in the Eagles passing game on Sunday. Sure, newly acquired Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery should be involved quite a bit too in Philly's offense this week for Philly, but Ertz's stats in REC YDS (816) and TD catches (4) last season for Philadelphia still stand out (he also had the most catches on his team last year: 78), especially at the tight end position. Ertz also has a doable matchup against a Washington D next that was one of the top-10 worst against the pass in terms of PASS YDS against and just worse than middle of the pack in terms of PASS TDS against. What's extremely nice about this pick, though, is his price tag on both DFS sites, but he's a rock bottom $3,500 on DraftKings. All of this is what makes him my top point-per-dollar play. You should get solid value with this pick at a minimal price.
QB: Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Marcus Mariota and Carson Palmer
RB: LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard, Devonta Freeman, C.J. Anderson and Mark Ingram
WR: Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson, A.J. Green, Amari Cooper, Terrelle Pryor Sr., Stefon Diggs and Jamison Crowder
TE: Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, Delanie Walker, Hunter Henry and Jason Witten
K: Matt Bryant, Caleb Sturgis and Matt Prater
DEF: Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills