The Auric Augur: Week 1 DraftKings Value Plays
September 4, 2014 | Ian Goldsmith
Draftkings 100% Deposit Bonus
I can’t believe the offseason is finally over and we get to get back to watching football on a weekly basis! As we enter Week 1, I thought it would be best to briefly cover DraftKings’ football rules for those of you who haven’t played on the site before or who want a refresher. The first thing to point out is that you won’t have to bother trying to predict those pesky kickers anymore. That’s right, newbies, you lucked out. NO MORE KICKERS!!! You’ll never have to spend sleepless nights worrying whether or not David Akers is going to get you 18 points or -5. Whew!
- Your lineup this season consists of the following: QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, FLEX (RB/WR/TE), DST
- You have $50,000 to spend on your roster.
- The site features a full 1 PPR. For full DK scoring rules, please follow this link.
- You want to aim for roughly a 3X multiple when filling out your rosters. That is, you want to get 3 DK fantasy points for every $1,000 on your roster. While getting 150 points is not easy to reach, it is always better to aim high and fall a bit short than to easily accomplish a target that is too low.
- Be active (well, an active follower at least) on Twitter. It is the first place that injury news breaks and is a very good aggregator of content. Check that, it is the best aggregator of content for FF.
- Make sure your schedule is free at least one hour before kickoff. If you are not logged onto your DFS site(s) of choice at this time, then you may as well hand over your money. There are bound to be a few moments during the season that a player you’ve been eyeing all week ends up not starting due to injury, family matter, etc. Those that are on their game will pick up cheap backups, rearrange rosters and reap the benefits. If you know that you won’t be able to adjust lineups right before games start, then don’t play that week (or just play free contests). It’s as simple as that.
My Strategy in a Nutshell Find the best value plays for the week (i.e. the players that I think will return the most FP/$) and then fill in the rest of the roster with the best players that I can afford. There are very few expensive players that I feel I must have on a weekly basis. In fact, I almost never go into a week and slot the pricey players onto my roster first. An exception to this rule is a guy like Peyton Manning in 2013, who was about as close to a must play as there ever has been. The last time someone dominated their position in such a manner was LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006, when L.T. accounted for 31 rushing/receiving TDs, 56 receptions and over 2300 yards from scrimmage. Oh yeah, he passed for 2 TDs as well, but I digress.
Layout of the Article Like I do for my articles on The Fake Basketball, I will be focusing on value plays. You’ll see the name of the player (broken down into category), his price, team and opponent for the week. Since this is about value, you will rarely see me cover any QB worth more than $7K, RB/WR worth more than $6K or TE worth more than $5K. After that, there will be a brief write-up explaining why I am picking the player. Finally, I’ll let you know if he is better for a cash game or tournament play (or both). Remember to feel free and ask any questions! I’m happy to answer anything with which you need help. With that said, ONTO THE PICKS!!
Wow….how quickly things change. My first iteration of this post included Sam Bradford, he of the attractive $6600 price and dream matchup against last year’s most generous defense to fantasy QBs: Minnesota. Unfortunately for the ex-Sooner, he tore his ACL in his last tuneup before the regular season. Devastating news. This does offer a great fantasy teaching opportunity, however. Injuries happen unexpectedly all the time. This is exactly why you need to be active right before games start. Watch your favorite pregame show for injuries, read Twitter or some other news feed.
Colin Kaepernick: $8000 – San Francisco vs. Dallas
I know that just two paragraphs ago I said that I rarely like to put QBs into this article that cost more than $7000. Well, the Bradford news changed things. Yes, you could plug in Shaun Hill for $5000 and have a good chance to hit value, but I have a feeling that Jeff Fisher is going to try to get the running game more heavily involved. So, who to turn to? Colin Kaepernick had an interesting season last year. He was all over the place for the first half of the season. Something happened, though, after Michael Crabtree came back. Crabtree took a couple of games to get back into the swing of things (St. Louis and Seattle aren’t exactly easy matchups). In the third game back from injury, however, the former Red Raider’s presence started to make the offense – and Kaepernick – find a rhythm it had been lacking. In those last six games – including a deep playoff run – Kaepernick only dropped below 20 FP once, when going against the formidable Panthers’ defense. This season he has a healthy Crabtree to start the season and gets to go against the Karst topographic defense that is the Dallas Cowboys. He will have his way. While I’m not predicting a repeat of his monster season opening game against the Packers last year (412 yards, 3 TDs), he is certainly capable of that upside. Cash play.
Chad Henne: $5200 – Jacksonville vs. Philadelphia
Henne will not likely have the reins for very long this season. Blake Bortles performed better in preseason and it would behoove the Jaguars’ front office to start the rookie and get him some experience. That being said, Henne is starting and will be playing from behind all game long. While he struggled most of last season, he began to click with his teammates in December and threw multiple touchdowns in four straight games. He clearly has a chance to do this again, especially if Philly goes up by two or three touchdowns early. He will throw an interception or two, but they are only worth -1 on DK, so they won’t hurt his score as much as on other sites. He’s a gamble with 20 FP upside. His ownership could be VERY low, which makes him a perfect tournament play.
Frank Gore: $5200 – San Francisco vs. Dallas
Dallas’ run defense last season was the worst fantasy defense against the run since 2010 (the last year I checked). They (and Chicago, who were right on their tail in the race to mediocrity) were so bad that it was hard not to laugh at them. Unfortunately for them – and one wouldn’t think this possible – they got worse in the offseason. With key losses to injury and free agency, the Cowboys might be looking at a historically bad run defense this season. Frank Gore is old. Frank Gore is ancient. Age means wisdom, however, and Gore has that in spades. San Francisco will be able to use him efficiently all game long and Kaepernick should easily be able to pick apart Dallas’ 31st-ranked defense against QBs. There will be openings galore for Gore to exploit. Let him solidify your team. Cash play.
Danny Woodhead: $3700 – San Diego vs. Arizona
Woodhead is criminally underpriced on DK. I am not sure what their algorithm is, but if he has a decent game, I’m guessing that his price will be adjusted quickly. He spent last season hovering between $5-6k, which is where I expected to see him before DK released prices. He was the 18th best performing RB on DK last year and starts this season with the 50th – FIFTIETH!!! – highest RB price. San Diego brought in Donald Brown, but he is not a threat to replace the man who just set a career high reception mark of 76 in his first season with the Chargers. He will likely be highly owned. I can justify your use of him in cash AND tournament contests. He is too good of a value to pass up.
Julian Edelman: $5300 – New England vs. Miami
OK, I am giving myself permission to plagiarize myself. Here is what I wrote about Edelman back on August 12th:
“That he is priced so low boggles my mind. Once Tom Brady finds a receiver that he can trust, he goes to him again and again and again. That trustworthy soul is Edelman. Yes, Gronk is now practicing and should play Week 1. Yes, Amendola is “healthy” (and represents potential DK value at $4000). Edelman, however, proved himself to be too much of an efficient safety blanket for Brady to not look his way early and often. He should act in the same manner for your Week 1 DK fantasy teams as well.”
I stand by every word. Edelman is a safety valve par excellence. Cash play.
Marquise Lee: $3500 – Jacksonville vs. Philadelphia
The rookie has a chance to have a big opening game against an Eagles team that gave up the most DraftKings fantasy points to WRs in 2013. Malcolm Jenkins is a nice name, but he will not fix Philly’s pass-defense woes. Like I said earlier, Jacksonville will be playing from behind all game long (barring some kind of magic). Lee will be on the field, ready and waiting when Henne is in throw-first mode. If you want a high-risk, high-reward QB-WR combo play in Week 1 that very few will have, look to Henne and Lee. Tournament play.
Ladarius Green: $3200 – San Diego vs. Arizona
6’6”. 240#. 4.4 40. I don’t know who wants to try and defend that, but it isn’t me. Arizona’s defense, already the worst to TE’s last season, has been bleeding profusely this offseason. While the addition of Antonio Cromartie will help the secondary, the losses of star LBs Karlos Dansby (FA) and Daryl Washington (suspension) will hurt. Add in the recent loss of DT Darnell Dockett to ACL tear and one of last year’s DST darlings might struggle. Green’s price is low enough that you might be tempted to use him as a cash play, but I prefer him in tournaments with Antonio Gates (who looked fantastic in the third preseason game against San Francisco) still lingering around. The old man only costs $3400 and is a very viable – and safer – play as well.
Travis Kelce: $3200 – Kansas City vs. Tennessee
This is a pure speculation play. Kelce has looked magnificent in the preseason and has gained the trust of his teammates and coaches. As with Green, he will have to split time with a veteran TE (Anthony Fasano). The good news for Kelce owners is that Dwayne Bowe is suspended Week 1, which opens up more opportunities for the second year player out of Cincinnati. Arrowhead Pride offered a great breakdown of Kelce’s early preseason here. It’s worth your time. Fasano is a good player, but Kelce has the look of something special. He’s a tournament play in Week 1.
I’m not a huge fan of trying to predict how defenses will pan out early in the season. There is so much variability from year to year that it is, honestly, a crap shoot. The best place to look for hints on defenses this early in the season is Vegas. Look at the lines. Let them become your friends. That being said, here are two teams that I like. Sort of.
Philadelphia Eagles: $3200
Philly gets Jacksonville at home. They are huge favorites and get to face an interception prone veteran in Chad Henne. The Jags will not stop Foles or McCoy, which means that they will be playing from behind all game. This hints to me of a very high potential for several turnovers and a defensive touchdown.
New York Jets: $3900
The Jets are several point favorites at home with an O/U of less than 40. This should be a low scoring, grind-it-out type of game. They are not flashy, but they should be solid against Oakland rookie QB Derek Carr.