Week 1 DraftKings Plays: An Early Look
August 12, 2014 | Ian Goldsmith
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Yes, we are still 25 days away from the kickoff of the 2014 NFL season. Why, then, am I looking into Week 1 plays already? Because it’s ONLY 25 DAYS UNTIL KICKOFF!! It’s time to panic!! AAAAH!!! It will be OK. I promise. Onto the (way too early) picks!
Danny Woodhead: $3700 – San Diego Chargers
It’s easy to look at this pick and think I’m crazy. Arizona allowed – by far – the fewest fantasy points per game to running backs in 2013. They added one of the best cover corners in the game in Antonio Cromartie, which should take even more pressure off of the running defense and keep it in the running (pun sadly intended) for one of the top fantasy run defenses again. The Cardinals, however, were more pedestrian against running backs who could catch, giving up nearly 5 grabs to RBs per game. If San Diego wants to remain competitive in the desert, they are going to have to use Woodhead out of the backfield and get him involved in the passing game. At his current price, Woodhead would have easily met value in 12/16 games last year. He should be on your radar for Week 1.
Frank Gore: $5200 – San Francisco 49ers
Gore is ancient by RB standards. He’s 31 – GASP! He has been used often in his career and is tied with Earl Campbell and Shaun Alexander for the 29th most career rushing attempts in NFL history (I picked Alexander 4th in the year of his rapid decline…ugh. But I digress…). That being said, his price on DraftKings is fairly depressed at $5200. He most likely won’t be receiving much, if any, use in the preseason, which means he should have relatively fresh legs as San Francisco travels to Dallas to open the season. The Cowboys’ defense – the worst fantasy team against the run last season – has been riddled with injuries and look to be in no shape to stop the ‘Niner attack. Kaepernick should have the entire field at his disposal, which will leave Gore plenty of holes to exploit.
Markus Wheaton:$3300 – Pittsburgh Steelers
TFF’s Chet Gresham wrote a piece the other day detailing three sleeper wideouts that are poised to break out, the first of which is one Mr. Markus Wheaton. Wheaton, who will start opposite PPR giant Antonio Brown, has every opportunity to show off his skills for a team that has slowly transitioned into what is now a pass-first team. Pittsburgh is expected to run the no-huddle more this season, which makes Wheaton an even more attractive fantasy piece as he can use his quickness to elude secondaries that won’t have as much time to adjust to new formations. Wheaton’s price on DK is deservedly low because he isn’t a proven commodity. Take advantage and consider him for your lineups when the games begin to count.
Julian Edelman: $5300 – New England Patriots
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.
Antonio Gates/Ladarius Green: $3400/$3200 – San Diego Chargers
It is too early in the preseason to say which of these two I like more going into Week 1. However, both players offer price points that make my fingers twitch in excitement. Arizona was absolutely awful at defending the TE position last season. When I say awful, I’m being overly kind. Their inability to defend the position had OC’s all over the league drooling. While past deficiencies do not portend future failures, it is still something we have to strongly consider until we see a few games played out. Rivers will have a hard time finding Keenan Allen in the open against Arizona’s improved secondary. The running game, as discussed above, will also likely be slow-going if they try and pound-the-rock (Trite? You betcha!). This leaves old reliable Mr. Gates and his stupendously-gifted understudy Mr. Green to provide outs for Rivers as he tries to pick apart the Cards.
Vernon Davis: $4800 – San Francisco 49ers
This is not my favorite pick, but Davis’ price is too low to not at least consider using him. Vernon has all the skill in the world. Unfortunately for him – and his owners – Kaepernick has about eighty good receiving options at his disposal. While this lowers his weekly consistency considerably, it may make fewer people consider using him Week 1. Coupled with his price and the fact that Dallas has nobody that can match up with him, he represents a quality tournament play. His ownership will likely be low and we all know the kind of massive potential he offers.