NFL Week 1 DFS Value Player Picks
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NFL Week 1 DFS Value Player Picks

NFL Week 1: September 10 – 14, 2020

With the NFL season kicking off in about a month, we’ll take an early look at some DraftKings and FanDuel salaries, provide some insights, and review some DFS value players for week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.

Salary ranks are based on the main-slate Sunday only (12 games).

Betting lines are as of the time of this writing.

Of course, anything can happen in the next month, so updates will be made as new info comes to light prior to Sunday kickoff.

Quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 5800 (11.6% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 7400 (12.3% of cap). Garoppolo’s upcoming salary ranks him 17th/10th on DK/FD, respectively for the position, making him a better relative value on DK.

The betting line with the Cardinals has the game total at 46.5 points with the 49ers as -7.5 point home favorites. The 49ers’ implied team total is currently at 27 points and the Cardinals are currently at 19.5 points. The Niners have the 2nd widest spread on the board.

Last season, the Cardinals ranked last in fantasy points allowed to QBs and TEs, and 25th vs. WRs. The Cardinals’ defense also ranked 31st in pass yards allowed and 28th in points allowed. The Cardinals added LB Isaiah Simmons with the 8th pick and NT Jordan Phillips from Buffalo in the offseason.

Garoppolo averaged 33.27 DK points in his two meetings against Arizona last season. A great matchup for Jimmy and a nice DK value as well.

UPDATE:
WR Deebo Samuel (foot) and WR Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) are both iffy until late practice reports indicate otherwise. Both were projected starters.

Carson Wentz (PHI) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 6300 (12.6% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 7700 (12.8% of cap). Wentz’ upcoming salary ranks him 8th/6th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

The betting line with Washington has the game total at 45 points, with the Eagles as -6 point road favorites. The Eagles’ implied team total is currently at 25.5 points and Washington is currently at 19.5 points.

Last season, Washington ranked 23rd in fantasy points allowed to QBs, 19th against WRs, and 28th against TEs. Washington also ranked 24th in DVOA against the pass. With the 2nd pick in the draft, Washington added DE Chase Young. They also added veteran LB Thomas Davis, and that’s about it.

Wentz averaged 25.28 DK points in his two games against Washington last season. The Eagles should have their way against the worst team in the NFC.

UPDATE:
The Eagles are now down two starting O-Linemen, with G Brandon Brooks (Achilles) and Andrew Dillard (biceps), done for the season. RT Lane Johnson (ankle) is questionable.

Cam Newton (NE) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 6100 (12.2% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 7300 (12.2% of cap). Newton’s upcoming salary ranks him 11th/12th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

The betting line with the Dolphins has the game total at 43.5 points with the Patriots as -6.5 point home favorites. The Patriots’ implied team total is currently at 25 points and the Dolphins are currently at 18.5 points.

Last season, the Dolphins’ defense ranked dead last in points allowed, DVOA against the pass, adjusted line yards, sacks, QB pressures, and fantasy points scored. This defense ranked 30th in fantasy points allowed to QBs and WRs. They also ranked 26th in pass yards allowed and 27th in rush yards allowed.

The Dolphins were able to add new starters in CB Byron Jones, OLB Kyle Van Noy, and DE Shaq Lawson in free-agency with the large cap amount available to them. However, this defense should remain a target as Miami contends with the Jets for the division cellar.

New England added RB Lamar Miller to compensate for Branden Bolden’s COVID opt out and Sony Michel’s uncertain foot status. Regardless, Cam, as of now, should be New England’s most dangerous red zone rushing threat.

UPDATE:
RB Miller has been released. RB Damien Harris (hand) has been placed on IR.

Running Back

Miles Sanders (PHI) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 6300 (12.6% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 6800 (11.3% of cap). Sanders’ upcoming salary ranks him 10th/13th on DK/FD, respectively.

The betting line with Washington has the game total at 45 points, with the Eagles as -6 point road favorites. The Eagles’ implied team total is currently at 25.5 points and Washington is currently at 19.5 points.

Washington’s defense ranked 30th vs. RBs in FPs allowed, 29th in adjusted line yards, 31st in rush yards allowed, and 28th in points allowed last season.

Sanders is expected to resume his three-down, 20+ touch role this season, as indicated with the losses of Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles, without any RB additions in the offseason.

Sanders dropped 38 DK points on 25 touches against Washington in Week 15 last season, and should again be a factor in this optimal matchup and scenario.

UPDATE:
Sanders (hamstring) is currently expected to play Week 1 but this is a fluid situation.

Josh Jacobs (LV) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 6800 (13.6% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 8200 (13.7% of cap). Jacobs’ upcoming salary ranks him 6th/4th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

The betting line with the Panthers has the game total at 46.5 points with the Raiders as -1 point road favorites. The Raiders’ implied team total is currently at 23.75 points and the Panthers are currently at 22.75 points.

Last season, the Panthers ranked last in fantasy points allowed to RBs and in DVOA against the run. They also ranked 31st in points allowed, 30th in adjusted line yards, and 29th in rush yards allowed.

The Panthers lost five starting defensive players, including three D-linemen and All-Pro MLB Luke Kuechly (retired) in the offseason. The Panthers, in full rebuild mode, spent all seven of their draft picks on defense, with the first four picks projected to log starter-level snaps.

Jacobs ranked 3rd, for RBs, in rush yards/gm with 88.5, ranked 4th in rush attempts/gm with 18.6, and the Raiders’ O-line ranked 6th in adjusted line yards last season. He should be good for 20+ touches in any close game-script scenario, which is what should be expected here, against arguably the worst run-defense in the NFL.

Marlon Mack (IND) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 5300 (10.6% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 6100 (10.2% of cap). Mack’s upcoming salary ranks him 21st/18th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

Jonathan Taylor (IND) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 5700 (11.4% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 5400 (9% of cap). Taylor’s upcoming salary ranks him 17th/27th on DK/FD, respectively for the position, making him a better relative value on FD.

The betting line with the Jaguars has the game total at 46 points with the Colts as -7 point road favorites. The Colts’ implied team total is currently at 26.5 points and the Jaguars are currently at 19.5 points.

Last season, the Jaguars’ defense ranked 31st in fantasy points allowed to RBs, 31st in DVOA against the run, 28th in rush yards allowed, and 27th in adjusted line yards.

The worst team in football also lost DE Calais Campbell and DT Marcell Dareus in the offseason. And, unless something drastic changes in the near future, DE Yannick Ngakoue refuses to sign the franchise tag and play for them. He’s demanded a trade for months and is willing to play under the tag elsewhere.

The Jaguars are going to be a constant target against the run, but there’s two possible options. As of now, there’s no clear-cut indication on how the snaps with Mack and Taylor will work out in Week 1, so these two could be a DFS site dependent hedge play. Mack is cheaper than Taylor on DK, and vice-versa on FD. As long as there’s not a 50/50 split in carries, one of these RBs should deliver in this positive-script, optimal matchup.

UPDATE:
DT Rodney Gunter (aorta) is out indefinitely. D-line is very thin at this point.

Wide Receiver

DeSean Jackson (PHI) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 4900 (9.8% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 5700 (9.5% of cap). Jackson’s upcoming salary ranks him 37th/346th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

The betting line with Washington has the game total at 45 points, with the Eagles as -6 point road favorites. The Eagles’ implied team total is currently at 25.5 points and Washington is currently at 19.5 points.

Last season, the Redskins’ defense ranked 19th in fantasy points allowed to WRs and 24th in DVOA against the pass.

WR2 Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) is a serious candidate for the reserve/PUP list prior to the season starting, which would have him miss the first six weeks of the season.

In Jackson’s lone healthy game played last season, he mic-dropped an 8-154-2 receiving line on 9 targets for 38.4 DK points, in Week 1, against Washington, with Jeffery in the lineup.

Emmanuel Sanders (NO) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 5700 (11.4% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 5600 (9.33% of cap). Sanders’ upcoming salary ranks him 23rd/36th on DK/FD, respectively for the position, making him a much better value on FD.

The betting line with the Bucs has the game total at 49.5 points (highest on the board) with the Saints as -4 point home favorites. The Saints’ implied team total is currently at 26.75 points and the Bucs are currently at 22.75 points.

Last season, Tampa Bay’s defense ranked last in fantasy points allowed to WRs, 30th in pass yards allowed, and 29th in points allowed. All of Tampa Bay’s big splashes in the offseason went towards the offense, as they added nothing defensively.

The Saints added two free agent veteran starters this offseason to win now. On defense, S Malcolm Jenkins makes his return to New Orleans, and on offense, it’s WR2 Sanders. Sanders, in the dome, with Brees, against Tampa Bay, checks off a lot of boxes, and he would make for a nice pivot play off of Mike Thomas.

John Brown (BUF) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 5600 (11.2% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 6100 (10.2% of cap). Brown’s upcoming salary ranks him 26th/25th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

The betting line with the Jets has the game total at 40 points, with the Bills as -6 point home favorites. The Bills’ implied team total is currently at 23 points and the Jets are currently at 17 points.

Last season, the Jets’ defense ranked 22nd in fantasy points allowed to WRs and 18th in DVOA against the pass. The biggest issue for the Jets’ defense is they will be missing their two best players with the trade of All-Pro S Jamal Adams and LB C.J. Mosley (COVID opt out). Mosley missed all but two games last season.

Brown should actually benefit from the addition of WR Stefon Diggs, as the Jets can’t single cover Brown with his 4.34 speed.

DK Metcalf (SEA) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 5800 (11.2% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 6400 (10.7% of cap). Metcalf’s upcoming salary ranks him 21st/20th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

The betting line with the Falcons has the game total at 49 points with the Seahawks as -1 point road favorites. The Seahawks’ implied team total is currently at 25 points and the Falcons are currently at 24 points.

Last season, the Falcons’ defense ranked 16th in fantasy points allowed to WRs and 25th in DVOA against the pass.

Metcalf ranked 13th (tied) in TD catches and 10th (tied) in red zone targets among WRs as a rookie. The 6’3″, 228 lb. freak with 4.33 speed is going to be a matchup problem, and he could overtake the WR1 role in Seattle in his 2nd year.

Marquise Brown (BAL) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 5100 (10.2% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 5900 (9.83% of cap). Brown’s upcoming salary ranks him 32nd/29th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

The betting line with the Browns has the game total at 48.5 points, with the Ravens as -8.5 point home favorites. The Ravens’ implied team total is currently at 28.5 points (highest on the board) and the Browns are currently at 20 points.

Last season, the Browns’ defense ranked 8th in fantasy points allowed to WRs and 17th in DVOA against the pass.

Hollywood, hampered with a foot injury last season, is reportedly healthy heading into his year 2 campaign. Apparently, he’s added 23 lbs. in two months, to put him now at 180 lbs. A bigger, healthy Hollywood, with added opportunities, sounds like fun.

Tight End

Hayden Hurst (ATL) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 4300 (8.6% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 5200 (8.7% of cap). Hurst’s upcoming salary ranks him 10th/13th on DK/FD, respectively for the position.

The betting line with the Seahawks has the game total at 49 points with the Falcons as +1 point home dogs. The Falcons’ implied team total is currently at 24 points and the Seahawks are currently at 25 points.

Last season, the Seahawks ranked 31st in fantasy points allowed to TEs. The Seahawks traded for All-Pro SS Jamal Adams which should certainly improve this ranking this season.

Hurst was brought in to replace Austin Hooper (now in Cleveland), where Hooper vacates 97 targets with a 75-787-6 receiving line as the TE6 last season. He should assume 3rd target priority in the air game only behind WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

Ian Thomas (CAR) – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 3400 (6.8% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 5100 (8.5% of cap). Thomas’ upcoming salary ranks him 28th/14th on DK/FD, respectively for the position, making him a much better relative value on DK.

The betting line with the Raiders has the game total at 46.5 points with the Panthers as +1 point home dogs. The Panthers’ implied team total is currently at 22.75 points and the Raiders are currently at 23.75 points.

Last season, the Raiders ranked 25th in fantasy points allowed to TEs.

With the departure of Greg Olsen (to Seattle), he vacates 82 targets and a 52-597-2 receiving line. The Panthers have not added a TE this offseason, so Thomas is the guy.

The Panthers did add WR Robby Anderson, but as a deep-route flyer, he doesn’t fit well with QB Teddy Bridgewater’s shorter-game skillset. Thomas may settle in as the 4th receiving option depending on the week, for a bad team that will be throwing a majority of the time.