Welcome to DraftKings DFS Picks for Week 1. This season I will break down the best plays for both high-priced guys which will be called Top Shelf Picks. I will also try to find some mid-priced to low-priced guys that can help you stay under the cap and win in the Bargain Bin. Ron McCleese and I will also start a weekly podcast called Hard Count. We will cover both DraftKings FantasyDraft and Fan Duel. Check it out on iTunes and Stitcher. Now for the picks!
Top Shelf Picks
Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos $8,200
vs Baltimore Ravens
If I am paying up for quarterback in Week 1, it is going to be for Peyton Manning. He may have left a bad taste in your mouth for some owners last season. Don’t let those bad memories impact your lineup this week. Two years ago in this spot, Manning was a monster against this Ravens team. He threw for 462 yards and 7 touchdowns. Last year in the opener he had 269 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Manning should be do very well in this home opener and is worth the price tag.
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Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers $8,600
vs Chicago Bears
Aaron Rodgers is down Jordy Nelson but is still worth every bit of the price you will have to pay. He still has Randall Cobb, Jeff Janis and Davante Adams to target. He is also reunited with former teammate James Jones,who had a ton of success during his time in Green Bay. Last year against the Bears, Rodgers put up 617 yards and 10 touchdowns in two games. While John Fox is trying to help the Bears improve their defense there is still a long way to go. I expect Rodgers to have another incredible performance in Week 1. With so many values in at the running back and wide receiver position, it should be easy to fit Rodgers into your lineup.
Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers $7,500
vs. Chicago Bears
Eddie Lacy is the place to start when building your DraftKings lineup. He is an elite running back that gets to face an amazing match up, yet he has a price tag that is very affordable. Lacy is a stud and should produce in this match up. I expect him to be a big part of the game plan both on the ground and through the air.
Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals $7,100
vs. Oakland Raiders
Jeremy Hill finished last season with a fury and is poised to have a fantastic season this year. He will be the focal point of an offense that will lean heavily on the run. He gets to face a Raider defense that has been atrocious and will be like cutting through swiss cheese. Hill, like Lacy, has a great price tag that I fully expect to rise this season.
DeMarco Murray – Philadelphia Eagles $6,700
at Atlanta Falcons
This game is going be chalked full of fantasy goodness with the total points for this game is up to 55 ½. You will want to get as many pieces from this game into your lineups. DeMarco Murray has a great price and has the potential to do some serious damage. The Falcons have a horrendous defense as a whole. Murray should see a ton of work as this game heads into the second half and should find the end zone at least once.
Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers $8,000
vs Chicago Bears
If you are noticing a trend at this point, you’re not mistaken. The Green Bay Packers have a ton of potential and Cobb will be the primary target for Aaron Rodgers. He should have a ton of catches in this game and one or two of those could be for touchdowns.
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons $9300
vs Philadelphia Eagles
I expect a monster game from Julio Jones against the Eagles. The Falcons will need to score and score often to maintain pace with the Eagles. Jones is by far their most explosive weapon and be targeted early and often. His big play ability gives him the opportunity to score every time he touches the ball. Jones is expensive, so you will have to find some value to use him but the potential reward is very much worth the risk.
Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots $7000
vs Pittsburgh Steelers
We spent a hell of a lot of time talking about deflated balls this summer. But as the season approaches, the presumed suspension of Tom Brady has been lifted. He is going to be playing at home with a stadium full of angry Bostonians full whatever their drink of choice happens to be. Coach Bill Belichick will run up the score and the biggest benefit from that will be Rob Gronkowski. He will be expensive but like the fans going to the game, it doesn’t matter. Pay that price! He will find the end zone, probably multiple times. The Pats will hang a double nickel on the Steelers poor defense.
Bargain Bin Finds
Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals $6500
vs New Orleans Saints
Carson Palmer is an amazing play this week. He is going against a poor Saints defense that will be without its best cornerback in Keenan Lewis. They had a horrible time creating a pass rush last season and I don’t expect that to have changed much. Before the injury that ended Palmer’s season in 2015, he was averaging 271 yards and had two or more touchdowns in every game but one. Close to 300 yards and multiple touchdowns feels very reasonable in this game.
Sam Bradford – Philadelphia Eagles $6900
@ Atlanta Falcons
Play Sam Bradford at a cheap price while you can because his cost will skyrocket after Week 1. He is surrounded by tremendous weapons including Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Darren Sproles and Zach Ertz. He has the opportunity to throw the ball all over the field against a poor Falcons defense. Expect a monster game here as plenty of points will be scored.
Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons $4,800
vs Philadelphia Eagles
Tevin Coleman will be starting for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and yet his price doesn’t show that. He has game breaking ability and can score on any play. There is some risk to rostering him if the Falcons get down big early, but he is a capable pass catcher and assuming he can block on passing downs, he should get some work.
Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers 3,700
vs Detroit Lions
The often overlooked and underrated Danny Woodhead is a sneaky play this week. Having a great understanding of the offense and an ability to make plays in the passing game should keep him on the field. Rookie Melvin Gordon will get work, but it will likely be a time split, especially early. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are gone from this Lions defense making them much less intimidating. Woodhead should provide nice value at such an affordable price.
Stevie Johnson – San Diego Chargers $3700
vs Detroit Lions
Stevie Johnson has been one of my favorite late round targets throughout my drafts. He is going to be a primary target in this offense, especially the first four weeks with Antonio Gates out. He should have an opportunity to have a big week. Rivers should chuck it all over the field on Sunday and Johnson should be the recipient early and often.
John Brown – Arizona Cardinals $4,500
vs New Orleans Saints
If I love Carson Palmer this week, it only makes sense I love me some John Brown as well. Cardinals pass catchers all around should be nice plays this week, but Brown is my favorite by far. Brown was targeted 5 or more times in every game he played with Palmer last season. Considering he was trust that much as a rookie is a huge statement.
Martellus Bennett – Chicago Bears $4,300
@ Green Bay Packers
It’s the same story every year with Martellus Bennett. The first three or four weeks of the season is when Bennett shines. He had 4 of his 6 total touchdowns in the first three games last season. In 2013 Bennett had 5 total touchdown, 3 of which came in the first two weeks. 2012 was the exact same story. Start him early and forget about him after the first couple weeks.
Miami Dolphins $3,000
vs Washington Redskins
The Miami Dolphins will be the defense I use in basically every lineup in Week 1. They get to face Kirk Cousins, who over his 3 year career has 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. They will also face an offensive line that is trying to figure things out and will be starting a rookie. Ndamukong Suh is in town and is ready to create havoc. Cameron Wake should also find Kirk Cousins in this game a time or two. Not to mention Jarvis Landry returning kicks and he has the ability to take one the distance as well for more fantasy points.
Kansas City Chiefs $3,000
@ Houston Texans
If you are looking to be different or in a GPP, the Kansas City Chiefs are a defense to look at. They have pass rushers who can create problems behind the line of scrimmage led by Justin Houston. They also have Eric Berry back to the command the secondary. They get to face Brian Hoyer, who has been known to turn the ball over throughout his career. They also get to avoid Arian Foster, who will miss the first month or so of the season due to the groin injury. The Chiefs have minimal risk and a ton of upside.