The 2018 NFL season is upon us, we all know what that means. Fire up the Daily fantasy lineups in search of some of these enormous prizes provided.
Selecting the right players isn’t the only task at hand when trying to beat one of these larger fields. When picking your roster, depending on the type of contest you’ve entered, fading players with high ownership can be the key to move up leaderboards.
Let’s discuss some of the Week 1 options you could plug into your lineups. ( Keep In Mind the Main slate excludes the Sunday night game)
David Johnson (vs. Redskins) $8,800
The highest priced running back excluding the mysterious Le’Veon Bell, Johnson looks to pick back up from his 2016 campaign. If people were impressed with Todd Gurley’s 2017 fantasy season, Johnson outscored him the previous year blasting his way to 20 total touchdowns. Just to put things into perspective on how dangerous Johnson is in the passing game; in 2016 he had 120 targets and 80 receptions.
That would have placed him as a Top 20 WR in PPR scoring, keep in mind, this is a running back we’re talking about. His week one opponent, a Washington defense that allowed the most rushing yards in the entire NFL last season (2146). There are 4 Running backs this week projected to be owned over 20%, and Johnson seems to be right outside that range.
Alvin Kamara (vs. Buccanneers) $8,500
The slates fan favorite, the 2nd year ball carrier will need to score at least 34 points to get 4X value, plus what he needs to over-exceed and pay off the projected 28% ownership. The Saints breakout star was able to throw up outrageous numbers while only carrying the ball 120 times, but was able to secure 82 receptions on 101 targets (only five less than Le’Veon Bell). Now he comes into the season as the featured back with the Mark Ingram suspension causing fantasy enthusiast to foam at the mouth.
The matchup is primed for big numbers with Tampa Bay surrendering 17 rushing touchdowns last season, 3rd most in the NFL attached to 4.3 YPC. In his two games vs. the Buccaneers last season, Kamara went for 152 total yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting and came back with another 124 total yards and another score. Look for Kamara to take full advantage of the opportunity this week with his team carrying a team total of 30.
Saquon Barkley (vs Jaguars) $6,700
The hype train has been ready to leave the station for months, and Sunday we get to see just that. In an interesting matchup, the rookie will take on a Jaguars defense that holds one of the leagues scariest defense. Well, that’s only from the outside, if you jump into the numbers, you find that Jacksonville was bottom 12 in rush yards allowed and YPC. The alarming number with the Jaguars defense was they were 1st in pass defense but 27th vs. the run in DVOA. They also allowed 7.1 receptions to running backs a game, something that will play right into Paty Shurmur’s schemes and the first round picks best of abilities. Look for Barkley to make noise in his debut.
Dalvin Cook ( vs.49ers) $6,200
In a small sample size, we saw the Florida State slasher run his way to the 9th best running back in weeks 1-4 while he was fully healthy. He was averaging 16.4 fantasy points a game, a pace that would have established him as the overall 2nd RB over16 games. Talks out of Vikings camp indicate that he is fully recovered with some even saying he looks quicker. The shadow of Latavius Murray will hinder his ceiling some, plus the ambition of a coaching staff to throw a heavy workload on a player returning from a season-ending injury.
The opponent is ideal giving up the 6th most points to the position allowing 25.8 fantasy points to running backs. San Fransisco allowed 9 rushing touchdowns last season, so look for Cook to get in the end zone. The 49ers were 24th in defensive DVOA vs the RB position allowing 8.4 receptions a game to the position. Cook looks to be floating around the 5% projected ownership, something that would be ideal to beat a big field.
Christian McCaffrey (vs. Cowboys) $6,400
One of the biggest rumors from training camps was the talk from the Panthers coaching staff about the elusive running back getting a big uptick in touches per game. Some even went as far as saying around 25-30 a game, which seems extremely optimistic. While we don’t expect him to become a true workhorse, we do expect some more chances and that will catapult him into the top 6 RB conversation in PPR scoring formats. Even after only averaging 7.3 carries a game with 5 receptions, the Stanford phenom was able to cement himself as the 9th overall running back in PPR scoring last season. Let’s say he does add some volume, what’s his ceiling?
This week the matchup is interesting with the Cowboys only allowing 22.6 fantasy points (Top 10) to the opposing ball carrier and only 6 total rushing touchdowns and 2 receiving scores to the position. The public is seeing past the Dallas defense and McCaffrey is projected to carry the second highest ownership at RB this weekend at 24%.
Joe Mixon (vs. Colts) $6,100
Last season the incoming rookie was in a crowded backfield fighting Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard for reps. Once give the backfield, Mixon touched the ball 17.6 times per game before his week 13 injury. In the 4 games, he was the lead back, he was the 7th overall fantasy scoring RB. Now, only contending with Bernard, look for the Oklahoma standout to command the backfield and put up top 5 RB numbers.
The Bengals were quietly the best team in run success while rushing in the red zone. Mixon dominates all the carries when Cincinnati enters the opponents 20 (47.2%) while touching the ball over 80% of the time inside the 10. Look for Mixon to get in the end zone vs. a Colts defense that allowed the 7th most yards and 5th most touchdowns to the position surrendering 24.5 fantasy points a game. The Bengals rusher is projected to be low owned at 6% ownership.
Flyer of the week
Mike Gillislee (vs. Buccaneers) $3,400
The DEEP, and I mean DEEP flyer of the week, I see the newly acquired ball carrier to see plenty of opportunities giving him value at his $3,400 price tag. If we look back at last season, Saints starting running back Alvin Kamara never had more than 12 rushes in any single game. So now the absence of Mark Ingram opens the opportunity for Gillislee, a back that has been known to be able to punch the ball in on goalline situations.
Remember a time when the Patriots let LeGarrette Blount walk and acquired the goal line back from Buffalo with the expectation he could fill in right where Blount left off after his 18 touchdowns. Things didn’t work out as expected and the 27-year-old back finds himself with a slight chance to make an impact. The game carries the highest spread with New Orleans favored by 10, look for former Patriot to get carries late in the game giving him tons of value, and opening salary on your roster.