Week 1 DFS Value Plays

By: Ryan Cearfoss

(Photo Credit: The Associated Press)

(Photo Credit: The Associated Press)

Every week from now until the end of the NFL season I'll be going over some of my top values for daily fantasy football.  For the purpose of making this more universal, I'll be doing this on the Sunday slate only.

When looking to build a team in daily sports you have two real options; you can either build a team based on well-rounded, solid value players or do stars and scrubs approach where you load up on expensive proven stars and fill out the roster with flyers and try to have them hit.

The well rounded approach is better for cash games while the stars and scrubs approach is more suited for GPP.

Personally, I would rather have a well-rounded roster, especially earlier in the season when I don't know what young guy's roles are with their teams.

To find a player's value I'm looking at their average points adjusted by what the defense gives up to a given position to determine their projections. From there I determine their point per dollar projections. Without further ado here are my week 1 daily values.

*Prices reflect DraftKings pricing




Carson Palmer @ Det - $6000  (Projection: 21.38 Pts)

Last season was a down year for Palmer as he slowed down as the season went on. While that tends to happen to older quarterbacks in a long NFL season, the good news is this is the opener and he’s fresh.

He also has his favorite deep threat in John Brown back.  To go along with that, Detroit's defense was horrendous last year, giving up 19 points per week to quarterbacks, good for  29th in the league. The combination of the two things should lead to a huge opening week for Palmer.

Tyrod Taylor vs NYJ- $6200  (Projection: 19.66 Pts)

Tyrod is down weapons and is on a run first offense. Don’t let that fool you he’s facing the worst team in the league and with his running ability Taylor is always gives you a solid floor.

That combined with his tendency to throw deep gives him high upside with this week’s matchup.

Honorable Mentions:

Kirk Cousins vs. PHI- $6400 (Projection: 19.52 Pts)

Matt Ryan @ CHI- $6900 (Projection: 24.11 Pts)


Running Backs


Isaiah Crowell vs. PIT -  $5300  (Projection: 15.08 Pts)

The additions of Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter give Cleveland one of the top offensive line units in the league coming into the season (PFF has them ranked as their second best line in the league). The combination of that line and Hue Jackson's commitment to the run should be a match made in heaven. 

The Steelers open up as a great opponent for Cleveland to showcase their new and improved run game.  Pittsburgh gave up over 20 points a game to running backs last year and really didn't do much to improve on the run defense, so be on the lookout for a huge game out of Crowell.

Frank Gore vs. L.A. Rams - $4300  (Projection: 13.13 Pts)

I feel bad using such a boring pick in my first week of doing this, so here are my apologies.

What I won't apologize is the floor that he's going to give you that no one else near that price will give. Last season Gore finished as an RB2 12 out of 16 games. With Gore outside the top 30 in price, he looks to be an amazing value. 

With no Andrew Luck in Indy, the Colts will lean on the ground game against a middle of the road run defense last year in LA. Gore gives you a perfect combination of a high floor and upside while providing great salary relief.

Honorable Mentions:

Todd Gurley vs. IND- $6000  (Projection: 13.89 Pts)

Darren Sproles @ WAS- $3900  (Projection: 12.34 Pts)




Doug Baldwin @ GB - $6700  (Projection: 21.59 Pts)

Doug Baldwin has been hyped all offseason as a WR1 and a second round pick in redraft leagues but against the Swiss cheese (no pun intended) defense of the Packers, he's not priced that way. Costing less than the likes of Sammy Watkins, he will give you all the bang for very few bucks.  With the way that Baldwin and a healthy Wilson have been clicking this might be the lowest you get him all season; take him while you still can.

Davante Adams vs. SEA-  $5200 (Projection: 17.42 Pts)

Don't let the reputation from a few years ago fool you- the Seattle Seahawks were a middle of the line defense against the pass last season. They were exposed for that against Green Bay when Adams racked up 104 yards and a touchdown.  Look for more of the same this week, you could be getting a top ten finisher at receiver that is priced outside of the top 25 at his position.

Honorable Mentions:

Jordan Matthews vs. NYJ- $4400  (Projection: 12.83 Pts)

Kendal Wright vs. ATL- $3200  (Projection: 9.18 Pts)


Tight Ends


Zach Ertz vs. WAS- $3500  (Projection: 15.3 Pts)

The last time Philadelphia and Washington faced off Ertz showed his true potential as a star on the way to catching 10 balls for 112 yards.  Washington has failed to add the speed needed in their linebackers to stick with athletic tight ends- look for the Eagles to take advantage of this early and often.

Charles Clay vs. NYJ- $3200  (Projection: 10.81 Pts)

The battle of the bottom feeders of the AFC East should be an ugly game to watch between two limited offenses, but someone has to catch the ball for Buffalo.  The Jets are ranked bottom ten of defenses vs. tight ends and Charles Clay is the only pass catcher that Tyrod Taylor has a rapport with. 

With those two factors in play look for Clay to have the opportunity to provide a high level of production at a very low price.

Honorable Mentions:

Jesse James @ CLE- $3000  (Projection: 9.08 Pts)

C.J. Fiedorowicz vs. Jax- $3100 (Projections: 9.11 Pts)




Ravens @ CIN- $2800  (Projection: 7.9 Pts)

This one might sound a little strange because of how good the Bengals offense is supposed to be. However,  you look at the stats last year the Bengals ranked 24th in points scored and lost majority of their offensive line.  Look for the aggressive Ravens defense to put pressure on Dalton racking up sacks and adding onto last season’s league lead in turnovers.

Rams vs. IND- $3200  (Projection: 8.9 Pts)

I could start and end this whole section by just putting the name Scott Tolzein. Last year Tolzein started one game against a below average Steelers defense and he had one touchdown, 2 INTS and was sacked 3 times. The Rams defense should be licking their chops with an inexperienced QB with a bad offensive line.


Salary Savers

If some of the guys listed above are too expensive or you need some cheap fill ins, have no fear! I have a few more options.

At running back you can look the way of Darren Sproles, coming in at $3900 ,to get a solid amount of touches.  Robert Kelly comes in at a value at $4300. He is still the starting running back in a high powered offense which could lead to a solid performance and touchdown chances.  

At wide receiver, Kenny Stills is always a big play threat at $3800 who could explode for double digit points at any time.  

If you are setting this up at the last minute Jordan Matthews is also a fantastic option if he’s healthy. He’s the number one receiver in Buffalo and coming in at just $4400.

Cooper Kupp is expected to see a high volume as a rookie this year in a Cole Beasley like role and is priced at just $3700