NFL DFS Week 1
Welcome to RotoMinds weekly NFL DFS Plays. Each week we will break down our rankings at QB, RB, WR, TE and Team Defense. An additional “Value Report” will be posted on Thursday afternoons to help identify deeper value plays for tournament use. Optimal Lineups will be posted 30 minutes to 2 hours prior to a slate locking.
NFL DFS Week 1 NFL Quaterback Rankings
- Aaron Rodgers
- Matt Ryan
- Drew Brees
- Peyton Manning
- Tom Brady
- Tony Romo
- Sam Bradford
Aaron Rodgers isn’t the top overall projected QB in our model in week 1, but he is the safest QB option with the lowest floor for your cash games. Rodgers will play the 2015-16 season without his #1 option, Jordy Nelson. Nelson is out for the season but the matchup is still a good one in week 1 as he gets to pick on a rather weak Chicago Bears defense. Ultimately Rodgers is a fine target in all formats but he is nowhere near a must play with Sam Bradford and Tyrod Taylor available at severe discounts due to pricing being released months before the week 1.
Matt Ryan is the actual top overall play according to the RotoMinds model. This model doesn’t heavily weight consistency which is why Ryan edges out Rodgers in week 1. Matt Ryan has several factors working in his favor in week 1. The first major plus for Matt Ryan is the home game on the turf that he is so familar with against a team that plays at a unheard of pace in pro football thanks to Chip Kelly and his hurry up offense. The Eagles-Falcons game opened as basically a pick em game and now the Eagles are -3 road favorites which creates a pretty nice game script for a guy like Matt Ryan who thrives in shootout type games where his team could be trailing by a few points troughout the game. The price point on Ryan is very attractive making him acceptable in cash games and a strong tournament play. The other thing to point out with Ryan is this is the Monday Night Football game which will likely lead to a reduced ownership level compared to a typical Sunday afternoon game. Why would this lead to lower levels? Because we are in week 1 and there are many new plays, many of these players will want to have their QB play on Sunday with the rest of their team. I know, it sounds silly but its something we have seen over the past two seasons where quality plays are OVER owned if they play Thursday night game and UNDER owned if they are in the MNF game.
Tyrod Taylor has won the starting job for the Bills and because the pricing was released weeks ago, he is minimum price on FanDuel where he is a strong play in all formats. Taylor is going to be one of the highest owned players this week but he has a unique skill set as a very real dual threat QB who can get it done with his legs. The rushing yards are a huge bump for Taylor who really isn’t a very risky play when you consider the high expected ownership level and the price tag. If Taylor has a multiple TD game it’s going to be tough to win without him this week because of how much his salary opens up the rest of your roster.
Tom Brady has had his suspensions lifted and he will start the Thursday Night season opener for the Patriots. This is forecasted to be one of the highest scoring NFL games in Week 1. Brady ranks pretty well in the model with a fair price tag. The value isn’t great but Brady is one of the best QB’s in the league and he should approach his value threshold against the Steelers tonight. Brady is best suited for tournaments that lock on Thursday night and he should be handcuffed with Rob Gronkowski.
Sam Bradford has landed with the Eagles and he looks to be the week 1 starter for the high paced Chip Kelly offense. The Eagles have the highest implied team total of any team in week 1 in a great team matchup against a poor Falcons defense. The Falcons D should improve as the season progresses but I don’t think they can keep up with the pace of the Eagles offense if the Eagles are organized from the first snap. This Eagles unit made Mark Sanchez look like a top tier QB last season, so I’m pretty excited to see what Bradford can do here. Bradford is best suited DraftKings cash games but we like him on all sites this week in all formats
NFL DFS Week 1 NFL Running Back Rankings
- Matt Forte
- Adrian Peterson
- Eddie Lacy
- C.J. Anderson
- Jamaal Charles
- DeMarco Murray
- Jeremy Hill
- Marshawn Lynch
- Lamar Miller
- Justin Forsett
- Jonathan Stewart
Matt Forte ranks at the top of the list at RB in week 1 thanks to his involvement in the Bears passing attack in addition to the carries he see’s as the teams clear cut #1 running back. Forte is in play on ALL sites this weekend but he is an exception play on the PPR sites like DraftKings where he can rack up several catches out of the backfield. The game script is pretty solid for a back who catches passes out of the backfield like Forte.
Adrian Peterson is back and ready to make a statement. Peterson could very easily be the top running back in week 1 as he returns to the NFL for what he hopes will be a full season for the Vikings. Peterson is getting up there in age but physically he is a different breed. Peterson is a guy that you want some exposure to this week in tournaments because he has multiple touchdown upside with big yardage totals possible.
Eddie Lacy gets a nice gift to start the season as the Packers get a Bears team that is a mess defensively. Lacy is a huge focal point of the Packers offense in the red zone and that should only increase as the Packers have lost their #1 option in Jordy Nelson. The game script is ideal for Lacy to have a very high DFS floor this week with multiple TD upside.
Jonathan Stewart is going to be the lead back for the Panthers in week 1 with DeAngelo Williams unable to go this week. Stewart is one of the better value plays this week who is guaranteed the lions share of the touches in the backfield. This game should be more of a defensive battle, but Stewart will still have opportunites to score DFS points.
Geovani Bernard is a nice DraftKings tournament play that will go underowned as many will focus on Jeremy Hill in the Cincy backfield. Bernard should see about 45-50% of the snaps including several 3rd down snaps where he will be targeted in the passin game. The price is right on DK for a guy that could find the end zone and score well on the PPR site.
NFL DFS Week 1 NFL Wide Receiver Rankings
- Anotonio Brown
- Julio Jones
- Demaryius Thomas
- Odell Beckham Jr.
- Dez Bryant
- Calvin Johnson
- Randall Cobb
- Mike Evans
- Julian Edelman
- A.J. Green
- Davante Adams
Antonio Brown ranks as #1 WR by a pretty significant margin in week 1 as they Steelers face the Patriots on Thursday Night Football. Antonio Brown has a good shot at leading the NFL in targets again this year. One thing we love to see with Brown is we know he is buying into the team as he took a little contract restructure this off-season to make cap room for a teammate. We are very high on Antonio Brown and you should be too if you’re followed the NFL at all in the last 18 months. This is a Thursday slate only play that you want exposure to if you’re playing those slates.
Julio Jones is one of my favorite wide receiver plays in week 1 but the price tag forces our hand to tournament use in most situations. Of course this could change by Sunday as some of the other positions become more defined. Jones is a great play if the team is healthy but Roddy White could miss this game which means Julio could/should see double digit targets in this game as the Falcons attempt to keep pace with the Eagles. If you’re interested in Matt Ryan this week we definitely recommend handcuffing with Julio Jones in all formats where you use Ryan.
Davante Adams is going to get the largest bump in expected value due to the Jordy Nelson injury. Adams saw a nice number of targets in a few games last season as a rookie while the Packers were healhy. Now that Adams has a year under his belt he is primed to shine in week 1 with the best QB in the NFL throwing passes his way against a below average defense. Adams is going to be highly owned this week, but for good reason. You will want some Adams exposure regardless of the ownership levels.
New York Giants – We won’t know until later in the week if Victor Cruz is going to play or not. If Victor Cruz does NOT play then Odell Beckham Jr. becomes a strong target in all formats and Rueben Randle emerges as one of the elite upside GPP plays at WR in the large GPP’s.
Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor are both very talented young receivers that should excel in the Chip Kelly system. Matthews has some experience and should be ready for a full season of production. The price tag is pretty fair here making him a strong stand alone play or handcuff with Bradford. Nelson Agholor was one of the best WR’s in college football last season and he landed in a dreamy spot as a rookie with the Eagles. It’s difficult to project which rookies see significant snaps in the regular season this early in the year, but Agholor has huge upside so he is worth the risk in tournaments with Bradford as your QB.
Mike Evans is a red zone beast that should have a ton of Red Zone targets if his team can move the ball. Evans is going to have a monster year in his 2nd season as a starting WR in the NFL.
Demaryius Thomas has the luxury of receiving passes from some guy named Peyton Manning. Elite tournament play that should be severly under owned for his talent level.
NFL DFS Week 1 NFL Tight End Rankings
- Rob Gronkowski
- Jimmy Graham
- Heath Miller
- Travis Kelce
- Greg Olsen
- Richard Rodgers
Rob Gronkowski is the clear cut top play at tight end in week 1 with Jimmy Graham having a slightly undefined role with his new team. Gronk receives a nice boost in value now that we know Brady will play for the Patriots. This is the Thursday night game so make sure you’re playing those slates tomorrow if you want Gronkowski exposure in week 1.
Heath Miller is another upside play that has a very attractive price tag. Big Ben loves to find Miller at random times and I think there will be some opportunity here with much of the defensive focus on Antonio Brown.
Travis Kelce is a nice GPP upside play that saw a good number of targets from Alex Smith last year. Kelce has been compared to Rob Gronkowski… while I think that is a little aggressive at the current time, I do think he is going to be a top 3 DFS tight end in 2015.
Richard Rodgers is a deep GPP target who could see red zone looks from Aaron Rodgers with the absence of Jordy Nelson.
NFL DFS Week 1 Defense Rankings
- Carolina Panthers
- Seattle Seahawks
- Miami Dolphins
- Green Bay Packers
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- New York Jets
The Panthers rank as the #1 overall defense in the model in week 1 if price isn’t considered. Typically the defense isn’t a huge focal point as we have a set criteria and any teams that meet that each week (typically 3-5 teams that do) are in play for our cash games where we will then let the model and price dictate the best option. It’s no surprise that the Seattle defense is on the list as they are consistently one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins are a good defense team that should have improved in the off-season. The Dolphins are one of our favorite targets in week 1.
NFL DFS Week 1 Kicker Rankings
- Stephen Gostowski
- Matt Bryant
- Justin Tucker
- Josh Brown
- Brandon McManus
- Cody Parkey
Stephen Gostowski is the top projected kicker in the model thanks to his ability to kick long feild goals and the fact that he plays on a team that scores points. The price point is high here but typically you know what you’re going to get. This is a Thursday slate only play on Thursday Night Football.
Matt Bryant gets to kick at home in the game with the quickest pace. Bryant is a strong tournament play with upside. When selecting a kicker we love to target kickers at home or kickers in domes, Bryant provides an opportunity to do both and we get the Monday Night Football game!
Justin Tucker is a name you will see frequently this year as he is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history on a team that moves the ball but struggles in the red zone from time to time.
Cody Parkey should have plenty of work this season if the Eagles offense is as good as we think it can be. Excellent kicking conditions for week 1.