A First Look at FanDuel Week 1 Pricing
With the regular season still over a month away, FanDuel released Week 1 pricing this week. Injuries and changes in depth charts will surely open up some major values by the time we actually get to the first week of the season but there are still some players that stand out as early values. Last week, I went over my favorite values on DraftKings. Here, I will take a look at value from a slightly different angle and highlight some of the players that are most undervalued on FanDuel, relative to their price on DraftKings.
Jameis Winston ($7,500) vs 49ers - FD QB9, DK QB3
The biggest price discrepancy either way at quarterback is Buccaneer signal caller Jameis Winston, who is priced six spots lower on FanDuel than on DK. With early betting lines showing a 49-point game total and listing the game as a pick ‘em, this is shaping up to be one of the most likely shootouts of opening weekend. Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks combined to lead the league in passing yards in 2018 and totaled the second-most fantasy points. The arrival of Bruce Arians will see the Bucs continue to be one of the most downfield passing games in the league and this team has done little to fix their defensive woes, a major contributor to their pass-heavy gameplans last season.
Winston is one of the more erratic quarterbacks in the league and while the 49ers open the season ranked 20th in schedule-adjusted points allowed to quarterbacks, the addition of rookie Nick Bosa could immediately elevate this entire passing defense. Barely priced inside the top-10, though, some of those concerns are baked into Winston's Week 1 price tag.
Lamar Jackson ($7,400) @ Dolphins - FD QB12, DK QB9
As the Ravens’ starting quarterback over the final seven weeks of 2018, Lamar Jackson averaged the 11th-most FanDuel points per game at his position, so he starts 2019 with what looks like a fair price. It will be a tall order to ask Jackson to maintain his 17 rush attempts per game that he averaged as a starter last year, but even a 50% drop in rushing attempts would give Jackson one of the highest rushing floors at quarterback. Add in the fact that he has flashed early signs of improved passing in training camp and Jackson could be one of the better plays of Week 1 against what projects to be one of the worst defenses in the league.
Darrell Henderson ($5,400) @ Panthers - FD RB34, DK RB22
This is one of the more interesting price differences between the two sites because intuition would suggest that if one site were higher on Darrell Henderson then they would be low on Todd Gurley. Interestingly, though, FanDuel priced both Rams running backs lower at their position compared to DK—Gurley is the RB8 on FD compared to the RB4 on DK. This suggests that FanDuel is lower on the Rams as a whole but in a game with a total point projection over 50 and a spread of just three, both LA back could have value if the timeshare that has been rumored all season actually materializes.
Dion Lewis ($5,600) @ Browns - FD RB30, DK RB23
In all likelihood, this is a classic case of a back being priced higher on DraftKings because of the full-PPR scoring, compared to the half-PPR format on FanDuel. With the Titans coming in as early 5.5-point road dogs, there is a scenario where Dion Lewis out-snaps Derrick Henry but Lewis shouldn’t be the anchor of any player pools in Week 1.
Mohamed Sanu ($5,300) @ Vikings - FD WR45, DK WR33
On my first once-over of pricing, there were barely any sub-$6k receivers that stood out so finding a value across sites is noteworthy, especially on a team that should have one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the league. What really stands out here is that while Sanu is priced down on FanDuel, his teammate Calvin Ridley is priced five spots higher than on DraftKings. With the hype surrounding Ridley this offseason, this could be an early ownership opportunity to exploit what less savvy owners might overlook.
D.J. Moore ($6,200) vs Rams - FD WR25, DK WR20
In my initial DraftKings writeup, I mentioned that I liked Curtis Samuel because of the huge gap between him and D.J. Moore. On FanDuel, however, their pricing is much closer with Samuel priced up as the WR31. This game has shootout potential and this will likely be a highly-owned Panthers offense but the value is on Moore here, even though he is slightly more expensive than his teammate.
Jordan Reed ($5,300) @ Eagles - FD TE13, DK TE9
For the first time in years, Jordan Reed is starting a season without offseason injury concerns and he is expected to be the primary target in this offense with so much ambiguity at the wide receiver position. We generally want a winning game script for our tight ends, but if Reed is the de facto number one, he should see top-tier volume in a game where Washington is a nine-point dog and will likely be forced into passing situations.
Kyle Rudolph ($5,100) vs Falcons - FD TE16, DK TE12
Even in weeks where the Vikings are expected to be a popular offense, Kyle Rudolph will rarely garner much ownership with Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook as the stars of this offense. Especially on FanDuel, touchdown upside is a huge driver of tight end success, as a single score can catapult a tight end up the ranks. Minnesota has a promising implied point total just under 26 and since the beginning of 2016, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are the only tight ends with more red zone targets than Rudolph.
Defense and Special Teams
Giants ($3,400) @ Cowboys - FD DEF22, DK DEF18
As early 7.5-point road dogs against a team that is generally quite run-heavy, the difference in salary here isn’t one that will make the Giants a viable option in Week 1. If Ezekiel Elliott does hold out into the season, there could be something to be said for playing a defense against a team that isn’t used to having their star back, but a running back rarely moves the needle much in terms of expected outcome.
Cardinals ($3,600) vs Lion - FD DEF16, DK DEF13
With the Lions suddenly becoming one of the more run-heavy teams in the league, Detroit will rarely be a team that you want to match up against your defense. In this case, Arizona is an underdog so it might be a moot point anyway, but they are at home and the spread is just 2.5 so there could be some merit to using them as a contrarian play, especially if it’s a stack with David Johnson as a leverage play against Kyler Murray, who could turn out to be a very popular Week 1 option.