FantasyDraft Week 1 Value Plays
Each week, I’ll be offering my favorite plays for the Sunday slate on FantasyDraft. 4for4’s Lineup Generator allows users to quickly pinpoint the top values at each position and I will expand on how each player is best deployed, whether it’s by game type, as part of a stack, or simply a core value across all formats. Note that FantasyDraft is a full-PPR site with yardage bonuses but the roster requires only two wide receivers and implements two flex positions.
Jameis Winston ($11,100) vs. 49ers
In a game with a 50-point total and a spread of just one, many DFS players are automatically assuming all players on both sides are viable in most formats but the Buccaneers have a wider range of outcomes than some might realize, specifically because of their shaky offensive line. With that being said, Winston is the biggest cross-platform bargain on FantasyDraft this week, where he is priced as the QB13 compared to the QB6 on DraftKings. That price factors in all of his risk and then some, making the Tampa Bay quarterback viable in all formats.
Dak Prescott ($10,700) vs. Giants
The Cowboys are at home as 7-point favorites with an implied point total above 26 but their quarterback’s price hardly reflects their upside. Like Winston, Dak is criminally underpriced relative to other signal-callers, coming in as the QB20 while he’s the QB10 on DK. Ezekiel Elliott did finally sign an extension but it sounds like they want to ease their $90-million back into the season after he missed all of camp. If that’s the case, the offense should run through Prescott against a Giants defense that finished 2018 ranked 22nd in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to quarterbacks.
Chris Carson ($10,600) vs. Bengals
There may not be a more lopsided matchup than this one in Week 1, as Seattle is favored by 9.5 points against one of the worst run defenses in the league. No team was as run-heavy as the Seahawks last season and Carson came out of training camp as the clear lead back, ahead of Rashaad Penny. Even if Penny does spell Carson some, Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer have been adamant about getting Carson more involved in the passing game. If game script goes as expected, Carson could lead all backs in carries after the first week of the season.
Leonard Fournette ($12,500) vs. Chiefs
Probably the best thing about targeting Leonard Fournette in DFS this week is the fact his price is sandwiched right in between Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook, running backs who should be two of the highest owned on the slate. As an underdog with the perception as a back who doesn’t catch many balls, Fournette’s ownership will not reflect his scoring expectation. In addition to the fact he will face a Chiefs defense that finished 2018 ranked 31st in running back aFPA, Fournette may be surprisingly game-script proof. The addition of quarterback Nick Foles and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo should see Jacksonville shift somewhat more towards the pass than in previous years—while DeFilippo was calling plays for Minnesota last season, they ranked third in neutral passing rate. With T.J. Yeldon no longer donning a Jaguars uniform, there are 78 backfield targets up for grabs and Fournette is an underrated pass-catcher.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($13,000) @ Patriots
Only four receivers have a higher point projection than JuJu Smith-Schuster this week but he is priced as the WR10. After averaging 10.4 targets per game last season, Smith-Schuster is a threat to lead the league in targets in 2019 with Antonio Brown no longer in town. He hopes to get that party started against a Patriots defense that finished 2018 ranked in the bottom 10 in wide receiver aFPA. JuJu will draw a tough matchup against Stephon Gilmore but the potential volume is just too enticing for a receiver barely priced as a top-end starter at his position.
Marvin Jones ($9,500) @ Cardinals
Not only is Jones the top wide receiver value priced under $13,000, but he’s a top-five value overall at his position. Jones could easily match Kenny Golladay in targets, if not outpace him, but he is priced $2,400 less than Golladay. While Detroit wants to run the ball and Arizona was a bit of a run funnel last season, attacking the Cardinals through the air could be the optimal strategy as they will be starting two backup cornerbacks with little NFL experience.
Zach Ertz ($11,400) vs. Redskins
There’s a clear top tier of tight ends and while Ertz has the worse individual matchup between himself, George Kittle, and Travis Kelce—Ertz has historically struggled against safety Landon Collins—his price is simply too low relative to the other studs. Kittle, who is priced as the TE2, costs $1,200 more than Ertz while it takes $1,600 more to get to Kelce. One of the biggest drivers of tight end success is positive game script and Philadelphia is favored by 10 at home with an implied point total near 28.
Hunter Henry ($7,300) vs. Colts
Early Week 1 pricing led to a double-dip of inefficiency on Henry’s Week 1 price—Melvin Gordon’s holdout means Henry should get more short targets and red zone work while Andrew Luck’s retirement moved the Chargers from a 3-point favorite to a 6.5-point favorite. With Gordon’s holdout and Tyrell Williams and Antonio Gates no longer on the roster, there are 11 targets per game up for grabs in the Chargers offense, a good portion of which should go to their dominant tight end.
Ravens ($7,000) @ Dolphins
Baltimore is the most expensive defense on this slate but they still top 4for4’s value report at the position. Besides playing a team that doesn’t care about winning in 2019, the Ravens are favored by 6.5 points against an offensive line that 4for4’s Justin Edwards ranks dead last going into the season. Throw in Ryan Fitzpatricks 4.7% interception rate in losses over the last two seasons and we may have a blood bath on our hands.
49ers ($4,600) @ Buccaneers
I mentioned Jameis Winston has a wider range of outcomes than some might suspect. While his absurdly low price makes him cash viable, betting on the low end of his range is a solid GPP strategy. Tampa Bay’s offense was one of the friendliest to opposing fantasy defenses last year, mostly because of their awful offensive line that Edwards ranks 30th heading into Week 1. Targeting any offense that throws a lot can be good for any fantasy defense—more pass attempts mean more chances for quarterback pressures. An offense that throws deep as often as a Bruce Arians’ team is even better since the quarterback will be taking some long drops. Nick Bosa’s debut could unveil a not-so-horrible 49ers defense, at least compared to the 2018 iteration