NFL DFS Week 1 Afternoon-Only Slate Breakdown
Here I will be doing a team-by-team breakdown for the afternoon slate (4pm only) and discussing the top plays for both cash games and tournaments.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks (-9.5), O/U 44
Russell Wilson ($6,200 DK/ $8,200 FD)
Wilson should definitely be in play on DraftKings. The Seahawks have the highest projected total on the slate and the Bengals gave up the eighth-most points to quarterbacks last season. An increase in pace for the Bengals on the other side of the ball could also help this game be not as boring as it looks on the surface.
Chris Carson ($5,700 DK / $6,600 FD)
If this is the route it appears to be on paper, Carson is setup to feast as the team's workhorse. The Bengals defense allowed 137 rushing yards per game (fourth highest) and one rushing touchdown per game last season. C.D. Carter agrees he's a strong play and believes you should stack him with the Seahawks defense.
Tyler Lockett ($6,600 FD / $6,000 DK)
Lockett is more of a GPP play for me as the Bengals were pretty tough on opposing wide receivers last season. That said, he doesn't have much competition for targets and it only takes one broken play for him to hit value.
Tyler Boyd ($6,900 DK / $5,800 FD)
As I discussed in the early slate breakdown, Boyd isn't the prototype play I personally target in cash but the volume will absolutely be there and that's hard to overlook. Our T.J. Hernandez pegged Boyd as a player to target for cash games on FanDuel.
Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5), O/U 44.5
Austin Ekeler ($5,500 DK / $6,400 FD)
The potential split with Justin Jackson makes Ekeler a little risky but the Chargers are heavy home favorites and I could see them wanting to take the air out of the ball to hide their banged-up defense. I won't own him in cash due to roster construction but he's a value play in GPP's, even though his ownership will still be fairly high.
Hunter Henry ($6,100 FD/$3,900 DK)
Henry is an insane value on DraftKings as he's matched up against a Colts team that gave up the second-most points to tight ends last season. I don't expect a ton of scoring in this game but it won't take much for Henry to hit value at that price. We also know Philip Rivers has historically loved to target the Tight Ends in the red zone.
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-7), O/U 45.5
Saquon Barkley ($9,200 FD / $9,200 DK)
It feels strange to target the underdog running back in cash over the favorite but Barkley's versatility makes him game script proof. This is evidenced by having the highest projected floor on the slate.
Sterling Shepard ($6,000 FD / $5,000 DK)
Shepard closed out 2018 receiving at least six targets in six straight games. With the departure of Odell Beckham and Golden Tate's suspension, he should see heavy volume in this game as the Giants are seven-point underdog. Over the last two seasons, Shepard has averaged eight targets per game without Odell Beckham on the field.
Amari Cooper ($7,000 DK/ $7,500 FD)
After being traded to Dallas, Cooper averaged eight targets per game in the second half of 2018. However, he's been battling plantar fascitis and Michael Gallup may have earned a more prominent role after his big preseason. The Giants allowed the eighth-most PPR points to opposing receivers last year so Cooper could have a big game if he's healthy.
San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Bucs (-1), O/U 50.5
Jameis Winston ($6,600 DK / $7,500 FD)
Entering a make or break season, Winston can get off to a hot start against the 49ers suspect secondary. Last year they allowed 2.2 touchdown passes per game (second-most) and that number got even higher when they were on the road. It's not really surprising that Winston has the highest projected ceiling on the slate.
Chris Godwin ( $6,900 FD / $6,200 DK)
Both Bucs receivers are in play but I think I'm more intrigued by Godwin. Godwin is projected for a slightly lower floor but almost equal ceiling to Mike Evans and he's $1,000 cheaper. Also, Evans should see a decent amount of coverage from Richard Sherman. Sherman isn't the same lockdown cornerback he used to be but teams still tend to avoid him and just beat up on the rest of the secondary.
George Kittle ($7,300 FD / $6,600 DK)
According to our floor and ceiling projections, Kittle is the best value tight end on the slate. He's a must-play as the top target on the 49ers in a game with huge scoring upside.
Tevin Coleman ($5,000 DK / $6,300)
Similar to the Buccaneers wide receivers, both 49ers backs are in play in this potential shootout. We project both Tevin and Breida to have about 7% ownership. Assuming we see a fairly even workload split between the two, Tevin gets the tiebreaker as he's better suited for the goal-line work. That could be a huge difference-maker in this game as no team allowed more red zone scores in 2018 than the Buccaneers.
Detroit Lions (-2.5) @ Arizona Cardinals, O/U 47.5
Kerryon Johnson ($5,800 DK / $7,000 FD)
This one is going to hurt if Matt Patricia doesn't let Kerryon be great. The Arizona Cardinals got dismantled by running backs last season, allowing over five yards per carry on the road and over six yards per carry in their last three games. The question marks surrounding his workload should probably put him more in GPP territory but he's a top-two running back play for me on this slate and that's essential to my cash lineup process.
Marvin Jones ($6,100 FD / $4,800 DK)
The Lions were middle of the road in terms of plays per game but the expected increase in pace from the Cardinals could make this a fun one. The Lions projected total is around 25 points and the Cardinals defense will be trotting out its preseason secondary. It's worth mentioning that in the two games Jones and Kenny Golladay had together after the Golden Tate trade, they had an almost identical target split. Golladay's share of air yards (45%) was much higher than Jones (35%) but both were in the top 12 for wide receivers. We're working off of a small sample but it appears that Jones is in a great spot.
David Johnson ($7,700 DK/ $8,100 FD)
While the Cardinals are underdogs in this game, there's a ton value to be had by identifying running backs on teams that pull the upset. If reports are true that Cardinals have been holding back in the preseason than Johnson could have a massive game up against a Lions defense that allowed the 12th most PPR points to running backs last season. He's more of a GPP target as it's hard to trust this offense but he will be very low owned and his projected ceiling is the same as Dalvin Cook.