DraftKings NFL Week 1 Pricing Preview
QB Andy Dalton $6,100 @ OAK
The DraftKings pricing algorithm is not fond of ginger, as evidenced by Dalton's $6,100 price tag -- lower than benching-prone Geno Smith ($6,300) and downfield-averse Alex Smith ($6,200). Dalton is one year removed from a 4,296-yard, 33-touchdown season where currently-healthy weapons A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, and Tyler Eifert combined to miss only one game -- they missed 34 last year. Consistently in the bottom-third of the league in passing-under-pressure metrics, Dalton excels with a clean pocket, and only one team had less sacks than the Raiders last season.
Other QB Notes
Carson Palmer ($6,500) averaged 277 passing yards and 2.2 passing touchdowns in the five games he finished last season, only failing to throw multiple touchdowns in the game he got hurt.
Jay Cutler ($6,800) posted a top-10 finish in 2014, and his price is lower than it was at any time during that year. Cutler is at home in one of four games with an over/under of at least 50 points.
Quarterbacks historically see their numbers inflated in a Chip Kelly offense, and Sam Bradford ($6,900) would offer value in the game with the highest over/under on the slate. Mark Sanchez ($5,400) would be an absolute steal. Eagles quarterbacks combined to average 286 passing yards and 1.7 passing touchdowns last season.
RB Arian Foster $7,600 vs. KC
Fantasy owners are down on Foster in season-long leagues due to perceived injury risk, but that means nothing in daily fantasy. Foster faces off against a Chiefs defense that allowed 4.92 yards per carry to running backs last season. They have Mike DeVito and Derrick Johnson coming off achilles tears, but lost Dontari Poe, and allowed a healthy 4.28 yards per carry to running backs with all those guys healthy in 2013. Foster is a home favorite and eclipsed 20 touches in 10 of 13 games a season ago.
Update: Foster suffered a serious groin injury on August 4th and looks unlikely to suit up in Week 1. If he misses the game, Alfred Blue ($3,600) is likely to replace him in the starting lineup and becomes a solid value play. Chris Polk ($3,000) and Jonathan Grimes ($3,000) may also be in the running for the starting job.
Other RB Notes
If Joseph Randle emerges as the Cowboys' Week 1 starter, he'd check all the boxes for a great value running back play: home favorite with a strong offensive line going against a run defense that allowed 4.83 yards per carry last season.
C.J. Spiller ($4,900) is the 26th-most-expensive running back despite an average draft position of 16th in full point-per-reception leagues. The Saints are two point underdogs, which projects as better game script for Spiller than early-down workhorse Mark Ingram ($5,600).
WR A.J. Green $7,800 @ OAK
Green has as good of a matchup as any stud wide receiver, yet is priced behind nine of them. Green has been a road warrior throughout his career: he averages 6.8 receptions for 101 yards and 0.7 touchdowns in 30 road games, compared to a 4.2-reception/61.4-yard/0.47-touchdown line in 30 home games.
Other WR Notes
John Brown ($4,500) averaged 50 percent more fantasy production with Carson Palmer at the helm last season. I already touched on Palmer's success in last year's abbreviated season, and with Larry Fitzgerald ($5,500) having lost a step and Michael Floyd ($5,800) having settled in to a role as a situational deep threat, Brown has a chance to lead the Cardinals in targets.
Don't let Marvin Jones ($4,200) fly under the radar in a great matchup. He scored nine touchdowns in his last 11 games of 2013 before missing last season with a foot injury.
The Lions field a solid pass rush and good outside cornerbacks, leaving Chargers slot receiver Stevie Johnson ($3,700) as the likely beneficiary of a high volume of targets over the middle of the field, especially with Antonio Gates suspended.
TE Owen Daniels $3,400 vs. BAL
Peyton Manning's (and Gary Kubiak's) tight end can be had for the price of a high-end defense/special teams in a game with the second-highest over/under on the slate. Over the past two seasons, Manning's tight ends have averaged 1.45 red zone targets per game and a 39 percent red zone touchdown conversion rate.
Other TE Notes
Jimmy Graham's ($5,600) price is below $6,000 for only the second time since the start of last season. Despite the tough matchup and (likely) offensive downgrade, he's still one of the best bets for multiple touchdowns at his price point.
Martellus Bennett starts the season priced at $4,300. His price dipped no lower than $5,200 over the final month of last year's 90-catch season.
The minimum price for tight ends has been lowered from $3,000 to $2,500 this year. Mychal Rivera ($2,700) is by no means a talented football player, but did post double-digit fantasy outings in 50 percent of his last 10 games during 2014.