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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…no, I’m not talking about snowflakes and holiday lights. After what feels like a long, long hiatus, football is back!
This coming Sunday, we get to sit back for a day of high octane games with ramifications. With the opening weekend of NFL action comes the glory and joy of DFS. Let’s take a look at some of the best and most intriguing plays at quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end.
Cash Game Option:
Russell Wilson, SEA ($13,300) vs. CIN
Russell Wilson is healthy and has an improved line in front of him with a dangerous and attention-demanding running game behind him. He is the second-highest priced quarterback on FantasyDraft but is well worth his price tag. Fresh off signing a new contract, Wilson should be 100% focused on his play and has a massive amount of speed around him on offense. His running ability will provide a safe floor while his accuracy and ability to extend plays provides a nice ceiling.
Cash Game/Tournament Options:
Cam Newton, CAR ($12,700) vs. LAR
Cam Newton was seen sporting a walking boot after injuring his foot in Week 3 of the preseason. That’s never a good look for your starting quarterback but it could work out in your favor. Before the injury, Newton was showing off a healthy throwing arm with a quick, proficient release. During training camp, he was routinely making jaw-dropping deep throws to his receivers. Newton’s injury concern could help keep ownership low and present a prime player to roster in both cash and tournament play. With Christian McCaffrey behind him, Newton will have space to target his dangerous receivers and to roll out from the pocket and gain yards on the ground.
Jameis Winston, TB ($11,100) vs SF
Jameis Winston is under-priced for Week 1, has a new offensive guru as a head coach, and is surrounded by some dangerous weapons. Winston is also flanked by several dangerous wide receivers while being backup by a running game that leaves a lot to be desired. His price tag of $11,100 places him as the 16th most expensive quarterback this weekend. With that price tag, you can easily fit in some top-flight players on your roster while also going after one of several enticing Buccaneers stacks. The Buccaneers game is also projected to be one of the highest-scoring games of the weekend and Winston should have a hand in a majority of the scoring. Winston is one of my favorite options for both cash and tournament plays this weekend.
Kirk Cousins, MIN ($11,300) vs. ATL
After a somewhat disappointing first year with the Vikings, Kirk Cousins should be relatively under-owned. He is flanked by two electric receivers and has a pass-catching back to hit for big gains through the air. Cousins will also be playing against an Atlanta team ripe to take advantage of after allowing the sixth-most passing yards over last year. The combination of his projected ownership and ability to cause damage through the air make him a great tournament play this weekend.
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF ($11,900) at TB
Jimmy Garoppolo is coming back from an injury and has a skilled receiving core to throw to. Add in one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the NFL and the 49ers’ offense has the potential to be high octane. Garoppolo should be another player with artificially low ownership as he comes back from his knee injury and could provide excellent value in tournaments. During his dress rehearsal in Week 3 of the preseason, Garopolo looked comfortable while collecting first downs and leading his team to several scoring drives.
Kyler Murray, ARI ($11,000) vs. DET
Kyler Murray is very interesting at his current price of $11,000. He possesses a unique combination of abilities as a passer and a nice ceiling as a runner. If the Cardinals truly run a version of the air raid offense, he could be on the field for a massive amount of offensive plays. There were times in the preseason where Murray was inaccurate and sailed passes over his receivers. Lingering concerns over those issues may create a nice opportunity by keeping his ownership low. The pass-catching abilities of David Johnson out of the backfield could also help Murray as he has shown the ability to extend plays and hit receivers while on the run. Murray is a somewhat risky play as a rookie quarterback but could give you some room to work with to roster some big names at other positions on your roster and reward owners with his legs.
Nick Foles, JAX ($11,400) vs. KC
Nick Foles is an incredibly enticing tournament play. He showed the ability to be extremely accurate while playing for the Eagles and showcased a nice connection with Dede Westbrook during the preseason. Foles is a big upgrade over Blake Bortles and should also get Leonard Fournette much more involved in the passing game. Going against the Chiefs will force him to air the ball out and carry his team if they hope to compete with Kansas Cities high powered offense while creating an opportunity for owners to take advantage of. He should also carry lower ownership than some of the other big names at his position.
Cash Game/Tournament Option:
Odell Beckham Jr, CLE ($15,600) vs. TEN
Odell Beckham Jr. should have a massive amount of motivation to go out and ball in his first game as a Brown. After all the talk from himself and his quarterback, he should be targeted often and be given multiple opportunities to make big plays. Beckham is also flanked by talented offensive players in Jarvis Landry and David Njoku. He should also be given some one-on-one opportunities to take advantage of with all the offensive talent on the Browns roster. Beckham’s high price tag and recent injury history may keep his ownership on the lower side, but his play could be highly rewarding for owners willing to pay up for his services.
Stefon Diggs, MIN ($12,600) vs. ATL
Paired with Cousins against a defense that can stop the run but had trouble against the pass, Stefon Diggs has the potential to be a strong Week 1 play. Diggs is the cheaper option of the Vikings receivers and can win versus Atlanta with his route running and speed. Keep an eye on his injury status heading into the game. If he logs some practices and is near 100% he could be a low owned player that could offer high rewards.
Dede Westbrook, JAX ($9,500) vs. KC
Westbrook could easily return value as the Jags should fall behind Kansas City’s high powered offense early. He should get a lot of looks from Foles in a game script that favors the ball being aired out often. Westbrook was one of Foles’ favorite targets in Week 3 of the preseason and is coming off a season leading the Jaguars in most pass-catching categories. With an accurate and effective quarterback, Westbrook could easily be the best wide receiver in Jacksonville.
Tyreek Hill, KC ($14,900) at JAX
Tyreek Hill will face a tough match-up that should lower his ownership and create a buying opportunity in tournament play. Even though he will face a tough defense and good coverage, Hill can still win in this situation with his speed.
Chris Godwin, TB ($12,000) vs. SF
Chris Godwin and Winston create a mesmerizing stack for tournament play. Mike Evans and the Buccaneers’ tight ends should demand attention and leave Godwin in one-on-one situations to take advantage of. The Bucs game is one of the highest projected point totals of the weekend and Godwin was one of Winston’s favorite targets out of the slot last year. He should open up the NFL season with a big game.
Sterling Shepard, NYG ($10,400) at DAL
Sterling Shepard is one of the cheaper number one wide receivers in this weekend’s games at $10,400. He has been cleared for contact and should be a full go against the Cowboys. With the majority of the Cowboys’ defensive attention focused on Saquon Barkley, Shepard should have opportunities to run free over the middle of the field while the Cowboys linebackers creep up to keep an eye on the Giants backfield. The low expectations for the Giants’ offense should also keep his ownership low, but he has the potential to be a highly targeted player through the air.
Cash Game Option:
Julio Jones, ATL ($15,000) at MIN
Julio Jones was not listed on the Falcons’ most recent injury report and should open up the year healthy. He scored only 8 times last year but still put together an impressive fantasy output by being the recipient of such a high volume of throws. He is as close as you get to a sure thing and should continue to see a lot of passes thrown his way. Jones represents a great starting off point to build around for cash games.
Cash Game Option:
Travis Kelce, KC ($13,000) at JAX
Travis Kelce was the most dangerous tight end in the league last year and little should change in that regard this year. Hill should draw a lot of attention from the Jaguars’ defense and free up underneath passes for Kelce to collect. He was targeted on deep routes during his limited preseason play and should remain a key fixture in Kansas City’s attacking offense going forward. He represents one of the safest bets of all right ends in cash games for the opening weekend of NFL action.
Evan Engram, NYG ($8,200) at DAL
Evan Engram should be one of the main beneficiaries of the depleted receiving corps of the Giants. He created the most separation from his defender of any pass-catcher last year and has looked bigger and faster this off-season. Much like Shepard, Engram should benefit from Barkley in the Giants backfield. He should be higher owned than Shepard but could easily have the most receiving yards of any Giants player in Week 1.
Hunter Henry, LAC ($7,300) vs. IND
Hunter Henry is healthy and ready to contribute for the Chargers on offense. He should be relied on quite heavily in the passing game and eat up some of the targets that would have gone to Melvin Gordon. At $7,300, he is outside of the most expensive players at his position but after the retirement of Antonio Gates, Henry could more than live up to his salary. Henry was a highly drafted tight end and should be counted on to become a large part of the Chargers offense. His ownership should remain somewhat low until he proves he is back to 100% and ready to roll.