Welcome to Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season. I’m excited to get going so first I want to explain to you what to expect from this article covering the week 1 NFL players I love on FanDuel and DraftKings.
My breakdown covers the Sunday Main slate of games, so no TNF, SNF or MNF players will be covered. The bulk of the action on both sites is on the main slate so that’s why I narrow my focus.
For each position I’ll shine the flashlight on 5-8 players at different price points that I think are good plays for this week. The point of this article is to provide you with a pool of players you can build your lineups from. While there’s no magic bullet, this is the group of players that I’ll be building my lineups from. With so many different options I won’t put together a lineup in this article, though I will provide the lineup I’ll be playing on Sunday mornings in a new post. I do that in case I find something in my research or if there is any late injury news that can affect how I build my lineups. To that point, if I end up adding or removing anyone from my list of players, I’ll be sure to update this article with that info.
Follow me on Twitter @FlashlightDFS for my latest updates, last minute info, game day entertainment and lineup advice.
I don’t break down every single player at the top. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Pat Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, Julio Jones or Travis Kelce are good players. If you want to play a stud player that I don’t highlight, go for it. Saquon is a great example this week. He’s not on my write up but he’s never a bad play, I just like other guys more.
As you’re building your lineups, a couple of words of advice:
- Don’t feel the need to stack players (QB paired with WR or TE). I don’t recommend stacking QB with RB in any cash game situation.
- Don’t play anyone against your defense, especially QB (ie. Don’t play Chiefs D and Nick Foles). If one succeeds it’s likely at the expense of the other.
- Don’t start multiple position players from the same team. There’s only 1 ball to go around, spread your risk.
- Stacking a game (QB/WR/TE from same team) can be a good idea but there’s a lot of risk if the game doesn’t score big.
- Stacking a RB with a QB is rarely a good play and I don’t recommend it.
- If you do stack a team it’s a good idea to get a WR/TE from the opponent. If one team blows up their opponent is likely to pass a lot to get back in to it. Get your points from both teams in a high scoring game.
- Tournaments are often won by lineups that have one or two low owned players, but they have stars and higher owned players too. Keep balance in your lineup and don’t go crazy trying to find all the Albert Wilson/Marquise Goodwin/Mecole Hardman miracle shots.
***JUST BECAUSE I DON’T WRITE A PLAYER UP DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULDN’T PLAY HIM IF YOU WANT TO. I’M HIGHLIGHTING GUYS AT DIFFERENT PRICE POINTS THAT I LIKE THE BEST***
I think we can pay down a little at QB. Mahomes is a great player but it’s a risky matchup on the road against the ferocious Jacksonville defense. I’ll pass.
Jameis Winston (7500 FD/6600 DK) – Winston comes into the season with a new head coach, Bruce Araians, who is an offensive specialist. He’s got powerful receiving weapons in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and OJ Howard and faces a 49ers defense that gave up the 2nd most passing TDs in the NFL last year.
Carson Wentz (7600 FD/5700 DK) – Wentz is facing the Redskins, who stink. He’s healthy this year and has the best receiving weapons of his career. My only slight concern here is that they blow out the Redskins and run the clock out in the 2nd half, but Wentz should be a part of building any kind of lead. Nearly a must play on DK where he’s so cheap, the 12th most expensive QB.
Lamar Jackson (7400 FD/6000 DK) – Jackson faces the Dolphins who appear to be tanking this season with the hopes of rebuilding. Much of Jackson’s value comes from his legs. He led the league in QB rushing last year in only 8 games! If you sprinkle in a passing TD or two he could have a big day.
Jimmy Garopollo (7200 FD/5800 DK) – Jimmy G goes up against the Tampa D, who finished 2018 with the following stats: 3rd most Passing TDs given up, 7th most passing yards given up, 2nd most total points given up. Garopollo struggled in the first two preseason games but came back in the 3rd and looked better. He’s a good way to get exposure to what Vegas thinks is the 3rd highest scoring affair of the week.
USE WITH CAUTION IN CASH, OK IN GPP
Matt Stafford (6600 FD/5400 DK) – Arizona is another defense that stunk on ice in 2018 and I’m willing to bet not much has changed. Now there is some risk here as Detroit has made a lot of noise about running the ball more in 2019, but Stafford is a guy who has the ability to put up big numbers.
Nick Foles (6500 FD/5300 DK) – Vegas has the total of this game at 51.5, 2nd highest of the week so I see Foles as a correlation play. If you think KC scores a bunch of points then that means JAX will have to throw the ball to keep up meaning lots of opportunity for BDN to air it out. There’s risk here as the Jags receivers are suspect and their initial game plan will be the run the ball, but if KC gets out ahead by 14+ points the Jags will count on Nick to get them back into the game through the air.
HIGH RISK PLAY
Jacoby Brissett (6000 FD/4400 DK) – Pricing for week 1 came out before the Andrew Luck news broke so Brissett is priced with the backups this week. This is obviously risky as the Colts travel to LA and face a Chargers D that was top notch in 2018. But…the Colts O line is still very good and there are weapons in Indy for Brissett to throw to. Pair that with some key injures to the Chargers D, Brissett could be in line for a good week. He’ll certainly provide salary relief so you can fit in studs everywhere else.
I like all these guys for cash or GPP, but keep in mind the risk goes up as you move farther down the list.
Ezekiel Elliot (9100 FD/9200 DK) – In the faceoff of the two best backs in the league, I like Zeke over Barkley. Zeke runs behind the best O line in the league and is a true 3-down back. The Giants aren’t good and the entire Dallas offense is designed to run through Zeke. Pay up, play him and don’t look back.
Christian McCaffrey (8900 FD/8800 DK) – CMC faces the Rams D, which sounds scary but he’s the focal point of the offense. If you take out the week 17 game where he only got 4 carries, CMC averaged nearly 21.5 touches per game, more than enough for him to pay off this week.
Dalvin Cook (7400 FD/6000 DK) – On DK he’s almost a must play at that price. I love Cook this year, and this week is absolutely no exception. Gary Kubiak (Vikings HC) is a run game wizard, he’s never finished outside of the top 10 any year he’s been HC or OC. Cook is finally healthy and running behind a massive O line. Pair that with the mediocre Falcons run D and he’s in line for a big week.
Kerryon Johnson (7000 FD/5800 DK) – The Lions want to run the ball and they want Johnson to carry the load. It’s a nice week to get going against the lousy Arizona defense. Johnson is the only show in town and should work all 3 downs, so I like his opportunity here to put up a solid week 1.
Mark Ingram (6600 FD/5100 DK) – Baltimore didn’t sign Ingram to NOT run the ball, right? The Ravens love to run the ball and do it often. In 2018 they ranked 1st in total rushes, 2nd in rushing yards and 3rd in rushing TDs. I don’t think much has changed in their offensive philosophy and Ingram should carry the load. Plus, they play the Dolphins who are already working on who to pick first in the 2020 draft.
Leonard Fournette (7200 FD/6100 DK) – How do you keep the most dangerous offense in the NFL off the field? Run, run, run the ball with your 228 pound back. Fournette will get plenty of opportunities against the Chiefs D who weren’t stellar a year ago. The risk here is if KC gets out to a big lead the Jags may have to abandon the run game in an attempt to catch back up. If you believe the Jags D can keep it close, Fournette should be in line for a heavy workload.
Tevin Coleman (6300 FD/5000 DK) – Coleman takes over the lead role in San Francisco for HC Kyle Shanahan. You might recall that Shanahan was the OC in Atlanta in 2016-17 when Coleman was fantasy relevant as a back up there. Coleman fits well with the running scheme in Shanahan’s offense and the TB defense is still a work in progress. I think Coleman could have a big week here and open some eyes.
Julio and OBJ are priced way up top. Both are superstars so feel free to play either. I have OBJ way ahead of Julio due to a more favorable matchup. I think there’s value to be had here that allows us to pay up a bit at RB.
Mike Evans (7900 FD/7900 DK) – Evans is in a nice spot vs the 49ers, see my Winston breakdown above. In addition, Evans has a nice connection with Winston and the 49ers have struggled to stop the pass especially in the red zone. I also think the 49ers will score points, meaning Tampa will have to pass to keep the game competitive.
Adam Thielen (7400 FD/6800 DK) – I like Thielen better than Stefon Diggs this week especially with Diggs missing Wednesday’s practice and being limited on Thursday. Atlanta struggled to stop the pass last season and while they tried to improve Minnesota will look to exploit that weakness. I like both Minny WRs here but for me Thielen is the better option. You could play Diggs for some salary relief but I see him as much more risky due to the injury concerns. Don’t start both on one lineup and lay off both these guys if you start Dalvin Cook since there’s only 1 ball to go around.
Brandin Cooks (7000 FD/6500 DK) – Cooks is the big play option for the Rams and they face off against the Carolina defense who gave up twelve 40+yard passing plays last year, 6th worst in the NFL. Carolina has good LB’s so I think the way LA moves the ball on Sunday is in the air and Cooks adds in some big play potential.
Chris Godwin (6900 FD/6200 DK) – A cheaper way to get exposure to the Tampa Bay passing offense, Godwin is in a good spot for all the same reasons I like Mike Evans. While he’s not the #1 option he did score 7 TD in 2018. His price reflects that he’s a bit more risky than Evans but still worth a start vs. the suspect 49ers defense.
Tyler Lockett (6800 FD/6000 DK) – Lockett took over for Doug Baldwin last year, and right now they really don’t have many other receiving options due to injuries. In 2018 his 57/965/10TD stat line was impressive and I expect him to have a good day against the Bengals as Wilson’s primary target.
USE WITH CAUTION IN CASH, OK IN GPP
Dante Pettis (6500 FD/5400 DK) – Pettis is Questionable with a groin injury right now but is expected to play. Tampa was one of the worst versus the pass in 2018 and Pettis is the primary WR in this offense along with star TE George Kittle. Pettis has a discount due to uncertainty but is a good way to get exposure to the TB/SF game with looks to be a high scoring affair.
Dede Westbrook (5900 FD/4800 DK) – Marquise Lee practiced on Wednesday and looks like he’ll go which should take some attention off Dede. I think that KC is able to put points on the board and the Jags will be forced to throw the ball to keep up. KC’s pass defense is weak so Dede is in a good spot for a nice game at a value price.
DeSean Jackson (5600 FD/4500 DK) – Great price for the deep threat in Philly. DeSean will have to hit a big play to pay off but if he does he could blow up. Jackson is a salty dude and loves the revenge narrative. All reports out of Philly indicate that he and Wentz have built a solid connection in the off season. Jackson will get his shots and if he converts he will put up a big game.
HIGH RISK GPP PLAY
Marquise Goodwin (5400 FD/4000 DK) – Goodwin is the big play threat in the SF offense and they face the Bucs secondary which quite frankly is not good. We’re looking for a big play here from Goodwin, so he’s not suited for cash games but you could do a lot worse if you’re dumpster diving at WR.
Kind of like RB I think all of these guys are suitable for cash or GPP depending on how you build your lineup.
George Kittle (7300 FD/6600 DK) – Kittle is the focal point of the SF passing offense so all signs point to a productive game for the star TE versus the Bucs.
Zach Ertz (7100 FD/6100 DK) – Ertz led the Eagles in targets, reception and yards in 2018 and I don’t expect that to change in 2019. While I’m not sure he can match his 2018 season totals, this is a good spot for him versus the Redskins D who have surrendered one TD and an average of 7.3 catches for 83 yards over Ertz’s last 3 full games.
OJ Howard (6500 FD/5000 DK) – Getting tired of seeing Tampa Bay pass catchers yet? Same analysis applies to Howard as it did to Evans and Godwin. All signs point to Howard taking a lead role at TE this year in TB.
Evan Engram (6400 FD/4800 DK) – There’s some risk involved here as you’re counting on Eli Manning at QB. However, Engram will be an important part of the offense as a pass catcher and with the departure of OBJ in the offseason there aren’t a whole lot of options. Eli and his noodle arm like to keep things closer to the line of scrimmage, perfect for an athletic TE.
Delanie Walker (5400 FD/3500 DK) – Walker is coming back from a nasty broken ankle in week 1 of 2018. There’s a good chance that Tennessee will have to throw to keep it close versus Cleveland and Walker was the top Titans pass catcher every year from 2014-2017. Mariota will look his way.
Mark Andrews (5400 FD/3000 DK) – Andrews won the starting spot in Baltimore and Lamar Jackson isn’t known for his downfield passing. Combined with a juicy matchup against the Dolphins, Andrews is a good value play at TE and has a legit chance to get in the end zone but don’t expect a miracle game.
We’ve got three premium options this week and two lower priced that carry risk. There are other options out there but keep in mind that defenses can LOSE you points if they get spanked, so don’t get too casual with “just anyone”.
Baltimore Ravens (5000 FD/3800 DK) – Nobody believes in the Dolphins. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been known to be a turnover machine. Miami just traded their best O Lineman. Baltimore should tear them limb from limb this week.
Philadelphia Eagles (4600 FD/3600 DK) – The Eagles are at home versus Washington and Case Keenum. They have a good pass rush and solid group of linebackers that should keep things bottled up.
Dallas Cowboys (4700 FD/3500 DK) – Hate to say it Eagles/Giants fans, but Dallas is gonna be good this year. The Giants have a tough task ahead going in to Dallas to face ferocious linebackers who can cover the whole field and a suffocating pass rush. Look out!
LOWER PRICED BUT RISKY
Detroit Lions (4100 FD/2900 DK) – Do you believe in Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury? I don’t. Sure this game is in Arizona but the Lions have the potential for multiple turnovers and sacks against a rookie QB and rookie coach who couldn’t cut it at Texas Tech. There’s risk here but I kinda like it.
Kansas City (3900 FD/2800 DK) – The Chiefs gave up points and yards last year, that’s true. But they also tied the league lead in sacks with 52 and were in the top half of the league with 15 Ints. There’s a path to success here if KC builds a big lead and are able to pin back their ears and rush Foles all day.
Good luck this week!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FlashlightDFS for updates or to reach out to me with your fantasy football questions.