Best Daily Fantasy Football Plays for Cash Games – Week 1
By Ha Kung Wong Daily Fantasy Football
I hope you followed my advice last year for your cash games, because if you did, you won money. But now I’m back to help you out in the 2016 NFL season!
Cash Games, for those who don’t know, are essentially the lowest risk games. They include “50/50” games, in which half the entrants win about 1.8x the entry fee, and “Double Ups”, in which slightly less than half the entrants win 2x the entry fee.
Since there’s so many different sites, and I can’t cover them all, I’ve decided to cover just the most popular sites, including Fan Duel, Draft Kings and Yahoo! Daily Fantasy.
First of all, as a general rule for 50/50 Cash Games, there’s a basic target of points per salary cap spent that you’d like to look for:
- For Fan Duel try to target at least 2 fantasy points per $1000 spent.
- For Draft Kings, try to target at least 2.5 fantasy points per $1000 spent.
- For Yahoo! Daily Fantasy, try to target at least 0.6-0.7 fantasy points per $1 spent.
Remember, this article is not focused on GPP (Tournament) Games, JUST Cash Games. Feel free to use a few of these suggested players as a base when constructing a GPP lineup, but you’ll have to take some chances on a few low cost, upside players as well.
So, without further to do, here are my suggestions for the Best Daily Fantasy Football Plays for Cash Games for Week 1 contests, along with they’re prices on Fan Duel (“FD”), Draft Kings (“DK”) and Yahoo! Daily Fantasy (“Y!”).
Week 1 is tough for fantasy because we really haven’t seen first-teams play games that matter yet. But we can make some projections based on previous performance and what we saw during the preseason. There’s plenty of QBs to pick from, but for cash games, there’s one obvious choice, then a few additional if you’d prefer to take chances on QB and spend money at the other positions.
Aaron Rodgers @ JAX (FD: $9000 / DK: $8500 / Y!: $34)
- Aaron Rodgers wasn’t Aaron Rodgers last year (ending up 17th in total passing yards among starting QBs), and only part of that can be blamed on Jordy Nelson’s absence and the decline of the ground game behind an overweight Eddie Lacy. But the good news is that both those parts are now back, Nelson returning from an ACL tear and Lacy returning from being fat and slow. And Rodgers has not finished a regular season under 4,000 total passing yards while starting all 16 games prior to last year, and averaged almost 34 TDs each of those years, so I think 2015 was an outlier and we’ll see the return of Rocket Rodgers. Jacksonville did improve their defense this year, but they had the fourth worst pass defense in 2015. Until I see the improvement on the field, I’m not avoiding them. Rodgers is a particularly good deal on Yahoo.
Derek Carr @ NO (FD: $7700 / DK: $7300 / Y!: $33)
- Derek Carr wasn’t the best QB last year, but he certainly was solid. He was tied for the 7th most passing TDs (32) and the 13th most passing yards (3987). Carr has improved each year and I don’t see that progress stopping now. Another year with Amari Cooper should also help. This game has the highest current over/under at 51 total points. New Orleans is favored by only 1, meaning this is going to be a close game and a shootout, two things you love for fantasy football.
Robert Griffin III @ PHI (FD: $6900 / DK: $5600 / Y!: $25)
- RGIII has had a resurgence in Cleveland. I discussed him plenty in my sleepers article for seasonal fantasy football, and I like him for the same reasons this week. He’s not regular season game tested yet in Cleveland, but his price offsets his risk. Plus Philly had the fifth worst pass defense in the league last year, and I don’t see significant improvement.
Carson Wentz vs. CLE (FD: $5000 / DK: $5000 / Y!: $24)
- I admit, this probably is not for the feint of heart. But since high volume WRs are so valuable in daily fantasy, perhaps you want to load up with the best of the best there and go cheap at QB. Sam Bradford is on to Minnesota (which I wrote about earlier) leaving future-of-the-franchise-dice-roll rookie Carson Wentz at the helm. Wentz only played one preseason game prior to sitting out the last three with a rib injury, but feels he’s ready to go as a starter. He doesn’t have great weapons around him, but for minimum salary, he’s probably worth the risk on Fan Duel and maybe Draft Kings.
As usual, RB is a position where I want some “guaranteed” volume. And by that, I mean we need 10+ touches to even be considered. So here are my thoughts.
Todd Gurley @ SF (FD: $8900 / DK: $7800 / Y!: $31)
- With Jared Goff so far looking like the work in progress we expected, the LA Rams have exactly one weapon, and that’s Todd Gurley. Sure, the 49ers defense knows that too, but with opportunity and volume comes production, and I can’t think of a safer bet. The 49ers are looking weak on offense this year with Blaine Gabbert under center, so I don’t see a runaway game where the Rams will abandon the run either.
Adrian Peterson @ TEN (FD: $8200 / DK: $7600 / Y!: $29)
- Here’s another situation where there’s only weapon in town. With Sam Bradford not getting up to speed with the offense in time, it looks like Shaun Hill will be manning the helm. And that’s not good news for Stefon Diggs and company. So we’ll see a healthy dose of AP this week against a middle of the road Titans run defense.
DeAngelo Williams @ WAS (FD: $7100 / DK: $7000 / Y!: $26)
- No Le’Veon Bell? No problem! He totaled 204 rush yards and 3 TDs when he subbed for Bell in the first two games of 2015. He’s a fantasy football star. Don’t believe me? Just DeAngelo himself…
Rashad Jennings @ DAL (FD: $6000 / DK: $5400 / Y!: $19)
- Looking for some value? Look no further! Rashad Jennings is now the clear cut lead RB on a team that should have a fairly effective aerial attack with OBJ, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz all in play. Which means not 8 in the box and perhaps even some garbage time yards to kill clock. And that at a fraction of the price of every other lead RB.
Remember, in DFS, you not only want yards, you want receptions. So with that in mind, here’s my thoughts for WR plays.
Antonio Brown @ WAS (FD: $9300 / DK: $9800 / Y!: $36)
- Does this really need any explanation? His 8.5 receptions per game average in 2015 was tied for most of any reciever in the NFL. With the over/under of this game at 50 and the Steelers only favored by 3, I see plenty of opportunities for Brown to resume this role and more, particularly with Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller no longer available.
Brandin Cooks vs. OAK (FD: $7600 / DK: $7700 / Y!: $26)
- Drew Brees has to throw to someone, and Brandin Cooks appears to be his primary target after a big rookie season. And as I said above, this game has the highest over/under of the week.
Willie Snead vs. OAK (FD: $6400 / DK: $4800 / Y!: $18)
- And if you want slightly cheaper exposure to the game, I think Willie Snead will get his fair share of opportunities in this potentially high scoring affair.
Tyler Boyd @ NYJ (FD: $5600 / DK: $3600 / $12)
- Tyler Boyd made some noise in camp, but veteran Brandon LaFell managed to beat him out for WR2 reps opposing AJ Green. But Boyd will still run in the slot and should have more than a few receptions. If you’re feeling lucky or running out of cap space, Boyd isn’t a bad punt play with upside.
Tajae Sharpe vs. MIN (FD: $4800 / DK: $3000 / $10)
- And speaking punt play with upside, how about rookie Tajae Sharpe? He’s had a huge preseason, and QB Marcus Mariota clearly likes him as he’s said that Sharpe makes it “makes it easy” on him. He’s a clear starter opposite Rishard Mathews, particularly with Kendall Wright out with injury. He’s my favorite cheap upside play of the weekend.
Delanie Walker vs. MIN (FD: $6500 / DK: $4500 / Y!: $23)
- He’s by far the most targeted receiver left in Tennessee. In fact, his 133 targets in 2015 was the 15th most of ANY PLAYER in the NFL. And Mariota will look for a familiar face more than once this weekend, making Walker a WR filling your TE spot. If you can afford it, he’s my favorite TE this weekend.
Gary Barnidge @ PHI (FD: $6300 / DK: $4700 / Y!: $21)
- Speaking of targets, know what TE was targeted the second most in 2015? That’s right, Gary Barnidge (tied with Greg Olsen). Not only will he get plenty of targets from RGIII, whom he’s shown good chemistry with in the preseason, but he’s also shown a propensity for the endzone.
Zach Miller @ HOU (FD: $5300 / DK: $3700 / Y!: $15)
- And for those of you who have to save money on cap space, how about giving Zach Miller a look? I’ve written about him in my seasonal fantasy picks, but in short, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte are no longer in Chicago, and Kevin White is a complete question mark, so Miller may very well be the second most targeted player on the team.
Carolina vs. DEN (FD: $4700 / DK: $3800 / Y!: $17)
- It’s a Super Bowl rematch! But this time, the Broncos feature second year QB Trevor Siemian and the Panthers are minus one Josh Norman. But the Panthers defense is still pretty good, and although Peyton Manning wasn’t the gunslinger he was in his heyday during the last meeting, he had a much higher football IQ and much more experience than Siemian’s one kneel down. The Broncos will try and keep this one slow for their new QB, so the Panthers have a good shot at keeping the score low as well as getting a couple sacks and turnovers. Plus, this game has the second lowest over/under at 41.5.
Minnesota @ TEN (FD: $4600 / DK $3100 / Y!: $15)
- And who’s got the lowest over/under? Well, that honor goes to a few teams, but most notably, Minnesota vs. Tennessee. Minnesota is a solid defense that allowed the 5th least points per game in 2015. Tennessee has plenty of questions on offense, with two new WRs and a new set of RBs, so there’s plenty of opportunity for miscommunication, and miscommunication leads to turnovers and sacks, and all for a reasonable price.
BONUS PLAYS: If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you probably didn’t see these, so I’m going to do you a solid and list them for you. These all popped up later in the week either due to injuries or new information.
- Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
- Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
- Christine Michael, RB, Seattle Seahawks
- Arian Foster, RB, Miami Dolphins
- Martellus Bennett, TE, New England Patriots