Week 1 Fanduel GPP and Value Plays
GPP pivot: Brock Osweiler, HOU ($7,100)
Houston played with the third-fastest pace last year (25.58 seconds per play) under HC Bill O’Brien and despite them leaning heavily on the running game (yes, Lamar Miller is a great play) he turned Brian Hoyer into a viable fantasy player. I have to believe that Osweiler is at least as good as Hoyer and stacking him with DeAndre Hopkins ($8,400) against a weak Bears secondary is one of my favorite stacks of the weekend.
Value Play: Dak Prescott, Cowboys ($5,000)
There’s no need to overthink this one – if you’re looking to save money to fit in some studs in a GPP lineup or just looking for a great value in cash Dak is your man. He can hit value with his rushing ability alone and he’s surrounded by enough great talent that he can succeed from the get-go.
GPP Pivot: Christine Michael, Seahawks ($4,800)
Everyone and their mom is going to play Spencer Ware (more on him next) especially once Jamaal Charles is ruled out for Week 1, which seems to be where it’s trending. On the other hand, Michael is in a very similar situation as Ware, but is $600 cheaper and will be lesser owned especially if Thomas Rawls is active on Sunday. The Seahawks have already stated that they want to take it easy on Rawls and the fact that they are 10.5-point, home favorites vs. Miami sets Michael up for a big second half.
Value Play: Spencer Ware, Chiefs ($5,400)
There’s no denying that Ware is the top value play this week. He’s been a beast this preseason and is a lock for red zone and especially goal line touches. Last year, he tore up the Chargers woeful run defense in limited work (19 carries, 148 yards, two TD). This is another “don’t think about it too hard” cash game play, although for tournaments I can see the merit of fading him in some, but definitely not all, lineups. It’s ok to go chalk with a couple of roster spots in GPPs.
GPP Pivot: A.J. Green, Bengals ($8,200)
Green is awkwardly priced on FanDuel and has a perceived bad matchup against Darrelle Revis this weekend. I say perceived bad matchup because Revis was not himself after injuring his wrist last year and even though he’s recovered from that he’s still 31 years old. Don’t treat Revis Island like it’s 2009. Green is priced right under Hopkins and Allen Robinson ($8,500) and it won’t be hard to make room to pay up for studs like Julio Jones ($9,000), Odell Beckham Jr. ($9,100), and even Antonio Brown ($9,300). This should keep Green’s ownership low and we know Dalton will pepper him with targets with Marvin Jones gone and Tyler Eifert injured.
Value Play: Marvin Jones, Lions ($5,500)
A lot of the value plays in Week 1 are going to of the “no brainer” variety and Jones is another one thanks to the pricing coming out early in the preseason. Jones is a no-brainer because he’s the WR2 in a pass-first offense that is slated to be in a shootout against a defense that has several injuries in their secondary.
GPP Pivot: Jason Witten, Cowboys ($5,500)
When it comes to tight ends I try to be contrarian by paying up at the position so my original pick for this slot was going to be Rob Gronkowski ($8,700). However, now that he’s questionable for Sunday night I can’t take the chance at 0 points after lineups lock. The next highest guy is Jordan Reed at a $1,300 discount so he will probably be higher owned than I’d like for a “pivot play” so we’re going down to Witten, who’s in a great spot vs. a Giants defense that was terrible at stopping tight ends last year. In fact, 4for4’s schedule-adjusted points against ranked the Giants second-worst in the league. Last year, Witten caught 14 passes for 133 yards and two TD in two games vs. the Giants. Witten’s ownership should be somewhat suppressed due to Tony Romo’s injury, but also the popular play of the week will be Coby Fleener ($5,400), who is only $100 cheaper than Witten.
Value Play: Vance McDonald, 49ers ($4,700)
We’re going near the bottom of the barrel for our value play, but that’s the best place to look for value right?! McDonald has a terrible quarterback throwing him the ball, but at least Blaine Gabbert showed us last year that he’s at least competent enough to make McDonald streamable. In his final six games last year, McDonald was targeted 30 times and put up 21 catches, 262 yards, and three TD.
Kickers and Defense
Top Kicker Play: Cairo Santos, Chiefs ($4,800)
For kickers, we’re looking for someone who will be lesser-owned in a tournament while also providing some upside. Generally, you want to target teams that are favored and have high team totals, but also you want to avoid highly efficient offenses so that your kicker can have a chance to rack up some points. That guy for me this week is Santos as the Chiefs have a good enough offense and matchup to put together some drives, but Alex Smith has shown an inability at times to struggle to punch the ball into the end zone. Santos could be in line for three field goals in this matchup.
Best GPP Defense: Cleveland Browns ($4,000)
You want a min-priced defense that could put up some huge points this week? The Browns get to face the post-Chip Kelly Eagles offense led by rookie sensation Carson Wentz (I’m being facetious). Wentz saw very limited snaps in preseason action due to injury, but he will be thrust into the starting lineup on Opening Day. It’s not inconceivable that the Browns force a couple of turnovers, especially if they can get an early lead and force the Eagles into some passing situations. It won’t take much for the Browns defense to hit value and I’m sure they won’t be on anyone’s radar, which makes them a great GPP option.
About the Author:
George Fitopoulos has been playing fantasy sports ever since he was a kid, filling out the Sporting News salary cards but never sending them in due to a lack of a checking account. Now, he’s a DFS junkie who specializes in NFL and NBA and is the inventer of Opportunity Index, which is a stat that weights player opportunity based on where it occurs on the field. You can also find him on Twitter
@PigskinProf and his other writing at Gridiron Experts and RotoViz.