Setting your Week 1 DraftKings lineup is similar to the Labor Day sales you see this time of year, plenty of discounts that will not last long. The prices were set months ago so many backfields have been shuffled and unexpected quarterback battles have been won. It will be rare to see such a plethora of bargain prices once Week 2 rolls around so let’s see if we can take advantage of them. Daddy needs a new a pair of shoes, and $1,000,000 would be nice too.
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Bradford’s price might have steadily increased as your draft season progressed, but it is as cheap as it will ever be on DraftKings in Week 1. Matched up against the Falcons in the Georgia Dome, this Eagle is about to take flight in what should be a high scoring aerial assault. The Falcons gave up the most passing yards last year and they didn’t make the necessary changes for that to change in 2015. Bradford looked sharper than Owen Wilson’s nose in his third pre-season game, completing 10-10 passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns. He looks like the perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s scheme and his price of $6,900 is more appropriate for a do-do bird than an eagle, a price this low for Bradford will soon be extinct.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including Eli Manning’s stats. Last year when matched up against the Cowboys, Eli through for 586 yards and six touchdowns in two games. Against the Cowboys in 2013, Eli through for 624 yards and 6 touchdowns the two times they faced off. Manning will most likely be without the services of Victor Cruz, but he’ll have two healthy wide receivers in Odell Beckham and Reuben Randle, along with new running back Shane Vereen to dump off too out of the backfield. The matchup doesn’t get better for Manning in Week 1 and neither does the price at $7,400. Matched up against their division rival who was ranked seventh worst in passing yards allowed in 2014, expect to see Eli’s guns a’ blazin’ in this potential shootout.
Mr. Woodhead comes into Week 1 with a discounted price and a large workload ahead of him. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon was the presumed starter coming into the season but he has underperformed thus far and has not earned the bell cow status that many expected. Gordon also has failed to earn his DraftKings price of $5,500. Woodhead should see plenty of snaps as the rookie gets his feet wet and has a great chance to lead the backfield in touches against the Lions in San Diego. He’s the only Charger running back with a clearly defined role, a role that should be highly utilized in the red zone where he has been one of Philip River’s favorite targets. River’s will be without the red zone services of Antonio Gates who will begin his four game suspension in Week 1, increasing Woodhead’s chances of finding the end zone and receiving extra targets throughout the game. At a price of only $3,700, Woodhead is a cheap date who’s sure to put out a great statistical performance in Week 1.
Lacy begins his quest to finish as the No. 1 fantasy running back against the lowly defense of the Bears at Soldier Field. He could easily finish as the highest scoring running back in Week 1, but is priced lower than the likes of Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, and Jamaal Charles. With Jordy Nelson out and Randall Cobb battling a shoulder injury, expect the Packers to rely more on the powerful and allusive running of Eddie Lacy. He’s scored a touchdown every time he’s faced the Bears going back to his rookie season in 2013, multiple scores in Week 1 of 2015 is a high possibility. You’re going to want to pay up for certain studs when creating your lineup, a price of $7,500 for Lacy is more than reasonable.
We already have Revis Island in New York and in Week 1 the Ivory Coast will join him. Playing at home against last year’s worst run defense, the Jets backfield is all Ivory’s and he should coast to a big rushing total against the Browns on Sunday. Ivory had a tremendous pre-season and improvements of his pass catching have been well publicized. The carries and receptions should be even more plentiful now that RB Steven Ridley is officially on the PUP list and will miss half the season. A price of $4,100 is a steal for a workhorse back who could be on clock killing duty towards the end of the game, giving you those oh so important garbage time points.
Adams will be a popular player in the majority of DraftKings lineups in Week 1, and for good reason. His price was set before Jordy Nelson’s injury and he’ll have a large role catching passes from the league’s best quarterback against a poor Chicago defense. The Bear’s defense finished third worst in receiving yards allowed in 2014 and although they’ve made improvements, Aaron Rodgers simply owns them. You could go against the grain and leave Adams for everyone else in case he tanks, but you’re not going to find a wide receiver at $4,400 with his value. If you do decide to join the Adams Family in your tournament lineups, try to pair him with some more obscure players to differentiate yourself from the pack.
Here’s to you Allen Robinson, never again will your price be so low… low, low, low. You know the song…. Blake Bortles has looked great this pre-season, which is something that the DraftKings price setters understandably failed to predict. With Julius Thomas out for the foreseeable future, expect Robinson’s targets to be plentiful and for his price of $5,400 to rise considerably as soon as Week 2. Robinson averaged nine targets a game in 2014, expect that number to stay the same in Week 1 with more of those targets taking place in the end zone.
Another Packer… you can’t blame a man for targeting players going against the Bears defense. Cobb’s $8,000 price might seem somewhat steep, but he is going to be a busy cheese head this Sunday as Aaron Rodgers’ most dependable receiver and chain mover. The Rodgers-Cobb duo will have their way with the Bear’s secondary, in his two games against them last year Cobb totaled 11 catches, 185 yards, and three touchdowns. While many DraftKingers will have his teammate Adams in their lineup, Cobb is a sneaky play that could pay some serious cheddar.
“Kwik-E-“ Martellus Bennett is a favorite to be the most heavily targeted Bears receiver against the Packers in Week 1. With Alshon Jeffrey highly questionable and Kevin White out for the year, Bennett will be Cutler’s main red zone target and chain mover along with RB Matt Forte. In his matchup against the Packers at Soldier Field last year, Bennett finished with nine catches and 134 yards. Considering the lack of competition for targets and assuming the Bears will have to throw a ton to keep up with Green Bay’s potent offense, Bennett’s price of $4,300 is one of the better deals you’ll find. Thank you, come again.
Similar to a seafood chef relentlessly washing his hands, Gary Kubiak has been unable to rid himself of the stink that is TE Owen Daniels. Owen was drafted by Kubiak in 2006 and played eight seasons with him in Houston. When Kubiak was fired and then hired as the offensive coordinator in Baltimore, Daniels packed his bags and joined him. As president of the Kubiak fan club, Daniels naturally followed him to Denver when he was named the Broncos head coach in 2015. Kubiak has always made high use out of his tight ends, as has Daniel’s new quarterback Peyton Manning. Fellow Broncos TE Virgil Green will see plenty of snaps but it will be mainly as a blocker, Owen Daniels is Manning’s pass catching TE and that could mean big things for a price of just $3,400. Daniels knows Kubiak’s offense and if Peyton trusts him and finds him to be a dependable target, this loyal tight end might have a rejuvenated career in Denver beginning in Week 1.
Miami is a trendy pick to finish as one of the league’s best defensive units in 2015, I guess the DraftKings price setters didn’t receive that memo. With a Week 1 matchup against quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, you can watch Ndamukong Suh and the rest of his pod create all kinds of havoc in Washington’s backfield for only $3,000. The Redskins are going to concentrate on running the ball but will find that difficult against a Dolphins defense who finished ninth against the run last year and improved dramatically during the off season. Fire up the Fins in Week 1!
New York Jets
The Jets defense begins 2015 with a juicy matchup at home against the Browns, and an even juicier DraftKings price of only $2,900. On paper, the Jets defense doesn’t seem to have many weaknesses, especially with Darrelle Revis back in town. The Jets offense has been the back breaker for them in the past, unable to sustain drives and tiring out the defense quickly. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is an upgrade over Geno Smith and the acquisition of Brandon Marshall should help keep the chains moving. Cleveland’s quarterback Josh McCown and receiving corps led by WR Dwayne Bowe should keep fantasy defenses streaming towards their direction every week. $2,900 is a cheap price to visit Revis Island, especially against such an un-intimidating offense.