Each week during the 2015 fantasy football season, I’ll be sharing my optimal DraftKings lineup, posting it in this column, and including my rationale behind the picks so you can be confident setting your lineups for this week’s contests.
If you are new to DraftKings salary cap format, here are the basics. You get a fake budget to spend on your players/team. Your weekly lineup strategy is completely up to you. You can target a group of medium-priced players, or play some higher-priced studs mixed with lower-priced value plays. The goal is to pick the best fantasy team possible while staying under the $50,000 cap.
With that in mind, here is my optimal DraftKings lineup for Week 1 of the NFL season.
QB: Ryan Tannehill – $7,400
RB: Eddie Lacy – $7,500
RB: Jeremy Hill – $7,100
WR: Davante Adams – $4,400
WR: Nelson Agholor – $4,700
WR: John Brown – $4,500
TE: Greg Olsen – $5,300
FLEX: Doug Martin – $4,500
DST: Seahawks – $3,400
Editors Note: Sign up for DraftKings using promo code FST, make a minimum $5 deposit and you’ll receive a free entry into a cash game!
I’m digging on Tannehill bigtime for Week 1 daily. To me, he’s a perfect combination of floor, ceiling, and price. The Redskins defense doesn’t scare anyone to begin with, and they’ll be without Bashaud Breeland (suspension) and Junior Galette (out for the season). I’m not certain Washington has anyone that can contain Jarvis Landry, Lamar Miller will grab a few balls out of the backfield, and since Washington has historically struggled to cover tight ends, there’s even some upside for Jordan Cameron. All of which is to say nothing of the rushing ability of Tannehill himself, who is more than capable of 40 yards and a score.
Lacy might be my favorite play of Week 1. The Packers are going to lean on him early and often, and since they’ll probably be up against a hapless Bears team late, they’ll turn to Lacy then too – it’s safe to say the game script odds are in his favor. Carries and catches and touchdowns, oh my! Minus stud WR Jordy Nelson, this offense is going to be very Lacy-heavy in 2015, and I, like the Packers, plan to harness the beast as often as the matchups dictate. In Week 1, he’s a must-start in my mind.
When is a stud RB a bargain at $7,100? When he’s tied to a good offense, and that offense is facing Oakland. The many ways I love Hill border on the obsessive, but it seems likely he gets 20 carries here since the game script (as with Lacy) seems to indicate Cincy pounding the Raiders into submission in the latter stages of the game. It seems Hill is a virtual certainty for 80+ yards and a TD, and he has upside for much, much more. Did you know he tied DeMarco Murray for most games over 140 yards rushing (four) in 2014? Also, did you know I love talking about game scripts?
When I look at my lineup and I see this stud-muffin penciled in at $4,400, I feel like I’m committing a crime. And I feel damn good about it. This is an outright theft move, especially when you consider a bottom-barrel WR costs $3,000. Adams has immense, ridiculous upside here against a terrible Bears secondary, and a living legend throwing him the ball. How could you not start Adams here?
Quick, name me some members of the Atlanta secondary. Don’t Google it! You can’t, because they are one (or possibly all) of stink, stank, and stunk. Per Football Outsiders, Atlanta was rated 32nd overall in defensive efficiency, a true regression from their rank of 29th in 2013. Philly is gonna score here, early and often. Another interesting tidbit – Atlanta was ranked 31st in the league last year against No. 2 WRs…which Agholor also just happens to be. At $4,700, I’d be tempted to play him twice if I could.
If you’ve read my other pieces, you know I’m rather high on Mr. Brown. He reminds me of a young(er) T.Y. Hilton, he lived with his QB over the summer, and the timing is finally right for him to explode onto the scene with Michael Floyd still dealing with dislocated fingers, and Larry Fitzgerald dealing with being 30+ and an NFL WR. Who better to explode against than the Saints? New Orleans is actually functional at stopping the run, and since Arizona isn’t quite built like the Jerome Bettis Steelers, they’ll have to pass quite a bit, I believe, to win here. Even if Brown doesn’t score here, I think five to seven catches will still render him a daily fantasy winner.
Hey Cam Newton, do a roll call of all the legit WRs you have to throw to this weekend. *Crickets*. Gosh, I guess you’ll have to throw to your boy Greg Olsen an awful lot then, huh. So, in a full PPR DraftKings format, go ahead and pencil Olsen in for six catches, 60 yards…and then we’ll see what else he can do. Oh, and the Jacksonville defense still stinks. Olsen could mess around and throw up WR1 type numbers this weekend. $5,300 well spent!
I’m really high on the trimmed-down version of Martin that’s being hyped up this season. He’s like the ultimate post-post-post hype sleeper, and the price was super low on draft day (early on, anyway. It got out of hand later). Judging from the price involved here ($4,500) for a starting back of Martin’s caliber, it seems the fine folks at DraftKings haven’t yet taken notice. Tennessee fields a defensive unit that might be politely termed a ‘work in progress’, Martin should get around 20 touches, and his total daily points haul should far exceed his price. Once I saw this and made certain it wasn’t some other sneaky Martin, he was an auto-play for me.
Really DraftKings? Seattle, at home, against a Rams team without their first AND second team RBs, and they cost only $3,400? Somehow I don’t think Richard Sherman and Co. are shaking in their boots at the terrifying thought of Benny Cunningham, Nick Foles, and Brian Quick. The question for me wasn’t how could I play Seattle, but rather could I actually afford not to? Hell, the Raiders cost $2,300, so the difference between the best and worst Week 1 defenses is $1,100? Insanity. Pick Seattle here, and move on with your life.