Welcome to the start of 2018 NFL DFS season. You’re probably familiar with Donkeycorns, the wandering mythical creature who rewards your trust with a path through the desert, from the MLB Closer Report. In DFS A Donkey is someone that does foolish things. When it comes to daily fantasy, we’re all Donkeys sometimes. I’m your DFS Donkeycorn. Follow me through the fantasy desert.
Did you use Rudy’s Tools for the MLB season? You probably enjoyed success if you did. The biggest advantage a model gives you is its consistency. It doesn’t have biases. It won’t get mad at Julio Jones for not scoring touchdowns, despite the natural variability of NFL TD scoring. I recently asked Rudy how difficult it would be to start my own model. His response was, considering I have over 1,000 hours sunk into mine this off-season, not very. So get the 7-day free trial, pay for the season once that ends, and be glad Rudy exists to grind away at a projection system so you don’t have to. I’ll focus on the Sunday main slate using Fanduel pricing below.
- Drew Brees, $6800: This is the Optimizer’s favorite QB. I don’t love paying up at QB. Brees brings a very solid floor at home, however. He may not be in a shootout against the lowly Bucs. It may not matter since they had one of the worst secondaries in football last year.
- Phillip Rivers, $6400: Kansas City’s secondary was in trouble last year, and that was with Marcus Peters. Rivers at home is a nice price. I like him paired with his favorite target Keenan Allen.
- Andy Dalton, $5800: The Red Rifle enters what feels like his fourth or fifth make or break season. Indy has so little talent on defense. The Bengals are no juggernaut on offense, but Dalton to A.J. Green should make hay in this prime matchup.
- David Johnson, $8800: DJ is the best back on the main slate. Alvin Kamara is the only other back that can predictably offer a similar ceiling. A steep price is the trade-off.
- Kareem Hunt, $6900: The Chargers run defense was a sieve for much of last season. They didn’t improve that. Hunt also gashed them in both meetings last year.
- Alex Collins, $5600: Collins was a top 10 back down the stretch once the coaching staff finally showed some trust in him. The Ravens should have plenty of rushing opportunities against the Nathan Peterman led Bills.
- James Conner is a must-start in cash games for $4500. His ownership makes it hard to like him in GPPs.
- Keenan Allen, $7500. As previously mentioned, good passing attack vs bad pass defense. Keenan is his QBs go-to option.
- Emmanuel Sanders, $5000: The Sanders love has warmed up throughout the preseason as he reminded everyone that he’s actually a good receiver. He’ll get to work opposite of the Seahawks only CB talent, Shaquil Griffin.
- Kenny Stills, $4700: With DeVante Parker out, Stills becomes the Dolphins WR1. The Titans made a habit of getting smoked by their oppositions top option. I’m not sure if Malcolm Butler helps or hurts that.
- Delanie Walker, $4900: The Dolphins are oddly a TE funnel defense. They have half decent play against WRs and RBs. They cannot stop opposing TEs. Walker is a mainstay of the Titan passing game. I’d take him over any other Titan this week.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, $3200: No one gave up more TDs to tight ends than the Giants. A new defensive scheme may fix that. It may also be a personnel issue. I’ll bet against them until they show it’s been fixed.
- Nick Vannett, $2600: Paying down at TE is a popular strategy. I’m fine with it if you target touchdown opportunity. Vannett replaces Jimmy Graham as the Seahawks default red zone option. Doug Baldwin draws coverage from Chris Harris, Jr. so that pushes the needle even more Vannett’s way.
- New Orleans Saints, $3600: If you gave me only one bet to make this week it would be that Ryan Fitzpatrick melts down trying to force things in a steep deficit.
- Baltimore Ravens, $3400: The Ravens are chalk city facing Nathan Peterman. Use in cash, look elsewhere in GPPs.
- Pittsburgh Steelers, $3400: Tyrod may not throw that many INTs, but he takes plenty of sacks.