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Dane's DFS Picks: Week 1

Sat Sep 11 9:09pm ET
Contributing Writer

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Robinson is a top play Week 1

The first week of NFL DFS is always my favorite slate of the year. Pricing on players is released further in advance than during the regular season, meaning player values can change significantly before we finally kick off on Sunday. The value is abundant. The stars are poised to shine. Let’s look at some of the top plays and some of the best ways to free up salary to pay up for the stars.

Kyler Murray, QB ($7600)

Trust me. You’ll have the salary to make the top priced quarterback work. The Cardinals take on the Titans in what should be a shootout. Vegas has bumped the over/under to 53 total points over the week and I still think that is too conservative. The Cardinals were the fastest paced offense in the league last year while the Titans were the third fastest. Kyler finished up the 2020 season on a bum shoulder, which tapered off his elite production. But he’s had all offseason to heal and is poised for a huge season. Tennessee is a perfect starting point because they have lost the following key players from their defense since last season: Malcolm Butler, Jadeveon Clowney, and Adoree’ Jackson.

Murray is clearly the top quarterback option of the afternoon games on Sunday. My only concern would be how highly owned he could be. Ryan Tannehill is a more than viable pivot at $6500 on the other side of this high scoring game.

James Robinson, RB ($6800)

Touches were far from guaranteed for Robinson heading into the season after the Jaguars used one of their first-round picks on collegiate star running back Travis Etienne, but a season-ending foot injury to Etienne has vaulted Robinson right back into the lead role. A commonly posed question this offseason was who “this year’s James Robinson” would be. As it turns out, James Robinson is this year’s James Robinson.

Look for Urban Meyer to ease their first first-round pick, Trevor Lawrence, into action, as Jacksonville gets a cupcake match up, playing the Tyrod Taylor led Texans. The scoreboard will likely show this game as over by halftime, which is exactly the game script we’re looking for with our running backs in DFS lineups. Carlos Hyde will get his touches but that will not stop the team’s RB1 from putting up solid numbers at his price for your DFS lineup.

Rondale Moore, Elijah Moore, and Terrace Marshall Jr., WRs ($3000)

I am a kid in a candy store. These are three extremely promising receiver talents at the minimum $3000. So many amazing options. I just wish I could fit them all in my pocket. Hey, at least you can enter more than one lineup this weekend. However, I’m not opposed to playing all three in one lineup and paying up at every other position. Feel confident in locking in all three of these rookies because:

Rondale Moore is healthy. “Ant-Man,” as they call the diminutive framed spark plug, had one of the best seasons by an 18-year-old in power 5 conference history at Purdue in 2018. His 2019 and 2020 seasons were hampered by injuries, but he comes into Week 1 at full strength with our man Murray making life easy for him. The Cardinals designed plays specifically to get him the ball in space this preseason. They understand the talent that they have here. Make sure to look out for a breakaway touchdown from Moore because he’s fast enough (4.37 40-yard dash) to where you might miss it.

Elijah Moore was not quite as dominant at Ole Miss as his counterpart Moore. His hype has come from the performance he has put on in camp since being drafted. Drawing comparisons to Tyler Lockett, Moore has forced his way to the top of a crowded Jets wide receiver corps and is set to start alongside Corey Davis in the absence of Jamison Crowder. Jets fans and fantasy players alike should be hoping for the beginning of a great connection between the rookie Zach Wilson and the tantalizing talent that is Moore.

Terrace Marshall Jr. is one of the lone big-bodied receiver prospects of this year’s rookie class, but boy is he a great one. The trio from LSU of Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, and Marshall could go down as one of the best college receiver groups of all time. We’ve only seen a full NFL season from one of them so far, and that just happened to be one of the best seasons by a rookie receiver in NFL history. You all know Jefferson by now. Then you have Chase, who is regarded as a generational prospect. But let’s get to Marshall and look at his quarterback Sam Darnold.

Darnold’s most targeted receiver since his time at USC in 2017 every season has been his slot receiver. Darnold targeted his slot receiver 52 percent of the time this preseason, the second highest rate among 80 qualified quarterbacks. Marshall ran 67 percent of his routes from the slot this preseason while Robby Anderson ran 33 percent and DJ Moore ran 19 percent of his routes from there. Marshall owns an all-time great athletic profile for a receiver, and he is likely to see a hefty number of targets from the slot. I’m planting my flag here. Marshall will be the best points-per-dollar play of the weekend.

I mean, wow. Have fun with those three. If you’re looking for a mid-range play, check out target hog Diontae Johnson at $6300 in a game where the Steelers will be playing from behind.

Tyler Conklin, TE $2900

We’ve got more value! Spending up for any of George Kittle, TJ Hockenson, Kyle Pitts, and Logan Thomas is more than okay. However, if you are spending up at receiver rather than playing the rookies, look to save some value at the tight end position with Minnesota’s de facto starter Tyler Conklin. The presumed starting tight end for the Vikings, Irv Smith Jr., is out for the start of the season, because he was placed on IR with a knee injury. Minnesota signed the so-far disappointing Christopher Herndon to fill his place, but he won’t have nearly as much time to learn the playbook for Week 1 as Conklin. The Vikings play Cincinnati, and unfortunately, I am still a Bengals fan. The linebackers Conklin will line up against are all severely below average in pass coverage. Logan Wilson is a great tackler but not great in coverage. Minnesota should face very little resistance on offense. Their frequent marches to the red zone should give Conklin multiple opportunities to find the end zone. Seems like a hot take, but I know futility when I see it.

Get those lineups in, and good luck picking a defense. Buffalo is cheap and in a good spot against wobbly-armed Big Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. It’s a safe play, but D/ST is always a great spot to get different. Head over to the daily tab to check out our great offerings of player-friendly contests, including a free entry GPP. Good luck!

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Player Notes
Sammy Watkins Oct 22 12:40pm ET
Sammy Watkins

Baltimore Ravens running back Latavius Murray (ankle) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (thigh) didn't practice again on Friday and are unlikely to be available in Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Watkins is set to miss his second straight game. With Murray likely sidelined, the Ravens will likely split the running back touches between veterans Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell, with Ty'Son Williams serving as the No. 3. Freeman and Bell both found the end zone last week, but they will be low-ceiling RB3/flex options in deeper leagues against Cincy. First-round rookie receiver Rashod Bateman caught four of six targets for 29 yards in his season debut in Week 6 and should slowly see his role increase behind Marquise Brown, especially now that Watkins is injured.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Oct 22 12:30pm ET
Nelson Agholor

New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor has struggled to do much damage since the season opener. In fact, Agholor has three receptions or less in every game since Week 1. He'll get a Jets defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. Despite a favorable matchup, it's unlikely that Agholor succeeds here. He was expected to be the deep threat for this offense, but quarterback Mac Jones rarely takes deep shots. Agholor should be on the bench for this game even with a plus matchup.

From RotoBaller

Khalil Herbert Oct 22 12:30pm ET
Khalil Herbert

The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain expects Chicago Bears rookie running back Khalil Herbert, not Damien Williams, to be the first one off the bench to spell David Montgomery (knee) when he returns from his injury. Herbert has been great in the last two games and has shown plenty of versatility in the backfield. Williams, who remains on the COVID-19 list, could play more of a niche role as a pass-catcher on third downs once this backfield is completely healthy. With both Montgomery and Williams out in Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers, Herbert had 19 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown and added two catches for 15 yards. There's a chance Williams won't be cleared by Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which would make Herbert at least an RB3/flex option for fantasy managers again.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Oct 22 12:30pm ET
Antonio Brown

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (lung, ribs) are out for the Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears. Neither player has practiced all week. The Bucs will also be without linebacker Lavonte David (ankle) and cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring). With Brown out, Mike Davis and Chris Godwin will have higher ceilings against Chicago, with Tyler Johnson likely stepping into the No. 3 receiver role for quarterback Tom Brady. Gronk will miss his fourth straight game. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate will continue to split the tight end snaps in his absence. Howard had six catches for 49 yards and his first touchdown in Week 6 and is the better touchdown-dependent TE2 bye-week filler this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Oct 22 12:20pm ET
Evan Engram

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf), who missed practice on Thursday, will return to practice on Friday, according to head coach Joe Judge. Engram apparently suffered a setback on Thursday, but it doesn't appear to be too serious, and he should have a decent chance at playing on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The 27-year-old has only 14 catches on 21 targets for 127 yards and no touchdowns through four games this year, but he could be one of the top targets against Carolina with wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (ankle) likely out and with Sterling Shepard (hamstring) suffering a setback on Thursday. With bye weeks hitting fantasy managers hard in Week 8, Engram has low-end TE1 appeal as a streamer if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Rhamondre Stevenson Oct 22 12:20pm ET
Rhamondre Stevenson

New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson has seen an increased role in the offense over the last two weeks. The loss of James White (hip) has opened up more chances for Stevenson. Sadly, he hasn't seen much success on the ground with only 23 yards in each of the last two games. Luckily for Stevenson, he'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that has struggled to stop any back all season long. There isn't much upside here because Damien Harris is healthy and should get a bulk of the carries. Stevenson should be viewed as a deep league desperation option here.

From RotoBaller

Mac Jones Oct 22 12:10pm ET
Mac Jones

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has only produced two multi-touchdown games through the first six games of the season. The rookie quarterback has not exceeded 275 passing yards in a single game since the season opener. Despite that, Jones will get an excellent matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. A defense that ranks 23rd in pass DVOA so far in 2021. There isn't a ton of fantasy value here, but Jones could have some streaming appeal for QB needy fantasy managers in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Brown Oct 22 12:10pm ET
A.J. Brown

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (illness) said on his Twitter account that his body continues to reject any food he eats as he tries to get past a bout of food poisoning that had him questionable to play last Monday night in Week 6. Brown didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and could draw another questionable tag in Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs. It's been a rough week for the 24-year-old, and he looked to be under the weather in the first half of Monday's game before exploding for seven catches on nine targets for 91 yards in the second half. We ultimately expect him to play this Sunday in an excellent matchup against the Chiefs. As long as Brown is active, he needs to remain in all fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Damien Harris Oct 22 12:10pm ET
Damien Harris

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris is coming off his best rushing performance of the season. Last week, Harris rushed for 101 yards on 18 carries and found the end zone for the second straight week. The hope is that he'll be able to carry that momentum into the Week 7 matchup with the New York Jets. A defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Fantasy managers should feel comfortable with Harris as a RB2 for this week.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Oct 22 12:00pm ET
Antonio Brown

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) didn't appear to be practicing Friday during the portion open to the media. Brown, who has been dealing with a sprained ankle, wasn't able to practice Wednesday and Thursday- and appears to be trending towards another absence to close out the week. Brown should be considered doubtful for Sunday's game against the Bears at this point. If officially ruled out, fellow wideouts Chris Godwin and Mike Evans could see more targets headed their way.

From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Oct 22 11:50am ET
Sterling Shepard

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hamstring) was downgraded from a full to limited participant Thursday, and he has reportedly endured a setback with his hamstring issue. Giants beat writer Ralph Vacchiano noted that head coach Joe Judge didn't seem so sure about Shepard's practice status for Friday's session after expressing optimism about fellow pass-catchers Evan Engram (calf) and Darius Slayton (hamstring). Of course, nothing is official until the Giants release their practice report later, but it sure sounds like Shepard could find himself on the wrong side of questionable heading into the game against the Panthers. With Saquon Barkley (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), and Kadarius Toney (ankle) all heading towards absences, the Giants' entire offense could be an easy fade for fantasy purposes. However, Engram and Slayton could both see increased volume in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Goedert Oct 22 11:50am ET
Dallas Goedert

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (illness) appeared to be practicing during the portion available to media viewing at Friday's session. Goedert didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday but was activated off of the reserve/COVID-19 list, suggesting that he would be on track for Sunday if he could return to practice in some capacity. That appears to be the case regardless of the designation heading into a favorable matchup against a Raiders defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. Goedert could be headed for elite-level usage sans Zach Ertz and look like a strong play in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

DeeJay Dallas Oct 22 11:40am ET
DeeJay Dallas

Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas has been playing sparingly through his first season and a half, but he could see some major snaps in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. Chris Carson (neck) and Alex Collins (groin) are both dealing with injuries. Carson was placed on Injured Reserve, and Collins failed to practice on Thursday. Dallas played 34 percent of the snaps in the team's Week 6 game, and his nine total touches, including five receptions, were second only to Collins. The matchup against the Saints isn't the best, as they've allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this year, but he could still see solid value in PPR formats due to his work in the receiving game if Collins is unable to play.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Lockett Oct 22 11:40am ET
Tyler Lockett

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett has been a volatile asset in fantasy with an extremely high ceiling thanks to his connection with quarterback Russell Wilson, but he doesn't have that same outlook in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. With Geno Smith under center in Week 6, Lockett caught two of his seven targets for 21 yards, and he just wasn't getting those deep shots that he would often get with Russ. The offense is going to be funnelled to teammate D.K. Metcalf and the running backs, which will leave Lockett's fantasy managers hoping that he breaks one big play down the field. He has flex value with the rest of the stars that are on bye weeks or the injured list, but don't count on a big week out of him.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Oct 22 11:40am ET
D.K. Metcalf

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was the team's top target last week, and he figures to maintain that spot in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. Metcalf caught six of his seven targets a week ago, and he was turned into somewhat of a possession receiver rather than a downfield threat with Geno Smith at quarterback. With his size and athleticism, he can fill that role, and he'll have a size advantage over all of the Saints defensive backs. With the Seattle running backs dealing with injuries, we could see a heavier emphasis on passing the ball, which would lead to more opportunities for Metcalf. He's not quite in the WR1 category this week, but he's still a solid WR2 or flex option for your fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Jason Myers Oct 22 11:40am ET
Jason Myers

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers was a top-10 kicker a season ago, but he's trending in the wrong direction heading into Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. Myers is the No. 22 kicker in fantasy heading into Week 7, and his offense is struggling to maintain their productivity due to injuries. With a beaten up running game, quarterback Geno Smith will be forced to throw the ball more, and that just doesn't seem to be the way the Seahawks want to win games. The Saints have yet to allow an opponent to score 30 or more points this year, but this Seattle unit without Russell Wilson(finger) is unlikely to change that. There are several fantasy viable kickers on byes this week, but Myers doesn't seem like a viable fill-in option.

From RotoBaller

Geno Smith Oct 22 11:30am ET
Geno Smith

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith was serviceable against a tough Pittsburgh Steelers defense last week, and his matchup isn't much easier in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. Through five games, the Saints have allowed just five passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks, and they've given up the 11th-fewest passing yards. In his first start in four years, Smith threw for only 209 yards in a losing effort, and he was rarely pushing the ball down the field. His offensive line should have a decent chance of keeping him upright, as the Saints are second-to-last in sacks with eight, but he needs to do a better job of keeping the offense on schedule. This is not one of the weeks to be starting Smith unless you have no other options.

From RotoBaller

Rob Gronkowski Oct 22 11:30am ET
Rob Gronkowski

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs) wasn't practicing during the portion of Friday's session open to the media. Gronkowski, who hasn't practiced yet this week, seems trending towards another absence this Sunday against Chicago. With O.J. Howard (ankle) back on the practice field- it's looking like he and Cameron Brate will handle the tight end duties once again. Howard seems to be building some chemistry with Tom Brady, as he is coming off a game where he hauled in six passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.

From RotoBaller

Tua Tagovailoa Oct 22 11:20am ET
Tua Tagovailoa

Head coach Brian Flores spoke to reporters Friday morning, expressing confidence in Tua Tagovailoa as his starting signal-caller amid trade rumors that have swirled this week. Tagovailoa was involved in some reports suggesting a three-team deal involving the Texans and star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has been on the trade block. Flores seemed to dismiss those reports, stating that the team is pleased with their current quarterback situation. Tagovailoa had his best game of the year last week, completing 33 of 47 passes for 329 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, adding 22 yards on the ground. The vote of confidence from the organization could serve him well heading into a favorable matchup against a poor Falcons defense.

From RotoBaller

Tommy Tremble Oct 22 11:00am ET
Tommy Tremble

Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas and tight end Tommy Tremble will take on the Giants in Week 7. Both players split the playing time relatively evenly last week, as Thomas played 54 percent of the snaps compared to Tremble's 51 percent. The Giants have allowed four touchdowns to the position, so one of these two could find the end zone in Week 7. Given that the Panthers have shown some creativity with Tremble at the goal-line, he looks like the slightly better bet of the two to produce a decent line.

From RotoBaller