DFS Primetime Playsheet: Week 1
Welcome to the first edition of the Primetime Playsheet! The much-anticipated return of the regular season also means the much-anticipated return of everyone being able to finish off their weekends with some Sunday Night Football and cure their Monday woes with another dose. Usually, we would only have two games to parse through on the primetime slate, but with the special Monday Night Football doubleheader for week 1, we have a trifecta on our hands. Let’s jump into the games for the Primetime Playsheet!
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
The Bears will travel to Lambeau to kick of their season as they try to spoil Aaron Rodgers much anticipated return. With Matt Nagy now at the helm for the Bears, we can expect a much more aggressive attack as opposed to last year’s dreadful John Fox game plans. With the addition of guys like Allen Robinson ($6300 on Draftkings) and Trey Burton ($4300) in free agency and rookie wide receiver Anthony Miller ($4600) through the draft, the Bears may have the keys needed to unlock Mitchell Trubisky’s potential.
I would expect Trey Burton to be the highest owned Bears “receiver” and also the highest owned tight end on the slate as he is priced $500 less than Jimmy Graham. Burton shined in the preseason and looks poised for an even bigger role now that tight end Adam Shaheen has been placed on IR. Combine that with Matt Nagy’s propensity to use the tight end, and Burton’s $4300 price tag is way too cheap. I think we may have found the first member of our core…
Trubisky is also really enticing as he is priced at only $5600, which is fifth out of the six starting quarterbacks on this slate. Green Bay did add defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in the offseason and drafted some nice cornerback talent in the draft, but I am going to favor Nagy’s ability to scheme his way around a solid unit.
Another part of the Bears attack that is interesting from an ownership standpoint is Allen Robinson. Many forget how we watched him light the league on fire two years ago. Having suffered a torn ACL at the beginning of last season – forcing him to miss all of 2017 – many people will be taking a “wait-and-see” approach in regards to playing him. Due to Robinson’s $6300 price tag, he should carry low ownership and week one could be a great opportunity to get in early before his stock rises.
I don’t know what to make of the Bears ground attack with Jordan Howard is priced at $6300 and Tarik Cohen at $5800. Being on the road against a solid defensive front coupled with the possibility of having to play catch up against Rodgers will probably have me fading both players.
On the Packers side of the ball, it will be exciting to see Rodgers return to the field. With a new bag of money slung over his left shoulder, one would think Rodgers will want to put the league on notice that he is, in fact, back. My expectations are a bit tempered for him right now though, as the Bears defense isn’t anything to sneeze at, especially after acquiring Khalil Mack. Having said that, Rodgers has the ability to break open any slate with his upside and the $7500 you have to pay to play him may be worth every penny.
In the backfield, the Packers only really have Jamaal Williams ($6000) and Ty Montgomery ($3700). When given the opportunity last year, Williams shined and will have a chance to distance himself from Aaron Jones while he sits out due to suspension. Montgomery is dirt cheap at his price tag and has the ability to play receiver as well. Add in the fact that Rodgers already has some chemistry with him and Montgomery makes for an interesting dart throw.
Rodger’s primary receivers to open the season are Davante Adams ($7000), Randall Cobb ($4700) and Geronimo Allison ($3900). The guy I am currently leaning towards playing is Cobb. With him finally healthy for week one, I think Cobb’s price tag will only increase as the season goes on. He has great rapport with Rodgers already and could really outproduce his salary. That isn’t to say I won’t have exposure to Davante Adams as well. After a slow start to his career, Adams has turned into an awesome weapon for the Packers, especially in the Red Zone. Hopefully, the expensive price tag scares some people away and drives down his ownership.
Another facet of the Green Bay attack this season is tight end Jimmy Graham ($4800). A pure touchdown maker, I am curious to see how the relationship between him and Rodgers develops throughout the year. As for this slate, I may be laying off in favor of Burton who I mentioned earlier.
The line (GB -7) says the Bears will be playing catch up, but I think this game could be closer than some think.
MONDAY NIGHT: GAME ONE
New York Jets @ Detroit Lions (-6.5)
From a team standpoint, the Lions may be my primary target on this slate. The main reason for that is their lack of a clear cut ground game. They did upgrade an already mediocre offensive line in the offseason with draft stud Frank Ragnow, but I just don’t see enough talent in the backfield for me to think this won’t be another pass-happy attack in 2018. Matthew Stafford is currently the third priced quarterback for this slate at $6500 which seems a bit off to me. As a clear home favorite in a game that is also being played in a dome, this looks to me like it could be a real nice fantasy output from Stafford. From a stacking perspective, I think pairing Stafford with two of either Golden Tate ($6700), Marvin Jones Jr. ($6500) or Kenny Golladay ($4800) is a great way to start your lineup build.
These Lions receivers could all be in for solid seasons with TE Eric Ebron now out of the fold. The Jets secondary isn’t anything to be scared of and I think you can count on at least one, if not two, of the Lions receivers having fantasy friendly games.
On the opposite side of this game, Sam Darnold ($5400) will be slinging the rock. I think the presence of a rookie quarterback does put the Lions defense in consideration, but there is a nice option I like more in the next game. Darnold did enough in the preseason to earn the starting job, and doesn’t have nearly the competition at the position that he did now that Teddy Bridgewater is a part of the Saints.
The Jets do not have much weaponry on offense and I am not really interested in any one of their receivers aside from Quincy Enunwa ($4400). Enunwa missed last season due to injury, but did look like he was developing into a promising player before that. Now at full strength, I would guess Enunwa will be reclaiming his role as the primary receiver, with big play threat Robby Anderson ($5700) just behind him.
I am thinking the Jets will task Darnold with some confidence-building, short yardage throws to start the season which would give the edge to Enunwa. Enunwa may also see some extra Red Zone looks when/if the Jets are able to get down there given his big frame, and the lack of any real talent at the tight end position for the Jets.
There is one guy on the Jets that I am going to be almost fully invested in here and that is running back Bilal Powell ($4700). The Jets will most likely be playing from behind here which will lead to a positive game script for Powell. I am really not scared by newly acquired free agent Isaiah Crowell especially given the way this game should play out. Powell is the Jets pass catcher out of the backfield and should easily be able to pay off his salary. It is also wise in most cases to bring it back with a member of an opposing team who you think will be trailing. Playing Powell also allows you to afford the stud running back in this next game.
MONDAY NIGHT: GAME TWO
Los Angeles Rams (-4) @ Oakland Raiders
The Rams will travel to Oakland for the second part of the Monday Night doubleheader which will feature Jon Gruden’s return to the sideline. Unfortunately for Gruden, it may not be the most warm welcome. He and the Raiders will have to get through this buzzsaw of a defense that the Rams built in the offseason with the addition of guys like Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh. It will be a tall task Derek Carr and the Raiders defense as they try to slow down the high octane offense of the Rams. I don’t think I am alone when I say that this one may get ugly.
On these short slates, it is often wise to lock in the clear cut studs in your lineup and try to get contrarian elsewhere. Todd Gurley ($9300) is exhibit A. He is expensive, don’t get me wrong, but his volume paired with his matchup is just too good to pass up here. Gurley flat out dominated last season and was a fantasy monster in all aspects of the game. He should have the opportunity to pick right back up where he left off on Monday night.
As for the Rams passing attack, they added lid-lifter Brandin Cooks ($5600) in the offseason and they may want to show off their shiny new toy. Cooks’ price is really intriguing here, but I think the game script will leave him in storage until a later date.
Jared Goff ($6700) is also someone I will be staying away from due to his price tag and the potential game script I expect to play out.
On the Raiders side, there is not much I am excited about here. They are lacking talent up and down their roster and their receiving core is no exception outside of Amari Cooper ($7100). You have to ask yourself how much damage you think the Raiders can realistically inflict on this Rams defense before considering rostering one of them. There will certainly not be a lot of room to operate for the Raiders, and for that reason, they may be a full fade for me.
Crazier things have happened, but I fully expect the Rams to cruise here. I think pairing Gurley with the Rams elite defense makes a ton of sense.
Well, that does it for this first edition of The Primetime Playsheet. Good luck with your lineups and congrats on making it all the way through the offseason.