Week 1 DFS Tournament 6-Pack

8 Sep 2017 - 6:24pm | Roto Coach | Updated: 21 Sep 2017 - 4:41pm
The Weekly DFS Tournament 6-Pack-Week 1

Week 1 of the NFL season got underway on Thursday night with the Kansas City Chiefs visiting New England and clobbering the Patriots behind huge games from Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt. Not exactly what anyone predicted. Life sure comes at you fast, huh? At any rate, that means the opening Sunday of the NFL season is right around the corner and with it our first DFS main slate of the year. So welcome back for the first DFS Tournament 6-pack of 2017. Over the course of the season I’ll look to alternate between DraftKings and FanDuel for the picks and pricing in order to make sure I’m covering GPP plays for folks playing on both of those sites. But I’m kicking off the season with DK, because to be completely honest, the FanDuel lineup build isn’t particularly compelling with the way the pricing is laid out for Week 1. With that in mind, let’s get to it!

As I do every week, I’ll be giving you two high dollar, two mid-level, and two low-dollar players to consider for your tournament lineups. Part of what we’re doing here is looking for players that can return enough value to be tournament viable, but we’re also attempting to think through where some of the pivots to the more chalky plays of the week will be in order to get a little differentiation in our lineup. So let’s take a look at the weekend ahead for this week’s picks.

High Dollar


Julio Jones -WR-Atlanta Falcons (DraftKings Price: $8500): Among the top tier wideouts it seems like Julio Jones might go a bit overlooked, or at least as overlooked as Julio Jones is ever going to be. Antonio Brown’s fantastic matchup against Cleveland probably locks him into being the highest owned wideout this week. But with the perceived safety of locking in either Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson at running back, many are going to find paying up at wide receiver pretty difficult to do in Week 1 and still feel good about your lineup. Jones faces a completely revamped Bears secondary, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good. A healthy Jones is a tough matchup for even top NFL cover corners, and the Chicago roster not only lacks one of those, but will probably be without their best cover corner, Prince Amukamara. After a 2016 season where Jones’ receptions and targets fell off considerably from the prior two, I expect the Falcons to try to get him involved early and often, especially in the red zone. As of Friday morning Odell Beckham’s status is still very much up in the air for Week 1, and even if he plays he won’t be 100%. Combine that with that fact that the Giants face off against Dallas on Sunday night, leaving nothing to pivot to, and we might see Julio Jones’ ownership tick up a bit more if this situation continues to stay murky. The only other wideout priced at $8000 or more is A.J. Green, who draws a brutal matchup with Jimmy Smith, but also has a strong track record against the Ravens. In short, upside combined with likely sub-20% ownership makes Jones my favorite of the high-priced receivers this week.

LeSean McCoy-RB-Buffalo Bills ($8200): There are a laundry list of reasons to like McCoy this week, but let’s start with the most obvious one: the matchup. The New York Jets have been tanking since April, but they’ve continued to make moves right up until last week to ensure they can execute against that strategy. While two very good defensive linemen in Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams remain intact for the Jets to build around, dealing Sheldon Richardson last week still weakens this team up front. But more importantly, the linebacking corps is young and inexperienced outside of Demario Davis, who is taking over the middle linebacker position from David Harris. And by any measure that’s a significant drop off against both opposing rushing attacks and in coverage. It also looks like the Jets will start rookies Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, their first and second round picks at the two safety positions so even the run support on the back end is questionable. Now to the Bills side of the ball, where Buffalo still boasts one of the better run blocking units in the league. That, combined with a depleted receiving cast, a new regime that doesn’t seem to believe in Tyrod Taylor, and an open admission this week by first year head coach Sean McDermott that they’re essentially going to ride McCoy in both the running and passing game until the wheels fall off, gives you the recipe for a potentially massive statistical opening week. From a game theory perspective, Shady sits at an awkward price point. He’s over $1000 less than David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, both of whom probably top 30% ownership in tournaments, but quite a bit more than Demarco Murray and Devonta Freeman, who feel a bit safer because they play in much better offenses. What will actually be interesting to see is how Ezekiel Elliott figures into the equation here, as he’s essentially the same price ($100 more) as McCoy and has the building narrative that Dallas could just give him all the touches he can handle, knowing he’s taking the next month and a half off. One final note on McCoy that probably helps keep casual players away in Week 1 is that he’s going to head into the weekend with a little red “Q” for questionable next to his name on DK. Having missed a Thursday practice session due to what’s being reported as a stomach bug, and with the new 2016 NFL injury report policy being equally as ridiculous and idiotic as the old NFL injury report policy, he should keep that tag right up until Sunday morning.   

Mid Tier

Jimmy Graham-TE-Seattle Seahawks ($5100): In a vacuum Graham is a logical Week 1 play at the tight end position. Russell Wilson should have to throw quite a bit to help Seattle keep pace with Aaron Rodgers and company on the road, and after Doug Baldwin, Graham figures to be the second most targeted option in the Seattle passing game. This matchup features the highest projected Vegas total on the board at 51 points, and is even more attractive when we note that it should stay close, with the Packers just a 3 point favorite heading into the weekend. Graham also faces a Packers secondary that much like last season, figures to rank in the bottom half of the league in pass defense and hasn’t upgraded anything that is going to help them significantly improve on the 86 receptions (8th most in the NFL) and 996 yards receiving (also 8th most in the NFL) that they allowed to the tight end position last season. What will keep Graham a bit sneaky this week is a grossly underpriced Zach Ertz ($3500), who could top 30%+ ownership on DraftKings, as well as a cheaper Delanie Walker ($4300) in a superb matchup against the Raiders. We could very easily see those two combine to threaten 50% of the tight end ownership and that makes any other tight end in a good spot a really intriguing tournament option. It’s also worth noting that Week 1 tends to bring out a lot of new or casual DFS players, and with the tight pricing at the top tier of running backs and receivers the inclination for most is going to be to pay way down to wedge in studs at other positions, even more so without Gronk or Travis Kelce to play on this slate.   

Christian McCaffrey-RB-Carolina Panthers ($5400): In his NFL debut, McCaffrey plays on the road at San Francisco in a game with a solid Vegas projected total of 47.5 and the Panthers favored by just 4.5. Projecting ownership is tricky here because we have the combination of a much heralded rookie everyone is excited to play competing with the fact that questions about his role and workload make him feel less safe than many of the surrounding players at a similar price point. I actually think the latter helps keep some of the ownership down, as does the fact that he’s a touch on the high side for an RB2 for everyone paying up for Bell or Johnson. And we’ve already discussed that I think those numbers will be high. Projecting McCaffrey’s ownership isn’t easy, but with guys like Lamar Miller, Ameer Abdullah, and Carlos Hyde priced below him, I’m going to be surprised if he winds up north of 8% or 9%. According to Vegas the Panthers are projected to score 26 points this week, and with Cam Newton coming off shoulder surgery and barely playing in the preseason it’s hard to envision that it’s going to come from a bunch of downfield passes or Cam getting outside the pocket and running. Additionally, this 49ers run defense is going to be a sieve again this season, which should increase some of the speculation that Jonathan Stewart is in for a big workload. We already know McCaffrey is going to have a big role in the passing game, but I’m not inclined to believe the Panthers spent a top ten pick on a running back they’re afraid to hand the ball off to with some degree of regularity. Just down the road from his alma mater this feels like a spot where Carolina needs to protect Cam and should turn the rookie loose. I think he gets at least 20 total touches on Sunday, and with his talent and against this defense, that will be plenty to crush his price tag.

Low Dollar

Brian Hoyer-QB-San Francisco 49ers ($5100): I talked about Hoyer on the podcast this week, as among the punt quarterbacks you can roll out on Sunday, he is hands down my favorite. As we said, this a game with a Vegas projected total of 47.5 points and the Panthers favored by just 4.5. And that means both teams are projected to score over 20 points. Priced well below the top tier, Hoyer is playing in a Kyle Shanahan offense and faces a Panthers secondary that while talented, is still very young and inexperienced, as well as traveling from east to west to open the season. Due to injuries, Hoyer started and finished just four games for Chicago last season. But he managed to throw multiple touchdown passes in three games and topped 300 passing yards in all four. And he arguably has a more talented group of receivers than he was saddled with last season. In addition to adding Pierre Garcon, who led the NFL in receptions the last time he found himself in Shanahan’s offense, the 49ers also brought in deep threat Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson, and undersized but shifty rookie slot receiver Trent Taylor this offseason. In short, it’s a completely revamped receivers group. The other thing we know about this offense is that it is going to target running backs in the passing game, something we saw with both starter Carlos Hyde and second stringer Matt Breida in the preseason. It also explains why the the 49ers overpaid for Swiss army knife-type fullback/tight-end Kyle Juszczyk this offseason. He sat most of the preseason with an injury, but is ready to roll. No one will own Hoyer this week, and I think you can stack him with either Garcon or Goodwin. Or, if you want to get a little weird, play Hyde and Hoyer together in a QB-RB stack, which is actually a better correlation play than most people realize and will cost less than $10k combined.

Kevin White-WR-Chicago Bears ($4200): This play isn’t for the faint of heart, as White has played in just 4 of his first 32 NFL games after sitting his entire rookie season and then suffering a season-ending injury in Week 4 last year. But he is, with the injury to Cameron Meredith and by the Chicago coaching staff’s admission, their number one wideout entering the 2017 regular season. Teammate Kendall Wright, who sits at just $3200 and is running out of the slot is going to be the mega-chalk of cheap receivers this week. And with the Bears most like playing from behind in this one, there should be ample opportunity for White to see plenty of targets. Remember, this is a former top ten pick that ran a 4.35 forty at 6’3” 220lbs coming out West Virginia two seasons ago. His size, strength, and ability to go up and get the football works to his advantage in this matchup, as with Jalen Mills suspended, the Falcons secondary lacks size at the corner position. We also have to assume that with a below average defensive front the safeties will be cheating up to slow Jordan Howard and daring Mike Glennon to beat them. I wouldn’t touch White in cash, but he’s the kind of athlete that could really rack up some stats if and when this team gets down big.

Good luck this week!

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