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Mike Krueger | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

DFS Lineup Review - Week 1

We’ve had weeks to stew over prices and with the early release of salaries by the daily platforms, there was plenty of value on the Week 1 slate, making it relatively easy to create a lineup with the potential for a high score. With the Saints offensive stars and value running back James Conner ($5K) being popular plays and delivering the goods, you needed a relatively high score to be in the money in most cash games. Here’s a look at my cash game lineup for Fanduel in Week 1.


My considerations at QB included boiled down to Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. While I thought the Bucs-Saints game had shootout potential (Fitzpatrick was No.12 in my QB rankings) I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for Rivers who was facing a Chiefs secondary that gave up the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs last season, was missing S Eric Berry and was scrambling during final cuts to find cornerback help. Yes, Rivers was downright ugly last season in the two meetings with his division foe (464-1-6), but the positives easily outweighed the negatives. Rivers was my 3rd ranked QB heading into week and he came at a $900 discount from Brees.

Running Back

Once it became clear that Le’Veon Bell was going to miss Week 1, James Conner became a virtual lock for cash game rosters. He was 60-70% owned in most of the double-ups and 50-50’s I participated in and was basically a must-play even if you weren’t high on him for the week. His chances of a blow-up game were relatively good given his expected workload for a team that likes to feature one running back and if he’s not on your roster, you’re essentially buried. I messed around pairing Conner with Melvin Gordon ($8100), Leonard Fournette ($8000), Alex Collins ($6700) and Christian McCaffrey ($7500) but ultimately found the savings elsewhere (see below) to land on my true target, Alvin Kamara.

While I was somewhat concerned about Kamara getting vultured at the goaline by Mike Gillislee, it wasn’t enough to come off the insanely efficient Kamara who’s truly a threat to score every time he touches the ball. With Saints missing Mark Ingram and playing musical chairs at the position over the last two weeks, Kamara seemed like a good bet for 20+ touches at home, in a game with shootout potential.

Wide Receiver

My wide receiver pool was fairly deep this week with A.J. Green, Michael Thomas, Chris Hogan, Emmanuel Sanders, Stefon Diggs and Michael Crabtree all under consideration given their price and matchup. My biggest debate was choosing between Green and Thomas. Both were in my top tier with Green ranked slightly higher. Given Thomas and Kamara were easily projectable to be the most used players in the Saints offense this week, I didn’t have problem with both being on my roster despite some perceived negative correlation, but ultimately it was the deciding factor in a coin-flip decision. Hogan appeared to be in a great spot, at home with the Patriots searching for stable options at the position making him easily projectable for 7-8 targets and good bet for a score given his redzone usage. Sanders at $6300 seemed like an incredible value given his increased usage in the slot this pre-season and was an easy call over Crabtree who cost $300 more.

Tight End

I considered Rob Gronkowski ($7900), Jordan Reed ($5800), Jack Doyle ($5600), Ricky Seals-Jones ($5100) and Ryan Griffin ($4700) at tight end this week. With Colts being thin at wide receiver and tipping their hand with their TE usage during the pre-season (23 TE catches), Doyle appeared to be a safer play with locked volume over the lower-priced RSJ and Griffin who still had bigger question marks about their usage. The savings on Doyle over Gronk ($2100) also fit my roster construction best, allowing me to get up to Kamara at running back instead of being “stuck” with Melvin Gordon.


With Fanduel ditching the kicker position this year (yes!) it makes sense to roll with a running back in the Flex position for cash games whenever possible. The position is less volatile than wide receiver and much easier to predict usage and volume.

I was able to exploit my tight end and defense savings (see below) into allowing me to roster David Johnson who had a high usage expectation against the Redskins. With his wrist injury behind him, considerable work in the passing game and playing at home, it made him a slightly better option even at a $600 premium over Fournette.


I wouldn’t normally roster a defense against my running back but the Browns seem incredibly mispriced at $3K given their newfound pass rush ability (Myles Garrett) and the propensity for Roethlisberger to take sacks and toss picks. There were a lot of viable options on the slate but ultimately, with Pittsburgh playing without Bell and Cleveland playing at home, it made sense to save money at a volatile position and go with the Browns over my other main considerations the Ravens ($4800) and Vikings ($4500).


With Chargers/Chiefs, Saints/Bucs games both going nuclear, and Conner crushing his value, this was a high-flying week in DFS. If you weren’t pushing 160 points, it was tough to cash in double-ups this week. I was fortunate enough to land on Kamara over Fournette (hamstring) and get a late score from Johnson, otherwise my bank account would have suffered.