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King for a Day: Soaring Eagles

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Welcome to King for a Day - Our new weekly feature focusing on DraftKings' Fantasy Football contests.

For the uninitiated, DraftKings runs fantasy salary-based football contests where users can take home cash each week instead of waiting for the end of the season. It's a great time to start playing fantasy football contests on DraftKings, as new depositors receive a free qualifier ticket into the Millionaire Grand Finale.

Like most fantasy football formats, it's all about value on DraftKings. Don't be afraid to scroll down a bit when picking players, as the beginning of the season is the best time to cash in on some of your "sleepers". Is there a rookie who you believe is headed for instant stardom? If so, now would be the best time to pick him on DraftKings. If he breaks out like you think he will, the player's cost will rise over the course of the season. He may be one of the cheapest options at his position this week, but that won't be the case after a string of 100-yard games.

Now, on to some of the best values in Week 1:

Quarterback

Eli Manning, NYG, $6100 vs. DEN – Manning had a huge fantasy day Week 1 against the Cowboys, throwing for 450 yards and four touchdowns, albeit with three interceptions. He’ll be facing his brother this week, which means the Giants could be playing from behind again, and are unlikely to jump out to a large lead that favors the running game. Speaking of the running game, David Wilson fumbled twice last week, while Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Reuben Randle each topped 100 receiving yards. The Giants lack options behind Wilson, so the team might be best off with a pass-oriented offense, even in the early going.

Michael Vick, PHI, $5700, vs. SD – It’s no secret that Chip Kelly wants to run the ball, but Vick’s a pretty big part of that plan, and the Eagles figure to rank among the league leaders in offensive snaps. Philadelphia incredibly ran 53 offensive plays in the first half alone during an impressive Week 1 win against the Redskins. While that number will be hard to duplicate this week against the Chargers, there should still be enough snaps for Vick to get in a decent number of passing attempts, even if the Eagles lean towards the running game. Don’t be alarmed by the fact that Vick attempted just 25 passes last week, as the Eagles won’t be protecting a 26-point lead in every game. At this price, Vick’s upside is just too hard to ignore.

Running Backs

LeSean McCoy, PHI, $6300 vs. SD – McCoy is coming off a 31-carry, 184-yard performance in Week 1, yet he’s just the 12th most expensive running back on DraftKings this week. Taking into consideration the high tempo of Philadelphia’s offense and the fact that McCoy looked absolutely fantastic last week, this almost feels like stealing.

Eddie Lacy, GB, $4200 vs. WAS – Lacy’s career didn’t get off to a particularly fast start, as he lost a fumble and was held to 41 yards in Green Bay’s opener against San Francisco. Luckily, Lacy won’t have to face the 49ers defense every week, and this Sunday he’ll line up against a Washington unit that was gouged by LeSean McCoy in Week 1. Lacy was the only Green Bay halfback to receive a carry last week, making it clear that he’s expected to shoulder a significant workload. It’s hard to pass up a $4200 price tag for the clear lead back in one of the league’s most prolific offenses.

Daryl Richardson, STL, $3700 vs. ATL –Isaiah Pead may be returning from a suspension this week, but Richardson is still the starter and figures to see most of the touches. While there isn’t anything particularly flashy or exciting about him, Richardson comes at the right price against a questionable run defense. Choose him as one of your starters if you’re looking to preserve money for some of the most expensive players in other spots.

Wide Receiver

Julio Jones, ATL, $7000 vs. STL – Jones missed Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury, so he might be a questionable play in Thursday contests. However, if you’re signing up for a league that starts Sunday, it’s worth penciling Jones in, provided that you have a backup plan available. Health permitting, Jones is a strong bet to lead the Falcons in targets, with Roddy White (ankle) clearly still hampered by his own injury. While St. Louis isn’t necessarily a great matchup, the Rams did give up 327 passing yards to Carson Palmer in Week 1.

Victor Cruz, NYG, $5600 vs. DEN – What’s not to like here? Cruz is a proven stud who went off for 118 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 against the Cowboys. Most importantly, he looked completely healthy, and it doesn’t hurt that this week’s matchup favors a shootout. The price on DraftKings seems to indicate that Cruz is still an injury concern, but his foot held up just fine last week and doesn’t look like a major issue heading in to Week 2.

Emmanuel Sanders, PIT, $4300 vs. CIN – The running back situation remains messy in Pittsburgh, so a pass-heavy approach probably makes the most sense, particularly against a stout Cincinnati defensive line. The Steelers offense could struggle against the Bengals, but Ben Roethlisberger should still be competent enough to put up some passing yards, and Sanders led the team with 12 targets in a forgettable Week 1 loss to the Titans.

Tight End

Jordan Cameron, CLE, $4100 vs. BAL – Week 1 was kind to tight ends, and Cameron was no exception, racking up nine receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. A repeat performance may be too much to expect, but the price isn’t bad against a Baltimore defense that was hounded by Denver TE Julius Thomas in a hideous Week 1 showing against the Broncos.

Team Defense

Panthers, $3500 vs. BUF – Week 2 doesn’t offer many good matchups for team defenses, so I’ll go with a Carolina D that really stood out last week in holding the Seahawks to 70 yards on 26 rush attempts. Though the Panthers’ secondary looks shaky, rookie QB E.J. Manuel may not be able to take advantage of that weakness. A talented front-seven led by Luke Keuchly should be able to keep C.J. Spiller in check, which figures to be the key to stopping the Bills this year.

Kicker

Robbie Gould, CHI, $3000 vs. MIN – Gould is a proven kicker facing a questionable defense only one week after hitting a 58-yard field goal. That’s about all you can ask for at the $3000 price minimum.

Bonus Thursday Night Pick

Julian Edelman, NE, $5100 vs. NYJ – The price isn’t particularly good for a player of Edelman’s caliber, but circumstances reign supreme here. Both Danny Amendola (groin) and Rob Gronkowski (back) are doubtful against the Jets, leaving Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins ($4300) as the likely top options in Tom Brady’s offense. Thompkins is cheaper than Edelman and also looks like a solid play, but I like Edelman better, as he figures to work in a role similar to what a healthy Amendola would see.