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DraftKings Fantasy Football: Player Salaries – First Impressions

Benjamin Slocum

Benjamin Slocum

Ben focuses on Daily Fantasy for the NFL, NBA and College Football. His tag is Bensloc5; feel free to challenge him to a contest. See Ben on Instagram at Bensloc5.


This week, DraftKings released their first contests for the 2014 NFL season. Along with the contests are the first player salaries of 2014. For a daily fantasy football user, player salaries are everything and seeing salaries for the first time is like a little kid waking up and opening presents on Christmas morning.

While the salaries for each player will fluctuate on a weekly basis, the first posted salaries will act as a baseline for most players, in which future salaries will be derived from. Players with higher salaries will remain expensive for weeks, even if they do not perform well. Players with lower salaries can see significant increases in their price with productive performances. During the first few weeks of the season, you need to jump on the lower salaries of productive players before their price becomes inflated. You need to stay away from underperforming players with already inflated salaries.

Because we are still a month away from NFL Football, it is too early to start making picks for week one, but we can take a look at the initial salaries to see who is overpriced or underpriced. Some of the underpriced guys may have bad Week 1 matchups, but you should still keep them on your radar for the early weeks of the season. A bad matchup in Week 1 may equal a bad performance and a reduced salary in Week 2, making them a great play going forward. Below are some of the players that I feel are overpriced or underpriced.

Quarterbacks

Overpriced - Carson Palmer ($7,500) – I've never been a big fan of Carson Palmer and a $7,500 price tag does not sound good to me. For a few hundred more dollars, you can get players with a much higher ceiling like Colin Kaepernick ($8,000) and Matt Ryan ($7,900).

Underpriced – Tony Romo ($7,500) – Romo starts off the season against one of the best defenses in the league (San Francisco), so that probably contributed to his lower than excepted price. I do not suggest using him against the 49ers, but monitor his salary early in the season. He has a couple of tough matchups early, so his salary could become depressed and make him a great buy when his matchup is prime for a big performance. Daily fantasy is all about buying players at the right price.


Underpriced – Brown QBs, Johnny Manziel ($6,300) & Brian Hoyer ($6,000) – If Johnny Football can win the starting job, he makes a great value play, especially in guaranteed price pool (GPP) contests because of his high ceiling. Hoyer showed last year that he is a solid player. I wouldn't consider him a great value at $6,000, but he should be able to cover his cost and produce some decent stats at a reduced price.

Running Backs

Overpriced – Jamaal Charles ($9,000) – I love Charles this year; he is my No. 1 player overall, especially in PPR formats like the scoring DraftKings utilizes. However, at $9,000 and $600 more expensive than the next highest running back (LeSean McCoy), Charles is just too expensive. A price tag that high will ruin the rest of your team. That being said, if you are running a ton of different GPP lineups, you may want to throw him in a couple of your rosters, just in case he goes for another 62.5 fantasy point performance like Week 15 last year against the Raiders.

Underpriced – Doug Martin ($6,300) – Martin is coming off an injury and a terrible 2013 season, so monitor his progress during training camp. If he can return to his form as a rookie in 2012, a $6,300 price tag would be a steal.

Underpriced – Pierre Thomas ($5,000) – The Saints love to throw to their running backs and Thomas was a huge beneficiary of that last year with 77 receptions. With Darren Sproles gone, he should see his usage in the passing game only increase. Thomas only had three touchdowns last year, so his ceiling is very limited, but his high reception numbers and the point he receives for each catch gives him a respectable floor. For these reasons, I would utilize him in H2H and 50/50s, but not GPP contests.

Underpriced – Future Starting Running Backs ($-) – Because DraftKings released player salaries a month before the season, there will be multiple running backs priced as backups, who will later become their team’s starter because of injury or performance. Make sure to monitor injuries and depth charts through training camp. When players are promoted to first string, check their salary. There will be a ton of great values at running back for Week 1 of the NFL season. Refer to my article on targeting players based on injuries.

Wide Receivers

Overpriced – Josh Gordon ($8,000) – Just don't get too blazed and accidentally select him.

Overpriced – Marques Colston ($5,900) – I am really down on Colston this year. At his price, I would much rather go for players like Vincent Jackson ($5,900), Roddy White ($5,900) or the GPP play that is Cordarrelle Patterson ($5,800). Also, I really like Brandin Cooks this year to challenge the record for most receptions by a rookie (101 – Anquan Boldin, 2003). Buy low on him at $4,500.

Underpriced – AJ Green ($7,400) – I can’t believe Green is so cheap. To me, he is very close to the second best fantasy receiver, but he is priced as the eighth most expensive.

Underpriced – Jeremy Maclin ($5,700) – I am all over Maclin this year; he is my No. 1 guy to target in season-long fantasy. Take advantage of his inexpensive price before it is too late.

Underpriced – DeAndre Hopkins ($4,500) – Hopkins had a decent rookie year with 52 catches and 802 yards. If he can take a leap in year two, he would be a great value. Andre Johnson is already a little dinged up, so monitor his progress. If Johnson were to miss any games, Hopkins becomes a must start at his reduced price.

Underpriced – Steve Smith ($4,000) – Apparently, Steve Smith is looking great in camp, but when do they ever say a player looks terrible in practice? After Carolina let him go, he certainly has a chip on his shoulder. Watch training camp to see how the Ravens utilize him, but at a very reasonable salary of $4,000, he makes a great value play.

Underpriced – Rookie Wide Receivers ($-) – This may end up being the best rookie receiving class we've ever seen. Rookie wide receivers do not usually produce in their first year, but this year will be different. My top two values are Jordan Matthews ($3,800) and Brandin Cooks ($4,500); look for both to finish with strong seasons. If Odell Beckham ($3,700) can ever get healthy, he should be able to put up decent numbers. I’m also big on Davante Adams, but Green Bay plays on Thursday, so their salaries are not yet listed. I think Kelvin Benjamin ($4,200) will be a bust, but there are no other options on Carolina. Sammy Watkins ($5,000) and Mike Evans ($4,500) were the two top receivers selected in the draft and have a ton of potential, but may be hurt early by their quarterback play.

Tight Ends

Overpriced – Jason Witten ($4,500) – I just think that Witten's past his prime. I’d much rather look at other options near his price like Vernon Davis ($4,800), Jordan Reed ($4,600), and Zach Ertz ($4,100).

Underpriced – Ladarius Green ($3,200) – Green starts off the season with a very reasonable price. He is a great value, especially in GPP contests because of his big play ability. The first few weeks of the season will tell us a lot about how the Chargers plan on using Green and Antonio Gates together. If Green can get enough balls, he makes a great play at only $3,200.