Week 1 of the NFL season brings a lot of excitement, especially in your One-Week Fantasy Football leagues, where most of the player salaries were generated at the end of July. This means there will be a lot of value available in Week 1, and it also means that the value players should have lower salaries for the better part of the first four weeks, because their salaries have started so low. Low-salaried players with high potential are best to consider in tournament games because you are looking for value plays to offset your higher-tier players in the $8,000-$10,000 range. Value players bring a higher risk/reward variance which is what you need to win large field tournaments. Each player below is listed with their FanDuel salary and matchup.
Sam Bradford $6,000 vs. Vikings
Bradford was on pace for 32 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year before getting hurt. The Rams have expectations this year of making a playoff run after finishing 7-9 last year with Kellen Clemens at quarterback. They're six-point favorites at home against the Vikings, who were the worst team in the league against opposing quarterbacks, allowing 26.6 fantasy points per game. With the addition of Kenny Britt, I think you can pick your spots with Bradford this year, and Week 1 is probably the best matchup.
$6,500 vs. Patriots
We've all heard about new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor coming in and bringing the high-octane Chip Kelly offense. So far in the preseason, Tannehill has looked great and has been connecting with Mike Wallace
. I think this matchup at home against the Patriots is going to be a shootout. Last year, in Week 15 Tannehill threw for 312 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots. Also, he has a shot of giving you a rushing touchdown.
$7,600 @ Bears
Spiller has frustrated season-long owners for many years because he has top-five potential, but he can never stay healthy for a full season (outside of 2012). The Bears allowed more rushing yards than any other team last year and 5.3 yards per carry. All indications are that Spiller is fully healthy, and the Bills' passing game hasn't looked good in the preseason, so I expect a lot of Spiller and Fred Jackson
$6,100 @ Eagles
The Jaguars offense is going to run through Gerhart in 2014, and his value is also helped by all of the injuries/suspensions in the receiving corp. While he might end up breaking down later in the year, buy him now and take advantage. In his four years in Minnesota, he had 276 total carries for 1,305 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He also had 77 receptions, 600 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
$6,700 @ Lions
Last year, Jennings started eight games for the Oakland Raiders, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and scoring six rushing touchdowns. You have to love the fact that he will be involved in the passing game, too, as the Giants don't have a viable tight end, and Andre Williams
is a run-only back. While Week 1 against the Lions is not the best matchup, at $6,700 you're still getting great value.
$8,000 vs Colts
While there has been a lot of hype over Ball coming into 2014, it looks to be warranted. Over the final six weeks of last season, only Jamaal Charles
(6.6) averaged more yards per carry than Ball (6.5). Ball also led the league in percentage of rushes for first downs (40.4 percent) and carries of 10 or more yards (21.2 percent). Moreno finished as a top-five running back last year, and many people feel Ball can do the same. This matchup has a total of 55 (highest of the week), and the Broncos are installed as a touchdown home favorite over the Colts.
$6,300 vs Patriots
This is very much dependent on Miller still holding on to the starting role over Knowshon Moreno
. If so, I'm willing to take a shot on him in tournaments early on.
$6,800 vs Chargers
Ellington averaged 5.5 ypc last season and should be heavily targeted in the passing game. I think, ultimately, his value will be tied to the number of receptions, and the Cardinals will be careful not to use him more than 15-20 carries per game. We're starting to see them use Jonathan Dwyer
to spell Ellington a little bit, which I think is a good thing. Dwyer is only good for 5-10 carries per game and is not a threat to steal major touches from Ellington, but enough to keep him fresh throughout the game.
Next week, I'll cover the wide receiver, tight end, kicker, and team defense positions.