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Fanball Fantasy Football: Week 1 Value Picks

Sasha Yodashkin

Sasha Yodashkin writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Week 1 of the NFL season offers plenty of possibilities for football teams and fantasy owners alike. The Fanball format calls for a QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, FLEX WR/TE, FLEX RB/WR/TE, D/ST lineup with a $55,000 salary cap. The players below can fit into lineups regardless of strategy, as they all offer strong value relative to price.

QUARTERBACK

Russell Wilson, SEA at GB ($8,300):
Seattle's offensive line woes actually benefit Wilson in a way, as a lack of effectiveness on the ground should force the Seahawks to call the quarterback's number early and often against a Packers defense that allowed the second-most passing yards per game last year. He has no shortage of weapons with wide receiver Doug Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham both healthy and will once again be a scrambling threat after having that aspect of his game limited by an MCL injury in 2016. Wilson's ability to contribute as both a passer and a runner makes him stand out among the top quarterback options.

Carson Wentz, PHI at WAS ($6,400):
Wentz threw for 3,782 yards as a rookie after being selected second overall in the 2016 draft, and is looking to achieve bigger and better things in year two. Getting off to a hot start shouldn't be difficult against a Redskins secondary that allowed 258.1 passing yards per game last year, especially after a productive offseason that saw the team upgrade its No. 1 receiver from Jordan Matthews to Alshon Jeffery. Wentz's upside is terrific for a guy with 15 other quarterbacks priced above him.

RUNNING BACK

Christian McCaffrey, CAR at SF ($5,800):
The eighth overall pick out of Stanford will feel right at home for his NFL debut in San Francisco. While Jonathan Stewart is expected to see the bulk of goal line work, McCaffrey has the explosiveness to score from further out and is also a phenomenal receiver out of the backfield. The 49ers ranked dead last in the league at defending running backs in 2016, so there should be plenty of production to go around for both McCaffrey and Stewart. McCaffrey carries significantly greater upside while costing only $500 more.

Le'Veon Bell, PIT at CLE ($10,000):
You don't need me to tell you how good Bell is, but those with doubts after his offseason holdout can rest easy.While both Bell and David Johnson have a combination of rushing and receiving prowess that puts them a cut above other running backs, the Pittsburgh running back should find much more room in Cleveland than Johnson will in Detroit. Only San Francisco was worse at defending running backs last year than Cleveland, and Bell torched the Browns for 201 total yards and a touchdown in his lone 2016 game played against them.

Bilal Powell, NYJ at BUF ($5,200):
A common theme among strong running back plays is the ability to get touches both on the ground and through the air. Powell is primed for plenty of both on an offense that lacks other playmakers. Matt Forte should mix in as well, but the younger Powell is the more explosive option at this stage, especially when it comes to making plays as a receiver out of the backfield.

WIDE RECEIVER

Corey Coleman, CLE vs. PIT ($5,100):
Coleman is listed ahead of Kenny Britt atop the wide receiver depth chart and he played like a No. 1 option this preseason. He and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer hooked up for 66 yards in the first half of the dress rehearsal in Week 3 of preseason, so the two should be on the same page from the get-go for the opener. With Pittsburgh heavily favored on the road, there's also a strong possibility of garbage time production late.

Amari Cooper, OAK at TEN ($7,900):
Many wide receivers make a big leap in their third year and such an improvement would constitute a move into the game's elite for Cooper, who topped 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons. Even if he plateaus from here on out, the 2015 fourth overall pick out of Alabama could easily lead his position in Week 1 scoring, as he draws a Titans team that allowed the second most fantasy points to the position a season ago.

Zay Jones, BUF vs. NYJ ($3,800):
Perhaps the only thing the Jets do well above league average is defend the run, so Buffalo's passing game will likely be forced into action if the Bills want to emerge as the AFC East division leaders after Week 1. With Jordan Matthews ($5,300) battling a chest injury and likely to work primarily out of the slot, the second-rounder out of East Carolina is the leading candidate to abuse New York's underwhelming cornerback corps on the outside. If you're spending big at other positions and need an affordable option to fill out the lineup, Jones is your guy.

TIGHT END

Zach Ertz, PHI at WAS ($5,800):
With Washington likely to key on wide receiver Alshon Jeffery downfield, Ertz should be left open to do plenty of damage underneath against an underwhelming group of coverage linebackers and safeties. He's coming off consecutive seasons with at least 75 catches for 800 yards, and had 10 catches for 112 yards the last time he faced the Redskins.

Jack Doyle, IND at LAR ($5,200):
Doyle should have a near monopoly on tight end targets with Dwayne Allen now in New England, and should be the recipient of many Scott Tolzien checkdowns with quarterback Andrew Luck sitting in Week 1. The 27-year-old Doyle showed off his receiving chops with five performances of 50-plus yards last season, and is a weapon in the red zone if the Tolzien-led Colts ever get there. At just $5,200, he also offers significant savings compared to some more mainstream options at his position.

DEFENSE

Los Angeles Rams, LAR vs. IND ($3,200):
Even without Aaron Donald, the Rams make for a terrific choice against a Colts offense missing an even more important piece in Luck. Linebacker Robert Quinn will still provide a pass rushing presence and new coach Wade Phillips has a long history of defensive success. With the home crowd providing plenty of energy, expect a strong performance in a game that's unlikely to feature many offensive fireworks from either side.

Cincinnati Bengals, CIN vs. BAL ($3,200):
Cincinnati should excel with homefield advantage in this Week 1 matchup against the division rival Ravens. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco (back) hasn't gotten many practice reps, which should lead to timing issues with new receiving weapons Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead. An offense whose main other contributors are Mike Wallace and Terrance West isn't very scary to begin with, making this defense a strong choice at $1,000 cheaper than the top option.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.