Yahoo DFS Football: Week 1 Picks

Yahoo DFS Football: Week 1 Picks

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Football series.

The Week 1 NFL main slate begins Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EDT and features 13 games, while the Texans and Chiefs are set to kick off the season Thursday at 8:20 p.m. EDT, and the week concludes with Steelers-Giants and Titans-Broncos matchups Monday. With a lack of an offseason to give us a glimpse of teams' forms heading into the regular season, those looking to play matchups will need to rely primarily on data from last season. There's also no shortage of enticing bargains with which to fill out lineups between undervalued veterans and an infusion of young skill position talent from the 2020 draft. Some of the Week 1 options that stand out include an elite wide receiver and elite tight end that are taking on defenses that allowed the most production to their respective positions last season, as well as some old faces in new places who are set up to make strong first impressions in their new uniforms.

TOURNAMENTS (GPP – GUARANTEED PRIZE POOL)

QB: Kyler Murray, ARI at SF ($29): We've seen over the years that defensive performance often doesn't carry over from one season to the next, so those fading Murray here due to a matchup with a 49ers defense that was stout last year could miss out on a strong performance from the 2019 first overall pick and Offensive Rookie of the Year. Murray threw two touchdowns in both of his 2019 meetings with the 49ers and added a rushing score in San Francisco, so he proved capable of handling this defense as a rookie. The dual threat quarterback's set for significantly more success in Year 2, as he'll have new No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins ($28) at his disposal in addition to the natural growth Murray's game is expected to undergo with a full season under his belt.

RB: Marlon Mack, IND at JAX ($17): Mack is getting overlooked with rookie Jonathan Taylor ($21) earning strong reviews in training camp, but Mack is still the Colts' Week 1 starter against a Jacksonville team that he carved up for 186 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in a pair of 2019 meetings. The veteran has also worked on catching the ball out of the backfield, improving an aspect of his game that's considered a weakness for Taylor. Especially given the lack of preseason reps, expect the Colts to stick with what they know and give Mack the vast majority of snaps in the opener.

WR: Jamison Crowder, NYJ at BUF ($12): Crowder had 22 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown in two meetings with the Bills last season, and the Jets' slot receiver is well positioned for another strong performance in this clash of AFC East rivals. Starting outside receivers Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims are both new to the team and missed time in camp with injuries, while tight end Chris Herndon is coming off a lost season marred by injuries, so quarterback Sam Darnold hasn't had many opportunities to build up chemistry with his non-Crowder targets.

Other Against-the-Grainers

QB: Lamar Jackson (BAL, $38), Josh Allen (BUF, $31), Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA, $23)

RB: Saquon Barkley (NYG, $30), Tarik Cohen (CHI, $15), Kareem Hunt (CLE, $13)

WR: Adam Thielen (MIN, $19), A.J. Green (CIN, $18), Henry Ruggs (LV, $15)

TE: Tyler Higbee (LAR, $20), Mike Gesicki (MIA, $13)

DST: New York Jets (at BUF, $14), Los Angeles Chargers (at CIN, $12)

CASH GAMES (H2H, 50/50s and DOUBLE UPS)

QUARTERBACK

Jared Goff, LAR vs. DAL ($25): The Cowboys-Rams game has the highest over/under of Sunday's contests at 52, and there are questions about Los Angeles' three-headed rushing attack, so Goff should be responsible for most of the home side's offense in what promises to be a high-scoring affair. Goff benefits from Los Angeles' quarterback-friendly sunny weather, with a 32:11 TD:INT in 16 home games over the past two seasons compared to a 22:17 ratio over 16 road contests in the same span. With 19 quarterbacks valued above him across the entire Week 1 slate, Goff's primed to deliver excellent bang for the buck.

RUNNING BACK

Josh Jacobs, LV at CAR ($26): The Panthers are the only team that allowed over 2,000 rushing yards to running backs in 2019 (2,011), and Carolina gave up 27 rushing touchdowns to the position while no other team allowed more than 18. Meanwhile, Jacobs is coming off a standout rookie campaign in which he rushed for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. If the buzz coming out of Raiders camp is to be believed, Jacobs is also set to make a larger impact as a receiver out of the backfield in his second NFL season.

David Johnson, HOU at KC ($17): While the Chiefs have most of the high-profile players from the Thursday night game, one guy who could significantly outperform his valuation is the new Texans starting running back. Even if injuries have reduced his ability compared to his 2,118-scrimmage yard, 20-touchdown 2016 season in Arizona, Johnson should still play in all situations and joins a Texans offense that saw Carlos Hyde rush for 1,070 yards in 2019 after being picked up off the scrap heap. Johnson's likely better than Hyde, and coach Bill O'Brien will have an incentive to give him the ball since he was the main piece coming back in a highly criticized deal O'Brien orchestrated as GM which sent Hopkins to Arizona.

WIDE RECEIVER

Michael Thomas, NO vs. TB ($38): Thomas torched most of the defenses he faced last season, but that was especially true of the NFC South rival Buccaneers, against whom the league's most productive wide receiver compiled 19 catches for 296 yards and three touchdowns in two meetings. Playing at home in a dome, Thomas should be worth his hefty valuation against a defense that allowed the most yards per game to wide receivers last season (198.5) and has not proven capable of containing him.

D.J. Moore, CAR vs. LV ($19): Moore's a terrific deal at $19. The 2018 first-rounder out of Maryland emerged as a bona fide No. 1 receiver in his second season, compiling 87 catches for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns. Look for him to lead the Panthers' passing attack against a Raiders team that allowed the eighth-most passing yards (256.7) and ninth-most points (26.2) per game in 2019.

Stefon Diggs, BUF vs. NYJ ($21): Diggs is set to make his Bills debut against a Jets team that features one of the league's weakest cornerback groups and further depleted its secondary by trading Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams to Seattle in the offseason. John Brown ($18) torched this unit for 123 yards and a touchdown in his lone appearance against the Jets last season, and Diggs should be an even more productive No. 1 receiver for strong-armed quarterback Josh Allen, while Brown's still around to prevent the defense from committing too many resources to stopping Diggs.

TIGHT END

George Kittle, SF vs. ARI ($29): Kittle should be worth paying up for as this slate's priciest tight end. He and Kansas City's Travis Kelce separated themselves from the field at the position in 2019, and Kittle ultimately finished the season with 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games. Just as important from a daily fantasy standpoint is the matchup, and Kittle couldn't ask for a more favorable one. Arizona allowed the most yards (1,148) and touchdowns (16) to tight ends in 2019, while no other team surrendered more than 10 scores to the position.

DEFENSE

Philadelphia Eagles, PHI at WAS ($14): As is often the case with defenses, this pick is more about the offense on the other side than the Eagles themselves. Coming off a tumultuous offseason, Washington has a muddled backfield situation without a clear lead back and will start second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins under center. In nine appearances (seven starts) as a rookie, Haskins threw for just 1,365 yards while posting a 7:7 TD:INT and putting the ball on the ground six times.

Honorable Mentions

QB: Russell Wilson (SEA, $33), Drew Brees (NO, $33), Ben Roethlisberger (PIT, $30)

RB: Austin Ekeler (LAC, $27), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC, $24), Todd Gurley (ATL, $18)

WR: Julian Edelman (NE, $20), Robert Woods (WR, $16), Will Fuller (HOU, $13)

TE: Darren Waller (LV, $16), Jack Doyle (IND, $13)

DST: Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ, $17), Tennessee Titans (at DEN, $14)

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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