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DFS Football 101: Finding WR/TE Value on Fanduel Week 1

Michael Rathburn

Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.

Week 1 of the NFL Season brings a lot of excitement, especially in your 1-Week Fantasy Football leagues in which most of the salaries were generated at the end of July. This means there will be a lot of value Week 1, but also these players should present value for most of the first four weeks because their salaries have started so low.  Most of these players I would consider in tournament plays because you are looking for value plays to offset your higher tier players in the $8000-$10000 range. These players bring a higher risk/reward variance which is what you need to win large field tournaments. Each player is listed with their Fanduel salary and matchup to illustrate their value for the week.

Wide Receivers

Jeremy Maclin ($5000) vs. Jaguars – Last year, Desean Jackson averaged 11.7 fantasy points per game and Riley Cooper 8.3. Unless Maclin proves to not be 100 percent going into Week 1, I would bank on at least 12 fantasy points with a ceiling of 20. Take advantage of the minimum pricing due to his injury last year because he probably won't be this cheap all year.

Kenny Britt ($4500) vs. Vikings – Another potential top wide receiver who has battled injuries along with off the field issues. The Rams do not have a clear number one wide receiver, so the opportunity is there for someone to step up. Last year, the Vikings allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing receivers. Their defense should be improved with the additions of defensive tackle Linval Joseph, linebacker Anthony Barr, and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, but at minimum pricing, you can pair him with new starting quarterback Shaun Hill.

Markus Wheaton ($4500) vs. Browns – With both Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders leaving Pittsburgh, this opens the door for the 2013 3rd round draft pick to become a potential third wide out in this offense. Sanders and Cotchery averaged seven and eight fantasy points per game respectively last year, and with Joe Haden probably drawing Antonio Brown most of the game, Wheaton should be able to take advantage and potentially put up a big game.

Marqise Lee ($4800) @Eagles – Lee was one of the top receivers in college football for 2012, but had a down 2013 due to inconsistent quarterback play at USC. Lee draws comparisons to Keenan Allen in that his draft stock dropped, but the overall talent should rise above that. Even though the quarterback situation in Jacksonville is not the best, coupled with Cecil Shorts not being 100 percent healthy, and Justin Blackmon nowhere to be found, Lee should be the top targeted receiver.

Kelvin Benjamin ($4900) @Buccaneers – There were a lot of questions about Benjamin's route running and hands after being selected in the 1st round, but he has looked very good so far in the preseason and will be the top red zone threat for the Panthers. Benjamin will be a nice play versus weaker, smaller cornerbacks where Cam Newton can just throw jump balls into the end zone.

DeAndre Hopkins ($5900) vs. Redskins
Hopkins put up 52 receptions for 802 yards last year, which is a very respectable rookie season considering the quarterback situation in Houston was a disaster. That has not changed too much with Ryan Fitzpatrick coming in, but with Andre Johnson another year older, you have to think the breakout is coming.  If Andre Johnson were to miss time due to injury, Hopkins immediately becomes a must play in daily fantasy football.

Justin Hunter ($4800) @ Chiefs
It seems like everyone is trying to predict who the next Alshon Jeffery will be in 2014. I remember when they were trying to do that with Victor Cruz, it is just not that easy. But if you base it on physical tools and talent, Hunter is a guy who just could fit the mold. He only had 18 receptions as a rookie, but had a couple of monster games displaying his ceiling. With Kendall Wright being more of the possession receiver, Hunter could be the deep threat the Titans need with a healthy Jake Locker.

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce ($4500) vs. Titans
Travis Kelce was the Chiefs third round pick in 2013 out of Cincinnati and missed the year with knee injuries. With Dwayne Bowe suspended for the first game and no one else for Alex Smith to throw to, Kelce could see his stock rise very quickly. At 6 foot 5 and 255 pounds he is a big target in the red zone and his athleticism brings big plays as well. Kelce has had an outstanding preseason in which the whole fantasy football world saw his athleticism on display with a deep touchdown reception.

Ladarius Green ($4500) @Cardinals
Green is a talented pass-catcher who has arguably passed Antonio Gates on the depth chart. But the Chargers are still going to run a lot of two TE sets utilizing both with Green in the slot to exploit matchups. The Week 1 matchup versus a weaker Arizona defense (injuries, suspensions) provides a lot of value as the Cardinals allowed more fantasy points per game against opposing tight ends than any other team.

Zach Ertz ($4500) vs. Jaguars
We saw some glimpses of what Ertz can do last year, and it looks like he is ready to step up, especially with Desean Jackson moving on to Washington and Jeremy Maclin not fully recovered from his knee injury. While they did sign Darren Sproles and draft Jordan Matthews, both of them will need time to get used to the Chip Kelly offense.

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. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.