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DraftKings Fantasy Football: Players to Avoid in Week 1

Joel Bartilotta

Joel has 13-plus years of Fantasy experience, and can recall riding a young Daunte Culpepper to a championship in the 2003-04 season. He covers EPL Soccer, MLB, NBA and Daily Fantasy sports for RotoWire. He's active with EPL, NFL, MLB and NBA fantasy games.

Picking the right players on DraftKings is key to success, but more importantly, you must know whom not to pick. While having a roster full of productivity seems profitable, if you get one dud, it could spoil your DraftKings lineup for the week. We'll take a look at players to avoid in Week 1 contests on DraftKings and give you reasons why to avoid these highly touted studs. Many of these players are top 10 in salary at their respective position. Not only is their value inflated; thereís also reason to believe theyíll struggle in the opening week. There are hundreds of strategies to build a lineup on DraftKings, but no matter what, a dud will bring your lineup down. Whether you use the stars-and-scrubs moniker or simply want to build an even-salaried lineup, having one of these guys in your lineup will ultimately be a negative return on investment. So letís get started with a player whose ADP has been consistently falling in drafts, Robert Griffin III.

Robert Griffin III ($8,200) vs. Houston

RG3 was a hero to fantasy owners two years ago, but he hasnít looked the same since his knee injury. It was shocking to see that Griffin was the seventh-ranked quarterback on DraftKings, priced at $8,200 against a very solid Houston defense. Griffinís ability to run and use the zone-read to his advantage to open up big plays is what made him so good two years ago. The zone-read has been turned into an Alfred Morris play and Griffin rarely takes the option of running to simply avoid injury. In his first season, Griffin eclipsed 800 yards rushing with seven touchdowns, making him a fantasy stud. Last year, Griffin ran for just under 500 yards and recorded no rushing touchdowns. The touchdown differential is not a fluke; he has been told to slide more and is less likely to take the risks than he did his rookie year. Much like Michael Vick, Griffinís running ability has been slowed down by injuries and he canít fling his body around as he did when he was a rookie. This matchup against Houston particularly scares me, with JJ Watt and Jadaveon Clowney surely breathing down his neck all game. With his struggles figuring out the Redskinsí new offense and the lack of extra yardage on the ground, this game could be a long one for the Baylor alum. Houston will want to control time of possession by running the ball and keeping the ball out of Griffins hands as much as possible in their home opener. Not only did Griffin struggle in his final three games last year, he has looked horrible and incredibly timid this preseason. While all the new weapons are enticing, it takes time to gel with new teammates and to figure out a new playbook. With all these factors in play, itís hard to imagine Griffin being the seventh-best quarterback on the board for Week 1.

DeMarco Murray ($6,800) vs. San Francisco

Murray may be primed to have a great season, but this opening week against San Francisco is the wrong week to use this second-round stud on DraftKings. San Francisco has been one of the best defenses over the past three seasons and their rush defense is always top notch. The past two years, the 49ers have been in the top five in rushing yards allowed per game and have notoriously beat up running backs in seemingly every game. When Murray faced two elite run defenses early last year (Denver and Kansas City), he totaled a measly 68 yards rushing. Murray absolutely abused poor run defenses totaling 280 yards in a two game stretch against Green Bay and Chicago last year, so there will be plenty of opportunities to deploy him on DraftKings. Murray is ranked as the seventh best running back option for Week 1 on DraftKings, which is far too lofty given his tough matchup. The Cowboys are underdogs in this game and thereís a strong likelihood that Romo will be asked to carry the load, thus eliminating Murray from touches he normally receives. If Dallas plays smart, they'd hand the ball to Murray 25 times to keep the game in check, but the Cowboys never seem to do the smart thing. The only saving grace for Murray is if he contributes through the passing game and grabs five to six receptions. With that said, thereís no upside to be had with Murray. While a solid 80-yard, one-touchdown performance is possible, thatís probably close to his ceiling in Week 1. There are far better options in what could be a complete dud from the Dallas stud.

Zac Stacy ($6,400) vs. Minnesota

Stacy was a huge pickup off waiver wires for fantasy owners last season, but this plodder lacks the skills to be a top-notch back, as he averaged fewer than four yards per carry. He also averaged fewer than 3.2 yards per carry on five separate occasions, but he still received at least 14 carries in all those games. Stacy also rarely contributed in the passing game, recording only 26 catches for 141 yards on the season. By making him their 11th-ranked running back for Week 1, DraftKings has priced Stacy as a second-tier option. This season, backup Benny Cunningham is sure to cut into those 250 carries from last year. In a PPR format like DraftKings', Stacyís light work in the passing game makes him even less valuable. With Sam Bradford re-injuring his knee, teams will know to stack the box against Stacy and force the Rams to throw. While Minnesota was average last year against the rush (16th), the Vikings have usually had a solid rushing defense, and their new head coach considers stuffing the run his specialty. While Stacy is a decent bet for a touchdown, his yards per carry will be low in this game, and it'd be hard to see him eclipsing 100 yards rushing.

Antonio Brown ($7,500) vs. Cleveland

Brown is one of my favorite players in the league and it was sad for me to put him on this list, but a matchup against Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden is not something to mess with. This is more of a play on Haden rather than a play against Antonio Brown. No one is arguing that Brown is a stud here, especially in the PPR format, but Haden is one of the best shutdown corners in the league. Haden didn't allow a single player to get over 100 yards receiving on him last season and allowed less than 50 yards in 11 of his 15 games played. He shadows the No. 1 wide receiver almost every snap and only allowed two plays over 30 yards last year. Haden also rarely allows yards after the catch, allowing only 3.2 yards after the catch, which ranked second in the league. YAC is what makes Brown such a dynamic weapon, if he canít do that, he is strictly a reception specialist. The upside for Brown here is too low with a guy like Haden shadowing him all day, and while six to seven catches is possible, a touchdown seems farfetched and 100 yards nearly impossible. This is a tough matchup for Cleveland and it will likely be a game theyíll be trailing. If Browns do fall behind, Pittsburgh will sit on the lead and use their running backs to milk the clock. As the third-highest valued receiver on DraftKings, Brown is off limits for Week 1 against arguably the best corner in the league. Brown is an absolute beast and big things will come from him this year, but avoid him in the first week.

Keenan Allen ($6,800) Vs Arizona

This 22-year-old receiver has more things to worry about than his receding hairline with the prospects of Patrick Peterson or Antonio Cromartie covering him in Week 1. Allen had a few games last year where he was an absolute beast, but he also had some duds in during his breakout campaign. In 11 of his 15 games last year, Allen recorded six catches or less and had seven games with three catches or less. In addition, Allen only had five games in which he had over 89 yards receiving. Allenís fantasy points usually came in bunches, with a couple multi-touchdown games and four games with at least eight receptions for over 100 yards. This streakiness is something that is hard to deal with in fantasy and against a tough opponent like Arizona, itís hard to trust him. Itís hard to trust a guy who was productive in less than half his games in his ďbreakoutĒ season. Phillip Rivers has made Allen his main man, but Rivers has never shied away from using all his weapons. With all his weapons healthy, expect Malcolm Floyd, Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal, Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green to also be in the mix for targets. There are just too many hands to feed for Allen to have a big game. Ití shocking to see Allen as the sixth-ranked wide receiver on DraftKings and it would be silly to use him at that price. There are much better options at far cheaper values and it wouldnít be surprising to see Allen put up a complete dud in the opener.

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. Joel Bartilotta plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Joelbartilotta DraftKings: Joelbartilotta.