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DFS Football 101: Week 1 QB Value Plays

Michael Rathburn

Known as ďRathĒ 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 one-week fantasy football leagues, where most of the player salaries were generated at the end of July. Saving at the quarterback position can be the best strategy because you only start one and itís the highest scoring position. This allows you to spend up on high variance positions like wide receiver to maximize your lineupís potential.

Each player below is listed with their FanDuel salary and matchup.

Ryan Tannehill ($8,000)
Tannehill has been the darling of a lot of season-long fantasy pundits to breakthrough this year. He gets a juicy matchup in Week 1 on the road against the Redskins, who allowed the most points to opposing quarterbacks and third most to opposing wide receivers last year. While the Redskins did go out and get Chris Culliver, they also still have Bashuad Breeland and David Amerson who graded out as two of the worst cornerbacks last season. The Dolphins drafted DeVante Parker and added Kenny Stills, Jordan Cameron and Greg Jennings to the passing game along with having Jarvis Landry in the slot. I can see Landry having a monster game of 10 receptions as they just take advantage of Washington's secondary.

While Tannehill will be a popular pick because of the matchup, there will also be a lot of players who fade him based on the Vegas data. The total is only 43 and Miami is currently a three-point favorite on the road. People will automatically look at the projected total of 23-20 and move off the game. I think it could easily get out of hand early and become the blowout of the week with something like 31-10 or 34-17.

Carson Palmer ($7,700)
Palmer averaged 17.75 fantasy points per game last year in only five starts. Throw out the Rams game (when he got hurt) and his game logs were: 21.06, 17.70, 17.12, 21.16 and 20.76, which is a nice low standard deviation with a solid floor on a per game basis. Palmer had at least 249 passing yards and two touchdowns in those games. He gets the Saints at home in Week 1, which is a nice matchup based on their defense last year (fourth worst vs. opposing QB).

With Larry Fitzgerald still in tow and John Brown emerging with WR2 potential, even if Michael Floyd is not ready to go, Palmer still should put up a solid game. The one concern I do have is that the Cardinals offensive line has suffered some injuries which could force them to run more. The game itself is sitting at a 47 over/under and Arizona is a slight favorite at home, which projects to 25-22. The key here is if Palmer can get to three passing touchdowns or 300 yards passing to really pay off, but his floor is one of the best values on the board.

Sam Bradford ($7,500)
Chip Kelly got his man, for this year anyway, via trade with the Rams. Bradford looks to be healthy coming into the season, and we can only hope that remains. Make no mistake, Bradford will be heavily owned because of the high total (53) and low point spread (-1 or pick). Also, Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford graded out as two of the worst corners in the league last year, so the Eagles receivers will be busy. This game has all the potential of being a major shootout in the mid 30s.

Marcus Mariota ($7,100) or Jameis Winston ($6900)

Ok, Iím taking the easy way out on this one, but here is why I listed both but only one write up. I think ONE of them has a big game Week 1, I just don't know which one.

Both are starting their first NFL games and each brings a potential of a big performance depending on how the game goes. Neither team has a very potent running game, so we could see a lot of balls in the air. Neither teams' secondary has any shutdown corners so I can see some deep shots being taken, especially on the Tampa Bay side with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. On the Titansí side, Doriel Green-Beckham could match the Bucsí pair with some big plays, but I think Mariota could end up with a huge game on the ground. The upside of 250 yards passing, 1-2 TDs, 75 yards rushing and 1-2 rushing TDs could put him in that 25-fantasy-point range. On the other side, Winston could have a stat line of at least 300 yards passing and 3-4 TDs as a ceiling, putting him in the 25-30-fantasy-point range.

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.