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FanDuel Fantasy Football: Week 1 Picks

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

Welcome back to another season of FanDuel football! Back for another year, this column is pretty self-explanatory: each week there will be a lineup to be used for cash games (50/50s, double-ups) and some options for tournaments. Both will start with a simple explanation about each. As always, this is meant as a tool to help you consider some players you may not have thought about and usually mixing and matching some players you agree with and some youíve already got penciled in are a good idea.

50/50 or Heads Up

In 50/50s, double-ups or heads-up contests, always aim for a lineup that has a higher floor rather than a higher ceiling. In 50/50 contests, the top half of all entries finish in the money, meaning you don't have to pick a high-ceiling lineup that shoots for the moon. Rather, build these lineups with the players who are safe and that can be counted on for production.

QB: Tyrod Taylor ($5,000)
It can be risky taking a quarterback starting their first game but thereís a lot working in Taylorís favor. He looked fantastic in the preseason and if the Bills are being honest, it was an easy call to make him the starter. Taylor gets a good home matchup against a Colts defense that was middle of the pack in most defensive statistics last season. There are two main reasons for using Taylor this week: first, his deflated price is almost half of the elite quarterbacks, which means he doesnít have to do as much to make his value. Second is his ability to gain fantasy points with his legs. Heís likely going to attempt at least eight rushes during the game and has the ability to gain 50-60 yards and a touchdown. Thatís in addition to the potential he has in the passing game. However, I would not pair Taylor up with Sammie Watkins without seeing what chemistry they have together. Should Taylor flop in his first start, itís tough to win a cash game with him and Watkins in your lineup, but it is possible to win with only Taylor if he only manages 10 fantasy points or fewer.

RB: C.J. Anderson ($8,400)
Saving a lot of money at quarterback is going to open up a lot of your budget to use on running backs and wide receivers. Enter Anderson, who emerged as the top running back in Peyton Manningís offense a season ago. Heís a complete player who can catch passes, get tough yards at the goal line and keeps Manning upright in pass-protecting situations. Heís virtually a lock for at least 100 yards from scrimmage and averaged over a touchdown per game in his last 10 contests.

RB: Eddie Lacy ($8,500)
Over the last few seasons the Packers have owned the Bears whenever theyíve faced off in divisional matchups. Therefore, itís not a bad idea to have a piece or two of Green Bayís offense in your lineup. Consider Lacy, who established himself as one of the leagueís top backs last season and is now considered a top-5 fantasy player at the position. Itís encouraging that he became a bigger part of the passing game last season and it is possible the Packers focus more on the run after the loss of Jordy Nelson.

WR: Julio Jones ($9,000)
Itís interesting that to start the season the NFL paired up the top worst defenses in terms of passing yards allowed last year. While a teamís defense can change season to season, itís rare they go from last to elite in only a yearís time. Jones had over 1,500 receiving yards and six touchdowns, with the latter stat being incredibly fluky considering the yardage. He has the talent and quarterback to be the top overall fantasy receiver and should see a ton of targets with Roddy White past the prime of his career. This game boasts one of the higher over/unders on the slate and Jones should have no problem being a top fantasy receiver this week.

WR: Dez Bryant ($8,700)
Bryant was the opposite of Jones among the elite wide receivers as far as touchdowns, finishing the season with a whopping 16. Heís been the model of consistency the last three seasons with at least 88 catches, 1,233 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. The Giants' defense has once again been bit by the injury bug as cornerbacks were dropping like flies during the preseason. The fact is there isnít anyone on the Giantsí roster that can cover Bryant and itís possible the Cowboys try to feed him the ball more without a clear-cut stud at running back.

WR: Davante Adams ($5,500)
Adams will likely be one of the highest owned players this week and thereís good reason why. His price didnít spike due to the Jordy Nelson injury and heís the clear-cut second receiving option for the Packers. He should see plenty of targets against the Bears and will be working downfield with Randall Cobb running a lot of intermediate routes. Again, itís not a bad idea to have another piece of the Packersí offense and it wonít take a lot of production for him to make his value.

TE: Greg Olsen ($5,900)
The Carolina receiving corps is incredibly thin and the evidence is easy to find when Philly Brown and Tedd Ginn are listed as the starting wide receivers. That leaves Olsen as the likely primary target in the passing game and there arenít a lot of other elite tight end options for Sundayís contests after Rob Gronkowski opens the season Thursday night. Carolina still has the ability to establish the running game between Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart, allowing Olsen to get open down the field.

K: Brandon McManus ($4,500)
The Broncos are likely to be one of the highest scoring teams in the league once again this year. McManus should have plenty of opportunities in the kicking game and has the benefit of Denverís thin air this week. The added bonus of points for distance helps his value.

DEF/ST: Buffalo Bills ($4,500)
The Bills donít have the greatest matchup against the Colts but do have the benefit of starting the season at home in Ralph Wilson Stadium. They led the NFL in sacks a season ago thanks to one of the best defensive lines in the league, and they were sixth in interceptions. There was little turnover in their defense and the addition of Rex Ryan as the head coach wonít hurt. If youíre worried about them going against an elite quarterback, look at the game Aaron Rodgers had in Buffalo last season.


For tournament lineups, you have to look at upside and use some "outside-the-box" picks if you want to cash. Don't use this lineup completely as there is a lower floor here with a lot of players. A mix of studs with a few of the cheaper options could net the top overall prize.

WR: Brandon Coleman ($4,500)
Heís the minimum price and should be in line for a much bigger role this season. Kenny Stills is now in Miami while Nick Toon and Joseph Morgan were released, paving the way for Coleman to occupy the third wide receiver role. Itís a great strategy in tournaments to target the second and third receiving options on a high-powered offense, and Coleman and the Saints fit that bill. He had a monster preseason and thereís a good chance Marques Colston loses snaps and targets to the younger Coleman this season.

QB: Teddy Bridgewater ($7,200)
Bridgewater is the 20th highest priced quarterback this week and is going to be largely passed for higher-priced options. Charles Johnson or Mike Wallace are both great options to pair with Bridgewater who should have his way with a 49ers defense that wonít be the elite unit theyíve been the past few seasons. Bridgewater has other playmakers in the offense to use past Johnson and Wallace, as Kyle Rudolph and Jarius Wright are to other scoring threats. This might be the cheapest price Bridgewater will be the rest of the season.

RB: Doug Martin ($6,900)
Do you believe in comebacks? Martinís weekly fantasy value has gone downward since rushing for 251 yards and four touchdowns his rookie season against the Raiders. However, heís the main guy once again in the Tampa backfield and is playing for a contract. The Titans defense shouldnít be a unit to worry about as they were in the middle to the bottom of most categories in the league last season. Finally, the Buccaneers may lean heavily on Martin to lessen the pressure on Jameis Winston in his first start, especially if Mike Evans doesnít play.

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. Kevin Payne plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: Fanduel: kevinccp, Draft Kings: kevinccp, Fantasy Aces: kevinccp, Yahoo: kevinccp.