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NFL Week 1 DFS Review for DraftKings and FanDuel

The NFL Week 1 DFS Review for DraftKings and FanDuel will make you wish you had a DeLorean so you could back in time, change their picks, and win a Milly. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. We take our bumps, evaluate our process, and move forward. That’s my plan here. Go over my picks, understand how I got there, and try to understand what went right or wrong. As we maneuver through this wild season we want to analyze our process so we can improve our game in the long run. Remember, DFS is a marathon, not a sprint.

Week 1 was wacky. Extremely wacky. I won’t get into a million examples of how haywire things went. But Christian McCaffrey was out targeted by twenty-two other guys. Which is extremely tilting when you’re paying 10k for an RB1 on Draftkings. Is this an outlier? A sign of things to come? Only time will tell. Rookie head coach Matt Rhule made some questionable decisions in his first game. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a trend. But I digress. Let’s dig into all the things I got wrong. *insert crying emoji*

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QUARTERBACK – Dwayne Haskins.

What I said….

We go big or go home here at #TeamRiseorFall and that’s how we’re kicking things off. With the field locked on to guys like Lamar Jackson, Matt Ryan, and Russell Wilson I think it’s a good idea for us to get contrarian. Week 1 is always a great time to do this. The Washington Football Team starts things off against a divisional opponent, and notorious pass funnel, Philadelphia Eagles. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles were ranked third in rush defense efficiency and were also graded with a top ten rush defense by Pro Football Focus. In short, be wary of deploying Antonio Gibson, this week.

But while the Eagles are stout against the run, they fall short in coverage where they were ranked 11th worst by PFF last season. When these two teams met in week 15 Dwayne Haskins lit up the Eagles with a stat line of 19/28 261yds and 2TDs. He also added 26yds on the ground. It’s important to note that during weeks 10-16 Haskins was graded as a top ten Quarterback by PFF. Finishing 2019 on a strong note and his rapport with former college teammate Terry McLaurin only continue to grow bode well for his 2020 prospects. With both teams being susceptible to their opponents passing attack I’m expecting this game to be a fast-paced shoot out. According to our ownership projections, Haskins is currently projected at under 3% ownership on DraftKings. Couple that with his $5000 price tag and he makes for a fantastic contrarian play. Do I even need to mention how you should be stacking him with McLaurin? No, I don’t think so. Wheels up on Haskins!

What actually happened….

Haskins produced ONLY 12.82 DKpts. That’s not horrible when you consider he was only 5k. We were looking for more though. Ultimately my thought process here was that this game would turn into a track meet. But the football gods had other ideas. News dropped the night before the game that Miles Sanders would not be making the trip. I doubled down and got bullish on Zach Ertz and Boston Scott. I thought, “This practically diminishes the Eagles run game. This now puts Haskins in even more of a spot to payoff or even smash his value if these teams live up to their pass funnel/track meet expectations”. Final Score: Washington 27 Eagles 17

Unfortunately, fourteen of those twenty-seven points were 1 and 3yrd runs by PEYTON FREAKING BARBER. If that’s not vomit-inducing I don’t know what is. The bottom line is this. With Sanders and Lane Johnson both ruled out the Eagles were forced to dink and dunk. The passing game never got going for the Eagles which in turn led to less opportunity for Haskins and his teammates. Even when Washington was trailing there never really seemed like a sense of urgency. My double down on the Eagles offense playing well was the wrong call and Haskins had a MEH game. But not every situation will mirror what happened in this game. The Haskins/McLaurin stack still has potential. We have to keep our eyes on their matchups. Btw, Haskins DK price went up a tad to $5100 and stayed at $6500 on FD for week 2.

RUNNING BACK – Marlon Mack

What I said….

You are probably going to call me crazy for going with a running back who is eventually going to be replaced by rookie Jonathon Taylor. But the keyword we need to remember there is “EVENTUALLY”. If there was any week to use Mack over Taylor this is it. In my first article for #TeamRiseorFall, I talked about the “Three C’s”, Continuity, Consistency, and Cohesion. Mack has all of this AND he has the trust of the coaching staff which is evident since he has been tabbed with the starting job going into week 1. While a 50-50 split is possible what could give Mack an edge is opportunity and game script. The Colts head to Jacksonville, as (-7.5pt) favorites, to face a team that’s already given up before the season has started. They’ve seen a ton of turnover on their once-dominant defense. They didn’t draft a quarterback to challenge GODner Minshew and they just traded away Leonard Fournette. The Jags also finished 2019 with a bottom-five defense against the run.

People might gravitate towards the much more talented back in Jonathan Taylor, thinking he’s going to do what CEH did on Thursday night. The big difference there being that veteran Darrel Williams provided no competition to CEH once he was slotted as the backup. Paving the way for the rookies’ record-breaking night. Whereas despite playing in a committee Mack still averaged almost 18 carries a game in 2019. The lack of a full offseason and no preseason games has given Mack a slight edge over Taylor. While his shortage of targets in the passing game doesn’t make him the most enticing play on DK (I still think you can use him there) he does make for an exciting play on Fanduel. Let others chase Taylor. Continuity is the name of the game for Mack and the Colts in week 1.

What actually happened….

He got injured and left the game. That’s it. The only positive thing to report is that before he got hurt Rivers targeted Mack in the passing game three times. Hines and Taylor took over after that and looked good in a committee. Keep your eye on this backfield now that Mack is out for the year with an Achilles tear. This a team that wants to run the ball and get their backs involved in the passing game. Including Mack’s share, the entire backfield combined for 17 targets. That’s a huge chunk of opportunity. Week 2 prices, Taylor: FD ($5800), DK ($5700) and Hines: FD ($5500), DK ($5300).

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What I said…

I was all set to write up, with glee, Kenny Golladay, and his juicy matchup with the Chicago Bears. But the fantasy gods had other ideas. That’s not to say DJ Moore is sloppy seconds. Far from it. So, let’s dig into Carolina’s alpha receiver and HIS juicy matchup against the coverage lacking LAS VEGAS (that still sounds weird) Raiders. Moore has not been talked about much, outside of traditional fantasy leagues, and we can use that to our advantage. According to our ownership projections, he’s currently sitting at sub 10%. We should be all over this as Moore will be facing a defense that was graded bottom four in the league last year and in terms of passing defense efficiency were ranked second to last. Not to mention they cut their most experienced DB’s in Prince Amukamara and Damarious Randall. You could argue their secondary will be just as bad, if not worse than they were last year. What I’m saying is week 1 won’t be the only time we’ll be targeting this defense.

But back to DJ. Don’t let people scare you away from Moore catching passes from Teddy Bridgewater or how CMC is going to get all the touches. It’s a fair point to wonder about the chemistry between those two. But in this case, I’m taking talent over a poor secondary with low ownership for an alpha receiver who’s going to command a ton.

What actually happened….

The final score was 34-30. But Bridgewater only threw one touchdown to wide receiver Robby Anderson. A nice punt play if you used him. Moore on the other hand led his team in targets with nine. But finished with a stat line of 4-54. Good for 9.4 DK pts. Not even close to what we were hoping for. It’s a bit concerning when his target share is close to Curtis Samuels (8) and Andersons (8). But I’m going to look at week 1 as an outlier and not freak out too much. Earlier I mentioned how CMC’s target usage was extremely low too. Then Matt Rhule got cute and gave the ball to Alex Armah on a game extending play which failed and led to the Panthers loss. In short, this was a weird game. The opportunity was there it just didn’t swing Moore’s way this week. My idea was that he would be a leverage play off CMC. It just didn’t work out. But I like to keep things in perspective. The Panthers are still getting used to Rhule’s playbook. Moore and Teddy’s chemistry will get there. Patience is a virtue. One that will no doubt pay off as the season mows along. Moore’s price tag this week, FD ($6800), DK ($6300).

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TIGHT END – TJ Hockenson

What I said….

As I said earlier, I was all set for a Golladay love fest. Stupid Injuries. But we (and by we, I mean me) can’t continue to dwell on what could have been and must take advantage of what we can do now. And that’s “PIVOT! PIVOT! PIVOOOOT!”. My ROSS impression sucks on paper (don’t judge me). I’m now officially in love with TJ Hockenson, for week 1. With Golladay hobbled, and his availability now in question, look for more targets to go towards Hock and Marvin Jones. His price tag ($4200) might scare some away. But when opportunity knocks you answer the door. And this is a prime opportunity. The chalk could potentially be on Chris Herndon and his cheap price tag ($3300) and for good reason. The only other guy he’ll be battling with for targets is Jameson Crowder. The Bills will probably force them to play from behind giving him ample opportunity. Sounds familiar, right?

Well, here’s the counterpoint to that. The Bills defense is stout against TEs. In 2019 they allowed the third least (aFPA) to TEs in PPR formats. The Bears were a middling team against tight ends. Hock faced these same Bears twice last season and notched moderate stat lines of (3-47) and (6-18). The important takeaway from those outings is that he recorded targets of (6) and (11). Also, keep in mind he got those targets from an extremely bad backup QB whose name I can’t even remember (I do remember but does it matter? No, no it does not). Stafford is back, the Lions running back by committee approach will keep the Bears honest and create opportunity. And unlike the Jets, Chicago and Detroit will keep this game competitive long enough for Hockenson to pay off his moderate price tag and outscore his fellow TEs who will be much higher owned (sans Kittle). Our current ownership projection has him at sub 10% ownership. Which is exactly what you want to see from a player with his talent, opportunity, and his teams implied total (23.5). LOCK.HIM.IN.

What actually happened….

5-56-1 on 5 targets (16.60 DK pts). Well, I got one right. HALLELUJAH! 1 out 4 is…..well, it sucks. But its nice to get one right. So, I’ll just go with that. The one red flag I’d point out here is that even with Golladay out he only got five targets. Hock made good on them. But its something to monitor. This isn’t a DJ Moore situation where he’s getting used to a new playbook and Quarterback. Hockensons week 2 price tag, FD ($5600), DK ($5200).

Hope you enjoyed this article as I plan to do this all season. Remember, “Trust the Process”. On to Week 2!

Written by,
Pacing Pete

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