It’s finally Week 1 in the NFL, and we all know what that means: the return of Daily Fantasy. While most people have already been through two or three fantasy drafts, I have been creating hundreds of daily fantasy lineups. Week 1 is always tricky, but it is made easier if you know how to value players based off their salary and projections.
If you have ever taken a basic financial course, you know the drill: Value=Interest/required rate of return. We can easily substitute interest for fantasy points per game (FPPG) and rate of return for their salary. For simplicity sake, I always divide their cost by 1,000 to make smaller numbers. This helps eliminate players who are overpriced based on what they produce or are expected to produce. Using this simple calculation, I mainly choose players who are valued at 2.5 or above, meaning I can get 2.5 points per fantasy dollar spent. I would like to note that all of my salaries are from Draftkings, which is PPR, and my lineup is for Double Ups and 50/50s on Sunday games only. This is mainly because I’m too impatient to wait multiple days to see the results.
QB — Derek Carr ($6,700)
After signing a huge contract this offseason, I have Carr valued at 2.88 and he should come out ready to prove his worth. Vegas has this as the highest scoring game of the week at 50.5 points. I am not yet on the Beastmode hype train, so look for Carr to get in the end zone early and often.
RB — Todd Gurley ($6,000)
Gurley is one of my 2 players I have in my lineup valued under 2.5, but with the addition of LT Andrew Whitworth, I look for this Rams offensive line to be very much improved. This will help Gurley massively, and he will have a better season starting this week against a defensively weak Colts.
RB — Ezekiel Elliott ($8,100)
There has been a lot of drama surrounding the RB situation in Dallas, and it is now official that Elliott will be playing Week 1. Let’s not forget that the Cowboys still have one of—if not the best—offensive lines in the league, and Elliott is one of the best backs. Elliott will be suspended for the following six games, so look for the Cowboys to take full advantage of him while they can.
WR — Brandon Marshall ($5,100)
My other player I have valued under 2.5 is Brandon Marshall. I blame his value being low on lack of quality quarterback play with the Jets last season. Marshall only scored three touchdowns last year, but he scored 14 in 2015. I see Marshall getting a lot of looks in the red zone and averaging a touchdown per game with the Giants.
WR — Michael Crabtree ($6,000)
I am going to double down on the Raiders putting up a lot of points this week by picking Crabtree. Crabtree has had more targets than Amari Cooper in the past two years, and he has scored more touchdowns, too. I don’t see this being the year this trend changes, as it appears Carr is more comfortable throwing to Crabtree.
WR — Eric Decker ($6,000)
This is another WR plagued by poor QB play with the Jets last season. I love bigger receivers who get a lot of targets in the red zone, and Eric Decker fits that mold. If the Titans tight end Delanie Walker doesn’t hog all of the targets in the red zone, I look for Decker to catch a lot of touchdowns this season.
TE — Zach Ertz ($3,500)
This price is too good to pass up. Valued at 3.87, Ertz is a solid play and is bound to get some looks from second year QB Carson Wentz.
Flex — Jamison Crowder ($5,600)
There has been a whole lot of talk about new Redskins WR Terrelle Pryor, everyone seems to have forgotten about Crowder. I look for him to make a statement in the season opener and remind everyone of his value.
D/ST — Texans ($3,800)
The Texans’ defense has a great matchup this week going against one of the worst starting QB’s in the league. Blake Bortles is absolute trash and a turnover machine, so I see the Texans’ defense taking advantage of a terrible Jacksonville offense. Having J.J. Watt back will certainly help, too.