Welcome to Week 1 of the Daily Fantasy season, which is also known as Week 1 of the NFL season. This is arguably the best week to play NFL DFS on sites such as FanDuel -- not just because we’ve all been waiting eight months for its return, but because many large-field tournaments fail to fill (creating nice overlay opportunities), and because player pricing is based purely on conjecture, leading to nice values and under-owned diamonds. This article looks at some of the projected lesser-owned plays on FanDuel at quarterback who could provide huge boosts to your tournament lineups, as well as some trap plays to avoid.
Jameis Winston, $7,500 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons)
With an over-under of 47.5, this game is projected as a top-five scoring game this weekend, and top-four if you are only playing the Sunday slate. One thing we know for sure: Neither of these teams scares you with their secondary. It is quite likely that Tampa is going to be playing catch-up here and that could take Doug Martin out of the mix early. This sets up as Winston’s game to win (or lose) and he should be active in this one. He is also going to be extremely under-owned. A Winston-Mike Evans stack looks really tasty this week.
Tyrod Taylor $7,200 (Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens)
Everyone is talking about Dak Prescott this week. No one is talking about Taylor. Yes, there is a $2,200 difference in salary here. There’s also about 15 percent difference in projected ownership. There is value to be had all over the board this weekend, especially at running back. Taylor proved his fantasy value over and over again last season and there is nothing formidable about the Ravens' defense that should scare you away. Remember, LeSean McCoy is a serious threat to take a screen pass and turn it into a touchdown, which is just another outlet for Taylor to rack up big points.
Aaron Rodgers $9,000 (Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars)
A great deal of attention and ownership is gravitating toward the Lions-Colts and Raiders-Saints games, and for good reason: They are projected as the top highest-scoring games this weekend. As such, the projected ownership levels for Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees and Derek Carr rank two-to-five behind the wildly overrated Prescott.
Are those four guys overrated? Maybe Luck at $8,700. You know who is underrated at that price point? That would be Mr. Rodgers, who is playing in the third-highest projected total of the Sunday games and expected to produce among the top two or three quarterbacks this weekend. He also has an projected ownership percentage well below the top choices for quarterbacks. He only costs $300 more than Luck and Brees. Take advantage of the low ownership and gobble up the production.
Andrew Luck $8,700 (Indianapolis Colts vs. Detroit Lions)
Luck is going to be a popular play in a game that is projecting as a shootout, but at that salary, are we truly certain that Luck is going to perform at the level we think he’s capable of, or will he continue to be the fantasy disappointment that he was even before his injury last season? The Lions’ defense is shaky in the secondary, which makes Luck attractive, but the front seven can still create problems and the Colts’ offensive line is a mess going into this game. Yes, it is entirely possible Luck gets just enough time to shred the Lions on the back end, but it’s also likely Luck get harassed and knocked down all day and comes up small. For $8,700, that doesn’t seem worth the risk.
Dak Prescott $5,000 (Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants)
Prescott is the darling of DFS this week, with an ownership projected to be in the 20 percent range, likely more than twice as high as the next highest quarterback. All this for a guy making his first career start against a defense that is far from terrible. Yes, he can save you roughly $2,500 in salary over the choices above, but do you really want to take a boom/bust chance on a guy who is going to be owned so much more than any other QB? Taking down a large-field GPP (guaranteed prize pool) means avoiding high ownership like this. Also, consider the Cowboys will likely run it a ton to keep Prescott from having to do too much, limiting his upside. If Prescott disappoints and you faded him, you are suddenly lapping potentially 25 percent of the field. Look elsewhere.
Carson Wentz, $5,000 (Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns)
Wentz is a little more intriguing at the same price point as Prescott, and unlike Dak, Wentz really does go up against a bad defense, on paper. But let’s remember three things: Wentz is a rookie who has only played in a portion of one preseason game, and that was a month ago now. The Eagles have Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles to lean on as runners against a defense you can run on. The Eagles' wide receiving corps is not exactly the Greatest Show on Turf. Yes, Wentz saves you tons of salary, but his upside is so limited here. I think he needs to prove he can play at this level before you entrust your lineup to him.