NFL DFS Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings – 2017 Week 1


Welcome to another edition of ResearchFantasy’s NFL Breakdown. These picks are what I consider to be the best play of the day, relative to their price. One of the most important things we must consider in daily fantasy is how many points a player gets per dollar. It helps us identify value plays to pair with studs that we know will produce in order to maximize our potential points in lineups. I also try to identify plays that can be used in either cash games or tournaments. Typically, when I build my cash games, I am looking for players that have the best floor combined with good upside. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know!

We are here in week one. It is so hard to believe that is where we are at, but we are. I am very excited. For the first week of the NFL season, we will be offering our NFL Premium Package for free. Not only do we tackle DFS, but we throw in a little something for season long players as well.

This article is not going to focus on cash game or tournament plays. Rather, we will discuss who our favorite players are on the slate, and then give a little bit of a strategy at the end.

Prices are FantasyDraft/FanDuel/DraftKings


Russell Wilson (12900/8000/6900) – Wilson makes for an interesting play this week due to his matchup with the Green Bay Packers. I fully expect the secondary to remain week, and really I think he is finally healthy and will put a less than stellar 2016 season behind him. He has excellent weapons and a slightly improved offensive line, which should give Wilson the time to work. He should be considered one of the top plays at the position.

Carson Palmer (11300/7300/6000) – I think Palmer should be in a better position this year, and I fully expect him to produce in this game. The Detroit secondary just really does not strike me as being that intimidating. I expect him to take some shots deep, while weaving passes in the middle to the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson. He has a pretty solid upside this weekend.

Brian Hoyer (10100/6400/5100) – Call me crazy, but I think Hoyer might be my favorite tournament quarterback this week. Not only is he cheap, but he is going to be with a coach who should be able to accentuate all of his strong points while minimizing the negative. He has a great possession receiver in Pierre Garcon who will work to put himself into good positions to make catches. The Panthers defense is tough, but Hoyer does not get enough credit, and the game flow should work in his favor.


Le’Veon Bell (18600/9300/9800) – For your cash games, it makes sense to use Bell. He has a great matchup against an improving, but still long way to go Browns defense. His ownership is going to be high. He said he was winded in Monday’s practice, but there is no reason to believe he will not be good to go by Sunday. Considering Big Ben’s difficulty in playing games on the road, I think they will lean on Bell heavily this week.

LeSean McCoy (15400/8500/8200) – McCoy is going to be one of my favorite tournament pivots off of the Bell/Johnson crowd this week. I think people will pay up for either of the guys I just mentioned or go cheap at the position. McCoy has the potential to be the highest scoring back this week, as the Bills basically have no other options. In addition, they are also highly favored in this game. The upside is there, and with what could be lower ownership, I know I want to have some shares of McCoy.

Todd Gurley (11300/7300/6000) – Gurley was the biggest disappointment in week 1 last year, despite being in a spot against a heavily exploitable Niners defense. This year, he goes up against a poor Colts front seven that will likely be trailing because of the fact that Andrew Luck will not be playing. He was basically terrible all of last year, but you have to put that out of your mind and just look at the opportunity. He will not come close to my cash games, but I think I can stomach some tournament exposure to him.

Jacquizz Rodgers (9800/6700/4900) – The Bucs want to run the football. Doug Martin will miss the first three weeks of the season due to his suspension. This leaves Rodgers in position to act as a workhorse for the team. In the time he handled lead duties last year, Rodgers was a stud. Even though we are not getting him at those bottom barrel prices, he is still someone that you should look at in your lineups. Again, it is likely that he will see high ownership, but he should be worth it.


Julio Jones (16100/9000/8500) – Who is going to stop Julio? Seriously, he is the best wide receiver in the NFL. I know a lot gets made of the touchdowns and all that, but he is going to be the center of quite a few of my lineups on opening weekend. He is expensive, but should get all the targets he can handle. I believe he will finish over 150 yards and with two scores this week, and I am doing what I can to get him into my lineups.

Larry Fitzgerald (11000/6400/5900) – Fitzgerald is a good bet to start the year off and perhaps taper off as the year grows older. He is almost certain to see the most targets on this team, and it does not hurt that he gets a matchup against Quandre Diggs, who was beyond the worst slot corner in the NFL. He makes a great play in all formats and I am expecting a big game from him this week.

Pierre Garcon (10500/6600/5300) – On full point PPR sites like DraftKings, I believe that Garcon is a must for your cash game lineups. I know the matchup is difficult, but the game script is in his favor, as well as the coaching tendencies of the play caller. He could easily see 8-10 targets in this one, and at his price, he is a no brainer for me.

Corey Coleman (8700/5700/4400) – Coleman is perhaps the riskiest pick on this entire list, but he also has a tremendous amount of upside. He has a connection with Deshone Kizer that was shown prominently in the third preseason game. It is likely that Coleman will be matched up with Joe Haden, who is awful in each and every way. The price is nice and I could see him having a monster day.

Kendall Wright (6300/5300/3200) – I think Chicago is a place we can go when it comes to finding value for our cash games and tournaments. Wright has shown fantasy success before, and after the injury to Cameron Meredith, it would not be shocking if he was a main focus of the passing game. His price makes him an awesome play because he just opens so much up in your lineups. Do not sleep on him.


Delanie Walker (8100/6100/4300) – I am probably going to see my interest in Walker decline as the year goes on, but I like him this week. It is pretty simple: Mariota will be breaking in a slew of new receivers outside of Rishard Matthews, and I think that means you are likely to see him rely on what he knows, which is Walker. He is likely to be a popular option in a very high scoring game.

Zach Ertz (7000/5900/3500) – I really like Ertz this week. He is priced reasonably across all sites, and he has tournament winning upside in a spot like this. Interestingly, the Redskins were pretty bad against slot receivers last year, and with Nelson Agholor manning that position, I think it is more likely that we will see more action to Ertz. Yes, I know that statement sounds confusing. I am more of less insinuating that Agholor will not see the targets but Ertz will, making him an enticing option.

Evan Engram (5600/4900/2900) – I am a believer that Engram will burst into the NFL in a big way this week. He is more talented than he was hyped to be coming out of the draft, and with Dallas using the safeties to slow down both Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. (assuming he plays), I expect Engram to have plenty of time to operate in the middle of the field. I think he will see lower ownership and as a result, he makes a great play in all formats.


Buffalo Bills (7700/4700/3900) – It should come as no shock that you see the Bills on this list. They are playing the Jets, who we all know are very, very bad. The issue here is the ownership. You just will not gain an advantage over your competition with them. There is still a very good chance that they do not finish as the highest scoring defense on the slate, and if they don’t, you really are not going to take down a tournament. They make a great cash game play, but find another direction to go in tournaments.

New York Giants (5000/4500/2600) – I might sound crazy for suggesting a defense against one of the toughest offenses in the NFC last year in the Dallas Cowboys. I really do not think I am, though. The Giants have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and will be playing against an offensive line that lost two pieces in the offseason. Their replacements are a drop down in talent. It takes time for an offensive line to come together. Ezekiel Elliott very well might not be playing. Dez seems to have issues against high talent at cornerback. All of these things considered, I am looking at the Giants as an off the wall tournament play that could pay huge dividends if this game goes how I think it might.


The first week of the NFL season is both the easiest and most difficult of the year. It is the easiest because you get a number who new players who really do not know what they are doing. It is difficult because most teams have turned over talent, which makes it tough to know exactly how things will play out.

The quarterback position is probably the most interesting to me this week. Typically, Big Ben and Rodgers would be guys we go after, but I do not like either this week. Ben is on the road and Rodgers has a tough Seahawks defense, albeit at home. I just see their upsides as muted. It will be interesting to see how new players use them.

I would stay away from the Jets receivers. I think this is being viewed as a great value scenario, but I think it would be a major mistake.

I do not see the merit of spending up at tight end this week. There will be other opportunities to do so.

Do not sleep on single entry tournaments. You will not spend $3 to win $200k, but you have a better percentage chance at winning money.

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