Week 1 NFL DFS Main Slate Daily Plug

Week 1 NFL DFS Main Slate Daily Plug

The following article appears on OccupyFantasy.com every Friday! Become a member for as little as $2/week with an annual subscription for NFL DFS analysis, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL and more.

The Daily Plug is our weekly NFL DFS picks write-up that highlights the top plays from our Occupy Model. The Plug then provides actionable information for each slate by making specific recommendations on how much of your bankroll to allocate and exactly what types of contests to play — all depending on the type of player you are.

Occupy Fantasy’s Chris Rooney has written up a guide to the slate using the Occupy Model, betting line movements, and news updates. Be sure to read all the way through to the end!

Follow Chris on Twitter @cdr02989 for updates through lock.

Consider the Plug an in-depth road map for the main slate. Let’s get to it!

Want analysis for every player in Week 1? Check out the Occupy Model. Want help building lineups? Our partner, DFS Magic, is offering an optimizer FREE for all Occupy members through the end of October.

BETTING ODDS

Biggest Favorites:
Eagles (-11)
Seahawks (-11)
Cowboys (-8.5)
Ravens (-7.5)
Chargers (-7)

Highest Game Totals:
KC@JAX, 50.5
SF@TB, 50.5
LAR@CAR, 49.5
PIT@NE, 49 (Yahoo! Main only)
ATL@MIN, 47

Highest Implied Team Totals:
Eagles, 27.75
Seahawks, 27.75
Patriots, 27.25 (Yahoo! Main only)
Cowboys, 26.75
Chiefs, 26.75

Lowest Team Totals:
Dolphins, 16.25
Redskins, 16.75
Bengals, 16.75
Giants, 18.25
Colts, 18.75

GAMES TO STACK

LAR@CAR, SF@TB, ATL@MIN

Each week, we’ll point out three games to stack based on the Occupy Model, betting line information such as game totals, implied team totals, line movements, and more.

The Rams and Panthers battle in North Carolina, and have the 2nd highest game total on the slate. Multiple players in this matchup have high ceilings, making this the perfect type of game to want exposure to in high-risk contests. Jared Goff ($6,200 DK, $7,800 FD) and Cam Newton ($6,500 DK, $7,900 FD) are both highly efficient passers with multiple touchdown and 300+ yard upside.

The 49ers and Buccaneers is an intriguing battle at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,800 DK, $7,200 FD) is making his first start since last September’s ACL tear, while Jameis Winston ($6,600 DK, $7,500 FD) looks to get the Bruce Arians era off to a fast start at home. These are two pass-heavy offenses that will face forgiving defenses.

Per Football Outsiders, the 49ers ranked 27th in pass defense DVOA, while the Bucs ranked 30th in 2018. The 49ers were 12th against the run, while the Bucs were 31st, 2nd worst in the league. If these offenses face little resistance in 2019’s opener, there’s a real chance this game could end up being the highest total when all is said and done. This game is at 4:25 EST, remember to flex the latest start time player you can.

The Falcons play their first of 13 total dome games against the Vikings on the road this week. The home team Vikings are favored, and all looks well across the board for stacks. Kirk Cousins ($5,500 DK, $7,400 FD), Dalvin Cook ($6,000 DK, $7,400 FD), Adam Thielen ($6,800 DK, $7,400 FD) and Stefon Diggs ($6,700 DK, $7,200 FD) all have favorable matchups – the Falcons were 29th in DVOA pass defense and 30th in rush defense in 2018.

The Falcons should be able to complete passes to their running backs and Austin Hooper ($3,200 DK, $5,500 FD) – the Vikings were 30th in DVOA defending tight ends, and just 27th in the NFL defending running backs on passes.

BEST PLAYS BY POSITION

Quarterback

Stud: Jameis Winston (vs. San Francisco) 

Believe it or not, Jameis was a top 10 fantasy quarterback in terms of fantasy points per game last season. The pass-happy Bucs face a forgiving 49ers pass defense in Week 1, setting Jameis up for further success here. Jameis has one of the best chances to get us that 300 passing yard bonus on Sunday, but a fair average estimate based on his career averages and expected pace? Around 290 yards passing and 2 touchdowns.

If the game shoots out (and it could based on having a 50 point game total), Winston’s ceiling is massive. He’s one of our highest-ranked QB on the slate. Winston has a low floor, so he’s a better fit for high-risk contests.

Value: Lamar Jackson (@ Miami) 

Some may be surprised to find this option isn’t Jacoby Brissett – at his salary, we get it. As a road underdog flying across the country to play the Chargers though, he’s simply in a tough spot. The Occupy Model agrees– he’s one of the lower ranked QBs on the slate for us. That said, it won’t take much for Brissett to pay off his low salary.

Lamar Jackson is the ideal low-risk quarterback. He’s got guaranteedrushing upside, as the Ravens offense has been catered to his dynamic skill set. Lamar should get 10-15 rushes, in addition to about 20-25 passes. Rushing yards are 250% more valuable than passing (0.1 points vs 0.04 points passing); it makes sense to want exposure to Lamar’s ability to generate both in low-risk builds.

Lamar should have one of the highest floors on the slate. The Dolphins allowed opponents to average 4.8 yards per carry in 2018, which was the 7th-worst average in the NFL. They didn’t do much in the offseason personnel wise to alter this, we’ll see if the new coaching staff makes a difference.

Running Back

Stud: Saquon Barkley (@ Dallas)

Saquon has the second highest salary on the slate for a reason – his floor projects to be one of the highest at the position. Barkley’s involvement as a staple in the passing game gives him 20+ touch floor with 25-30+ touch upside. Road RBs are typically riskier plays; Saquon is the exception to nearly all rules as a fantasy RB right now. His 37.3 weighted-opportunity score in our Model is highest on the slate.

Stud: Christian McCaffrey (vs. LA Rams)

CMC’s stated goal is he wants 1,000 each of rushing and receiving yards this year – he’ll have a chance to get that campaign off to a fast start in Week 1. CMC’s efficiency in Carolina’s passing game on top of his bellcow rush volume makes him a fine play every week. With Rams/Panthers owning one of the highest game totals on the slate, it makes sense to want a piece of that action. He’s the top-ranked RB in the Occupy Modelon the slate, with a 37.1 weighted-opportunity score.

Value: Nick Chubb (vs. Tennessee) 

The much hyped debut of the 2019 Cleveland Browns should feature a lot of Nick Chubb. The Browns are -5.5 favorites at home against the Titans. If Baker Mayfield establishes a lead early, they should lean on Chubb to close this one out. Chubb has a projected weighted-opportunity scorein the Occupy Model of 28.6. Worth noting – only Dontrell Hilliard and D’Ernest Johnson are behind Chubb in Cleveland to start the season, and neither has ever had a carry in a regular season game.

Value: Chris Carson (vs. Cincinnati)

The Seahawks are massive -10.5 favorites at home against the Bengals. We should be rostering home favorite RBs in DFS, especially in low-risk contests. Seattle is thin at the skill positions, so they’ll need to lean on Carson as a result.

The coaching staff has stated they want Carson to catch 50 balls this year, but the reality is they needCarson to be involved in the passing game with how thin they are. 50 catches on the season puts him between 3 and 4 a game, which gives him a nice floor in addition to his anticipated rushing workload. Carson’s weighted-opportunity score in our Model is 23.8.

Wide Receiver

Stud: Chris Godwin (vs. San Francisco) 

Julio and Odell are high-priced studs that no one would fault you for preferring this weekend. There’s so much value on this slate, that the salaries are somewhat fluid. Chris Godwin is arguably veryunderpriced – Bruce Arians is on record saying Godwin “will never come off the field”; the preseason snaps for the starters bore that out.

Godwin should move around, running slot routes and some outside patterns. If we assume Evans is locked in to the WR1 role, Godwin will have a chance to feast against a 49er defense that was 26th in DVOA against WR2s, and 31st against WR3s/slot receivers. We’re projecting 7.2 targets for Godwin in this game.

Stud: Adam Thielen (vs. Atlanta) 

We’re expecting the Vikings to run a lot of 12 personnel (2 WR, 1 RB, 2 TE) sets with the addition of Irv Smith Jr. out of Alabama at TE. That likely locks Thielen and Diggs into roughly 25% target shares. They’re both fine plays against this Falcons defense. Thielen projects to have a slightly higher floor, but you could easily swap down to Diggs (Diggs was questionable, is expected to be ACTIVE) to save the salary dollars and still have exposure to this great WR matchup in Week 1. We project 8.0 targets for Thielen in Week 1.

Value: Marvin Jones Jr (vs Arizona)

The Cardinals secondary goes to battle without the services of Patrick Peterson, who is serving a 6 game ban to start the season. Expect Kenny Golladay to draw more attention from their best defenders, leaving Marvin open to feast on the other side. The Cardinals were 23rd by DVOA against WR2s in 2018. Marvin Jones averaged 7-8 targets a game before getting injured last year. He’s at a much more attractive price than Golladay in a very positive matchup. We’re projecting 7.4 targets for Marvin in this game.

Value: Damion Willis (@Seattle) 

A.J. Green is out for at least the first 3-4 weeks of the season, opening up a role on the offense for an understudy to fill. The Bengals named Damion Willis as the guy for that this week. Playing alongside Tyler Boyd, expect Willis to run some outside routes and play a healthy amount of snaps at the minimum price. A high-risk play (CIN is +10.5 after all), Willis had an average depth of target (aDOT) of 12.2 yards on 14 targets this preseason.

Tight End

Stud: Travis Kelce (@ Jacksonville)

With all the value on this slate, you simply have to spend up somewhere. Kelce is a matchup proof top play at this position. Last year, Kelce posted a 5/100/0 line on 8 targets against the Jaguars in Week 5. With Jalen Ramsey expected to shadow Tyreek Hill, he should be able to get the football in space with a chance to do damage. We expect Kelce to have 8-9 targets, as our projection is 8.6 targets for this game.

Value: Austin Hooper (@ Minnesota)

Hooper actually has the most favorable matchup for the Falcons strictly focusing on how the Vikings defended weapons in 2018. They were 30th by DVOA against the tight end position. Hooper is a favorite target of Ryan’s in the red zone, having received 15 targets inside the 20 last season, 2nd only to Julio Jones. If we move that to inside the 10 yard line, he was the target leader with 12. Hooper’s a good bet to score a touchdown in one of the highest total games on the slate. We project just 4.3 targets for Hooper in this game, but you should expect them to be high-value ones.

DST

Defenses are not typically going to be written up in detail in our Daily Plug on main slates. One of the optimal ways to select defenses for low-risk contests? Focus on defenses facing opponents with low Vegas team totals. We also want to target turnover prone quarterbacks when it makes sense. You shouldn’t ever pass on a player at another spot just to jam in a defense. We’ll always provide a list of low and high risk defenses in the player pool below.

BANKROLL ALLOCATION

Our first regular season NFL DFS slate is a massive 12 gamer (13 game on Yahoo!). This slate is deceptively difficult – because there’s so much value to choose from, it’s easy to fit nearly any high-priced studs on the slate.

We believe we’ve got a plan to narrow the field that will work on this slate, more on that below in plays by position.

It’s a long season – we’ll be right back at this in Week 2 with plenty of contests to enter. Allocate 4-5% of your bankroll in addition to whatever you’ve won in tickets over the summer for this main slate.

Play 75-80% of that in low-risk contests – H2Hs, single entry double ups (multi-entry double ups are OK if you can max enter them). These early weeks of the season are marketed heavily by the contest operators to draw inexperienced players to the game. You’ll want to be in the low-risk lobby for them to pick to play.

Our studs and values by position are intended to be a roadmap to help you win low-risk contests. For high-risk, there are plenty of strong GPP plays in the player pool, as well as contests for you to target.

For more information on contest selection and bankroll allocation, check out our MUST-READ Ultimate Guide e-book.

LINEUP STRATEGY

We’ve given you a player pool to work from below. Get ready to read this sentence a lot – in low-risk contests, you should try and play 3 running backs from that group. Across the league, these playersare far more likely to score touchdowns– from a sheer opportunity standpoint, we can find RBs who should have 15-20 total opportunities to touch the ball with 25 touch upside. Those RBs are the ones who should form the core of your player pool – especially in low-risk contests.

Over the last couple of months, we’ve asked you to target satellites for NFL contests. We’re finally here! This is an exciting weekend for you (not just because football is back) because this represents a chance to really grow your bankroll exponentially.

Building 5-10-20 or more lineups for these large-field GPPs? Stick to a core of top plays (outlined below) that are projected to be highly owned, and build game stacks around that core. We strongly recommend stacking the highest total games on the slate above to accomplish this. Our partner, DFS Magic, has a lineup builder you can use to set your groupings using the Occupy Model rankings!

CONTEST RECOMMENDATIONS

Play our free Occupy Fantasy DraftKings main slate contest! Prizes for first place to be announced. Enter here.

Smaller Bankrolls

First and foremost, always play freerolls. DraftKings has one sponsored by Samuel Adamsfor the first seven weeks of the season.

Look for no-badge users for low-risk H2Hs in the lobby. On DraftKings, postyour own H2Hs and make sure you limit the opponents to 1 entry (per price point) against you (FanDuel doesn’t have this option). Look over your own contest history and try and identify users you’ve had success against, try and play them. With the rest of your low-risk allocation, play single-entry double ups.

This is likely most people reading this – single-entry GPPs are the best high-risk tournaments to play. You want to give yourself the best shot to win; being on a level playing field with every other user by max-entering a contest is the way to go. Single entry contests are the easiest places to do this.

The first place you can do that are with “Contests” – these low priority, blandly named GPPs come with smaller field sizes and (usually) less experienced players. On DraftKings, the $0.25, $1, and $3 Contests are good places to start looking at playing. On FanDuel, the single entry 3-100 Player leagues meet this criteria. Everyone is drawn to the sexy, high-dollar top prize contests – you can lay low in here and (hopefully) grow your bankroll.

The $3 entry fee, $100K Pylon or $12 entry fee, $200K Fair Catch on DraftKings are great places to spend your high-risk allocation. On FanDuel, consider the $5 single entry, $120K Sun NFL Spike. You should continue to play satellites for Millionaire Maker tickets you can use in later weeks.

Want to practice your multi-entry skills? Max enter a three entry max contest like the $5 entry fee, $150K Nickel on DraftKings.

The $50K Quarter Jukebox is a 20 entry-max tournament that costs just $5 to play at $0.25 per entry. Practice your mass-multi entry skills with our optimizer with a shot to win $2,000!

Want an even bigger challenge? FanDuel has a 150-entry max contest at just $0.05 per entry, the $20K Sun NFL Pooch Punt.

Larger Bankrolls

So you’re a baller? Congrats! Leagues/Contests remain great places to play – on DraftKings look for Contests in the $5 to $50 entry fee range, these are the best places to build your allocation around.

We introduced 20 entry-max contests to the Smaller Bankroll contest players. At your level, you should consider max entering the $3 entry fee, $2M Play-Action on DraftKings. There’s a $200,000 prize for 1st place.

Play some of the higher dollar value single entry GPPs at your bankroll size – The $27 entry fee $25K Blind Side, $50 entry fee $100K Red Zone and $100 entry fee $100K Spy contests are the best ones available.

For FanDuel users, you can consider the $2.5M WFFC Qualifier satellites.

On Yahoo, the NFL Million Dollar Baller Pays $100,000 to 1st, and is a 10 entry max, $25 entry fee contest. It’s also a zero rake tournament, so its attractive for both larger/largest bankroll tier players.

Largest Bankrolls

Have enough to (WITHIN our allocation guideline of 4-5% of your bankroll) max-enter a larger GPP? Congrats on being a big baller! Teach us your ways.

The $150 entry fee, $500K Power Sweep is a three entry-max GPP on DraftKings with a $100,000 prize to 1st. Consider this heavily.

On DraftKings, the largest expense (and largest upside) play is the $5M Fantasy Football Millionaire, which is a 150-max contest with a $1 million dollar top-prize. We like to say you shouldn’t play contests with your own dollars unless you can max enter them – the Milly Maker is no different.

The next best 150-max contest is the $9 entry fee, $500K Slant. It has one of the flattest payout structures on the slate, and a $50K top prize.

FanDuel users, you’ve got the $3.5M NFL Sunday Million which is a $9 entry fee 150-max contest with a $1 million dollar top-prize. Unless you won tickets in satellites, you should only be playing this if you can max enter it. 

BEST OF THE REST

If building player pools for mass-multi entry is your thing, consider using these names in addition totop plays above.

QUARTERBACKS:

LOW-RISK: Baker Mayfield, Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Cam Newton

HIGH-RISK: Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes II, Jared Goff, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins

RUNNING BACKS:

LOW-RISK: Dalvin Cook, Kerryon Johnson, Austin Ekeler

HIGH RISK: Leonard Fournette, Mark Ingram II, Tevin Coleman, Miles Sanders, Dion Lewis, Devin Singletary

WIDE RECEIVERS:

LOW-RISK: Julio Jones, Julian Edelman (Yahoo), Robert Woods, Dede Westbrook, Cole Beasley

HIGH RISK: Keenan Allen, Odell Beckham Jr, Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Stefon Diggs (if active), Christian Kirk, D.J. Moore, Mike Williams, Dante Pettis, John Brown

TIGHT ENDS:

LOW-RISK: George Kittle, Hunter Henry, Mark Andrews

HIGH RISK: Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith Jr., Mike Gesicki, Geoff Swaim

DST:

LOW-RISK: Ravens, Chargers, Seahawks, Cowboys, Eagles

HIGH-RISK: 49ers, Dolphins, Lions

Plays are listed in order of preference (OF Index).

Situation statistics sourced from Pro-Football-Reference.com’s Play Index Finder. DVOA data from FootballOutsiders.com. All salaries from contest providers. We like the player pool above, but we may roster other players if breaking news pushes us in that direction.