Let me start by saying, I prefer to avoid using players on Thursdays nights as a general rule. The shorter time to practice, the shorter physical recovery time (particularly as the season goes on), and the rush on coaches to game plan all factor in to less consistent performance and harder predictions when it comes to DFS. That being said, I did promise to post my thoughts on Thursday night games each week, and its time to discuss week 1.
Standard disclaimer applies. This advice is not meant to influence you to take a particular player or game. People do win money playing DFS but people also lose money playing DFS, the responsibility for each player is their own and I do not make any guarantees nor do I take any responsibility for your lineup choices. If you chose to play, do so responsibly.
Week 1 in the NFL gives us a Chiefs at Patriots matchup. I’m a Chiefs fan. I hate this matchup. I hated when we had to go to Foxboro in 2016 and I was not looking forward to going there last January, but the Steelers took care of that. So instead we get the game to open the season. There are a couple guys I would consider using in this game.
- Alex Smith (5400 on DraftKings): Alex Smith is an extremely pedestrian quarterback, he is the very definition of game manager for me, but that just means he is usually cheap and under-owned in DFS. The last time these teams played in January 2016, the Chiefs had to rely on Charcandrick West to run the ball and the Pats worked hard to contain Kelce leading to Jason Avant leading in receiving. Despite that, Smith went 29/50 and 246 yards and 1 TD. That’s good for 14 points. I think he can improve on those numbers and possibly get up to 16-17 points and if he does he would be at the 3x value that we look for. There are better QBs out there, but he is a value if you want to spend up at other slots. I’m looking outside the Thursday slate for my QB this week, but if you really want to use one on opening night….
- Kareem Hunt (5800 on DraftKings): There is way too much talk about Hunt. His ownership will be extremely high as he is a value at 5800 and could produce 20+ points if the stars align correctly. So he could produce 4x value at the position but does it matter if he produces that value for 65% of the field. I would consider him only in cash games, I would not touch him in a tournament unless I had no other options. Expect a lot of people playing the Thursday night slate to be using him.
- Chris Hogan (4800 on DraftKings): Hogan stands to be the big beneficiary of the injury to Julian Edelman. He only needs 15 points to hit the value line and he can really get that with an average day. If he catches 5 balls for 40 yards and one touchdown, he hits value. I expect him to be highly owned particularly with Brandin Cooks at 7800 on the same site. I would consider using Hogan in cash games only. If I had to guess, I’d look for about a 50% ownership rate which is not good for a tournament lineup.
- I do not like either TE in this game. Gronk is going to cost you 6800, which means you need a guaranteed 20-21 points from him to make value. He scored 27 the last time these two teams met, but needed two TD catches to get it, I’m not sure he will make it to 20 points this game and there are cheaper options on the Sunday slate. Kelce (5600 on DraftKings) is also a risk. The Patriots shut down his production in 2016. He still caught 6 balls on 9 targets but only got 23 yards. That means he makes the catch and goes down immediately. I’m already eyeballing Zach Ertz (3500) on the Sunday slate as a better option, so I’d stay clear of both of these guys.
So there is the Thursday night preview for week 1. I again must stress that I do not like using players on Thursday nights. I also gotta remind you that we are not responsible for your lineup decisions (we really want to enjoy this process and not get sued), we are just here to share our ideas and give player suggestions. Along those lines, let me talk a little bit about week 1 DFS in general. Salaries and predictions are based on existing information and expected results, its really very volatile early in the year. If you are a new player, start slow, play only one or two smaller pools (preferably in the beginner pools) or play free pools until you get more comfortable and there is more info available. Last year, I lost money for four straight weeks to start the year, so I urge caution when wading into the water in a new season. While I like my personal system (we call it The Metric), I don’t use it for the first two or three weeks as I have found its reliability increases as time passes.
Whatever you decide to do, its football season, rejoice fans! Enjoy the games, enjoy your fantasy and/or DFS plays and have a great week. Never forget that you can check us out here at www.fignutsdfs.com or on Twitter @FignutsDFS or on Facebook at The Fantasy Fignuts. Podcasts release Friday and are always available through Stitcher, iTunes, Podknife and others, please consider leaving us a review at the site you use. Take Care everyone and happy football to you all!