With about 45 days left until the start of the NFL season, DFS sites will soon be rolling out their first sets of prices of the year.
We’ll find more value in Week 1 than we’ll see all season given the uncertainty surrounding teams, positional groups, etc. Here are some thoughts on how to handle these first sets of player prices, along with some advice on how to attack the NFL’s opening week.
Why Playing Week 1 is So Important
Over the next month and a half, you’re going to see a huge push by Daily Fantasy sites looking to get you playing in their contests. That means there will be several deals to take advantage of, from tournaments with ridiculous prizes and experiences, to big deposit and reload bonuses.
You have six or seven weeks to prepare for the first week of the season, which gives you plenty of time to try out new DFS sites, evaluate their bonus offers and find the best values. Obviously, the final week of preseason will be your time to go back to all these sites to adjust your lineups, but you’ll be ready by then.
I rarely recommend playing more than 25 to 30 percent of your DFS bankroll on any given week, but Week 1 might be the only exception.
Start Loading Lineups Early
As soon as DFS sites open their lobbies, start filling out lineups in different games. Specifically, you want to grab seats in big GPP tournaments with entry limits. Obviously, you don’t want to be left out in the cold here—you want to have at least a seat in single-entry tournaments, and maybe you can even think about loading up an entry per week in a big multi-entry tournament.
This gives you a chance to attack the tournament in several different ways, by loading up lineups at different times. Try different lineups, with WR-heavy flares on one, RB-heavy guys on another and a mix of studs in yet another. Most important, remember to mix up your player stacks from entry to entry, covering as many “value” bases as you can.
Submit lineups in a bunch of the following games as well (remember, you can edit lineups as the season grows closer):
- 50/50s and Double-Ups: If you think you’ll join $50 worth of 50/50s, then break them up and join five $2 games or 10 $1 games each week. This is the most important set of games to load up on in Week 1 because you’ll be going up against more newbies this week than any other time in the season.
- Head-to-Head Games: Before blindly loading up on these games, search your possible H2H opponent’s name on RotoGrinder to see if they’re sharks or not. Figure a lot of new users will be setting up their own H2H games, so you should have plenty of options here.
- Leagues: Consider these games like mini-tournaments, as about 20 to 30 percent of the entrants get paid. Again, there will be no other week this season with more inexperienced players playing. Make sure you play multiple low-priced leagues, as opposed to one expensive one, so you can increase your chances of playing against more weak players.
Preseason NFL Player Pricing
Considering these first sets of player prices are released a month before the games begin, there will be plenty of NFL starters sitting in the cheap seats, and there will be some awfully expensive bench players, as well.
Quarterbacks: If you don’t already know, quarterbacks are like starting pitchers in Daily Fantasy play. You don’t want to roll the dice too much at this position, as it’s your best shot at gaining big points on a regular basis. Obviously, there are going to be some quarterbacks dealing with preseason position battles, but for the most part, you aren’t going to want any shares of most of the winners of these battles. That said, you would do well to start a sleeper QB in your GPP lineups to differentiate your lineups from the field.
Notable QB Position Battles:
- Eagles: This is obviously going to get DFS owners the most excited, as both Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez should be relatively low-priced across the board. The winner of this battle gets the reins of a high-powered, fast-moving offense against a Falcons defense that ranked as the worst against the pass in 2014 (allowing 279.9 passing yards per game).
- Titans: Most are looking at Jameis Winston as a Week 1 sleeper against a bad Titans pass defense because of all of the Bucs’ passing weapons. But if Marcus Mariota wins the Week 1 gig for the Titans, he’ll face a pass defense that’s just as bad. Plus, Mariota could easily scoot for 100 yards as plays break down for the rookie and he has to improvise.
- Browns: Whoever wins this gig will face the Jets, and I’m not excited about that possibility—especially without Josh Gordon.
Notable RB Position Battles:
- Cowboys: Who takes over for the NFL rushing leader from a year ago, behind the best rushing offensive line in the game, against a Giants team that allowed the third-most rushing yards last year (135.1)?
- Buccaneers: Either Doug Martin or Charles Sims will get to run behind a porous line, but at least it’s against a Titans rush defense that allowed an average of one rushing TD per game last season.
Notable WR Position Battles:
- Eagles: Jeremy Maclin is in Kansas City now, and his old spot should be filled by Nelson Agholor. But if the rookie from USC stumbles in training camp, Riley Cooper and Miles Austin suddenly have much more value. This first week is particularly interesting because they’re going up against the Falcons, who allowed an NFL-high 3,073 receiving yards to wide receivers last season.
- Ravens: Another rookie hoping to replace a jettisoned veteran is Breshad Perriman, who the Ravens plan on taking over for Torrey Smith, who is now in San Francisco. He’ll battle with third-year veteran Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken. Unfortunately, the winner of this battle is still going to be facing a Broncos defense that allowed the second-fewest receiving yards to wide receivers in 2014.
Notable TE Position Battles:
- Saints: New Orleans traded Jimmy Graham to Seattle, so Josh Hill and Ben Watson should see a lot more action—especially in Week 1 against a Cardinals team that allowed the most receiving yardage to Fantasy tight ends last season.
- Broncos: Julius Thomas took his talents to North Beach (Jacksonville), so Virgil Green and Owen Daniels have big shoes to fill in Peyton Manning’s offense.