Point/Counterpoint: Week 1 Daily Fantasy Strategy for DraftKings
By Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup:
Every week of the season for daily fantasy brings new debates about core plays, fades, game stacks, and more. For fantasy purposes, it is best to read about both sides of the argument and decide which side, data, and analysis YOU agree with.
For the NFL season, our series of Point/Counterpoint will be a back-and-forth discussion between siblings Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup about the slate strategy, stacks, core plays, and fades for that week.
So let’s get to Week 1 strategy talk!
Week 1 is finally here! I know we wrote about DraftKings pricing in August, but now that it’s here, do you have lineup constructions that you like? Are there any positions you think you’ll be allocating more salary to than others?
Yes, it’s finally here, NFL Week 1 Main Slate! There are a couple of builds that I like so far, with my favorites centering around the Chargers/Raiders game.
Honestly, I probably like more balanced builds this week right now, since I feel there is softer pricing. But in a vacuum, I’d probably spend more on RBs in week 1. I think there are some better WR and TE values, so you could spend up on a pair of top-backs and still have a decent roster.
How about you what do you think the early build strategy is? How much exposure do you want to the Chiefs/Cards game?
I wanted to have a fun sibling debate but I agree! I like spending up for RB this week because there are a lot of values I like at the WR and TE positions. That’s not to say I don’t love the top receiver options like Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, and J’Marr Chase, because I do, and I will have some exposure there as well.
Mainly because I love those three games. You mentioned the Chiefs/Cardinals game. Yes, I will have exposure to that game. But so will everyone else. So I actually think I will more often stack the Chargers/Raiders, Vikings/Packers, and Bengals/Steelers.
What do you think of these three game stacks?
The Chargers/Raiders is my favorite game on the slate so I want to be way overweight on that game. You have two offenses: quality QB play and elite weapons, with a really high total. That game will be owned, but it will pale in comparison to the ownership of that Cards/Chiefs game. Vikings/Packers could go either way. Last year the Packers came out flat and looked awful, and that was with Adams and MVS. Green Bay could have a new WR group, particularly if Lazard misses the game. So right now this is a game I’m worried about going under. As much as I am excited for the Vikings this year, that GB defense scares me a bit.
As for the Bengals vs the Steelers, that is an interesting one. Pittsburgh has a ton of weapons, just a matter of if that OL holds up and how Trubisky looks. From the Bengals side, I have little doubt that Joe Burrow will put on a show. Just hoping for some pushback, so the Bengals need to throw more. But this is a game I want pieces from for sure.
So who do you think will end up in your core?
Great points! But I think those four games will be the ones I have the most exposure to in terms of stacks. My core quarterbacks will come from those game stacks.
As for other cores, I’m still finalizing my player pool, but these are the players I feel the strongest about:
RB – Christian McCaffery, Jonathan Taylor, James Conner, and Eli Mitchell
WR – Justin Jefferson, Bengals, WRs, Chargers WR, Marquise Brown, JuJu Smith Schuster, Michael Pittman, and DJ Moore
TE – Travis Kelce, Kyle Pitts, T.J. Hockenson, Irv Smith Jr.
How about you, is your core similar? Which players are in your core that is not in my core?
Also, which players or stacks that are projected to be high-owned are you fading?
At quarterback, I also have some interest in Davis Mills as a cheap QB play. He’s got some reasonable stacking partners, and I think the Texans will be down in this game. If you want to save some money at the QB spot and get a low-owned stack, Mills, and Cooks with Jonathan Taylor coming back is intriguing.
Running backs you hit on my core group, but a few others stand out. Aaron Jones is the one Packer player that I love this week. Yes, he’s sharing the running back role with A.J. Dillon, but he gets more of the high-value touches. In general, the Packers are expected to pass to their backs more this year, and that should be magnified early in the season. With both Robert Tonyan and Allen Lazard potentially missing the game, Jones should see plenty of red zone usage.
The other back that interests me is Antonio Gibson. With Brian Robinson out recovering from the shooting, Gibson is back to the lead role in this backfield. J.D. McKissic will take some of the passing work, but Gibson should see the majority of the carries and the red zone work. This match-up versus the Jaguars profiles well, and the Commanders could be very run-heavy. The one risk here is of course if Gibson were to fumble, he might be taken out of the game. Still, the opportunity and price are very intriguing.
Wide receiver I would probably only add one name, Elijah Moore. The Jets figure to be behind and throwing for much of this game, and Moore looks to still be the number one option on this team. He also had some of his best games last year when Zach Wilson was injured, so Joe Flacco being the QB could be a plus. I also think that he will line up in the slot in 3 WR sets, which should keep him away from the Ravens’ top corners. At just $5,100 he becomes a top play for me.
In terms of ownership there are some top guys I’ll be well underweight or completely off of:
QB: Jalen Hurts and Trey Lance- Both guys will have solid rushing floors, but unless they run for multiple TDs they likely won’t be in the mix for a top QB score. Maybe the Lions can push Hurts and the Eagles, but likely Philly is up and just running the clock out with their backs. In Chicago, I think there is even less of a chance that Lance will get pushed. It’s why I love Elijah Mitchell so much.
RB: Saquon Barkley and D’Andre Swift- I know both of these backs have some passing game upside, but neither of these match-ups is appealing. Barkley faces a tough Titans defense that did not allow a lot on the ground last year. His getting things like the 100 bonus feels unlikely, and so he will need multiple TDs, plus a bunch of catches to get there. It’s possible, but I just don’t want to go down that route. Swift faces a tough Eagles front and while I think the Lions offense will be better this year, week 1 is not a great week to bet on them. Points could be hard to come by, and I could see Jamaal Williams getting more work than people expect.
WR: Kadarius Toney, Wan’Dale Robinson, and A.J. Brown- Similar to the reasons for Barkley the Giants receivers don’t appeal to me at high ownership even at a cheap price. This offense could sputter out of the gate. Toney barely practiced this offseason, we don’t even know how he’ll be used this year. In what could be a very low-scoring environment, it’s tough to get excited about him. As for Brown, it goes back to what I mentioned about Jalen Hurts. There might be 220 yards of passing in this game. Brown will need to get at least 50% of that, plus a TD to pay off his price and high ownership. That is a lot to ask.
How about you, what players are you avoiding?
Wow, are agreeing way more than I thought. I’m not sure if this is good or bad for DFS chances this Sunday.
I agree with you about adding RBs Aaron Jones and Antonio Gibson to core plays. For a cheap QB stack, mine will be Baker Mayfield, DJ Moore, and maybe CMC too. I’ve had some of my most successful wins in DFS when I work off a narrative or told a story as they like to say for Showdown contests. And I’m very much behind a revenge narrative for a now healthy Mayfield, and the benefit that could have for the Panthers offense.
As for fades, I agree with most. Our thoughts on QB Jalen Hurts are well documented here on Fanspeak at this point from both me and Steve. The only fade I don’t agree with is RB D’Andre Swift. Even with RB Jamaal Williams getting some work, I can see the Lions using Swift in a receiving role since the Eagles have such a strong defensive front. I’m actually pretty bullish on both the Lions’ offense and defense to start the year. The new OC Ben Johnson really started to get that offense clicking toward the end of last season.
What do you think of these strategies for Week 1 DFS on DraftKings?