Welcome to Roster Resource’s weekly fantasy article based on the best and worst values we find on FanDuel and DraftKings. Remember, we are not making season-long recommendations. These suggestions on who to start and who to scrap help you win each Sunday and get paid on Monday in your DFS leagues or tournaments.
Aaron Rodgers: FanDuel $9,700 – DraftKings $8,600
This one is a no brainer if you can save money elsewhere on your squad, which we’ll help you do. The loss of Jordy Nelson actually helps in that it keeps the price on Rodgers manageable. Randall Cobb has already been practicing, although on a limited basis, and it would be hard to imagine him missing the season opener. Davante Adams James Jones and Ty Montgomery are more than capable of playing the role of second and third receivers. Rodgers completed 72% of his passes against the Bears last year for 617 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Tom Brady: FanDuel $8,400 – DraftKings $7,700
Rodgers is money in the bank for obvious reasons and, to be honest, Brady is right there with him. The Steelers are looking to be a high powered offense and the Pittsburgh defense isn’t what it used to be … at all. You’ve got to believe that Brady will come out fired up and looking to make a point. A quick glance at the Patriots roster reveals a nice surprise — Scott Chandler. Chandler gives Brady a second tight end to consider as a reliable passing option. We all remember the success Brady had with two tight ends in the past.
Andy Dalton: FanDuel $7,100 – DraftKings $6,100
If you’re playing in a larger format tournament and are looking for lightning in a bottle, this is your pick. In terms of price, Dalton is amongst guys who have very little potential to put up huge numbers. Look, I know it’s Andy Dalton but you’ve got to get past the name and red hair. Andy has a healthy AJ Green, which he never had last year, a real power back in Jeremy Hill, Gio to catch balls out of the backfield, a healthy Tyler Eifert and a healthy Marvin Jones. That combination of targets has never been on the field together since Hill has arrived. Oh, and they’re playing Oakland.
Stay away from:
Andrew Luck – Spend the $$$ on him for his home games, not on the road at a Rex Ryan defense. He’ll probably be a great play in 10 of the next 15 weeks but this week you’re paying top dollar for a tough matchup.
Cam Newton – Yes, he’s playing the Jaguars. However, he’s got Ted Ginn as his No. 1 target. Yes, he may run the ball but you’d be spending top 10 quarterback money on something he may do.
Joe Flacco – Brendan Perriman may come in and become an impact receiver, but that’s not happening week one. It’s also Flacco’s first game in a new offense. Let’s see him perform before we invest.
Eddie Lacy: FanDuel $8,500 – DraftKings $7,500
Green Bay has had Chicago’s number more than ever over the last few seasons and Sunday should be no different. We still love Rodgers as an easy 20-25 point quarterback but Lacy, always a touchdown threat, could be even more likely to get into the endzone with limited options at receiver for the Pack. Lacy also increased his catches last season from 35 in 2013 to 42. No, that’s not an insane amount of catches but with Nelson out and a banged up Cobb to start the year, it wouldn’t be surprising if Lacy caught four balls a game this year, possibly more early on.
LeSean McCoy: FanDuel $8,400 – DraftKings $7,200
This one pains me because I, like many others, cut ties with McCoy in all of my keeper and dynasty leagues. I still feel fine about that but if you’re in my boat, get ready to miss his production on week one. The only game plan that makes sense for Buffalo is to run the ball and keep it out of Luck’s hands. Tyrod Taylor is a huge threat to run himself and takes a linebacker out of the picture on the read option. Also, Rex Ryan could easily hand the ball to McCoy 350+ times this year. It’s understandable to shy away from McCoy this year, but don’t shy away this week.
Doug Martin: FanDuel $6,900 – DraftKings $4,500
Martin is one of the biggest oversights I’ve seen on DraftKings this week. They have Isiah Crowell, Tevin Coleman and CJ Spiller above him. Those three are all on the road against the Cardinals, Jets and Raiders this week. Doug looked great in preseason and yes, we know that doesn’t mean all that much. But when you combine the solid preseason with a clean bill of health, a contract year, a new quarterback, three 6’5 or taller receiving options and a stranglehold on the job and a home game against Tennessee, you’ve got a fantasy stud. He’s the steal of the week, especially in DraftKings.
Stay away from:
Jamaal Charles – Let thousands of others blow their salary cap on a running back opening up on the road against a solid defense. Charles will get you your 13-18 points this week but when you’re paying top dollar, you want more than that.
Justin Forsett – You may find Forsett on this list more than once this year. Despite having a solid fantasy year in 2014, he never had huge weeks. In daily tournaments you’re looking for the value plays with high upside. Not pricey guys who are considered safe.
Melvin Gordon – Everyone is sleeping on the Lions defensive front because of the headlines that surrounded Ndamukong Suh’s departure but remember, the Lions replaced Suh with Haloti Ngata. Gordon is more expensive than Martin in both formats. Save the $$$, take Martin and thank me Monday morning.
Dez Bryant: FanDuel $8,800 – DraftKings $8,700
It’s not often that we will recommend a player as costly as Dez, they usually speak for themselves. However, it looks like some folks may shy away from Dez because of the price and the Cowboys lack of a running back. Dez caught 16 balls for 236 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants last year and that was in a season when the Cowboys offense revolved around DeMarco Murray. With Murray gone, look for Romo to go to Dez early and often.
Jordan Matthews: FanDuel $6,800 – DraftKings $7,200
This particular option is solid in DraftKings and great in FanDuel. Either way, Matthews has the potential to pop. After a great rookie season in Chip Kelly’s offense, Matthews is now the No. 1 wide receiver on the roster. This matchup has a lot to offer; a dome, a bad defense and high-scoring potential for both teams. Nelson Agholor will be cutting across the middle on drag routes and catching screens but it will be Matthews that is relied on for the bulk of the targets.
Davante Adams: FanDuel $5,500 – DraftKings $4,400
This one is another no brainer. If you’re in a huge tournament looking to be the one player who hits the home run, Adams isn’t your guy. In this case, you can’t turn down a player with a superstar quarterback playing a team they dominate regularly. Adams, too, has moved up the depth chart, and there is no reason to believe that he won’t give you a positive return on your investment. It’s all about price and Adams is priced way too low.
Stay away from:
Odell Beckham Jr. – I know, I know. You’ve been waiting since last year to roll Beckham out. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to have your fun with OBJ later in the year. It sounds like Victor Cruz may not be around to start the year. If Cruz is out and teams remember–which they do–Beckham’s incredible rookie year, it will be a mission to lock the expensive young wideout down.
Keenan Allen – This one I just don’t get. What’s the upside? Allen had three games of 100 yards or more all of last season and only caught four touchdowns. Detroit has a formidable defense and there are simply much better values with much higher upside than Allen.
Sammy Watkins – It’s usually the stiffs in our season-long leagues that fall for the rookie–or in this case sophomore–hype but this time it’s the DFS community. Watkins has a well below average quarterback, a coach who loves to run and Vonte Adams on his back.
Owen Daniels: FanDuel $5,500 – DraftKings $3,400
Daniels is a great play in FanDuel and the play of the week in DraftKings. Daniels has been with Kubiak since birth. Well, not really. But the two have been together since Daniels was drafted in 2006 and the Broncos, along with Peyton Manning, made it clear the Kubiak was running the show offensively. With Julius Thomas out of the picture, there is room for Daniels to rise up to fantasy relevance and even dominance. It wouldn’t surprise us if Daniels finished as a top 10 tight end this year.
Jordan Cameron: FanDuel $5,500 – DraftKings $3,800
Cameron has had fantasy success as a tight end and did so with the likes of Jason Campbell, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer at quarterback. The move to Miami gives Cameron the best quarterback he’s ever been paired with in Ryan Tannehill. Similarly, Tannehill turned Charles Clay into a relevant fantasy player. The matchup against Washington couldn’t be much better. Washington’s only real defensive strength is the pass rush and if the pass rush is getting to Tannehill, he’ll be looking to dump the ball to his safety valve at tight end.
Larry Donnell: FanDuel $5,300 – DraftKings $3,200
Donnell is back with Eli and company for their second year in a new offense. The Giants really came into their own as an offense as the season went on. Odell Beckham will be demanding the bulk of the attention and Shane Vereen will also require defenses to keep an eye on him, which could leave Donnell as a great option. We like Donnell even more if Victor Cruz misses week one.
Stay away from:
Ladarius Green – If you’re high on Green this week, you’ve got a hunch. Sometimes a hunch can pay off but we’ve seen Green get the first string snaps and not give owners a return.
Dwayne Allen – Allen, like Green, has been hyped up for a few years and hasn’t paid off. Andrew Luck’s college teammate is playing alongside Allen and will take targets away from Allen whether it makes sense to pundits or not.
Rob Heinemann is an avid sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since 1998. Heinemann, a New Yorker, has covered high school, college and professional sports since 2010. Follow @NFLRosters and @RobMSGV on Twitter and feel free to shoot your fantasy-related questions our way. Be sure to check back each week for information on who to start and who to scrap in your DFS leagues.