Week 1 NFL – The Cruncher List for Week 1: Game-By-Game Analysis

The Cruncher List | Week 1 FanDuel & DraftKings NFL DFS Lineup Advice, Tips & Picks.

Here to help you build the best possible FanDuel & DraftKings NFL Week 1 Line-up.

Over the course of the off-season, I’ll admit that I didn’t know if we would get here.  But with kickoff for the first game taking place on Thursday night between the Chiefs and Texans to start the 2020 season, isn’t it great to have NFL action back?  With no pre-season games I’m expecting things to be a little more unpredictable than most seasons as we kick-off the 2020 campaign, which should make for a wild ride for NFL DFS contests on FanDuel and DraftKings in Week 1.  As will be the case for each and every week over the course of the season, I’ll be breaking down each match-up, focusing on where I see opportunities to include options from each team on each and every week’s Main Slate of action.  So let’s get right to it and have a look at the Week 1 match-ups!  Just as a quick note, for fantasy points allowed by position that I have included for each team’s defence to help analyze the match-up, I have used 2019 full PPR scoring.

Seattle (-2) @ Atlanta, Projected Total: 49 points

Falcons vs. QB’s: 23rd Seattle vs. QB’s: 19th
Falcons vs. RB’s: 11th Seattle vs. RB’s: 20th
Falcons vs. WR’s: 18th Seattle vs. WR’s: 16th
Falcons vs. TE’s: 16th Seattle vs. TE’s: 31st

Seattle – Projected total: 25.5 points

QB Russell Wilson DK: $7,000 FD: $8,400
RB Chris Carson DK: $6,200 FD: $7,200
WR Tyler Lockett DK: $6,500 FD: $6,800
WR D.K. Metcalf DK: $5,800 FD: $6,400
TE Greg Olsen DK: $4,000 FD: $4,900

Most of Seattle’s offensive action flows through three players in addition to obviously QB Russell Wilson – them being WR’s Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf along with RB Chris Carson – who was one of the most heavily utilized backs in football a season ago.  The issue when it comes to using the Seahawks passing game is how much will the coaching staff restrict them?  We’ve seen this time and time again, season after season: Seattle – led by Wilson, show remarkable efficiency with their passing game but heavily rely on the running game, ultimately to their detriment…however they win enough games and have a Superbowl title so unless 2020 is going to be the year that things change – I think that we will see more of the same from Seattle.

The match-up here is an above average one for Wilson, Carson, Lockett and Metcalf – and all of them are worth including in your player pool this week.  Carson should be in line for 20+ touches in this one and is one of the higher floor options at RB this week.  There have been rumblings that he may lose out on some work in the passing game with DJ Dallas being rumoured to be involved in the passing game a little bit – but until I see it happen, I’m not too worried about it.  Afterall, this is a Pete Carroll ran squad, and I’m expecting them to continue to utilize the if it aint broke, don’t fix it slogan yet again this season.  As for the passing game, much as is the case with Carson, I like this match-up for Wilson, Lockett and Metcalf – but based on expensive prices for both Carson and Lockett, neither of them make the cut for Week 1’s Cruncher List, while Metcalf is my favourite option out of that trio dollar for dollar, and I think he is an elite high ceiling option this week in what should be one of the highest scoring games on the slate.  I like the idea of running some stacks with Wilson and either one of or two of Metcalf, Lockett and Carson (with my preference in that order).

The Cruncher List

  • WR D.K. Metcalf

Good Plays

  • QB Russell Wilson
  • RB Chris Carson
  • WR Tyler Lockett

Atlanta – Projected total: 23.5 points

QB Matt Ryan DK: $6,700 FD: $7,800
RB Todd Gurley DK: $6,100 FD: $7,100
WR Julio Jones DK: $7,700 FD: $8,200
WR Calvin Ridley DK: $6,100 FD: $6,600
TE Hayden Hurst DK: $4,300 FD: $5,200

Long gone are the days of the Legion of Boom – in fact, 2019 saw Seattle’s defence be one that many targeted in DFS circles.  With the addition of S Jamal Adams, Seattle is hoping that he will be able to make a major impact defending opposing air attacks, especially the TE position, where we should see major improvements on their 31st ranking a season ago – making this match-up look more attractive when looking at 2019 data sets than it actually is.  I won’t argue with anyone that wants to fire up Hayden Hurst at TE this week, but I think based on game theory (and the numerous other intriguing TE’s across the league), I don’t mind the idea of fading or going under-weight Hurst..despite the fact that I think he is in a great position to have an outstanding season…I just don’t know if this is the week to fire him up with significant exposure.

As for Ryan-Jones-Ridley, I love the idea of a 3-man stack here as a compliment to some of the value plays on the board.  Ryan is a little pricey for me to toss him on the Cruncher List – but he is a rock solid option that should be a high floor play this week (with the potential of a big game).  Between the key WR’s for Atlanta, much was the case with Metcalf, I prefer the price point here for Ridley, who is available at a significant discount versus the price tag on Julio.  For what it’s worth, I think they’ll both have strong games, but at the high price point, I prefer other options on the board than Julio.

Todd Gurley…may be the biggest question mark in fantasy circles this season.  He should be given every opportunity to be a bellcow back for the Falcons this season on a one year deal, and this match-up is a good one for Gurley as the Seahawks were below average last year against the RB position, something that I think is likely to happen again in 2020.  I think that Gurley will approach 16-18 touches in this one – and his price point on DK is awfully intriguing to me, especially if he is involved in the passing game like we’ve seen historically from Falcons RB’s.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Todd Gurley (DK)
  • WR Calvin Ridley

Good Plays

  • QB Matt Ryan
  • RB Todd Gurley (FD)
  • WR Julio Jones
  • TE Hayden Hurst

Cleveland @ Baltimore (-7), Projected total: 48 points

Ravens vs. QB: 2nd Browns vs. QB: 21st
Ravens vs. RB: 4th Browns vs. RB: 24th
Ravens vs. WR: 14th Browns vs. WR: 9th
Ravens vs. TE: 1st Browns vs. TE: 23rd

Cleveland – Projected Total: 20.5 points

QB Baker Mayfield DK: $5,700 FD: $7,000
RB Nick Chubb DK: $6,500 FD: $7,500
RB Kareem Hunt DK: $5,100 FD: $5,800
WR Odell Beckham Jr. DK: $5,900 FD: $6,900
WR Jarvis Landry DK: $5,900 FD: $6,300
TE Austin Hooper DK: $5,100 FD: $5,700

The Browns offence will likely be much improved this season…but I don’t think this going to be the game to put your money behind that claim if you believe it to be true.  If you don’t agree with that sentiment, this will be an easy fade for you, and if you do agree with it – it should also be an easy fade for you.  Unless you think the Browns will be able to run to control the clock against a stout Ravnes front, I don’t see the appeal here to having many of the above options in your player pool.  If the game flow gets negative, there could be some DK appeal for Kareem Hunt at his price.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • None

Baltimore – Projected Total: 27.5 points

QB Lamar Jackson DK: $8,100 FD: $9,400
RB Mark Ingram DK: $5,500 FD: $7,000
RB JK Dobbins DK: $5,000 FD: $5,200
WR Marquise Brown DK: $5,100 FD: $5,900
TE Mark Andrews DK: $6,000 FD: $7,400

We’re expecting Lamar to be the highest owned QB – and I won’t try and twist it – it’s for good reason.  Jackson broke many slates a year ago, and all signs seem to point to that happening again this year.  He’s a great play this week – even at this elevated price point.

RB Mark Ingram also makes the Cruncher List this week.  I’m not sure what the timeshare will end up looking like this season between him and 2nd round pick Dobbins, but I fully expect Ingram to get his fair share of carries as long as he continues to be effective, and he showed last year that he can rack up points in bulk.  He’s not used frequently in the passing game, but has multiple TD upside due to the efficiency that we see Baltimore’s offence have.  I’ll take a wait and see approach on the usage of Dobbins myself, though the price point on FD is mighty tempting.

WR Marquise Brown is too cheap.  The floor isn’t high here, but the upside at sub $6k prices on each site is outstanding.  TE Mark Andrews faces a Browns defence that struggled at defending the position a year ago, and that will be a challenge for them yet again in 2020.  He’s not my favourite option on the board at the position this week, and I think he’s too expensive for my liking on FanDuel – but I think he’s an elite option on DK, especially if you want to double up on TE using one in your flex with Andrews complimenting another option.  I think he’ll find the endzone in this one.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Lamar Jackson
  • RB Mark Ingram
  • WR Marquise Brown
  • TE Mark Andrews (DK)

Good Plays

  • TE Mark Andrews (FD)
  • Ravens DST

New York Jets @ Buffalo (-6), Projected Total: 39.5

Bills vs. QB: 3rd Jets vs. QB: 16th
Bills vs. RB: 12th Jets vs. RB: 8th
Bills vs. WR: 7th Jets vs. WR: 22nd
Bills vs. TE: 2nd Jets vs. TE: 3rd

New York, Projected Total: 16.75 points

RB Le’Veon Bell DK: $5,600 FD: $6,500
WR Brashad Perriman DK: $4,900 FD: $5,800
WR Jamieson Crowder DK: $5,200 FD: $6,000

There isn’t much appeal here to me – which likely isn’t much of a surprise given the low projected total here.  The Bills have an elite defence and should be able to handle the lacklustre Jets offence with relative ease.  You could make a case to toss Perriman or Crowder into your player pool as they should see the vast majority of the Jets targets in this one from Darnold, but I think that both of them have limited ceilings against an elite secondary.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • None

Buffalo, Projected Total: 22.75 points

QB Josh Allen DK: $6,500 FD: $7,900
RB Devin Singletary DK: $5,400 FD: $6,300
RB Zack Moss DK: $4,400 FD: $4,700
WR Stefon Diggs DK: $6,400 FD: $6,600
WR John Brown DK: $5,600 FD: $6,100

I’m not expecting fantasy fireworks in this one, which shouldn’t be shocking given the fact that the projected total is under 40 points.  There will be plenty of weeks where I fire up significant exposure on Allen – but this week I wouldn’t go nuts here as I’m expecting a game flow that should temper returns from the fantasy options here, however I still do think he’s a good play this week.  The Jets have a solid enough defence to keep teams somewhat in check, though we will see what the loss of Jamal Adams will look like shortly after 1pm on Sunday.

As for the passing options, the price point on Diggs is outstanding on FD this week.  There’s some risk here as we haven’t seen how he will fit into the Bills offence, but as an elite route runner, he should make things much easier for Allen through the air due to the separation he is consistently able to get.  It’s enough for me to toss him onto the Cruncher List on FD.

As for the running game, I wouldn’t go nuts with exposure on Zack Moss – but priced in the Antonio Gibson range, I think he’ll be owned at a fraction of Gibson – and while there is a much wider range of potential outcomes for the Bills 3rd round pick – reports out of camp hve been glowing and I think he’s an option that has all kinds of intrigue this weekend at sub $5k on each site.  With Singletary, I’m going to take a wait and see approach on him – though if you like the spot for him, the game flow should be positive for the Bills RB’s, and he will have very low ownership levels due to all the hype building around Moss.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Zack Moss
  • WR Stefon Diggs (FD)
  • Bills DST

Good Plays

  • QB Josh Allen

Las Vegas (-3) @ Carolina, Projected Total: 47.5

Carolina vs. QB: 13th Las Vegas vs. QB: 28th
Carolina vs. RB: 31st Las Vegas vs. RB: 17th
Carolina vs. WR: 24th Las Vegas vs. WR: 19th
Carolina vs. TE: 4th Las Vegas vs. TE: 25th

Las Vegas Raiders, Projected Total: 25.25 points

QB Derek Carr DK: $5,900 FD: $7,100
RB Josh Jacobs DK: $6,800 FD: $8,200
WR Bryan Edwards DK: $4,200 FD: $4,500
WR Henry Ruggs III DK: $5,100 FD: $5,100
WR Hunter Renfrow DK: $4,500 FD: $5,200
TE Darren Waller DK: $5,900 FD: $6,800

Great prices – check.  High projected total – check.  Facing arguably the worst projected defence for 2020 – check.  The idea of going stacking with Oakland has all kinds of intrigue in this one.  RB Josh Jacobs is my favourite back not named Christian McCaffrey for the entire slate – and he should have a massive day going up against the Keuchly-less front seven of Carolina in this one in what will likely be a high scoring game.  I expect Jacobs to be involved in the passing game, which should give him a nice boost over the great 2019 rookie season – and he should be able to have a massive day.

I touched on the departure of Keuchly, and given how great of a job he did at covering the TE, you can toss out the 4th ranking that the Panthers had a year ago, putting Waller in an intriguing spot that some of the algos may miss.  He’s not cheap, but I expect him to be utilized heavily early in 2020 as the young WR’s get acclimated to the NFL.

As for those young WR’s, I think the best idea to using them this week would be to rotate various combinations in any line-ups that you are using Carr in for those that are playing MME formats.  Bryan Edwards has reportedly had as good of a camp as anyone has, and at his price point, I have no problem tossing him onto The Cruncher List – noting that there is significant risk if you go there…but I think the upside potential is there.  Don’t sleep on slot WR Hunter Renfrow – who, like Waller, could see significant targets through the air while Edwards and Ruggs get their feet wet.

Finally – Derek Carr is…on The Cruncher List this week.  It will probably be the only week that he is – but I have a feeling the stack opposing offences against Carolina is going to be a theme in 2020 – so may as well start with firing up a fair number of Carr line-ups in Week 1.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Derek Carr
  • RB Josh Jacobs
  • WR Bryan Edwards
  • TE Darren Waller

Good Plays

  • WR Hunter Renfrow

Carolina Panthers, Projected Total: 22.25 points

QB Teddy Bridgewater DK: $5,900 FD: $6,800
RB Christian McCaffrey DK: $10,000 FD: $10,000
WR DJ Moore DK: $6,600 FD: $7,100
WR Robby Anderson DK: $4,700 FD: $5,600
WR Curtis Samuel DK: $4,600 FD: $5,500
TE Ian Thomas DK: $3,400 FD: $5,100

I was pretty hard on the Panthers offence above – but I really do love their offence from a fantasy standpoint, and to layer on an additional point to my comment above about stacking against Carolina likely becoming a theme, so too do I think that game stacks involving the Panthers will be something that works out quite well.  We’ll see how Matt Rhule’s offence will translate to the pro game – and see how he plans to have Teddy Bridgewater distribute the balls to a pretty good set of weapons at his disposal.

Going over-weight the field on RB Christian McCaffrey was probably the most profitable thing you could have done a year ago, and I think it’s wise to continue to do that until proven otherwise.  He’s expensive – but the match-up isn’t one to fear, and I don’t expect Rhule and his staff to change one of the few things that worked well for Carolina in 2020.  He may see a few less snaps – but he should continue to be the best player in fantasy in 2020.

As for the passing game, DJ Moore should be among the league leader in targets this season and is an elite option as well this week.  I think he’s going to have a big season, and he should be able to do some damage in this one.

Outside that duo, I’m going to take a wait and see approach, though I do think at his price point in this match-up that QB Teddy Bridgewater is a solid value QB this week.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Christian McCaffrey
  • WR DJ Moore

Good Plays

  • QB Teddy Bridgewater

Chicago @ Detroit (-2), Projected Total: 42.5

Detroit vs. QB: 27th Chicago vs. QB: 4th
Detroit vs. RB: 6th Chicago vs. RB: 17th
Detroit vs. WR: 31st Chicago vs. WR: 4th
Detroit vs. TE: 15th Chicago vs. TE: 24th

Chicago, Projected Total: 20.25 points

QB Mitch Trubisky DK: $5,400 FD: $6,900
RB David Montgomery DK: $5,900 FD: $5,900
RB Tarik Cohen DK: $4,900 FD: $5,200
WR Allen Robinson DK: $6,500 FD: $7,200
WR Anthony Miller DK: $5,000 FD: $5,400

If there was a match-up that Trubisky can be DFS relevant, this is it.  The Lions poor secondary has been a unit that Trubisky has fared well against in the past, including 2019 where he had 3+ touchdowns in both outings.  He is remarkably inconsistent to the point where I would never consider him in cash – but he’s worth tossing into some GPP line-ups this week in this match-up in a stack along with the likes of WR Allen Robinson and/or WR Anthony Miller.  The price point on Robinson is outstanding and I expect him to soak up targets in this one at a significant discount price-wise compared to some other fantasy WR1’s this week.  I like all three members of this trio to varying degrees, and wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears start 2020 strong with a nice day in the passing game.

As for the rushing attack, the Lions seem intent on shutting down the run – seemingly at times to the detriment of their passing defence…opening them up to ridicule from the analytics crowd.  RB David Montgomery somehow seems to have fully healed from what looked like it was going to be a long-term injury and should be suiting up.  In this match-up, and with that risk – I have no problem leaving the backfield alone this week for the Bears.  Cohen is intriguing if you think Montgomery will be limited in this one.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Allen Robinson

Good Plays

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • WR Anthony Miller

Detroit, Projected Total: 22.25 points

QB Matthew Stafford DK: $6,200 FD: $7,300
WR Kenny Golladay DK: $6,200 FD: $7,300
WR Marvin Jones DK: $5,500 FD: $6,200
TE TJ Hockenson DK: $4,200 FD: $5,300

Edit: With WR Kenny Golladay doubtful for this one, give a bump up for both WR Marvin Jones and TE TJ Hockenson.  They are both elite options this week.

With the addition of RB Adrian Peterson, I have no interest in using any of the three backs that Detroit has – it seems pretty clear that they envision using a committee approach, at least early on in the season, and I have no problem sitting that one out until we see how it unfolds.  If I miss an opportunity – so be it, but I don’t think Week 1 is going to be it.

The Bears were quite stout at defending aerial attacks in 2019, something that I think will carry over into 2020, though Matthew Stafford is a viable option at QB this week at an affordable price.  He was having an elite 2019 campaign until injuries cut his season short.  WR Marvin Jones is quite cheap and he has shown over time that he is a WR that can be match-up proof.  He is a boom/bust option – but I think he’s an elite play this week.  He put up big numbers last year until Stafford got hurt (and still had a strong season overall) – and he has shown in the past that he can break a slate and is always worth keeping in your player pool.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see him find the endzone in this one, and dollar for dollar – he offers a very high ceiling for such an affordable WR.

Hockenson is in play here as well.  I do prefer some other options on the board, but the Bears were vulnerable against TE’s a year ago and Hockenson is as talented as they come.  He has to make sure he capitalizes on his opportunities – but if you are looking for an affordable TE that should be low owned and could have a big game, Hockenson fits that bill.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Marvin Jones

Good Plays

  • QB Matthew Stafford
  • TE TJ Hockenson

Indianapolis (-8) @ Jacksonville, Total: 45 points

Jags vs. QB: 17th Colts vs. QB: 20th
Jags vs. RB: 32nd Colts vs. RB: 10th
Jags vs. WR: 11th Colts vs. WR: 23rd
Jags vs. TE: 13th Colts vs. TE: 18th

Indianapolis, Projected total: 26.5 points

QB Philip Rivers DK: $6,000 FD: $7,100
RB Marlon Mack DK: $5,300 FD: $6,100
RB Jonathan Taylor DK: $5,700 FD: $5,400
WR T.Y. Hilton DK: $5,800 FD: $6,400
WR Parris Campbell DK: $3,900 FD: $5,100
WR Michael Pittman Jr. DK: $4,400 FD: $5,200
TE Jack Doyle DK: $3,600 FD: $5,300

The Colts have one of the higher projected totals on the board – and some interesting price discrepancies across the sites in what should be a great match-up for them to get their season started, and for Rivers to get his tenure with the Colts underway.  Starting with him – he’s a great option this week at an affordable price.  There is some game flow risk that they could get up big and turn away from the passing game in the second half, but the price point really is outstanding for him and I expect him to really enjoy passing behind the elite Colts OL after what he’s gone through recently with the Chargers OL struggles.

As for the passing game weapons, WR TY Hilton is an elite option at his price point.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see Rivers lean heavily on Hilton, in similar fashion to how he did just that with Keenan Allen.  Hilton should be a high floor, high ceiling option in this match-up.  TE Jack Doyle is in play on DK with the full PPR format for $3,600.  He’s a great option and we all know how much Rivers likes throwing to his TE.  As for Campbell and Pittman, they are worth keeping in your player pool for a little bit of exposure to each (3-5%) as a part of Colts stacks that you’re running.

Now – we get to the fun part.  The Jags were the worst team at defending opposing RB’s a year ago and they go up against the best OL in football.  The problem here is that we don’t know what the usage will be for both Mack and 2nd round soon-to-be star rookie, Jonathan Taylor.  Taylor is priced up on DK to the point where I have no problem leaving him off that site, but he’s viable on FD for $5,400 in a potential spot where he could have a massive day.  The only challenge is knowing how many touches he will get, as they could be limited.  In a similar fashion to the write up on Ingram in the second game of this piece – Mack is in a great spot here…and while I don’t think his role is quite as cemented as Ingrams in the early season – I think he’s worth keeping in your builds, and I think he’ll be lower owned than he should be in large field GPP’s, given this juicy match-up.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Philip Rivers
  • WR T.Y. Hilton
  • Colts DST

Good Plays

  • RB Marlon Mack
  • RB Jonathan Taylor (FD)
  • TE Jack Doyle (DK)

Jacksonville, Projected Total: 18.5 points

QB Gardiner Minshew DK: $5,800 FD: $6,700
RB James Robinson DK: $4,000 FD: $4,500
RB Chris Thompson DK: $4,000 FD: $4,800
WR DJ Chark DK: $6,300 FD: $6,600
WR Laviska Shenault Jr. DK: $4,400 FD: $4,600

The Jags have arguably the most unpredictable set of weapons in 2020 in terms of their utilization…which is probably a good thing because as of a month ago, it looked like Leonard Fournette was set to get 20+ touches a week again.  What that creates is uncertainty – and some intriguing value options to consider, though I wouldn’t consider any of them elite this week.

The backfield should be split between pass catching specialist Chris Thompson and James Robinson – who should see the bulk of the carries on the ground.  Both are affordable, though this is a really tough match-up against a defence that is poised to potentially enter the elite ranks in 2020.  If you think that the Jags will be playing from a significant deficit in this one – Chris Thompson is worth a long, hard look on DK for $4k with the full PPR scoring.  It’s risky, but he’s on The Cruncher List this week at that price.

As for the passing game, I have no problem passing on this one this week – though there have been rumblings out of camp about 2nd round rookie Laviska Shenault Jr, who listed as a WR – may be heavily involved in the gameplan, with the Jags coaching staff looking for ways to get him the ball.  I think the upside in this match-up is limited, but you could do worse than tossing in a few percent of your line-ups with him in it.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Chris Thompson (DK)

Good Plays

  • None

Green Bay @ Minnesota (-2), Projected Total: 45

Minnesota vs. QB: 10th Green Bay vs. QB: 6th
Minnesota vs. RB: 13th Green Bay vs. RB: 25th
Minnesota vs. WR: 26th Green Bay vs. WR: 6th
Minnesota vs. TE: 7th Green Bay vs. TE: 19th

Green Bay, Projected Total: 21.5 points

QB Aaron Rodgers DK: $6,300 FD: $7,500
RB Aaron Jones DK: $6,900 FD: $7,800
WR Davante Adams DK: $7,300 FD: $8,000
WR Allen Lazard DK: $4,900 FD: $5,500

Despite the fairly low projected total for Green Bay in this one – I actually like the spot for them from a DFS standpoint.  The Vikings struggled a great deal at defending WR’s a year ago, and one nice thing about the Packers passing attack for DFS purposes is the limited number of options that they have – meaning that Davante Adams (and to a lesser extent) Allan Lazard should both see plenty of targets in this one.  The price points on both are quite good (for what they are) and although I wouldn’t go with a stack that includes Rodgers-Adams-Lazard, I do think that you could opt for some mini 2-man stacks to get exposure to the passing attack for the Packers.

As for the ground game, the Vikings have a tough front seven to do significant damage against – only giving up 8 rushing TD’s to RB’s a year ago.  Jones, who has had some monster games in the past is always worth keeping in your player pool, but I’m not a big fan of this match-up for him.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • QB Aaron Rodgers
  • WR Davante Adams
  • WR Allen Lazard

Minnesota, Projected Total: 23.5 points

QB Kirk Cousins DK: $5,700 FD: $7,200
RB Dalvin Cook DK: $7,900 FD: $8,700
WR Adam Thielen DK: $6,700 FD: $6,800
TE Irv Smith Jr DK: $3,100 FD: $4,800

Much like the Packers, the Vikings are another team that are going to be pretty concentrated in terms of involvement in the offence after the departure of WR Stefon Diggs.  I don’t like Cousins as much as I like Rodgers in this one, largely due to the fact that the Packers secondary and pass rush are very good & it’s hard to imagine Cousins putting up a statline that would be good enough to play in a large field GPP.

WR Adam Thielen should be among the league leaders in targets – and despite the tough match-up in this one, I think he is an elite option for the price point to roster him on both sites.  I’d be quite surprised if we didn’t see him with double digit targets in this one.

RB Dalvin Cook should continue to be leaned on heavily on the ground and through the air by the Vikings.  Going up against a suspect run defence in this one, this is a great spot for him.  In a key, early season divisional game, I expect him to get a full workload – and I think he’ll be right up there when the week is all said and done in terms of RB production.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Dalvin Cook
  • WR Adam Thielen

Good Plays

  • None

Miami @ New England (-7), Projected Total: 42

New England vs. QB: 1st Miami vs. QB: 31st
New England vs. RB: 1st Miami vs. RB: 26th
New England vs. WR: 1st Miami vs. WR: 30th
New England vs. TE: 9th Miami vs. TE: 14th

Miami, Projected Total: 17.5 points

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick DK: $5,300 FD: $6,400
WR Davante Parker DK: $6,000 FD: $6,700
WR Preston Williams DK: $4,500 FD: $5,300
TE Mike Gesicki DK: $4,500 FD: $5,400

The Dolphins will be in tough for this one, starting the season going up against the Patriots in Foxobro.  The Pats have a number of players that departed on the defensive side of the ball, but I think you can expect them to be well-prepared to kick off the 2020 season.  Fitzpatrick and Parker lit up the Patriots in Week 17 a year ago, costing New England a crucial bye week in the playoffs – and if you think that they can do it again, you could make a case to toss in a few Miami stacks as they certainly won’t be popular this week.  It’s aggressive…but I don’t hate it from a game theory standpoint.

The Dolphins running game is a situation I think you can avoid.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Miami Passing Stack(s)

New England, Projected Total: 24.5 points

QB Cam Newton DK: $6,100 FD: $7,300
RB James White DK: $6,000 FD: $5,300
WR Julian Edelman DK: $6,000 FD: $6,700
WR N’Keal Harry DK: $4,400 FD: $5,100

Cam Newton makes his Patriots debut in this one and I think a lot of eyes will be on how he looks as he steps into the shoes of Tom Brady given his departure.  The price point on him is great – and I think he’s worth strong consideration when it comes to picking your QB for the week.  He just misses the cut for The Cruncher List – but I do think he’s a very strong option this week.  For GPP’s, you could play him alone, or stack him with the likes of White, Edelman and/or Harry.

Despite the total sitting at 24.5 points, I don’t love much here from a DFS standpoint, though I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that throwing in a few rotating Pats stacks is probably worth doing.  The Dolphins defensive stats above are a little misleading given just how poor they were in the first half of the season.  They actually were a pretty decent group down the stretch, and have a number of new additions that should help them take a big leap forward this year.

WR Julian Edelman should be leaned on heavily in this one in Newton’s debut, assuming he is in fact healthy enough to play.  He’s priced reasonably and I think he’s a strong option, especially on DraftKings this week in this match-up.  RB James White I actually prefer on FD, even with the half point PPR scoring.  This is strictly a function of the price point to roster him on there.  Even in half point PPR, $5,300 seems silly given all the questionmarks around the health of the Patriots backfield, which I expect will result in a few more snaps from White than we would normally see in Week 1.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • QB Cam Newton
  • RB James White (FD)
  • WR Julian Edelman (DK)
  • Pats DST

Philadelphia (-5) @ Washington, Projected Total: 42

Washington vs. QB: 26th Eagles vs. QB: 15th
Washington vs. RB: 30th Eagles vs. RB: 7th
Washington vs. WR: 21st Eagles vs. WR: 28th
Washington vs. TE: 29th Eagles vs. TE: 5th

Philadelphia – Projected Total: 23.5 points

QB Carson Wentz DK: $6,300 FD: $7,700
RB Boston Scott DK: $4,800 FD: $4,700
WR DeSean Jackson DK: $4,900 FD: $5,700
WR Jalen Reagor DK: $4,300 FD: $5,200
WR Greg Ward DK: $4,200 FD: $4,800
TE Zach Ertz DK: $5,800 FD: $6,600

Big news announced today with RB Miles Sanders ruled out for this week’s match-up, which will make Boston Scott one of, if not the chalkiest options for this week’s slate.  He gets a great match-up against Washington and should be in line for a full workload for the Eagles, with a solid amount of work on the ground and through the air.  He’s an easy choice for The Cruncher List at his price on both sites.

With WR Alshon Jeffery ruled out and Jalen Reagor looking like he’ll be suiting up, we have a clear picture for the weapons at Carson Wentz’s disposal.  Jackson and Reagor will draw the start in this one with Greg Ward likely getting a fair amount of run, as I’m expecting them to ease off the pedal a little bit with Reagor’s snaps.  Jackson is an elite option at WR, though he’ll also be quite chalky at his price point this week, while Reagor will probably be low-moderately owned due to the risk of having limited snaps and/or re-injury.  With Reagor suiting up, it could mean a little bit of a hit to the targets that will go the way of Ertz – but make no mistake about it, he’s still an elite option & you could even mix in TE Dallas Goedert as a contrarian option at TE for a low owned GPP dart throw or two.  Given that I love the spot for a few Eagles here, it shouldn’t be a shock for me to also add that Carson Wentz is an elite play this week.  Despite the improvements to Washington’s front four – I think that the Eagles are going to put up points with ease this week.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Carson Wentz
  • RB Boston Scott
  • WR DeSean Jackson
  • TE Zach Ertz

Good Plays

  • Eagles DST

Washington, Projected Total: 18.5 points

RB Antonio Gibson DK: $4,000 FD: $4,600
WR Terry McLaurin DK: $5,600 FD: $6,500

It felt a little weird putting literally only two options above – but that is all I really considered from Washington.  Interestingly enough, I think they are both elite options at their price points this week.

Gibson is going to be one of the highest owned options for the slate based on the price point alone and the fact that he should be heavily involved in the passing game for Washington.  He won’t have to do a whole heck of a lot to pay off the salary, and I expect him to see a pretty sizeable jump on both sites for Week 2.  There is some intrigue to a potential game theory fade or under-weight position here as there are some other options priced in the same ballpark as Gibson that should see a fraction of the ownership levels…but it will be a risky proposition, especially in Week 1, when I think we’ll see a lot of chalk line-ups/players used heavily.

As for McLaurin, he had two big games against Philly in his rookie season, and he is one of my favourite plays on the board this week at a very affordable price on each site.  He should approach double digit targets in this one, and even if those targets are coming from suspect QB play – he showed the ability that he is an elite WR in his rookie season.  I wouldn’t do any stacking here, but as an isolated option – I like this spot for McLaurin, who while he won’t be low owned, will likely check in with ownership levels lower than where I feel he should be at this price.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Antonio Gibson
  • WR Terry McLaurin

Good Plays

  • None

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) @ Cincinnati, Projected Total: 41.5 points

Bengals vs. QB: 24th Chargers vs. QB: 5th
Bengals vs. RB: 23rd Chargers vs. RB: 21st
Bengals vs. WR: 13th Chargers vs. WR: 3rd
Bengals vs. TE: 12th Chargers vs. TE: 8th

Los Angeles Chargers, Projected Total: 22.25 points

QB Tyrod Taylor DK: $5,600 FD: $7,000
RB Austin Ekeler DK: $7,000 FD: $7,700
WR Keenan Allen DK: $6,400 FD: $7,000
TE Hunter Henry DK: $5,300 FD: $6,000

The Chargers check in as small road favourites this week, going up against the Bengals in what should be a pretty low-scoring game.  I expect Tyrod Taylor to come in and manage the game for the Chargers, and even though he can do some damage with his legs – I do prefer other options at the position this week.

WR Keenan Allen and TE Hunter Henry are two of the only trusted, healthy options and along with RB Austin Ekeler – I expect that trio to see the lions share of the targets from Taylor in this one.  Allen and Henry are both priced very affordably and are elite options this week in this match-up, while Ekeler is worth mixing into your builds with a fair amount of exposure – but misses the Cruncher List as there are a few other options in his price range that I do prefer.  I’m curious to see how the aerial attack looks with Taylor under center, but there is some room for error at the price points it takes to roster Allen and Henry.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Keenan Allen
  • TE Hunter Henry

Good Plays

  • RB Austin Ekeler

Cincinnati, Projected Total: 19.25 points

QB Joe Burrow DK: $5,800 FD: $6,600
RB Joe Mixon DK: $6,700 FD: $7,300
WR AJ Green DK: $5,700 FD: $6,200
WR Tyler Boyd DK: $6,100 FD: $6,100

If there is one place where you can attack the Chargers as an opposing offence, it’s on the ground – and I fully expect RB Joe Mixon to build off of his strong second half in 2019 with QB Joe Burrow under center.  I expect Mixon to see plenty of work in this one as Burrow gets eased into action – especially given the talent that the Chargers have on the defensive side of the ball.  Mixon should see close to 20 carries in this one, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him catch a handful of passes early in order to get Burrow comfortable.  He’s one of my favourite options on the board this week.

As for the passing game, it’s very affordable…and there is some upside there, even in a tough match-up.  Regarding WR AJ Green – I have no idea what to expect.  I will say this – if he is even 80-90% of what he used to be, the price point is too cheap for him and he’s a strong option, even in a tough match-up.  I’ll take a wait and see approach before tossing him on to the Cruncher List – but fully would admit if/when challenged on that, that I should make a call.  If I had to – I’ll wait – but I do think he’s a good play this week.  As for Tyler Boyd, he’ll be making his appearance on the list a few times over the course of the season – but this week isn’t it.

The Cruncher List

  • RB Joe Mixon

Good Plays

  • QB Joe Burrow (FD)
  • WR AJ Green

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (-3), Projected Total: 47.5 points

Saints vs. QB: 22nd Bucs vs. QB: 25th
Saints vs. RB: 6th Bucs vs. RB: 2nd
Saints vs. WR: 27th Bucs vs. WR: 32nd
Saints vs. TE: 10th Bucs vs. TE: 26th

Tampa Bay, Projected points: 22.75 points

QB Tom Brady DK: $6,500 FD: $7,600
RB Ronald Jones DK: $5,200 FD: $5,700
RB Leonard Fournette DK: $6,000 FD: $6,900
WR Chris Godwin DK: $7,100 FD: $7,700
WR Mike Evans DK: $6,900 FD: $7,500
TE Rob Gronkowski DK: $4,900 FD: $5,500
TE OJ Howard DK: $3,700 FD: $4,700

That’s a lot of players for a team projected for 22.75 points.  The Saints have a strong defence in all phases, but as a team that is generally winning most of their games and that can put up points in bulk – they can be passed on.  This game will likely be among the highest ownership levels on the slate partially due to the projected total, and partially due to the name value and big play ability of many options in this game.

QB Tom Brady is a little expensive for my liking in this one – but if you are stacking the TB passing game, or opting for a game stack here, which will be a popular option – he’s in play.  He’s not going to come into TB slinging it like Jameis was and while I think the Bucs will be a much better team, I do think that it will hurt the production of a few fantasy options with the exception being WR Chris Godwin, who should quickly earn the trust of Brady working out of the slot quite often.  Godwin is an elite option this week as I expect WR Mike Evans to play and likely to have Lattimore on him for most of the game.  Despite the fact that he had a down season in 2020, this isn’t a match-up I want to go targeting, so I have no problem going under-weight exposure on Evans this week.  One thing to note on Brady is that generally, QB’s in their first year in Arians’ system see a big spike in interceptions, likely a result of the emphasis on the vertical air attack.  I’ll be curious to see if Brady bucks this trend, but it could put the Saints DST in play here whereas typically against a Brady led offence, it would be a quick dismissal due to the fact that he does such a great job of protecting the football.

Gronk/OJ Howard?  The answer probably is neither…but I did think it was prudent to include Howard on the list above as I wouldn’t be shocked if he saw snaps in the ballpark to that of which Gronk sees.

As for the running game, I have no problem taking a wait and see approach here.  The Saints are stout against the run, and in what should be a timeshare (with the ratio yet to be determined), I have no problem sitting this one out for the TB RB’s in a tough spot in Week 1.

The Cruncher List

  • WR Chris Godwin

Good Plays

  • QB Tom Brady (FD)

New Orleans, Projected: 25.75 points

QB Drew Brees DK: $6,800 FD: $8,100
RB Alvin Kamara DK: $7,200 FD: $8,300
WR Michael Thomas DK: $9,000 FD: $8,800
WR Emmanuel Sanders DK: $5,700 FD: $5,600
TE Jared Cook DK: $5,500 FD: $5,900

I’ll be curious to see what the Bucs pass defence will look like this year because last year not only were they elite against RB’s, but they also held Christian McCaffrey in check…twice, and as such – that is enough for me to leave Alvin Kamara off of The Cruncher List this week.  I do expect the Saints to get creative in terms of ways to get him the ball, likely resulting in a number of receptions out of the backfield for the elite RB, but I do prefer other options on the board this week….but I’d keep him in your player pool for MME formats.

As for the passing game, fire it up.  Brees, as is the case for me usually for non-mobile QB’s that are priced up – doesn’t make the cut to be on The Cruncher List – but he’s a perfectly suitable play if you want the QB with arguably the highest floor on the slate outside of Lamar Jackson.  With that said, I’d also just argue to cut the difference between Brees and Lamar from another roster slot and pay up for Jackson, unless you are going for the Saints stack or a game stack here.

WR Michael Thomas is the best WR option on the slate – and also the most expensive.  Much like McCaffrey, I think he’s worth it.  He’ll be popular – but he is the top fantasy WR in the game and worth strong consideration for each and every slate.  Beyond him, TE Jared Cook is a TD dependent option at the position…and not a cheap one at that.  He’ll likely exceed value if he scores and be a bust if he doesn’t.  I think the price point is going to keep him with minimal ownership – and even though he’s more likely to bust than succeed – the payoff if he can hit (or hit twice with a couple of TD’s) could be the type of pivot from some of the more chalky high spend TE’s that could be the difference in a big score in a GPP or not.

Cruncher List

  • WR Michael Thomas

Good Plays

  • QB Drew Brees
  • TE Jared Cook
  • Saints DST

Arizona @ San Francisco (-7), Projected Total: 47.5 Points

49ers vs. QB: 9th Cards vs. QB: 32nd
49ers vs. RB: 3rd Cards vs. RB: 22nd
49ers vs. WR: 12th Cards vs. WR: 25th
49ers vs. TE: 6th Cards vs. TE: 32nd

Arizona, Projected Total: 20.25 points

QB Kyler Murray DK: $6,400 FD: $7,700
RB Kenyan Drake DK: $6,400 FD: $6,600
WR DeAndre Hopkins DK: $6,800 FD: $7,800
WR Christian Kirk DK: $5,000 FD: $5,800
WR Larry Fitzgerald DK: $4,500 FD: $5,300

I don’t hate this spot for the Cards.  Sure, the match-up is as tough as it gets, but I really think that despite the issues still present on the OL, the Cards are going to churn out plenty of fantasy production yet again this season….and weeks where you can get them at low ownership levels will be few and far between….so sure there is risk, but I don’t hate the idea of stacking some Cards either in a game stack with exposure to the SF running game plus Garropolo/Kittle or stacking them with some options elsewhere.

QB Kyler Murray had two of his best five games against these very same 49ers in 2019 and although he’s a little more expensive than I would have liked, is worth tossing in some MME GPP line-ups in  stack with the likes of Hopkins, Drake and/or Kirk.

RB Kenyan Drake should be all systems go for this one as he didn’t appear on the latest injury list after a scare when he was spotted in a walking boot a week ago.  Like Murray, he came to play against the 49ers, including his 31 DKP performance on MNF after he arrived days earlier in a trade with Miami.  While neither are on the cruncher list, they are both dynamic players that have the ability to make plays even against elite defences.

The same can be said about WR DeAndre Hopkins, though I wouldn’t go above 5% exposure on him this week at his price point.  The match-up is very tough and it could take him a few weeks to get comfortable in the offence.

The Cruncher List

  • None

Good Plays

  • QB Kyler Murray
  • RB Kenyan Drake

San Francisco 49ers, Projected Total: 27.25 points

will update the player chart when we get updates on Deebo and Aiyuk.

I love the idea of a stack including Garoppolo, Mostert and Kittle this week.  I think the 49ers will put up a ton of points in this one – and even though Arizona drafted Justin Simmons where a fair portion of his responsibility will be to cover TE’s (and he’ll likely do an excellent job of that overall), he gets to face the best of the best in Week 1 as he goes up against George Kittle.  While Kittle may not have free reign over the middle of the field like TE’s against Arizona did a year ago, I do expect the volume to be there for Kittle given the injuries to WR’s Deebo Samuel and Brandon Ayiuk.  Even if one or both do suit up, I’m expecting them both to be on limited snap counts, which would be great news for WR Kendrick Bourne – who could be tossed into a handful of your 49ers stacks…if you opt to go the route of the above trio for a number of your week 1 line-ups.

Sure – Mostert doesn’t catch the ball – and sure, any week has the potential to be a Tevin Coleman week….but as we saw on numerous occasions last year including in the NFC Championship game, Mostert has the ability to break a slate…and for the best running team in the NFC, getting significant exposure to their lead back in a plus match-up is something you probably want to do…even if he doesn’t really catch the ball.  I think that the 49ers are going to give him the ball a ton this year, and you’ll likely think that I’m either a genius or an idiot regarding my views on Mostert in a few weeks….time will tell!  Oh – and mix in 4-5% on Tevin Coleman in case said Tevin Coleman week occurs as a bit of a hedge.  With that said, I think it’s a great idea to get significant exposure just about any week to this rushing attack.

Regarding Garoppolo at QB – he’s on The Cruncher List.  The match-up is outstanding – and I think he has a big game in this one – just like he did last year when he cleared 31 DKP in each of the two games that he played against the Cardinals.  The price point for Jimmy G is great, and I think he’ll do a good job this year as he settles into his second year starting in Shannahan’s offence.

The Cruncher List

  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo
  • RB Raheem Mostert
  • TE George Kittle

Good Plays

  • 49ers DST

Best of luck in your Week 1 DFS action!

About Brad

Brad hates the term fantasy sports expert, so instead he is someone who specializes in NFL, NHL and MLB DFS notes and analysis. He had a 68.2% win rate in 2015 NFL cash games to go along with a 83.5% win rate for the 2014 season. For NHL he had a 58.7% win rate in the 2015-16 season for cash games and a 66.2% win rate for the 2014-15 season. You can follow him on Twitter @bradsgotmoxy.

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