With Week 1 finally here, DFS grinders kick off the season with a value-rich opening weekend. Similar to last year, DraftKings released salaries about a month before the season began. This allowed plenty of value to open up through injuries, player personnel moves and shifting offensive roles. With that said, and using advanced stats, metrics and analytics, here are a few value plays and potential GPP pivots for this weekend’s main slate.
Nick Foles ($5,300) – Jacksonville Jaguars
Taking a contrarian approach to Week 1, Nick Foles provides salary relief playing in a projected shootout against Kansas City. As it stands, the Chiefs-Jaguars match-up has the second-highest over/under on the week at 51.5-points. Vegas currently projects the Chiefs to win this contest by 3.5-points, but that means Jacksonville should keep it close.
Check out Nick Foles on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Foles also gets a boost from the Jaguars’ acquisition of John DeFilippo this off-season. When he was offensive coordinator of the Vikings, Minnesota threw at the second-highest rate in all of football last year. This bodes well for Foles and company against a Chiefs’ secondary that allowed the most passing yards to opposing quarterbacks last season (4,721). Foles also remains a massive upgrade on Blake Bortles after he finished with a 75.4-percent (No. 4 among qualified quarterbacks) True Completion Percentage. Surely to fly under-the-radar in Jacksonville, Foles provides ownership leverage and a salary-saving option at quarterback this weekend.
Dalvin Cook ($6,000) – Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook is priced at $6,000 after appearing in 15 of 32 possible career games. Entering Week 1 with an injury discount, he’s a solid value as Minnesota’s lead runner. After firing former offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, Minnesota morphed into a run-first team. Their pass rate dropped from 67-percent all the way down to 52-percent under new offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. However, this allowed him to rack up at least 19 touches and over 100 total yards in two of his final three games.
Cook also proved himself as a capable receiver, securing 40 of 49 targets. One of the league’s most elusive backs, he notched a 38.2-percent (No. 2) Juke Rate. Minnesota enters Week 1 as four-point home favorites over the Atlanta Falcons. This game also has a juicy point total of 48 points, potentially creating multiple scoring opportunities.
Mark Ingram ($5,100) – Baltimore Ravens
One of the cheapest starting running backs on the entire slate, Mark Ingram will make his Ravens debut against the Miami Dolphins. Despite playing on the road, Baltimore enters this contest as seven-point favorites, boding well for Ingram’s DFS value. Also positively for Ingram, the Ravens became the run-heaviest team in the NFL when Lamar Jackson took over for Joe Flacco. This paved the way for the running backs to average 27.3 touches per game during that span. For reference, undrafted rookie Gus Edwards averaged 17.4 carries per game to close out the regular season. In this run-heavy offense, Ingram should easily best his 11.5 carries per game from a season ago. Baltimore’s most experienced rusher, he should push for 20 touches immediately. Add in a cupcake match-up and he becomes a lock in Week 1 DFS.
Chris Godwin ($6,200) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Amid a hype filled off-season, DraftKings priced Chris Godwin up at $6,200 ahead of Week 1. However, he remains a value in Tampa Bay offense missing 234 targets from 2018. Tampa Bay will play 2019 without DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries. This will thrust Godwin into a prime opportunity on one of the league’s friendliest offenses.
Last season, Godwin showed flashes of brilliance and even led Tampa in red zone targets despite his status as a part time player. For comparison’s sake, Mike Evans only saw 14 red zone targets in this offense. Back in 2017 with the Cardinals, Bruce Arians passed at the third-highest rate in the NFL (62.32-percent). Bringing his aggressive aerial offense to Tampa Bay, Godwin stands to benefit as a primary receiving option. Taking on a suspect San Francisco secondary in Week 1, he is a value despite the elevated price. He makes sense in both cash games and GPPs.
Dante Pettis ($5,400) – San Francisco 49ers
Listed among the 49ers’ starting wide receivers, Dante Pettis draws a juicy match-up against a porous Tampa Bay secondary in Week 1. Last season, Tampa Bay allowed the fifth-most passing yards to opposing signal callers (4,378) and then failed to address the position this off-season.
Pettis finished 2018 on a strong note, with 24 receptions in his final six games. He also averaged 2.38 (No. 1) yards of Target Separation in the NFL, which should provide Jimmy Garoppolo an easy outlet. Vegas projects this game to reach 50.5-points, creating an optimal scoring environment for Pettis and the 49ers. At such a reasonable price, he makes sense across all formats this week.
Dede Westbrook ($4,800) – Jacksonville Jaguars
Anyone looking for a contrarian GPP stack in Week 1? Look no further than Dede Westbrook and Nick Foles. The Jaguars find themselves in a potential shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs, in a game projected for 51.5-points. Last year, Westbrook led the Jaguars with 101 (No. 27) targets, and showed room for growth ahead of the 2019 season. He played in the slot on 73.9-percent of his snaps, and Foles has shown an affinity for the slot receiver throughout his career. Last season alone, Foles targeted the slot on 56.8-percent of his passes. Now with John Defilippo leading the offense, Westbrook’s targets project to rise in 2019. At a mere $4,800, he allows plenty of upward mobility to jam in multiple studs on Sunday.
Delanie Walker ($3,500) – Tennessee Titans
Another player coming with a severe injury discount, Delanie Walker is a cash lock on Sunday. After landing on injured reserve in Week 1 following a gruesome ankle injury, Walker appears fully healthy for the start of the 2019 season. Looking back to his last healthy season, he led the Titans in both targets (111) and receiving yards (807).
Walker draws a tantalizing match-up against a Cleveland Browns’ defense that struggled against tight ends. In 2018, the Browns allowed the second-most catches to the position (100), boding well for his DFS outlook. Priced well-below many inferior option at the position, he offers the perfect option for those looking to punt the tight end position.