These bold predictions won’t be about getting calls right, they’ll be about making money. Not every take you see in this series will hit, but when they do, it will be more than worth the times they don’t fire. That’s the kind of value I’m pointing out with incendiary takes backed by advanced data and analytics. Let’s get to it.
Dede Westbrook is a WR1 and Nick Foles is a QB1
Nick Foles is typically only drafted in leagues that require players to start multiple passers or those without waiver wires. Dede Westbrook just started getting drafted inside the top-100 players. Both are priced as tournament fliers on every DFS site. They won’t be priced that low next week.
The Jaguars brought in John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator this offseason. He was last seen coordinating the Vikings offense to the fourth-most pass attempts in the NFL. This won’t be the Jacksonville offense from years past.
The biggest factor in this tandem’s upside is their opponent, Kansas City. Last year Kansas City gave up the ninth-most points per game to opposing teams while scoring more points than all but two teams in NFL history. When Kansas City comes to town, they force teams to score just to keep up. That makes all Jags high-upside plays.
Dede Westbrook is also a phenomenal prospect. In his final season at Oklahoma, Westbrook recorded a 77th-percentile College Dominator Rating while averaging 19.1 yards per catch (90th-percentile). Add in Westbrooks’s profile and red zone usage, he accounted for 26.5% of Jacksonville’s targets inside the 20 last season, and the Foles-Westbrook combo could be a tournament-winner.
Seattle Has Two Top-24 Backs
Chris Carson is a lock on the main slate. Seattle are 10-point favorites hosting Cincinnati this week. The Bengals have to travel to the west coast to play Seattle’s defense with a newly acquired Jadeveon Clowney. They will do so without their starting left-tackle Jonah Williams or A.J. Green. The game-script should work out nicely for Seattle to lean on Carson throughout the second half.
The winning-team bonus that Carson experiences could easily extend to Rashaad Penny as well. Carson was given 17.4 carries per game last year. It will be hard for Seattle to give him more carries. That leaves Rashaad Penny to take over Mike Davis‘ vacated 7.5 rushes per game and 2.8 targets per game.
Check out Rashaad Penny on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Coming out of college, Penny was touted as an adept pass-catcher. He accounted for over 10-percent of San Diego State’s targets. The positive game-script Seattle will see puts both Penny and Carson firmly in play.
The Two Highest Scoring Backs Come from LAR vs. CAR
Los Angeles is heading to the west coast to face off against Cam Newton and his electric set of weapons in Carolina. D.J. Moore is poised for a breakout of epic proportions after posting 900 yards from scrimmage as a 21-year old rookie.
Curtis Samuel has dynamic playmaking ability that will help Carolina move the ball downfield. Then there’s McCaffrey. In his second year in the NFL McCaffrey set the record for receptions by a running back with 107 catches. He also carried the ball 219 times. No player has a higher upside on any week than McCaffrey.
Given the suite of weapons available in Carolina, they should have no problem keeping pace with the Rams offense. The total for this game might seem high at 50 points, but the two teams have the combined talent to smash the over.
Todd Gurley is a significantly more risky pick in DFS but his upside each week remains largely unchanged. Sean McVay has said that he doesn’t plan to limit Gurley’s touches in Week 1. Last year, Gurley played 14 games while receiving a full complement of touches. He went over 30 Draftkings points in half of those games.
Over the course of the season, Gurley’s touches and overall fantasy ceiling are still highly questionable. But for Week 1, expect the same Gurley we’ve become accustomed to over the past couple of years. That puts his ceiling higher than players like Saquon Barkley or Ezekiel Elliott, who are facing each other in a game with a measly 45.5-point total.
In a game that could so both sides go nuclear, buy every part of the teams, especially the stud running backs.