There are a lot of unknowns in daily fantasy football.
There are a TON of unknowns in Week 1 daily fantasy football. We don’t have any 2017 data to work with. No fantasy points scored numbers. No fantasy points allowed numbers. Nothin’.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have an edge on our competition. We’ve spent all offseason studying players, schemes and defenses. We’re still ahead of the game.
I won’t be playing any less in Week 1 than I will the rest of the season. But I will be playing more tournaments and fewer cash games than usual to factor in the increased uncertainty of the opening week.
Let’s get to the Week 1 picks …
Play of the Week: Andy Dalton, Bengals ($5,700)
He doesn’t have an ideal matchup against a Ravens defense that ranked 10th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA and 16th in DraftKings points allowed to QBs last year. But Dalton is simply too cheap.
He sits 15th among QBs in salary on the Sunday slate. He’s 9th in our Week 1 QB Rankings. Dalton will bring big weekly upside as long as WR A.J. Green and TE Tyler Eifert are on the field. (They will be this week.)
Pay up for: Russell Wilson, Seahawks ($6,900)
Seahawks-Packers has shootout written all over it. Their 4 meetings over the last 3 years have produced point totals of 52, 50, 44 and 48. Vegas has set the over/under for this week’s game at 50.5 — 2nd highest of the week.
Aaron Rodgers is certainly in play at $7,000. But I prefer Wilson for $100 less. He’s healthy, unlike most of last year. And he looks primed for a big bounce-back season after posting a 70.7% completion rate, 10.9 yards per attempt and 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs this preseason.
Value option: Carson Wentz, Eagles ($5,300)
DeShone Kizer and Jared Goff are intriguing at a dirt-cheap $4,800 — especially for tournaments. But let’s pay another $500 for a higher floor and ceiling with Wentz.
The 2nd-year QB looked good this preseason, completing 69.6% of his passes, averaging 10.5 yards per attempt and tossing 3 TDs vs. 1 INT. He opens the regular season against a Redskins defense that allowed the 5th most DK points to QBs last year.
Tournament target: Marcus Mariota, Titans ($6,800)
At just $100 less than Russell Wilson and $200 less than Aaron Rodgers, Mariota is a bit pricey for cash games. But that price tag should also suppress his ownership for tournaments.
Mariota carries as much Week 1 upside as any QB. He’s at home for a burnable Raiders defense that will be traveling across the country for a 1 pm ET start. Oakland ranked 26th in DK points allowed to QBs last year and doesn’t project to be much better in 2017.