It’s not easy to handicap Week 1 with zero games of data to work with. However, that makes the edge even bigger for those who can logically dissect the slate and get access to as many of the best players as possible. Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.
Overall, my top WR is Julio Jones ($9,300). I probably don’t need to tell you how good he is, but I will anyway. Jones averaged 21.3 DK points per game last season, 5th best in the league. He is the rare combination of incredibly consistent and massive upside. He scored double digit fantasy points in all but two games last season. In those two games, he scored 9.8 in each of them! He dazzled with upside, scoring 20+ on 8 separate occasions, 30+ 3 times, and 40 or more twice! The matchup with the Eagles just screams points. Vegas has this game listed with the highest total of the week, a whopping 53. Additionally, it’s only a 1 point spread so the experts believe both teams will be putting up big numbers.
I feel the need to endorse Calvin Johnson ($8,500). I can’t remember a time where there has been so little buzz about Megatron. The emergence of other star receivers in Antonio Brown and ODB, combined with Calvin not playing the entire preseason, has kept him under the radar. I actually think he could be a contrarian play in Week 1 which is shocking to even fathom for one of the best WRs to play the game in a long time! Despite being frustrating, Calvin was outstanding last season. Let’s throw out the games that he was a “decoy” and look at the games we know he was healthy. He averaged 18.35 DK points in his twelve “healthy” games with tremendous upside going for 32 or more in three of those games. I’m curious to see his ownership numbers but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him as low owned as he’s ever been in a Week 1.
I’ll have to speak about Randall Cobb ($8,000) and Davante Adams ($4,400) together. With Jordy Nelson missing the entire season, both of these guys are expected to see a big boost in opportunity and production. It’s simple, Jordy’s 151 targets are going to have to go somewhere.
Many will immediately flock to Adams for his deep value and that’s justified. Adams flashed his brilliance at times last season even with limited work. Hie 46 receptions led to 570 yards.
However, what will be overlooked is how this impacts the new #1 WR in this offense. Randall Cobb was already a big time WR in the league and averaging 19.4 DK points per game last season (8th most in the league). It’s easy to believe that his whopping 106 catches will go up even more without Jordy in the lineup. Cobb is unbelievably consistent scoring over 16 DK points in 14 of 18 games last season (playoffs included). His biggest game (33.3 points) came @CHI. Guess where the Packers will travel in Week 1? Bingo. Chicago. Only Atlanta surrendered more passing yards per game than the Bears last season.
One of the rookies who I believe can make the biggest impact in Week 1 is Nelson Agholor ($5,700). This guy just passes the eye test. His hands are great but he is incredibly quick. Through the first two preseason games, he has 8 catches for 106 yards and a TD. He is basically identical in build to his predecessor, Jeremy Maclin. Agholor gets plugged into the most potent offense in the league in the game with the highest point total. Yes, please!
The Jordy Nelson injury has over-shadowed the Kelvin Benjamin injury. In turn, the biggest beneficiary in Devin Funchess ($3,800) hasn’t gotten much press time around the industry. Very similar situation for the Panthers, where Kelvin’s 146 targets are now up for grabs. Expect a lot to go to tight end Greg Olsen, but Funchess is really the only wideout the Panthers have! The Rookie out of Michigan will be hurled into a position of great opportunity. His size should lend to plenty of redzone targets. The Panthers take on the miserable Jaguars in Week 1, so keep an eye on Funchess before his price jumps.
My favorite value play, by far, is Eddie Royal ($3,900). Royal was more than servicable last year, averaging 12.5 DK points per game. However, he was boom or bust, scoring 20+ on four occasions and 7 or less, seven times. That type of production scale is ideal in GPPs and there’s reasons to justify a very good situation for Royal in Week 1. The injury to Kevin White and the departure of Brandon Marshall has vaulted Royal to the #2 WR for the Bears. The pass happy Bears (9th most attempts last season) will open with the Packers in a game featuring a total of 50 set by Vegas. Royal will also be reunited with QB Jay Cutler. The two played one season together, Royal’s rookie season in 2008 for the Denver Broncos. It was by far the most productive season of Royal’s career, tallying 91 catches for 980 yards. They are in a great situation to rekindle that magic in Week 1.