FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football: Week 1 Salary Reactions
Week 1 daily fantasy football is always a special event.
We get to study salaries weeks in advance, and for the most part, every player is healthy to start the season.
With FanDuel releasing salaries for Week 1's Sunday Million contest (link), this gives us plenty of time to dig into every little detail about our lineups before the season begins and find out which players and teams are potentially undervalued and overvalued on FanDuel.
With the help of numberFire's projections, let's take a look at each of the four positions for some players who stand out for one reason or another.
The standout passer from a value standpoint looks like Kyler Murray ($7,300). The rookie will host the Detroit Lions in Week 1 for his NFL debut. Last season, Detroit ranked 27th in numberFire's opponent-adjusted pass defense metrics once adjusting for play volume. The over/under is 47 points in that matchup, so the possible shootout and great matchup make Murray look underpriced.
Jameis Winston ($7,500) and the Buccaneers could be in a shootout of their own in Tampa Bay when they host the San Francisco 49ers. The total is 49 points, second-highest on the main slate, and the 49ers boasted the 29th-ranked pass defense in the NFL last season, per our metrics.
Fantasy cheat code Lamar Jackson comes in at a price of $7,400 in a road matchup with the Miami Dolphins' bottom-tier pass defense. We project Jackson for 12 carries and 62 rushing yards, along with 216 passing yards on 28 attempts. He's the third-best value quarterback on the slate, per our models, despite his game having a slate-low 38-point over/under.
The Week 1 running back salary breakdown is crazy. Saquon Barkley ($9,200), Ezekiel Elliott ($9,100), and Christian McCaffrey ($8,900) -- key cogs to cash-game DFS lineups -- are in a tier of their own as the only backs above $8,100. They're three of the top four point-per-dollar plays in our projections.
Who else is in the top four? Dalvin Cook ($7,400). Cook's Minnesota Vikings project for a promising game script as four-point home favorites over the Atlanta Falcons, who ranked 31st against the rush last season, per our metrics. The Falcons had pretty terrible injury luck last season on the defensive side of the ball.
After the top tier, there are still strong plays, as David Johnson ($8,100), Le'Veon Bell ($7,900), Nick Chubb ($7,400), and Leonard Fournette ($7,200) promise volume at reasonable prices and -- therefore -- good point-per-dollar production. And then there's the unknown status of Todd Gurley at just $7,600.
A pair of run-first favorites stand out at just $6,600. Chris Carson's Seattle Seahawks are 8.5-point home favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals (27th against the run last year), and Mark Ingram's Baltimore Ravens are 4-point favorites in Miami (30th against the run last year).
Possible starting running backs (due to holdout situations) can be found cheap. All Dallas Cowboys backs other than Elliott are below $5,500, namely Alfred Morris ($5,400) and Tony Pollard ($5,200). The Los Angeles Chargers' backs aren't quite as cheap, but Austin Ekeler ($6,400) and Justin Jackson ($5,900) would become very viable if Melvin Gordon ($8,000) sits out against the Indianapolis Colts.
Only 12 wide receivers on the main slate are priced at $7,000 or above, and only two (Julio Jones at $8,500 and Odell Beckham at $8,200) are in the $8,000 range. Despite a still-high price tag of $7,400, it's Adam Thielen with the highest value projection in Week 1, per our models. Again, the Falcons' defense should be better than they were last year (26th in adjusted pass defense), but Thielen has the sixth-highest target projection of Week 1 (9.8).
The pricey wideouts project as the best values, as the top nine receivers in projected FanDuel points per dollar of FanDuel salary are priced above $7,000, per numberFire's projections.
In terms of projected targets, Thielen leads the pack in target-per-dollar value. Sterling Shepard ($6,000) is second, as he should be locked in to good work without Golden Tate for the first four weeks. Julio Jones, Keenan Allen ($7,700), and Tyreek Hill ($7,600) round out the top five.
Tight end pricing looks pretty much on par with last year's weekly pricing: Travis Kelce ($7,800), George Kittle ($7,300), and Zach Ertz ($7,100) lead the way. Kittle is actually sixth in target-per-dollar value among all players -- not just tight ends. Kelce still leads in projected fantasy value despite the elevated price.
Hunter Henry ($6,100) and the Chargers overall remain promising values. Henry is the third-best tight end value on the board by our numbers. David Njoku ($5,800) is a home favorite, a great recipe for tight end success.
Will Dissly is just $4,000 as an 8.5-point home favorite against the Bengals, who gave up 10 touchdowns to tight ends last year, tied for second-most in the NFL. If he plays, he could be a cash-game punt.