Week 1 DFS: Rankings Vs Value

Week 1 is here and not only are we setting lineups for the season-long teams we drafted all summer long, but we get the added diversity in setting daily fantasy lineups. 

The goal of this article is simple, but I’m going to expand it this season. In the past, I’ve only taken my rankings and compared them to DFS pricing to find undervalued options. This season, I’ll be taking the entire industry ranks from Fantasy Pros from the scoring systems that apply to each of the major daily sites (FanDuel, DraftKings, and Yahoo). We’re looking at the field of players the industry has come together on as the starting-caliber options at each position and then highlighting which daily sites they have the most value on.

This way, we get the input of the entire field of rankers instead of just mine. I’ll also include my ranks here from the rankings hub at Sharp Football. I’ll also be adding a few player notes in, but to find out my fully-detailed thoughts on the players here, check out the Week 1 Worksheet that breaks down each player and game.

Top-12 QB Plays

PlayerFF ProsSharpFDDKYahoo
Deshaun Watson11222
Patrick Mahomes26111
Drew Brees32573
Jameis Winston4512312
Carson Wentz53111810
Baker Mayfield64767
Russell Wilson7134811
Lamar Jackson87161220
Cam Newton98859
Aaron Rodgers1014345
Dak Prescott1110131518
Jared Goff12991013

These are the quarterbacks the industry (with my ranks included) has ranked as the QB1 options this week and where they are ranked in terms of pricing on each respective DFS site. 

The largest consensus values here are Carson Wentz ($7,600/$5,700/$32) and Lamar Jackson ($7,400/$6,000/$26). Wentz has been the QB5, QB1, and the QB9 against Washington over his three games played in this matchup over the past two seasons.

Jackson’s lowest-scoring game as a starter was 15.7 fantasy points and he finished as a top-12 scorer in four of his final five starts. Miami ranked 30th in rushing yardage allowed to opposing quarterbacks in 2018. There’s some ceiling concerns here about the Ravens needing to press Jackson on the ground if they get up comfortably, but he’s a solid cash-game option with upside. 

There’s no discount on Jameis Winston on DraftKings, but he does pop as a value on both FanDuel ($7,500) and Yahoo ($31). Winston was the QB8 in this matchup a year ago against the 49ers, completing 76 percent of his passes for 312 yards.

Russell Wilson is an example of how I use this piece to police myself when setting lineups, especially in tournaments. The industry is much higher on him this week than I am. The way I use that is remind myself that he has the consensus upside to warrant consideration in my player pool, but also that he can be a leverage play to come in under expected ownership since I am lower than the field on that player. The place where Wilson is the best value is on Yahoo ($32). 

RB1 (1-12) Plays

Player.5 RankPPR RankSharpFDYahooDK
Saquon Barkley112111
Christian McCaffrey221322
Alvin Kamara336473
Dalvin Cook4441294
Nick Chubb56711166
David Johnson65125145
Chris Carson79522139
Ezekiel Elliott888248
James Conner9711957
Leonard Fournette10113132111
Le'Veon Bell111097310
Todd Gurley12121310812

Chris Carson sticks out sorely at FanDuel ($6,600) and it’s the format that best fits his skill set as a fantasy back. He’s still a value on Yahoo ($23) and a slight one on DraftKings ($5,700). Carson was a top-six scoring back in each of his last three games a year ago and is set up in a sweet spot as a huge home favorite against a Bengals defense that allowed 144.8 rushing yards per game on the road in 2018, which was 30th in the league.

The field is also higher across the board on Leonard Fournette ($7,200/$6,100/$20) and I am even higher than the consensus. In this case, I can use that to go over the field in projected ownership if that industry ranking reflects that ownership projection. He’s priced as a lower-RB2 on Yahoo. Fournette is set up for three-down work while Kansas City ranked 29th in rushing points allowed (16.6) and 27th in receiving points allowed (13.6) per game to opposing backfields in 2018.

Dalvin Cook is sure to be a popular play this weekend against a Falcons team that has allowed the most receptions to opposing running backs in each of the past four seasons, and also is a home favorite. His price on DraftKings ($6,000) is right in line with the market, but his largest perceived value comes on FanDuel ($7,400) and on Yahoo ($27).

Nick Chubb ($7,400/$6,400/$23) rounds out the RB1 value group. Chubb ranked sixth in touches (19.6 per game) and fifth in yards from scrimmage (97.2) per game once taking over the starting running back in Week 7 last season.

RB2 (13-24) Plays

Player.5 RankPPR RankSharpFDYahooDK
Kerryon Johnson131310141713
Joe Mixon14141581514
Mark Ingram151514232215
Sony Michel162119202421
Aaron Jones171718182717
Damien Williams181620161016
David Montgomery191923261819
Devonta Freeman202017192020
Austin Ekeler211816252618
Josh Jacobs222222243622
Derrick Henry232628171126
Phillip Lindsay242326211223

Looking at the secondary running back group, Kerryon Johnson is spot on at FanDuel ($7,000) and DraftKings ($5,800) while having his best value over at Yahoo ($22). In 2018, the Cardinals ranked 32nd against running backs in rushing attempts (27.8), rushing yardage (136.4 yards), rushing points (21.4), and yards from scrimmage (173.8) per game.

Mark Ingram ($6,600/$5,100/$20) is also on the board this week as a value. The Ravens backfield averaged 30 touches for 168.1 yards from scrimmage per game with Lamar Jackson under center last season, the highest rates in the league. Miami ranked 29th in yards from scrimmage allowed to opposing backfields in 2018 (163.3 yards per game) and ranked 31stt in rushing fantasy points allowed to backs (17.1 points per game).

WR1 (1-12) Plays

Player.5 RankPPR RankSharpFDYahooDK
DeAndre Hopkins121111
Michael Thomas213434
Odell Beckham Jr.332552
Davante Adams445246
Mike Evans564895
JuJu Smith-Schuster656688
Julio Jones777373
Tyreek Hill810811147
Keenan Allen981891610
Adam Thielen1091613614
Stefon Diggs111117141115
Amari Cooper121319121512

The top of wide receiver position is priced tightly, but there a few values that spread from site-to-site.

Mike Evans ($7,900/$7,900/$28) comes in below his ranking across all three sites. Evans has been on the field twice with Richard Sherman for his career, catching 6 passes for 116 yards in this matchup a year ago while positing an 8-73-2 line when the played each other in 2016.

I’m a bit lower than the field on the Vikings wideouts, but they are both values on FanDuel and DraftKings compared to the consensus.

WR2 (13-24) Plays

Player.5 RankPPR RankSharpFDYahooDK
Julian Edelman13129152313
Tyler Lockett141510231721
Chris Godwin151411192120
Brandin Cooks161714171017
Kenny Golladay171612204419
Robert Woods181820181318
Tyler Boyd191913212623
Cooper Kupp202026222424
Allen Robinson212122272228
Alshon Jeffery222333242022
T.Y. Hilton232434101916
Mike Williams242628283230

The WR2 spot is where the honey pot is this week. Tyler Lockett ($6,800/$6,000/$22) is going to be wildly popular and for good reason. With question marks on the depth chart behind him, Lockett should dominate passing opportunities for the Seahawks. The Bengals allowed the eighth-most points to wideouts from the slot in 2018 where Lockett caught 26-of-29 targets in 2018 for 454 yards and five touchdowns.

Across the field from Lockett, the other Tyler is also a value. Tyler Boyd ($6,900/$5,800/$18) also has a ton of questions behind him on the Bengals depth chart and should see even more overall volume than Lockett will. Boyd accounted for 26 percent of Dalton’s targets this preseason.

Hyped all offseason, Chris Godwin ($6,900/$6,200/$20) finds himself in play to go along with Winston and Evans, who we touched on earlier. Godwin played 100 percent of the team snaps with Winston this preseason while the Buccaneers lost 29 percent of their receptions and receiving yardage in the departures of Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson

Kenny Golladay ($6,900/$6,300/$15) is the last universal value I’ll touch on here. Arizona is entering this Week 1 game with a skeleton crew on the back end. With a suspension to Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford suffering a broken leg, Arizona is forced to play Tramaine Brock, Byron Murphy, Charles Washington, and Chris Jones as their primary cornerbacks. Brock was the only one from that group to log a defensive snap in 2018 (437 snaps) and he’s on his fifth team in four seasons. Golladay appears to complete miss in pricing over on Yahoo and should be a part of your cash core over there.

WR3 (25-36) Plays

Player.5 RankPPR RankSharpFDYahooDK
D.J. Moore252531343426
Dede Westbrook262225444139
Will Fuller272923351838
Calvin Ridley282830253933
Marvin Jones Jr.293021365140
Josh Gordon303232303627
Jarvis Landry312727313525
Sterling Shepard323124375535
Dante Pettis333348264029
Curtis Samuel343636433354
Robby Anderson353740323832
Corey Davis363437334836

Following the same thoughts on Golladay, Marvin Jones ($6,100/$4,800/$14) is priced below his ranking across all three sites.

Dede Westbrook ($5,900/$4,800/$15) will have no shortage of fans this weekend and he popped up as a target in our game stacks article yesterday. Westbrook led the league in routes run from the slot in 2018 (493) and ranking fourth in receptions while lined up inside. Nick Foles threw to the slot 36.4 percent of the time in 2018, the highest rate of any quarterback behind Andrew Luck.

Speaking of that stacks article, both D.J. Moore ($6,200/$5,500/$16) and Curtis Samuel ($5,900/$4,200/$16) were targets for stacking in that game. Samuel’s best value comes on DraftKings.

He hasn’t had a ton of buzz this preseason due to a broken finger, but Sterling Shepard ($6,000/$5,000/$14) is firmly in play as an option to pivot off of some of the more noteworthy names here that have been talked about over the end of summer. Shepard received 26.3 percent of the team targets without Odell Beckham on the field last season as opposed to 17.4 percent prior a year ago. With no Golden Tate in the lineup due to suspension, Shepard should find a stable floor through overall volume.

TE1 (1-12) Plays

Player.5 RankPPR RankSharpFDYahooDK
Travis Kelce111111
George Kittle222222
Zach Ertz333323
O.J. Howard446474
Hunter Henry5656310
Evan Engram654555
Jared Cook777766
Vance McDonald88910228
David Njoku9101297211
Delanie Walker1091113814
Austin Hooper11118121519
Mark Andrews121220151324

It’s no surprise the big-three tight ends of the offseason are universally priced as the top-three options on each site. Where we can find a little more value is after them.

Hunter Henry runs into favorable pricing over on FanDuel ($6,100), but the best spot for him is at DraftKings ($3,900). Opposing tight ends scored 23.6 percent of the fantasy points allowed by the Colts to skill players, the highest rate in the league.

Near the lower end of the TE1 group, Austin Hooper ($5,500/$3,200/$13) comes in better than his pricing on all three sites, especially on DraftKings. Hooper was second on the Falcons in red zone targets in 2018 with 15 and the Vikings ranked 30th overall in the league a year ago in DVOA versus the tight end position.

Yahoo has Vance McDonald ($13) and David Njoku ($10) priced well outside of the starting range if you want to take advantage of their best pricing.

DST (1-12) Plays

PlayerFF ProsSharpFDYahooDK
Baltimore Ravens11131
Philadelphia Eagles22343
Seattle Seahawks3461312
Los Angeles Chargers46141114
Cleveland Browns538226
Dallas Cowboys652185
Denver Broncos711524
New York Jets87101011
Chicago Bears99412
Buffalo Bills108131713
Los Angeles Rams1113759
Minnesota Vikings12149128

I’m not going to go full breakdown on team defenses and special teams, but the Chargers ($4,000/$3,000/$16) picked up a ton of value on pricing stemming from the retirement of Andrew Luck

The Seahawks ($4,500/$3,100/$16), Browns ($4,300/$3,400/$12), Jets ($4,200/$3,100/$17), and Bills ($4,000/$3,000/$14) are the other sweeping values here for anybody not paying up for the Ravens or Eagles this weekend, while the Cowboys looked to be significantly mispriced over on Yahoo.