Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don’t, and you’re painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here’s our view on six intriguing over/unders for Week 1.
Donning the DFS cap, what commodity is terribly UNDERVALUED in Week 1?
Brad – DAK PRESCOTT ($20). Spencer Ware is the most obvious Manager’s Special, but Prescott isn’t far behind. New York’s front should be more rigid this season, but the back end remains susceptible. Of a spectacular Preseason in which he completed 78 percent of his passes and averaged 9.1 yards per attempt, I expected the unfazed rookie to bolt out of the gate. A final line around 280 combined yards with 2-3 touchdowns is very manageable. Keep in mind Giants corner Janoris Jenkins surrendered 22 touchdowns in his first four years in the league.
Dalton – SPENCER WARE ($12). Obviously these prices were made before news came out that Jamaal Charles is likely to miss this game, making Ware a top-10 fantasy back in Week 1 at a dirt cheap price. Expect his ownership numbers to approach 100% as a result. The Chargers allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season, and the Chiefs are at home and touchdown favorites.
Scott – You’ve heard me yap about SPENCER WARE ($12) all summer long, so I won’t continue about that. How about some CHRISTINE MICHAEL ($10) action against Miami? Thomas Rawls isn’t ready to go yet, and the Seahawks are a juicy 10.5-point choice at home. Game script shouldn’t be a problem here.
Conversely, what DFS option is the most OVERVALUED in Week 1?
Dalton – ELI MANNING ($35). He’s facing a Cowboys defense that yielded the fourth fewest fantasy points to opposing passers last season, and with Dak Prescott making his debut, Dallas will likely implement a slow, run-heavy game plan. Manning is just one dollar less than the most expensive quarterbacks in Week 1, and there are plenty of superior options with much better matchups who are cheaper.
Scott – I’m not ready to pay expectant numbers for JAMEIS WINSTON ($32) in a road game where he’s an underdog, even if Atlanta is no great shakes defensively. And if you think Winston is rushing in another six touchdowns this year, the Easter Bunny would like to have lunch with you.
Brandon – DEMARCO MURRAY ($21). He’s the 11th-highest priced RB this week against the nasty Linval Joseph-led Vikings defense. Not only is the matchup tough, but we know that some sort of platoon with Derrick Henry will be in place. Without the guarantee of high volume, I’m not paying a RB1 price for Murray this week.
DUMPSTER DIVING. With shovel in hand, what player under 25-percent started not named Spencer Ware should fantasy owners insert into their lineups?
Scott – Generally the time to get in on JARED COOK is the early part of the season, and now he’s with an elite quarterback for the first time in his career. C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me. And with Jordy Nelson not up to full speed yet, the Packers might need their big tight end in scoring position.
Brandon – PHILLIP DORSETT. Lions CB Darius Slay is the only concern for the Indy wideouts, and he’ll likely be locking horns with Donte Moncrief and/or T.Y. Hilton in this contest. That should open up some opportunities for the second-year burner Dorsett against a Detroit defense that was one of five to allow a QB Rating of 100-plus last season.
Andy – BROCK OSWEILER. WILL FULLER. Ron Dayne. Kevin Walter. Samkon Gado. You get the idea. You’ll want to start your Texans this week, facing a Bears D that’s already damaged (no McPhee, injured corners). I’m expecting the first week of the Osweiler era to go very well.
ROOKIE WRANGLE. What first-year wide receiver will make the biggest splash in his regular season debut: Corey Coleman (vs. Phi), Will Fuller (vs. Chi), Tajae Sharpe (vs. Min) or Sterling Shepard (at Dal)?
Brandon – SHEPARD. Shepard’s got the highest floor as a superb route runner with great hands and after-the-catch ability. And when it comes to rookies playing in their first NFL game, I’m going to lean towards the safest option. Fuller and Coleman have the best chance to blow the cover off a defense for a long gainer or two, but Shepard’s the best bet to return at least an average WR tally in Week 1.
Andy – Well, I suppose I answered this one in the question above. I’ll take WILL FULLER this week. He won’t see a double-team all year, while ‘Nuk is on the field. This week’s matchup is tremendous. Fuller’s first-year teammate Braxton Miller should make noise as well.
Liz – SHEPARD. Fuller’s appeal is obvious (and he might just find his way onto my deep sleepers list come Friday), but Shepard boasts a much more diverse skill set. And the matchup vs. Dallas is solid. The ‘Boys pass rush is far from fierce, and their DBs (even when healthy) are barely effective. In fact, together Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr have forced one INT over the past two seasons. Shepard may not have Fuller’s home run appeal in Week 1, but he also isn’t as likely to strike out.
Robert Griffin III, who is blessed with a generous matchup against the Carson Wentz-led Eagles, combined yards in his Browns regular season debut 279.5.
Andy – UNDER, which is not to say I dislike Griffin this week. I’m just not crazy about his receivers at this stage, and my assumption is the team would love to ride Crowell and Duke. I’d give RG3 a shot at a quality week, but I’m thinking 215 and 45 with a pair of TDs. That’ll play.
Liz – UNDER. I dig a redemption story, but I have trouble believing RG3’s will begin in Week 1, or before Josh Gordon returns, for that matter. Given the Browns’ green receiving corps, and taking into consideration a game script that figures to be exceedingly run focused, I think an immediate comeback narrative is wholly unlikely.
Brad – OVER. Even without Josh Gordon, the Man Bun has enough weapons to uncork against a weak secondary. Corey Coleman and Terrelle Pryor are Lamborghinis who should take advantage of loose coverage issued by Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin. Pocket time is always a concern with RGIII, especially when matched against enforcer Fletcher Cox, but his strong arm and scrambling ability should give the Eagles fits at times. Mark me down for roughly 290 (255 pass, 35 rush) combined yards with two scores.
Thomas Rawls, who missed much of the preseason recuperating from an ankle injury that derailed his rookie campaign, total standard fantasy points versus Miami 8.9.
Liz – UNDER. Christine Michael’s “awakening” has afforded Seattle the luxury of easing Rawls back in. With no reason to rush the second-season RB into action and face a potential setback or re-injury, Rawls can use Week 1 to shake off rust. In fact, Pete Carroll admitted that Rawls’ touches would be limited in the season opener. The chances of the 23-year-old rushing for over 100 yards or finding the end zone are slim enough to relegate him to the dreaded RB3/RB4 bubble.
Brad – UNDER. Pete Carroll reiterated Wednesday he plans to employ Rawls as though it were Preseason Week 2, which means he may only see action on 2-3 series. The RB’s sluggish recovery and with Christine Michael listed atop the depth chart, it’s doubtful he records more than 10-12 touches, even in a favorable matchup. And it’s anyone’s best guess who’ll earn goal-line work. Something in range of 50-55 yards without a touchdown feels right.
Dalton – UNDER. I’m still bullish on Rawls this season, but in his first action back, I’m expecting Christine Michael to lead Seattle’s backfield in touches Week 1. It’s a strong matchup with the Seahawks 10.5-point favorites, so game script could lead to plenty of rushing attempts overall, but I’ll say Rawls falls a bit shy of this number. He still has the upside to be a top fantasy RB moving forward though.