Not thrilled with how your season-long fantasy football drafted unfolded? Fear not. Daily fantasy football is here to help.
DFS allows you to build a new lineup each week, which can serve as a saving grace for diehard fantasy players who might have caught a tough break in their respective leagues (we’re sorry for anyone who drafted Andrew Luck and/or Melvin Gordon).
Week 1 always is a roll of the dice for DFS, but here’s our “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,700)
Following Nick Foles’ recent stretch of magic, Wentz likely will be playing with a chip on his shoulder this season as he vies to return to his 2017 Pro Bowl form. What better way to get the ball rolling than a home game against the Washington Redskins, who are poised to be one of the NFL’s worst teams this season. Foles’ arsenal of weapons is loaded with deep threats, and the Redskins’ secondary — even with the addition of safety Landon Collins — is shaping up to be rather porous. It could be raining touchdown passes in Philly on Sunday afternoon.
Running Backs: Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets ($7,100); Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers ($5,500)
Bell had a simple message for Jets head coach Adam Gase earlier this week: “Don’t hold back.” The star running back is ready to roll with his new team, and it sounds like he’ll consistently be given the rock in Week 1. New York will be tasked with a tough customer in the Buffalo Bills, but from a sheer volume standpoint alone, Bell is more than worth a nod.
As for Ekeler, it’s now his time to shine as Gordon continues his contract holdout. The 24-year-old already has proven to be a more-than-capable dual-threat back, and he’ll certainly be looking to make the most of his opportunity. Expect a high number of touches for Ekeler as the Bolts open up their season at home against the Indianapolis Colts.
Wide Receivers: Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings ($6,800); Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions ($6,300); Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,800)
Thielen has been a monster in recent years, collecting a combined 273 catches for 3,616 yards with 18 touchdowns over the past three seasons. Week 1 presents a favorable matchup for the Vikings wideout, as the Atlanta Falcons were one of the worst pass-defending teams in 2018 and are primed to follow suit this season.
Golladay is in line to be one of the NFL’s breakout stars in 2019. After playing third fiddle to Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. as a rookie, Golladay showed flashes of what he’s capable of last season and became a favorite target of Matthew Stafford. He’ll catch a break Sunday, as Arizona Cardinals star cornerback Patrick Peterson will be inactive due to suspension. Expect Golladay to feast on inferior competition.
It’s tough to project what the Jaguars’ defense will look like with Foles under center. But we know the Super Bowl LII MVP likes to throw the long ball, and Westbrook is pretty darn good at stretching the field. The fourth-year pro could be in store for a big day against a lackluster Kansas City Chiefs defense, which also will have to deal with borderline tortuous Jacksonville temperatures which are expected to creep into the high-90s Sunday.
Tight End: O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($5,000)
Consistently productive fantasy tight ends are tough to come by these days, but Howard is in line to be among this group. Jameis Winston seems to always have his eye on the Alabama product, who should benefit week in and week out from the heavy attention directed at star wideout Mike Evans. The San Francisco 49ers were pretty good at defending tight ends last season, but don’t let that scare you away from giving Howard a look.
Flex: Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers ($5,000)
Coleman’s workload is expected to increase now that Jerick McKinnon officially has been ruled out for the season. Matt Breida technically sits atop the 49ers’ running back depth chart, but it likely will be tough for Kyle Shanahan to keep Coleman on the sideline. Coleman often looked to be on a level playing field with two-time Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman in Atlanta, and his versatility should be put to great use in the Bay.
Defense: Baltimore Ravens ($3,800)
Let’s not overthink this one. The Ravens are poised to have a downright nasty defense this season, and the Miami Dolphins will be hard-pressed to score points each week, regardless of whether Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen are under center.
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images