In this weekly article, we’ll use the early betting lines from Vegas to take a deeper look at which games to target and avoid for NFL DFS. Implied team totals have positive correlations with fantasy output, especially for quarterbacks. Plus, we’ll highlight some potentially under the radar teams with high implied team totals despite a lower over/under. Note that these lines will probably change over the course of the week, which is why we call it ‘starting’ points.
The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
Dallas at LA Chargers, Total 55
It’s interesting to me that the Chargers are favored here after Dallas had an impressive showing against one of the league’s best defenses in the season opener. The Chargers won against another very good unit in Washington, so I guess we’re looking at a standard home field advantage spread here. I’m favoring the Cowboys for fantasy, with Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb as the primary offensive force. Lamb had a couple terrible drops, but bounced back with seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets. Cooper proved the more reliable receiver with 13 catches on 16 targets for 139 yards and two scores. Since Michael Gallup was injured in the game, we should expect similarly high volume from these two going forward. Ezekiel Elliott profiles as more of a GPP play this week, since it seems clear that Dallas intends to be a pass-first offense. Still, Elliott can be dangerous and did have two red zone targets in Week 1. The loss of Gallup may increase an already decent usage for Dalton Schultz. Schultz caught all six of his targets and was more involved than Blake Jarwin. If the TE salary window for Schultz is right, I’m ok with it, but not going after him or forcing him into lineups.
The Chargers scored only 20 points in Week 1, but Justin Herbert threw the ball 47 times, for 337 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen were his favorite targets, with the big surprise being the total lack of separation between the two. Williams scored the lone passing touchdown and looks like he could be a great value in this game (check out his $5600 FanDuel salary). Austin Ekeler was not at all involved in the passing game, but did rush 15 times and score once. It’s only one game, but as this profiles as a shootout, I’m reluctant to spend up on Ekeler at this point in my preparation. Herbert should exceed his Week 1 production in a much more fantasy-friendly game environment.
Tennessee at Seattle, Total 54.5
Wow, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson had something special going on in Week 1. They’re going to be obvious this week given the high implied team total for Seattle, but don’t forget about D.K. Metcalf. He’s now cheaper than Lockett on FanDuel, and only $1 separates them on Yahoo. Any week can be Metcalf’s week to shine, and Tennessee certainly made Kyler Murray, Christian Kirk and DeAndre Hopkins look good in Week 1. I’m betting more of the same lax Titans’ defense is in store for the Seahawks, making them a top stacking option (check back on Thursday for more on this). Again, I’m sticking with the passing game for Seattle, although Chris Carson was clearly the lead back with 19 total touches. If he were a little cheaper, I’d be more enthusiastic about him.
The Titans were a major disappointment in Week 1, although I’m not sure if everyone really believed that Ryan Tannehill could be as effective and efficient as he was last year. The Arizona defense definitely got after him, with six sacks. He divided targets pretty evenly between A.J. Brown, Julio Jones and the lead receiver, Chester Rogers. It was Brown who scored the touchdown, and he remains the safest Titans’ receiver to roster, but I think there are better cash game options for the money.
Minnesota at Arizona, Total 51
I’m probably most excited to see if the Cardinals can follow up their dramatic win over Tennessee vs. Minnesota. With Hopkins and Kirk both catching two touchdowns, I expect their roster percentages to be sky high this weekend. However, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green both saw 5-6 targets as well, in the same range as the two stars, and all four had at least one red zone target. Hopkins remains the preferred cash game play, while the others can all be used in tournaments. Chase Edmonds is the safer RB play, though James Conner is not nothing. Conner rushed 16 times, included four carries inside the 20-yard line. Neither had great efficiency on the ground, but Edmonds was the recipient of four targets, which made the difference in the box score. The Cardinals defense was the best of the week, with six sacks and three takeaways, while allowing only 13 points to the Titans. They are still one of the cheaper units, and since this game has such a high point total, they are a risk. But maybe not a bad one, given that the Vikings allowed three sacks to Cincinnati last week.
Kirk Cousins was sacked three times in the overtime loss to the Bengals in Week 1, but he did a lot right in that game. He was one of the highest volume passers with 49 attempts, completing 73.5 percent for 351 yards and two touchdowns. Adam Thielen was a star, but Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn both saw nine targets in the game. Thielen is still cheaper than Jefferson on DraftKings and Yahoo, but like Metcalf and Lockett, the better play will be different every week. Osborn as the WR3 is going to have utility some weeks as well, and this potential shootout is one of them. Count me among those who didn’t see this volume coming, but with a minimum salary, Osborn could bring a lot of value to your lineups this weekend. Dalvin Cook was his usual self, with 20 rushes and six catches on seven targets with one touchdown and one fumble lost. I’m leaning more toward the Vikings passing game, but Cook is almost never a really bad play.
Editor's Note: Looking for an added edge? Dominate all season long with our DFS Toolkit. Use our Lineup Optimizer to come up with winning lineups for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo! Click here for more!
New England at NY Jets, Total 43
New England with Mac Jones is interesting, with Jones playing an efficient and safe game. He passed 39 times for 281 yards and a touchdown in the narrow loss to Miami. Jakobi Meyers was the top target, though Nelson Agholor was the better fantasy receiver. Damien Harris was effective on the ground with 100 yards rushing and another 17 receiving. Any of these Patriots’ skill players would make for an ok lineup filler where they are most affordable, but given the low game total on this one, I’m not rushing to force them in or stack them.
The Jets still have a long way to go, but I saw a lot of good things in Week 1, including the obvious connection between Zach Wilson and Corey Davis. Braxton Berrios was also heavily targeted, while the run game lagged behind. Three backs split the duties, with Tevin Coleman getting more touches than both Michael Carter and Ty Johnson. None of the Jets make my Week 2 lineups against a good New England defense. Speaking of which, the Jets and Wilson gave up six sacks vs. Carolina, which combined with the low total makes the Patriots D/ST a nice option.
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta, Total 52.5
Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Godwin, and even maybe Mike Evans. So much power. The toughest thing with this team in a dream matchup is choosing whom to roster. Godwin saw by far the most targets, though Brown and Gronk both outscored him in the box score. My best advice is to multi-enter and hedge this team…with the highest implied team total, one of your stacks with Brady is likely to hit. Leonard Fournette was the clear lead back with 16 total touches including seven targets. He didn’t score, but that won’t always be the case and Atlanta is typically a run-friendly defense.
Cleveland vs. Houston, Total 48
First off, Houston was not nearly as bad as I expected, even in the soft matchup with the Jaguars. They were the fourth-highest scoring team in Week 1, which no one saw coming. It was a distributed attack, with Mark Ingram III and Brandin Cooks leading the way. It’ll be a tougher test this week and Vegas isn’t buying the good game from Houston. Still, Cooks could be a sneaky lineup filler again this week. The Browns are where it’s at with this line. Nick Chubb should be very highly rostered this weekend, with Kareem Hunt also in consideration. Baker Mayfield threw the ball only 28 times, which has been the team’s preference, so although Jarvis Landry made the most of his five targets, five targets isn’t something I’m aiming for with my lineups. There are too many guys in his price range with way more upside than Landry.