The NFL is back, which means that its offspring – fantasy football – is also back. Spending time, money, and effort on it is as American as apple pie at this point. What’s more American than cheering for your favorite football team, but hoping that they get torched by Jamaal Charles because you have him in fantasy and you’d rather see your team suffer than have your aunt get the W over you this week?
The latest big trend in fantasy football has been the rise of one-day sites like DraftKings, which let you build a roster and win money based on the team you throw together. Check them out this weekend, as they’re putting together the biggest fantasy contest ever, with a $10 million purse. If you want to throw together a team, here’s a handy guide for you to follow. We guarantee that, if you follow it, you will have a team that could potentially, hopefully, maybe be successful.
- Definite buy – Aaron Rodgers vs. Chicago ($8,600)
- Definite pass – Russell Wilson vs. St. Louis ($7,800)
- Value buy – Sam Bradford vs. Atlanta ($6,900)
The Bears are morally opposed to playing any kind of defense and Rodgers torched them for 10 total touchdowns this year. If you have to splurge on one dude, pick him. Wilson is a weird pick this week, just because he can probably throw on St. Louis, but that front seven is nasty and should be able to slow him down a bit. He was also dynamite in one game last year against the Rams (313 passing yards, 106 rushing yards, three total touchdowns) and bad in the other (239 passing yards, seven rushing yards, no touchdowns). Regardless, pass on Wilson for now. If you want an unheralded guy, look right at Bradford, who should put up some silly numbers in Chip Kelly’s offense and throw all over the Falcons. He’s the 14th most expensive QB on DraftKings this week, and he very well could be in the top-5 in production by the time the games end Monday.
- Definite buy – Eddie Lacy vs. Chicago ($7,500)
- Definite pass – C.J. Anderson vs. Baltimore ($7,000)
- Value buy – Tevin Coleman vs. Philadelphia ($4,800)
The Eagles weren’t exactly stout against the run last year, as they were 15th in rushing defense and 21st in rushing touchdowns. Coleman is really cheap and is going to get the start this week, so if you wanna save some money, take him. Anderson is this year’s requisite guy who everyone thinks will break out in a big way, but he’s going up against a nasty Baltimore defense in week one, so wait a little before getting him on your squad. As for Lacy, he’s one of the best backs in the league and while Chicago’s rushing defense was better than its aforementioned passing defense, it still wasn’t great. Get that guy on your team.
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- Definite buy – Dez Bryant vs. New York Giants ($8,700)
- Definite pass – T.Y. Hilton vs. Buffalo ($7,600)
- Value buy – Larry Fitzgerald vs. New Orleans ($5,500)
Andrew Luck has shown over the last few years that he loves going to Hilton in the passing game, but Buffalo’s defense – which was really good last year – now has Rex Ryan coaching it up and very well could be the best in the NFL. Plus this is Hilton’s first game since a concussion a few weeks back, so go in an opposite direction this week. Maybe try out Fitzgerald, who is playing with his No. 1 QB and without Michael Floyd lining up across from him against a middling Saints defense this week. He’s not the superdupermega star that he used to be, but when he needs to get the job done, he will. As for Bryant, he’s still awesome, and without an established running back in Dallas, it’s safe to assume that Tony Romo will look toward No. 88 early and often.
- Definite buy – Jordan Cameron vs. Washington ($3,800)
- Definite pass – Travis Kelce vs. Houston ($4,800)
- Value buy – Larry Donnell vs. Dallas ($3,200)
Tight ends are weird, because most people’s strategy is “I get Gronk and I win and if not I kinda just sit and wait and see what I have left after I build the rest of my team.” If you have enough left over to get Kelce, exercise some caution, because while he is really good, the Texans allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season. Cameron and Donnell aren’t too far apart in terms of price, but they’re both going up against relatively bad defenses against tight ends (Washington was 29th in fantasy scoring for the position last year, Dallas was 32nd).
- Definite buy – Seattle vs. St. Louis ($3,400)
- Definite pass – Denver vs. Baltimore ($2,800)
- Value buy – Minnesota vs. San Francisco ($2,800)
When in doubt, take Seattle’s defense. Also when in doubt, take a cheap, not horrible defense that is going up against a rough offense, like Minnesota’s unit against San Francisco. As for a definite pass on one unit, there aren’t too many great teams with bad matchups this week, so just avoid the Broncos’ defense against a solid Baltimore offense.
Remember, this weekend, DraftKings has a first-week draft. To win, you need to:
- Draft your best roster with 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex and 1 Defense, and a $50,000 salary cap.
- Watch the leaderboards to see where you land.
- The top 125,700 teams win money, guaranteed. But if you get first place, you win $2 million. Second isn’t too shabby either, with $1 million.
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