After Sunday Night’s $4 win in Draft King’s showdown during New England’s 33-3 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Steelers, we are excited to enter this line-up into Monday night’s classic game. The slate features a cross conference showdown in New Orleans with DeShaun Watson bringing his fireworks against future Hall of Famer Drew Brees followed by a divisional contest in Oakland with Broncos coming to town.
DeShaun Watson stack
While Houston’s offensive line makes us a bit nervous, the addition of Laremy Tunsil should help Watson connect with DeAndre Hopkins and a healthy (for now) Will Fuller. The o/u sits at 52.5 and has all the makings of a shootout.
Carlos Hyde the lead back?
Hyde, signed after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs, potentially slides into the lead back role after running back Lamar Miller suffered a season ending torn ACL in the preseason.
Are Williams and Sutton the 1?
After releasing Antonio Brown and his prompt signing with the New England Patriots, Tyrell Williams enters Week 1 as quarterback David Carr’s top target and could avoid top corner Chris Harris. Courtland Sutton, entering his second year and teamed with veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, showing he still has some arm, is expected to matchup with the Raiders’ Garreon Conley, entering his third season. Sutton is big, physical and the new trend is for receivers to break out in their second year.
Emmanuel Sanders enters his age 32 season and is returning from injury as the Broncos face a Raiders defense expected to struggle. We are all in on Sutton this year emerging as true #1 receiver for this offense.
After a Thursday night top half finish in showdown, we are excited to enter the Sunday Classic featuring the 1pm EST and 4pm EST games for a total of twelve games. We’ve slipped the coin and decided to stack Minnesota, at home, making the difficult decision over stacking Tampa at home. In Famous Jameis we trust to chuck the ball 50 times a game. Also, a Jacksonville Contrarian Stack is being considered.
Cousins at home
At quarterback, we like Kirk Cousins ($5,500). Minnestoa plays a Falcons team healthy defensively for the first time since Week 1 of the 2018 season, returning stud linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal. Questions abound for second year corner Isaiah Oliver and a year older Desmond Trufant. The potential for Diggs to miss the game makes Cousins’ more attractive for a stack as he theoretically feeds fewer option in higher volume.
Offensively, the Falcons return a healthy Devonta Freeman with Calvin Ridley entering his second season and Mohamed Sanu always a threat. Revamping the right side of the offensive line in the 2019 NFL Draft will be evaluated for the first time with first rounders Chris Lindstrom at right guard and Kaleb McGary at right tackle. The game sits at 47 o/u, third highest on the slate of weekend games, and has all the makings of a shootout as Minnesota will be forced to throw to keep up.
The danger is Atlanta displaying amazinglyleet defense.
The Minnesota Stack
Everyone is expecting big things from Dalvin Cook ($6,000), and he’s almost a must play in GPP games. Especially since Cook will be playing in Gary Kubiak’s apparently magical zone blocking scheme. The prospect of Diggs not playing make Adam Thielen ($6,800) and Kyle Rudolph ($3,300) strong plays on potential volume and an attractive Vikings stack.
Value in Ekeler and Godwin
Chris Godwin ($6,200) is expected to catch 100 passes this season on the road in a game with a 51 o/u. Melvin Gordon III contract talks with the Los Angeles Chargers are suspended meaning Ekeler ($5,500) enters Week 1 as the lead back against the Indianapolis Colts. The o/u sits at 44.5 with the Chargers by 6.5.
Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement leaves Jacoby Brissett, and his fresh $30MM dollar contract, positioning to lead the Colts to the land of competitiveness. The Chargers will be a popular pick in Eliminator games but buyer beware: a Colts team suddenly “terrible” without Andrew Luck, no Derwin James, an overlooked Indianapolis pass defense … this game has all the makings of an upset with Indianapolis a solid bet at +6.5.
DeDe Westbrook + Julio Jones
Julio Jones ($8,000) will be up against 29 year old Xavier Rhodes while second year corner Mike Hughes, working his way back from injury, will miss the opener, making second year man Alexander Mackensie next man up. Harrison Smith is a beast at strong safety yet the departure of free safety Andrew Sandejo leaves the unproven Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, and Jayron Kearse to fill the void.
Dede Westbrook ($4,800) is expected to break out this season with developing chemistry in the preseason with new Jaguars’ quarterback Nick Foles highlighting potential. The Kansas City Chiefs are coming to town, testing one of the top defenses (heading into Week 1), and are expected to enter the season with all cylinders firing offensively.
Jacksonville was the only team preventing Patrick Mahomes from thorwing a touchdown pass last season. The o/u sits at 51.5. While Jacksonville would like to establish the run with Leonard Fournette, Foles may be pressed into throwing the ball forty times.
Baltimore the defense to roster
The Ravens ($3,800) open on the road against a Miami Dolphins team in complete rebuild mode. Intermittent rain is possible during the game and with Baltimore looking to run the ball this has all the makings of a 30-0 road shutout to open the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick will sling it and this game could be one of Fitzpatrick’s four interception gems. Baltimore is the most likely team to score a defensive or special teams touchdown Week 1.
The Tampa Stack
There’s some kind of illness “bug” affecting Mike Evans’ status for Sunday with the “bug” now affecting rookie linebacker Devin White, selected fifth overall this past April. Game temperatures are expected to be 110 so Evans will most likely sweat it out. Ekeler and Cook are must plays.
Jacksonville contrarian stack
This option is still a work in progress.
Week 1 Picks
Green Bay over Chicago (+145).
Sunday Early Games
Tennessee (+6.0,-120) over Cleveland. We like Tennesse SU (+210) but will we actually make the bet SU or play it safe and take the points? Tennessee has the makings of top five defensive unit while the Browns are still the Browns. The computer models “loving” the Browns this weekend makes us like this bet even more.
Baltimore over Miami (-310). Safe money?
Sunday Late Games
Indianapolis (+6.5, -110). We like Indianapolis SU (+240) as this defense is being undervalued while the Chargers offense is being over valued in the Week 1 mist.
Sunday Night Game
New England (-145) at home against the Steelers. We’ll bet the Grand Master and the GOAT open the season at home with a win with Antonio Brown playing 30 snaps.
Monday Night Games
Houston (+7, -120) at New Orleans. Can the Houston offensive line give Watson the time he needs? Lattimore v. Hopkins? How does the departed Jadaveon Clowney impact Houston’s defense? The safe bet is New Orleans at home (-300).
Denver (-120) at Oakland. Road division game, no Antonio Brown, Denver’s edge rush will be delightful to watch all season and Joe Flacco shows he still has the arm.
Week 1 of the 2019 NFL Season has finally arrived with a divisional NFC North game featuring Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers traveling to Chicago with Mitchell Trubisky leading a hungry Bears team. Are you going to play Thursday Night Showdown on Draft Kings? We are and you see our team.
All Important Captain Spot
We chose Trubisky ($17,400) because Green Bay’s defense is supposedly soft and Trubisky is playing at home. Stacking in a guaranteed prize pool game is a strategy and Trubisky, in our opinion, had a better stack than Rodgers, preferring to avoid the current coin toss of Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
We run a two QB team in showdown
Aaron Rodgers ($12,400) is 16-5 in his career against the Bears and we all remember last year when Rodgers returned from injury against the Bears, in the first game of the season for both teams in 2018, with the Packers prevailing However, we have to free up the salary cap, especially when the QB is our captain for the game, earning 1.5 fantasy points yet costing 1.5 More to roster. Trubisky is over looked as a potential captain.
Kickers free up money in showdown
Mason Crosby ($3,200) is a safe kicker play as the Chicago kicking game remains to be proven. Even if Trey Burton plays, Adam Shaheen ($400) offeres tremendous upside value and meets our goals for this week’s Thursday game.
Stacking the Chicago Run Game
Stacking, a strategy, offers some home run capability. David Montgomery ($8,200) will be heavily owned as many expect volume against a below average Packer defense. Speculation abounds regarding Tarik Cohen ($8,400) being less involved, leading to more optimism regarding Montgomery’s total touches. However, we’ll believe it when we see it. Last season, Cohen had six games with at least five carries and five receptions. Cohen had six or more receptions in six games. We’re gambling this is a 37.5% game for Cohen where he has at least ten touches with five receptions with a 5/16 chance Cohen scores a TD on a reception, from our captain. Good luck all.
2019 Fantasy Football has four clear top draft choices. Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara. You’ve been dealt pick 5, 6 or 7, where do you go with your first round pick?
The top four running backs are off the board and
Running back a must in round 1
Looking past Gordon and Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, James Connor, Joe Mixon and Todd Gurley (ADP of 2.02 because of knee concerns) all make sense over Hopkins (1.07), Davante Adams (1.08), and Michael Thomas (1.10) in the first round because wide receiver is so deep when compared to a top-flight PPR running back.
The fantasy teams selecting Hopkins, Adams, and Thomas in the first round will be pressed into selecting Damien Williams (2.08), Dalvin Cook (2.05) (can’t stay healthy), and Nick Chubb (2.09) as their #1 running back. Meanwhile, teams who went running back in round 1 no matter what (think Sonny Weaver) will clean up on Antonio Brown (2.06), Mike Evans (2.08), Adam Thielen (2.10), and T.Y. Hilton (2.12) in the second round as their #1 wide receivers.
Wide Receiver in first two rounds?
When Hopkins, Adams, and Thomas come off the board picks five through twelve in your draft, one of those teams will not be able to pass on the likes of Julio Jones (1.11), Odell Beckham Jr. (2.02), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (2.04). These teams will have selected two wide receivers in the first two rounds and be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to risk. The number one goal in fantasy football is mitigating risk in what amounts to a weekly game.
Selecting from Devonta Freeman (3.03), Leonard Fournette (3.04), Josh Jacobs (3.07), Marlon Mack (3.06), Aaron Jones (3.10), and Derrick Henry (3.12) as your #1 running back results in a heavy load of anxiety and question marks. I’m drafting Keenan Allen (3.02), Amari Cooper (3.04), A.J. Green (3.06), Stefon Diggs (3.11), and Julian Edelman (4.02) ahead of any of the running backs listed above because I selected a running back in round 1, no matter what, and the listed RBs above are full of risk and question marks.
When I select third in the draft (Alvin Kamara), followed by Mike Evans (ADP 2.08) and Keenan Allen (ADP 3.03) in the third round, the foundation is greater than a team selecting a wide receiver in the first two rounds. There will be a breaking point if the first seven draft picks in your league are running backs. The eighth overall pick will be forced into a wide receiver, most likely Hopkins, followed by a run on Adams, Thomas, and Jones.
Fantasy drafts are about the first four picks
Analyzing drafts from my own league the past 25 years, the first four rounds are crucial. Successful teams, the first four picks usually panned out while unsuccessful teams traditionally blew their third-round pick. Injury? The invariable variable, ask David Johnson owners in 2017.
In a league starting three wide receivers, plus a flex, RB, WR, WR, WR in the first four rounds mitigate risk. Kamara, Evans, Allen, with the possibility of Brandin Cooks (4.06), Kenny Golladay (4.08) and Robert Woods (4.09) as a third wide receiver makes me feel better than a team consisting of Hopkins, Cook, Cooper, with a running back like Phillip Lindsay (4.04), Sony Michel (4.05), or David Montgomery (4.07) in the fourth round. The issue with all three of these running backs is the number of touches per game.
Fifth Round – The make or break round
RB, WR, WR, WR, with quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers (5.05) and DeShaun Watson (5.11) could make the fifth round easy. Obviously, you’re looking for another running back with Kenyan Drake (5.04) and James White (5.08) among the choices. Your roster requires a tight end, O.J Howard (5.06) and Eric Ebron (6.02) are available in the fifth round range. Obviously, Howard has tremendous upside yet has trouble staying healthy and Cameron Brate is still in the picture. Howard is the fourth tight end off the board behind Travis Kelce (2.05), Zach Ertz (3.01) and George Kittle (3.07).
Flex decision? Perhaps a fourth wide receiver? Sammy Watkins (5.03), Chris Godwin (5.05), Tyler Lockett (5.07), Jarvis Landry (5.07) and Mike Williams (5.12) all offer intrigue. Williams (no Tyrell Williams) and Godwin (no Adam Humphries in a wide open offense) are the best choices among this group.
My selection? Watson. He’s the top QB in fantasy this season. These are the kind of things you hope when selecting any fantasy player.
Tevin Coleman, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers
The 2019 NFL Season is a mere 100 days away and fantasy mock drafts are gearing up establishing Average Draft Position (ADP) for each player. Who can you target after Round 5 to win you a title?
Coleman sits with a current ADP of 6.05 after signing a two year, $10 million contract with the Niners this past off season. Coleman’s explosiveness, evident in 2017 when he totals 927 yards on just 183 touches with 11 touchdowns, was on full display in 2018. An injury to Devonta Freeman in Atlanta sees Coleman start 14 games, rush for 800 yards, adding 32 receptions, and score nine touchdowns, though Coleman mysteriously lost touches to Ito Smith.
Jerrick McKinnon returns from injury in 2019 and Matt Breida cannot stay healthy, resulting in Coleman as the lead back in San Francisco. Grabbing a top tier running back in round one, followed by three wide receivers or a top tier tight end in the next few rounds, will leave your roster light at the running back position. Coleman is an ideal back to target.
Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans
Can Fuller stay healthy an entire season? The fourth
David Njoku, Tight End, Cleveland Browns
The Baker Mayfield hype in Cleveland is real. Njoku, in his third year, is an ideal breakout candidate. Tony Gonzalez burst on the scene in his third year producing 76 receptions for 849 yards with 11 touchdowns. Njoku, after two seasons, has twice as many touchdowns (8) as Gonzalez after his second season in Kansas City. Njoku’s and Gonzalez’ receptions and yards from their second seasons are nearly identical. Fantasy football is all about mystical connections.
Njoku, with an ADP of 8.01, is being drafted after Vance McDonald from Pittsburgh, Jared Cook from New Orleans, and Hunter Hunter, returning from injury for the Los Angeles Chargers. The addition of Odell Beckham Jr., plus the continued development Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins, and Landry’s studliness from the slot creates the kind of opportunity for Njoku owners to profit.
Marvin Jones Jr., Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions
Jones Jr., sitting with an ADP of 11.08 offers ideal upside since target monger Golden Tate will be speding his days playing for the New York Giants. Everyone is raving about 8th overall draft pick T.J. Hockenson at tight end, however, the signing of Jesse James is flying under the radar. In 2017, Jones Jr. led the NFL at 18.0 yards per reception, producing 1101 yards with nine touchdowns. Injuries in 2018 keeps Jones Jr., and the Detroit Lions, under the radar during the 2019 NFL Season.
Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions
Stafford is playing for his wife, recovering from a brain tumor. Think about the movie Rocky where Rock is struggling with his training and Adrian, pregnant, suffers a complication forcing her into a coma. Adrian comes through, saying “win rocky. Win.” Stafford, entering his 11th season, has not missed a game since 2010. The receivers are there, running back Kerryon Johnson is expecting to be ready for training camp, and the offensive line will be better.
New offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is a run heavy coordinator on the surface, however, when the running backs are old school between the tackles Hall of Famers like Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch, the statistics are going to be skewed. My expectation, after Bevell sitting out a year, is a downfield aerial attack. Stafford as a back-up in the 14th round could be fantasy gold.
Photo by Author
The 2019 Detroit Lions could be full of fantasy football studs you steal in the fifth round and beyond in your 2019 Fantasy Football Draft. Frank Ragnow, expecting a move to his natural position of center and Graham Glasgow moving to his natural position of guard, gives quarterback Matthew Stafford better protection to uncork a Top 5 NFL offense.
Maybe. The 2019 NFL Season is four months away. Anything can happen and every franchise fan base has something to be excited about until the games take place. Running back Kerryon Johnson, expecting to be fully healthy at the start of training camp, sits with an ADP of 4.9 in a ten team PPR league. Better offensive line play resulting in fluid opportunity for the second year back out of Auburn to steal the show in the Motor City during the 2019 NFL Season. There’s also a chance stud route running and receiving back Theo Riddick will not be on the Lions’ final 53-man roster, although signing C.J. Anderson could raise concern on Johnson’s touch total.
Solid options at Wide Receiver
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay (5.3 ADP) and fellow wideout Marvin Jones Jr., an absolute steal (11.06 ADP), both could eclipse 1,000 yards during the 2019 NFL Season with double digit touchdowns. Danny Amendola could have fantasy viability from the slot although I expect second year man Brandon Powell to surprise. Powell produced six catches for 103 yards Week 17 in 2018 during a 31-0 meaningless win against the Green Bay Packers. Trading target monger Golden Tate in 2018 to the Philadelphia Eagles creates 130+ targets requiring redistribution and spreading these targets among Golladay and Jones creates new, ripe, under the radar opportunity.
Hockenson the answer in 2019?
Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson, selected eighth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, holds an ADP of 13.03. Lions nation can hope Hockenson blossoms in his second year, similar to George Kittle in San Francisco, as rookie tight ends are not historically a difference maker in the passing game. Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, catching 33 passes with two touchdowns in his first season and finishing his first two NFL seasons with four career touchdowns set the standard for a tight end to breakout in their third year. Antonio Gates, catching 24 passes for 389 yards with two touchdowns in his rookie year, burst on the scene in his second season with 81 receptions and 13 touchdowns. Rob Gronkowsi, in his first season, caught 42 passes for 546 yards and ten touchdowns and is the best Lions nation can hope in 2019 from their rookie tight end. Hockenson’s blocking in the run game could help spring Johnson loose. Matthew Stafford is being drafted in the 16th round or beyond and could have a 5,000 yard season with 40 touchdowns, producing just such a season in 2011.
Stout defense in the Motor City?
Second year head coach Matt Patricia, signing former New England defensive end Trey Flowers to a mega contract, lauded for drafting cornerback Amani Oruwariye in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and trading for nickel corner Justin Coleman, hopes to solidify a pass defense anchored by the aging Darius Slay and missing all-world free safety Glover Quin. Second round linebacker Jahlani Tavai was a curious selection, berated by nearly all analysts, and currently sits behind middle linebacker Jarrad Davis on the depth chart. Linebackers in coverage will continue to be a hole on the 2019 version of the Lions and is the reason Devin Bush was a better selection at eight overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh, trading up to draft Bush tenth overall, exemplifies “the rich” franchises from the “poor” franchises.
Detroit, ranking tenth overall in total defense by yards allowed and eighth overall against the pass by total yards allowed, could be a Top 5 unit, improving on their 22.5 points per game allowed during the 2019 NFL Season. A top five offense and defense equals playoffs. Every fanbase, even the most tortured, can have hope.