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Daily fantasy mailbag: Week 1 value plays

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Welcome to the Week 1 edition of the FanDuel DFS mail bag. Every week I'll take questions on Twitter pertaining to daily fantasy strategy and particular players on FanDuel. If you'd like to have your question featured, just shoot it to me on twitter (@MattHarmon_BYB), and it may just find its way into the mailbag.

There are oh so many, and I'll highlight plenty in the DFS Roundup piece tomorrow. But since you asked, Shane, we'll do a quick positional rundown here.

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Quarterback:

Carson Palmer facing the Saints. New Orleans is without their two best secondary defenders, and Palmer was a low-end QB1 when he played last year. Easy to stack with John Brown.

Sam Bradford facing the Falcons. Atlanta ranked 22nd in allowing fantasy points to passers, and their only real upgrade, rookie Vic Beasley, may have a tough time against Jason Peters. Another easy stack with Jordan Matthews, who is quite the bargain as well.

Running back:

Doug Martin and Chris Ivory are both home favorites, and should get the bulk of their team's carries. Both are undervalued on FanDuel this week. More on Ivory in just a minute.

Lamar Miller is also a bargain this week. Miami should get ahead of Washington with ease, and that means plenty of opportunities for Miller to carry the rock.

Wide receiver:

Davante Adams is everyone's favorite value, as the Week 1 slate went up before Jordy Nelson's injury. He's a clear-cut play, but just be careful. If you want your lineup to stand out, which is important, remember that Adams' bargain nature means a lot of other DFS players will be on him.

Tight end:

Richard Rodgers is near the tight end minimum. It's hard to go away from Greg Olsen in Week 1, but Rodgers against the Bears (allowed the second most tight end touchdowns last season) should be worth it. You can create some stacked lineups when you go bargain shopping for Rodgers.

I love Justin Forsett in season long, but a little bit of his shine is worn off on FanDuel considering their scoring is only .5 PPR. I mentioned Miller and Martin earlier, and both are good plays for the Week 1 slate. I'll ultimately side with Miller because he's played better recently, and Miami is the superior team. Martin might be the more theoretical "value" but when it's as surprisingly close as this one is. Miller has a good chance at multiple touchdowns in Week 1, and can maximize your lineup's upside.

Steve Johnson will slide right into the slot position for the Chargers, vacated by Eddie Royal, and will matchup against the Lions' Josh Wilson. The former Washington and Falcons' corner was toasted with alarming frequency the last two years. Johnson is one of the biggest values on FanDuel in Week 1, and will be a staple of my lineup rotation.

Jordan Matthews has a great matchup against the Falcons cornerbacks. He played over 90 percent of his 2014 snaps in the slot, and figures to remain there this season. He won't see much of their number one corner, Desmond Trufant, and will get chances to feast on Robert Alford and other subpar corners in the middle of the field. He's close to a must-play as a target hog on that offense.

The Titans may have to go on without their top corner, Jason McCourty. The rest of their defensive backs, including Blidi Wreh-Wilson, gave up fantasy points in bunches to wide receivers. If Mike Evans plays, he'll be a big factor, but I'm more intrigued with Vincent Jackson. Word is he and Jameis Winston are developing some good chemistry, and Jackson should see the No. 2 corner on Sunday. If Evans does indeed sit, Jackson will see a ton of targets on Sunday.

The Bills are still planning on Ronald Darby to be one of their starting cornerbacks. Rookie corners tend to struggle. Stephon Gilmore is no lock to play in Week 1, but if he does, he'll likely see most of his work across from T.Y. Hilton. Which leaves Darby to tangle with Andre Johnson. The veteran receiver dwarfs him in both size and knowledge of the NFL game. That might just be a slight mismatch. If T.Y. Hilton, who is small and fast like Darby, draws the rookie, he could absolutely explode.

I'm not on any Browns for Week 1 in DFS. Duke Johnson could be a nice sleeper, but his injury status is too murky. As such, Isaiah Crowell will get plenty of volume, but against the Jets front line and on the road limits his upside. There will be weeks to play these two running backs. Crowell has touchdown potential behind that offensive line in games the Browns are favored, and Johnson has pass-catching upside when they're trailing. However, I'll advise avoiding him for a different day when there aren't so many other running back values. I intentionally did not mention the passing game.

Chris Ivory is my clearest must-play for Week 1 daily fantasy. For one, he's really good, in case you forgot. The preseason served as a positive reminder of that, and his ADP subsequently jumped from the seventh to the fourth round in a month. Ivory is set to pay off those heightened season long expectations with a big first game. He's a tremendous value on FanDuel for Week 1 among clear cut starting NFL running backs. The Jets are the heavy home favorite, and their improved offense and defense should handle the visiting Browns with relative ease. That means plenty of carries for Ivory as the team's battering ram.

One nice contrarian stack I'm considering is pairing the Jets defense and Ivory together. This will be a low scoring, grind it out game that New York should win. That spells big fantasy points for that pair. This stack will likely anchor most of my Week 1 lineups, and I may have near 100 percent exposure to Ivory.

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I'd say so, Chase. We know the Dolphins remade their pass catching corps with a wide array of new faces, excluding Jarvis Landry. Ryan Tannehill has long been a quarterback who defaluts to what makes him comfortable, and certainly for the early part of the season, that will be Landry. As a rookie, he saw nine or more targets in six games in the second half of the season. This Week 1 contest in Washington projects as one of those occasions for Landry. The Dolphins should roll in this game, even though they're the visiting team. Three touchdowns from this revamped offense should be a good baseline projection. Miami intends to use Landry more as a red zone target, and he could come away with one of those scores.

While I'm not as worried about Adrian Peterson from a season-long perspective, although I think he is comfortably behind Eddie Lacy and Le'Veon Bell now, I won't be playing him in Week 1 DFS. Peterson is at the top of FanDuel's running back list, and given some of the value plays at running back, there's reason to fade him. Of course, he's a great player and faces the ghost town that is the San Francisco 49ers, but DFS is about more than that. With the entire player pool available to use, I'm much more inclined to go with Jeremy Hill or Eddie Lacy in better matchups and superior values.

Also, consider throughout Week 1 just how many new players are going to find their way one FanDuel with the massive influx of new advertisement. A lot of those new players will be using Peterson because he's a big name, and they'll follow the narrative of his revenge tour. We'll talk a lot about ownership percentage with DFS throughout the year, and this is a perfect example. Go against the field, select a better value stud running back and fade Adrian Peterson in Week 1.

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There are worse contarian plays than Terrance Williams in Week 1. The Cowboys and Giants game is one of the contests we'll put on shoot out watch, which means we're interested in ancillary players on both teams. Williams made a habit of scoring in bunches last year, as his eight touchdowns came in six games. Williams is likely a fluky asset again this season, but Week 1 could be one of his big games when you consider the weak status of the Giants' secondary. There are some other bargain plays I like better at wide receiver, but Williams is a fine value himself.

Eddie Lacy is certainly one, and Jeremy Hill is my other. I just cannot imagine a scenario in which Hill does not find the end zone at least once against Oakland. If the game does feature Cincinnati winning with ease, as is projected, Hill could carry the ball 20-plus times, increasing his multiple touchdown upside. That is exactly the type of player you want in a daily fantasy lineup.

I'm not on Watkins at all for Week 1 DFS. He's way too overvalued, and the word out of Indianapolis is that the Colts plan on shadowing him with Pro Bowl corner Vontae Davis. While I like Tyrod Taylor as a play, that's more for his ability as a runner, not what he can do for these receivers. Facing a shaky matchup with an unproven passer; that's not a wide receiver you need to consider for daily fantasy.

T.Y. Hilton is a good play. While there are better options near the top of the wide receiver ranks, I don't anticipate many users being on Hilton. If he draws that matchup with Ronald Darby, as previously mentioned, he could go nuts, and turn the daily game on it's head.

I mentioned the Jets earlier, and they'll be my primary defense used on FanDuel. They added a ton of talent to the roster in the offseason, and they'll feast on a turnover prone quarterback at home in Week 1. They're a good value, but it's also hard to avoid turning a gaze to the Dolphins defense. Given the bargains at the skill position players, you can safely take them in a great matchup against Kirk Cousins in Washington. Over the last two years, Cousins averages 18.9 fantasy points against pass defenses ranked in the bottom half, but that number more than cuts in half (falling to 9.3) when he faces a top-16 pass defense. I'll be shocked if he doesn't send one Miami's way.

I'll take a second here to remind you to not just skimp on defenses and kickers because they are boring. In daily fantasy, they can make a big difference in your final point total, and therefore, where you stand come Monday morning. It's tempting to treat them as throw-ins, but I'd suggest you pick your defense first. That way you don't fall victim to going with a scrub unit in a bad matchup just to get a big name receiver in your lineup.


Matt Harmon is an associate fantasy writer/editor for NFL.com, and the creator of #ReceptionPerception, who you can follow on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB. He's going to be tilting with you all year in DFS, and couldn't be happier about it--until about November, that is.

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