This is a simple, straightforward piece. At the end of the week, I’m taking our weekly composite staff rankings from our Season Pass section and comparing those rankings as it pertains to players we see as starting caliber options to the pricing at FanDuel, DraftKings, and Yahoo.
Matt Ryan vs. Cowboys -- QB5 (Fanduel, QB8, $7,700)
Ryan and the Falcons lost to the Seahawks in Week 1 but his fantasy numbers were incredible. He threw for 450 yards and scored twice on a staggering 54 attempts. Atlanta attempted a pass on 72.7% of their plays in the losing effort. They're expected to lose again versus the Cowboys this week. The game has a 53-point total and no other game on the main slate has a total over 50 points. Stacking Ryan and the Falcons is a contrarian way to attack this game in tournaments.
Kyler Murray vs. Washington -- QB7 (DraftKings, QB11, $6,100)
On DraftKings, where players get an extra three points if they hit 100 rushing yards, Murray is one of the best values on the entire slate. He averaged 34 rushing yards per game last year and opened his 2020 campaign with 91 yards on the ground. He was at the century mark exactly before kneeling from the shotgun twice. Murray is one of the few players who can hit 300 yards through the air and add another 100 on the ground. His Expert Ranking reflects that this week while his DraftKings price simply doesn't.
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Cam Newton vs. Seattle -- QB9 (Yahoo, QB11, $29)
Bill Belichick seamlessly transitioned his offense into the Newton era in Week 1. Newton carried the ball 14 times for 76 yards and two scores before taking a one-yard loss on a kneel at the end of their victory over Miami. Even after missing most of 2019 with a foot injury, Newton didn't appear to miss a beat as a runner. Four of his 15 carries went for 10 or more yards. A better opponent in Seattle should keep the Patriots fighting for the entirety of the game, something they weren't forced to do in their 10-point win over the Dolphins. That will boost Newton's passing and running volume making him an easy play at $29 on Yahoo.
Jonathan Taylor vs. Vikings -- RB13 (Fanduel, RB20, $5,800)
Marlon Mack going down for the year isn't reflected correctly in Taylor's pricing on any site this week. Our DFS Projections have him as a top-three value at running back this week based on his soft price. Taylor topped 2,000 yards from scrimmage in all three of his college seasons. The only blemish on his profile was a low catch total of just 42, despite being the focal point of Wisconsin's offense. He answered that question with six catches for 67 yards in his debut for the Colts. Taylor has all of the trappings of an elite fantasy back and his price is going to skyrocket in the coming weeks.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Chargers -- RB5 (DraftKings, RB6, $7,400)
The difference between our ranking of Taylor and the DFS sites' rankings of Taylor is wider than that of Edwards-Helaire. However, finding a small discrepancy at the top of the salary range can be worth just as much as a larger discrepancy lower in pricing. Edwards-Helaire's role as Kansas City's back at the goal line gives him incredible upside on a weekly basis and makes him the ideal pivot off more popular backs at a similar cost. Based on Hayden Winks' Fantasy Usage Model, Edwards-Helaire should have been the highest-scoring running back last week.
Melvin Gordon vs. Steelers -- RB20 (Yahoo, RB24, $17)
Yahoo has Gordon at the price he deserves to be at with Phillip Lindsay in the lineup. Lindsay has been ruled out of the Broncos' Week 2 contest versus Pittsburgh due to a toe injury. The volume that will free up makes Gordon a top value on Yahoo, even in a difficult matchup versus the Steelers. Lindsay missed half of Denver's first game and the team was reluctant to let Royce Freeman see the field. He played just six snaps and earned a single carry while adding one catch. Gordon will go overlooked as a cheap, workhorse back this week.
Adam Thielen vs. Colts -- WR5 (Fanduel, WR8, $7,300)
Thielen appears set to be Minnesota's alpha receiver this year. He caught six of his eight targets for 110 yards and two scores. Thielen was the only Vikings player who saw more than four targets. He accounted for 32% of Minnesota's targets and 55% of their air yards. Thielen is one of the best values at the high-end of receiver pricing on Fanduel this week.
Diontae Johnson vs. Broncos -- WR30 (DraftKings, WR49, $4,500)
Johnson opened his sophomore campaign in troubling fashion with a dropped pass and botched punt return early. He managed to turn things around in the second half of Pittsburgh's opener versus the Giants. He caught five passes for 55 yards in the final two quarters and ultimately led the Steelers with 10 targets. His price is egregious based on the role he played in Week 1.
Sammy Watkins vs. Chargers -- WR39 (Yahoo, WR50, $13)
Watkins is the No. 2 receiver for Patrick Mahomes and is priced below a handful of third receivers for quarterbacks that aren't Mahomes. In Week 1, he led the Chiefs in targets and receiving yards at nine and 82 respectively. The Chiefs have an implied team total of 28 points. That mark makes them one of just four teams Vegas projects to score four touchdowns this week. Watkins is the most affordable way to access some of those points.
Chris Herndon vs. 49ers -- TE10 (Fanduel, TE14, $5,100)
The Jets just need healthy bodies to take the field at this point. They're going to be without Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and Le'Veon Bell on Sunday. Crowder alone saw 13 targets in the team's Week 1 loss to the Bills. Herndon finished second on the team with seven targets and should operate as the team's leading pass-catcher with Crowder out. A lack of touchdowns for the Jets caps Herndon's upside but his price is too low for the number of targets he's projected to see.
Logan Thomas vs. Cardinals -- TE12 (DraftKings, TE17, $3,600)
Thomas got some buzz in during Washington's training camp as a potential breakout and the hype was warranted based on his Week 1 performance. He caught four of eight targets for 37 yards and a score in Week 1. He led Washington in targets and air yards while playing on 74% of their offensive snaps. He should have no problem topping his Week 1 line versus Arizona. The Cardinals gave up a league-high 19.9 DraftKings points per game to tight ends last year.
Mike Gesicki vs. Bills -- TE16 (Yahoo, TE23, $11)
Gesicki's three-catch performance in Week 1 was underwhelming but Yahoo's $11 tag is an overreaction. His five targets were second on the Dolphins behind only Preston Williams. With DeVante Parker nursing a hamstring injury, he could be in line for another solid workload as Miami's "big slot receiver" versus the Bills this week.