The Walsh Way – Week One NFL DFS GPP Plays

Kevin Walsh | September 7th, 2019

First, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Kevin Walsh, and I am from Pittsburgh, PA. I have been playing DFS since DraftStreet still existed. This is my first season writing for The Scorecrow, and this is my first tournament rundown. I have written about DFS before, so hopefully, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I am a huge football and hockey fan, and I am always so engulfed in fantasy sports from September until January. I plan to give you a peek inside what I have going on in my head and hopefully lead you to some DFS success (as well as myself, of course), but enough about me, let’s get to the good stuff.

GAME THEORY

The first thing I am going to talk about is how I normally approach tournaments. There are varying schools of thought on this, but most people understand the idea of a “stack” – where you have multiple players from the same game so if the game blows out, you have multiple correlated pieces that get all the points. Most people just run a QB/WR combo or go a little further and have two pass catchers from the same team, but almost all my teams will be QB/2WR/OPP1, where we have two pass catchers from the quarterback and have an opposing team player to bring it back with.

I will even go as far to play either two position players from both teams, or three from the quarterback’s team and one on the way back. That goes more into “game stacks” and we will touch on that further each week. I will try to bring up examples of these from my own lineups each week to show you what I am talking about.

All my plays are based on DraftKings pricing. Its also important to note that when I list a player as a fade, I do not mean I will have 0% of them, but I will be way under the field as far as exposure goes, and likely will not play them on single entry lineups.

TOURNAMENT STACKS

Since we just finished talking about the idea of stacks, I thought I’d launch right into what stacks I want to target this week, so let’s get to it.

Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel

A slight home underdog, the Panthers have a 24.5 point implied team total against the high-powered Los Angeles Rams. There should be a lot of attention on this game, especially because of how these young receivers have been touted by the community all off-season for season-long leagues. CMC is a slam dunk most weeks, so no need to explain there. I am leaving Greg Olsen off of my stacks in most cases, but I think there could be moderate merit to that line of thinking, especially looking at Samuel’s projected ownership. The biggest problem is choosing who to bring it back with, with four solid options in LA to choose from.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard

This could be another first-week bonanza from the Bucs, or it could be the trap of the week. Regardless, many people will be going to this game considering the high total and lack of any real defensive prowess. Winston and the offense get an upgrade with the coaching staff, and hopefully, Arians can turn Winston around and make him more effective. Evans is his favorite target, and Godwin is also an offseason darling in the community. Add in a useful tight end in Howard and this is a high-powered passing offense, especially because of their mess at the running back position. 

Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen

I love this stack mostly because it leverages the field that is going to flock to Dalvin Cook as chalk. I am wavering a bit since hearing about Diggs and his hamstring problems, so if he ends up being out, I probably bail on the stack and just lean on Thielen hard. 

Honorable Mentions: DET/ARI, SF, LAR, KC/JAX

POSITION BY POSITION

I will refrain from continuing to mention the same players across sections, so these will be more about other players I am interested in outside of big game stacks. I will try to pick a player or two in each pricing tier (high, middle, low).

Quarterback

Patrick Mahomes ($7,200) 

He had his worst outing of the year last season against the Jaguars, and they still hung 30 on them. While many will go elsewhere, I will still have some exposure to the Chiefs offense. The most dynamic and gifted young quarterback in the league now had another entire offseason to absorb the ways of Andy Reid and this offense. If he is going to be under owned compared to where he should be, then I will be overexposed this week.

Baker Mayfield ($6,400)

Mayfield cannot wait to use Odell Beckham Jr. and show that Cleveland isn’t a joke anymore. Despite OBJ’s comments this week about not being able to open it up, if he plays, he is getting in the box. The Titans defense is solid at times, but definitely beatable in the secondary. I am not confident enough in his other weapons to stack up this game, but Baker should be showing off by the end of the game.

Jacoby Brissett ($4,400) 

An obvious value after the retirement of Andrew Luck, Brissett is easily one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league, and he steps once again into a starting role due to Luck. Since pricing comes out six weeks before kickoff, he is horribly mispriced. Everyone seems to be off of Colts weapons, and while they will not have the efficiency they did with Luck, Brissett will get them the ball. I think he is a fairly obvious cash game play, and could be paired with T.Y. Hilton and maybe Eric Ebron for tournaments.

Honorable Mentions – Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray, Philip Rivers

Running Back

Dalvin Cook ($6,000) 

I am starting in the middle of pricing because Cook is the undeniable chalk this week. As we learned from last season (or at least, many of us did), there is such a thing as good chalk. I will probably be on market for exposure to Cook but just know on lineups with him, you will have to be different in other places. I have no problem using him.

Leonard Fournette ($6,100) 

This originally was going to be my low-owned pivot off the middle of the pack backs this week, but he has gained steam the last few days and for good reason. The Chiefs may be coming to town, but it’s only a 3.5 point spread, so Vegas thinks it should be a close game, which lines up great for Fournette to get some work this week. His ownership seems to be rising, so pay attention to that come Sunday morning.

Christian McCaffrey ($8,800) 

If I am paying up, I am going to be for CMC. Ezekiel Elliott has some workload concerns since he just reported to the team, Saquon Barkley is usually a fine play but has a tough matchup, and Todd Gurley has question marks. Not only that, you know I like the Panthers as a stack, and this offense runs through CMC. Easy option up top this week.

Fade – Austin Ekeler ($5,500) 

The most obvious value of the week is not the slam dunk we normally hope for here. We have no clue how Ekeler will split time with Justin Jackson, nor which one will be the pass-catching role, and both of those question marks make me want to be underexposed here. I have no problem playing him, but for a few hundred more dollars, you hit a much better pocket of value.

Honorable Mentions – Chris Carson, Kerryon Johnson, Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley

Wide Receiver

Julio Jones ($8,000)

Since I went a little far in-depth talking about OBJ and Evans earlier, so I will touch on Julio. He is the primary target of Matt Ryan in an away game against a tough defense. He has a tough matchup against Xavier Rhodes, assuming he shadows Julio as he has in the past. I still think Atlanta will be forced to turn to the passing game, and Julio is not matchup-proof exactly, but he should definitely see some action if this game goes as Vegas expects.

Tyler Boyd ($5,800) 

This could be the underpriced chalk at wide receiver this week, despite the matchup at Seattle. The issue with fading him is that Cincinnati is going to behind most of this game, and Boyd is their biggest weapon in the air. I can’t endorse fading him, but I can say to temper your expectations a bit and don’t shove all in here.

Kenny Golladay ($6,300) and Marvin Jones ($4,800) 

I write up both of these receivers because one of them is definitely going off, but it’s certainly feasible that they BOTH go off. Arizona’s defense is atrocious, and Patrick Peterson is out for the opener. Arizona is also playing this up-tempo college-style offense with a rookie quarterback that will be susceptible to turning the ball over and/or not chewing up the clock at all. This should lead to a lot of plays to run for the Lions. I am inching towards Detroit as a stack. I love Golladay more than Jones, but the price difference makes it very close.

Fade – Curtis Samuel ($4,200)

While I will have Samuel on my Panther stacks, I will be underexposed outside of that. Samuel is another beneficiary of offseason steam by football Twitter and his depressed price makes everyone want to love him. Unfortunately, there are many scenarios in which this mega-chalk will fail. CMC will get his touches, Cam has a love affair with Olsen, and Moore is a legitimate talent. There are just too many ways this can go wrong. I don’t hate playing him, but I think it’s more likely he falls flat than he breaks the slate.

Honorable Mentions – Chris Godwin, Tyler Lockett, Sterling Shepard, Tyreek Hill

Tight End

Travis Kelce ($7,100) 

I am a firm believer in paying up in most cases for tight ends. There are just so many tight ends that are not relied on and can give you less than 10 points any given week, even when scoring a touchdown! The position seems awful thin this year in general, leaving me mostly exposed to Kelce, Zach Ertz, George Kittle, O.J. Howard, and Evan Engram. Kelce destroyed this defense last year and the Jags only got worse in the middle with Telvin Smith randomly stepping away from the game. With Jalen Ramsey attempting to slow Tyreek Hill down (I don’t think he will completely), Kelce becomes the obvious target in this game.

Evan Engram ($4,800) 

The Giants, outside of Barkley, are devoid of talent in the pass-catching department. Sterling Shepard just broke a finger, Golden Tate is suspended four games, and it is pretty barren beyond that. If Engram is healthy, I will play him most weeks. The Giants will be behind a lot, and Eli Manning can find his tight end if he has to.

Delanie Walker ($3,500) 

Walker missed last season due to injury, and it showed in Marcus Mariota’s efficiency. When Mariota does well on any given Sunday, he usually finds a good amount of Walker. He may not be healthy all season, as he is getting older and falling apart, but he may end up a great play this week, especially if they intend on competing with the Browns. If you need a cheap tight end, this is where I would go in most cases.

Honorable Mentions – Mark Andrews (another cheap possibility), George Kittle (stacks)

Defense/Special Teams

Philadephia Eagles ($3,600) 

Bad quarterback? Lack of offensive depth? At home? They check all the boxes here. The Eagles defense is opportunistic and will make life hard for Case Keenum and this sad Redskins team. This is a much easier slam dunk than the Ravens are this week.

Detriot Lions ($2,900) 

Though I will have my shares of Kyler Murray, he is going to make mistakes, and they can easily be six points the other direction. The Lions’ front four are solid, their corners are near-elite, and this is the first game with a rookie coach, rookie quarterback, and new offense. Some are citing that they will only be around 5% owned, and maybe that is a reflection of how many people are stacking Arizona. I like Detroit here.

Fade – Baltimore Ravens ($3,800) 

While I initially thought this was a slam dunk, consider this. Baltimore is going into Miami, in week one, against a team that looks pretty sad on paper. Defensive scoring is so volatile, we tend to avoid road teams, chalk, and the highest-priced defense, if at all possible, and the Ravens are all three. They project to be the highest-owned defense, but I will be far under the field on Baltimore.

Honorable Mentions – Cowboys, Seahawks

Ownership Considerations

In this section, I will list my favorite player at each position that is projected to be less than 5% owned. These will sometimes be dart-throws, and some will be more conviction plays and leverage spots. Don’t go slamming all these guys in one lineup and expecting success. They are low-owned for a reason, folks.

QB – Matthew Stafford I spoke about him at length already. It’s a paced-up spot, against a bad defense, at 1% owned.

RB – Marlon Mack The Colts hate is too high, and the Chargers defense is banged up. The offense will have to run through Mack, and we’re going to see if that is going to work or not this week.

WR – Paul Richardson Number one receiver on a team that is going to get behind in a hurry.

TE – Delanie Walker I talked about him earlier, and I feel like this is his best shot to hit while he is still healthy.

DST – Lions – Technically, the Eagles are projected to have 4.32% ownership, but that makes no sense to me at all.

TWO MINUTE WARNING

I am happy to be writing here for The Scorecrow this season, and I intend on this being my biggest season yet. In the weeks to follow, I will be sharing my lineups from the previous week and using it as a learning experience, both for you and for me. I am here to help you learn and get all my thoughts out as clear as I can. If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter. I will answer any questions you have!

Let’s make that money this week!

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