Fantasy Week 1: Mama Said Gronk, You Out

 

A new NFL season begins this week and with it the first season that UK players can play on DraftKings. Daily fantasy sports have taken off in the US (you may have noticed the ads on every single sports programme) and looks like it will do the same here.

Each week I will take a look at some of the players to draft to your team and the players to avoid.

All prices will be based on DraftKings and picks will be for the guaranteed prize pool contests.

Draft

Ryan Mathews – $5.7k

Mathews is now the clear number one in Philadelphia and with Darren Sproles unlikely to take too many carries away, he could be a steal at $5.7k. Talent has never been an issue for the former Chargers back, it has only been his health, but that really doesn’t matter too much in DFS.

He averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2015 and I see no reason why he can’t carry that into 2016. With Wentz starting the Eagles could lean on the running game and give him even more opportunity to rack up points. He is priced as the 14th RB this week and has the potential to end the week a lot higher than that.

Dak Prescott – $5k

After a great offseason, the rookie quarterback comes into the season as the Cowboys’ starter following Tony Romo’s injury. At the minimum price for a QB I expect Prescott to be highly owned. Another option at the same price, and likely to have a lower ownership would be Carson Wentz but I like Prescott against a weak Giants defence.

Terrance West – $4.1k

Re-signing Justin Forsett obviously muddies things a little in the Ravens’ backfield but at $4.1k I think West could still be a great play this week. West has outplayed the other backs in the preseason and while Forsett may get the first crack at the job, I see no reason why West can’t make the job his own. Of course, Forsett could get off to a great start and we end up not seeing much of West, but the former-Browns back could end up under-owned and under-priced with people getting scared to take a Ravens back.

Derek Carr – $7.3k

Carr enters his third season in the league with lots of people thinking the Raiders could be ready to really challenge for the division. This week the Raiders go up against a Saints defence that gave up more points to quarterbacks than any other team last season. With a great matchup and another year in the offence for Carr as well as the likes of Amari Cooper, this could be a great start to the season for the young quarterback.

Tajae Sharpe – $3k

I’ll start by saying that it wouldn’t shock me if Sharpe ends the game with a zero. However, at just $3k he has a chance to have a big week and could be that boom or bust player that your team needs in the big contests. Sharpe has picked up a lot of buzz in the offseason and looks set to start for the Titans. Mariota could take a big step forward in his second season in the league and Sharpe could really benefit from that. He is a low risk, high reward option.

 

Avoid

Rob Gronkowski – $7.4k

Obviously Gronkowski has the talent to go off every week, but with the uncertainty of the quarterback play, I don’t feel comfortable paying that price for him. He is almost 50% more expensive than Travis Kelce, the next priced TE. I would feel much happier saving some of my budget and going for players such as Delanie Walker ($4.5k) or Jared Cook ($2.9k) and spending elsewhere.

Jamaal Charles – $7.1k

Charles is coming off an ACL tear and with Andy Reid already saying that he may even miss the Chiefs’ opener, he looks far too expensive. Even if Charles plays, it is likely to be part of a committee with Spencer Ware taking a good chunk of the snaps. However, Ware could be one to look out for if Charles is ruled out.

Arian Foster – $5.8k

I expect the Dolphins to protect the veteran running back a little coming off the ruptured Achilles than ended his 2015 season. Jay Ajayi did not have a great preseason, but I expect the two backs to split the carries in the first game, even if Foster has a few more in the end. As the season goes on I would expect Foster to nail down the job, but for now I feel like it will be more of a committee.

Jordy Nelson – $7.7k

Nelson has said himself that he is ready to go in week one but without seeing it in preseason, it is tough to know if the wide receiver is over the torn ACL he suffered in the preseason a year ago. He is priced as the 10th WR and although he may never have a lower ownership percentage again, it is hard to take him against a Jaguars defence that could be much improved. There are other options that come with a lower price tag and maybe even more upside.

Carson Palmer – $7.1k

This is based almost entirely on how I expect this game to go. With Garoppolo at quarterback for the Patriots, it is hard to see them putting up too many points. The two teams could well have two of the best defences in the league and I expect this to end up as a tight, defensive game. I do not see the game ending as a shootout and do not see Palmer putting up the points that he could well do later in the season. There are plenty of good options at QB this week so I’d rather keep away from Palmer for week one.

 

Dave Gray is on Twitter @djg23 and also writes for First and Ten