The NFL is back! The 2020 seasons starts out with a great slate of Week 1 action, highlighted by a 12-game main slate on Sunday afternoon. Some big-name stars are missing since they’ll be in primetime matchups, but there are still some great options to consider as you build your team for the first Sunday of the season.
Typically, there are some great value plays early in the season since the salaries were released a while ago and don’t account for recent player movement and increased opportunity. I’m excited to be back for another season of digging through the bargain bin and finding the best cheap plays for you to slide into your lineup with the stars you have to pay up for.
DraftKings is offering a number of ways you can get in on the action, starting with the DraftKings $5M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st]. This contest is part of DraftKings Championship Series - Fantasy Tournament of Champions. In addition to the $1M top prize, the winner will also earn a ticket to the Big Game in Tampa (2/7/21) to compete for another $1M top prize. There are also some great promotions going on all week in DraftKings’ Week 1 Countdown.
Set your lineups here: NFL $5M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st]
($6,000 and under)
Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals, $5,600 – Taylor has claimed the starting spot for the Chargers over rookie Justin Herbert ($5,500). He starts with a solid matchup on the road, as he and the Bolts try to spoil the NFL debut of Joe Burrow ($5,800). While Burrow could also be value option, I think he’s in a much tougher matchup against the Chargers’ defense, so I’m going with Tyrod in this spot instead.
Taylor is a mobile QB who spent last season backing up Philip Rivers ($6,000). He started four games for the Browns in 2018 after three seasons of moderate success in Buffalo. He usually takes care of the ball and can tack on some rushing yards when given the chance. He has great pass-catching options and should be in a place to be a solid fantasy bargain while keeping the spot warm for Herbert.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots, $5,300 – Speaking of placeholders, Fitzpatrick has made a career of serving in that role, and he’ll be in that spot again this season ahead of Tua Tagovailoa ($5,200). Last season, Fitzpatrick averaged a pretty solid 17.9 DKFP in his 15 games and finished the season with 27.3 DKFP against the Patriots in New England.
He’ll start this season with an identical matchup, but the Patriots defense will look a little different due to some key departures in free agency and COVID-19 opt outs. Miami is also expected to have dynamic WR Preston Williams ($4,500) available after ACL surgery cut short his rookie year. Fitzpatrick is by no means a hot new name, but he does usually offer solid production at significant savings.
Other Options: Joe Burrow ($5,800), Mitchell Trubisky ($5,400)
($5,000 and under)
Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, $4,900 – The Bears may have to use Cohen a little more than usual early in the season if David Montgomery (groin; $5,900) is limited or sidelined. Cohen isn’t usually an early-down option, but Chicago only has Cordarrelle Patterson ($3,400), Ryan Nall ($4,000) and Artavis Pierce ($4,000) to go with him if Montgomery isn’t 100%.
Cohen has been exceptional in limited action but has admitted he has worn down as the season progresses the past few years. He had a down year overall last year but still averaged 10.2 DKFP per game and 10.6 DKFP in his two games against the Lions. With the PPR scoring on DraftKings, backs that catch a ton of passes like Cohen have a higher ceiling and a higher floor than RBs uninvolved in the passing game, so I like Cohen a lot in the Bears’ season opener.
Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets, $4,400 – The Bills drafted Moss in the third round of the NFL draft out of Utah, and he’s expected to step right into the role that Frank Gore ($4,000) played last year as complement to Devin Singletary ($5,400). Moss is a bigger back than Singletary, but has surprising quickness and elusiveness for his size and can also serve as a solid receiver out of the backfield.
How the Bills split up the workload in the backfield will be one of the major storylines to watch in Week 1. If Moss is getting goal line work or work in the passing game, he could be a great value moving forward. Singletary is a strong option in the middle of the field, but did also have four fumbles and wasn’t consistent in pass protection. If Moss can carve out enough playing time, he could be huge for an offense that most people expect to be able to score a lot of points this season. Coach Sean McDermott likes to run the ball a lot, and I think both these rising RBs are solid fantasy plays in season-long leagues.
Other Options: Kerryon Johnson ($4,400), Chris Thompson ($4,000)
($5,000 and under)
Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals, $5,000 – With Deebo Samuel (foot; $5,300) expected to be limited even if he is active, Bourne could be in line for work as the 49ers’ top WR as they open against the Cardinals. Bourne was a favorite red-zone target for San Francisco last season and scored five touchdowns on 30 catches for 358 yards. While those numbers aren’t mind-blowing, his volume and potential workload for this Sunday make him worth a look at just $5K.
Steven Sims Jr., Washington Football Team vs. Philadelphia Eagles, $4,700 – As an undrafted rookie last season, Sims showed good upside working out of the slot, totalling 230 yards and four touchdowns over the final four games last season. He worked as the “Z” receiver across from Terry McLaurin ($5,600) for part of training camp, but could also return to the slot after Washington cut Trey Quinn. Either way, he should get a good amount of targets from Dwayne Haskins ($5,000) and have good upside against an Eagles secondary that will likely roll coverage toward McLaurin’s side to limit big plays from the speedy WR1.
Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers at Las Vegas Raiders, $4,700 – Anderson is one of my favorite value plays on this whole slate since I think he could easily emerge at the top WR in Carolina and has a great matchup with the Raiders. The speedy former-Jet has looked great in workouts and has reportedly established a great connection with Teddy Bridgewater ($5,900). Last season, Anderson was very boom-or-bust with the Jets but averaged 10.7 DKFP per contest including double-digit DKFP in four of his final five games in New York. He’s loaded with big-play potential, and I’m high on Anderson both in Week 1 and in season-long leagues.
Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, $4,000 – Miller has also been getting a ton of buzz as one of Tom Brady’s ($6,500) favorite new targets in Tampa Bay. Miller has been working as the team’s third WR, which should get him plenty of plays on the field in Bruce Arians’ pass-heavy offense. However, the question with Miller is whether there are enough targets to go around since Mike Evans ($6,900), Chris Godwin ($7,100), Rob Gronkowski ($4,900) and O.J. Howard ($3,700) are all looking for work as well. Miller could still offer good upside, though, since he has gotten so much praise all offseason from Brady, Arians and those who have seen the Bucs’ practices.
Other Options: Brandon Aiyuk ($4,500), Bryan Edwards ($4,200)
($4,000 and under)
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars, $3,600 – Doyle has some health issues of his own, as usual, but he has shown he can be a viable fantasy TE when healthy. He’s expected to get most of the early-season work as a pass-catching TE, especially with Trey Burton (calf) expected to be sidelined for a while. Doyle shared time last season with Eric Ebron, but with Ebron now in Pittsburgh, it should be all his show to start the season. Doyle will be working with Philip Rivers, who has made his TE a focus of his passing game in the past, and he could be lined up for a substantial workload against the Jags.
Chris Herndon, New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, $3,300 – With the Jets lack of WR depth and Tre’Davious White on the outside, Sam Darnold ($5,500) will have to rely on Herndon heavily, who is looking for a bounceback year after a calamity of injury and suspension that limited him to one catch and just one game. The previous season, Herndon had 39 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. He has reportedly looked great in camp and has a strong connection with Darnold, making him a great value option at barely over $3K for Week 1.
Other Options: Greg Olsen ($4,000), Ian Thomas ($3,400)
($2,800 and under)
Chargers DST, Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals, $2,800 – There’s expected to be just one rookie QB starting in Week 1, and that’s Burrow for the Bengals. While the Chargers won’t have Derwin James, they still have a top-tier defense and should be able to get pressure on the rookie QB, which could force him into turnovers. The Chargers forced 14 turnovers and had 30 sacks last season while holding opponents to just under 21 points per game. The Chargers should be a run-heavy, defense-first team this season, and I think they’ll get off to a strong start against Burrow.
Panthers DST, Carolina Panthers vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $2,500 – The Panthers overhauled their defense this offseason, including becoming the first team in NFL history to use every single pick in their draft on the defensive side of the ball. They get a good matchup at home against the Raiders to start the season, and I think they’ll be a solid unit in good matchups like this even though they do have to compensate for the retirement of Luke Kuechly.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.