NFL Week 1 starts on September 6 when the Atlanta Falcons head to Philadelphia to battle the Super Bowl defending champion Eagles. I put together a NFL Week 1 Classic DraftKings Team for DraftKings' $2 million Play-Action Contest. Top prize is $200,000 while the entry fee is only $3.
Check out my team!
NFL Week 1 DraftKings Classic Team
QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots, $7,200
In last season's 36-33 win over the Houston Texans, Brady completed 25 of 35 for 378 yards. He threw 5 TD passes. He completed over 71% of his passes. Houston's defense doesn't appear to have gotten much better than from what it was last season.
The hope for the Texans' defense is to pressure Brady with JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney lines up behind Watt. The Patriots will counter by putting a running back on that side of the line. Plus, Brady is a master at reading defenses. Don't be surprised if the Patriots rush the ball less than 10 times in this game because Terrific Tom has so much success throwing the pigskin.
RB Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens, $5,600
Collins looked great in the final month of last season. He rushed for 120 yards against the Steelers on Dec. 10. A week before on Dec. 3, he rushed for 75 yards and 2 TDs against the Detroit Lions. Not only that, but the Ravens kept Collins out of most preseason games. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said he's leaning on Collins this season. Collins offers great value at a $5,600 salary. He should get close to 20 carries in this game if not more.
Buffalo's defense might have improved against the rush. It most likely hasn't improved enough because the D is counting on rookie MLB Tremaine Edmunds.
RB Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars, $7,100
I love Fournette's matchup against the New York Giants' defense on Sunday. I do feel that the Giants defense should eventually gel. Once it does, it will be a decent NFC unit. It won't gel from now until Sunday, though, which means one of the Top 5 running backs in the NFL takes it to the G-Men.
Fournette could easily rush for 2 or 3 TDs while also rumbling for 150 yards. The Giants can't concentrate on just stopping Fournette because quarterback Blake Bortles took a huge leap forward last season.
WR Philip Dorsett, New England Patriots, $3,700
With Danny Amendola in Miami and Julian Edelman out on suspension, Brady must lean on Rob Gronkowski, Cordarelle Patterson, Chris Hogan, and Phillip Dorsett. Bill Belichick is so comfortable with Dorsett in the key slot position that he cut Eric Decker, Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews, and Malcolm Mitchell.
Dorsett could have a huge game against Houston's defense. He makes much more sense to add to the DraftKings' lineup than Gronkowski at $6,900 and Chris Hogan at $6,100. Dorsett could break out in Week 1.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans, $8,300
I expect a similar score from last season, 36-33 Patriots, when the Texans and Pats battle on Sunday. If I'm right, how can I keep the best skill player outside of quarterback on either team out of my lineup?
DeAndre Hopkins is the best wide receiver in the NFL. His quarterback, Deshaun Watson, didn't play after Week 8. All Hopkins did was catch 96 passes for 1,378 yards, and 13 TDs. Nobody can cover Watson because he runs vertical routes as well as 10-yard curl and out routes.
Hopkins only caught 7 of 8 targets against New England in last season's game. That was Watson's first start. In Watson's second start against Tennessee, Hopkins caught 10 of 12 targets for 107 yards and a TD. Hopkins could have an even bigger game than DraftKings projects on Sunday because Will Fuller should be limited. I believe DeAndre's a must add.
WR Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins, $4,700
DeVante Parker has a soft cast on his left arm. He hurt his wrist. It hasn't healed. Parker, Miami's WR1, is at $5,300 on DraftKings. You can add Stills for $600 less knowing that Ryan Tannehill might target him all day versus the Tennessee Titans.
Stills will play in the slot this season even though the Dolphins signed Danny Amendola. Coach Adam Gase wants Stills to play in the slot because that's when he's been most effective. Last season, all 6 of Stills' touchdown catches happened while he played in the slot. No strong safety or free safety can deal with Stills' speed. At less than a $5,000 salary, Kenny Stills might be the smartest addition to my NFL Week 1 team.
TE Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins, $4,000
Yep, I get it. Adding Jordan Reed to any fantasy football team, season long or weekly, constitutes a leap of faith. Reed didn't play a single snap in any of Washington's 4 NFL Preseason games. He could be a huge bust not only in Week 1, but also this season.
Get this, though, in 5 NFL Seasons while with Kansas City new Washington quarterback Alex Smith targeted tight-end Travis Kelce 399 times. Kelce didn't catch a pass in the first of those 5 seasons. That means Smith targeted his tight-end an average of 99.75 times each season.
Reed is healthy. Washington's just been careful with him. At $4,000, he could produce big time for my team.
Flex – TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers $5,400
I'd love to add a running back or wide receiver to my flex position. I didn't because no running back or wide receiver offered enough appeal based on salary the way Olsen does. Carolina drafted a wide receiver, D.J. Moore, in Round 1. Moore might not see the field except in spread formations on Sunday. I'm not a huge believer in Christian McCaffrey's rushing ability while I'm comfortable with Olsen seeing more targets in the passing game against Dallas than what McCaffrey will see.
Olsen missed most of last season. Healthy for Carolina's playoff game against the Saints, Cam Newton targeted Olsen 12 times. He caught 8 passes for 107 yards and a TD. Cam might target Olsen 15 times if Dallas decides to stop McCaffrey.
DST – Baltimore Ravens, $3800
In 8 home games last season, the Ravens recorded 19 sacks, picked the ball off 11 times, and averaged 12.8 fantasy points per game. Baltimore's defense this season should be better than it was last season because cornerback Brandon Carr will play his second season in the defense. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey had a great rookie season picking the ball off twice while providing 30 solo tackles.
Any time the Ravens can play man-to-man coverage, they can blitz. Baltimore's Week 1 opponent, Buffalo, starts Nathan Peterman at quarterback. The Bills mortgaged their offense this season by trading starting left tackle Cordy Glenn on draft day.
Things could get ugly for the Bills. That means things could look rosy for Baltimore's defense.