Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – $6,000 – Projection: 17.34
While the Falcons may not have a solid year, Matt Ryan may still fill up the stat sheet. Because their defense is a bottom-five defense, they will constantly put their back up against the wall. For that reason, Ryan will be throwing the ball 40–50 times per game. The Falcons still have several elite weapons, including Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts, despite losing Julio Jones. Some people are less optimistic about Pitts’ output in 2021, but I see no reason he won’t be a top-five tight end this year. Ridley proved last season that he was also an elite WR1 in a pass-heavy offense, regardless of whether or not Julio Jones played. Expect Ryan to have some big games this year, and it should all start in Week 1 when the Falcons take on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles – $6,500 – Projection: 19.89
The Eagles seem to be entrusting Jalen Hurts with the keys to the offense. This year, his first challenge will be less of a challenge and more of a shootout as they face the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta had one of the worst secondaries in the league last season and did very little to address these concerns. Hurts has had some time to get acquainted with the Eagles’ offense, and they were even able to add a weapon in first-round pick Devonta Smith. Additionally, Philadelphia and Zach Ertz decided to leave the past in the past, so he will be back as well. Between Smith, Reagor, Ertz, Goedert, and Sanders, Hurts should have enough weapons to be fantasy-relevant. This is especially the case when they face a team like the Falcons.
James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – $6,400 – Projection: 10.73
Robinson has a huge value at $6,400 against the NFL’s worst, or second worst, defense. I am betting that Jacksonville should step on the gas and take an early lead. Robinson should get a lot of work and touches in both the run and pass games, as Lawrence will likely check down to him several times.
Antonio Gibson – Washington Football Team – $5,900 – Projection: 14.84
Gibson is one of my favorite high-ceiling fantasy players this year. His transition to running back was seamless and natural. Surprisingly, he was not used in the passing game near as much as many people would expect, considering he used to be a wide receiver. So much of Gibson’s potential is derived from third-down work, which I think he will get more of this year. At $5,900, this is a no-brainer for DFS players looking for value after establishing the core players on their team.
Michael Pittman Jr. – Indianapolis Colts – $4,100 – Projection: 9.62
If money becomes a bit tight, Pittman is a huge value pick. Seattle has a bottom ten, or maybe even bottom five, secondary in the NFL. It will be a higher-scoring game because Seattle’s offense will put points on the board. For that reason, Indy will have to pass the ball, and Pittman is its No. 1 receiver with Hilton out. $4,100 is excellent value.
Deandre Hopkins – Arizona Cardinals – $7,800 – Projection: 17.58
This should be a high-scoring game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans, as both defenses are below average and quite underwhelming. The Cardinals’ defense will struggle with the Titans, who will undoubtedly put 30+ points on the board. Tennessee has a 2,000-yard rusher in Derrick Henry and two elite receivers in Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. This will force the Cardinals to throw the ball 40-50 times as Kyler Murray will have a busy day. Hopkins could see 10+ receptions as the game script will revolve around the passing game, and the Titans’ secondary is very weak.
Brandin Cooks – Houston Texans – $5,300 – Projection: 11.84
This pick is only for a situation where you need to snag somebody at a low cost. Somebody has to catch the ball for the Texans. That is all I will say in regards to that. Cooks remains the only big-play threat on Houston’s roster, and Tyrod Taylor will rely heavily on him on third and long. The Texans will have a negative game script all year, and Cooks has the potential of getting enough garbage points to justify a flier.
Kyle Pitts – Atlanta Falcons – $4,400 – Projection: 11.73
I have a hard time believing that there are seven tight ends with higher upside than Kyle Pitts in Week 1. While it is a rarity for a rookie tight end to have any sort of fantasy relevancy, Pitts hardly represents a tight end: he runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and has elite athleticism. The thought of a linebacker trying to cover him is overwhelming. Also, the Falcons play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. The Eagles have a weak secondary, and they will already be busy trying to cover Calvin Ridley, so Pitts should find plenty of targets coming his way.
Broncos Defense – $3,300 – Projection: 6.55
There is growing optimism around the Broncos every single day. Their defense returns Von Miller, who was injured very early last season and added Patrick Surtain II in the draft. Surtain is an elite cornerback prospect, and many scouts think he could be a lockdown corner for the foreseeable future. Denver has a stifling defense with Bradley Chubb, Kyle Fuller, Justin Simmons, and Ronald Darby as well. The Broncos face the New York Giants in Week 1, and this matchup could potentially have “disaster” written all over it (for the Giants.) New York’s offensive line is atrocious, and there is absolutely no way that the Giants will be able to keep Miller, Chubb, and company from getting to Daniel Jones.
Additionally, Jones has to try and complete passes in record time against the best secondary in football. It is ridiculous that the spread is so tight, honestly. The Giants will have an extremely challenging time getting points on the board, and they are bound to make several mistakes resulting in fumbles or interceptions.