Week 1 is finally here, and that means the FanDuel salaries have been out for a few weeks, and lineups can be made. FanDuel has plenty of tournaments ranging from various slates to entry fees. FanDuel tournament picks range from various prices and is a mix of upside projections and ownership. Week 1 starts off with solid weather, so there are no concerns there. Injuries have already been flying high this offseason, but not too many have an effect on the main slate for Sunday.
Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals – $8,400 – Projection: 23.7
Kyler Murray will certainly garnish some ownership in Week 1 due to him being one of the better fantasy arms in the NFL, which actually has more to do with his legs than his arm. I’m not afraid of having a high-owned Murray in a tournament lineup because we can easily differ elsewhere. Instead, he faces a Titans defense that ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA in 2020 and didn’t do much to get better at that level for 2021. They project as one of the worst pass defenses coming into the new year. With his rushing potential, especially his touchdown-upside in the red zone, Murray is not only a safe bet but someone who can push 30 fantasy points in this type of matchup.
Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks – $7,800 – Projection: 21.6
This is the range where you can start to differ in ownership. Aside from the more expensive options, I envision most will be going towards a cheaper Ryan Tannehill in this spot or even taking a chance on ROY-favorite Trevor Lawrence in a great spot against Houston. Indy’s secondary was above-average last season, despite having many household names. This defense has pieced together nicely, but I still have my concerns against offenses with threats like this. We will see how the addition of Kwity Paye affects this pass-rush, but they were not a unit to shy away from for that reason. Wilson also has solid stacking partners with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Seattle has a sneaky high 26.25 implied total and is indoors, but they are not being talked about a ton.
Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – $8,600 – Projection: 18.3
Most people will be locking in Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey, but Alvin Kamara should come in with lower ownership and is also a near $2,000 drop from those names. I like the idea of using Kamara in combination with one of the two as well. Green Bay has continued to have a below-average run defense over the last few years, and 2021 should be no different. Green Bay allowed the 6th most FD points per game to running backs last season and allowed a hefty 90 receptions. There have been talks of Kamara needing Brees to truly have his upside and consistency but Jameis Winston being under center now isn’t enough for me to move Kamara down in the overall running back rankings. He has a nice price tag for Week 1 and should be lower owned out of the top-4 backs.
Najee Harris – Pittsburgh Steelers – $6,500 – Projection: 13.5
There are a handful of rookie running backs making their debut this week, and Najee Harris comes in priced at $6,500. Because James Robinson, Raheem Mostert, and Chris Carson are in this range and in more glaring matchups, ownership will flock to them. The Steelers offensive line is still a concern for me, which is why I will avoid Harris in any sort of cash game scenario for the time being, but his workload is what is enticing. Harris should be near 20 touches when this game is over, which is exciting for this price. The Bills were in the bottom half against the run last season and in fantasy points allowed for running backs. The modest total for this game should keep ownership away.
Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings – $8,000 – Projection: 15.8
There are loads of top-end wide receivers in good spots this weekend, but Justin Jefferson is the name I have my eye on. Coming off a historic rookie season, Jefferson isn’t flying under the radar. Most have already installed him as a top-end wideout to target most weeks. Jefferson lined up all over last season, and this is a great matchup against Hilton, Apple, and Awuzie, as the Bengals secondary will be an easy target this season. Outside of Hilton, the other two allowed over 0.30 fantasy points per route run against.
Brandon Aiyuk – San Francisco 49ers – $6,500 – Projection: 11.8
Getting some exposure to the San Francisco 49ers this week is a smart move, and you can do that in a number of ways. Brandon Aiyuk is one of them. Facing a weak Detroit secondary, even after drafting Jeff Okudah, allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers last season. We get another indoor game, and the 49ers have an implied total of over 26. Aiyuk currently projects as a top 15 WR on the Sunday slate.
Tyler Lockett – Seattle Seahawks – $6,800 – Projection: 12.9
Predicting Tyler Lockett on a week-to-week basis was quite annoying last season. He was a boom or bust type player and did a lot of his damage within just a few weeks. He gets an excellent spot on the road against the Colts, and if he continues to run a majority of his routes out of the slot, he will see Kenny Moore, who allowed a 72% catch rate and 0.28 fantasy points per route run against him. Indy allowed the 7th most yards per game to WR2s last season.
T.J. Hockenson – Detroit Lions – $5,700 – Projection: 10.1
Looking at the matchup, people will fade this one, given the 49ers allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2020. Their schedule did not face a single fantasy relevant tight end, so there is some context to that. I like going against the grain of the tough matchup, as Detroit will be using Hockenson as the main weapon this season. Positive game scripts will be there all year for the young tight end, which bodes well for his overall volume again—hockenson projects for 6+ targets and also the 4th most yards on the slate at the position.
Denver Broncos – $4,100 – Projection: 9.2
Given you can freely slot in defense on FD and not have it really affect the rest of your lineup means San Francisco is in play here as well. However, Denver at $4,100 is in a great spot against what is arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. Adding that into the mix that Denver is now back and healthy, facing turnover-prone Daniel Jones, limited Saquon Barkley, and a Jason Garrett offense, sign me up for Denver to get off on the right foot in this one.