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DFS Fantasy Preview Week 1 WR Salaries 2018
By Bobby Gomes
Antonio Brown (8,600) and DeAndre Hopkins (8,300) are the two highest priced receivers on the featured slate. I like Hopkins more than Brown. My interest in Brown right now is minimal partly due to Ben Roethlisberger's home road splits and partly due to his price. That could change though depending on Le'Veon Bell’s status for week one. If Lev isn’t going to go, then my interest in Brown changes due to the usage bump. In the middle of the high tier Michael Thomas (7,800) looks like the early favorite to be the cash game chalk week one at the wide receiver position. Thomas should benefit from Mark Ingram’s suspension and has a favorable game script in the superdome with the buccaneers defense projecting to funnel offense to the pass. While I love Thomas as a cash play I think Keenan Allen (7,300) right below him should be less owned and has just as much upside for tournaments. Allen like Thomas is also likely to see a bump in usage with Hunter Henry done for the season after tearing his ACL in OTAs. The Chargers open up against the Chiefs, a division rival, Allen has had a lot of success against them. The Chiefs secondary lost its number one corner in Marcus Peters this offseason so look for Rivers and Allen to take full advantage. After Allen comes A.J. Green (7,300) and Odell Beckham Jr. (7,000). Green should be pretty chalky but I doubt I’ll go there and then there is Beckham who should be one of the better leverage plays on the slate for tournaments, because of his price and what likely will be depressed ownership. Beckham is a very strong tournament play. People are going to see the Jags think Jalen Ramsey and run the other way. Pat Shurmur does a really good job of getting his best players the ball - Adam Thielen was the best slot receiver in football last season with Shurmur calling the plays. I would not be surprised if Shurmur runs Beckham out of the slot a good portion of the game to free him from Ramsey who traditionally does not follow inside.
Great transition as Adam Thielen kicks off the top of the mid tier at (6,900). While he has a favorable matchup I still want to see the pre-season playout before I roster Thielen. I think Thielen is a great player, but I would attribute a lot of Thielen's success to Shurmur and Case Keenum. With both no longer with the team I’ll probably be reluctant to roster Thielen week one unless something stands out during the preseason. The next man down is T.Y. Hilton (6,800). I love that Andrew Luck is back, love the price tag, think he is in play for both cash games and tournaments. The one thing that scares me with T.Y. is that I think Indy will keep Andrew Luck on a pitch count week one so I think T.Y.’s ceiling may be slightly capped. Mike Evans (6,700) gets a battle in the superdome with the “Defensive Rookie of the Year” Marcus Lattimore definitely a stay away in cash but fine for tournaments, because of the positive game script and the superdome. If I was personally targeting Bucs receivers I would look to the ancillary receivers outside of Evans in tournaments, because of Lattimore, and a game script favoring the pass. In the middle of the mid tier we have Larry Fitzgerald (6,600) and Tyreek Hill (6,500). Fitzgerald should be a fine roster for cash, based on pure volume alone, however I don’t personally roster him which worked out great for me up until last season. Tyreek Hill projects to be a great tournament leverage play, because the chargers defense should be chalky going up against a first year starter in Pat Mahomes. Tyreek’s home road splits are as extreme as Big Ben’s except Tyreek plays better on the road. Last season he had double digit fantasy points in every road game he played in. Steff Diggs (6,400) showed a great connection with Kirk Cousins in the first preseason game and is significantly under priced. As of right now I like him better than Thielen, and I don’t mind rostering him even against Richard Sherman week 1, as Diggs is the type of receiver Sherman tends to struggle with. Chris Hogan (6,100) in the middle of the mid tier should be pretty chalky in both cash and tournaments because of the Edelman suspension. Hogan had great numbers when lining up in the slot last season - so it will be interesting to see how he is used in the preseason. I don’t think I’ll have a lot of Hogan week one in tournaments because I like a lot of guys below him and above him. Juju Smith-Schuster (5,900) is below Hogan. You can take everything I said about Brown and basically apply it to JuJu although JuJu makes for a better cash game play if you're looking for exposure to Steelers pass catchers with Bell in the lineup. I really like Jarvis Landry (5,500) in cash for his price. I Will probably have exposure to him in tournaments as well. Landry becomes a better play if Josh Gordon (5,800) misses week one. Not touching Gordon until his playing status is confirmed. In the bottom of the mid tier we have Devin Funchess (5,200) and Will Fuller (5,100). Very high on both of these players for tournaments.
Emmanuel Sanders (5,000) is at the high end of the low tier and on first look I love this play for both cash and tournaments. At home versus a Seattle secondary that isn’t even close to what it used to be, Sanders grades out as a good play. Problem is with over a month to digest salaries, this play will probably garner more traction than it would if we had a week's time. Even still in a tournament like the Millionaire Maker they're will be a percentage of entrants that still think Richard Sherman is in Seattle so I guess it’s a slight edge. Always have those game breaker types that can win you a tournament in this tier. DraftKings has Marquis Goodwin (4,600), DeSean Jackson (4,600), and Ted Ginn (4,200) all in this price range. If I had to choose between Goodwin and Jackson I would lean Goodwin. They both are in similar situations where they should see volume due to lock down cornerbacks covering their teammates Evans and Garçon. While Jackson has the better gamescript I think Goodwin will see more passes because he usually does anyway - so I just think he’s the better play. Ted Ginn is someone to look at in tournaments, the problem is now he has to contend with Torrey Smith for that deep ball. Ginn has the familiarity with Brees though and is in line for a usage bump against a defense that funnels to the pass. Tyler Lockett(4,300) has potential to become chalk in cash if Doug Baldwin sits because of an extreme usage bump in a positive gamescript. Danny Amendola is a guy at (4,200) who can be used in both cash and tournaments. Amendola is in line for big game as Ryan Tannehill loves to check down to the slot, and the gamescript based on Vegas has them playing from behind. Tyrell Williams (4,200) look for a usage bump - I prefer him in tournaments to a guy like Mike Williams. If you're looking for Chargers exposure that is not Keenan Allen or Melvin Gordon. Another Slot receiver I have my eye on for cash is Cole Beasley (3,600) the Cowboys should be playing from behind on the road. Dak has familiarity with Cole where he lacks it with his other weapons. I think he’ll look to him a good amount, enough to pay off that price tag. As a long shot Tournament play in this range I like Phillip Dorsett (3,700), you just have to pay attention to how the Patriots are using him in the preseason.