DFS Tournament Game Breakdown 2019 Week1

By Kyle Dvorchak
Kyle Dvorchak

Tournament lineup construction is about creating highly correlated lineups that can go nuclear, pinpointing multiple of the best plays at each position. It also forces outside of the box thinking to get contrarian plays that few other players will be keen to. Who might those guys be in Week 1?

Quarterback Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers Cam Newton is just as viable in tournaments as he is in cash games. His rushing usage provides a stable floor but a cavalcade of dynamic weapons makes Newton a threat for multiple touchdowns every week. Facing the LA Rams in Carolina, the Panthers have home-field advantage in a game with a 50-point total. Their implied score is 23.75.

Despite playing through a shoulder injury in countless matches, Newton passed or rushed for 70% of Carolina’s total offensive touchdowns in his 14 active games. If Carolina is going to score like Vegas thinks they will, that necessarily means Cam is going to score.

Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars The legend of Nick Foles grew to epic proportions in Philly, only to see him shipped off to Jacksonville. Fortunately for Foles, the Jaguars' new offensive coordinator is more than willing to let his quarterback sling it. Last season, John DeFilippo’s Vikings through the ball the fourth-most times in the NFL.

Foles also has the advantage of playing in a game with a 51.5-point total. Kansas City, their opponent, put together a top-five all-time offense last season but their defense was as bad as their offense was good. They gave up 4,721 yards and 30 scores throughout the season.

Foles isn’t a reliable starter but he’s one of the least expensive passers across all sites. He makes for some very interesting stacking options in the upcoming positons.

Running Back Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville is expected to lose to Kansas City in Week 1. Being on the losing end of a game is typically a bad situation for a big, bruising back who wants to grind out late leads. So far in the NFL, that description fits Fournette. However, dating back to college, Fournette was a rather adept pass-catching threat. He recorded an 11.9% share of LSU’s targets.

Now DeFilippo has talked about featuring Fournette as a passer and the back’s path to fantasy points becomes clear even if the Jags are losing. Playing Foles stacked with Fournette is a surefire way to create a unique lineup that taps into the upside of this game.

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams Playing Todd Gurley and his exploding knees is the ultimate tournament gamble. Vegas is forecasting a shootout for his game and he has scored 40 touchdowns over the past two seasons. In normal circumstances, Gurley would likely be the most popular back on the slate.

These aren’t normal circumstances though. Gurley’s workload for Week 1 is anyone’s guess. Malcolm Brown could siphon goal line carries while Darrell Henderson steals away receiving volume.

It’s also possible that Gurley retains a large number of his touches or that the touches they take away from him are in situations that are unlikely to result in a touchdown. Gurley’s upside is in the same stratosphere that it was last year but now his ownership in tournaments will be at a two-year low. He may not be the Gurley of old, but if the flashed that scoring ability, it will be a very good day for his backers in DFS.

Wide Receiver D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers Because D.J. Moore costs $1,300 more than his teammate Curtis Samuel on Draftings, Samuel likely becomes an extremely popular play in tournaments. This is in spite of the fact that Moore was one of the most phenomenal college prospects in the last decade. He broke out at the age of 18 and went on to dominate his peers at Maryland. Finally, at the combine, he showed off unparalleled athleticism. In his first year as a professional football player, Moore tallied over 900 yards from scrimmage.

Everything about Moore screams breakout but the Samuel hype continues to build. Factor in the cost discrepancy and rostering Moore with Newton instead of Samuel and Newton creates a lot of leverage. If Moore pulls in two red zone scores instead of Samuel, you’ll have a massive leg up on the field.

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs Continuing with the theme of targeting a select few games, running Foles-Fournette combos back with the greatest tournament receiver in the NFL. Last year, Hill went over 40 Draftkings points three times. Only two players managed to even hit that incredible mark twice.

In all three games where Hill erupted the two teams combined for at least 66 points. Hill is good but when there’s a lot of scoring, he hits another level.

When a shootout is on the horizon, it’s time to fire up Hill. The matchup against Jacksonville and specifically Jalen Ramsey will keep Hill’s ownership particularly low. That makes this the perfect time to fade the public and buy into Hill.

John Brown, Buffalo Bills John Brown has always been a good player. Never let anyone tell you something else. By his second year in the NFL Brown went over 1,000 receiving yards before becoming plagued by injuries.

Now he’s healthy and paired with the quarterback that fits his skill set more than anyone else does in the entire NFL: Josh Allen.

Through five weeks in 2018, Brown led the league air yards. Until Week 10, Brown remained in the top-three alongside Julio Jones and Deandre Hopkins. The Ravens were using Brown as a high-volume deep-threat each week.

Josh Allen’s average depth of target (aDOT) was 11.2 in his rookie campaign. He and Brown are the perfect fit for each other and the high-variance deep balls make Brown a viable tournament play every week.

Tight End Evan Engram, New York Giants Targeting players on anemic offenses, like the New York Giants, is generally disadvantageous in tournament game styles. Upside is generated through touchdowns and touchdowns are engineered by good offenses. Evan Engram may be the exception to that rule this week.

Sterling Shepard is coming off an injury that cost him much of his camp. Golden Tate is serving game one of his four-game suspension. Odell Beckham Jr. is in a better place now (Baker Mayfield’s loving arms).

Engram is in line to be the defacto WR1 in New York. Vegas has pinned the Cowboys as touchdown favorites which would see the Giants playing a lot of catch-up. All of these factors could easily coalesce into Evan Engram being the highest scoring tight end of Week 1.

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chris Godwin is slated to be one of the most popular plays on the main slate this week in cash and tournament lineups. Because of this, Howard provides a lot of leverage against the field that only needs a fluky touchdown to roll Howard’s way to pay off.

Howard’s 11.1 and 11.8 yards per target have led all tight ends in back to back years. Now he’ll be the unquestioned starter as Cameron Brate takes a backseat. The Bucs also let Adam Humphries walk and traded DeSean Jackson. The duo combined for 174 targets that can’t all go to Mike Evans.

Finally, Vegas is optimistic about the Buccaneers and 49ers’ offenses. The total between the two sits at 51 and has risen two points since opening. Howard is an uber-efficient tight end in a high-scoring affair. What’s not to love?

Defense San Francisco 49ers No team gave away the football more than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did last season. Their 35 total turnovers were three more than the next closest team. Jameis Winston throws an interception on three percent of his passes for while adding a fumble on 11.6% of his caries. No one is better at giving away the rock than Winston. If this game comes close to the 51-point total, Winston will have the ball in his hands a lot. That means a lot of fo turnovers even if the Bucs also score a lot of points.

If the 49ers’ don’t make a handful of big plays, the Buccaneers will likely score a lot of fo points and render this pick a bust. But if they can cause some havoc a touchdown could be in their future. The upside of playing against a lot of Wintson makes the 49ers’ a very sneaky tournament play.