FanDuel Friday: Plenty of bargains to be had in Week 1


FanDuel Friday: Plenty of bargains to be had in Week 1

Welcome back to our NFL FanDuel Friday post that will appear every week to go along with the rest of our daily coverage for CSN Fantasy.

You can take a look at who are some of the best plays and values in FanDuel for the weekend’s games. We aren’t suggesting you put your entire life savings on any of our lineups (because we certainly aren’t), but if you want to have fun with a $1 league this weekend, we’re giving you some names to consider.

As always, feel free to send us any and all Fantasy Football questions (Standard/PPR leagues, FanDuel, something really cool that we don't even know about, etc.) to @CSNFantasy or use #CSNFantasy. We’ll do our best to give you our take on your situation. 

Here are our FanDuel lineups for Week 1: 

John "The Professor" Paschall

I've had this lineup set since the first day FanDuel opened them up in the summer and weeks later I still feel pretty good about it. 

Giants-Cowboys should be an old fashion shootout with Manning leading the way against Big Blue's rival. He's also got a fat new contract now so he should be ready to prove that he's worth that chunk of change.

Lacy should be feasting on the Bears defense like it's Thanksgiving especially when the Packers hold a big lead over the Bears. I don't see any way the Bears can slow him down. A lot is expected of Hill this season and he's got a favorable matchup against the Raiders in Week 1. Oakland's defense isn't a pushover like it used to be but Hill and that stout Bengals offensive line should be able to get the job done in a big way. 

The feeling is that Cooks won't face up against Patrick Peterson in their game, opening the door for a monster day for the shifty receiver. Like Cooks, Marshall should receive a heavy amount of targets, especially in the red zone. Drawing Joe Haden as a matchup won't help but Marshall should return more value than his current price tag. Johnson is one of my favorite sleepers of the year and especially this week. His chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater is undeniable. The two really clicked at the end of the year and with the 49ers defense in shambles, he could have a national coming out party on Monday Night Football. 

Hill is also a favorite sleeper pick of many for the year, and while his usage is relatively unknown, his boom/bust prospects at that price tag don't scare me. Brees should find a way to get him the ball. 

The Jets defense is the obvious pick this week. They'll post big numbers against that horrid Browns offense. 

Tony Andracki

The thing to remember about FanDuel NFL is how cheap kickers, defenses and tight ends are (unless you want Rob Gronkowski, who isn't eligible after his MONSTER game Thursday night). Finding solid options there - The Jets have a nice matchup against the Browns, the Eagles should score plenty and keep Parkey busy and Jason Witten is always a beast and is playing in a Cowboys-Giants game that always seems to turn into a shootout - helped me get studs elsewhere.

Carson Palmer has a fantastic matchup against a woeful Saints defense and apparently the salary-cap raters at FanDuel forgot how good Palmer was on a week-to-week basis when he was actually healthy last season. I also targted John Brown - whom I'm anticipating will be Palmer's top receiver. On top of that, I love Jordan Matthews as the top target in a fast-paced Philly offense (how is he only $6,800??) and, of course, Calvin Johnson, a stud no matter who he plays.

At running back, I wanted Lacy against the Bears, even at the high price tag, and I had to go with Miller, whom I've been talking up at length this preseason and a guy I declared a must-start every week in fantasy football, so why not ride the wave in FanDuel, too?

Michael Smith

I’m starting my lineup with Ryan Tannehill, who I’m hoping has low ownership with the majority of players either spending up on a top 5 QB, or going cheap with Tyrod Taylor. Tannehill and the Dolphins have one of the best matchups against the Washington Defense which was ranked 28th against the pass last year and 29th in scoring.  I teamed Tannehill up with Jarvis Landry at WR, who is now Miami’s No. 1 wide receiver. 

At running back I love the matchups of two of the most expensive players, Adrian Peterson and Eddie Lacy. The Packers are almost a touchdown favorite over the Bears, and Lacy will be the one running out the clock if Aaron Rodgers is able to carve up the Bears secondary as expected. The only player this year with a bigger chip on his shoulder than Tom Brady, Peterson faces a San Francisco defense which underwent major reconstruction this offseason. The Niners may be a solid defense at some point this year, but I’m betting against them stopping Peterson in Week 1.

Along with Peterson I’m going with Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson. The Niners lost their best cornerback and several pass rushers, and along with Johnson’s emergence at the end of the 2014 season, I see him being a sneaky bargain priced wideout. My final receiver is Jordan Matthews, who is the Eagles most talented pass catcher. Over the last two years Chip Kelly has made top 10 fantasy wide receivers out of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, and I think Matthews has the talent to make that three years in a row.

At wide receiver I tried to get some lower owned players so at tight end I went with what I expect will be the chalk play at the position, Greg Olsen. Olsen had a career year last season and with Kelvin Benjamin on IR, Olsen should be targeted even more by Cam Newton.

At defense I like the Kansas City Chiefs who play against a Texans offense which starts a replacement level player at every skill position outside of Deandre Hopkins. And at kicker I grabbed the Giants Josh Brown who should see plenty of opportunities in a high scoring game against Dallas.

Scott Krinch

There's plenty of value to be had at the wide receiver position in Week 1, and that's where you should be looking to save money by spending big elsewhere.

The over/under for Monday night's Eagles-Falcons game is 53.5, and I'm betting big on the over in that contest. I grabbed the top two wideouts from that game in Jordan Matthews and Julio Jones, hoping that the duo will be able to carry my team. Rounding out my receiving Triumvirate is the veteran Eddie Royal. For a low price of $5000, Royal is a must in all of my lineups this weekend.

At the running back position I targeted Eddie Lacy and Doug Martin. Lacy should run rampant on a week Bears' front seven that's missing Jeremiah Ratliff up the middle. Meanwhile, Martin should feast on a Titans defense that ranked No. 2 against the run in 2014, and did nothing in the offseason to shore up their abysmal front.

Eli Manning in a likely shootout against the Cowboys screams easy money and that's why he's on my team this week, and Greg Olsen (Cam Newton's only target) is a great play at tight end against a bad Jaguars defense.

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry


Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

The Bears are looking for an upgrade at wide receiver this offseason, and there may be one available.

The Dolphins used the franchise tag on wide receiver Jarvis Landry on Tuesday, in a move that many believe signals the team's desire to deal him instead of losing him in free agency for nothing.

Landry put up excellent numbers last season, catching 112 passes for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the league in catches and was fourth in touchdown receptions but was just 17th in yards. His yards per reception ranked 108th of 139 qualifying players.

Still, it's no secret he'd be an upgrade for the Bears at wide receiver. Though they'll get Cam Meredith and Kevin White back from injury, the corps largely struggled and didn't give rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky much help.

Luckily, they may be interested in Landry, per's Ian Rapoport.

"There are a couple teams that we should keep an eye on as far as a potential Jarvis Landry landing spot......the Chicago Bears are looking for receviers," he said.

Rapoport also mentioned the Titans, Panthers and Saints as options for Landry. The franchise tag will pay Landry about $16 million before he becomes a free agent in 2019 (or has the franchise tag used on him again).


2017 Bears position grades: Management

2017 Bears position grades: Management

2017 grade: D+

For these purposes, “management” encompasses the coaching staff and front office. We don’t need a lengthy re-litigation of the failures of the John Fox era, so briefly: The offense was unimaginative, predictable and unsuccessful; there were too many head-scratching coaching decisions, punctuated by that backfiring challenge flag against Green Bay; the defense was solid but not spectacular; special teams had plenty of highs (three touchdowns) and lows (Marcus Cooper’s gaffe against Pittsburgh, Connor Barth’s missed field goal against Detroit). Fox didn’t win enough games to justify a fourth year, even if he left the Bears in a better place than he found them back in 2015. But that 5-11 record drags the management grade down. 

But the larger thing we’re going to focus on here is the hits and misses for Ryan Pace in the 2017 league year. The hits: 

-- Drafting Mitchell Trubisky. Will this be a long-term success? That’s another question. But Pace hitched his future in Chicago to a quarterback last April. For a franchise that hasn’t had a “franchise” quarterback in ages, what more can you ask for? If Trubisky pans out, nobody should care that Pace traded up one spot -- effectively losing a third-round pick for his conviction in his guy -- to make the move. 

-- Moving quickly to hire Matt Nagy. As with Trubisky, Pace identified his guy and made sure he got him. The Bears hired Nagy just two days after the Kansas City Chiefs’ season ended with that playoff collapse against the Tennessee Titans, and with the Indianapolis Colts -- who eventually got burned by Josh McDaniels -- sniffing around Nagy, Pace made his move to hire a young, energetic, offensive-minded coach to pair with Trubisky. It’s tough to argue with any of the coaching hires made by Nagy, who had a head start on the competition: He retained defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and that entire defensive staff, kept Dave Ragone to be Trubisky’s quarterbacks coach and hired Mark Helfrich to bring some different concepts as offensive coordinator, and hired a special teams coach in Chris Tabor who must’ve been doing something right to survive seven years and a bunch of coaching changes in Cleveland. Like with Trubisky, it’s too early to say if Nagy will or won’t work out long-term, but it stands out that Pace had conviction in getting a franchise quarterback and a head coach who will make or break his tenure in Chicago. 

-- Drafting Tarik Cohen and Eddie Jackson in the fourth round. In Cohen, the Bears found an offensive spark (who was nonetheless under-utilized) who also was a key contributor on special teams. In Jackson, the Bears added a plug-and-play 16-game starter at safety who looks to have some upside after a solid rookie year. Both picks here were a triumph for the Bears’ amateur scouting department: Cohen wasn’t on everyone’s radar (special teams coach Chris Tabor, who previously was with the Browns, said Cohen’s name never came across his desk in Cleveland), while Jackson was coming off a broken leg that prematurely ended a solid career at Alabama. These were assuredly two hits. 

-- Signing Akiem Hicks to a four-year contract extension. The Bears rewarded Hicks a day before the season began; Hicks rewarded them with a Pro Bowl-caliber season (despite him only being a fourth alternate) and was the best player on the team in 2017. 

-- Signing Charles Leno to a four-year contract extension. Leno may not be an elite tackle, and still has some things to clean up in his game, but he’s 26 and his four-year, $37 million contract is the 14th-largest among left tackles (for what it’s worth, Bleacher Report ranked Leno as the 20th best left tackle in the NFL). The Bears believe Leno is still improving, and could turn that contract into a bargain in the future. But this is important to note, too: Players notice when a team rewards one of its own, especially when that guy is a well-respected former seventh-round draft pick. 

-- Signing Mark Sanchez to a one-year deal. This wasn’t a miss, certainly, and while it’s not much of a “hit,” Sanchez was exactly what the Bears wanted: A veteran mentor to Trubisky. While Sanchez was inactive for all 16 games, he and the No. 2 overall pick struck up a good relationship that makes him a candidate to return in 2018 as a true backup. 

-- Releasing Josh Sitton when he did. Whether or not the Bears offensive line is better off in 2018 is a different question, but file cutting Sitton on Feb. 20 -- when the team had until mid-March to make a decision on him -- as one of those things that gets noticed by players around the league. 

-- Announcing the expansion to Halas Hall. The plan has Pace’s fingerprints on it, and should help make the Bears a more attractive destination to free agents in 2018 and beyond. 

And now, for the misses:

-- Signing Mike Glennon. That completely bombed out. While the Bears weren’t hurting for cap space a year ago, and Glennon’s contract essentially was a one-year prove-it deal, his play was so poor that he was benched after only four games -- when the initial plan was for him to start the entire season to give Trubisky time to develop. The wheels came off for Glennon on his seventh pass in Week 2, when after completing his first six he threw the ball right to Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander for an interception from which he never seemed to recover. He’ll be cut sometime soon. 

-- Signing Markus Wheaton. After signing a two-year, $11 million deal in the spring, Wheaton struggled to stay healthy, with an appendectomy and finger injury limiting him in training camp and the early part of the season, and then a groin injury knocking out a few weeks in the middle of the season. When Wheaton was healthy, he was ineffective, catching only three of his 17 targets. That places him with eight other players since 1992 who’ve been targeted at least 15 times and and caught fewer than 20 percent of their targets. He’s another one of Pace’s 2017 free agent signings who’s likely to be cut. 

-- Signing Marcus Cooper. The Bears thought they were signing an ascending player who picked off four passes in 2016 and would be a better scheme fit in Chicago than he was in Arizona. Instead, Cooper was a liability when he was on the field and didn’t live up to his three-year, $16 million contract (with $8 million guaranteed). Dropping the ball before he got in the end zone Week 3 against Pittsburgh was a lowlight. The Bears can net $4.5 million in cap savings if he’s cut, per Spotrac. 

-- Signing Dion Sims. Sims isn’t as likely to be cut as Glennon and Wheaton, and even Cooper, but his poor production in the passing game (15 catches, 29 targets, 180 yards, one touchdown) puts a spotlight on how the Bears evaluate how he was as a run blocker in 2017. If that grade was high, the Bears could justify keeping him and not garnering a little more than $5.5 million in cap savings. If it was low, and the Bears are confident in Adam Shaheen’s ability to improve, then Sims could be cut as well. 

-- Signing Quintin Demps. The loss here was mitigated by the strong play of Adrian Amos, but Demps didn’t make much of an impact on the field before his Week 3 injury besides getting plowed over by Falcons tight end Austin Hooper in Week 1. He’d be a decent guy to have back as a reserve given his veteran leadership -- he was a captain in 2017 -- but given how well Amos and Eddie Jackson worked together last year, he’s unlikely to get his starting spot back in 2018. 

-- The wide receiver position as a whole. Kendall Wright led the Bears in receptions and yards, but his numbers would’ve looked a lot better had he been surrounded by better players. The cupboard was bare at this position, and after the worst-case scenario happened -- Cameron Meredith tearing his ACL in August, and Kevin White breaking his collarbone in Week 1 -- the Bears were left with an overmatched and underperforming group of receivers. For Trubisky’s sake, Pace has to work to make sure 2018 isn’t a repeat of 2017. 

-- The kicker position as a whole. Since we’re focusing solely on Pace’s 2017 moves, the decision to release Robbie Gould and replace him with Connor Barth doesn’t fall into this grade. But Barth had struggled with consistency prior to this season, and Roberto Aguayo didn’t provide much competition in his short-lived stint in training camp. The Bears eventually released Barth after he missed a game-tying kick against Detroit in November, then replaced him with a guy in Cairo Santos who was coming off an injury and, as it turned out, wasn’t completely healthy yet. So the Bears then had to move on from Santos and sign Mike Nugent to get them through the rest of the season. Better consistency from this position will be important to find in 2018. 

A couple moves fall into the neither hits nor misses category:

-- Drafting Adam Shaheen. Tight ends rarely make a significant impact as rookies, but Shaheen was only targeted 14 times last year. He did catch three touchdowns and flash some good chemistry with Trubisky before suffering an injury against Cincinnati that wound up ending his season. The gains he makes with a year of experience under his belt and during his first full offseason as a pro will be critical in determining his success in Year 2, and whether or not taking him 45th overall was a hit or a miss. 

-- Signing Prince Amukamara. This was neither good nor bad, with Amukamara playing solidly in coverage but not making enough plays on the ball and committing a few too many penalties. 

Pace still has decisions to make on a few other potential cuts, including right tackle Bobby Massie ($5.584 million cap savings per Spotrac) and linebackers Willie Young ($4.5 million cap savings) and Pernell McPhee ($7.075 million cap savings). Whether or not to place the franchise tag on Kyle Fuller and potentially pay him $15 million in 2018 is another call Pace has to make before the official end of the 2017 league year. 

But for Pace, did the hits out-weigh the misses in 2017? The Glennon signing imploded, but Trubisky showed signs of promise during an average season for a rookie quarterback. Cooper was a bust, but Fuller emerged as a potential long-term option to cover for that. The most glaring misses, then, were at wide receiver and tight end where, after injuries sapped those units of Cameron Meredith and Zach Miller, there weren’t reliable targets for Trubisky. 

We’ll probably need more time to determine if Pace’s “hits” on Trubisky and Nagy truly are “hits.” But if they are, the misses of 2017 -- Glennon, Wheaton, Cooper, etc. -- will be nothing more than amusing footnotes to a successful era of Bears football.