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Daily Games

NFL DFS Must Plays: Week 1

by Spencer Limbach
Updated On: September 7, 2019, 10:05 am ET

As we head into the weekend, be sure to check out all the content rolling onto the Rotoworld Daily page. Here’s a list of articles looking at the NFL DFS Week 1 slate. I will be updating as new columns are added, so consider this section as your DFS Table of Contents.

NFL DFS Bargains by Renee Miller

NFL GPP Pivots by Spencer Limbach

NFL DFS Stacks by Renee Miller

NFL DFS Starting Points by Renee Miller

Rotoworld Ranks vs. DFS Pricing (coming soon) 

NFL DFS Fades (coming soon)

NFL DFS Single Game Breakdown (check back Sunday & Monday) 


Now onto the NFL DFS Must Plays for Week 1!

Just a reminder, this column includes only Sunday afternoon games, as that’s considered the main slate on DFS sites.

PLATINUM: Build your lineup around these guys

Nick Chubb - RB - Cleveland (vs. Tennessee) 

The matchup could be better, as Chubb will take on a Tennessee defense that ranked middle-of-the-pack against the run last season. However, the Cleveland RB has a myriad of other factors playing into his hand. I’m expecting Chubb to see tremendous volume while backup Kareem Hunt serves his suspension. The Browns check in as 5.5 point home favorites, which is the perfect situation for a workhorse running back to thrive. As an added bonus, Chubb carries a shorter price tag than high-end RBs like Saquon Barkley or Christian McCaffrey, but his Week 1 production could be akin to those top picks. 

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GOLD: Next wave to consider in terms of priority

Jameis Winston - QB - Tampa Bay (vs. San Francisco) 

Now is the time to believe in Winston, as the matchup is undeniable against a San Francisco defense that ranked 30th in DVOA to the pass last season. Making matters even better, Pro Football Focus ranked the 49ers’ secondary 29th (in terms of player grades) heading into the year. This matchup has all the makings of a shootout with the Buccaneers favored by one point in a 50 point over/under (third-highest of this slate). Tampa doesn’t have much of a running game at the moment, so the scoring/yardage burden will be firmly placed on Winston’s shoulders. That’s certainly not a problem from a fantasy point of view. 

Chris Godwin - WR - Tampa Bay (vs. San Francisco) 

I was already planning on using Godwin through all DFS formats, but he becomes an even better play if Mike Evans (illness) is limited in any capacity. To be clear, Godwin makes for an excellent fantasy streamer regardless of Evans’ status. As mentioned in the previous write-up, this 49ers-Bucs draw has shootout written all over it. Tampa coach Bruce Arians absolutely loves Godwin, stating that the wide receiver should push for 100 receptions this season. I’m expecting him to be well on his way after Week 1. 

Dalvin Cook - RB - Minnesota (vs. Atlanta) 

Cook is in a similar boat (Viking ship?) as the aforementioned-likes of Chubb. Both running backs stand to benefit from a positive game script (MIN -4 at home) with limited competition for touches. However, Cook has the added benefit of an encouraging matchup with the Vikings squaring off against an Atlanta team that ranked 30th against the run last season. They aren’t expected to improve in 2019, as Pro Football Focus has the Falcons ranked 28th in run defense. 

SILVER: Good options that narrowly rank ahead of similar players

Chris Carson - RB - Seattle (vs. Cincinnati) 

Carson went into this summer competing for touches with teammate Rashaad Penny, ultimately coming away as the clear-cut frontrunner in Seattle’s backfield. The Seahawks love to run the football, and they’ll get a chance to grind it out against a Cinncinati rushing defense that ranked 26th in 2018. Carson is another running back who checks in as a home favorite (SEA -9.5), helping secure volume for a confident floor/ceiling combination in fantasy. 

O.J. Howard - TE - Tampa Bay (vs. San Francisco) 

I’ve already mentioned it twice, but this Bucs-49ers matchup should have plenty of scoring. Howard is an excellent candidate to get in on the action as a red-zone threat who can also break a big play while enjoying mismatches on virtually every snap. The 6’6” tight end has been promoted to a featured role in Bruce Arians’ offense, and he should pay fantasy dividends right away. 

BRONZE: Not 100% necessities, but they mix well into a quality lineup

Tyler Lockett - WR - Seattle (vs. Cincinnati) 

I mentioned earlier that the Seahawks will call their fair share of run plays against the Bengals. However, when QB Russell Wilson throws the ball, he’ll likely target WR Tyler Lockett as his favorite pass catcher. Those two displayed excellent rapport last season, and Seattle doesn’t have any other established receivers. As Ian Hartitz explained in his WR/CB Matchups article (great read btw), Wilson had a perfect 153.8 QB rating when targeting Lockett in 2018. I’m expecting that connection to be alive and well on Sunday, and it doesn’t hurt that they’ll face a Cincinnati defense that ranked 25th against the pass last season. 

Marvin Jones Jr. - WR - Detroit (at Arizona) 

Jones is the epitome of this “bronze tier”: not a 100% necessity but mixes well into a quality lineup. I’m expecting Jones or Kenny Golladay to step up against a messy Arizona secondary that will be without Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford. In fact, both Detroit receivers could put on a show against this pieced-together defensive backfield. Go ahead and look towards both, but Jones checks in with a noticeably cheaper salary on most DFS sites. 

PARTICIPATION RIBBONS: Fell just short of a featured spot

Lamar Jackson - QB - Baltimore (at Miami)

George Kittle - TE - San Francisco (at Tampa Bay)

Leonard Fournette - RB - Jacksonville (vs. Kansas City) 

Tyler Boyd - WR - Cincinnati (at Seattle) 

Kenny Golladay - WR - Detroit (at Arizona) 

Hunter Henry - TE - LA Chargers (vs. Indianapolis) 

Baltimore Ravens Defense (at Miami)

Spencer Limbach

Spencer Limbach is a multi-sport daily fantasy specialist for NBC Sports Edge. He can be found on twitter @Spencer_JL.