For the uninitiated, playing daily games on sites like FanDuel and DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space. FootballGuys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season. Herein is the Wednesday edition of “tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will run through the game script for Thursday Night Football, while also discussing kickers and team defenses for the upcoming weekend. The topic of tomorrow’s edition will center on QB’s and WR’s, while Friday’s focus will be RB’s and TE’s. Let’s dive in…
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GAMESCRIPT
The Green Bay Packers packed their gear and headed to Washington State earlier this week to match up against the defending Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are coming off a terrific season and a convincing Super Bowl victory against the Denver Broncos, where they trounced the Peyton-led Broncos, 43-8; Green Bay is coming off a semi-disappointing season, where they eeked into the Wild-Card playoffs with an 8-7-1 record, but lost to San Francisco, 23-20.
The Seahawks, traditionally a run-first offense, are in a state-of-transition and will supposedly begin to rely more on Russell Wilson’s arm than Marshawn Lynch’s legs. If this is true, look for a healthy WR1 Percy Harvin to capitalize on the increased air time; Doug Baldwin (WR2) should also matchup well against a lackluster Green Bay secondary that was among the bottom 10 in fantasy points allowed per game in 2013.
The Packers’ offense is the bigger question in this game—the Seahawks’ defense is a strong unit with no real weaknesses headed into the season. The Packers’ WR1 Jordy Nelson will presumably matchup against Richard Sherman, who gave up the 4th fewest fantasy points per game in 2013. In fact, Seattle ranked 1st (RB’s), 7th (WR2’s), and 3rd (TE’s) against these respective skill positions in fantasy points allowed per game in 2013. Thus, despite Aaron Rodger’s talent level and the skill players around him (Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson), it is difficult to pay their hefty salaries going into this particular matchup.
Look for Seattle to take a balanced attack in this first game, while Green Bay will do whatever they can to take a chunk out of Seattle’s armor. Predicted Score: Seattle 24, Green Bay 13
3-stars: Doug Baldwin (DK @ $3500; GPP), Marshawn Lynch (DK @ $6500; cash/GPP)
2-stars: Seattle Defense (DK @ $4400, FD @ $5700)
1-star: Percy Harvin (DK @ $5900; GPP)
Because predicting field goals is almost impossible, there is no reason to pay up for a kicker in daily games, unless you have ‘extra’ salary to spend. If you want to be contrarian for a large-field GPP tournament, it sometimes make sense to pay a little more for a kicker, as most daily gamers will choose the cheapest option available on the highest-potential scoring team. With that in mind, here are some considerations for Sunday’s game slate (FanDuel only):
Greg Zuerlein, STL ($4500 versus Minnesota): The Rams are projected by Vegas to score 24 points against the Vikings. Zuerlein made 26 of 28 field goals last year, is playing indoors, and has the leg to boot a long one, if asked. Min priced for your pleasure.
Shayne Graham, NO ($4700 versus Atlanta): The Saints signed Shayne Graham earlier this week after he bested Derek Dimke in a preseason battle. The truth is that Graham’s better days are behind him, but the Saints are projected to score 27 points against the Falcons in a matchup that always seems to result in a barnburner, so his salary is attractive at near minimum for the site.
Cody Parkey, PHL ($4900 versus Jacksonville): Parkey also won a preseason competition by outlasting Alex Henery in Philadelphia. This weekend, the Eagles have a cupcake matchup against the Jags, where they are slated to score 31 points; if they fail in the red zone, Parkey could notch several field goals.
Texans (versus Washington): We get our first look at Jadeveon Clowney on Sunday, where he will team up with healthy versions of J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing playing at home on opening day. Meanwhile, there are questions galore surrounding this Washington squad and most of them are centered around Robert Griffin III. In preseason action, RGIII struggled to get into sync with his receivers and still does not look like the same player who took the NFL by storm in 2012. This one should be a defensive battle, as Houston’s offense is questionable with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the way…take the Texans’ defense and hope that RGIII’s struggles continue (FD: $4700, DK: $3100).
Jets (versus Oakland): Oakland finally announced that Derek Carr will lead the Raiders into their opening day battle against the Jets in MetLife Stadium. The problem is that Carr is still unproven at this level and is traveling cross-country to play in a high-pressure environment. Despite his success at Fresno State, he thrived off a system that heavily-involved screen passes—his average pass traveled 7 yards past the line of scrimmage; likewise, he only completed 29% of his passes when under pressure while in college. If the Jets’ defense mounts any type of pressure, it could be a long Sunday for the Raiders (FD: $5000, DK: $3900).
Steelers (versus Cleveland): Dick LeBeau’s defensive unit starts off the year with a darling of a matchup against the lowly Cleveland Browns. The Browns lost Josh Gordon for the year on a drug-related suspension, leaving only question marks as receiving options; meanwhile, Brian Hoyer, not Johnny Manziel, will get the nod on opening day at QB. This game looks to be a heavy dose of Ben Tate and it would appear that the Steelers will be entirely capable of stopping him from doing too much damage (FD: $5200, DK: $3900)
Chiefs (versus Tennessee): Kansas City led off 2013 with a string of fantastic defensive efforts, but eventually came back to Earth as the season progressed. To lead off 2014, they get Jake Locker and Company in Arrowhead Stadium. With questions concerning Bishop Sankey’s preseason performances, Jake Locker’s continued inconsistency, and the lack of a clear WR1, the Titans do not appear to present much of a threat to the Chiefs’ defense (FD: $5400, DK: $4000).
Buccaneers (versus Carolina): The Bucs’ defense is not the same defense it was 10 years ago; however, this selection is based more on matchup than ability. The Carolina Panthers start off the 2014 season where they ended last year—with a lack of talent on offense. The preseason reports out of Carolina suggest that Kelvin Benjamin is polished, but he is still unproven at this level; furthermore, Jerricho Cotchery will not be necessitating any double-coverage, so Benjamin will get all the attention he merits from the secondary. Meanwhile, the less-than-stellar running back combo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart remains unchanged, but will enter the season another year older. With Vegas projecting the Panthers’ total score at 18 points and the fact that Carolina has to play away from home in a season-opening NFC South matchup, this looks to be a good spot for the Tampa defense (FD: $4900, DK: $3100).