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Playing daily fantasy tournaments in Week 1 is much more about making educated guesses than hard numbers, unlike later in the season. There are two primary forms of variance from projections: (1) at a team level and (2) individual player market share of the team’s fantasy production. Variance in both categories is higher early in the season than late.
At a team level, there is much more year-over-year change in team performances than the average fan may realize. Roster turnover, coaching changes, and myriad other factors make last year’s team-level statistics difficult to rely upon. There are always offenses that make a big leap from one year to the next. Week 1 is a great time to play your hunches on which teams you think are undervalued.
At an individual level, we have more guesswork about each player’s role in his offense now than we will later in the season. This is more true than ever before, given how little insight can be gleaned from the current iteration of preseason play. The vast majority of teams no longer play their starters, which means we are more in the dark about some key situations than we would like. This also provides opportunity for those who have followed some of these murky situations closely and feel they have a good read on how the usage splits will play out.
We will return to these ideas of undervalued offenses and unclear usage splits throughout this Week 1 FanDuel tournament preview. Below, we will go position-by-position, highlighting top plays and other players worth considering for your tournament lineups.
Quarterback Positional Overview
Over the last couple of years, we have seen a new generation of elite fantasy performers emerge capable of producing big fantasy numbers both through the air and with their legs. In these larger field tournaments, rushing upside takes on added importance given how often the QB1 on the main slate each week has separated from the back due to finding the end zone with his legs. The two players highlighted below as top plays do not have as much rushing upside as others but still have a solid shot of scoring on a short quarterback keeper while also racking up big numbers through the air.
Top QB Plays
Patrick Mahomes II, Kansas City ($8,700)
Of the handful of top quarterback options on the slate, Mahomes feels the safest due to the game environment. The Chiefs have the highest implied team total on the slate at 29 points. The game should also be fast-paced. In situational-adjusted pace-of-play last season, Kansas City ranked third-fastest and Arizona ranked seventh-fastest. The style of defense played by the Cardinals is one Mahomes has historically dominated. Arizona ranked fourth in the league in blitz rate last season, and Mahomes has typically sliced and diced teams when they bring an extra rusher. Plus, this Arizona pass rush looks toothless given the personnel available, leaving them no other option to generate pressure aside from dialing up blitzes.
Cardinals' potential starting defensive front against Patrick Mahomes II if Markus Golden and J.J. Watt are unavailable on Sunday:— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) September 7, 2022
OLB Dennis Gardeck
DE Zach Allen
DT Rashard Lawrence
DE Michael Dogbe
OLB Devon Kennard
With Mahomes projected to be on just under 10% of rosters, he is going to be popular but he should end up less popular than some of the other top options like Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert. Outside of Travis Kelce ($8,000), all of his weapons are affordable and open up multiple realistic stacking options. That being said, we have heard all offseason how the Chiefs really want to spread the ball around to different receivers. It may not be a bad idea to play Mahomes by himself to increase the uniqueness of your build and hope that he throws four touchdowns to four different pass catchers.
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