Daily Fantasy Football is back for 2016 and FanDuel offers a variety of cash and tournament contests. Projecting and using player ownership to build lineups is an integral strategy to long-term success. Here are the key players and lineups for Week 1:
THE CHALK PLAYS
The Saints-Giants Shootout Projection: This game is three points clear of any other matchup this week by Vegas projection. All components are likely to be higher owned, despite strong price enforcement by FanDuel. Drew Brees sits as the top salary at quarterback with $9,200, but Eli Manning in the same matchup - at home - is $8,100 against a worse defense in New Orleans. Mark Ingram II at $7,000 would normally intrigue me, but his low snap rate (plus Travaris Cadet seeing high leverage opportunities in Week 1 concerns me to bet on Ingram any particular week in DFS). In general, I fade the Saints when on the road. One case this week is Willie Snead IV. After a huge Week 1, Snead is aggressively priced at $7,200 and his home-road splits since the start of 2015 are jarring. This parallels Drew Brees' stark contrast with a 27-to-4 ratio in nine games in New Orleans, but just 9-to-6 in seven road games.
C.J. Anderson, $7,800: Anderson dominated the backfield for Denver in Week 1 and Devontae Booker's early fumble did not help his cause for more work. Denver also gets a Colts defense - on the road - which allowed 229 total yards and four scores to Detroit backs a week ago. At RB5 price Anderson is expensive, but pairing with Jeremy Langford on the lower band of salary is a quality pair this week, especially in cash games.
Jeremy Langford, $6,500: Like Spencer Ware in Week 1, Langford is the go-to high-floor back for low cost this week. Langford saw nearly every snap in a sparse Bears backfield last week. The Eagles front offers more optimism than a stout Houston rush defense. Chicago is favored at home, giving more upside to Langford, who is a sturdy bet to see 15 touches or more any given week and goal line work.
Jordan Matthews, $6,900: Matthews looked the part of a lead receiver in Week 1. Carson Wentz had an outstanding debut, including a gorgeous drop-in-the-bucket corner route touchdown connection to Matthews. Outside the top-20 receivers in pricing, Matthews gets a Bears secondary which allowed more than 15 yards per catch and two touchdowns to the combination of Will Fuller V and DeAndre Hopkins a week ago.
Michael Crabtree, $6,200: I like Amari Cooper too, but Crabtree is $1,700 less. Atlanta traveling to the west coast is more bad news for a pass defense which was shredded by Jameis Winston last week. Crabtree has a high floor at WR3 prices.
Delanie Walker, $6,600: The Lions could not stop tight ends last week against Indianapolis, to the tune of 7-88-3 between Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle. Walker had a non-descript opening week of 3-42-3 despite question marks at wide receiver. The Lions are hearty 5.5-point favorites at home, expect Tennessee to have to open up the offense to keep up, pointing to a stronger Walker game this week.
Graham Gano, $4,900: I use Vegas lines with kickers more than any other position. Gano plays on a strong offense, at home, as a heavy favorite (-13.5 against San Francisco). Gano also saves $300 from top-priced Stephen Gostkowski and possesses 5.5 points of higher team total.
Ravens DST, $4,500: The Browns now have a change in quarterback coming with Josh McCown in for Week 2. The Ravens were one of the few defenses to get consistent pressure on the quarterback in Week 1 with four sacks (fourth-most in the NFL) and one turnover against Buffalo. The Browns are -7 underdogs despite being at home with an anemic 17.75 Vegas team total. The Ravens are a high ceiling and safe floor play all while being the 10th-most expensive defensive unit of the week.
THE SNEAKY PLAYS
Matthew Stafford, $7,400: We did not see the full first-string Detroit offense in the preseason and Staford has been pounded down in perception this offseason after Calvin Johnson's retirement. On the road with a projected high Vegas total making Stafford a high-floor option.
Danny Woodhead, $6,400: Woodhead out-snapped Melvin Gordon III nearly 2-to-1 last week and this was a game where San Diego led for much of the contest. With Keenan Allen out and Antonio Gates looking physically done, Woodhead is the remaining security blanket for Philip Rivers on which to lean. Jacksonville was stingy against the run versus Green Bay, pointing to more controlled passing by San Diego than interior success by their average-at-best run game.
Tevin Coleman, $6,100: Coleman was electric in Week 1 with designed plays, a long reception, and seeing all the high leverage opportunities in space compared to running mat Devonta Freeman. The pair saw an even split of snaps and now Freeman is dinged up heading into Week 2 - a game with a near 50-point Vegas total, one of the higher marks of the week.
Mike Wallace, $6,100: The revamped Ravens pass game looked strong in Week 1, including Wallace's high snap count as expected. The Browns pass defense struggled against rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, allowing 7-114-1 to Jordan Matthews and 4-57-1 from previously invisible Nelson Agholor. Also, consider Dennis Pitta ($4,800) among the tight end position this week. Pitta had 82% of the snaps in his first game back from injury.
Dontrelle Inman ($5,500), Tyrell Williams ($5,400): Both San Diego receivers are intriguing options with Keenan Allen out of the season. Inman actually led all Chargers receivers in snaps in Week 1. Williams is the hotter name to see an uptick in playing time from 60% to the 70-80% range. Travis Benjamin is more expensive this week, creating value with Inman or Williams. Jacksonville held Green Bay's receivers in check last week, but now travel cross-country to San Diego. Inman logged 5-65-1 against Jacksonville last year, while de facto starter Steve Johnson hit 7-92-1 in the same game.
Larry Donnell, $5,100: Donnell split snaps with Will Tye in Week 1, but Donnell caught a gorgeous full-extension touchdown down the seam. The Giants passing game is a quality bet this week and below Eric Ebron at $5,500 there are few viable tight end plays. I like mixing in a share or two of Donnell in tournament lineups and stacks against the Saints.
Sebastian Janikowski, $4,600: The Raiders long-range kicker is an ideal upside play. Janikowski saves a few hundred in salary over the top options in a tightly packed kicker price range. I want kickers with strong offenses, in high Vegas total games, and ideally at home. Janikowski hits all of those requirements this week.
Eagles DST, $4,800: The Bears are an opposing offense to target. Jay Cutler is historically loose with the ball and they allowed five sacks in Week 1. The Eagles had a quality tune-up against the Browns with three sacks (fifth-highest in the NFL last week) and an interception.