The NFL season is finally here, so it’s time to start building DraftKings lineups for what should be a wild Week 1 of football.
I've been at my best during the first week of past NFL seasons — player salaries are released almost a month before teams officially kickoff, so there's always an abundance of value for those who can identify it.
I’ll break down the 12-game Sunday slate here and identify the best players and values across all the positions (D/STs included) to ensure Week 1 of the 2020 season is a profitable one.
Just be sure to lock Christian McCaffrey into every cash lineup first — that will always be the move until further notice.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ($6,700)
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Matt Ryan playing at home is my favorite quarterback on the main slate. Last season in his seven home games, he averaged over 300 passing yards per game, which is huge in DraftKings because quarterbacks get a three-point bonus for reaching that benchmark. He should get close to that number again with the Seattle Seahawks coming to town.
The Seahawks graded as the third-worst pass rush unit in 2019 (61.8) — and that was with Jadeveon Clowney on the team. Ryan ranked seventh in completion percentage (73.9%) from a clean pocket last season. When Seattle failed to get pressure on the quarterback in 2019, they got torched.
The Seahawks allowed the second-most receiving yards after the catch, the sixth-most receptions and the sixth-most pass plays of 15 or more yards. They were also victimized against play-action when they failed to get pressure, as they faced the second-most play-action throws last season.
In Ryan’s two best fantasy finishes last season, he went 14-of-16 on play-action throws and earned a 147.4 passer rating. When Matt Schaub threw for over 450 yards against Seattle last season filling in for an injured Ryan, 30% of his attempts were off play-action and he averaged 9.9 yards per attempt.
There's going to be so much passing volume for Atlanta. Ryan led the league in passing attempts per game (41.1) last season and Seattle faced the second-most passing attempts. Stack Ryan with any combination of his offensive weapons, including Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst.
Ryan’s top-end performances usually correlate to positive fantasy days for his receivers. Last year, Ryan finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback six times. In those games, Jones finished as a top-10 receiver four times, which included three top-six finishes. Ridley finished as top-13 receiver three times, and Hooper finished as a top-eight option three times.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills ($6,500)