Each Thursday, FindBet will preview the DFS slate, highlighting players that are priced well on FanDuel as well as some contrarian plays that can push your team to the top of the leader board.
Most NFL Fanduel games have you putting a team together with players from a certain slate of games. It could be just Sunday 1:00 pm games or it could be every game that is slated for the week. Once the last game that has eligible players is over, the final payouts are made according to how many fantasy points each team scored. Each player is worth a certain dollar amount, and you have a cap of $60,000 to build your team with. You have to have 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB, WR, or TE) and 1 DEF.
The general scoring rules include (6) points for each rushing and receiving touchdown, (4) points for each passing touchdown, (0.1) points for each rushing and receiving yard gained, (0.04) points for each passing yard, and also (0.5) points for each reception. There are other scoring opportunities for defenses. You can see the entire breakdown on FanDuel. Let's dive into players we like and players we advise to avoid in Week 1.
Jonathan Taylor is a great underdog option this week.AP Sports
Players to Target
Patrick Mahomes QB - $9300
I don't mind spending up on Mahomes this week as the TNF showdown with Houston should be a high scoring affair. When paying up for Mahomes you are going to have to go cheap somewhere else in your lineup though to make up for his high price.
Ben Roethlisberger QB - $7800
Roethlisberger has a great match up this week with the Giants on Monday night. I think you can almost get the same production out of Big Ben that you can get from Mahomes this week. The Giants defense is slated to be one of the worst in the league this year and the Steelers won't want to run Connor into the ground in Week 1.
Josh Allen QB - $7900
Allen gets a Jets defense minus CJ Mosley and Jamal Adams, arguably their two best play makers. Allen has top 5 potential this week, especially if he can add a TD on the ground.
Philip Rivers QB - $7200
Most people view Rivers as a game manager more than the gunslinger he was in LA. He has an elite offensive line and is going against a Jacksonville defense that is a shell of its former self.
Austin Ekeler RB - $7700
I think the Chargers are going to move more towards the running game becoming the central part of their offense. I like the Ekeler's match up against the Bengals this week.
Clyde Edwards Heliare RB - $7200
Heliare is priced nicely this week. I expect his price to go up even more as the season goes on, so a potential shootout with Houston is a good time to take advantage of this price tag.
Jonathan Taylor RB - $5300
Taylor may not get the start this week against Jacksonville, but game script will allow him to get plenty of work in the 3rd and 4th quarters in a game that Indianapolis should be up big by halftime.
Jonathan Williams RB - $4800
A real boom or bust pick this week, Williams looks he is going to get the nod over Devine Ozighbo to lead Jacksonville's backfield, at least for Week 1. He's going to need to find the end zone once or twice to make this pick worth it, but if you have spent up at other positions, he's a good lower priced option with high upside.
JuJu Smith-Schuster WR - $7100
As I talked about with Heliare, Smith-Schuster's price is only going to go up as the season goes on. He's got a great match up against the Giants this week.
Stefon Diggs WR - $6600
Diggs is going up against a weak Jets defense, and I have a feeling the Bills are going to want to show off their new WR and will get him involved early and often in this weeks game script.
TY Hilton WR - $6500
Hilton is priced decently this week, and gets a bottom 5 defense in Jacksonville. He's a great mid tier option when building your lineup this week.
Emmanuel Sanders WR - $5400
Sanders could be in for a nice day in what looks like it will be an offensive shootout with the Bucs. At $5400, Sanders looks like a steal this week. I have him in lots of my lineups.
George Kittle TE - $8000
Another player where I feel like it is going to be OK to pay up this week is Kittle. He is almost match up proof and will be one of the main targets for Garoppollo this week with all the questions the 49ers have at wide receiver.
Jared Cook TE - $5900
Cook gets the nod because of the high scoring potential the Saints-Bucs match up has this week. Drew Brees will be spreading the ball around this week.
Blake Jarwin TE - $5300
Jarwin looks like a decent play this week if you are trying to save money to spend in other spots of your lineup. The Rams-Cowboys game could have the potential to be a shootout.
Eric Ebron TE - $5000
Ebron is decent play for the same reason as Jarwin, Bad defense, with good QB play. He is a fine play if you want to save money at the TE position this week.
Buffalo Bills DEF - $4700
The Bills get a Jets offense that has looked awful this summer. They should eat this week.
Tennessee Titans DEF - $4000
The Titans landed Jadeveon Clowney earlier this week and added a top tier pass rusher to an already formidable unit. They get Denver this week, and could force Drew Lock into some bad decisions. You can do worse with other defenses this week.
Detroit Lions DEF - $3700
The Lions are a dark horse this week to score some points against a turnover prone Bears offense. Trubisky is starting for the Bears and he is always good for a turnover or two.
Indianapolis Colts DEF - $3700
The Colts are a great play this week against the Jaguars, especially at this price. I am targeting them on a lot of my teams and putting that money in other places on my team.
Matt Ryan is a fade this week going against an improved Seattle Defense.atlantafalcons.com
Players to Avoid:
Drew Brees QB - $8100
Drew Brees is going to be a nice play in regular leagues this week, but his price is too high for my liking. For that reason I am fading him this week.
Matt Ryan QB - $7800
Ryan has a high price and is facing a much improved Seattle Defense. I'll pass this week.
Kyler Murray QB - $7700
Like Ryan, Murray is high priced and facing an elite defense in the 49ers. You can do worse at QB, but he is a risky play this week.
Carson Wentz QB - $7700
Wentz is down two starting offensive lineman and facing a formidable Washington defensive line, he isn't going to have much time with that pass rush.
Christian McCaffrey RB - $10000
McCaffrey is elite, but also is the most expensive player in FanDuel this week. The Raiders aren't a very good defense, but he is not going to produce enough points to justify that price point.
Dalvin Cook RB - $8700
Cook held out all training camp and is slated to play Week 1. He'll most likely be on a snap count and may take a game or two to get into shape. Not a risk I am willing to take at that price.
Todd Gurley RB - $7100
Too many unknowns with Gurley's usage going into the season. Pair that with a tough Seattle D and I am fading him this week.
Kenyan Drake RB - $6600
Drake was electric last year, but the 49ers defense is suffocating and game script my force the Cardinals into passing more as the game progresses.
Davante Adams WR - $8000
I just don't see Adams producing and elite stat line this week against Minnesota. He's a fade for me but will be worth that price in spots down the road.
Keenan Allen WR - $7000
Allen will not see the pass volume to justify this price. Tyrod Taylor has been a check down QB his entire career, and unless Allen breaks a quick pass for a long score, he won't be very playable this year.
Terry McLaurin WR - $6500
McLaurin is most likely going to see a healthy dose of Darius Slay this week. That's enough for me to stay away.
Jamison Crowder WR - $6000
Crowder is about the only WR you may be able to get production from this year on the Jets. He has a tough match up with the Bills this week.
Evan Engram TE - $6300
Engram is going to have a good year, he'll finish as a top 5 TE scoring wise, but a match up with an elite Steelers defense is not a smart play this week.
Hunter Henry TE - $6000
Henry may see a garbage score this week on a goal line gadget play, but we need to see Tyrod in this offense a little bit before we justify spending up on Henry.
Austin Hooper TE - $5700
Hooper going up against an elite Raven defense is hard pass for me. He'll have startable weeks, but not in Week 1.
Hayden Hurst TE - $5300
I think Hurst has a great chance to be a top 10 TE this year. But a Seattle Defense that added Jamal Adams is enough for me to fade him this week.
Kansas City Chiefs DEF - $4200
TNF is going to be a shootout, not a good week for the Chiefs Defense.
New Orleans Saints DEF - $4100
Another shootout possibility with the Bucs this week has me fading the New Orleans Defense.
New England Patriots DEF - $4600
The Patriots get the Dolphins, but at $4600, there is too much assuming going on right now for me to be comfortable starting them. They lost 3 starters due to COVID opt outs, so I need to see a week or two before I start them in DFS
New York Jets DEF - $3900
The Jets are down Jamal Adams and CJ Mosley, going against a much improved Bills offense. No thanks.
FindBet Free Play for Week 1:
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In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.
After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.
The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.
It should also be stated that Reggie Jackson has been really good for Los Angeles throughout the playoffs and is someone that the team leans on to take and make tough shots in crunch time. His fearlessness attacking the rim provides a lot of space for his teammates.
Reggie Jackson after getting his free agency bag this summer https://t.co/kgR7AUeQZ5— Josiah Johnson (@Josiah Johnson)1624936925.0
The Suns have dropped two of the last three games, and their win came in Game 4 which saw a final tally of 84-80 so it's tough to gauge how much stock to take in that victory. What I'm trying to say is the Clippers have definitely looked the part of a Western Conference Champion the past three games, and the Suns are at risk of flaming out.
Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (MCL sprain) will not play tonight in Game 5 of the WCF against the Phoenix Suns.— Chris Haynes (@Chris Haynes)1624923130.0
The Clippers' starting big man, Ivica Zubac, was out with a knee injury while Los Angeles out scored the Suns by 26 in the paint. So far in every game but one (Game 3 when L.A. beat Phoenix 106-92) the team that has scored the most points in the paint has ended up winning. Both teams are good from the free throw line and it gets the opposition into foul trouble so it is a sound strategy for either side. But Deandre Ayton wasn't able to get much going offensively in Game 5 finishing with only 10 points in 37 minutes.
For the Suns, they were quick to point out their own shortcomings following the loss. Coach Monty Williams noted, "It's just unacceptable the way we started the game," he continued on to compare the Suns and Clippers in Game 5, "We showed up in the first quarter, and they played with desperation."
Monty Williams: “Leadership is tricky - if you can’t get people to follow you, you’re just walking by yourself”— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel Nichols)1624922492.0
Chris Paul who had 22 points and eight assists talked about Phoenix's inability to hold onto advantages, "We've got to close quarters better," Paul goes on to say, "that's been a problem for us all series long."
Paul has been a leader both on and off the court helping this young team to play far above the level anyone expected them to this season, but he's also been a part of many teams that fell short in the playoffs.
A championship run is the one knock on his hall of fame resume, and it seemed destined to happen this year especially after the Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead. But he isn't the only player who has had their reputation affected by playoff performances.
The nickname Playoff P isn't an endearing one. It has become synonymous with Paul George and his failures in the postseason up to this point. Any success that the Clippers were going to have this year was always likely to be attributed to Kawhi Leonard, but now that he is sidelined it's all on PG to carry the load.
George entered rarified air Monday night joining the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant as players who scored 20 or more points in each of the first 18 games in a postseason. All of their teams reached the Finals. George is hoping to follow suit as the Clippers are headed back home to host Game 6.
Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.
Offense being the key word here.
Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.
For a player that relies so heavily on driving to the basket to get shots off close to the hoop, it's expected for that player to draw plenty of contact resulting in a lot of free throw opportunities. That was certainly indicative of what we saw from Simmons in the first two rounds of the 20-21 playoffs.
He got to the line 45 times against the Hawks in their second round matchup, but only converted 15 freebies which equates to a 33% free throw percentage in the series. Simmons shot just 34.2% from the stripe if you include their first round games against the Wizards, which accounts for the worst free throw percentage by a player with at least 70 attempts in a postseason in NBA playoff history.
With a minimum of 70 attempts, Ben Simmons' 34.2% free throw percentage this postseason is the worst in a postseaso… https://t.co/EvEcQxEe8m— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPN Stats & Info)1624244835.0
In the four games that Atlanta beat Philly in this series, they lost by a combined 17 points. If Ben Simmons shoots just 70% from the line and makes 31-45 during this series, that adds 16 to Philadelphia's series point total. Obviously, the attempts might not directly impact the losses, but from a very broad overview, it would draw the series significantly closer — especially taking into account that three of the four losses the 76ers took in the series were lost by four points or fewer.
Also let's not allow people to say that the free throw stat is overblown and out of context. It's not. Shaquille O'Neal, who is notoriously one of the worst free throw shooters in league history, still managed a career playoff free throw percentage of 50%. That's why we saw the conception of "Hack-a-Shaq" where teams would intentionally foul O'Neal to put him on the line rather than allowing him to hurt them in other ways.
We've begun to see teams adopt this practice now with Simmons, which is just flat out embarrassing for a player of Simmons' pedigree. We have seen what he's able to do with the ball. He flies down the court on fast breaks, is a brilliant creator for teammates, and is one of the better finishers at the rim that we have in the league today.
We've already touched on his defensive prowess that has elevated him to becoming NBA All-Defense multiple times and a three time All-Star. But what do the Sixers do with Simmons before next season?
The 24-year-old point-forward still has plenty of time to work on his game. We've seen other players add a jumper later in their careers to great success; just ask Vince Carter how that works. But, usually, in order to develop a perimeter shot, there is at least a solid foundation to build on — that being the ability to consistently hit free throws.
Simmons is a career 60% free throw shooter, and he shot right around the mean during the regular season. The decline in made shots from the charity stripe in this postseason is cause for concern that this isn't the beginning of a trend.
Add to that Simmons' reluctance to take shots further away from the basket, and defenses have the luxury of ignoring Simmons in the half court set. We have seen teams (like the Jazz and 76ers) that rely heavily on the pick and roll get shut down in these playoffs, and it's teams like Atlanta and Phoenix that are able to spread defenses thin by putting multiple shooters on the court at one time succeed.
In 34 career playoff games, Ben Simmons has made 5 shots outside of 10 feet (from the basket).— Paul Hembekides (@Paul Hembekides)1624277710.0
Joel Embiid was phenomenal in the postseason, so let's not ignore that fact. Also, he was playing on one knee and still almost willed the Sixers to a win. But again, Embiid was not 100% in the playoffs, which limited his abilities.
Doc Rivers answers a question whether Ben Simmons can be the point guard of a championship team https://t.co/8xL35u98RC— Rob Perez (@Rob Perez)1624244460.0
Following their loss, Doc Rivers was asked if he thought Ben Simmons could be the point guard of a championship team, to which he responded, "I don't know that answer to that question right now," which doesn't provide a whole lot of confidence in Simmons' status with the team next year. Trade rumors have already begun to circulate, and it would make sense for this Philly team to hit the reset button now.
If Simmons continues to be exploitable in big moments, as we've seen him be so far in his career, his value is only going to go down. Adding further complications into the situation is the team just agreed to a new contract extension with Simmons and is due to make between $33 and $40 million per season over the next four years.
As the two cornerstone pieces of The Process appear to be two Scotties without a Mike, the early departure for the East's top seed will likely mean a big shakeup in the near future. If Embiid is healthy, he is elite without question. Maybe Philadelphia will go out and add around their two stars, but unless the organization is confident that Simmons can avoid another atrocious offensive performance in future playoff series, all they have is a really good regular season team.
The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.
After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.
LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.
The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.
🗣 DEVIN BOOKER— Phoenix Suns (@Phoenix Suns)1622601795.0
The idea of effort is something that was lacking on the purple and gold side last night though. It didn't take long after Booker started hitting everything that the Lakers team started playing sloppy and launching up bad threes in a failed attempt to not let the game get out of hand. Well it did.
The two teams were among the best defensive teams in league this season, the Suns finished seventh in overall team defensive rating and the Lakers first. The Lakers typically like to use their defensive prowess to control pace and work in the half court with their combination of speed on the wings and their combination of big men down low that includes Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol, Anthony Davis (when healthy), and former Sixth-Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell. Incase you forgot Harrell does in fact still play for the Lakers, but before last night if you blinked for too long you would've missed him on the court.
WHY ISN’T MONTREZL HARRELL GETTING PLAYING TIME?????@MONSTATREZZ #FreeMontrezl https://t.co/j55u9zg9kN— NBALakersReport (@NBALakersReport)1622603465.0
For some unknown reason Trez has been an afterthought in Frank Vogel's rotations, not only in this series, but throughout parts of the regular season. With AD being ruled out for Game 5, it would've been logical to think that we'd see an uptick in minutes for the high energy reserve, and we did. But not until the game was far out of hand in the second half. While the Suns were building a 30 point lead we saw Phoenix's guards cooking the slower big men of the Lakers off pick and rolls.
30 points is the largest lead at half in Suns playoff history. 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/UoozhMf6Io— Phoenix Suns (@Phoenix Suns)1622604230.0
It's understandable to want some size to limit Deandre Ayton, but when it's Booker, Payne, and Bridges hurting you offensively why not see how a quicker and more agile defender like Harrell might fare slowing down the pick and rolls? We saw Jae Crowder having success doing that on the other side for the Suns all night!
It's not fair to just talk about how bad the Lakers were, in fairness it looked like they were getting open looks and were just collectively having an unlucky shooting night. Maybe they all got it out of their system now? But the Suns would have beat anyone on that home court last night. Let's give all credit to them by playing one of the best games ever seen against a LeBron James-led playoff team. Devin Booker is an absolute star and this team plays with a very focused chip on their shoulder which has been manicured by Chris Paul. His leadership has made ALL the difference for this Phoenix team and it can be seen most on the defensive side of the ball. The Suns players have adopted Paul's attitude and intensity on that end and it all paid off last night.
We've seen LeBron actively frustrated during playoff games on the court, and last night is one of the most cringe-worthy to have seen. James spent way too much time talking to officials about calls, and not just between whistles. It would be interesting to know how many possessions the Lakers played four on five because James never made it back on defense before the Suns put more points on them. LeBron was seen leaving the court with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, and sure it could be to start receiving treatment on the injured ankle. But we know the real reason he left. We can only hope he didn't punch anything on the way to the locker room.
While the teams will travel back to L.A. for Game 6, the Lakers know they are in a must-win situation. We saw the rest of the team around LeBron scrambling because they felt the pressure. James was the only Laker in the second half that kept the team functioning. When we've seen a visibly dejected James like we did last night, it's been because he knew his team didn't have it. I don't think that's the case with this Lakers team.
There's plenty of talent on the roster even without Anthony Davis. Maybe Game 6 is when we get to see Harrell getting some meaningful minutes. Maybe Vogel can devise a way to get Andre Drummond more involved offensively. Maybe AD plays and isn't slowed by the groin injury. Or maybe you should've listened to us back in January when we told you the Suns were a pretty good basketball team.