Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season comes with about as much uncertainty as any Week 1 ever has, so trying to come up with a FanDuel GPP lineup to win a tournament is not easy. Football is unpredictable week-to-week anyway, so throw in a global pandemic and no preseason, and there’s a lot we don’t know. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play Week 1 NFL DFS, though, although maybe you tone it down a few notches from your normal entry fees. There are still value picks and stacks that can create a winning tournament lineup.
Of course, to really hit big in a tournament, you need to take a few chances, so after game-stacking two “safe” RBs, we roll the dice in the passing game with more than a few of our picks.
QB Tyrod Taylor, Chargers @ Bengals ($7,000)
Taylor’s flying under every radar this preseason, but he’s the lowest-priced QB on the slate who’s going to provide ample rushing, which gives him both a safe floor and some serious upside. The Bengals were one of the worst teams against quarterbacks in 2019 (and that includes allowing the most rushing yards to the position thanks in part to facing Lamar Jackson twice). With more weapons around him than he ever had in Buffalo, Taylor should get his tenure as the Chargers’ starter off to a good start.
RB Christian McCaffrey, Panthers vs. Raiders ($10,000)
Paying down at a few other spots has allowed for playing McCaffrey here. There’s an argument as to whether he’s a good tournament play or if he’ll be too popular/expensive, but you don’t win tournaments on your highest-priced selections — you only lose them there. Against a bad Raiders defense, McCaffrey should find production wherever he wants it, whether on the ground or through the air. He’s likely to be one of the highest-scoring players on the slate, so starting our lineup off with him gets us moving right toward the top of the leaderboard.
RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders @ Panthers ($8,200)
On the other side of McCaffrey, Jacobs begins Year 2 in an offense starved for a settled WR depth chart. That means it’s likely that Las Vegas’ newest sports team leans on its RB in Week 1. Jacobs could also be a candidate for a number of Derek Carr’s beloved dump-off passes, padding his stats in a game that will allow both running backs to star. From an ownership perspective, it’s also unlikely most DFS players would use both backs from this game, differentiating your lineup at least a little bit.
WR Keenan Allen, Chargers @ Bengals ($7,000)
With Mike Williams (shoulder) injured, Taylor’s main two stack candidates are Allen and Hunter Henry. We’re going with Allen because of how much we love our TE play below. Allen’s reputation as injury-prone might be overblown at this point, but regardless, he’s healthy right now. His classic route tree won’t push the limits of Taylor’s arm too much, and FanDuel at least has 0.5-PPR to give Allen’s pass-catching prowess a bit of a bonus. Cincinnati also doesn’t possess a cornerback capable of consistently covering Allen, so there’s not much to worry about here.
WR Michael Thomas, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($8,800)
If we can save adequate money to play the top players on the slate, we ought to do it. The Buccaneers’ defense will likely be shredded by Drew Brees and Thomas. Thomas’s floor is super high because of his target volume, and his ceiling is high because of how effective he is with those targets. If you don’t like my next two picks, you could pay down from Thomas and upgrade elsewhere, but starting a lineup with McCaffrey and Thomas gives great floor that can then be topped off by our other plays in a tournament.
WR Jalen Guyton, Chargers @ Bengals ($4,500)
If you just said “Who?,” well, that’s exactly why we’re playing Guyton in a tournament. Very few others are going to use him. He likely starts, at least in three-wide sets and possibly two-wide looks, for the Chargers in Week 1 with Williams out. He’s a top-level athlete in his second year, and all it will take is getting behind the defense and connecting with Taylor once — or breaking away after the catch — to return immense value at his price.
TE Taysom Hill, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($5,000)
If you read my FanDuel lineups all season, you’re probably going to see Hill in them a lot. He’s going to comprise his same do-everything role for New Orleans while being TE-eligible on FD. At his price for Week 1, which is less than Kyle Rudolph, for example, all Hill needs to do is be involved in a touchdown to return value. Considering that there will be plenty of points in this game, that seems very possible, and Hill could get it passing, running or throwing, which seems to increase his odds. At a TE price this cheap, you’re crossing your fingers for a score, and Hill just probably has a slightly better chance of achieving that.
FLEX (WR) DeSean Jackson, Eagles @ Washington ($5,700)
Jackson is the classic tournament play where he hope for one long gain making his whole day. Last year was certainly a disappointing, injury-laden campaign for Jackson, but remember his 2019 Week 1? He caught eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns against, you guessed it: Washington. Half of that production would pay off his price, but especially with Philly’s WR corps in injury disarray, Jackson could get a bunch of targets to open the season.
DEF Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Colts ($3,500)
The Jaguars just got rid of Yannick Ngakoue, which isn’t good for their defense, but the Colts’ offense with Philip Rivers at the helm, a rookie running back behind him, and a lot of mystery beyond T.Y. Hilton in the receiving corps doesn’t feel that intimidating. Add in first-round selections K’Lavon Chaisson and C.J. Henderson making their NFL debuts, and this Jags’ D has more playmakers than it did a year ago. If you’re paying down for a D/ST, Jacksonville is as good a choice as any.
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