Trying to come up with the perfect Draft Kings lineup, while staying under the salary cap, can be a bit like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube blindfolded. You can easily spend hours tweaking your lineup, and may have come up with the perfect combination, but how would you know? If you’re anything like me, it’s never perfect. You hear some new information, or have a gut feeling, both contributing to constant changes as the countdown to kickoff slowly dwindles away. At which point, the blindfold comes off, and by the end of the day you’re saying, “Damn! I should’ve played…”. Frustration in the purest form.
The good news is, every week there’s a few gems on the clearance rack. And no, I’m not talking about “sleepers”. There’s an infinite number of articles regarding “sleepers”, and anyone who’s ever played fantasy football has that diamond in the rough player that “no one else has ever heard of” or “no one knew would go off”… It’s really a stupid concept, but I digress.
What I’m talking about here are guys who, for whatever reason, have a salary which is lower than the value at which they should perform. Use these players to your advantage! Instead of playing risk/reward roulette, and trying to hit on a “sleeper”, you can get the most of your cap space, add a few big money guys, and still not sacrifice much, if any, production at any particular position. So, without further ado, the Week 1 Draft Kings Clearance Rack (and feel free to share your winnings!)
Carson Wentz – PHI ($5,600)
Have I lost all credibility yet? Let me explain… Wentz comes in at the minimum salary, and rightfully so. He’s a rookie, didn’t show much in the preseason (and is battling injury), went to a small school, the Eagles “don’t have weapons”… I get it. However, if you could draw up the ideal situation for a rookie QB to start his NFL career, it’d be at home vs. a terrible defense – like the Browns. Cleveland allowed the 5th most fantasy points to QBs last season, and gave up 7.71 yards per pass attempt. I’m liking the odds already.
I’m sure the coaching staff will want to keep things simple, and minimize mistakes, but they can’t run the ball 50 times. Jordan Matthews has the size, and ability, to make plays on the outside – Joe Haden is still a good corner, but not the shutdown guy we once knew (Still one of my favorite players though, no love lost). Wentz has a reliable security blanket in veteran TE Zach Ertz, and Sproles and Mathews have the catching ability, and speed, out of the backfield to turn a simple screen, into an 80 yd TD. Factor in Wentz’ running ability, and there’s the formula for a good fantasy day. Now, I’m not expecting a record setting debut, but 200 yds, 2 TDs, and 20 rushing yards, doesn’t seem like a stretch.
Latavius Murray – OAK ($5,600)
The Saints allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to RBs last season, and over 5 yards per rush. ProFootballFocus has the Raiders offensive line ranked as the 2nd best unit in the league heading into the season, and Jack Del Rio has stated he wants Murray to be more engaged in the offense. That’s a good enough combination of factors to suggest a big day to me, but need more?
Vegas has the over/under set at 52 for this game (highest total of the week), which suggests there will be a lot of points scored, and I’d be highly surprised if Murray didn’t account for at least one of those TDs. (I also think Oakland wins this game, will be playing with the lead, and will need to utilize the run game to milk the clock. Buy it to +3, 2 is a dead number. You’re welcome.)
Marvin Jones – DET ($4,600)
Since I’ve already discussed my feelings on Michael Crabtree in this week’s WR rankings, I’ll take Marvin Jones off the clearance rack. Outside of Andrew Luck’s injuries, the Colts defense was one of the major concerns last season; primarily their secondary. They allowed the 9th most fantasy points to WRs, over 7 yards per pass attempt, and will be without their best corner – Vontae Davis.
The Lions went 7-9 last season, and the loss of Calvin Johnson has caused Matthew Stafford to be overlooked by many… He’s still a good QB. Stafford finished last season as the 9th best fantasy, and was 7th in pass attempts. Jones should see plenty of targets, and Vegas is predicting this one to be a shootout with the over/under set at 51. Look for Jones to have a nice day in his Lions debut.