Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.
Lineup building blocks
Davante Adams ($36) vs. Arizona Cardinals
Any concern regarding Adams leaving Aaron Rodgers emphatically ended in Week 1, when the star receiver led the league in target share and air yards. To put Adams’ usage in perspective during his first game with the Raiders, he had a 42 percent target per route run rate compared to Justin Jefferson’s 33% and Cooper Kupp’s 30%. Playing indoors with his college QB and in an offense that was pass-happy during Josh McDaniels’ first game, Adams has an argument to be ranked as a top-three PPR player moving forward.
With a salary nearly 10% less than Kupp in DFS this week and in a matchup with easily the highest total on the slate against a Cardinals defense with the shakiest cornerbacks in the league, Adams is a strong building block.
James Conner ($26) @ Las Vegas Raiders
Conner played 96% of the first half snaps and ran a route nearly every dropback before the score got out of hand in Week 1, so he’s Arizona’s true every-down back. Conner remains a real injury risk, but he can be treated as an elite DFS option while healthy, especially in a matchup with by far the highest projected scoring total and facing a Raiders defense that allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs last season. With no DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore/Zach Ertz both banged up, expect Conner to be featured in Arizona’s offense Sunday.
Leonard Fournette ($22) @ New Orleans
Fournette played nearly every snap and ran almost every route in the first half before Sunday night’s game became lopsided, and any worries about him being out of shape quickly stopped with an impressive rushing performance. With Chris Godwin out and Russell Gage not looking 100%, Fournette is also likely to start seeing far more targets, as Tom Brady leads the NFL in target% to RBs over the last five years. Fournette is another season-long health concern who has fresh legs now and is undervalued in DFS with not even a top-12 RB salary this week. The Saints have been a tough opponent for running backs over the last few seasons, but the 2022 version allowed 200+ rushing yards (and just their second 100-yard rusher over their last 79 games!) last week.
Star to fade
Alvin Kamara ($25) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There’s hope a minor rib injury contributed to Kamara’s lack of use in Week 1, but there remains real concern Jameis Winston won’t target him enough moving forward (and will his ribs be fully healed by Week 2?). Kamara remains the team’s clear best option at RB, but he ran a route on fewer than half of New Orleans’ dropbacks Sunday, and competition looks stiff with a now healthy Michael Thomas being joined by target-hog Jarvis Landry and impressive rookie Chris Olave. Coming off such concerning usage in Week 1 and with the Saints down multiple left tackles while facing a tough Buccaneers run defense, Kamara’s expectations should be tempered.
Darrell Henderson ($18) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Henderson didn’t have a big Week 1 box score, but he dominated LA’s backfield, finishing with the second-highest snap share among all running backs. He was first in route run involvement rate, which resulted in a career-high five catches. The Rams’ offensive line isn’t as dominant as before, but Sean McVay has historically preferred to ride a feature back, and it remains a role that should produce extremely valuable fantasy numbers. Cam Akers barely played in Week 1 (and might not have seen the field if Kyren Williams didn’t suffer a sprained ankle on the opening kickoff) after ranking last among 105 RBs in rush yards over expectation last season after returning from Achilles surgery. Henderson has durability issues, but he’s also a legit player who averaged the most YPC (8.2) in the history of college football.
At home with extra rest and as the biggest favorites (10.5 points) on the board while facing an Atlanta defense whose best players are cornerbacks, Henderson looks undervalued in DFS this week.
Carson Wentz ($22) @ Detroit Lions
Wentz was fantasy’s No. 3 QB in Week 1 in a Washington offense that was surprisingly among the league leaders in pass rate over expectation. Flaws remain, but Wentz is the near DFS minimum this week while playing indoors against a Lions defense that allowed an NFL-high 7.6 YPA and 31 passing scores last season. Detroit ranked first in Pace in neutral situations in Week 1, and Washington was 12th; it makes sense this total has been creeping toward 50 points. With Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel and Logan Thomas, Washington also provides sneaky weapons for Wentz, who should be treated as a top-12 fantasy QB this week.
Christian Kirk ($17) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Kirk has been targeted by Trevor Lawrence as a true No. 1 receiver ever since signing a huge offseason contract that paid him as one of the league’s top wideouts. Some fantasy usage models had him top-three in Week 1, and he needs to be treated as at least a top-15 PPR receiver moving forward. Facing a pass-funnel Colts defense that’s extremely stingy against the run but beatable through the air, Kirk is undervalued in DFS this week.
Juwan Johnson ($10) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Here’s a real sleeper. Johnson has the stone minimum DFS salary despite quietly being among the tight end leaders in target share and route involvement in Week 1. Johnson is a good athlete who also lined up in the slot or out wide on 76% of his snaps Sunday, so there’s fantasy potential at a tight end position that looks downright ugly. There’s target competition in New Orleans, but the Saints will likely pass a ton against the Bucs’ strong run defense and explosive offense, so Johnson is an intriguing bargain.