Daily Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers

By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
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The FanDuel prices and contest are now out, so even though there are 50 days until real football, I'm going to get to work on my Week 1 FanDuel team! To start out, I think I'll work on wide receivers. The top guys are usually fairly consistent from week to week, but when we're looking to cash in on the big money, we want more than consistency, we want 150+ yards and multiple touchdowns.

Last season, your worst pass defenses for fantasy football were Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa Bay, Houston and Baltimore. Each gave up 25+ fantasy points to wide receivers per game last year. The year before that, the worst five were Philadelphia, Minnesota, Detroit, Oakland and Dallas. Now, there is plenty of turnover to reckon with, but when you look over the last two seasons, you get a decent feel of teams that aren't turning around their pass defense in a timely manner. Those teams are Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington, Tampa Bay and Baltimore. While the teams that are showing some consistency are Seattle, Cincinnati, New England and Denver.

I like to look for extremes when picking FanDuel players. I want huge mismatches when picking my teams, and to start this year, I'd very much like my receivers to face one of these teams that just can't get their pass defense in order. So let's look at our best matchups for Week 1.

Philadelphia at Atlanta

Wide Receivers statistics allowed:


Well, here is the biggest mismatch of the week as far as fantasy points being readily available for the taking. In early Vegas lines, Philly is favored by 1 point and the over/under is the highest of the week at 53.5. This game, Monday night in the dome, is where you want your wide receivers playing.

Julio Jones
Roddy White
Justin Hardy

The No. 1 option will be Julio Jones. Under new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the No. 1 receiver in his offense is always the focal point of the passing game, sometimes to a fault, but that's what we like to hear for fantasy.

Jones will be my top pick at wide receiver without any caveats. His price of $9,000 is of course prohibitory. He is the most expensive receiver in the game, but I'll still be looking to fit him in due to this matchup. In Jones' first four Week 1 games in the NFL, he has totaled 33 targets, 25 receptions, 371 yards and 3 touchdowns.

After Jones, Roddy White is the second-best option for Atlanta - and at a discounted rate. The fact that the Falcons don't have a play-making tight end should serve White well. His price tag of $7,600 is okay, but still the 15th-overall highest price. I feel like for this matchup that's about right, but we want better than "about right."

The No. 3 receiver for the Falcons is still in the works, but rookie Justin Hardy is who most would like to see win the job. But this early in the season, I would be wary of rookies, especially if they are third on the depth chart.

On the other side of the poor pass-defense coin are the Falcons, who gave up 3,135 receiving yards to wide receivers last season, the second most in the league next to the Eagles.

Jordan Matthews
Nelson Agholor
Miles Austin
Riley Cooper

I'm usually hesitant to play a rookie receiver on opening day, but if all goes well in training camp and the preseason, it will be extremely tough not to use Nelson Agholor come Week 1. The goal for the Eagles is to play him as the X receiver in their offense, which is where Jeremy Maclin had a huge season last year. I believe Jordan Matthews will be the target leader most weeks, but Agholor will have a ton of upside for a rookie, especially in the Eagles' offense, which ran the most plays in the league last season.

Matthews is still cheap enough to also be considered a great Week 1 play, and I could easily see going with both of them on a team. The Falcons' offense will be pass-first since the team has a weak offensive line and no running back who can take over a game. The over here looks to be on target to me, and using players from all facets of both offenses will be a popular, but safe, route.

Miami at Washington

Wide Receivers statistics allowed:


This game has a much lower over/under at 44.5, with the Dolphins favored by 2.5 points, but the Washington pass defense should be ripe for the up-tempo offense of Miami.

Jarvis Landry
DeVante Parker
Kenny Stills
Greg Jennings

We have some nicely priced receivers here, but only one we can feel good about in Jarvis Landry. Parker, Stills and Jennings all could be great choices, but the odds of picking the right one for Week 1 are going to be tough. All three are new to the team, and there will be some shuffling around of snaps and targets, but with Landry, we know he's going to continue manning the slot and drawing the most targets from Ryan Tannehill. Does that mean Landry goes off for a huge game? Of course not, but the No. 1 receiver against the poor pass defense of Washington is always going to be an option, and when he is priced at 25th for receivers at FanDuel, I like the pick.

New York Giants at Dallas

Wide Receivers statistics allowed:

NY Giants

Both of these defenses fared well last season, but the Cowboys mostly hid their defense behind their offensive line and running game. Dallas was able to slow down the game by effectively running the ball, getting leads and making the other team play from behind. The Cowboys were able to dictate the game, which makes playing defense that much easier because you will force your opponent to become predictable. But without DeMarco Murray, that will be tougher this season. I do not believe Joseph Randle will be able to consistently run the ball, which should make for a letdown in defensive numbers this season.

Odell Beckham Jr.
Victor Cruz
Rueben Randle

This game has an over/under of 50 points, and in their last four matchups, they've averaged 55.75 points. I expect this game to also be a barnburner with the Giants' fast-paced offense, so the Cowboys will probably need to throw the ball more.

Last season, even as Dallas was in the top five of pass defenses, rookie Odell Beckham Jr. caught four touchdowns against them in two games and also put up one of his biggest games of the season in Week 12, when he caught 10 for 11 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers will be tough to duplicate, but if this game becomes a shootout, which it should, Beckham will once again be force-fed targets.

But of course, Beckham Jr. is not a value pick by any means, and I need to take a wait-and-see approach on Victor Cruz this season. He seemed to be in a decline before he was injured last year, and now, he has the injury to recover from; a patellar tear which isn't that easy to 100% recover from. If I do look for value in this game, it will be Rueben Randle. He's a bit scary since he can disappear in games, but his price and upside for this game will be great. He is the de facto No. 2 receiver until Cruz returns to form, which I'm not sure will happen.

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