You can’t properly enjoy your Sunday spread before submitting all of your NFL DFS lineups, and that’s why we’ll be here all season, hopefully helping you earn some money to help pay off the beer and BBQ. Week 1 is always an exciting time to take a shot at a little daily fantasy football cash, and our FanDuel tournament picks have some major boom-or-bust potential.
This week features a “stars-and-scrubs” build — based on prices at least — but we like the situations our “scrubs” are walking into. Not only are they cheap, but they’re also in featured roles within their offenses. Moreover, they’re all in “new” situations, be it in terms of new teams or playing with new coaches/QBs, so many other DFS players might be taking a “wait-and-see.” We’re diving in, which is the proper strategy in tournaments. Win big or lose big, then come back for more next week!
Before we get into the picks, we should highlight the basic rules for FanDuel DFS. Everything is pretty standard, with the only notable things being four-point passing TDs and half-point PPR.
FanDuel Picks Week 1: NFL DFS lineup for GPP tournaments
Sunday main slate, $60,000 budget, no more than four players from one team
QB Sam Darnold, Panthers vs. Jets ($6,500). Don’t be fooled, Darnold has some game and is finally free of Adam Gase. With an enviable supporting cast — and underrated athleticism — the pieces are present for Darnold to perform well in this “revenge game” while allowing you to include a few high-priced studs throughout your lineup.
RB Christian McCaffrey, Panthers vs. Jets ($10,400). McCaffrey doesn’t require an explanation. However, it’s worth noting that of his 45 career touchdowns, 16 have been of the receiving variety, so he’s basically game-script proof.
RB Dalvin Cook, Vikings @ Bengals ($9,400). Among the best backs in the game, Cook is a near lock to handle a hefty workload each week. He’s scored 30 touchdowns over his past 28 games and will serve as an anchor in your lineup this week. Plus, having arguably the top two RBs in the NFL (at least in half-point PPR leagues) is something not everyone will pay up for.
WR Corey Davis, Jets @ Panthers ($5,800). Davis is underrated from a fantasy perspective — he’s performed very well over stretches, but he hasn’t pieced it all together for a full season. If preseason offers any indication, Davis, now a new team, will serve as a target vacuum for rookie Zach Wilson.
WR Laviska Shenault, Jaguars @ Texans ($5,600). We don’t want to see Shenault miscast as a “gadget” specialist, but we love the versatility he offers in the running and passing games. Look for him to receive a variety of looks in a tasty matchup in which the Jaguars are favored.
WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos @ Giants ($5,500). Last year wasn’t the debut Jeudy had in mind, but he still commanded a team-leading 113 targets and averaged 16.5 yards/catch. By all accounts, he’s ready to take off in Year 2, and the team’s change to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater should be a positive development, as Jeudy will actually see some accurately delivered passes.
TE Dan Arnold, Panthers vs. Jets ($4,500). Arnold has yet to establish himself as a household name, but he has demonstrated an ability to do damage downfield (14.0 yards/catch on 51 career catches) and in the painted area (four TDs on 31 receptions in 2020). He heads into 2021 with an expanded role as the Panthers No. 1 tight end and makes for a sneaky value pick in Week 1.
FLEX (WR) Calvin Ridley, Falcons vs. Eagles ($8,100). As the unquestioned No. 1 in Atlanta, Ridley is in for as many targets as he can handle. Expect him to be busy in a potential shootout where the Falcons opened as four-point favorites.
DEF Atlanta Falcons vs. Eagles ($3,400). We’re hunting for a big play or two here and picking on the Eagles, who are ushering in a new coaching staff. Atlanta has fresh faces on its sideline, as well, but veteran defensive coordinator Dean Pees is expected to turn around what has been a struggling Falcons defense. The Falcons are favored in this matchup and could deliver dividends to those willing to venture off the beaten path in this spot.