Week 1 is unique because DraftKings salaries are locked in more than a month before kickoff. During that time injuries will happen and depth charts will change, therefore making certain players’ prices “too low.” Once the season gets going these “too low” prices will be few and far between as a change in a player’s role usually will be reflected in his price.
With just two weeks to go before Week 1 finally hits, it’s time to identify the biggest price inefficiencies. These are the players I think would cost at least $1,000 more if DraftKings released prices today:
1. Marvin Jones, WR, Lions — $4,600
Jones has seen his season-long ADP soar into the fifth-round lately, right around guys like Michael Crabtree ($5,500), John Brown ($5,200), Larry Fitzgerald ($6,300), Jordan Matthews ($6,700) and Allen Hurns ($5,800). If training camp reports and preseason games are any indication, Marvin is seamlessly fitting in with Matthew Stafford as an every-down receiver on a team which will skew heavily toward the pass. On top of that, the Week 1 matchup against the Colts has gotten significantly better since DraftKings released the salaries. With dominant perimeter corner Vontae Davis (ankle) out, Jones will be facing arguably the least talented defense in the entire league. If prices were released today, I suspect Jones would be around $5,800.
2. James White, RB, Patriots — $3,600
Everyone assumed that Dion Lewis would be perfectly fine for Week 1 even though he’ll be just nine months removed from an ACL tear. They were wrong. Lewis had complications with his knee and ended up needing another surgery, putting him out for at least the season’s first month.
The passing-back role in New England is always going to be a significant fantasy position, as previously proven by Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen and Lewis. James White is now the heavy favorite to handle that role in Week 1 against the Cardinals, a spot Lewis was priced at $5,700. White isn’t as explosive as Lewis and has a low floor since he’s not trusted as a runner. But with Jimmy Garappolo’s check-down tendencies and a necessity to get the ball out quickly against the Cardinals’ pass-rush, we can project at least six targets for White. He’d be a minimum of $4,600 if salaries came out today.
3. Terrelle Pryor, WR, Browns — $3,000
What if I told you there was a 6’4/223 wide receiver with 4.4 speed locked into a starting role with a plus Week 1 matchup? You’d say he costs at least $5,000 on DraftKings, maybe more. Well, former quarterback Terrelle Pryor has made a smashing transition to wideout and will start opposite Corey Coleman against the Eagles on Opening Day. He’s looked like a legit NFL wideout in the preseason, roasting elite Falcons CB Desmond Trufant on a go route for a 50-yard TD and catching a 49-yard bomb from Robert Griffin III against the Packers. Pryor will carry unique upside for a $3,000 wideout in Week 1.
4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Browns — $5,600
Speaking of Griffin, he’s the cheapest quarterback currently scheduled to start Week 1. That’s because when the salaries were originally released, he was in a battle with Josh McCown and hadn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2014. Now we know Griffin and his running upside (4-36-0 rushing line on 34 preseason snaps so far) will be under center against the Eagles. He will also be armed with talent-maximizing offensive-minded head coach Hue Jackson as well as a strong group of weaponry: Corey Coleman, Terrelle Pryor, Duke Johnson and Gary Barnidge.
5. Tajae Sharpe $3000 and Rishard Matthews $3300, WRs, Titans
Yes, the Titans project as a run-heavy offense which plays at a below-average pace. Also, their tight end (Delanie Walker) led the entire NFL in targets last season. And they have a difficult Week 1 matchup against the Vikings. Still, starting receivers Tajae Sharpe and Rishard Matthews are at least $1,000 too cheap now that Dorial Green-Beckham (who was $4,500 and is no longer eligible for Week 1 on DraftKings) is an Eagle. Sharpe played on 17-of-21 snaps with Marcus Mariota in the second preseason game, continuing to look very impressive while catching six passes. Matthews was extremely efficient last season despite playing in an extremely inefficient Dolphins offense.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.