Drew Brees/Alvin Kamara/Michael Thomas
The New Orleans Saints featured one of the best offenses in the NFL in 2017. They rank second in the NFL in total yards (391.2) per game, while also ranking fourth in the league in points (28.0) per game. They get a matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who allowed a league-high 378.1 yards and 23.9 points per game last season. The Saints are currently -9.5 point favorites in a game set at 49.5 points, and they feature the highest implied team total on the slate at 29.5 points.
Drew Brees was an elite quarterback in the NFL at home last season. In nine starts in New Orleans, he averaged 294.9 passing yards and 1.6 passing touchdowns (18.3 DK points) per game. That was not the case for Michael Thomas, who was a better player all around on the road. With that being said, Thomas averaged a 6.1/77/0.2 line (15.5 DK points) per game in New Orleans. He’s also the top receiving option on the team, totaling 171 targets in 18 games. Thomas also ranked second on the team in red zone targets with 16. Alvin Kamara was the top red zone threat with 17 targets in 2017. He also ranked second on the team with 110 targets, while totaling a healthy 227 touches. Overall, Kamara received 141 carries, while recording 86 receptions. Surprisingly, Kamara failed to record 20 or more touches in any game last season. He will be thrust into a major role early this season with Mark Ingram suspended. Last season, the Saints running backs combined to average 32.4 touches per game. Kamara and Mike Gillislee, who was only recently signed, are the only two running backs on the Saints roster at the moment, meaning Kamara could see upwards of 25 touches, while Thomas continues to siphon the majority of the New Orleans targets.
Andy Dalton/A.J. Green/John Ross
The Cincinnati Bengals ranked 27th in the NFL with 195 passing yards per game, although they also ranked 12th in the league with 25 passing touchdowns last season. The Bengals get a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, who ranked as a bottom-five defense in the NFL against the pass. Overall, Indianapolis allowed their opponents to throw for 247 yards per game, while allowing them to record 23 passing touchdowns. The Bengals are small underdogs in a game set at 48.5 points, suggesting they could be throwing the ball from the start to the end of this game. Still, they own an implied team total of 23 points this week.
The Bengals added multiple linemen this offseason, as they are only starting one of the same starters from the beginning of last season. Andy Dalton will likely have a clean pocket to bounce back from a down season. Even though he struggled in 2017, Dalton is averaging 234.3 passing yards and 1.5 passing touchdowns per game in his career. A.J. Green has been his top target since 2011, averaging a 5.5/80.5/0.6 line on 9.3 targets per game in his career. Green also saw 29.4% of Cincinnati’s target share last season, while leading the team with 16 red zone targets. John Ross was technically a rookie last season, but he struggled to see the field with injuries, and struggled in his very limited opportunities. He has blazing speed, though, and totaled an 81/1,150/17 line as a junior at Washington. Ross has also displayed tremendous upside throughout preseason. He adds a bit more upside to a relatively cheap stack this week.
Tom Brady/Chris Hogan/Rob Gronkowski
The New England Patriots are an offense that needs no introduction. They ranked second in the NFL last season in terms of passing yards per game (276), while also ranking third in the league in passing touchdowns (32). New England gets a matchup against the Houston Texans, who allowed their opponents to average 237 passing yards per game last season, while also allowing 30 passing touchdowns in 2017. The Patriots are -6 point favorites in a game set at 50.5 points, and they own one of the highest implied team totals on the slate at 28.3 points.
Tom Brady was an elite player at home last season, averaging 280.2 passing yards and 2.3 passing touchdowns (21.6 DK points) per game in New England. He averaged 37.3 pass attempts per game last season, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he hits that mark again this season. Rob Gronkowski is his top receiving option, and he averaged a 4.9/77.4/0.6 on 7.5 targets per game last season. He also scored 20+ DK points in seven of 16 games last season. Chris Hogan is the other top receiving option for the Patriots. He only played in 11 games last season, but averaged 6.1 targets per game. He also totaled 37 receptions for 463 yards and six touchdowns last season. Most importantly, Gronkowski and Hogan only needed limited games to combine for 34 red zone targets last season. The Patriots lack receiving options with Julian Edelman suspended, meaning Gronkowski and Hogan could be peppered with targets this week. The only true concern to their workload is Rex Burkhead and James White, who also make great options for their low price tag.
High Upside GPP Stack
Nathan Peterman/LeSean McCoy/Kelvin Benjamin
What a way to get the season started, right? The Buffalo Bills struggled last season, averaging only 302.6 total yards and 18.9 points per game, which rank 29th and 22nd in the NFL in 2017, respectively. They also get a tough matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, who ranked 12th in the NFL in total yards allowed (325.1) and sixth in points allowed (18.9) per game last season. The Bills are also massive underdogs in a game set at only 40.5 points, and they feature the lowest implied run total on the slate at only 16.5 runs.
Nathan Peterman is solely known as the player who threw five interceptions in the first half of his first start. He’s only known as that because his start was controversial with Tyrod Taylor on pace to take Buffalo to the playoffs. That was a pressure-filled start against arguably the best secondary in the NFL. It comes as no surprise that he struggled. In limited action last season against the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts, Peterman threw for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 20 pass attempts. He also completed 80.5% of his passes for 431 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception on a tipped pass in the preseason. In reality, his talents are likely somewhere between these two extremes. LeSean McCoy is the focal point of the Bills offense. He averaged 21.8 touches last season, while averaging 17.3 DK points per game this season. McCoy also averaged 100.3 total yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game last season. Kelvin Benjamin struggled in six games with the Bills last season, totaling only 16 receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown. He’ll be the focal point of the receiving attack with very few options on the team, and an extra offseason will only help his chemistry with his quarterback. The Bills are likely to struggle as an offense this season, but Baltimore’s defense will be the highest owned in DFS this week. That makes Buffalo an extremely high upside leverage stack, as each of their players will feature little to no ownership.
By: Justin Bales (Twitter)