For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, we will be providing free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. We have loads of information and NFL DFS showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 1 Sunday Night Football slate between the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 1 Sunday Night Football
Tonight the Rams will be debuting quarterback Matthew Stafford. Cam Akers was injured in training camp, so Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel will be the top two options in the rushing attack. Chicago also has a new quarterback; Andy Dalton will be the starter for Week 1, though rookie Justin Fields is champing at the bit to take over the reins after a solid preseason.
Dalton will be under center for the first Chicago snap tonight according to coach Matt Nagy, though it would make sense for rookie Fields to see at least a few situational plays . The Rams has the third best rushing DVOA and fourth best passing DVOA last season, and this is not going to be an easy matchup for whoever plays for Chicago. That makes Dalton a risk, and even Rams coach Sean McVay is preparing to see Fields at some point on Sunday.
David Montgomery is going to see a lot of work tonight, and while the efficiency may be tough to come by, the volume should give him a reasonable level of safety. Last year he showed a reasonable ability in the passing game, and he was solid as a rusher, which bodes well for his opportunities since Tarik Cohen is sidelined with an injury. Damien Williams will be the backup, and keep in mind that not only is he playing for a new team, but he opted out of last season. This should be a consolidated backfield, as Khalil Herbert will mostly play on special teams.
Allen Robinson must be giddy with the prospect that Fields will be under center in the near future. Robinson has not had many notable passers throughout his career, and yet he still is a consistent force to be reckoned with. Darnell Mooney (back) has a questionable tag, but he was a full participant in practice on Friday and is not expected to be limited. The rest of the options are a mixed bag, with newcomers Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin serving as third wide receivers in passing sets. Breshad Perriman was a late cut by Detroit in the preseason, and the Bears decided to give him a chance.
Cole Kmet will be the starter, and at this point he is more talented in all aspects of the game than veteran Jimmy Graham. Keep in mind, however, that Graham will likely be on the field in the red zone. Jesse James is also on the roster, but he will likely serve as the blocking tight end in rushing scenarios.
Though the Chicago defense is solid, Stafford does not make many mistakes and does a good job of avoiding sacks. The Los Angeles offensive line is also lightyears ahead of the crew that protected Stafford in Detroit.
Stafford is in a nice situation with the Rams, who have a well-oiled passing game, and most of the skill position players have been in the system for a couple of seasons. While Stafford is at least mobile in the pocket, he does not rush unless he absolutely has to, and his last rushing score was in 2016.
The loss of Akers is not an insurmountable situation, but it is definitely a blow to the Rams fans. Henderson is a capable rusher and receiver, and most gamers forget that he was just as productive as Akers last season. In 15 games Henderson rushed 138 times for 624 yards and five touchdowns. Akers had 145 carries for 625 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his 13 regular-season appearances. Michel will be in the mix and will likely get a fair number of the rushing opportunities. It will be interesting to see how McVay works him in to the passing game, as Michel was always out of favor in those situations as a Patriot. Los Angeles generally operates with just one running back and either three wideouts or two tight ends.
Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are known commodities, and they are clearly the top two options in this offense. Josh Reynolds is now with the Titans, so Van Jefferson will be the third wideout. Behind him are DeSean Jackson and Tutu Atwell, and Atwell was a second-round pick out of Louisville in the most recent draft.
Tyler Higbee did not take the leap last year from a fantasy perspective as most had hoped. However, this should be the perfect situation this year, with Gerald Everett now in Seattle and Johnny Mundt being the most notable backup.
The Rams D/ST is definitely in play at home. Last year they were one of the elite units in the league, and they will either be facing a caretaker in Dalton or a wide-eyed rookie in Fields.
Sunday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
Week 1 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Week 1 Sunday Night Football Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- David Montgomery: Chicago is likely to lean on Montgomery for the early downs, and he should get first crack on the passing downs as well.
- Matthew Stafford: From a floor perspective, Stafford rivals Montgomery. However, the lack of rushing upside curbs his potential for a slate-breaking performance.
- Cooper Kupp: Gets the slightest of nods over Woods on DraftKings and comfortably on FanDuel for the $1,000 discount.
- Robert Woods: Across 47 regular season games in his last three seasons, Woods has 60 carries for 427 yards and four touchdowns.
- Allen Robinson: Best upside of any Chicago player, but he will likely need Fields to unlock it.
- Darrell Henderson: This will likely be a 60/40 split with Michel, though Henderson should get the benefit of the doubt.
- Matt Gay, Cairo Santos: Kickers figure to be busy in this matchup since touchdowns could be tough to come by.
- Tyler Higbee: Keep in mind that the Bears are a good defense, and with the salaries it is tricky to fully load up on the Rams. This listing is a representation of rankings for the core options.
- Darnell Mooney: The questionable tag should keep his popularity in check, and the other receivers after him are sketchy.
- Andy Dalton: He is at least the starting quarterback.
Week 1 Sunday Night Football Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Sony Michel: Touchdowns are going to be the key for is performance, and McVay gets cute in the red zone with handoffs to his tight ends and receivers, so be wary.
- Los Angeles D/ST: Dalton is ripe for a strip sack or pick six.
- Van Jefferson: Solid discount on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He needs a splash play to be a difference maker.
- Damien Williams: Most of his upside is blocked by Montgomery, but he should still see around 10 opportunities.
- Cole Kmet: Good enough to beat linebacker coverage, but will Robinson and Montgomery draw enough attention to get Kmet the right matchup?
Week 1 Sunday Night Football Lottery Tickets NFL DFS Picks
- Chicago D/ST: They will be on the field a lot, and the savings are notable.
- Damiere Byrd: There is utility in his $200 salary on DraftKings.
- Jimmy Graham: Just enough red-zone equity to earn his own line.
- Marquise Goodwin: Punt worthy on FanDuel around Lineup No. 30.
- Justin Fields: So crazy it just might work.
- Johnny Mundt, Tutu Atwell, Jesse James, Jake Funk, Khalil Herbert, Nsimba Webster: Hard Pass.
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