Week 1 presents us with a great matchup, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys in Tampa. This game has an over/under that is hovering around 52 points at most major sportsbooks. The Buccaneers have climbed to 8.5-point favorites at most places as well. Dallas has a 22-point total, while the Buccaneers have the second-highest total of the week, at 30 points. Using the Awesemo weekly NFL DFS projections and player prop tools, I will be targeting the players that stick out as the best options and give you an idea as to why they might be good targets. With PrizePicks needing a different approach than the typical NFL DFS strategy, it’s important to note that the name of the game is finding over/unders on player props or fantasy point totals for players in a specific game. With that said, let’s get into the best NFL PrizePicks for Week 1 Thursday Night Football.
Week 1 Thursday Night Football NFL PrizePicks
Tom Brady Over 20.5 Fantasy Points
Tom Brady should throw a lot of passes on Thursday, even though he is playing the team that allowed the third-most yards per carry last season. Tampa only ran the ball 24.5 times per game last year (sixth fewest in the league) and were seventh in pass attempts per game. Dallas’ secondary was almost as bad as their run defense too, allowing 7.1 yards per attempt, the 11th-worst mark in the league. Brady has always been a fast starter from a stat perspective, averaging 285.66 yards and 2.66 touchdowns per game over the last three season openers. Considering how fast both teams play — Dallas was first in pace in 2020, Tampa was ninth — and the Buccaneers’ tendency to rely on the pass under Brice Arians (even when ahead), the over on Brady’s fantasy total is worth taking.
Ezekiel Elliott Over 3 Receptions
Despite losing some snaps to Tony Pollard late in the season last year, Elliott saw good use as a receiver once again in 2020. He especially thrived in that role early in 2020 when Dak Prescott was still under center, averaging 5.8 receptions per game through the first four games. Dallas does not have a huge total on Thursday (22), but they are massive underdogs, which means they project for lots of passing late into this game. Elliott played 75% or more of the snaps in the first five games last season, so a big workload in Week 1 should be expected. Tampa also allowed the most receptions to opposing running backs last year, as their fast style meant lots of late passing opportunities for opponents when trailing. Elliott may not have a huge day on ground, but expect to see solid usage as a receiver.
Ronald Jones Over 8 Fantasy Points
Jones projects to split snaps with Leonard Fournette again. These two also now have Giovani Bernard to worry about. That said, the Buccaneers have a 30-point total and project to be running late into this game. Jones was the superior runner to Fournette last season, averaging 5.09 yards per carry. It is also significant that he took 35 red zone carries to Fournette’s 20 and took over 100 more carries last season. Early in 2020 Arians chose to ride Jones, and he should lead Tampa in touches in Week 1 again. Even a smaller workload could see him go over this fantasy total against a Dallas run defense that allowed 5 yards per attempt and ceded the sixth-most touchdowns rushing last year.
Top Correlation: Jones Over 8 Points, Dak Prescott Over 25.5 Completions
If Jones ends up seeing a healthy workload, it likely means that Tampa will be comfortably ahead at some point in this game. That should mean Prescott will again be forced into pass-heavy script, like he was almost every game early in 2020. Prescott averaged 34.25 pass completions in the first four games of last season, making his 25.5 total here look low. Combining the overs on Prescott and Jones in PrizePicks tickets makes for a nice correlation play given the line, game total and strengths/weaknesses of these two teams.
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