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NFL Week 1 Yahoo! $500K Baller Analysis (FREE)

Eric MacPherson

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NFL DFS Strategy Show: Our experts review Week 1, and some fantasy football lessons learned heading into Week 2 | DraftKings + FanDuel.

Greetings, Gamers! We have an excellent opportunity on Yahoo! for Week 1 as they are running a $500,000 contest with a $10 entry fee and 57,000 entries. This flagship tournament generally does not fill more than 80% in the first week, which provides extra value for gamers. Let’s get into some NFL Yahoo Fantasy Football DFS Picks for Week 1 including Christian McCaffrey and Lamar Jackson.


Don’t forget to check out the NFL DFS Lineup Construction show with Alex “Awesemo” Baker and Josh Engleman Friday at 11 a.m. ET on the Awesemo YouTube Channel


Yahoo Fantasy Football General Strategy

As with most sites, there are many viable strategies that can be successful in large-field tournaments and of course, we do need the same amount of favor from Lady Luck as we do elsewhere.

The key thing to remember is that this is a half-PPR site, meaning receptions are worth 0.5 points and the minimum salary is $10 with an average salary per player of $22. This week, Christian McCaffrey is at the top of the pricing list at $39. The full scoring parameters can be found here.

Please note: Yahoo now offers CSV upload as well as editing capabilities. The latter was something that was not available until recently. Be sure to become familiar with the steps involved in this process so you are savvy with how it all works when faced with a time crunch.

Awesemo NFL Rankings

One of the most useful features of the Awesemo.com premium content is the personal player rankings from Alex Baker, aka Awesemo, for all of the main sports. The players grade out separately for each DFS site with ratings for both “projected points” and “value” receiving an A through E report card-style grade.

As a sneak preview, for this article I will be sharing the grades Full Rankings (Premium Content)

Quarterback

If you have played football on Yahoo, or if you played Yahoo fantasy baseball, you know that the strategy is to look for the cheapest quarterback or pitcher that is tolerable so you can look for more secure points and upside elsewhere. In the recommendations below, I will be highlighting several discount options at the other positions so you can build a framework that will allow lineup construction for a top-shelf quarterback along with his favorite target and still have enough salary cap to run it back with the top option on the opposing team.

Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns  – $38 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B

Last year we saw Jackson literally revolutionize the quarterback position on his way to the MVP trophy. In just his second season, he rolled his way to an NFL record 1,206 rushing yards in 15 games. His 80.4 rushing yards per game topped the team totals for both Jets (78.6) and Dolphins (72.3). If all that was not enough, Jackson actually led the league with 36 touchdown passes. There is not much else to add.

Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons – $33 Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value C

Last year in this same matchup, we saw a wild 27-20 road victory in Atlanta. It was wild because Matt Schaub was the starting quarterback, and he threw for 460 yards with one pick and one touchdown. Seattle came out to a 24-0 halftime lead and then played not to lose. I suspect this tilt will be one that produces the fantasy goodness. This game has a 49.0 projected point total with the Falcons favored by 2. We know that D.K. Metcalf – $19 and Tyler Lockett – $19 are the key options in the Seattle passing attack, and they have reasonable salary tags. Atlanta has been a bottom-five passing defense for a couple of seasons, and not much has changed. While the volume may not always be there for Wilson, everything does go through him when it comes to scoring.

Tyrod Taylor – Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals  – $25 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value A

It will be interesting to see how Taylor performs now that he is the clear QB1 in Los Angeles. We need to look at this like a veteran backup getting a chance in a good situation. In the 47 games that Taylor has played at least 37 snaps he has been solid, and too many gamers are sleeping on that fact. In those appearances he averaged 63.3 snaps, going 17.3 for 27.8 62.1% for 197.9 passing yards with 1.13 touchdowns and 0.38 interceptions. He also averaged 6.3 carries for 35.7 yards and 0.32 touchdowns. We will want to be ahead of the curve on this one.


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Running Back

We want to keep in mind that while running backs are very important, Yahoo fantasy uses half-PPR, which will not penalize running backs that are not as active in the passing game.

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers vs Las Vegas Raiders – $39 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C

There are enough cheapies to make rolling with McCaffrey a relatively easy exercise. Our biggest concern will be how many touches he gets without having seen any in-game action since last season. Being equally adept in the running and passing game means that McCaffrey is never out of the gameplan, regardless of the score. He will likely be the most popular running back in tournaments, being on 35-40% of all lineups, and in cash games he will likely approach 60%.

Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders at Carolina Panthers – $26 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B 

Coming off a phenomenal rookie campaign where he finished eighth in the league with 1,150 rushing yards, Jacobs still has room to improve. Last year the Panthers had one of the worst, if not the worst, rushing defenses in the league. They have worked hard to get better personnel, but until we see them on the field, it will be hard to believe much changed. We know that coach Gruden would love to run the ball every play if he could, so opportunities will abound for Jacobs this season. While it should not be a surprise that he finds the most success while the Raiders are leading, this price point is hard to pass. Also, in a bit of a twist, Las Vegas is actually 3-0 road favorites per OddsShopper by Awesemo.

Antonio Gibson – Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles – $11 Awesemo Grade: Points D, Value C

With Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson being released, the rookie Gibson looks to be the main option for Washington. Please keep in mind that Yahoo gives just half a point per reception. A lot of the hype for Gibson you are hearing in the DFS echo chamber is for full-PPR scoring. That said, he is just a dollar off the minimum price and he should get 20 or so touches. We may see veterans J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber in the mix, but they have already washed out from other teams, so it is likely new head coach Ron Rivera will like to see what his rookie can bring to the table.

Wide Receiver

More often than not, we should be able to find several nice options in the middle tier. The top-shelf Yahoo fantasy options are typically priced in the mid-$30 range. Often, they are best paired with their quarterbacks for tournament upside rather than risking downside as solo plays.

In addition to the players highlighted above with their quarterbacks, we can look to:

Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks – $32 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value D

For tournaments, since I have already recommended Russell Wilson and a pair of his receivers, why not make it a game stack party with Jones? Now that we are several seasons removed from the Legion of Boom, we know that Seattle’s gameplan is to try and get the lead and then grind out the clock. That may help keep their defense fresher, but it won’t help them stop premium players like Jones.

Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys – $16 Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value A

On Yahoo, they still include the Sunday Night Football game in their main slate contests. We have seen over the years that the players in this game are generally not a popular as they would typically be because so many of the mainstream analysis sources do not cover these matchups.

This game has a robust 51.5 projected game score, and there are a lot of targets now available with the departure of Brandin CooksOver his final seven regular season appearances, Woods averaged 11.4 targets and never saw fewer than nine in any game. It will be hard to go up from there, but at least that something in the 9-10 range is a reasonable baseline expectation.

Dallas liked to run, run and run some more which keeps the clock moving, but they have a lot of question marks on defense, and we know that Woods is going to be a focal point of the Rams offense once again.

Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling– Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings – $10 Awesemo Grade: Points D, Value A

Someone is going to have to emerge as a secondary option in the passing game to Davante Adams for the Packers. The Awesemo projections give the nod to Lazard, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers gave some public praise to Valdes-Scantling last week. Keep in mind that the tight end options are Robert Tonyan and Jace Sternberger, so there are a lot of opportunities up for grabs.

Tight Ends

If you have the salary cap, feel free to target premiere options such as George Kittle – $29 and Zach Ertz – $22. Otherwise this is usually a good position on Yahoo to find some savings.

Hayden Hurst – Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value B

It remains to be seen just how much of Austin Hooper‘s workload will fall to Hurst, who was acquired in the offseason. We know that Hurst was incredibly efficient with his limited opportunities in Baltimore, so it will be exciting to see what he can do as the main tight end option on a pass-happy team.

Blake Jarwin – Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value C

While Jarwin will likely not see much work as a run blocker, he is very solid in the passing game. Jason Witten leaves behind 83 targets, so we should see Jarwin potentially double his 41 from last year. Supposition in fantasy football is always fraught with danger, but at a $13 salary we can take on this risk in tournaments.

Defense/Special Teams

There are several good matchups this week for Yahoo fantasy where we can get some bang for our buck.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team – $14 Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value B

While I normally do not recommend DSTs on the road, things are a little different this season. Additionally, the Washington Football Team is a gas can in search of a match. Last year they allowed nearly three sacks and 1.3 turnovers per game. They are down to rookies and retreads in the running game, and their passing game is lacking experience as well.

Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears – $10 Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value A

For the minimum price, there is a lot to like about the Lions who are 3-point home favorites. They will be taking on Mitchell Trubisky, who somehow held onto his job after the acquisition of Nick FolesThough the Bears had only a dozen interceptions last season, they did give up 45 sacks along with seven fumbles lost.

Hopefully these Yahoo Fantasy Picks and recommendations get your lineup construction process jump started and on your way to a big showing in the Yahoo! $500k Dollar Baller contest!

As always, you can reach out to me in Awesemo.com Premium Slack or Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.


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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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