Thursday, Sept. 9, brings the long-awaited return of the NFL regular season. Tonight have the Dallas Cowboys take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Week 1 Thursday Night Football season opener, and Yahoo Fantasy is making its debut in the NFL single-game format. The general concept of creating a team remains the same, but this is a one-game player pool. The twist is that any position player can be rostered, and one is designated to receive a 1.5x multiplier on their Yahoo fantasy points. Using Awesemo’s expert NFL projections and rankings, these are the top Yahoo NFL picks for the Thursday Night Football game tonight.
Yahoo NFL Picks: Week 1 Thursday Night Football
Be sure to check out all of our free Yahoo NFL picks, including the Yahoo NFL Cheat Sheet for tonight’s Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Thursday Night Football matchup.
Top SUPERSTAR Options
The SUPERSTAR position will get a 1.5x multiplier on their Yahoo Fantasy Points in the single-game format.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $34
The defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers will begin the defense of their title on Thursday Night Football against the Cowboys. Tom Brady turned 44 years old in August and has once again been getting great reports out of training camp. Tampa’s pass-catching options are many, and this is arguably the best set of skill position players Brady has had at his disposal. While he is not going to get much done on the ground, any time he takes the field he could get to 300-plus yards and three-plus touchdowns.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys – $36
This is a tough matchup for Dak Prescott, who suffered a terrifying ankle injury in Week 5 last season. The Buccaneers had one of the best defenses in the league last year, and they have added to that in the offseason. The likely game flow will have the Cowboys playing down by a score or two most of this game, which could mean 45 pass attempts or more. Prescott did not see much action in training camp, only playing under game-speed conditions a handful of times. However, he is surrounded by a group of pass catchers that rival Brady’s.
Yahoo NFL Core Picks
Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys – $16
Keep in mind that Yahoo scoring gives a half point per reception. This means that while catches are rewarded, yards and particularly touchdowns still carry more proportional weight. Amari Cooper has been a consistent performer throughout his career, with 1,000-plus yards receiving in four of his five seasons. The breakout of CeeDee Lamb should help Cooper, as now defenses have to track yet another dynamic option. This is a favorable salary for Cooper, which makes him a fine core option in all formats.
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $18
The Yahoo salary algorithm is offering a gift on Thursday, with Antonio Brown seemingly not getting credit for all of his accomplishments. Like Cooper, Brown is in a crowded offense, but Brady has taken a liking to Brown and was trying to get him on his squad years ago. Brown should be fully healthy, and with half a season and a strong playoff run under his belt, his chemistry with Brady should be even better this season.
Yahoo NFL Value Picks
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $13
In the four games O.J. Howard played last year before his Achilles injury, he saw 19 targets from Brady for 146 yards and two touchdowns. While that may not seem overly exciting, Brady tends to feed the tight end position. Rob Gronkowski is still a red-zone threat and could be a factor in high-leverage situations, the bulk of the work between the 20s will likely be with Howard on the field.
Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys – $10
It happens to work out on Thursday that the tight ends are the best bargain options. There is no obvious differentiator at this time between Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, and both should see plenty of action. The hope is that one lucks into a touchdown or a couple receptions and 30-ish yards.
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