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NFL Week 1 Yahoo! Million Dollar Baller Picks Using Awesemo’s Premium Rankings (FREE)

Eric MacPherson



Greetings, Gamers! We have an excellent opportunity on Yahoo fantasy football for Week 1, as they are running a $1,000,000 contest with a $10 entry fee and 100,000 entries and ZERO management fee. Generally, this flagship daily fantasy tournament does not fill more than 80-90% in the opening week, which provides extra value for gamers. Let’s get into some Yahoo Daily Fantasy Picks for NFL Week 1, including Jalen Hurts, Calvin Ridley, Alvin Kamara and more!

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Yahoo Daily Fantasy General Strategy & Picks

As with most sites, many viable strategies can be successful in large-field tournaments, and of course, we 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, Patrick Mahomes is at the top of the pricing list at $40. 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.

Don’t forget to check out this week’s NFL DFS On the Contrary show with Alex Baker, Dave “Loughy” Loughran and new Awesemo favorite Chris Spags on the Awesemo YouTube Channel.

Yahoo Daily Fantasy Picks Using Awesemo’s Expert NFL Rankings

One of the most useful features of the 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)


If you have played football on Yahoo or 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.

Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns – $40

Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C

Kansas City was so close to adding a Super Bowl trophy to their hardware case in back-to-back seasons. However, they ran into Tom Brady, who walked away with his fifth Super Bowl MVP award and seventh Lombardi Trophy. Patrick Mahomes is legitimately wizard-like with his passing prowess, including those of the no-look variety. Last season Cleveland was in the bottom quarter of the league from a passing DVOA perspective, and they will be hard-pressed to slow down Mahomes on Sunday. With the opportunity to pair Mahomes with two of the best receiving options in the league, he makes for a strong play in all formats.

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Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans – $34

Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B

Keep in mind that Kyler Murray was dealing with various injuries and running less frequently down the stretch last season. Also, after he rushed for 10 touchdowns in his first nine games, opposing defenses really started keeping tabs on him in the red zone. Despite the gaudy statistics, the NFL is all about wins, and for fans, it is all about the playoffs. This is shaping up to be a make-or-break season for both Murray and coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Titans get a lot of credit for their defense among casual fans, but their passing DVOA was 30th last season, and their rushing DVOA was in the middle of the pack. The secondary is pretty shaky considering that ten-year veteran Janoris Jenkins is their “best” coverage option and Kristian Fulton, Breon Borders, Caleb Farley, Elijah Molden and Chris Jackson have seven combined years of experience.

Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons – $26

Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value A

Touchdowns are quite valuable on Yahoo with their half-PPR scoring format. Jalen Hurts should be more comfortable having a full offseason and training camp as the QB1. However, the rumors that the front office was interested in acquiring Deshaun Watson could not have been confidence-inspiring for the young signal-caller. Even if those were manufactured talking points, the acquisition of Gardner Minshew as a backup was real enough. In the three games where Hurts was the focal point – skipping the Week 17 foolishness when backup Nate Sudfeld got a few drives in a winnable game against Washington – he had two 335+ passing yard efforts and averaged nearly 80 yards on the ground. This game is shaping up to be a track meet, and the Eagles will need Hurts to carry the load.

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.

Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers – $34

Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value D

With Michael Thomas sidelined for an undetermined amount of time, Alvin Kamara will have to be the engine for the Saints’ offense. While we should not expect coach Sean Payton to run Kamara into the ground, 25 combined carries and targets will likely be his baseline this season. At a minimum, he will be in on every high-leverage situation. There is a decent chance that Kamara pulls off a dual season 1,000 yards rushing and receiving, which means he will be on the shortlist of targets at this position every week.

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns – $18

Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value A

This is a great deal for Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is finally healthy and should have the first and second crack at being in a “bell cow” role. Coach Andy Reid has a long history of taking even pedestrian running backs and turning them into fantasy juggernauts. Twenty or so opportunities seem like a realistic expectation for the second-year back who is a decent rusher and can hold his own in the passing game.

James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans – $27

Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value C

Just when it looked like James Robinson would be taking on a secondary role with a new head coach and rookie running back, Travis Etienne coming in as a first-round draft pick, the world was turned upside down. Etienne suffered a foot injury that will likely cost him the entire season, especially since it is unlikely Jacksonville will be in the playoffs. This opens the door once again for Robinson to get by on volume alone. The matchup against the Texans is a good one as that team has seemingly imploded both on and off the field, in the locker room and the front office.

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:

Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles- $30 

Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C

This should be a career year for Calvin Ridley, who will not share targets with Julio Jones. Of course, he will also be the focal point of opposing defenses. However, the Eagles are a mess, and that should not be a concern this week. Ridley can get it done on all three levels of the route tree, and he seems to have the proverbial “nose for the end zone,” which is key for fantasy production.

DK Metcalf – Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts – $26

Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C

This is a very reasonable salary for DK Metcalf, who looks poised to continue his upward trajectory towards becoming one of the handful of elite receivers in the league. It is coach Pete Carroll’s dream to be a run-first team. However, this is an eminently winnable game, and Seattle may have to take to the air to get in front of the methodical Colts. New offensive coordinator Shane Waldren comes from the Rams, and after seeing Metcalf in action multiple times a season, he knows what a tremendous asset he can be to any game plan. Though this game is not likely to be a track meet, that is factored into the mid-tier salary assigned to Metcalf for Week 1.

Adam Humphries – Washington Football Team vs. Los Angeles Chargers – $10

Awesemo Grade: Points D, Value A

At the minimum salary, veteran Adam Humphries is an interesting option on Sunday. There is familiarity between Humphries and Washington’s new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as the duo played together for two seasons in Tampa Bay. This is a very forgiving salary, and with Curtis Samuel moved to the injured reserve, Humphries should have some opportunities in Week 1.

Tight Ends

This week, we have tremendous options for the tight end position at the top and bottom of the salary sheet.

Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Browns – $33

Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value D

Last year Travis Kelce was sixth in the league with 145 targets, fifth with 105 receptions, second with 1,416 yards, and hauled in 11 touchdowns. We are getting a WR1, and while we are certainly spending the equivalent of that, we are rostering him at the tight end. In today’s pass-happy NFL, that is a bonus from a fantasy perspective.

Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots – $12

Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value B

Last year Mike Gesicki proved to be a fantasy force when he had the opportunities. This is a very forgiving cap hit that mitigates the tougher matchup against the Patriots.

Defense/Special Teams

This week, there are really just two defenses to focus on as the best points per dollar option.

Denver Broncos at New York Giants – $13

Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C

On paper, Denver is shaping up to be one of the best defenses in the league. Yahoo is providing an easy choice here as they discount a pair of road teams by a good 20%. Daniel Jones has happy feet, and he is not afraid to throw the ball into tight windows. That bodes well for the fantasy production of the Broncos in this matchup.

San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions – $12

Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B

It is mindboggling that the San Francisco 49ers are only $2 above the Yahoo minimum salary. They will be taking on familiar foe Jared Goff, who will be making his Detroit debut. Kenny Golladay is now with the Giants, and Marvin Jones is in Jacksonville. That leaves former Charger Tyrell Williams, second-year man Quintez Cephus, and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown as the wide receivers. D’Andre Swift (groin) was dinged up during the preseason but is expected to start with former Packer Jamaal Williams as the backup. Many new components will be figuring out how to fit together on the fly, which plays right into the 49ers’ strength.

You can always reach out to me in Premium Slack or Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

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We also have NFL single-game projections and DraftKings showdown ownership projections. View our FanDuel NFL DFS ownership rankings and our DraftKings NFL DFS rankings. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL advice for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL DFS rankings, and NFL DFS stacks. Take a look at our NFL depth chart list, starting lineups and inactive players.

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 [email protected].

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