Okay, here we go! Week 1 is here, which means it’s propage time! I’m actually not a big gambler, but I love NFL player props because I’ve basically been creating my own for 25 years by building projections from scratch, as I covered in my article on my favorite 2020 season props published about a week ago.
I don’t have time to write up heavy analysis on these picks, but if you’re reading the site you know the deal on the matchups and all that. A lot of my picks are based on common sense, predicted gameflow, the actual matchups, and more. But at the end of the day, I’ve already built the projections, so coming up with my favorite props is simply a matter of going through all the available props on DK and FD and isolating the biggest discrepancies between the props and my projections, and that’s exactly what I’ve done below.
Here are my favorite plays for Week 1:
- Jamison Crowder (vs. NYJ) - OVER 4.5 receptions on DK - I mean, he was my start of the day on DirecTV Fantasy Zone Week 1 of last year and the guy caught 14 balls on 17 targets. Granted, the Bills know it’s coming, but they knew it was coming in Week 17 last year, yet Crowder still put up 8/66/1 on 10 targets. This is a great defense, but they will dominate by shutting down one top outside receiver with Tre'davious White, and staying disciplined otherwise. They’ll give up catches underneath to Crowder because he’s averaging like 7 yards per catch, but we don’t care, we’ll even take the poor odds at -177 on DK.
- Cam Newton (vs. Mia) - UNDER 244.5 passing yards on FD - There is a 59.5 yard discrepancy between our projection and Newton’s total. Granted, we have him under 200 yards, which is low, but I think it’s fair for his first game as a Patriot. I’m expecting his top outside WR N’Keal Harry, who had a so-so summer, to be held in check by their two excellent outside corners, and Julian Edelman can do only so much. This game has one of the lower totals at 42, so I’m not seeing Cam push for 250 in his Pat debut.
- Aaron Jones (at Min) - OVER 64.5 rushing yards on DK - There’s a nice discrepancy of 25.5 yards yards from our projections, and I’m all-in on Jones this week as a great DFS play as well because he abused them last year, rushing for 23/116/1 and 23/154/2, good for 5.9 YPC on 46 carries. And that was with since-departed Linval Joseph in the lineup for the Vikings. His replacement, former Raven DT Michael Pierce, opted out of 2020 due to COVID. Rookie AJ Dillon will likely be mostly a spectator in this one, so I expect Jones to carry the mail and beat this number.
- Diontae Johnson (at NYG) - OVER 47.5 receiving yards on FD - I guess some people just aren’t ready to accept that Johnson is a budding star, but his skeptics may turn the corner this week after he crushes the poor Giants secondary. The guy just gets open, and he separates well, so Big Ben is likely to be looking for him down the field. Honestly, Johnson can beat this one on just 1-2 catches.
- Hayden Hurst (vs. Sea) - OVER 38.5 receiving yards on FD - This seems too good to be true, since 39 yards should be extremely doable against a defense that gave up a healthy 66.4 yards a game to TEs the final eight games of 2019. We also have the second-highest total of the week of 49 and two offenses capable of making this one a shootout. The vibes are too good on Hurst this summer for him to fall short of this low number.
- Henry Ruggs (at Car) - OVER 40.5 receiving yards on FD - This one’s a little risky with CB Donte Jackson having the speed to run with Ruggs, but Ruggs may also work on a rookie CB, and overall the Panther secondary is not good at all, so I’ll go for it as the Ghost of Al Davis pushes for Ruggs to make a big impact in his first game as pro and a Raider.
- DeSean Jackson (at Was) - OVER 50.5 receiving yards on FD - Yes, we’re all in on Jackson for this week, and we’re been particularly high on him all year, actually. DeSean has looked incredible this summer. He’s bulked up, yet he’s still running by DBs 10 years younger than him. Rest assured, they will take deep shots, and he’ll be open, and with Miles Sanders out he’s even more important for explosive plays and to help their TEs out by clearing out some space for them underneath. If a healthy Jackson doesn’t hit this number, I’d be shocked.
- Marquise Brown (vs. Cle) - OVER 47.5 receiving yards - Very similar to Jackson in that this one makes too much sense. Brown didn’t crush his Week 1 opponent last year like Jackson did, but in Brown’s defense, he was a rookie who was not 100%. Things are different this year with Brown healthy and looking fantastic. The Ravens have prepared for months for this one, and just like last year in Week 1, I expect them to come out on fire. Brown’s going to be a major part of that.
- Anthony Miller (at Det) - OVER 39.5 receiving yards on DK - Miller didn’t generate a lot of buzz this summer, but he’s quietly looking at a small coming out party in year three if he can manage to stay healthy. The Bears are still quite thin at receiver (but look out for rookie Darnell Mooney, even this week), so in what should be a game with ample scoring, I like Miller to hit this number, given Mitchell Trubisky’s lucrative recent history in this matchup.
- Larry Fitzgerald (at SF) - OVER 3.5 receptions on DK - I was going to include Fitz in my DFS cash game article, but I opted against it. But I need to get Larry in play somehow this week, and this is the best way. For one, he’s averaging 5.7 catches per game against them in his last three games, dating back to the second meeting in 2018. The Niners have been so-so covering the slot, and Richard Sherman was lights-out last year, so he may contain WRs Christan Kirk and DeAndre Hopkins when he sees them. I expect points to be scored with a high total of 48, so this one looks easy.