Here we are again, Week 1 of the 2021 season and the start of DraftKings DFS action! This season feels that little more special. Not only will fans be back to a fuller capacity compared to the previous season, but also now back on multiple continents! Fans can also watch their favourite players via not just their screens this season and can watch their DFS lineups come to fruition through those same methods. The latter is where our focus lies with these weekly articles throughout the season.
When it comes to DFS, everyone looks for those slate-breaking players (and if you are not, then you should be!), players who can win you the big bucks if they have a day and lower ownership, even better! This especially matters in tournaments, where you are looking to differentiate from your competition and sometimes even yourself and your other lineups, as opposed to cash games, where you would be after more ‘safer’ lineups to secure a more likely pot of cash.
These articles will highlight those players who I feel can break the week’s slate and players you should be, at the very least, considering, going for position-by-position.
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Matt Ryan ($6,000)
The status quo in Atlanta from last season pretty much remains the same, which most Atlanta fans may not want to hear.
The defense was officially the worst in the league last season, contributing heavily to their 29th overall defense ranking. Because of this, the organisation made changes. Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen went out, rookies like Richie Grant and Darren Hall, and Duron Harmon came in. It does not exactly scream of solving the issue on that front.
On the offensive side of the ball, the elite talent of Julio Jones departed Atlanta for Tennessee, leaving a gaping hole in the offense. Kyle Pitts ($4,400) will likely fill this hole, a rookie who needs no introduction and will likely operate as a TE-converted-WR with Julio gone. Calvin Ridley ($7,900) will also be a much more expanded role now Julio has left, a role in which he excelled in the sample sizes where this opportunity was present, averaging 22.56 DK points per game last season. Additionally, the Philidelphia defense has been getting torched all preseason, being last for rushing yards allowed and points allowed, as well as 26th for passing yards allowed.
So we have two bad defenses squaring up against each other and an Atlanta offense who love to throw the ball a lot, with Ryan averaging 39 passing attempts a game last season.
It seems to be the perfect game and offense to target if you ask me.
Sam Darnold ($5,000)
Now hear me out; why is a QB on a new offense included in this article? Well, let me try and convince you why.
Let’s start with Darnold himself. He finds himself with Carolina following a trade with New York, the team he faces in Week One. In New York, he was coached by the infamous Adam Gase, a man whose player management has been ridiculed, to say the least, and have seen plenty of talent excel upon their departure from Gase’s grasp; Ryan Tannehill is the glaring example. Now, who cannot say Darnold will be next? Not only has Darnold landed under Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady in Carolina, a man who has shown real promise with talented QBs like Joe Burrow and is well renowned throughout the league, but he also has a weapon in Robby Anderson ($5,700), who Darnold showed a great connection with when they were both in New York. And of course, who can forget Christian McCaffrey ($9,500), the most talented running back in the league.
Now looking at Darnold’s opponents, New York. Following a 29th ranked passing defense and 26th ranked total defense in 2020, changes had to be made, and they were. San Fransisco defensive guru Robert Saleh has been brought in as head coach, and plenty of personnel have been acquired to turn this side of the ball around; LaMarcus Joyner, Jarrid Davis and Shaq Lawson stand out as examples. However, most of their starters on defense are out injured, some stating the severity being they are down to just three starters if all were healthy for their Week One game against Carolina. Saleh is an excellent defensive coach, but this is a mountain to climb in your debut.
Some may say that McCaffrey mentioned above limits Darnold’s upside in the passing game, but I feel there will be enough in this game for plenty of points to go around. I could see Darnold putting up three passing touchdowns in this one and hitting that real value you need to be paid back on backing the QB in this revenge game.
Carolina @ New York is not a sexy game whatsoever, and people will not focus on it for that exact reason. Therefore, that gives us the perfect opportunity to pounce and grab the differentiation.
Others potential Slate-Breakers to Consider
- Jalen Hurts ($6,400)
- Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,500)
- Mac Jones ($4,400)