The Afternoon Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s main NFL slate. This week there are three games in the 4:05 PM ET afternoon-only slate.
Russell Wilson: $6,900 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel
There are only six quarterbacks on the afternoon-only slate, but none of them are set up with a matchup as supreme as Wilson’s (per our NFL Matchups Dashboard). The Packers were one of the worst teams against the pass last year, allowing 4,308 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, and 7.1 net yards per attempt, all of which were bottom-three marks among NFL teams. The Seahawks struggled to protect Wilson last season as their offensive line allowed a 6.9 percent adjusted sack rate (Football Outsiders), which was the seventh-worst mark in the league. Fortunately, for Wilson, he boasted the second-best quarterback rating when pressured last season (Pro Football Focus). Only two defenses on this slate allowed a positive Opponent Plus/Minus to quarterbacks last year, one of them being the Packers, who allowed a slate-high +5.4 points above salary-based expectations on DraftKings.
For more on Wilson, see our Week 1 quarterback breakdown.
Jared Goff: $4,800 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel
DraftKings implemented new salary floors for quarterbacks and now Goff costs $4800 with a 93 percent Bargain Rating. Goff was 36th in efficiency last year and has the slate’s lowest ceiling projection, but his low DraftKings price will allow you to roster almost anyone you want at the other skill positions. He’s a home favorite against a Colts defense that ranked 26th against the pass last year in FO’s Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) and will be without No. 1 cornerback Vontae Davis. The upgrades at wide receiver with the new acquisitions of Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods also help his case. On a three-game slate, you have to think the majority of the ownership will revolve around Wilson, Cam Newton, and Aaron Rodgers. (Ownership projections can be found in our Models, and ownership can be reviewed after lineup lock in our DFS Ownership Dashboard.)
Given that these three quarterbacks are priced within $200 of each other on DraftKings, people’s rosters will have a similar build. Opting to roster Goff will give you a unique roster relative to the field.
Todd Gurley: $6,000 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel
Last season the Rams had Benny Cunningham on the roster to handle passing downs. When he left via free agency they signed Lance Dunbar, who is opening the season on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, which leaves Gurley to step in as a three-down back. Gurley played the fourth-most snaps among running backs last season, ranking 14th in targets. It’s a prime spot for Gurley, as the Colts defense ranked 32nd in rush DVOA last year and the Rams are at home as four-point favorites (per our Vegas Dashboard).
Carlos Hyde: $4,600 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel
It’s isn’t ideal to roster a running back who’s an underdog, but historically Hyde has averaged 15.75 DraftKings points per game points per game (PPG) and a +5.6 Plus/Minus as a home underdog (per our Trends tool). The matchup isn’t ideal against a Panthers defense that ranked ninth in rush DVOA last season, but Hyde is a cheap source of running back touches on DraftKings, where he has a 90 percent Bargain Rating. He’s the top-ranked back in some of our Models.
Jordy Nelson: $7,600 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel
There are few receivers in the afternoon-only slate with Nelson’s upside. He doesn’t have the easiest matchup against Seattle’s stout defense, but he has the volume we crave. Nelson led the Packers with 25 percent target share and 35 percent of the Packers’ air yards last year. Let’s not forget his dominance from in close as he led the NFL in targets (15) and touchdowns (nine) from inside the 10-yard line. The Packers are implied for the highest total on the slate at 27 points, and he has a Bargain Rating of 94 percent on FanDuel.
Kelvin Benjamin: $5,900 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel
With Ted Ginn and Corey Brown out of town, there’s 28 percent target share that’s missing from last year’s team, and Benjamin has a chance to capture some of it. The 6’5″/245-lb. receiver is three inches taller and 45 pounds heavier than the 49ers’ biggest cornerback. The 49ers defense is vulnerable through the air, ranking 28th in pass DVOA last year and allowing the sixth-most fantasy PPG to wide receivers. Benjamin is projected to score +2.2 points above his salary-based expectations on FanDuel.
Greg Olsen: $6,200 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel
On a slate with limited high-priced options, it’s not difficult to pay up for Olsen or Jimmy Graham (see below.) Along with being inept at defending wide receivers last season, the 49ers also had difficulty defending tight ends as they allowed 7.7 targets and 55.3 yards per game, ranking 27th against the position in pass DVOA. The Panthers are implied for 26.5 points, and since 2014 Olsen has averaged a +3.68 DraftKings Plus/Minus in the 14 games in which the Panthers have been implied for 24-27 points.
Jimmy Graham: $5,100 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel
Normally, there would be a value tight end listed here, but that’s not necessary with the pricing dynamics of this slate. The highest-priced running back on this slate is $6,000 (Gurley) on DraftKings and just $7,300 (Gurley) on FanDuel. Graham arguably boasts the most upside among tight ends in the afternoon-only games. With a team-high 25.5 percent red-zone target share last season, Graham has the potential for a two-touchdown outing in any given week. He currently has the highest projected ceiling on FanDuel at 17.3 points along with a 96 percent Bargain Rating.
Be sure to visit our suite of Tools to research all of the slates for yourself.
Good luck this week!
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