NFL Week 1 FanDuel Sunday Million Lineup Strategy
With our week 1 DraftKings Millionaire Maker picks out, we turn our attention to the FanDuel Sunday Million. If you have yet to do so, subscribe to receive an update on these picks in the days leading up to week one. As a bonus, we will send out our single-game lineups and favorite prop bets for the Thursday Night Cowboys-Buccaneers game.
While we remain high on our Hurts/Goedart stack (which we featured in our week one DraftKings article), we wanted to feature a different lineup here. We also wanted to highlight some value plays that could pay out for week one, so be sure to check those under our picks.
New players can enter the week one Sunday Million free with our current FanDuel bonus offer. This offer typically only lasts through week one each year, so grab it before it’s gone.
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QB – Kyler Murray – $8,400
If we go back to our list of million dollar winning lineups from 2020, there are essentially two groups that quarterbacks fell into stud QB’s in favorable matchups or bargain QB’s in favorable matchups. In fact, you can count on one hand the number of non-top tier QB’s that were in a millionaire-maker lineup: Jalen Hurts, Derek Carr (twice), Taysom Hill, and Drew Lock.
Looking at this week one slate, Kyler Murray is clearly the stud QB in an A+ matchup. The Titans were atrocious defensively last season and did little to right the ship heading into 2021. We think Caleb Farley is going to be elite (assuming he can stay healthy) but we saw what happens if you expect too much from a rookie corner with Jeff Okudah last season.
Tennessee gave up the third-most fantasy PPG to opposing QB’s last season. While we aren’t nearly as high on Murray as the rest of the fantasy industry, particularly if he isn’t going to run as often, if you are looking for that stud QB with 4x upside in week one, Murray is your best bet.
RB – Alvin Kamara – $8,600
Kamara shredded the Packers in 2020 and will clearly be the focal point of the Saints offense when the two teams meet up here in week one. The Packers have the NFL’s worst set of linebackers and it showed in week three of last season when Kamara caught 13 of 14 targets for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns.
With no Michael Thomas for week one, the passing game is going to have to go through Kamara again here. He should reach 2x+ value through the air and anything he gives you on the ground is just icing on the cake.
RB – Joe Mixon – $7,200
If he can stay healthy, Joe Mixon is in line for a career year in 2021. That is a big if, but the beautiful thing about DFS is that we only need him to stay healthy for week one.
The other big question facing Mixon is if his offensive line can open up any sort of running lanes. Looking at the way this line is constructed, the strength should be the run game. The projected starting interior trio of Swain, Hopkins, and Jordan all are considerably better run blockers than pass blockers, and the offseason addition of Riley Reif is a considerable upgrade at right tackle.
With Gio Bernard gone, the Bengals plan to use Mixon as a true 3-down running back, which is scary considering he came into the league a polished pass catcher and has been extremely efficient in his limited targets.
Mixon’s week one matchup with the Vikings should be one of his best all season. Minnesota was 27th in the NFL in FPPG allowed to opposing running backs, giving up 27 per game. In his only favorable matchup of 2021 (6 game sample size) Mixon crushed the Jags for 181 yards and three touchdowns.
WR – Calvin Ridley – $8,100
In his first game as Atlanta’s clear number one WR, Ridley draws a clear plus matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly gave up the 8th most FPPG to opposing WR’s last season, and while they should improve under Jonathan Gannon, the first game in a new scheme is always tough.
As we have already mentioned, we think Philly is going to put up plenty of points on Atlanta, who on paper have the league’s worst defense. If the Falcons are forced to play from behind it could be a 15+ target game for Ridley in week one.
While a stack of Murray/Hopkins was tempting, we weren’t willing to force it here. At $8,200 on FanDuel, Hopkins only cleared the 3x total once last season and it was by .5 points. Ridley cleared 3x for his salary three times despite sharing the #1 WR role with Julio Jones for 9 weeks.
WR – Laviska Shenault Jr – $5,600
Shenault is poised for a second-year breakout and is one of our favorite sleepers for the 2021 NFL season. Shenault has been the clear standout player for the Jags throughout camp and draws a dream matchup with the Houston Texans in week one. The fact that he operates in the slot in this offense is a massive benefit, as Urban Meyer is unlikely to ask Lawrence to hold onto the ball for too long behind that weak Jags offensive line.
It is important to remember with Shenault that, despite this being a crowded receiver corps, none of the players on this depth chart have his pedigree. He was highly productive in college, and before injuries hampered him in his final season in Boulder, he was considered a top-10 pick.
WR – A.J. Green – $5,400
As we mentioned in our Ridley breakdown, we just could not pull the trigger on Hopkins here. Given Green is a lock as the #2 WR in this offense, it makes sense to target him at this relatively cheap number.
Reports out of Cardinals camp have Green looking like his old self, which may be a stretch, but he is still only two seasons removed from being an elite fantasy WR. Green finished in the top 10 in FPPG at the position nearly every year prior to the arrival of Zac Taylor in Cincinnati.
TE – Dallas Goedert – $5,900
The Falcons have massive issues at safety heading into the 2021 season… arguably the worst set of starting safeties we have ever seen coming into the start of a season. Look for Goedert to feast on the Falcons here in week one.
Despite not moving Ertz this offseason, the Eagles are reportedly committed to not only using Goedert as their TE1 but making him the focal point in Nick Sirianni’s offense. Given Atlanta gave up the fifth most FPPG to the position last season and may have gotten worse this offseason, we are willing to take the bait and roll the dice on Goedert here in week one.
Flex – Raheem Mostert – $6,100
Mostert made our DraftKings article as well and is close to a lock as you will find on this slate. While we are convinced Detroit’s secondary will look considerably better in 2021, the run defense feels like it may have taken a step backward.
Jahlani Tavai is expected to take over as MLB and he is a better pass rusher than run stuffer. They also through a ton of draft capital at defensive tackle, but don’t have one proven starter at the position.
For as long as he can stay upright, which may only be week one, Mostert is going to be the workhorse in this 49ers offense. He is the perfect fit for Shannahan’s scheme and is one of the best home run hitting backs in the league. Running behind one of the best offensive lines in football, Mostert could reach 3x value on single-digit touches in week one. If his usage ends up being what we expect it to be, he could be a 6x flex play.
Top Week 1 Bargain Plays for the FanDuel Sunday Million
As promised, we wanted to add a bonus list of value players worth a look in your week one lineups. 11 of the first 12 Millionaire Maker lineups had at least two players under $5,000 and over half had three. Hitting big on cheap players is a must in these GPP contests and these are our five favorite players we failed to mention in this article:
Damien Harris – The Dolphins defense may be trending in the right direction but did still allow 4.5 YPC last season. The Patriots enter 2021 with PFF’s third-highest rated offensive line and Harris will be the bell cow running behind those pigs. Harris only played in 10 games last season and 5 of them came against top 10 run defenses. He gives you virtually nothing as a pass-catcher but could put up some huge numbers with zero competition for early-down work.
Mecole Hardman – Like Hopkins, both Kelce and Hill are consistent fantasy options that rarely reach value on DFS. If you are looking to stack Mahomes for week one (not a bad idea, he was in 4 Millionaire Maker lineups last season) Hardman may be your best bet. The Browns loaded up in the secondary this offseason, but it can be impossible to deal with speed like Hardman’s when Mahomes improvises. One big play could make your day with Hardman.
Elijah Moore – If there were two players we were adamant about buying the hype on heading into the 2021 NFL Draft it was Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore, and the Jets got them both. The only concern with both guys is whether or not their frames can stand up to a full NFL season, but again… DFS. It may be too late if you try to wait a week on Moore. He’s been the Jets’ best player throughout camp and could torch that young Panthers secondary.
Keke Coutee – Coutee is another guy that made our DraftKings article but is worth a look on FanDuel as well. While he is slightly more attractive in PPR formats, we think he could see enough volume to be viable in half-point PPR as well. Taylor is not going to push the ball downfield to Nico Collins, never in his career has that been a strength. Knowing Tim Kelly loves to feature the slot in his play calling, and Taylor loves to throw short passes, Coutee could be busy in week 1. Particularly with Anthony Miller out and the likelihood that Houston is down big early here.
Adam Trautman – We know this is a bit obvious, but Trautman is clearly the value tight end worth targeting on FanDuel for week one. Like Kamara, he will benefit from Green Bay’s lack of talent at linebacker, and, like Kamara, his workload should benefit from Michael Thomas being out for week one. His ownership should be quite high, making him slightly less attractive, but if you are trying to save and target a value tight end, we think he is your best bet.
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Chris Lollis is the founder and senior editor at Hello Rookie. He has over a decade of experience in the sports betting industry and has covered everything from the PASPA repeal to every state launch since. Chris currently contributes guides, reviews, and betting tips at Hello Rookie.