What’s going on gang?! What a time to be alive! #FootballSZN is finally here! I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been looking at this slate every day since it came out weeks ago. I am more than ready for Sunday and have a great read on what routes to go and where to fade. In these series of articles, I plan on filling you in on the obvious plays of the slate in where you need to have a lot of exposure in your cash game lineups. The main factors that play a role in deciding who are candidates are the overall opportunity, price, and defensive matchup.
Without further ado, let’s dig in!
James Conner ($5000) @ CLE
Yeah, you saw this coming…I know. This guy needs to be in 95% of your CASH GAME lineups so I won’t blame you if you skip this section, but if you want reasons why to play him continue reading.
As you all know, Le’Veon Bell is confirmed out for Week 1 and with that being said, all the touches that Bell had are going directly to James Conner as the new RB1 with Jaylen Samuel being the RB2. Just like DeAngelo Williams two seasons ago, the situation that Conner enters in Week 1 could not have better. While obviously not built like Le’Veon Bell, Conner still grades out as a solid replacement. Reports came out this year saying this offseason Conner lost a lot of weight and has been studying the game while getting faster and faster on the field. This man is on a mission. On Sunday, it’s his time. Behind Pro Football Focus’s 3rd ranked Offensive Line in the NFL featuring Right Guard David Decastro (89.0 Grade), James Conner will have a lot of breathing room to find holes and run down the field. The Brown actually have an above average rushing defense with Myles Garrett and Joe Schobert and an entirely new roster, but ultimately the O-Line will do its job in negating them. Sure he’s not Le’Veon Bell, but he doesn’t need to be! I have absolute faith James Conner does his job this week, and with FanDuel not updating his price, you need to smash him in all of your CASH GAME lineups and move on. It’s that simple.
Rob Gronkowski ($7,900) vs HOU
Coming in as the highest priced TE on the slate, Rob Gronkowski sees himself in a favorable matchup Week 1. If you haven’t found out already, Brady’s favorite target, Julian Edelman will be suspended for four weeks. To add on to that, Brandin Cooks is now on the Rams. Everyone is talking about Chris Hogan who is now the WR1, but the guy who I frankly have not seen get any love lately is Rob Gronkowski.
The Houston Texans ranked 30th DVOA last season in passing defense and while they are trending upwards with a healthy CB Tyrann Mathieu (who I happen to love this season) now back on the team, at the end, when you are going up against the ageless wonder that is Tom Brady, that won’t cut it. This looks to be a high scoring game just like last season and with Deshawn Watson back and healthy, hopefully, this game turns into a competitive one too! Yes, I am aware that the crowded backfield featuring White, Burkhead, and Michel will certainly be involved when the Patriots are in the end zone, but ultimately, expect Brady to feed Gronkowski at least 7-13 targets this game with him being the focal point over the others. What backs this up is that the Texans allowed the 4th most points to opposing TE’s and that trend continues on Sunday. Strategy-wise, this one is a no brainer especially with the savings you get from rostering James Conner. Lock with confidence knowing that you have a difference maker slotted in the TE spot for Week 1.
– Fanduel Bomb