We've made it. The offseason is over, and real football is back. IT'S BACK! That means we have daily fantasy to play...in addition to our regular fantasy games, of course. The week 1 value picks are here to start the season off the right way - winning money! I'll use prices from FanDuel and DraftKings, but these guys should be valuable anywhere!
Chad Henne, JAC ($5,200 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel) - Henne isn't normally a sexy pick. I wouldn't trust him week-by-week. But, this week he plays the Eagles - one of the worst pass defenses in the league last year. With Philly's offense scoring so quickly, their defense is usually on the field for most of the game. They'll get tired, and Henne will be able to throw for at least two TDs as your week 1 value pick at QB.
Carson Palmer makes a great week 1 value pick at QB.
Carson Palmer, ARI ($7,500; $6,900) - The repeated raves over Michael Floyd and John Brown give me loads of hope that Palmer will surpass his stats from last year, even without a stud tight end. Now that Ellington has the starting RB spot, teams won't be able to focus on the pass against Arizona either. Keep in mind that the Cardinals defense is a shell of what it was last year - the offense will have to score a lot more to keep them in games.
Pierre Thomas, NO ($5,000; $6,600) - Both FanDuel (a full point) and DraftKings (0.5 points) assign values to receptions, making backs that can catch worth so much more than those who don't. Thomas will be the primary receiving back in New Orleans, and can also run between the tackles as we saw last year. The Falcons' defense is still porous, so watch for Thomas to take draws up the middle all day.
Toby Gerhart, JAC ($5,600; $6,100) - See above reasoning for Henne. The Eagles defense was that bad last year, and didn't do all that much this offseason to improve. You're not looking at Gerhart to be your first running back option, but in a team where you've selected high-priced receivers, Gerhart is your ticket to at least one TD - regardless of run or receiving. He's the unquestioned back in Jacksonville, and will get a LOT of burn.
Julian Edelman, NE ($5,300; $6,300) - Edelman was Tom Brady's safety valve last year, catching 105 passes. As mentioned, the PPR value in DFS leagues makes guys like Edelman worthwhile, even if they don't score. Sneaky fast on the inside, Edelman is always a candidate for 7+ catches and 60+ yards.
Marques Colston, NE ($5,900; $5,700) - Colston is the number one receiver on a team that consistently ranks near the top of the league in passing. Now healthy, Colston should provide another large red zone target to Brees. He doesn't get all the publicity that Jimmy Graham gets, but Colston produces. He also loves to score TDs when in Atlanta - including each of the past three years. Ride his wave and use him as a week 1 value pick that will look nice alongside Demeriyus or Calvin.
Emmanuel Sanders, DEN ($4,800; $6,400) - I know, I know - not exactly a surprise here! Welker is out this week, so Sanders' fantasy value skyrockets. However, these prices don't reflect that. Sanders is worth so much more, so use him while he's still a strong value.
Jared Cook, STL ($3,500; $5,700) - A popular saying is "tight ends are a rookie QB's best friend." Well, Shaun Hill isn't a rookie QB, but he might as well be. This is his first year with the Rams, and he didn't attempt a pass at all last year. Cook could be his safety valve, especially with the Vikings' linebackers being sub-par.
These picks are not meant to be started every week - they are meant to provide you with options at the positions in which you need to fill but are strapped for cash because you splurged elsewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if any of these guys finish top 10 at their respective positions, and for less than top 10 prices!