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Week One DFS Dont’s: Kickers and D/ST

Week One DFS Dont's

After what seems like an eternity, week one is finally upon us. With a new season comes the opportunity to cash in on NFL daily fantasy. This week’s Sunday slate is full of great upside and terrible floors, depending on where you look. For now, let’s start by identifying the kickers and defenses on our week one DFS dont’s. So, welcome to the first installment of the season-long series, DFS dont’s.

Justin Tucker: FanDuel Price $5,000

week one DFS Dont's: kickers d/st
Justin Tucker’s production is likely to suffer with as the Ravens’ offense is injury stricken (Photo Courtesy of; Press Box Online).

What? How is one of the most consistent kickers in NFL history part of my week one DFS dont’s? I’m glad you asked. The following factors will keep Justin Tucker off all my DFS lineups this week: price, ownership percentage and the Ravens’ offense.

$5,000 is a lot to spend on a kicker. A difference of $500 or $300 may not seem like much. However, that means getting the chance to upgrade your second running back or third wide receiver. For example, a $300 difference means playing Terrelle Pryor instead of Randall Cobb. And, a $500 difference means playing Carlos Hyde over Eddie Lacy or Bilal Powell. I’d rather allocate resources at those positions as opposed to my kicker, even if his name is Justin Tucker.

Price aside, Tucker will no doubt be one of the more popular plays at the kicker position, and it makes sense. Tucker can score in the high teens and low 20’s any given week. I just don’t think it’s happening in week one.

If you’re trying to win a GPP, it would be smart to fade Tucker. That way, if he slightly underperforms, you won’t be suffering with the rest of the field who decided to pay up for a kicker. And, if he does over produce, those players will be counting on big games from marginal players at other positions.

The final reason Tucker is included in my week one DFS dont’s is the offense he’s tied to. The offensive outlook of the Ravens is bleak. They are riddled with injuries, including Joe Flaccco. And if Ryan Mallet has to play, he will plummet the value of every fantasy asset on this team, including Justin Tucker.

Not to mention, they start the year against the Bengals, who are intimately familiar with the Ravens’ offensive scheme. Overall, opportunities will not be there for Tucker. Sure, he could connect from 60 yards and two extra points, but I won’t take that risk with all of the offensive uncertainty in Baltimore.

Pittsburgh Steelers: FanDuel Price $4,800

Yes, I know the Steelers are playing the Cleveland Browns in week one. And yes, I know the Steelers’ defense scored 22 points last year when playing at Cleveland, however, this will not happen again. For one, this was the only game last year that Pittsburgh’s defense scored a defensive touchdown. Meaning, it was a total fluke. Also, they recorded eight sacks in that same game.

Cleveland has quietly assembled one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Joe Thomas anchors an offensive line that will look to protect their rookie quarterback by running the football. Thomas, combined with the acquisitions of JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler, will be an elite offensive line. Thus, Cleveland will limit interceptions and sack opportunities for the Pittsburgh defense.

There is also another factor to consider. Even a marginal fantasy football player knows how mediocre Ben Roethlisberger has been on the road in the past three seasons. This prolonged slump will allow Cleveland to stay committed to the run game. A steady dose of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. will keep the defense on the field and their pass rushers from causing problems.

Aside from perception not equating to reality, their price tag is too high. The Steelers are the third-most expensive defense on the Sunday slate behind Houston, a truly elite unit, and Carolina, who play the 49ers. There is no way I’m paying $4,800 for a mediocre defense, on the road, against a much improved Cleveland Browns team.

There are multiple defenses at the $4,600 price with better situations that I’ll be considering week one. For these reasons, the Steelers defense will absolutely underperform, thus claiming a spot on my week one DFS dont’s.

Buffalo Bills: FanDuel Price $4,700

Streaming average defenses against poor offenses is a popular season-long fantasy strategy. However, why should I choose a defense that isn’t good even though they are playing a bad offense? That’s why I love DFS. I don’t have to do anything I don’t feel 100 percent confident about. The Bills, like the Steelers, wind up on my week one DFS dont’s.

I understand that Bills are playing the Jets, however, the Bills are not a good defense. They are more attractive to me than Pittsburgh this week because of the slightly reduced price point and the fact that they are playing at home.

Last season, the Bills’ defense scored double digit points only four times. They also scored four points or less a staggering six times, including a negative four and a zero.

Their defensive coordinator, Leslie Frazier, and his 4-3 cover 2 scheme is archaic. This scheme is notorious for giving up big plays. Since 2013, as a defensive coordinator or head coach, his defenses never finished top ten in the following categories: points against, takeaways, rushing yards allowed, rushing touchdowns allowed, passing yards allowed and passing touchdowns allowed.

Even if the Bills force the Jets into passing the entire second half, they won’t be able to shut them down because of their scheme. Of course, they can score points from sacks, but Josh McCown is capable of making them pay in garbage time. Now, the Bills could dominate with their defensive line and score close to 20 points, but they are just as likely to score less than ten.


Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.


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