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NFL Salary Exploitation is a weekly piece based around finding the best and most egregious value-based plays from site-to-site. We'll be taking a look at DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo!, deciphering where to look for the best values on a position-by-position basis. Some weeks will be more cash game plays and other will be more tournament based, it's simply how the sites adjust to injuries, news and other related materials that can shift snaps, match-ups and other research reliant variables.


PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Aaron RodgersSEA$7,000$8,300$36
Carson Palmer@DET$6,000$7,300$31
Cam Newton@SF$7,100$7,900$32

Salaries tend to be on the softer side of things for Week 1, and we sort of see that when looking at players again this year. A lot of that is baked into either early releasing of pricing, being a matchup based algorithm, or simply just making it easier for new players to build lineups. Aaron Rodgers on FanDuel is a perfect example of being underpriced, even in a matchup against Seattle. This game currently features the third highest Over/Under on the slate (49.5), and Green Bay are three point favorites. The Packers have a 26.3 implied team total, good for fifth best of this week. Seattle always poses a threat to the eye for staying away from opposing offenses, but Green Bay is a bit different given they have one of the best quarterbacks in the league. I don't want to hear your Tom Brady "Goat" takes so, I am just going to lump them together. Seattle ranked 13th in DVOA vs. the pass, but also were excellent at limiting fantasy production by opposing quarterbacks. Rodgers has put up 21.2 and 22.3 FanDuel Point games against Seattle in the last two regular season contests, and hasn't thrown an interception. $8,300 on FanDuel is too cheap, and he should be a $9,000 quarterback sometime in the near future. On DraftKings he is appropriately priced, but doesn't offer up the same points per dollar return over on FanDuel, or even Yahoo.

Our eyes usually light up when we see cheaper quarterbacks. It allows us to spend up on those bell cow backs, or play two premium wide receivers. The Cardinals head to Detroit, and currently are lacking the implied team total as some of the other teams (23.5). David Johnson is going to be the premium option most weeks, but a contrarian way to go here is to look at the passing game, especially given Johnson is such a big factor here. Detroit ranked dead last in DVOA vs. the pass last season, and allowed the second most fantasy points per game. With early pricing having some of the top tier quarterbacks priced down a bit, it is tougher to justify using cheap quarterbacks. If this was mid-season, it might be a different story. Carson Palmer is only $5 cheaper on Yahoo, and $1,000 cheaper on the other two sites. I like Palmer as a contrarian option this week, even on the road. I rather go this route in tournaments, pairing him with a Larry Fitzgerald and/or Johnson. Detroit ranked 29th in defending running backs in the pass, allowing 46.8 receiving yards per game.

If you were truly looking to punt at quarterback, Brian Hoyer is $5,100 on DraftKings, $6,400 on FanDuel, and $23 on Yahoo. Hoyer is unlike a lot of these arms around him, and by that I mean he has fantasy relevance. Carolina's defense should improve a bit this year, but teams traveling cross country do tend to struggle as well. Carson Wentz is $5,300 and DeShone Kizer is only $4,800.

Cam Newton slipped in 2016, and there are a lot of question marks heading into this season as well. Will Newton run less? Will the receivers be enough for Newton? On DraftKings he is more expensive than Rodgers, and is closely priced on the other two sites. Newton bas been a hot topic this off season, both good and bad. His volatile game will be off to some, but the upside is still there. The fact that he is priced up to other quarterbacks who have more consistent floors gives him a chance to get a bit overlooked. The Panthers have the fourth highest implied total (28) on the slate, and San Francisco ranks 28th against the pass. The 49ers are in the midst of changing things up, but still will be a team to target. Newton's best game came against San Francisco in Week 2 last year, and is always a rushing touchdown away from separating himself from the field.

Running Backs

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Darren McFaddenNYG$6,100$5,800$22
Jacquizz Rodgers@MIA$4,900$6,700$21
Carlos HydeCAR$4,600$6,800$24

With the Ezekiel Elliot suspension, Darren McFadden was clearly going to be a talking point throughout the first few weeks of the season. His pricing is a talking point for me. $5,800 on FanDuel is a much better price than the $6,100 on DraftKings. I am against just clicking in McFadden on FanDuel and calling it a day. Back in 2015 he had his best season of his career, rushing behind arguably the best line in the NFL. He had a 4.6 yards per carry, and rushed for over 1,000 yards. The issue came with not scoring touchdowns (3). Dallas' line has taken a step back but is certainly still above average. New York was a damn good defense last season, and while we raved about their pass defense, they ranked second in DVOA against the run. They allowed the fifth fewest fantasy points per game, and ranked third against running backs in the passing game. The $6,100 on DraftKings is steep, and somewhere I don't plan on going for Week 1. Dallas has an implied total of 25, and are small favorites. I am not quite buying that, even at home. On FanDuel and Yahoo, McFadden can have more of a case made, but I am still not just taking McFadden freely with the more lenient pricing over there.

Note: There have been rumors of a possible Ezekiel Elliot return for Week 1, which would negate Darren McFadden being a play, but is highly unlikely

Here is where things start to swap. Jacquizz Rodgers has a better points per dollar return over on DraftKings, especially if the workload is going to be similar. On FanDuel, there is a $1,000 price tag difference, but he is still viable if you are making a cheap pivot away. We can take a look at last season where Doug Martin missed seven games, and Rodgers averaged 17 rushing attempts per game, and 71 rushing yards. Rodgers isn't a big receiving back, as Charles Sims will take that role, but had two receiving targets per game. Miami ranked 22nd in DVOA against the run, giving Rodgers a much better matchup, but the only thing that lacks is being the road team, although Tampa are still small favorites.

We have seen rumors of Carlos Hyde being cut, to him looking awesome, to him being overtaken by a few rookies behind him. At this point, I am blocking out that noise and looking at Hyde to be a full workload back for Week 1. I love his price tags across all three sites, but more so on DraftKings. Hyde made best of a bad offense last season, and rushed for 76 yards per game with nine total touchdowns. Out of the Week 1 running backs on the Main Slate, Hyde ranks top ten in DK points per game (15.5), yet he is priced outside of the first 20 running backs. Carolina is a middle of the road matchup for Hyde, and the uncertainty of Hyde's status with San Francisco makes him a boom-or-bust option for Week 1.

A few other prices that caught my eye were Jay Ajayi ($27) on Yahoo this week. He is the tenth most expensive running back, and is around guys like Lamar Miller and Leonard Fournette. Todd Gurley and Dalvin Cook are also just $21 on Yahoo this week.

Wide Receivers

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Zay JonesNYJ$3,500$5,100$12
DeVante ParkerTB$5,300$6,300$14
DeAndre HopkinsJAX$5,900$7,100$18

Buffalo is in the midst of a fire sale, and are stocking option picks for the future. Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy could very well be off next, as we have seen Sammy Watkins depart already. Buffalo quickly saw Anquan Boldin disappear, and Jordan Matthews was brought in as a replacement for Watkins. Zay Jones was drafted in the second round out of Eastern Carolina, and is a versatile receiver that can make a year one impact. New York was a team that was decimated through the air last season, ranking bottom ten against WR1 and WR2. They ranked 31st in general against the pass. Buffalo has a 24.3 implied total at home, and are touchdown favorites against this year's candidate team to not win a game. Jones is an interesting PPR play on DraftKings, sitting at just $3,500. The $12 on Yahoo is also appealing. Jones is a decent dart throw in those stars and scrubs type lineups, even with Buffalo being such a run heavy team.

Robby Anderson being $3,800 on DraftKings and $5,200 on FanDuel is certainly worth a look as a dart throw. FanDuel has a few underpriced big name wideouts going this week Jordy Nelson is underpriced on FanDuel ($7,700), and is part of a duo with Rodgers that will be more expensive in the future. Larry Fitzgerald is another at $6,400. Terrelle Pryor at $6,200, and his teammate Jamison Crowder at $6,500 standout as cheap options, and also pairing partners with Kirk Cousins.

Jay Cutler has given a ton of praise to DeVante Parker since arriving in Miami, calling him a faster Alshon Jeffery, and showing off his gunslinging arm on a few balls to Parker. Ryan Tannehill's dink and dunk nature sort of capped Parker's true week-to-week upside, while Cutler's arrival blows that wide open. Cutler's "DGAF" attitude also ensures Parker to show off his ability to go up and get it, which he can do with the best of him. Hindered by injuries early on, this could possibly be a breakout year for Parker. Tampa Bay allowed the 12th most fantasy points per game to opposing WR last season, and were middle of the road against WR2s. The Parker price tags are down across the industry, and are worth taking shots on for Week 1.

The Houston situation is no bueno, as DeShaun Watson continues to struggle early on in preseason. We are likely going to see Tom Savage start as the season opener, who made three appearances last season. Even with Brock Osweiler being gone, the QB situation remains a disaster. Jacksonville has an up-and-coming defense, and will be a team I do shy away from in average spots, but I am sucked into the price tag of DeAndre Hopkins who will still see plenty of targets. Jacksonville ranked 15th in DVOA against WR1s last season, but I do expect an improvement. Hopkins had 30 targets between two games against Jacksonville last season, posting an 8-87-0 line, and a 5-48-0 line. Neither were too thrilling, but 16.7 DK points in the second matchup is solid at $5,900.

Tight Ends

PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Zach Ertz@WAS$3,500$5,900$18
Austin HooperCHI$3,000$4,700$11

Philadelphia bringing in Alshon Jeffery over the offseason was a big haul, if he can stay healthy. Having him alongside Jordan Matthews, with Darren Sproles, and the occasional Torrey Smith in there had me rethinking Zach Ertz's targets. The loss of Matthews to Buffalo opens the door again for Ertz to have a prominent role in this offense. Ertz was tremendous over the second half of 2016, and has caught 78 and 75 passes over the last two seasons. Touchdown upside has been limited, but when you put him at $3,500 on DraftKings, it is a different story. Ertz isn't dependent on a touchdown, as FanDuel I want a little bit more out of him for $5,900. The Redskins allowed the 12th most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends last season, which was around teams like Oakland and Cincinnati, two popular teams to stream tight ends against. Ertz is severely underpriced, and this should be a competitive game with points on the board.

Tight ends in Atlanta haven't been relevant since Tony Gonzalez played here. That might change this year with Austin Hooper, who is a solid receiving tight end out of Stanford. Hooper is a second year tight end, who only caught more than three passes once last season. Chicago ranked 28th in DVOA against tight ends last season, but didn't face a ton of threats in their schedule to produce fantasy points. If you are looking to spend down at the tight end position on FanDuel, $4,700 is not bad for Hooper. While Atlanta's offense is due for regression, as I am so sure you've heard about already, but they come in with the highest implied team total of Week 1 (29).


PlayerOpponentDraftKings SalaryFanDuel SalaryYahoo! Salary
Los Angeles RamsColts$3,200$4,600$16
Jacksonville Jaguars@Texans$3,700$4,100$12

Indianapolis has head a dreadful start to the season already, and it hasn't even started. Andrew Luck is doubtful for Week 1, and their starting center, Ryan Kelly, will be out for the first few weeks of the year. Los Angeles should come in as a popular defense in Week 1, due to matchup, as well their prices. Wade Phillips has doctored up some good defenses, and now as defensive Coordinator in Los Angeles, they should be a sneaky defense this season, especially when at home. With Scott Tolzien starting at quarterback, this Colts team is in trouble. Rams offer up a few dollars for saving when comparing them to Buffalo and Houston.

Jacksonville's defense is underrated this season, and have a ton of talent. The problem is they are lacking a competent quarterback. Lots of three and outs and turnovers can take a knock against defenses, while the general public just believes they are bad. Now the DraftKings algorithm thinks highly of Jacksonville in Week 1, while Yahoo and FanDuel have them near the bottom of the barrel. There is a ton of talent on this defense, and the offseason moves took it another step further adding Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye.

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