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Fantasy football: Best bargains in Week 1

It’s Week 1 of the regular season and I’m in four different fantasy football leagues: please, help me. But also, let me help you.

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I need help.

This past holiday weekend, I spent over five hours participating in two different fantasy football drafts: one a redraft league with my family and a second league of the keeper variety with friends. It doesn’t seem too outrageous, but when I tell you that I spent another three and a half hours on Tuesday night drafting two more teams — which happened simultaneously — I started to think of what my Sundays are going to feel like. As I started to think, I started to write, but first I checked out the latest batch of images in our Getty database.

Here’s Richard Sherman, doing some publicity for the latest annual offering in the Call of Duty franchise. This installment is titled Call of Duty: Infinite and I’m sure the game is groundbreaking in its ability to frustrate any casual player of the game. A popular map in the franchise’s history is called "Nuketown," a slice of the usual 1950’s suburbia in America on the brink of nuclear warfare, and I’m sure the map will make its return to a Mountain Dew-splattered television near you this fall. When I saw the photo above though, it spoke to me. "Welcome to Nuketown, Ryan. Population: you." You see, I feel as though I’m on the brink of a complete fantasy football disaster of nuclear proportions and there’s nothing I can do about it. At any given week during this season, I’ll have to monitor the statuses and situations for as many as 65 players. 65 players spread out across four leagues. If I was a betting man, two of them would be for cash prizes, but one of them is for Pride, and the other one is to accomplish what Alex Reno couldn’t get done a year ago. It’s disgusting. I’m disgusted with myself and my priorities. Or is it lack of priorities?

But you know what, screw it. It’s football season. Football is back. Let’s get it.

Yeah, that’s the stuff.

Here are my daily fantasy sports (DFS) picks for the NFL in Week 1. Drop the bomb on ‘em.

QB - Matthew Stafford at $7,400

The Colts defense is banged up. No, like really banged up.

No Vontae Davis and no pass rush means the Colts defense is going to be pretty vulnerable. And with the Lions defense full of its own set of question marks on the back end, this one could be shaping up to be an absolute shootout, and Vegas agrees: the over/under is set at 50. Stafford is $1,300 cheaper than Andrew Luck and Drew Brees, and $1,100 cheaper than Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger, all quarterbacks who I expect Stafford to produce similarly to or even outperform in Week 1.

RB - Lamar Miller at $7,600

While I wasn’t a huge fan of this move in the offseason, I went back, raked over the offerings of and realized how much of a maroon Joe Philbin was during his time in Miami. Miller passed the eye test this preseason and for a Houston offense that ran the ball a lot in 2015, Bill O’Brien has the healthiest — and most talented — running back since he took over in 2014. Against a Bears’ defense that hasn’t done a ton to upgrade its defense and is missing its best player in Pernell McPhee for the first six weeks of the season, this matchup for Miller has all the makings of being a big day for him.

RB - Ezekiel Elliott at $7,900

Just throw all caution to the wind and give in already: let Zeke run. He’s playing a Giants team that finished 21st in run defense DVOA last year and added free agents who don’t particularly help make that part of their defense any better. The Cowboys are starting a fourth-round rookie quarterback in Dak Prescott and, even after putting on a show in every preseason game, it should be Elliott, the other rookie in the backfield, that the team uses to take pressure off of its quarterback. Both Miller and Elliott are priced as tier-2 players, but their matchups and the value you can find at other positions make them great bargains in Week 1.

WR - Marvin Jones Jr. at $5,500

The Lions newest addition in the team’s never-ending search for a Calvin Johnson replacement receiving corps is an interesting start this week, especially if you choose to start Matthew Stafford alongside him. As mentioned earlier, the Colts’ secondary is all kinds of banged up, and I’m not sure if the Colts have the depth at secondary to step up and limit the production of Jones, who seems to have already developed some strong chemistry and good timing with Stafford. He’s cheaper than at least three rookies — Laquon Treadwell, Will Fuller and Sterling Shepard — who don’t figure to see even close to the amount of targets as Jones will this early in the season.

WR - Kevin White at $6,000

The Bears aren’t going to be a very good team this year. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that #WeOwnTheBears.

While the Bears will be struggling to keep opponents from scoring on them, the offense will be spending a ton of time trying to play catchup. When that happens, Jay Cutler will be throwing the ball at least 40 times each and every week and who better to get 10-12 targets than their first-round pick who didn’t get a chance to play at all last year and is lining up opposite of Alshon Jeffery? Kevin White is an extremely talented receiver and by all accounts he’s healthy and ready for the 2016 season after getting some time to play in the preseason.

WR - Doug Baldwin at $6,700

"I’m not sure if there’s a better receiver in the entire league heading into 2016"

- Alex Reno, probably

Baldwin’s matchup in Week 1 is against the Miami Dolphins. Their number one cornerback is Byron Maxwell, a player who hasn’t been able to be worth playing on defense since he left Seattle. The corner on the opposite side of Maxwell is Tony Lippett, a player who Alex Reno and every Michigan State Spartans fan should recognize... as a wide receiver who was converted from cornerback after his freshman season.

TE - Zach Ertz at $5,700

I had this to say about Ertz in my tight end rankings in early August:

Outside of being grossly under-utilized in the most important area of scoring for tight ends, Ertz was relatively productive in 2015. He had 75 receptions for 853 yards, both totals that ranked him in the top seven among tight ends, but his 6.4 FPts/G placed him at 15th among tight ends, behind the likes of Crockett Gillmore. Bottom line, expect the touchdown total to increase and expect more from Ertz in 2016.

During the preseason, Ertz totaled a team-high 11 receptions for 75 yards and looks like he’s going to be an even more integral part of the Eagles’ passing offense this season.

K - Matt Prater at $4,600

The Lions should score a ton of points and the Colts play in a dome. Prater’s pretty cheap, too.

DEF - Minnesota Vikings at $4,600

Sam Bradford doesn’t play on defense, so that has to count for something in some way shape or form, right? Harrison Smith might be the best safety in football by year’s end and Anthony Barr not making it to the Lions draft slot in 2014 is one of the most crushing moments of my football draft watching life.

I like the Vikings defense against a Titans offense that doesn’t have much of an identity.

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