Week 1 NFL DFS Impact Rookies
It seems fitting that the season will open with the rookie that projects to make the biggest fantasy impact this year in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs drafted CEH with the 32nd pick in anticipation of pairing him with Damien Williams but the latter opted out of the season. That leaves CEH as RB1 on the Chiefs depth chart followed by Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson.
There is certainly plenty of hype surrounding CEH. Not only is CEH a strong runner but he’s an excellent pass-catcher as well and will immediately be a key cog in the league’s top offense. Opportunity alone makes CEH the most coveted fantasy rookie and his tremendous skill-set makes the sky the limit. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to play CEH in your main slate lineups but he’s projected to garner plenty of ownership in Showdown and Thur-Mon contests.
The seas are parting for third-round draft pick Antonio Gibson in what was originally thought to be a crowded Washington backfield. Derrius Guice was released in early August following a domestic violence-related arrest and veteran Adrian Peterson was released just last week. That leaves the Washington Football team with a four-man backfield of Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber, and Bryce Love. Notably, Washington’s first depth chart does list McKissic as the team’s starter but many initial depth charts are meaningless and put out by the PR team.
Gibson’s actual role with the team is unknown and the lack of pre-season games makes it difficult to accurately speculate his involvement. However, the following quote from Adrian Peterson after he was released has me possibly over-optimistic that Gibson could be THE guy in Washington: “This system really fits him [Gibson]…they really want one main guy to do it and they drafted Gibson for it.”
Needless to say, Gibson’s range out outcomes for both the season and Week 1 are extremely wide. Since the site’s released Week 1 pricing well before Gibson figured to have a role in Washington’s offense, he is at or near the minimum price on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Gibson’s low price tag helps mitigate some of the risk associated with his wide range of outcomes and also gives him the potential to easily be the best point-per-dollar play of the week if he hits the upper end of his range.
The pair of Las Vegas Raiders’ rookie receivers were both listed as starters on the teams’ depth chart alongside second-year player Hunter Renfrow. Ruggs was the 12th overall pick in the 2019 draft but there’s some speculation that Edwards, the 81st pick, is “more NFL ready” and could have a bigger immediate impact. Edwards, who is 6’3” and 212 lbs, was a four-year starter at South Carolina and projects to be a more physical receiver than the speedy 5’11” 188 lbs Ruggs.
As far as their Week 1 prospects go, it is difficult to rely on production from either player but it also wouldn’t be surprising to see one or both put together a respectable fantasy performance in a favorable road matchup against the Panthers. The Panthers project to be a sieve defensively this season which is reflected in the Raiders above-average 25.25 implied team total. Most DFS players will look to grab exposure to the Raiders rushing attack via Josh Jacobs which should create plenty of leverage on the much lower-owned Las Vegas passing attack. If forced to choose, I slightly prefer Edwards over Ruggs, but that’s also partially due to Edwards being the cheaper of the two options.