Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

Mike’s Player Grid 1.22

Mike Johnson (MJohnson86) has racked up nearly $500,000 in DFS profit as an NFL tournament player with success in all styles of contests

Welcome to the first installment of my “Player Grid.” The format will vary slightly from JM’s Player Grid, as we each see things slightly differently and play in slightly different contests, but should complement his thoughts and content very well for those looking to build their lineups for the week. The format of this article will likely evolve as the season progresses, but should provide a lot of value. Enjoy!!

The Core

This is a list of players that stand out to me at each position from using my “Checking the Boxes” criteria outlined in my Checking The Boxes course. This list is a starting point, from which I build out lineups using game theory and roster construction concepts (which we will also touch on) with the mindset being to find the best plays with big ceilings. Low ownership is a bonus, but not a must. This section will focus primarily on three positions – running back, tight end, and defense – as the other two positions (quarterback and wide receiver) tend to have more dependent tendencies which I try to attack from other angles (which we will get into in the other sections). I like all of these plays on all sites, unless otherwise noted:

Running Back ::
Christian McCaffrey

No need to complicate things. The best in the game when he’s healthy. Should have the best QB play of his career and only one other consistent option among Panthers skill players to compete with.

Alvin Kamara

Kamara’s ADP in drafts this season was depressed due to ongoing concerns over a potential suspension, but his role is deserving of a price near the top at the position when looking at things on a weekly basis. This week, he has a great matchup against a bad team that was near the bottom of the league against running backs in 2021 and hasn’t done much to change that outlook in the offseason. 

Austin Ekeler

The Chargers have tried all offseason to find a complement to Ekeler, but appear to still be searching. This is a great matchup and game environment, with Ekeler likely to see several targets and all of the high value red zone work out of the backfield. Going overlooked among the high priced RBs, Ekeler is a GPP dream this week.

James Conner

Similar to Kamara, Conner’s ADP is lower than what his weekly outlook would warrant. Most people rightfully question Conner’s durability for the course of a season. However, Week 1 is the healthiest you can expect any NFL player to be and Conner is likely to see 20+ touches in the game with the highest projected game total of the week. The Cardinals are hurting at the skill positions with DeAndre Hopkins suspended and Rondale Moore and Zach Ertz both looking very iffy to play. The Chiefs are best attacked on the ground and in the middle of the field, making Conner’s role even more likely to be a key and increasing the chances he is used heavily as a receiver. After paying Kyler Murray a massive contract extension this offseason, it would make sense to keep feeding Conner the goal line touches as well. This is a “solid floor, massive upside” play at very low ownership.

Tight End :: 
Travis Kelce

Not a ton to say here. Kelce is a monster and the top option for Patrick Mahomes. In three playoff games last season, Kelce averaged eight receptions, 100 yards, and one touchdown – good for 26 DK points per game. He’s still got it, Tyreek Hill is now gone, don’t overthink it – worth every penny. 

Dallas Goedert

I have been high on Goedert since he came into the league and that belief went to another level once the Eagles acquired AJ Brown this offseason. Goedert’s price is significantly below the top tier tight ends, but I believe Brown’s presence opens up the Eagles offense and will give Goedert more room to operate and better matchups. I view Goedert as a top-5 tight end for the season and he’s currently priced in the middle of the pack; I want to be in on him early before price and public sentiment catches up. I will be somewhat surprised if he doesn’t score a touchdown this week.

Defense :: 
Baltimore Ravens

Call this the “Joe Flacco play.” The Ravens defense was decimated last season and repeatedly was burned down the final stretch of the year. However, they are now healthy and with their defensive mentality are sure to be ready to put last season to rest. Now they get a matchup against Joe Flacco, who John Harbaugh knows very well from his time as the Ravens QB. Flacco threw a pick six against the Giants backup defense in the preseason and is susceptible to those back breaking plays at this point in his career, especially when forced to throw. I was legitimately shocked when I saw projected ownership so low for Baltimore this week, especially considering how soft pricing is and how easy it is to get up to them if you want to.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Let’s remember that for as awful as last year’s Jaguars season was, their defense was actually pretty solid. This is the team who contributed to many people saying the league had “figured out” the Bills (who just smashed the world champions) when they held them to six points and made Josh Allen look very bad. Washington’s defense is projected to be the highest owned defense on the slate. A chance to leverage the field’s certainty at the most uncertain position, while betting against Carson Wentz, and getting salary relief – that’s basically the nuts in a GPP. Sign me up.

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