The 2021-2022 NFL Season kicks off tonight, and we are in store for an exciting prime-time matchup between a healthy Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys against the defending champion Tampa Bay Bucs led by seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. The Buccaneers have their entire squad returning this season looking to repeat as Super Bowl champs, as the Cowboys are looking to become a serious contender.
Dallas’ season tanked when Prescott went down last year. Now that he’s at 100 percent, he’ll be looking to square off against the Bucs on the road with a slew of weapons at his disposal. Cee Dee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliot, and Amari Cooper are going to be a handful for Tampa, who have already lost top cornerback Jordan Whitehead due to a hamstring injury.
Dallas has a great-looking offence, but their Defense showed a lot of weakness last season. The Cowboys allowed 29 points and almost 400 total yards per game, which made them a clear team to target for fantasy purposes. Brady on opening night under the lights should have no problem picking them apart, whereas his team is very deep in offensive firepower as well.
Here is an NFL DFS Core for 9/9/2021 (using DraftKings Values)
Cee Dee Lamb will most likely play most of his snaps in the slot tonight, where he has a great matchup. Tampa Bay’s slot corner Sean Murphy-Bunton allowed a 78 percent catch-rate to slot receivers last season. The game script should see Dallas trailing in the contest, so we should be plenty of throwing and dump-offs over the middle to Lamb.
Here is an NFL DFS Core for 9/9/2021 (using FanDuel Values)
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Mike Evans ($13,800 DK/$13,000 FD) The 6’5” veteran is one of Brady’s favorite end zone threats. He caught 13 touchdowns in 2020 for the Bucs and has shown there is chemistry between him and Tampa’s signal-caller. Evans can get into the end zone tonight, especially against an inferior Dallas secondary.
Player to Avoid:
Ezekiel Elliot ($9,600 DK/$14,000 FD) with the recent news of his best offensive lineman Zack Martin possibly missing the game due to testing positive for COVID-19 as well as facing the number one defence against the run, its best to stay away from ownership. Zeke will have plenty of opportunities to feast this season, just not in this spot at his price tag.
Blake Jarwin ($5,200 DK/$6,000 FD) will be looked for to be open by Dak most likely, because the main focus of the defence will be on Cooper, Lamb, and Elliot. Prescott may also want to ease his way back into the groove, and what better way to his athletic tight end.
Michael Gallup ($6,200 DK/$9,000 FD) is another beneficiary of being off the radar of the Bucs defence. He may get single coverage, which could result in a big pass play down the sideline.
Antonio Brown ($5,600 DK/$9,000 FD) is a steal tonight at his salary. Brown has been quiet off the field and all the antics have been under control since joining Tom Brady and the Bucs last season. Coach Bruce Arians has come out recently saying “He’s back to the way he was feeling four years ago” when dominating the position of wide receiver in Pittsburgh. We all know the track record of Brown and is highly capable of putting up a great stat sheet tonight.
Giovani Bernard ($2,000 DK/$7,000 FD) has been taken a liking to by Tom Brady after signing as a free agent in the off-season. Gio played a larger role in Cincinnati last year when Joe Mixon went down for the season, only averaging 3.4 yards per carry for 416 total but did catch 47 balls for 355 yards. Much speculation is going around camp that he will be taking over third-down duties for Leonard Fournette.
O. J. Howard ($2,200 DK/$6,500 FD) Brady loves throwing to his Tight Ends…and the one with the most upside is dirt cheap in DFS. After suffering a torn Achilles in week four last season, Howard has shown that he has removed some of the rust in the preseason by catching five of nine targets for 45 yards. He’s also the most dynamic of the tight ends, Tampa will be looking to get him back up to speed from 2020.
The most important player to roster obviously is in your Captain/MVP slot where they earn 1.5X their fantasy points. So for the most part, wide receivers are the ideal players to slide in, then pairing with their quarterback in one of the flex spots. Quarterbacks are profitable usually when they can add the rushing element to their game and or able to throw three to four touchdowns. Running backs are beneficial as a Captain/MVP if they are used as a three-down “bell-cow” where they are able to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as get all the goal-line work.
Also, check Vegas’ lines, this will give you an idea of the type of game script. The Bucs are favored by 8.5 points with an O/U of 51.5 points. From a fantasy perspective, Dallas will be trailing for most of the game and will be forced to throw the ball more, whereas Tampa will be looking to run down the clock in the second half. Dallas has a lot of talent in the receiving core, so mixing up your lineup with a couple of wide receivers/tight ends and a Tampa Bay running back would make total sense.
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