Here we go with the Single Game DFS slate for Week 1 Sunday Night Football between the Steelers and Patriots. We’ll highlight the top picks and best bargains to assemble a cash-inducing lineup. On top of that, the “additional notes” section will feature several tournament selections while adding context to the rest of this slate.
We will be producing these articles for Thursday, Sunday, and Monday primetime matchups every week, so be on the lookout for Texans-Saints (MNF) and Raiders-Broncos (MNF) on Monday.
Ben Roethlisberger - QB - Steelers
Roethlisberger has always been better at home throughout his career, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid him on this Single Game DFS slate. In fact, you could make a strong argument that Big Ben has MVP/Captain potential, as it comes down to him vs. Tom Brady for the top overall projection. The Steelers are listed at 5.5 to 6 point underdogs, which puts game flow on the side of Roethlisberger, who should take to the air in an effort to keep Pittsburgh in this game. I’m definitely snagging the Steelers’ QB in the majority of my cash game action.
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Julian Edelman - WR - Patriots
The Patriots signed Antonio Brown to a one-year deal, but they’ll remain thin at wide receiver for the season-opener. Rob Gronkowski has retired, while N’Keal Harry is on injured reserve, and Demaryius Thomas is dealing with a hamstring issue. That leaves Josh Gordon and Edelman as the only legitimate receivers at Tom Brady’s disposal. As Ian Hartitz pointed out in his WR/CB Matchups article, Edelman has repeatedly found a way to take advantage of Pittsburgh’s weakness against opposing slot receivers. I’m expecting another healthy stat-line with upside for double-digit catches and 100 yards on Sunday Night.
Phillip Dorsett - WR - Patriots
As mentioned in the previous write-up, the Patriots have a depth problem at wide receiver. That should boost the snap count for Dorsett, especially if Thomas is limited or held out altogether. Either way, Dorsett should be on the field regularly for New England, and he’s a sneaky-good candidate for fantasy production with Pittsburgh devoting most of their secondary attention to limiting Gordon/Edelman. Look towards Dorsett as a cheap filler to help make the rest of your lineup work.
Donte Moncrief - WR - Steelers
You don’t have to take both Dorsett and Moncrief in the same lineup, but I’ll be looking towards at least one of these bargain receivers to provide some salary-cap relief. JuJu Smith-Schuster is the clear-cut top option in Pittsburgh's passing attack, but it’s difficult to decide the pecking order from there. James Conner, Vance McDonald, James Washington, and Moncrief will all get in on the action while drawing targets from Roethlisberger. Moncrief should garner a healthy snap count while benefitting from the aforementioned game flow discussed in Big Ben’s write-up.
Looking for an even cheaper receiver? Ryan Switzer (WR - PIT) is another Steelers’ pass catcher who will look to get in on the action. We aren’t exactly sure how Pittsburgh will organize their receivers throughout this contest, but there’s a good chance Switzer will see snaps from the slot with Smith-Schuster and Moncrief playing outside. If that holds true throughout this game, Switzer finds himself in an admirable spot to post a solid fantasy return on a bargain-basement salary.
The James White (RB - NE) vs. Sony Michel (RB - NE) debate is one that daily fantasy enthusiasts will encounter throughout most of this season. The answer seems pretty straightforward in this slate, as I’ll be looking towards the receiving back (White) on full PPR sites with Michel getting the edge on half PPR fantasy platforms. White is significantly cheaper on DraftKings as well, which certainly feeds this approach.
I’m all about the Tom Brady (QB - NE) to Edelman connection throughout most of my lineups. Most people will be looking towards Roethlisberger to Smith-Schuster, but I’m not a huge fan of JuJu’s marked-up salary in this draw. I’d rather take Big Ben and a different Pittsburgh WR (Moncrief, Switzer, McDonald) while running that back with Brady-Edelman in my other flex positions.
You could give a look to kickers from either team in cash games. I’m more interested in them on DraftKings, where the salaries are much cheaper than players like Moncrief and McDonald. For comparison, both kickers carry similar price tags compared to both of those Pittsburgh receivers on FanDuel, and the half PPR scoring is not enough to justify the special teamers there.