NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
At long last, NFL Sundays are back. The return of NFL Sundays means the revival of NFL daily fantasy contests on DraftKings. Let's take a look at some players who should provide significant value—the amount of points a player is projected to score relative to his salary ($/point)—at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end for the featured 12-game main slate on DraftKings.
After a strong preseason, Dalton enters the year against the defensive-deprived Colts, who allowed 23 touchdowns through the air last season. The over/under for this contest is set at 48.5, as this is projected be a high-scoring affair. The Colts gave up the seventh-most DraftKings points per game (19.0) to opposing quarterbacks in 2017. Dalton has the chance to rip apart a weak Colts’ secondary, which ranked in the bottom-five in pass defense last year.
Keenum’s debut with Denver comes against a Seahawks team that lost former franchise cornerstones Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett in the offseason. Keenum, the fifth-cheapest QB on the main slate, should deliver value—especially for a club that thrives at home. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas provide Keenum solid options to throw to against Seattle's makeshift secondary.
Le’Veon Bell will not be suiting up this weekend—barring some last-minute miracle—so the running back duties fall to Conner. A preseason star, Conner rushed nine times for 100 yards, and he caught all seven of his targets for 61 yards.
The only other halfbacks on the roster are rookie Jaylen Samuels and a past-his-prime Stevan Ridley, which means Conner’s volume will be off the charts versus the Browns. With a heavy workload of carries and catching passes out of the backfield, Conner has a terrific chance to reach value.
The starting running back position was expected to be handed to rookie Ronald Jones II, but the second-round pick struggled mightily in the preseason, rushing for a measly 28 yards on 22 carries.
Barber, a third-year halfback, earned the starting job after playing well with the first-string offense in the preseason. Barber has had success against New Orleans in the past, rushing for 71 yards and a score in Week 17 last season.
The biggest concern for Barber will be game script. The Saints, the reigning NFC South champs who are Super Bowl contenders, are 9.5-point favorites at home against a Bucs team playing their backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick. If the Bucs fall behind big, they will be less likely to lean on Barber and their rushing attack.
Cole enters the season as the Jaguars’ top receiver after the season-ending knee injury to Marqise Lee. The undrafted second-year wideout saw huge volume in the second half of last season, averaging 7.1 targets per contest over the final eight games. Furthermore, in the three games Lee was sidelined last season, Cole was targeted at least eight times and caught 17 passes on 30 targets for 327 yards and a touchdown.
DeVante Parker’s finger injury will keep him out of commission Sunday, leading to more targets for free agent addition Amendola. With Jarvis Landry now with the Browns, Amendola is the team’s main slot receiver, giving him the opportunity to be a focal point of the offense.
Ross, the ninth overall pick in the 2017 Draft, might have had the worst rookie season in the history of the NFL. He failed to catch a pass and fumbled his lone carry.
Ross has turned the page and played well in the preseason. He registered a 50-yard TD on a pass from Dalton in the Bengals’ third preseason game.
With Brandon LaFell no longer on the roster, Ross enters the year as the team’s No. 2 wide receiver. The speedy wideout has the ability to deliver explosive plays. A matchup against the Colts enables Ross to start the year on a good note.
Finally healthy, the often-injured Reed looks to reclaim his star status. A Pro Bowler in 2016, Reed appeared in just six games last season due to a toe injury. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden says there will be “no restrictions” for Reed in Week 1 as the tight end rested during the preseason to make sure he was ready to go once the real action started. Reed’s discounted price and high-ceiling makes him worth rostering on Sunday.
Doyle became a serviceable receiving tight end last year, hauling in 80 passes for 690 yards and four touchdowns. His average DraftKings price was actually $4,200 last season, so the reduced cost makes Doyle even more appealing, especially with QB Andrew Luck returning.
There is concern that Eric Ebron could take away targets from Doyle, but there should be enough chances for both players against a Bengals’ defense that ranked 24th against tight ends in 2017.