There’s not much that can compare to Thursday Night Football on the opening night of a new NFL season, especially when the schedule makers provide daily fantasy football players with such a juicy, star-studded matchup. The reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers begin their pursuit for back-to-back titles by hosting the Cowboys, who have playoff aspirations of their own. All that firepower gives us a plethora of options for our Yahoo single-game DFS lineup. Las Vegas opened the total of this game at 53 with the Buccaneers laying six points as favorites.
Before we get into our lineup, it’s important to note the scoring the format for Yahoo single-game DFS contests. It’s the same as the default settings for Yahoo season-long leagues, so the only notable thing is half-point PPR and four-point passing touchdowns. The top player (“Superstar”) doesn’t cost extra despite having their point total multiplied by 1.5, so you can grab a chalk pick (like we did) or hope for some differentiation with a sleeper. Either way, there are plenty of options, so let’s break down our lineup.
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Yahoo Single-Game DFS Picks: Cowboys vs. Buccaneers
$125 budget, need at least one player from each team.
Superstar (1.5x points): QB Tom Brady, Buccaneers ($34)
There may not be a quarterback better situated than Brady to jump out to an electrifying start in 2021. You may have heard that they’re returning all 22 starters from last year’s Super Bowl-winning team, and the expectation is they’ll return even better. Both Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin head into the season healthy, and the Bucs added pass-catching dynamo Giovani Bernard to their enviable collection of weapons. Even if Bernard (ankle) is out Thursday night, Tampa has no shortage of weapons to utilize against Dallas’ overmatched defense.
FLEX: QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys ($36)
Is it too much to ask for Prescott to pick up where he left off in 2020 before a gruesome ankle injury? Perhaps, but we’re not going to shy away from Brady’s counterpart in a matchup that promises fireworks. Much has been said about leaning on Ezekiel Elliott and the run game to ease Prescott back into a groove, but offensive coordinator Kellen Moore may not have the luxury of keeping the offense grounded. When it’s time to open up the attack, the Cowboys boast pass-catching talent that can stand toe-to-toe with the Bucs.
FLEX: WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($19)
You won’t have to search far nor wide to find a respected football analyst who’ll opine that Lamb is the most talented receiver on the field. He’s been moving around the formation during camp after running the majority of his routes out of the slot as a rookie, a development that has fanned the flames of what many expect to be a Year 2 breakout. And if Dallas falls behind early, expect Lamb to be the one peppered the most with second-half targets.
FLEX: WR Antonio Brown, Buccaneers ($18)
Brown is significantly cheaper than Mike Evans ($29) and Chris Godwin ($25), but he’s just as likely to have the best stats among the receiving corps. We’ll take the savings and stack him with his former “roommate” and hope for some magic.
FLEX: WR Amari Cooper, Cowboys ($16)
Cooper is the cheapest of the Cowboys “Big Three” WRs — yes, even cheaper than Michael Gallup ($17). He’s just as likely to lead the team in targets, receptions, yards, and TDs as Lamb or Gallup, so it feels like we’re getting him at a value. The only worry is that he’s highly owned, but he fits well into our budget, we’ll trust most other teams aren’t rostering him and Lamb.
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