The 2021 NFL Kickoff Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is finally here, and crafting your NFL DFS lineups could be a challenge with so many household names on the field. The pace of play for both teams should give the stars in Thursday’s NFL DFS player pool plenty of opportunities to put up head-turning point totals. In 2020, the Cowboys used the fewest seconds per play in every scenario except when leading by a touchdown or more, so should you load up on Dallas’ skill position players with your NFL DFS picks?
On the other sideline, the Bucs boasted the third-fastest first half offense per play in 2020. Pass-catchers for both teams should benefit from the tempo and are worthy of topping Cowboys vs. Buccaneers DFS lineups. Before locking in any NFL DFS picks for Cowboys vs. Buccaneers on sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, be sure to check out the NFL DFS advice, player rankings, stacks and top daily Fantasy football picks from SportsLine’s Mike McClure.
McClure is a predictive data engineer and pro DFS player with almost $2 million in career winnings. He uses a powerful prediction model that simulates every snap of NFL action in every game, taking factors such as matchups, statistical trends and injuries into account. This allows him to find the best DFS values that he shares only with members at SportsLine.
In Super Bowl LV, McClure had Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce as one of his top NFL DFS picks for both FanDuel and DraftKings: The result: Kelce led all players with 10 receptions and 133 receiving yards, returning over 26 points on DraftKings and over 18 points on FanDuel. Anybody who had him in their lineups was well on the way to a profitable day.
Top Thursday NFL DFS picks for Week 1
For Cowboys vs. Buccaneers on Thursday, McClure is high on Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard. The former Bengal dealt with an ankle sprain towards the end of the preseason, but has returned to practice and is expected to be ready for Week 1.
Bernard’s specialty is on third downs, as he’s one of the best pass-catching backs in the league. Only Le’Veon Bell and longtime Tom Brady associate James White have more catches out of the backfield than Bernard since 2013. Bernard played every single third-down snap with the starters during the preseason, so that will clearly be his role going forward. His versatility as a runner and a receiver makes him one of the high-value NFL DFS picks against a Cowboys defense that ranked 28th last season.
Part of McClure’s optimal NFL DFS strategy also includes Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown. While Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have led the preseason 2021 Fantasy football rankings for the Bucs, Brown looks like the best value this week. In 16 games last season, Evans had 18 red zone targets, which was fourth-most in the NFL. After coming to the Bucs halfway through last season, Brown still finished 2020 with five of his own in the regular season.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady should key-in on Brown, who didn’t drop a single pass last season on 45 catchable passes thrown to him. Undoubtedly, there is a role for Brown as a third option that most NFL teams simply don’t have in their arsenal.
How to set Thursday NFL DFS lineups for Week 1
McClure is also targeting players who could go off for massive numbers because of an abundance of playing time. These picks could be the difference between winning your tournaments and cash games or going home with nothing. You can only see who they are here.
So who is Mike McClure putting in his optimal NFL DFS lineups for the 2021 NFL Kickoff Game? Visit SportsLine now to see optimal NFL DFS picks, rankings, advice, and stacks, all from a daily Fantasy expert with nearly $2M in winnings, and find out.