Week 1 of the NFL season is here. That means it is time for DFS. Before we go remember a couple of things. Manage your money and these suggestions are for DraftKings Sunday main slate.
Here are my DraftKings Picks for the Sunday Main Slate.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals, $7,200
This game has the highest over/under on the main slate (53.5) with the Kansas City Chiefs favored by -6. The Cardinals are expected to get approximately three touchdowns in this game. Murray is likely to be chalky.
Murray is notorious for starting off hot and then (like the rest of the team) fading down the stretch. The beginning of the season is the best time to get him.
Last season Murray was 53.6% in red zone passes. He attempted 69 red zone passes and finished with 15 red zone passing touchdowns and two interceptions. He had 25 red zone rushing attempts, for five rushing touchdowns. He is the epitome of a dual-threat quarterback.
The Kansas City Chiefs allowed the third most fantasy points to the quarterback position last season allowing seven quarterback rushing touchdowns and 26 passing touchdowns. In DraftKings scoring, they allowed an average of 21.3 fantasy points per game.
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers, $6,000
Even in this run-first defense, Lance has upside because he is a legitimate dual-threat quarterback. Last season Lance played in three games. He averaged 53.7 rushing yards per game in those three.
Last season in Week 8 the Bears and the Niners met. The Bears’ defense allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to rush for two touchdowns. Let that sink in for a second. Now Lance will face a Bears defense that is making the move from a 3-4 to a 4-3. They also gave away the services of pass rusher Khalil Mack.
This will probably be a shaky game for the quarterback. But Lance has good weapons around him, the Bears are a defense in transition, and he has the running upside.
With his price, he needs to score 21.5 fantasy points for value. Last season the Bears gave up an average of 18.74 fantasy points to the quarterback position. They also allowed the quarterbacks to rush for 202 yards.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars,$5,600
The Jaguars will play Washington. Washington’s defense allowed the most fantasy points to the quarterback position, an average 23.1 DraftKings points. The defense also had the third-worst rate on passes 10 or more yards down the field and their starting cornerbacks gave up 7.7 yards per target in coverage.
Although Lawrence had an unimpressive first year, there were extenuating circumstances. And even then he improved towards the end of the season.
In his last three games he had three touchdowns and three interceptions. The interceptions all came against the New England Patriots. He also threw a touchdown that game and two touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts.
This year his weapons have improved. His receivers include Zay Jones, Christian Kirk, and Marvin Jones Jr. His running backs included his collegiate teammate Travis Etienne and the return of James Robinson.
Washington defensive line problems from last year showed up again in the preseason. They will also play without Chase Young.
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers,$8,200
Ekeler is the fourth highest-priced running back. The game is the second highest over/under (52.5) for the main slate, the spread is only 3.5. You want a piece (if not a lot) of that game.
Last season Ekeler had 206 carries and 94 targets. He finished with 911 rushing yards and 647 receiving yards. He was second among running backs in red zone touches (63) and he finished the season with 20 total touchdowns.
Last season the Raiders gave up 100 receptions and 644 receiving yards to the running back position. They allowed 28.4 average DraftKings points to the position, the sixth-most.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers, $6,700
Minnesota gave up an average of 25.3 DraftKings points to the running back position last season. They are moving from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4.
This season the Green Bay Packers are famously without Davante Adams. That is a 31.6% target share and 169 targets that are vacated. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has also expressed disappointment with most of his current receiving options.
Enter Aaron Jones. Last season with Adams, Jones had a 12.9% target share and 65 targets. He had 799 rushing yards and 391 receiving yards, with 10 total touchdowns.
In the last four years, Jones has averaged 6.7 targets when Adams was not in the game. He has a rapport with Rodgers and with his rushing acumen and potential increase in targets/receptions he could outplay his price.
Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars, $5,600
The news about James Robinson will lower the ownership on Etienne. Which is just fine. His familiarity with Lawrence in a Doug Pederson offense should boost his productivity.
Etienne missed all last season with a Lisfranc injury. He played preseason in both Weeks 1-2, while sitting out with the starters Week 3. In preseason he rushed 17 times for 52 yards and three targets.
Washington’s defense gave up an average of 22.4 DraftKings fantasy points per game to the running back position. That included 84 receptions, 594 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns along with 1267 rushing yards to the position.
Robinson is returning from a torn Achilles he suffered December 26, 2021. He will most likely be on a snap count and not cut significantly into Etienne’s time share.
Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals, $7,100
Joe Burrow has a passer rating of 158.3 when targeting Chase against the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary. Last season in Week 3 against the Steelers Chase was targeted 5 times with 4 receptions, 65 yards, and two touchdowns. In Week 12 he had 3 targets, 3 receptions, for 39 yards.
The total projection for the game is 44.5 with the Bengals a 6.5-point favorite.
While the Steelers run defense was its weakest link last season, giving up a league-high 143.8 rushing yards per game, its passing defense was mediocre.
The Steelers allowed an average of 33.9 DraftKings fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position.
Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans, $6,300, ownership
The line for this game has gone from 44 to 45.5 with the Colts going from -8 to -7. There is some respect being shown to the Texans. And maybe a little concern about the Colts defense as they switch from Matt Eberflus to Gus Bradley.
They also lost cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Rock-Ya Sin, SS Khari Willis, and FS Andrew Sendejo? The Colts secondary could see an adjustment period and the first game of the season is just the time to take advantage of it.
Cooks had 84% snap share and 26.9% target share (10th). In Weeks 15-17 last season Cooks averaged 24.3 DraftKings fantasy points per game. This will be the second season of the Cooks/Davis Mills partnership. Game projects the Texans will need to pass to keep up. Cooks will be the primary target against a fresh new secondary.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings, $5,400
There is a chance Jaire Alexander will be back in the Green Bay secondary. And although they move Justin Jefferson (wouldn’t be mad at you if he is in your line-up) all over the field, Alexander will surely give him attention.
Thielen is the overlooked man even when last season he was on the field for 84.3% snap share and 21% target share. He was targeted in the red zone 15 times for 13 receptions for team tying 10 touchdowns (in only 13 games played).
In the one game he played against Green Bay last season, Thielen saw 10 targets, eight receptions for 82 yards and one touchdown.
The Packers defense gave up an average of 35.9 DraftKings fantasy points to the wide receiver position last season.
Joshua Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers, $3,800
Palmer is the recipient of preseason hype from his own quarterback, Justin Herbert. That being said Palmer is WR3 on the Chargers depth chart. It’s Week 1 let’s get weird.
This game has the second-highest point total projection for the main slate. Last season the Chargers passed the ball the fifth-most (62.50) with the third-most passing attempts per game (39.6). They also play fast averaging 66.4 plays per game.
His quarterback, Herbert attempted the second-most passes last season (672). If his quarterback says he will be seeing “a lot of targets”, that’s good enough for me.
Added bonus at his price point, Palmer needs to score only 13.3 fantasy points to for value.
TJ Hockenson, $4,900
Hockenson played in only 12 games last season. He had a shoulder sprain, knew sprain, and a thumb fracture. He was still on the receiving end 83 targets, 21% target share (5th), four receiving touchdowns, and 583 receiving yards.
Last season Week 8 against Philadelphia he had 11 targets, 10 receptions for 89 yards.
The Philadelphia Eagles defense blitzed at the fourth-lowest rate last season while placing priority on stopping the explosive plays. Their opponents completed 70% of their passes. This particular good news for Hockenson in the short game where he averages 7.2 depth of target. He was eighth in slot snaps (240) and first in route percentage 85.1%.
The Eagles defense gave up the second most average DraftKings fantasy points to the tight end position, 17.4.
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns, $3,900
The Browns are playing in the second lowest point projection against their former quarterback. Basically, all bets are off.
Njoku has not been as advertised. Last season was his career high with 53 targets, 36 receptions and four touchdowns. He had 11.4% targets share and was on the field for 63.4% snap share.
But Cleveland no longer has wide receiver Jarvis Landry or tight end Austin Hooper or quarterback Baker Mayfield. For the time being Jacoby Brissett will be under center.
Cleveland signed Njoku to a sizable contract. Presumably making Njoku option two in this limited receiving corps ( no offense to Donovan Peoples-Jones). The good news for this game is that Brissett has targeted the tight end on 22.4% of his passes in his career. When he took over for Andrew Luck in Indianapolis, he targeted the tight ends on 26.2% of his passing attempts.
During preseason Njoku lined up both in the slot and outside which is a departure from last season.
The Carolina Panthers gave up an average 11.8 DraftKings fantasy points to the tight end position.
GOOD LUCK WEEK 1
Gladys is obsessive about fantasy football, Pittsburgh Steelers, dogs/cats, pop culture movies and television shows, and Ben & Jerry’s 7 Layer Vegan Ice Cream (although not necessarily in that order). A writer about NFL, college ball, and fantasy football for more than 10 years, she attempts to combine her degree in statistical variance (BS Policy Analysis) with player knowledge and game script. Though her concentration is on IDP, redraft, and PPR leagues, all fantasy formats are fair game. Reach out whenever you can find me on Twitter @gladysLtyler. And remember, don’t suck and tip your bartenders well.