Best NFL DFS Week 1 Plays & Value Picks For Sunday
Jim Coventry | 10 mins
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Jim Coventry is the deputy NFL editor at RotoWire and covers Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and NFL for Bookies. He earned a No. 1 finish and placed in the top 50 in five large-field contests while entering just a single entry in each. He also was a triple crown winner (total points, best record, and playoff champion) in the 2022 King’s Classic auction league. He began playing fantasy football in 1994 and has been an analyst since 2007.
Each Saturday, Jim will be giving us his best plays across QB, RB, WR and TE for the upcoming NFL DFS Sunday slate across DraftKings DFS and FanDuel DFS. Let's start with Week 1:
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NFL DFS Week 1 Main Slate, Ranked by Over/Under
- Chiefs @ Cardinals - O/U 54
- Raiders @ Chargers - O/U 52.5
- Bucs @ Cowboys - O/U 50
- Eagles @ Lions - O/U 48.5
- Packers @ Vikings - O/U 46.5
- Patriots @ Dolphins - O/U 46.5
- Colts @ Texans - O/U 46
- Ravens @ Jets - O/U 44
- Steelers @ Bengals - O/U 44
- Jags @ Commanders - O/U 44
- Giants @ Titans - O/U 44
- Saints @ Falcons - O/U 43
- Browns @ Panthers - O/U 42
- 49ers @ Bears - O/U 40
Highest Implied NFL Week 1 Team Totals
- Chiefs - 30
- Chargers - 28
- Bucs - 27
- Ravens, Bengals, Eagles - 26
- Titans, Raiders, Packers, Dolphins - 25
NFL DFS Week 1 QB Picks for FanDuel & DraftKings
Jalen Hurts - Eagles at Lions - FD $8,000 DK $6,600
Hurts is facing a Lions defense that was in the bottom third of the league in fantasy points allowed to QBs last year. Then, Detroit made no significant upgrades to their secondary this offseason. As usual, Hurts will be a big factor in the run game. It will also help that RB Miles Sanders has been limited by a hamstring injury this preseason. That should allow Hurts to run more than usual.
Finally, it’s unlikely the Lions have any answers for new WR A.J. Brown and TE Dallas Goedert. The defense was in the bottom 10 against TEs last year and they don’t have a physical CB to compete with Brown. That should provide the QB with excellent advantages through the air. Hurts has a great floor with upside through the roof.
Trey Lance - 49ers at Bears - FD $7,500 DK $6,000
Running QBs have always been a cheat code in DFS. Although many question how strong of a passer Lance will be, as he’s making just his third NFL start, we’ve already seen his running ability. For a QB, he has imposing size with exceptional speed and agility. When a play breaks down, he’ll likely tuck the ball away and run. He’ll have an excellent advantage against a Bears defense that has four new players in their front seven. Maintaining gap discipline against a mobile QB is crucial, but it’s unlikely the revamped Bears defense will have that chemistry yet.
Lance could run for over 70 yards here. And in the passing game, the one thing we know about Lance is that he throws an amazing deep ball. In the history of coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, WRs are often schemed open deep downfield. This should ensure that when the defense creeps up to stop the run, there are big plays as well. And Chicago goes into this game with CB Kyler Gordon and S Jaquan Brisker making their first NFL starts. Look for communication breakdowns from the Bears defense, which should help Lance have a big game.
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Daniel Jones - Giants at Titans - FD $7,100 DK $5,000
Yes, Daniel Jones has not been a good QB during his career. Of course, that reflects in his DFS cost. However, he’ll be in a new offense. Coach Brian Daboll will stress passes that get the ball out quickly and into the hands of the WRs to get yardage after the catch. It’s also likely that he’ll get Jones on the move in the pocket at times to set up downfield passes. This will allow him to use his running ability as well - remember, he's rushed for over 400 yards in two of the last three years. And don’t forget that the Giants significantly upgraded their OL this offseason.
He’ll also be facing a Tennessee defense that just lost Harold Landry, their second-best pass rusher. They also have significant coverage issues, as two of their top three CBs project as below average players. Putting this all together, with time to throw along with his running ability, Jones could start out the year with a big game.
Also Consider - Mitchell Trubisky
NFL DFS Week 1 RB Picks for FanDuel & DraftKings
Alvin Kamara- Saints at Falcons - FD $8,500 DK $7,600
Kamara was the centerpiece of the Saints offense last year. He averaged over 18 rushing attempts and five pass targets per game. Even though the team added Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry to a WR group that welcomes back Michael Thomas, it’s unlikely the team goes with a pass-heavy approach with Jameis Winston at QB.
Kamara only has to share backfield touches with 32-year-old Mark Ingram. As a big favorite, the Saints should be able to run the ball for most of the day. Not only will he face a Falcons defense that was in the bottom 10 against RBs last year, but three starters from their defensive front seven are out. That should ensure that Kamara has plenty of big plays to make his stat line explode.
Aaron Jones - Packers at Vikings - FD $7,400 DK $6,700
Fantasy managers will best remember last year for Jones having fewer carries and rushing TDs than teammate AJ Dillon. That won’t likely change this week or this year. So why should we consider starting a RB in a timeshare? As the Packers no longer have Davante Adams, Jones becomes the team’s best offensive weapon, not named Aaron Rodgers. The QB has talked about the importance of having both RBs on the field at the same time. That would allow Green Bay to have its ‘best 11’ on the field.
The good news for Jones is that over the last few years in the eight games he's played when Adams wasn’t available, Jones averaged 8.8 more PPR points. Expect Jones to be heavily used as a receiver. And not just on screen passes. He should be used both in the slot and out wide as a receiver. He’s rarely been used to his full capacity during his career, but he should be the featured weapon against a Vikings defense that will have few answers for stopping him.
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Elijah Mitchell - 49ers at Bears - FD $6,700 DK $5,400
Mitchell is reported to be past the hamstring injury he was dealing with in early August. Although he missed six games due to injury last year, he’s expected to serve as the 49ers’ lead RB. Although very good last year, Mitchell didn’t always have big running lanes because of the immobile Jimmy Garoppolo at QB. Now, with Trey Lance starting at QB, the linebackers will not be as aggressive in attacking runs in the middle of the field because of the threat of Lance taking the ball himself and running outside.
The Bears will have four new players in their defensive front seven, including two of three LBs. Between these factors, Mitchell should have numerous explosive runs. Also, coach Kyle Shanahan has talked up the idea of Mitchell playing more on third downs this year because his pass protection has improved. This is a great spot for Mitchell in a game the 49ers should play with a lead.
Also Consider - Chase Edmonds, Michael Carter
NFL DFS Week 1 WR Plays for FanDuel & DraftKings
Mike Williams - Chargers vs. Raiders - FD $6,600 DK $6,600
Williams is facing a Raiders defense that’s now led by defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. That should lead to the Raiders playing a lot of zone. Against this style of defense, a big-armed QB like Justin Herbert will need to take advantage of the windows that open up as the plays develop. Having a huge target with an excellent catch radius like Williams is exactly the type of option that Herbert will need to focus on to consistently move the offense.
Also, Williams is the only legitimate deep threat the Chargers have when their top-three WRs are on the field. That should lead to him seeing a few deep shots, especially off play-action passes. Las Vegas doesn’t have CBs who can be physical enough with Williams to slow him down. And of course, his size in the red zone also puts him in play for scoring a TD.
Marquise Brown - Cardinals vs. Chiefs - FD $6,900 DK $6,200
The Cardinals are short-handed at receiver in this expected shootout. DeAndre Hopkins is serving the first game of a six-game suspension, Rondale Moore suffered a hamstring injury and is out, and Zach Ertz will try to play through a calf injury. As a result, Brown could see double-digit targets.
He’ll be facing a Chiefs defense that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to WRs last year while their best CB, Charvarius Ward, is no longer on the team. Kyler Murray should be able to buy time to extend plays with his legs. That will allow Brown the time to make plays in all areas of the field. Don’t be surprised if Brown makes multiple big plays and has one of the best WR performances in the league this week.
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Brandon Aiyuk - 49ers at Bears - FD $5,600 DK $5,200
Deebo Samuel was the unquestioned star of the 49ers offense last year. He was a perfect fit for the underneath passing game that Garoppolo thrived in. With Lance now the starting QB, we can expect a vastly different offense. Lance has incredible ability to throw deep, which meshes perfectly with Aiyuk’s top asset, his deep speed.
Look for coach Shanahan to try and give his QB some confidence to build on while facing this softer opponent. That should include multiple deep attempts to Aiyuk. He’ll be facing a Bears defense that will start two rookies in their defensive backfield. Communication between those DBs will likely be problematic, and that should provide Aiyuk an excellent advantage.
Also Consider - Christian Kirk, Elijah Moore, Nico Collins, Kadarius Toney
NFL DFS Week 1 TE Plays for FanDuel & DraftKings
Dallas Goedert - Eagles at Lions - FD $5,700 DK $4,500
Goedert quietly became a fantasy football star down the stretch last year. He averaged 86 yards over his last five games with a pair of TDs. Even though the Eagles added WR A.J. Brown this offseason, Goedert should still be a focal point of the passing attack. And with Brown on the field, Goedert shouldn’t have to worry about double teams.
He’ll face a Lions defense that was in the bottom 10 in fantasy production allowed to TEs. And when these teams met in Week 8 last year, Goedert caught six passes for 72 yards. In the rematch, he should have a strong scoring floor with potential for a very big performance.
Tyler Conklin - Jets vs. Ravens - FD $5,000 DK $3,500
Many fantasy managers noticed that the Jets signed C.J. Uzomah to be their TE this offseason and immediately penciled him in as the top TE. That was likely a mistake. The team also signed Tyler Conklin. Offseason reports consistently talked up Conklin as being an excellent receiver.
Uzomah is an excellent blocker, and he’ll likely see most of his work in that capacity. In this game, the Jets face a Ravens defense that should put a lot of pressure on Joe Flacco. As a result, the quick passes in the middle of the field will be an important part of the game plan. That should work perfectly for Conklin, who should be a productive, low-cost DFS option.