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DraftKings Fantasy Football Tournament Picks: NFL Week 1 2022 Top High-Upside DFS Contrarian Targets

Geoff Ulrich shares his top high-upside targets, stacks and contrarian options for this week’s main fantasy football slate on DraftKings.

Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to focus purely on upside plays, stacks and strategies to help tackle the largest tournaments on the slate. GPPs are not won by using all of the most popular players on the slate and finding some relatively lower-owned diamonds in the rough will be the goal of this article.

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Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions

Jalen Hurts ($6,800) — A.J. Brown ($6,400) — Amon-Ra St. Brown ($6,100)

This game should be ripe for quick-paced action and lots of scoring. The Eagles improved their big play ability by adding A.J. Brown to the fold this offseason and will take on a Lions squad this week who ranked dead last in yards per pass attempt against in 2021. Yes, Jalen Hurts at under $7,000 will be popular, but the narrative surrounding him is that he is still a rush-first QB. Stacking Hurts with WR A.J. Brown in big field GPPs on DraftKings should give us a more unique build and gets us access to a true game breaker in Brown who posted 28.0 or more DKFP in four of his last nine games with the Titans.

The other side of this game is just as interesting for fantasy purposes. D’Andre Swift ($6,800) and DJ Chark Jr. ($4,800) are both names to consider, but if we are projecting Detroit to be throwing late into this game (and potentially against prevent defenses), then Amon-Ra St. Brown should be squarely on our radar. St. Brown averaged 11.0 targets in the final six games of 2021, and maintained an elite catch rate over 75% in that span of the season. Given his heavy slot usage, he works perfectly with a QB in Jared Goff ($5,400), who has an aversion to the deep ball but is still fully capable of delivering accurate throws in the short passing game.

Stack the élite rushing QB with what should be a couple of heavily-targeted but lower-owned receivers in this game for a nice upside core.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr ($5,900) — Austin Ekeler ($8,100) — Mike Williams ($6,600) — Davante Adams ($8,100)

The Chargers/Raiders game features the second biggest over/under of Week 1 at 52.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook. The game also features two teams who averaged over 37 pass attempts per game in 2021. Using Derek Carr saves us plenty of money at quarterback and he now has a potentially dominant number one wideout in Davante Adams — which makes stacking him incredibly easy in DFS. Adams is used to seeing top coverage and the Raiders simply aren’t good enough on defense not to rely on the Adams/Carr connection to keep them afloat against an elite team like Los Angeles.

On the flip side, few teams were worse at guarding against the RB position last year than the Raiders, who allowed the seventh most receptions to the RB position in 2021. Austin Ekeler destroyed the Raiders’ defense to the tune of 5.83 yards per carry and four TDs (in two regular season meetings) last year and makes for an elite pay-up target in Week 1. Mike Williams should also give us good access to Justin Herbert’s ($7,600) upside without actually paying up for Herbert himself. Williams was third in end zone targets in 2021 and went off for 9-119-TD against Vegas in Week 18 last year.

Fitting in multiple studs from this game will be difficult, but don’t forget that it’s Week 1 and there are plenty of upside plays under $5,000 at the skill positions. Stack the studs as we could see several big performances on both sides of the ball if this game lives up to the hype.


Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears ($6,000)

While Lance’s rushing ability is well known, he’s still coming into this week with far less hype than other rushing QBs. The second-year signal caller averaged 12 carries and 60 yards rushing over his two starts last season and is available for Week 1 at far less than pricier options like Jalen Hurts ($6,800) and Lamar Jackson ($7,300). Lance and the 49ers are solid seven-point favorites against the Bears this week, who sport a secondary that was one of the worst in the league last season, allowing 7.6 yards per attempt. An improved Justin Fields ($5,600) on the other side of the ball could also help keep this game close and unleash what should be a motivated 49ers offense — who will certainly want to put a quick cap on questions about Jimmy Garoppolo’s future involvement. This could be your only time to buy in cheap on Lance, who won’t cost much to stack with a cheap Brandon Aiyuk ($5,200) against a porous Bears secondary.

Running Back

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons ($7,600)

Kamara is available at well under the price tag of other elite workhorse RBs and will be playing against an Atlanta front he averaged 4.54 YPC and 11.5 yards per catch against in two games last season. While we can certainly expect Mark Ingram ($5,900) to poach a few carries, the Saints went to Kamara exclusively down the stretch in the red zone last season. The veteran took 25 out of a possible 27 red zone touches by Saints RBs from Week 14 onward in 2021 and a matchup against a weak team in Atlanta could yield plenty of red zone looks for Week 1. He’s in a great spot to deliver big numbers on the first main slate despite the lack of hype.

J.D. McKissic, Washington Commanders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,100)

Brian Robinson’s early season absence means the Commanders will essentially be leaning heavily on the duo of Antonio Gibson ($5,800) and McKissic in Week 1. The coaches have failed to show any interest in elevating Gibson to a three-down role, even pegging him for work on special teams this offseason. Jacksonville was solid in guarding against the rush in 2021 (14th in YPC against) and McKissic’s ability as a receiver should make him a popular outlet target to counteract the Jaguars’ improved pass rush. The PPR points available with McKissic’s role gives him a solid floor for fantasy purposes, and if Washington is down late — or he ends up finding the end zone in this game — he could push for the best value at the position in Week 1.

Wide Receiver

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers ($5,700)

Mooney finished last season in the top 10 in a variety of different categories, including team target share and routes (per drop back) run. The Bears let go of Allen Robinson in the offseason, freeing up even more targets, and may not have projected number two receiver Byron Pringle ($4,400 - questionable) for this game against San Francisco. While it’s tough to project how efficient Mooney will be in a new offense, he often faced stiff coverage last season and came through with multiple big games in the back half of the year — posting 19.0 or more DKFP five times after Week 8. San Francisco struggled in coverage against the opposing team’s top WRs in 2021 and allowed the ninth most fantasy points per game to the position last year. At under $6,000, and coming in with little hype, Mooney has all the makings of a great value target for big field GPPs in Week 1.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling/Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals ($4,700)/($4,600)

The Chiefs at Cardinals game has the highest game total on the slate at 54.5 and the Chiefs have the highest implied team total at 29.0. The Cardinals are also already dealing with a skeleton crew-like secondary given injuries to Antonio Hamilton and Trayvon Mullens — whom they just traded for last week. Secondary receivers like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman are going to be matched up against practice squad and waiver wire pickups at points in this game and both players have the ability to turn that kind of opportunity into a long score. Given his preseason usage, Valdes-Scantling seems likely to out-snap Hardman, but Hardman has a clear chemistry advantage given his longer tenure with Andy Reid. Both players make for great tournament pivots off the sure to be highly rostered Arizona WRs.

Tight End

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals ($4,200)

If you’re like me and love some good value at TE, Pat Freiermuth offers quite a bit of appeal for Week 1 lineups. Cincinnati allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing TEs last season and seemingly did little to address that weakness this offseason. Freiermuth showed good chemistry with Mitchell Trubisky ($5,000) in the preseason, where he led all Steelers receivers with 80 yards on five catches. Bengals opponents averaged 37.3 pass attempts per game in 2021, an, with Pittsburgh slated as 6.5-point underdogs, Freiermuth has a shot at some seriously heavy usage in Week 1.

Tyler Conklin, New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens ($3,500)

If you want an even cheaper TE target for Week 1, then looking in the Jets’ direction could be a good option. New York will be taking on a team in the Ravens whose linebacker and safety groups struggled mightily at defending the pass in 2021. Baltimore allowed the second most receptions to the tight end position last season and newly acquired Tyler Conklin’s strong route-running ability has him projected as the top receiving option at the position right now for the Jets. The fact veteran Joe Flacco ($4,800) is starting may also bolster Conklin in the short term, as we should expect him to opt for more conservative throws when given the chance. Conklin is in a good spot to pay off a minuscule salary in Week 1.

Defense/Special Teams

Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders ($2,500)

This one is easy. The Commanders are setting up to be one of the more popular plays of the slate at DST. DST points in fantasy football can be near impossible to predict, so if a mediocre team like the Commanders is trending as the slate chalk, then we should be looking for pivots. Available at the exact same price this week is the Commanders’ Week 1 opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Carson Wentz has incurred the third most sacks of any QB in the NFL over the last three seasons and Jags’ number one draft pick, Travon Walker, had multiple sacks and tackles for losses in the preseason. When two mediocre/poor teams meet, and both DSTs have appeal as cheap options, take the side with less ownership. This week, that’s Jacksonville.

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