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Fantasy Football Picks: Top DraftKings NFL DFS Targets, Values for Week 1

Stan Son gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Sunday’s main DraftKings NFL slate.

Momma, we made it! Week 1 is finally here after months of listening to podcasts, squinting at screens, and strategizing. May all your screens light up with green with no PMR remaining. Sunday’s slate will consist of 13 games. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, there are two games with a total of at least 50 points, and both are in the afternoon consisting of AFC West teams. KC is visiting ARI with a 54 total while the Raiders travel to LAC with a 52.5 total. The SF/CHI has the lowest total at 40.5 points. There are no double-digit favorites but three teams are favored by a touchdown - BAL -7 over NYJ, IND -7 over HOU and SF -7 over CHI. There are seven road favorites this weekend. Bow wow wow yippee yo yippee ya! Who let the home dogs out?

These are my early thoughts, but much of my lineup construction will depend on projected ownership numbers at the end of the week. That said, here are my studs and values for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: $5M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semifinal Entry]



Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $7,600 — This game has the second-highest total on the slate, so plenty of points should be scored. Last season, the Chargers threw at the fifth-highest rate and were fourth in pass DVOA. They enter this season with the 12th-best offensive line according to PFF and go up against a Raiders defensive line that had the ninth-lowest adjusted sack rate. Las Vegas was 21st in pass defense DVOA. On offense, the Raiders threw at the fourth-highest rate last season. There is a new offensive regime in town so that rate may change, but at least for one week, the Raiders will likely have to throw to keep up. Good thing that lines up with the strength of the Raiders team. Last season, Herbert went for at least 20 DKFP nine times with four of those over 30 and a high of 45.82. He exceeded points expectations eight times.

Other Options – Patrick Mahomes ($7,700), Lamar Jackson ($7,300), Jalen Hurts ($6,800), Kyler Murray ($7,200)


Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons, $5,300 — New Orleans was 30th in pass rate last season. I’d expect that to increase this season as Winston is healthy and the offensive weapons have been upgraded. Michael Thomas, Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry are a boon compared to Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris. Atlanta was 29th in pass defense DVOA and dead-last in adjusted sack rate by a wide margin. The defensive line looks to be just as inept this season. Game script could be an issue, but the volume should be increased from last season and the path of least resistance is via the air.

Other Options – Daniel Jones ($5,000), Carson Wentz ($5,500)

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Running Back


Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers vs. Cleveland Browns, $8,500 — McCaffrey has the highest floor/ceiling combo....when he’s healthy. Well, he hasn’t been injured, yet, so fingers crossed. Jonathan Taylor ($9,100) does have a better matchup but McCaffrey has similar red zone equity to go along with his insane usage in the passing game, something Taylor falls well short of. In games that McCaffrey was healthy last season, he garnered 9, 6, 5, 10 and 8 targets while getting a total of 20 red zone rushes in eight games. He is just too cheap for his role and is usually a $9,000 and above player.

Other Options – Jonathan Taylor ($9,100), Derrick Henry ($8,600), Austin Ekeler ($8,200), Dalvin Cook ($7,900)


Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers, $6,500 – There is always volatility with Chubb from a DKFP perspective because of his lack of involvement in the passing game. Last season, he scored fewer than 10 DKFP six times. That said, he went over 30 DKFP twice. Chubb is one of the best pure runners in the league and has the second-best offensive line opening up lanes for him. Opposing them will be the 15th-best run defense DVOA but that number doesn’t tell the entire story. The Panthers mostly play coverage and get gashed in the run game. Five teams rushed for over 150 yards against them last season with the Cowboys rumbling for 245 yards. Carolina is favored by only 1.5 points at home, so the conservative, run-heavy gameplan of the Browns should be employed for much of the game.

Other Options – Chase Edmonds ($5,200), David Montgomery ($6,000), Elijah Mitchell ($5,400)

Wide Receiver


Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers, $7,800 — Last season, Jefferson received at least 10 targets in 10 games. He scored 10 touchdowns and went over 100 yards seven times. And that was in an offense that was conservative and threw the ball at the 18th-highest rate. Mike Zimmer and his conservative ways are gone. Yippee! The wicked witch is dead! In comes Kevin O’Connell, who was the offensive coordinator of the Rams last season. The Rams were 14th in pass rate and did you see what Cooper Kupp did last season? I’m not saying Jefferson is going to have a Kupp-like season, but I’m not saying that he won’t either. It’s within the range of outcomes. Now, the Packers boast one of the better secondaries in the league, and they held Jefferson to six receptions on 11 targets in January. Earlier in the season, though, Jefferson caught eight of 10 targets for 169 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers. O’Connell will likely be more creative with how he gets the ball to Jefferson this season. Giddy up.

Other Options – Davante Adams ($8,100), Ja’Marr Chase ($7,100)


JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals, $5,200 – With the departure of Tyreek Hill ($6,800), Smith-Schuster becomes the number one wide receiver and second on the target totem pole behind Travis Kelce ($6,600). Last season, defenses blitzed less and played more coverage. That fits perfectly with Smith-Schuster, as the 6’ 1” 215-pound frame is able to shield defenders for contested catches in the short to intermediate zones. Back in 2018, Smith-Schuster caught 111 of 166 targets for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. He had a nine-touchdown game in 2020. He now has Patrick Mahomes ($7,700) throwing him the ball. One plus one equals two.

Other Options – Adam Thielen ($5,400), Elijah Moore ($5,100), Rashod Bateman ($5,300), Kadarius Toney ($4,100), Chase Claypool ($5,000), Chris Olave ($4,500), Jahan Dotson ($3,400), Wan’Dale Robinson ($3,000), Randall Cobb ($3,400)

Tight End


Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals, $6,600 – The number one receiving threat for Mahomes in the highest total on the slate? Please and thank you. Whether the Cardinals play coverage or blitz, which they did at the fourth-highest rate last season, Kelce should exploit both man coverage and seams in any zone defense. Last season, Kelce had four single-digit DKFP games. In the others, he went over 20 DKFP eight times with a high of 44.1. He caught 118 of 166 targets for 1,466 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Other Options – Mark Andrews ($6,800)


Brevin Jordan, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts, $3,100 – Jordan was fourth on the tight end depth chart last season, playing in a total of 232 snaps and receiving 28 targets. He now sits atop the depth chart and is in a fantastic spot in Week 1. The Colts allowed the second-most fantasy points on average to the tight end position due to their heavy usage of Cover 2. The Colts will likely put up points against a porous Texans defense and they are favored by seven points on the road. That should shift the focus to the passing attack for the Texans, with Jordan possibly receiving plenty of looks.

Other Options – Irv Smith Jr. ($3,400)

Defense/Special Teams


49ers DST at Chicago Bears, $4,100 – The 49ers were second in rush defense DVOA last season. They were also fifth in adjusted sack rate. The Bears have the 31st-ranked offensive line according to PFF. Ruh roh. San Francisco has plenty of experience against mobile quarterbacks as Russell Wilson used to cause havoc in the division. Last season, San Francisco faced Chicago and limited them to 148 yards passing, although Chicago racked up 176 yards on the ground. The 49ers intercepted one pass and accumulated four sacks. DK Sportsbook has the 49ers favored by seven points on the road, so the Bears will likely be chasing points and have to drop back more than they want to.

Other Options – New Orleans DST ($3,700), Cincinnati DST ($3,600)


Commanders DST vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $2,500 – Washington was 11th in adjusted sack rate last season while the Jaguars have the 26th-best offensive line according to PFF. Now, the Jaguars should be an improved offense after their Urban Meyer debacle. That said, they only scored 27 total touchdowns last season, so they have their work cut out for them. Washington is exploitable in the secondary, so the Jaguars may view this as the path of least resistance. That’s good for fantasy because more opportunities for sacks and interceptions.

Other Option – Miami DST ($2,600)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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