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Fantasy Football Picks Today: 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.

NFL: Preseason-Baltimore Ravens at Washington Commanders Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Our palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. It’s like we’re back as teenagers, wanting to kiss Jennie or Jerry. Back to the days when we were much less hairy. But now it’s on. Because the NFL season has once again spawned. All offseason we’ve been preparing and prepping as if living in Taiwan. Soon we will be exposed as being a regular ole John or one who ran roughshod over the DFS streets like Genghis Khan. Ahhh, Week One. What a glorious time. As it’s the first slate for us to glitter and shine. And my first opportunity to babble and rhyme. Good luck this week. Hopefully, I can dish out a few dimes so that you can be primed and ready to vault to the stratosphere like Mina Kimes.

On DraftKings Sportsbook, there is one game with a total of at least 50 points: MIA/LAC (51). Two games have a total below 40: ARI/WAS (38) and CAR/ATL (39.5). There is one double-digit favorite: BAL -10 over HOU. Five games are within a field goal: SF -2.5 over PIT, NO -3 over TEN, CIN -2.5 over CLE, LAC -3 over MIA and CHI -1 over GB. PIT, IND, CLE and NE are home dogs.

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]



Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans, $8,000 — There are plenty of good options at quarterback this week, and Jackson is the highest-priced on the slate. As a result, it wouldn’t surprise me if his ownership is subdued a bit. If the masses flock to Jackson, though, then I’d pivot to someone else. That said, the floor/ceiling combo is mighty enticing to me.

The Ravens are at home and favored by 10 points. The defense should be able to generate plenty of extra possessions facing a rookie quarterback. If CJ Stroud ($5,400) can do things, that’s even better as it would force Jackson to remain aggressive. The likely scenario, though, is that the Ravens will be in control and Jackson should get plenty of opportunities to do his thing.

Todd Monken is implementing a more fast-paced, pass-first, spread-it-out offense this season. While the Texans should be improved on defense with the hiring of DeMeco Ryans as head coach and the selection of Will Anderson Jr. to bolster the defensive line, this will likely be one of the poorer units in the league. This should be a good situation for Jackson and his bevy of weapons to remain aggressive and get high-value reps.

Other Options – Jalen Hurts ($7,800), Justin Herbert ($6,900), Tua Tagovailoa ($6,700)


Sam Howell, Washington Commanders vs. Arizona Cardinals, $4,900 — This game could be gross, as the 38.0 total indicates. The Cardinals are tanking for Caleb Williams and could be one of the most inept teams on both sides of the ball. So there is a risk that the Commanders get a lead and just pound the rock.

That said, Howell is the cheapest starter on the slate and he will likely get at least 30 dropbacks, if not more. He has rushing upside and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Commanders give Howell valuable game reps to develop and build chemistry with his receivers.

Other Options – Jordan Love ($5,000), Brock Purdy ($5,400), Anthony Richardson ($5,600)

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Running Back


Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $6,500 — Many will poo poo Mattison’s 4.67 40-time and label him as Mehttison. Sure, he may not be the most exciting running back in the league, but the Vikings let Dalvin Cook go and extended Mattison for two years and $7 million in the offseason. They trust him. Two seasons ago, Mattison made four starts. In three of those, he received over 20 carries, rushing for 112, 113 and 90 yards, and had games with eight and seven targets.

The Vikings are favored by 6 points at home against what could be a hapless Buccaneers team. Mattison should get the volume on the ground, should be involved in the passing game and should garner the goalline work.

Other Options – JK Dobbins ($6,600), Rhamondre Stevenson ($7,000), Nick Chubb ($8,200), Austin Ekeler ($8,400)


Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders vs. Arizona Cardinals, $5,100 – The issue with Robinson Jr. is that he likely won’t play on passing downs, as Antonio Gibson ($5,200) will likely handle all of that work. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem this week, as the Commanders host the Cardinals, who should be one of the most inept teams on both sides of the ball this season. DK Sportsbook has the Commanders favored by 7 points, so they should be in control most of the game. That means plenty of rushing attempts for the 6-foot-2, 224-pound Robinson Jr., who runs a 4.53 40-yard dash.

Other Options – Deon Jackson ($4,100), Kenneth Gainwell ($4,200), De’Von Achane ($4,900), Khalil Herbert ($5,300), Raheem Mostert ($5,400)

Wide Receiver


Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers, $8,200 — Last season, Hill was third in total targets with 170 and 10 per game. Justin Jefferson ($8,800) was first with 184 total and 10.8 per game. While I like Jefferson, the game environment might be a little better for Hill, as the total of 51 is the highest on the slate and the Miami/Los Angeles game has a good chance of being a back-and-forth affair. The same cannot be said for the Tampa Bay/Minnesota one.

Other Options – Justin Jefferson ($8,800), Davante Adams ($7,900), AJ Brown ($7,600), Keenan Allen ($7,300), Devonta Smith ($7,200), Jaylen Waddle ($7,100), DK Metcalf ($7,000), Tyler Lockett ($6,700), Christian Watson ($6,000)


Marvin Mims, Denver Broncos vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $3,000 – With the plethora of injuries to the wide receiver group of the Broncos, Mims should play a prominent role against the Raiders and be on the field a ton. The Raiders were good at limiting aDOT last season (7.1, tied for sixth-best), but Mims has blazing speed (4.38 40) and Sean Payton will drum up a few deep shots. Mims was the first selection of the Payton era, so they think highly of him. In addition, he’s priced at the minimum, should be on the field for most of the game, and can take one to the house on any play. The upside is too high for the expected playing time and price.

Other Options – Puka Nacua ($3,000), Alec Pierce ($3,800), Elijah Moore ($3,800), Zay Flowers ($4,000), Quentin Johnston ($4,400), Brandon Aiyuk ($4,900), Jahan Dotson ($5,000), Jordan Addison ($5,100), Drake London ($5,400), Mike Williams ($5,700)

Tight End


Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks, $4,800 – Cooper Kupp is out for this one, which would place Higbee as the defacto number one receiver for the Rams. Last season, he led the team with 108 targets, and he should get peppered plenty in this one. The matchup is a good one, as the Seahawks were generous to the tight end position last season. They allowed the 12th-most receptions, the most yards and seventh-most touchdowns to tight ends.

Other Options – Dallas Goedert ($5,000)


Cole Turner, Washington Commanders vs. Arizona Cardinals, $2,500 Turner is listed third on the depth chart, but there’s upside. He’s a former wide receiver and was a red-zone weapon last season. John Bates ($2,500) is more of a blocker. Eric Bienemy is the offensive coordinator and is bringing some of the concepts he learned from Andy Reid, primarily the utililization of the tight ends. The Chiefs used multiple tight ends on 40.7 percent of their plays last season. The matchup is a good one, as the Cardinals allowed the most receptions, touchdowns and second-most yards to the position.

Other Options – Mo Alie-Cox ($2,500), Logan Thomas ($3,200), Chig Okonkwo ($3,800), Juwan Johnson ($3,900)

Defense/Special Teams


Seahawks D/ST vs. Los Angeles Rams, $3,300 – According to PFF, the Rams have the 28th-best offensive line this season. They have to travel to Seattle, where the 12th man makes things incredibly difficult for opposing offenses, and they will be without their best receiver in Cooper Kupp. The Seahawks were middle-of-the-pack in pressure rate last season but still ended up with the ninth-most sacks in the league.

Other Options – Ravens D/ST ($4,000)


Commanders D/ST vs. Arizona Cardinals, $2,800 – The Cardinals have the 31st offensive line according to PFF. They will be starting Joshua Dobbs ($4,600). Enough said.

Other Options – Titans D/ST ($2,600)

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

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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.