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Fantasy Football Picks: Top DraftKings NFL DFS Value Plays for Week 1

Steve Buchanan gives his top value plays at each position for Sunday’s main DraftKings NFL slate.

Los Angeles Chargers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

We can all figure out who the studs are on a football slate. No one has to go out of their way to tell you to play Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen on a particular slate. What really takes the effort is combing through the player pool and figuring out who are some of the best values on the board ahead of the Sunday slate. That’s what we’ll do in this piece each and every week. I’ll help you save some salary while hopefully not skimping on the fantasy production.

Let’s get into some of the best value plays at each position for the Week 1 main slate on DraftKings.

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Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, $5,300 — Ok, so, I THINK we’re ready for Winston. We got the LASIK surgery done, so now he can see. That’s very important. The ACL is healed, that’s very important. The Saints have some weapons at his disposal, that’s very important. All the things you could consider important, seemingly are ready to go. That’s important.

Winston draws a favorable matchup against what was one of the worst secondaries in the league last season. The Falcons addressed that by adding veteran Casey Hayward Jr. Nice! We like the effort, especially for someone who was targeted against 59 times and allowed 39 receptions for a grand total of 388 yards. That was one of the lowest in the league amongst qualified corners. That said, he’s getting up there in age (in football terms) and is now 33 years old. According to social media, that means he’s probably dust. In all seriousness, it’s a good upgrade but the secondary as a unit will still continue to struggle against opposing offenses.

With Michael Thomas ($5,700), Jarvis Landry ($5,000) and rookie Chris Olave ($4,500) at his disposal, the Saints provide a very affordable stacking option. While the Saints don’t have a strong offensive line to protect Winston, the Falcons could feature one of the worst pass rushes in the league. Last season with a clean pocket, Winston completed 73 of his 103 pass attempting for a 71% completion rate, five touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Other Option – Matt Ryan ($5,500) vs. HOU

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Running Back

J.D. McKissic, Washington Commanders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $5,100 — Much as been said about what Antonio Gibson’s ($5,800) role will look like when this game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET. I mean when the team is making you their primary kick returner, that usually isn’t a good sign for your role the rest of the way. Regardless, McKissic should be in line for enough work to make him worth this $5,100 salary. While he’s not overly effective on the ground and this isn’t a team you’re looking to run against anyways, McKissic should get some looks through the air. He averaged over four targets per game and had 397 receiving yards through 12 games. If the Commanders get down in this game, McKissic could be relied upon and grab us some easy PPR points.

Other Options – AJ Dillon ($5,300) vs. MIN

Wide Receiver


Kadarius Toney, New York Giants at Tennessee Titans, $4,100 — After coming off the Giants injury report on Wednesday, Toney is officially ready to go in Week 1. After undergoing a minor knee procedure and a hamstring issue, Toney should be good to go in a good matchup against the Titans. Despite only taking the field for 10 games last season, Toney quickly racked up 39 receptions for 420 yards. Toney has a legitimate chance of being the WR1 of this team, if he can stay healthly. The news about Kennny Golladay ($4,800) have been anything but positive and ESPN’s Jordan Raanan even was quoted as saying that Golladay “has been running routes this summer with the stiffness of a mannequin.”

Toney lined up all over the field last season, so he should see a healthy amount of all the Titans corners. Toney did play over 62% of his snaps out of the slot last season, which would line him up against rookie Roger McCreary out of Auburn. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Giants are 5.5 point dogs in this game, which bodes well for Daniel Jones ($5,000) to be throwing early and often in this game. With Brian Daboll saying multiple times during the offseason that he wants Jones to “cut it loose,” that could mean good things for guys like Toney. That is, of course, if Jones isn’t turning the ball over.

Other Options – JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,200) vs. ARI

Tight End

Irv Smith Jr, Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers, $3,400 – The Packers may not have any receivers but they certainly have some cornerbacks! Against a secondary that was covering at an elite level last season, Smith Jr. could be someone that Kirk Cousins ($6,100) looks toward to avoid those tough matchups. Last season, this was an area opposing teams were able to exploit, as the Packers allowed an average of 13.4 DKFP, 51 receiving yards and a total of eight touchdowns to the position. Smith Jr missed the entire 2021 season after undergoing meniscus surgery but is back and ready to go. While expectations should be tempered with his being his first game back since the finale of 2020, he could easily pay off this salary with the upside he possess.

Other Options – Cole Kmet ($3,700) vs. SF

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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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