After months of researching, many were humbled after Week 1 of the NFL season. Sample sizes are small when it comes to researching the NFL and there’s so much variance, but we make do with what we have. Here are my studs and values for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, $7,200 — There are plenty of quarterbacks to like this weekend. Russell Wilson ($7,500), Dak Prescott ($6,800) and Aaron Rodgers ($6,600) stand out. Wilson may be my favorite, but I think ownership is going to be very high on him. Because of recency bias, I’m writing up Allen. Wilson looked amazing last week vs. the Colts while Allen struggled vs. the Steelers. In addition, the Dolphins are a tougher matchup than the Titans, and the implied total is four points lower for the Bills than the Seahawks. That said, Allen has feasted on the Dolphins in his career, going over 30 DKFP four times, with a high of 41.46. In two meetings last season, he went for 37.48 and 20.26 DKFP. Allen attempted 51 passes last week and rushed nine times for 44 yards. The 51 attempts were the fourth-most in Week 1 while the nine rushing attempts were tied for 32nd among all skill players. That kind of usage is hard to match, and I like him to bounce back in a big way this week.
Other Option – Russell Wilson ($7,500)
Mac Jones, New England Patriots at New York Jets, $5,400 — There’s a chance the Patriots just pound the Jets into submission on the ground since New York had the third-worst rush defense rating according to PFF. That said, they also had the second-worst coverage rating in the secondary. In his first game as a professional, Jones attempted 39 passes and completed 29 of them for 281 yards and one touchdown. And that was against a Dolphins defense that has an excellent secondary and posted the sixth-best coverage score. Jones looks polished and he doesn’t look to be the stereotypical game manager. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jones threw three touchdowns in this one.
Other Option – Justin Herbert ($6,700)
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans, $7,800 — Chubb is one of the best pure runners in the league. Unfortunately, his floor and upside are capped due to limited involvement in the passing game and the presence of Kareem Hunt. That said, the matchup vs. the Texans is an ideal spot for him. The Browns opened as 11.5-point favorites, and that line has been bet up to 12.5. In his career, there have been three games in which the Browns have been favored by double digits. He’s scored 16.5, 28.4 and 19.8 DKFP in those contests. PFF graded the Browns with the best run-blocking unit in Week 1 while the Texans had the fourth-worst rush defense.
Other Options – Alvin Kamara ($8,800)
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $6,300 – Harris garnered a 100% snap share in Week 1. He is the guy at running back for the Steelers and is just too cheap for his role. The Raiders had the seventh-worst rush defense according to PFF in Week 1, and Harris could get going after being stymied by the Bills last Sunday. The Steelers are projected for a healthy 26.25 points, so there are opportunities for fantasy goodies. In addition, Pittsburgh is favored by 5.5 points, so there’s a good chance the Steelers control the action, which should be of benefit to Harris. Regardless, even if the Raiders are able to puncture the Steelers curtain, Harris will be involved in the passing game, and the Raiders defense, while showing improvement in Week 1, is still vulnerable.
Other Options – Joe Mixon ($7,000)
Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, $7,700 — I’m going right back to the well — I had the Allen-Diggs stack written up last week. Allen threw 51 times while Diggs caught nine of 14 targets. The Steelers were stingy on defense, and the Dolphins have an excellent secondary. But they play a ton of man defense while the Steelers are primarily a zone defense team. Diggs shreds man defense, and in two games against Miami last season, he went 8-for-13 for 153 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting, then 7-for-8 and 76 yards in the last game of the season that the Bills won 56-26. We cannot predict touchdowns, so all we can anchor down to is volume. The Bills are going to pass a ton, with Diggs being the leader of the receiving crew. Last season, he was second in target share percentage at 29.7%, and all indications have that being the status quo. Why wouldn’t it be?
Other Options – DK Metcalf ($7,600)
KJ Hamler, Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars, $3,800 – With Jerry Jeudy out for a while, Hamler will see an increase in playing time. He was in on 36% of the snaps last week, and that number could double. He received four targets, and that number should go up, as well. The Broncos are six-point favorites vs. the Jaguars, so it could be more of a ground-and-pound game. That said, Teddy Bridgewater still attempted 38 passes last week in a game the Broncos won comfortably. According to PFF, the Jaguars had the second-lowest pass rush score and seventh-worst coverage score. Hamler has 4.32 40-yard dash and can score from anywhere on the field. The floor is low, but the upside is immense.
Other Options – Cedrick Wilson ($3,100)
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $5,200 – His price has increased $800 from last week. The Bucs have an excellent defense. Pitts only put up 7.1 DKFP in Week 1. Hopefully, the recency bias keeps his ownership down because the price is too cheap for his role. He received eight targets last week and is the clear No. 2 receiver for the Falcons. The Bucs are going to score a ton of points in this one — Vegas has them projected for a whopping 32 points. It’s very tough to run vs. the Bucs, which is why the Cowboys went away from Ezekiel Elliott last week, so Matt Ryan is going to have to throw, then throw, then throw some more. A double-digit target game wouldn’t surprise me for Pitts in this one. How many tight ends can you say that about?
Other Options – George Kittle ($6,400)
Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Dallas Cowboys, $3,900 – This game has the highest total on the slate at 55.5 points. The Chargers opened up at 27.5 points but have been bet up to 29.25. And for good reason: the Cowboys defense stinks. Against tight ends last season, they were 29th in pass defense DVOA. They are dead-last this season after Rob Gronkowski smashed them for eight catches, 90 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 1, Cook garnered eight targets and caught five of them for 56 yards. The price, opportunity and game environment are too juicy to ignore this week.
Other Options – Noah Fant ($4,200)
Patriots DST at New York Jets, $3,700 – I think most will go to Denver or Washington this week, both of which are fine plays, but I try to stay off high-owned defenses because of the huge variance at the position. Did you see what the Panthers defense did to Zach Wilson and the Jets last week? Bill Belichick usually feasts on rookie quarterbacks to begin with, so it could get ugly for the Jets in this one. There’s a chance at a big game from this defense at what should be much lower ownership.
Other Option – Buccaneers ($4,100)
Steelers DST vs Las Vegas Raiders, $3,000 – The Raiders had an emotional win in their Las Vegas opener. Now they have to travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. Things are going to get very tough as the Ravens exposed some weaknesses in the Raiders' offensive line. That’s not good since the Steelers boast one of the best defenses in the league and are excellent at generating pressure. According to PFF, the Steelers had the second-best pass-rush score and third-best rush defense. The Raiders were middle of the pack in pass blocking. Las Vegas wants to run the ball, but they’ll have a difficult time doing that this weekend, forcing them to be one-dimensional. That’s not a recipe of success for Derek Carr and the passing game. In addition, the Steelers will likely be putting up points against a much-improved, yet still susceptible Raiders defense, so there should be plenty of opportunities for sacks and turnovers. The Najee Harris/PIT D is one of my favorite correlated plays this weekend.
Other Option – Saints DST ($3,100)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is steveazors) 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 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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