Do you smell that? That is the glorious smell of NFL football coming back into our lives. We are now just weeks away from Week 1, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football to kick things off. But on the following Sunday, DraftKings has already released the prices for players that will take part in the first main slate of the season.
Here at FakeTeams.com, we will have a weekly article discussing the best stacks and players to avoid in NFL DFS. However, for this article, I wanted to give everyone an early look at some stacks that could be worth considering in Week 1. It’s easy to say that you should insert Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce into your lineups and see yourself in the green, so I refrained from listing obvious choices. With that out of the way, let’s get to discussing a few of the (mostly) affordable stacks that could explode in Week 1.
All the prices listed in this article are courtesy of DraftKings.
PHI @ ATL: Jalen Hurts ($6,400), DeVonta Smith ($4,500), Dallas Goedert ($4,800)
We got a small sample size of what the offense of the Philadelphia Eagles looks like when Jalen Hurts is operating it. Hurts replaced Carson Wentz for the final four games of the 2020 season and produced 26.5 fantasy points per game on DraftKings. It remains to be seen if Hurts can evolve his game into being a franchise quarterback, but he should have no trouble with the defense of the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1. While Hurts has to develop as a passer, what makes him such an intriguing quarterback in fantasy football is his ability to run the ball.
One player who should aid Hurts in improving through the air is rookie first-round pick, DeVonta Smith. The reigning Heisman winner is expected to leap to No. 1 wide receiver status on the Eagles in his first season. Smith’s ability to create separation is much better than the other wideouts on the roster, making him someone that Hurts is going to like immediately. For a cheap price of $4,500, you can stack Smith with Hurts against a below-average secondary of the Falcons. This may be one of the only weeks we get Smith for under $5,000 if he performs well in Week 1. I also don’t mind switching out Smith for either Jalen Reagor ($3,700) or even Quez Watkins ($3,000) as he could be a nice low-owned wideout.
Another pass-catcher that is expected to see an expanded role for the Eagles is Dallas Goedert. Even though Zach Ertz remains on the roster, Goedert should surpass the veteran in snaps this season. While injuries limited Goedert to 11 games in 2020, he averaged 8.75 yards per target (6th best among TEs) and he produced 10.6 fantasy points per game (8th best among TEs). Using Goedert in your lineups could differentiate you from those that plug-and-play Kelce.
ATL vs. PHI: Matt Ryan ($6,000), Mike Davis ($5,400), Calvin Ridley ($7,900)
The new-look offense of the Falcons is going to go as far as Matt Ryan can take them. Julio Jones is no longer in Atlanta’s offense as Ryan will now be running an offense that is orchestrated by Arthur Smith. Ryan isn’t going to bring much of anything on the ground, but he should have no issues airing it out versus the Eagles. The veteran quarterback recorded 19.5 fantasy points per game on DraftKings in 2020. If you can’t tell already, the showdown between Philadelphia and Atlanta is one of my favorite games to target in Week 1.
Todd Gurley is no longer the No. 1 running back on the Falcons. With Gurley no longer being in the mix, veteran Mike Davis will handle the reins in Atlanta after making the most of his opportunities with the Carolina Panthers in 2020. Davis should begin the season with plenty of touches in the offense, making him a possible bargain at $5,400 in Week 1. His ability to contribute as a receiver is another reason why he could bring massive value at his affordable price.
Calvin Ridley stepped into the No. 1 wide receiver role for the Falcons in 2020 amid injury issues for Jones. Ridley didn’t disappoint as he exploded for 20.4 fantasy points per game on DraftKings. Seeing that there isn’t anyone that should clearly compete for targets at the wide receiver position with Ridley, he is primed for another stellar campaign in 2021. Other pieces that you could insert into a Falcons stack are Kyle Pitts ($4,400) and Russell Gage ($5,300).
JAC @ HOU: Trevor Lawrence ($6,200), James Robinson ($6,400), Marvin Jones Jr. ($3,600)
The offense of the Jacksonville Jaguars hasn’t looked exactly like a high-octane group with the arrival of Trevor Lawrence. There have been flashes of his strong arm, but the offense as a whole has looked out of sorts. However, Lawrence will luck out by drawing the Houston Texans in Week 1. Even while I’m skeptical of Urban Meyer panning out as a head coach in the NFL, facing the Texans is one way to make yourself look good to begin the season. Lawrence could have a remarkable debut against Houston as he could give us some rushing numbers that make him one of the top performers based on his price.
It is unfortunate to see Travis Etienne go down with a season-ending injury before he got to make his regular-season debut with the Jaguars. While we hope Etienne comes back stronger in 2022, James Robinson will now be the lead back in Jacksonville for the second straight season. Robinson notched 18.8 fantasy points per game on DraftKings last season and he surprisingly combined for only 26.9 points in his two games versus the Texans in 2020. This time around, I expect a much better performance from Robinson as he enters his second year in the NFL.
You could pick any three of the top wide receivers on the Jaguars for this stack and I wouldn't argue against it. D.J. Chark ($5,800) could be a nice vertical threat for Lawrence and Laviska Shenault ($5,000) could see his role expanded due to the injury to Etienne. But with Marvin Jones Jr. being the cheapest of the bunch, he could return the most points per dollar at the wide receiver position for Jacksonville. Inserting Jones into your lineups could allow you to fit some of the more expensive pieces in Week 1.
CAR vs. NYJ: Sam Darnold ($5,000), Christian McCaffrey ($9,500), D.J. Moore ($6,100)
There is nothing like a revenge game in Week 1, as Sam Darnold will have his chance to get back at the New York Jets. Darnold spent the first three seasons of his career with the Jets before they traded him to the Carolina Panthers. Seeing how things went in New York, though, he should be thanking the Jets for a change of scenery. Now, Darnold will get an opportunity to show what he has in Joe Brady’s offense with an assortment of weapons. With New York’s defense needing time to adjust to Robert Saleh’s system, I don’t mind taking a flier on Darnold for $5,000.
Upon returning from an ankle injury that cost him 13 games in 2020, Christian McCaffrey is still viewed as the consensus No. 1 running back in fantasy football. As long as McCaffrey is a full-go in Week 1, Darnold should target the dual-threat back often as he gets acclimated to a new offense. What makes McCaffrey such an easy choice is his heavy usage on the ground and through the air. I believe the Panthers want to ensure that McCaffrey is back to being a focal point of their offense in Week 1 versus the Jets.
You won’t find many people who are bigger fans of D.J. Moore than yours truly. Moore is an absolute stud and he’s produced impressive numbers on the Panthers despite inadequate play from his quarterbacks. As sad as it sounds, Darnold could be the best quarterback he has played with, especially since Cam Newton was dealing with injuries when he was playing with Moore. New York’s secondary is littered with inexperienced players that Moore should be able to take advantage of. Robby Anderson ($5,700) is also now reunited with Darnold, so there’s definitely an argument to use him over Moore in Week 1. Other names to consider are Terrace Marshall Jr. ($3,000) and Dan Arnold ($2,600).
What stacks are you guys liking at first glance in Week 1?