It’s that time of year where you put your bats and gloves away in favor of a helmet and shoulder pads, making the switch from MLB DFS to NFL DFS. I’m not going to hate on those that still choose to take part in MLB DFS, but why not do both? On the DraftKings side of things, I’ve already pinpointed a few value stacks that are being gifted to us in Week 1. While I still like the stacks I’ve already laid out, there are other players I’m liking in the first week of action in the NFL.
I could stand up here — more like sit on my couch and write — to tell you that you should insert Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen in at quarterback in your lineups. Or perhaps I could discuss how Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara are worthy plays in NFL DFS. What good am I doing by listing the obvious choices at each position? In an attempt to help you find other options at each position, I’ve refrained from using the premier names at each position as they are always in play, regardless of the matchup. With that out of the way, let’s dive into what players you should consider at each position on DraftKings' main slate in Week 1.
Quarterbacks to target
Ryan Tannehill ($6,500) vs. Arizona Cardinals
One of the highest over/unders in Week 1 comes in the game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans. While I do like Kyler Murray ($7,600) in this game, Ryan Tannehill shouldn’t be forgotten as a viable choice. Tannehill now has Julio Jones in an offense that already features A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry. The Cardinals/Titans contest is one of my favorites to stack this week.
Jalen Hurts ($6,400) @ Atlanta Falcons
Running quarterbacks always give us a safe floor, and Jalen Hurts should give us exactly that in Week 1. Hurts is now the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles and he faces the Atlanta Falcons to begin the season. Atlanta’s defense surrendered the seventh-most rushing yards and the third-most rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in 2020. Hurts could end up being the best points-per-dollar option at quarterback in Week 1.
Other QBs to consider: Trevor Lawrence ($6,200) @ Houston Texans, Matt Ryan ($6,000) vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Sam Darnold ($5,000) vs. New York Jets
Running backs to target
Joe Mixon ($6,200) vs. Minnesota Vikings
I’ve screamed from the rooftops this offseason about how much of a fan I am of Joe Mixon in 2021. Mixon should thrive for the Cincinnati Bengals this season, especially with a quarterback in Joe Burrow who is easing back into the swing of things following a serious knee ailment. Even though I expect Mike Zimmer’s defense to be better this season, Mixon should have no trouble paying off his discounted price against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1.
Chase Edmonds ($4,600) @ Tennessee Titans
There aren’t many players in the matchup between the Cardinals and the Titans that I don’t like. Yes, James Conner could be annoying by stealing touchdowns in the red zone to begin the season, but Chase Edmonds is the superior talent. Edmonds is a much better receiver and I expect Murray to target him often in what could be a shootout in Tennessee. It’s not going to take much for Edmonds to return value on DraftKings at only $4,600.
Other RBs to consider: Antonio Gibson ($5,900) vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Raheem Mostert ($5,800) @ Detroit Lions, Javonte Williams ($4,000) @ New York Giants
Wide Receivers to target
D.J. Chark ($5,800), Laviska Shenault ($5,000), Marvin Jones Jr. ($3,700) @ Houston Texans
I was trying to decide which wide receiver from the Jacksonville Jaguars I wanted to list here, and I ended up listing all of them. When I make my lineups this weekend, I’ll have exposure to D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones Jr. as they face a Houston Texans team that just traded away their best cornerback in Bradley Roby. If you forced me to pick between the three, Jones would be my choice since he’s mispriced on DraftKings.
Corey Davis ($4,900) @ Carolina Panthers
While it was tough for me to determine who I liked the most on the Jaguars, it’s easy for me to decide who my favorite wideout is from the New York Jets. The Jets paid Corey Davis to be their No. 1 wide receiver, and in the preseason, rookie Zach Wilson made a concerted effort to target the former first-round pick. This could easily be the last week we see Davis have a price tag that is below $5,000 on DraftKings. Elijah Moore is also worth considering, especially if Jamison Crowder is limited in any way.
Other WRs to consider: Devonta Smith ($4,500) @ Atlanta Falcons, Christian Kirk ($4,500) @ Tennessee Titans, Michael Pittman Jr. ($4,100) vs. Seattle Seahawks, Marquez Callaway ($3,400) vs. Green Bay Packers
Tight Ends to target
Kyle Pitts ($4,400) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
I almost feel like I’m doing exactly what I said I wasn’t going to do in the introduction of this article. Listing Kyle Pitts seems like an easy way out as he’ll be high-owned in Week 1, but it’s hard not to like him at his current price point. Following the departure of Jones, Pitts has a legitimate chance to be the de facto No. 2 wide receiver in Atlanta’s offense. With the Falcons being in a possible high-scoring game versus the Eagles, I’ll take Pitts as a value option at tight end.
Jonnu Smith ($4,100) vs. Miami Dolphins
The New England Patriots named rookie Mac Jones the starting quarterback over Cam Newton in 2021, giving a boost to the pass-catching options in the offense. Even Damien Harris should benefit from Newton being released, as he’ll have more goal-line opportunities. But in the passing game, Jonnu Smith is set up to have the best year of his career as long as he can remain healthy. Smith is going to be utilized in a variety of ways and we don’t need much from him to pay off his price tag on DraftKings.
Other TEs to consider: Anthony Firkser ($3,200) vs. Arizona Cardinals, Jordan Akins ($3,000) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Dan Arnold ($2,600) vs. New York Jets
DEF/STs to target
Broncos ($3,300) @ New York Giants
The Denver Broncos have put together a daunting defense since Vic Fangio took over in 2020. Besides the return of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, the Broncos now have a secondary that features Kyle Fuller, Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Darby, Kareem Jackson, and Justin Simmons. Denver’s defense gets to face a shaky offensive line of the New York Giants and a quarterback who is prone to making mistakes in Daniel Jones in Week 1.
Washington ($3,200) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Don’t get me wrong, I believe Justin Herbert is going to have another fantastic season for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021. However, the second-year quarterback draws the Washington Football Team defense that is littered with talent on all three levels. Being able to get one of the premier defenses in the NFL for $3,200 seems like something I want to take advantage of.