NFL DFS value picks for Week 1


Week 1 of the NFL (and fantasy football) season is here, and preparation for DFS is taking up everyone’s entire week. Value is always something we are looking for, but I will say, it likely won’t be easier to find than in Week 1, because the pricing has been out for over a month now. As a result, there are a ton of tremendous value plays on this slate, allowing you to seemingly play whoever you want to start the season.

Here are some of the top DFS values for Week 1.



Quarterback | Week 1 DFS values

Sam Darnold is a cheap DFS option in his revenge game

$5,000, DraftKings

Many people are expecting Sam Darnold to finally have a breakout season in his first year in Carolina, and he finds himself in a great spot to get off to a terrific start. Darnold hosts the New York Jets, his former team, in Week 1 — revenge narratives aside, this is simply a very favorable matchup. Over the last few seasons, the Jets have been one of the premiere pass-funnel defenses in all of football, meaning they can shut down the run but give it up through the air. That was certainly the case in 2020, as just over 71% of the yardage allowed by the Jets last season came through the air, which was a top-five rate in football. Meanwhile, 64.1% of the touchdowns allowed by this defense came via the pass, the seventh-highest rate in the league. Only the Lions allowed more passing touchdowns per game than the Jets’ 2.1 last year, while their 79.4% adjusted completion rate ranked third-worst. At just $5,000 on DK, Darnold is the third-cheapest starting quarterback on the slate and looking his way will allow you to spend up on Christian McCaffrey and other elite players. 

Trevor Lawrence’s debut makes for a DFS value play

$6,800, FanDuel

I have a feeling we’ll be targeting the Texans quite a bit this season, and it starts with Jacksonville’s potentially exciting offense. Trevor Lawrence is a bit more expensive on DK, but over on FanDuel, the rookie signal caller is priced as the QB18, presenting a very nice value. While the Jaguars’ offense hasn’t looked amazing during the preseason, a matchup with the Texans can right the ship. Last season, Houston surrendered 2.70 points per drive (third most), as well as the second-most yards per drive (39.7). Houston also only generated pressure 21.5% of the time, the seventh-lowest rate in the league, and now J.J. Watt is in Arizona. 

Running back | Week 1 DFS values

Najee Harris is an affordable DFS option

$6,300, DraftKings

Najee Harris is legitimately one of my top plays of the entire slate this weekend, especially in tournaments. Based off the first-round selection and preseason usage, Harris is a serious candidate to compete for the league-lead in touches as a rookie. Despite not playing a single snap yet, Harris is nearly $1,000 too cheap on DraftKings, in my opinion, simply based on the expected opportunity. Buffalo isn’t an awful matchup either, as they have struggled against the run in the past. Getting interior defensive lineman Star Lotulelei back should help but the Bills play a lot of nickel defense, which means plenty of corners, which can lead to missed tackles. In fact, Buffalo finished sixth in football in missed tackles a season ago (125). Harris is going to see 20-25 touches with upside of six or seven catches, especially against a zone-heavy Bills defense.

James Robinson is suddenly a DFS value

$5,900, FanDuel

We’re going right back to the Texans, y’all. James Robinson finds himself in a tremendous spot to begin the season. Houston was a laughable run defense last year, and I don’t expect much to change in 2021. 38.5% of the yardage surrendered by Houston came via the run, the second-highest rate in football, while 43.6% of the touchdowns against the Texans came on the ground (fourth worst). Meanwhile, the Texans allowed the most yards after contact per rush in 2020 (3.56), while missing the sixth-most tackles in football. Robinson isn’t going to see the opportunity share he saw a season ago, and Carlos Hyde is going to get some touches. But against the Texans, 15-18 touches are more than enough for Robinson to have a great game. 

Wide receiver | Week 1 DFS values

Tee Higgins is still the DFS play at receiver in Cincinnati

$4,700, DraftKings

This is an absurdly low price tag on Tee Higgins — to be honest, the entire Cincinnati offense is very affordable. I am expecting a breakout sophomore campaign from Higgins this season after a productive rookie year in 2020. Higgins gets Joe Burrow back, which is going to go a long way towards his production. Last season, Higgins’ numbers really took a hit when Burrow was out of the lineup, and even though Ja’Marr Chase is now in Cincinnati, this Bengals offense was second in football in passing attempts per game during Burrow’s 11 healthy weeks. Per the FTN Daily splits tool, take a look at the difference in Higgins’ numbers with Burrow in and out of the lineup last year. 

As you can see, in the six games Higgins played without Burrow, his receiving yards per game dropped from 69.8 to 46.5. He also averaged nearly two more targets per game alongside Burrow. However, during the stretch with Burrow sidelined, Higgins was fantasy’s WR40, averaging just over 10.6 PPR points per game. He also only saw two end zone targets during that stretch, as the Bengals offense struggled to move the ball with Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley under center. But in the weeks where Burrow was starting for the Bengals, Higgins was the WR26 in fantasy, averaging over 13 fantasy points per game, and keep in mind that he only played 22% of the snaps in Week 1. Higgins also only had six deep targets with Burrow out of the lineup compared to a league-leading 22 during the 10 weeks alongside Burrow.

Rondale Moore is another rookie DFS value

$4,900, FanDuel

Most of the rookie wide receivers are very cheap in Week 1, and that includes Rondale Moore. This game between the Titans and Cardinals is one you are going to want to stack, as it features teams that were third and first in no-huddle rate a season ago. Meanwhile, both secondaries are very, very weak. Moore isn’t going to see an insane target share with DeAndre Hopkins there, but we’ve already seen how the Cardinals plan on using him. During the preseason, Arizona manufactured touches for Moore, whether that be off screens, jet sweeps, etc. And screens are a huge part of this offense, as quarterback Kyler Murray was inside the top-seven in pass attempts off screens a season ago. Moore is going to get highly convertible targets, and while the aDOT will be low, he has the ability to break one, especially in a great matchup.

(Join this FREE contest at DraftKings Sportsbook to earn your share of $20,000.)

Tight end | Week 1 DFS values

Tyler Kroft is a sneaky DFS value play

$2,500, DraftKings

Tyler Kroft had already been running with the Jets’ first-team offense more often than Christopher Herndon, but with Herndon now in Minnesota, Kroft is the unquestioned starting tight end. And yes, he isn’t the most exciting player in the world, but Kroft is going to play snaps and run routes, which is really all that matters for tight ends, especially when you are looking down this far at the position. Corey Davis projects to be the top target in this offense but would it shock anyone if Kroft was second? Jamison Crowder is questionable to play in this game, and while Elijah Moore is talented, he is a rookie who missed time during the preseason. 

Jonnu Smith could be a big DFS performer in his New England debut

$4,900, FanDuel

Jonnu Smith is the TE19 on FanDuel in terms of pricing, which is absurd. We know the Patriots are going to heavily feature the tight ends in their passing game and Smith is extremely versatile. He is still arguably the best tight end in football when it comes to yards after the catch, and the Patriots could give him a few carries per game, especially from inside the 5-yard line. This isn’t an exceptional matchup or anything, but I just believe that Smith is too cheap given his talent and opportunity in this offense.

Previous On The Bump – MLB DFS Pitching Picks (9/8) Next WNBA DFS picks for Wednesday, September 8