SuperDraft NFL breakdown for Week 1


Welcome to the weekly breakdown for SuperDraft DFS Multiplier contests. 

Here’s a quick primer and strategy guide.

Each week, I’ll provide a slate overview and recommended plays at each position.



Early September is such a wonderful time of the year as we conclude weeks of drafting seasonal and best ball fantasy football squads and now turn our attention to DFS. I’m sure you were just as excited as I was to finally watch a game that counts on Thursday night. A sweet reminder of what’s in store for the next few months of fall and winter. 

Our Week 1 Sunday slate is chock full, with 13 games on the docket — nine in the early window and four late games, which start at the same time — 4:25 p.m. ET, 1:25 PT. Only two of the games have a Vegas total over 50 points — Cleveland Browns/Kansas City Chiefs opened at 52.5 and is now at 54.5, and Arizona Cardinals/Tennessee Titans opened at 51 and is now at 52. 

Both games have some intriguing players, but it is likely that some of the games with sloppier defenses that may garner more of our attention from a roster-percentage perspective. One game that sticks out on that front: the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Atlanta Falcons with 48 Vegas total and 3.5-point spread in favor of the hometown Falcons. 

Only one team on this slate is favored by more than a touchdown. That would be the San Francisco Giants (-7.5) in Detroit to face the Lions. The Niners boast a two-headed monster of Raheem Mostert and Trey Sermon and it’s highly likely that a mispriced rookie (2x multiplier) may end up as a popular option.

Let’s run through some of the best plays by position and finish things off with some stack options.

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Percentage of quarterbacks rostered in GPPs should be fairly spread out in Week 1, more than in future weeks this season. Sam Darnold sticks out a solid play this weekend for very straightforward reasons. He is facing his former team (Jets), with a bevy of phenomenal pass-catching weapons, the Jets’ secondary might be the league’s worst and their run defense tough to penetrate (even for a stud like Christian McCaffrey). The Jets supposed “best” cornerback (Blessuan Austin) was cut in the preseason, leaving an unknown group of undrafted rookies and Day 3 draft guys such as Jason Pinnock, Isaiah Dunn, Michael Carter II and Brandin Echols. The Panthers’ gameplan will be to throw, throw, throw. Sure, that will involve dumpoffs to CMC as well but at that 1.6x multiplier, it’s very tempting to lock Sammy D in as a GPP QB.

Jalen Hurts at 1.35x is another tempting play given his prowess with the ground game. In his three starts between Weeks 14 and 16 last season, Hurts averaged 79 rushing yards on 13 carries per game and in Week 17, ran in two touchdowns himself. The Falcons were the second-easiest team for opposing QBs to score fantasy points on last season and were bottom-eight in average QB rushing points allowed.

Joe Burrow and Baker Mayfield are both in play as well in possible close game shootouts. Because of the respect that the masses have for the Chiefs’ defense, Mayfield will probably fall in at rather low percentage overall (under 10). Burrow at his multiplier is tempting as his corps of wideouts are outstanding but I have some trepidation in his first pro game back since his gruesome injury, especially with the stout CB trio of Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland and Mackenzie Alexander on guard.

Kyler Murray is the guy I’d consider if paying down close to the 1.05x multiplier. It’s possible he runs a bit less this season but did amass nearly 900 yards on the ground and ranked second among QBs with 11 rushing touchdowns. The second highest Vegas total on the slate and this one could really turn into a barnburner.

Trevor Lawrence will be making his NFL debut as the No. 1 pick of the draft and is in a fantastic spot against arguably the league’s worst defense of the Texans. That said, it is much more likely that the Jaguars pound them into the ground with James Robinson and the running game.

This slate is truly wide open with plenty more options, but I didn’t want to list the whole league. If building multiple lineups, you can also consider Ryan Tannehill (Titans/1.35x), Zach Wilson (Jets, 1.65x) and Russell Wilson (Seahawks, 1.2x). Don’t judge me for not including Patrick Mahomes (1x) and Josh Allen (1.1x) in all of this.

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Running back

James Robinson shouldn’t be overlooked after finishing his rookie season as the RB7 overall and essentially having the Jacksonville backfield to himself. The multiplier is decent, but it’s mostly the matchup that’s clutch in Week 1. The Texans did little in the offseason to fix their league-worst run defense. Their run D was the only one in the league last year to allow more than 160 rushing yards per game. Moreover, they tied for the second-most rush TD allowed (24). Coach Urban Meyer is going to want to start his season off on the right track and that will be pounding JRob (as well as Carlos Hyde) on this unit. I don’t mind pairing him with Joe Mixon or one of the expensive guys (Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey for 1x) in GPPs and adding one of the high multiplier rookies in at flex. Mixon is one of the few backs in the league projected with a snap share over 80% and the Vikings’ run D was a bottom-10 unit last season.

Miles Sanders and Chase Edmonds are interesting GPP plays but probably better suited for full-PPR DFS contests. Both are extraordinary talents, but we were all frequently perplexed by Sanders’ lack of usage last season under coach Doug Pederson. A new regime is in the fold and hopefully they give Sanders the reigns to run wild. The Falcons’ lone strength on defense last year was stopping the run (sixth lowest YPG — 104.8) and the Eagles will likely mix in Boston Scott and rookie Kenneth Gainwell as well. Arizona’s Edmonds is the 1A to James Conner’s 1B, which is concerning as both Conner and QB Kyler Murray could usurp goal line carries from the talented back. I’d only deploy him if building more than five GPP lineups.

The Niners’ backs (Mostert/Sermon) have tremendous matchups as well as I’d expect many to lean towards the tempting 2x price of the rookie. I’ll likely mix both into my lineups and may even build a few GPPs with both (aka the Falcons’ Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman Special from a few years ago). The Lions served up a league-high 27 rushing scores last season.

Finally, talented rookie Javonte Williams has some appeal, but he’ll have to likely share the backfield with veteran back Melvin Gordon and the Giants’ run defense is among the league’s stingiest.

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Wide receiver

Core and cash plays

A solid group here with some clear matchup advantages for Panthers’ veterans Moore and Anderson. Both are dynamic field stretchers, though Anderson was utilized more on short and intermediate routes last year and proved to be a PPR monster, ending the season eighth in receptions (95) despite just three scores. Moore is expected to run more of those routes this season and this should be a nice start for this offense. The tough part is deciding between them. You could, of course, play them together with Darnold but then shouldn’t be surprised if rookie Terrace Marshall (2x multiplier) ended up with the big game. Marshall could certainly be deployed in multi-entry GPPs, but I’d still rather run with Moore and/or Anderson if just building a few.

Calvin Ridley is expected to be among the league’s most dominant receivers, and a date with the Eagles with most of Matt Ryan’s attention is a good place to start. Prefer his matchup a bit more than Bills’ Stefon Diggs. Diggs was the overall WR3 last season (Ridley the WR5) had quite the performance against the Steelers last December (10-130-1).

Michael Pittman should be popular because of the high multiplier, high level of talent and potential, and the fact that this offense is short on competent pass-catchers. Parris Campbell dealt with some minor recuring health issues last month after an injury-plagued 2020 and T.Y. Hilton is on IR. Texans’ Brandin Cooks is going to go completely overlooked in Week 1 because nobody wants to play a Texan. He’s the only we can stomach and could have one of the highest target shares on the slate in what will likely be a lot of pass attempts by QB Tyrod Taylor.

Laviska Shenault had a good showing in 2020 but many expect him to truly break out this season with stud rookie QB Trevor Lawrence at the helm. A tough spot because the Jags have three solid wideouts (with D.J. Chark and Marvin Jones) but Shenault’s price is nice. You could even play him with RB Robinson if you expect the Jags to put on a clinic. DK Metcalf is the other low-multiplier guy I’m interested in mostly because QB Russell Wilson really locks in on just two guys (Metcalf and Tyler Lockett). Lockett has a much tougher matchup against Colts’ slot corner Kenny Moore.

GPP plays

There are a million receivers to consider, but we really need to tighten our pool as much as possible if building 150-max. Sure, A.J. Brown should play Sunday and will probably be fine, but this might be a nice day for Julio Jones to make a new splash in his new uniform. If Brown’s knee is truly not 100%, it might be a good opportunity for Ryan Tannehill to lock in on Julio.

Cardinals’ rookie Rondale Moore is expected to be a low-aDOT possessions demon, which is great for PPR formats. At 2x and in a projected high-scoring matchup, he is certainly in the mix of consideration. Deebo Samuel listed as GPP-only because this Sunday’s date with the Lions will likely be a blowout and run-heavy. Corey Davis could cede alpha status to rookie Elijah Moore (1.75x) at some point this season but not this early on. The Panthers’ corners don’t match up well with either and we shouldn’t be shocked to see one of them go off. Moore is in consideration for multi-entry GPP’s for Jets-Panthers game stacks.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Donovan Peoples-Jones are quick field-stretchers who could be GPP mavens in any game. Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers and Valdes-Scantling have been working on timing and we could see that connection truly blossom this year. With Davante Adams busy with shadow coverage of Marshon Lattimore, the stage might be set for MVS to have a nice game. Peoples-Jones is the number-3 WR for the Browns with a similar skillset to Valdes-Scantling and he’s someone I’ve drafted in the latter rounds of many high-stakes seasonal teams. I will take his 1% of the field and hope he pays off my gut feeling of him in this possible shootout. 

Marquez Callaway will likely be tied up with one of the best corners in the league, Jaire Alexander, so it’s a possible fade spot for me despite him being the lead pass-catching option not named Kamara in New Orleans. No issues with Tee Higgins this season as he should have a fantastic follow-up season to his 67-908-6 rookie campaign. But there’s just one ball and plenty of talent with Mixon, Tyler Boyd and first round rookie Ja’Marr Chase. The Vikings’ corners are solid and I’m not sure it makes much sense to single him out and prioritize on this slate with a multitude of options.

 Adam Thielen might feel random, but he has a great matchup and he’s had four consecutive Week 1 bangers dating back to 2017 (at least 15 fantasy points in each with two games over 100 yards and one game with two touchdowns).

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Tight end

There are a dozen directions to go here. But as you may be aware, DFS players who are indecisive for Week 1 typically go with the popular or well-known named. That will lead to popularity with Travis Kelce, who was not only the NFL’s most dominant TE last season but also the fourth highest-scoring non-RB/QB behind only Adams, teammate Tyreek Hill and Diggs. Last season, the Browns gave up the fourth-most half-PPR points to opposing tight ends since perimeter passing and running rarely was efficient against them. He’s the “safe” way to go but not the only way this week.

One has to imagine that T.J. Hockenson will feast this season as Jared Goff’s primary target in this Lions’ offense. Hock could put up a decent line on volume alone as efficiency could be a problem against a Niners’ defense who gave up the least half-PPR points per game to opposing TEs last season (6.2). The Lions could easily not even score a TD at all Sunday.

Kyle Pitts will likely be the most popular option besides Kelce as he’s the most anticipated rookie at his position in years. It should be a fun ride this season as the 1B option to Ridley in an offense with a putrid offensive line and weak protection for their quarterback. A big game here and Pitts could find his multiplier closer to the 1.2x-1.3x range in Week 2.

Jonnu Smith is one of my personal favorites this season as I expect him to be a red-zone favorite of rookie QB Mac Jones. The issue is that new Patriot Hunter Henry might be as well. The Dolphins ranked top-10 against opposing tight ends last season.

Logan Thomas had a fine breakout season, and the matchup is great against the Chargers, who were one of only six teams to allow double-digit scores to TEs last season. Thomas might see some double coverage at times but will mostly be guarded by linebacker Kyzir White who was an easy target to take advantage of last season. With wideout Curtis Samuel not expected to suit up, there could be a few more targets in store than anticipated for Mr. Thomas this week. A 7-80-1 line on Sunday would be 17.5 base points and a solid 26.25 points with the 1.5x multiplier.

The two low-cost options I like best are Panthers’ new guy Dan Arnold and Titans’ Anthony Firkser. Both big-bodied targets who their quarterbacks can rely on with their check downs and perhaps some looks at the goal line. Arnold could fit in well on a NYJ-CAR game stack should you choose to go down that road. Firkser won’t be consistent week to week but when he’s out on the field he’s not blocking, only running routes. Ironically Arnold and Firkser were two of the only three regular tight ends who did not run a single blocking route last season. The third man is Ravens’ Mark Andrews.

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Now for some stack build ideas for our multi-entry GPPs:

For the not-afraid-of-Darnold folks who think two bad defenses will equate to lots of offense.

Panthers/Jets game stack

Sam Darnold (1.6x) 
+ D.J. Moore (1.4x) 
+ one of Terrace Marshall (2x), Robbie Anderson (1.45x), Dan Arnold (2x)
+ Jets bring-back, either Corey Davis (1.5x) or Elijah Moore (1.75x)

Then, we have the Philly/Atlanta special with some star power.

Eagles/Falcons game stack

Jalen Hurts (1.35x)
+ one or two of DeVonta Smith (1.55x), Jalen Reagor (1.85x), Dallas Goedert (1.4x), Zach Ertz (1.6x)
+ Falcons bring-back of Calvin Ridley (1.15x) or Kyle Pitts (1.5x)

Another couple options are with our two highest Vegas total games of the slate. The game flow assumption here is that the Chiefs take off with an early lead then try hammering with RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire and his back mates while Mayfield shoots it out in an attempt to catch up.

Browns/Chiefs game stack

Baker Mayfield (1.45x)
+ two of Odell Beckham (1.3x), Jarvis Landry (1.45x), Austin Hooper (1.5x), DPJ (1.84x)
+one or two KC bring-backs: Travis Kelce (1x), Tyreek Hill (1.05x) or Clyde Edwards-Helaire (1.35x)

You can of course do mini stacks or smaller correlations of these game stacks in order to include advantageous values from other games. I leave you with a few of those:

Best of luck in your lineup building and I hope you join Javi Prellezo, Zac Grahm and me for the SuperDraft DFS show, live Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. ET.

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