The NFL DFS Week 1 contests are live on DraftKings and the NFL DFS channel has been abuzz with early lineup and positional questions. It’s always fun to jump in early and play around building lineups and as is the case with the first slate every year, there are some great price tags and values for plenty of players across the board. As we get closer to Week 1 we’ll have more to offer including the NFL DFS Positional Coaches and the NFL DFS Playbook as well. But it never hurts to build an early player pool and we’ve decided to indulge and deliver some early NFL DFS picks ahead of kickoff. This isn’t a full playbook and plenty could still change between now and the end of training. But here are the players to keep in mind when you lock in your NFL DFS lineups for the Week 1 main slate.


NFL DFS Week 1 Quarterbacks

Justin Herbert ($6,900), Los Angeles Chargers

Week 1 pricing is so soft, it’s almost comical. Herbert was $7,600 for Week 1 last season and we know he has the kind of upside to go out and drop 25+ fantasy points and get that precious 300-yard passing bonus we covet. Herbert had his up’s and down’s last year but with Kellen Moore stepping in as the new offensive coordinator we could see more deep throws and a quicker pace to this offense. He still has a great offensive line protecting him, plenty of weapons at his disposal, and he was given a fat contract in the offseason. Everything aligns for the Chargers franchise quarterback to have a big year and it starts Week 1 as the Bolts play host to the Miami Dolphins. With the recent news of Jalen Ramsey’s meniscus injury that’ll keep him sidelined for four months, I feel even better attacking this game and working Tyreek Hill (more on him shortly) into my Chargers stacks as a representative from the Fish. You can even go to the other side of the ball with Tua Tagovailoa ($6,700) and work some Dolphins stacks in this game and you’d hear no argument from me.

Anthony Richardson ($5,600), Indianapolis Colts

I’m souring on Richardson in season-long leagues because of the early reports regarding the accuracy issues. We knew those were coming and you’re hoping Shane Steichen can work his magic with Richardson similar to what he did with Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. But Richardson is still an athletic freak with tremendous upside. And I’ll be making ten lineups on DraftKings in Week 1. You can bet Richardson will be in one of them. The rushing upside is tremendous and the Colts are likely playing from behind in this matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sure, that means he may throw more, but would it be much of a surprise if the kid wants to make a good first impression in his debut? A lot of his targets are likely concentrated on Michael Pittman if you opt to pair him with someone. Richardson can easily pay off this price tag with a modest passing line and if he finds the end zone with his legs. A single touchdown run would increase his return over 1X with each score. He will be popular, but he’s been getting the first-team reps after splitting them with Gardnew Minshew the first few days at camp. If you want a lower-owned option in this price range then Derek Carr ($5,300) is another quarterback I’ll be playing in one of my tournament lineups as well.

NFL DFS Week 1 Running Backs

Derrick Henry ($7,800), Tennessee Titans

At a quick glance, I absolutely love this Titans/Saints game for DFS. It’s under the radar with just a 41.5-point total but I do believe we’ll see a ton of offense. A lot of people might scoff at this suggestion. I ranked the Tennessee Titans offensive line dead last in the NFL in the Fantasy Football Draft Guide and the New Orleans Saints have the perception of having a stout run defense. However, they had some turnover in the offseason that might cause some regression. Ryan Nielsen (former defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator) left for the Atlanta Falcons and he took David Onyemata and Kaden Elliss with him while Shy Tuttle went and signed with the Carolina Panthers. The Saints did use three draft picks to address the holes on the defensive line, including a first-round selection on Bryan Bresee. But that won’t scare me away from King Henry for this game. When healthy we know that Derrick Henry is an absolute force and a difficult player to tackle. He was $8,600 for Week 1 last year. Sure, he’s had heavy workloads the last few years but even for the first game of the season we should see him get 20+ touches and find the end zone against a depleted defensive front. Henry actually works really well as a bring back option if stacking Derek Carr, Chris Olave, and another Saints pass catcher.

Rachaad White ($5,500), Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A lot has been made about the season-long prospects for Rachaad White as we are fully entrenched in fantasy football draft prep season. But White should step into a bigger role after a relatively promising season. Last year he only rushed for 481 yards on 129 carries, but he did catch 50 of his 58 targets. Tom Brady doesn’t warm up to running backs easily, but White did have 30 catches late in the year from weeks 12-17. But Tom Brady retired and Leonard Fournette is gone as well. Not to mention Gio Bernard also retired. The Bucs only brought in Chase Edmonds and Patrick Laird so by all accounts, Rachaad White should see a much larger workload. Not to mention, assuming the Bucs name Baker Mayfield the starter in Week 1, he does have a tendency to target his running backs in the passing game. This total between the Bucs and Vikings is currently at 45.5 points in early August but $5,500 seems too light for White in the first week of the NFL season.

The Washington Commanders Running Backs

As of early August, both Antonio Gibson ($5,200) and Brian Robinson ($5,100) are quite affordable in this low $5K range on DraftKings. It’s a little too early to tell who may be the RB1 but it does sound like the Commanders want Antonio Gibson to assume the pass-catching role vacated by J.D. McKissic, and he recently indicated he’ll be on the field for more third downs leading us to believe Robinson will get early down work. Gibson is a converted wide receiver and did catch a career high 46 passes on 58 targets last year. The potential to improve upon that number is eye-catching and we’ll need to keep an ear to the ground regarding this backfield in the preseason to get a better idea of how things could play out in Week 1.

Jamaal Williams ($5,100), New Orleans Saints

Easy play here and likely a player we’ll see in several Week 1 cash game lineups. With Alvin Kamara suspended for the first three games, Williams sits atop the running back depth chart for the New Orleans Saints. Rookie Kendre Miller will likely get some touches and maybe some third down work. But we should expect Williams to see plenty of snaps and maybe handle 15+ touches. And as we saw last year when he led the league in rushing touchdowns, he’ll definitely get the goal line work as well. Arguably the easiest running back to play in double ups to kick the year off.


NFL DFS Week 1 Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill ($8,200), Miami Dolphins

If there’s one player I’ve automatically selected first each time I’ve played around making lineups, it’s been Tyreek Hill. Sure, Jamaal Williams seems like a free square, but Tyreek Hill is a cheat code. DraftKings didn’t make the same mistake they did last year where he was $6,800 in Week 1 and then $7,100 in Week 2. He’s a premium at $8,200. He cooled off toward the end of the season when Tua Tagovailoa was in the concussion protocol, but he can easily pop off with monstrous scores. He had eight performances of 20+ fantasy points of DraftKings before Tagovailoa’s injury and in five of those games he had 30+ fantasy points. He had ten games last year with double-digit targets and he’s been vocal about reaching 2,000 receiving yards this year. He is a cheat code and one I want plenty of exposure to in Week 1.

Chris Olave ($6,500), New Orleans Saints

No defense allowed more receiving yards and touchdowns to the wide receiver position last year than the Tennessee Titans. I’ve said this multiple times but we’re jumping on mispriced players and there are plenty in this Titans/Saints game, especially when you consider Chris Olave’s upside. Olave had plenty of spike performances last year and should command a heavy target share and he can easily break away from the Titans secondary.

Amari Cooper ($5,800), Cleveland Browns

This is an outstanding price tag for the top pass catcher in an offense that should be throwing plenty to keep pace with the Cincinnati Bengals. In 17 games last year, Cooper had 132 targets and 1,100+ receiving yards with nine touchdowns. He had eight games last year with at least nine targets so he can certainly pop off at this price tag similar to how he put up 20+ fantasy points in three of his first five games with the Browns last year. 

Mike Williams ($5,700), Los Angeles Chargers

You may sense some bias toward the Chargers (and that whole matchup against the Dolphins), but this seems like a severely soft price for Williams. Honestly, Williams isn’t even the last Charger that’ll appear in this article. With a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore coming to town, it seems like there’s a concentrated effort for deeper targets and Williams has been lining up in the slot more. Williams was regularly priced in the $6K range last year and can pop off for 20+ fantasy points on DraftKings any given week. There are several mouths to feed, but he could still get seven or eight targets and he’s $1,600 less than Keenan Allen.


NFL DFS Week 1 Tight Ends

Gerald Everett ($4,300), Los Angeles Chargers

The tight end pool is pretty thin for Week 1 and only four names are priced at $5,000 or higher. I’ll have some exposure to T.J. Hockenson at $5,900 but I love Everett in Week 1. He works perfectly in stacks with Justin Herbert. With Kellen Moore coming to Los Angeles we should continue to see Everett utilized in the offense a good amount. And don’t forget, he closed out the 2022 campaign with touchdowns catches in each of the final three games. Ownership could be low on Everett especially since there are so many mouths to feed in this offense, but the projected total is high for this game and there’s room for him to score.

Chigoziem Okonkwo ($3,800), Tennessee Titans

I’m going to defer to our resident tight end expert but every time I think of Okonkwo I think of this article from Andrew Cooper back in May. Now this was obviously before the Titans signed DeAndre Hopkins. Now that may limit Okonkwo in season-long leagues but it’s entirely possible he still emerges as a top two target on this offense and I’ve already spoken about how I quietly like this Saints/Titans game from a DFS perspective. But he managed at least four targets in six of his last seven games to close out the 2022 season. He’s atop the depth chart at tight end and does have upside if he finds the end zone.

Michael Mayer ($2,800), Las Vegas Raiders

I’m very intrigued by the prospect of Mayer in Week 1. He’s only $2,800 and there are reports the Raiders have sought out a trade for Hunter Renfrow but obviously no one is taking that contract. The team traded away Darren Waller in the offseason and they traded up to select Mayer in the second round with the 35th overall pick. By plugging Mayer into your lineup you’re punting the position but he’s been making plenty of catches early in camp. He’s a terrible blocker, but the Raiders didn’t draft him to block. A few catches and maybe a touchdown mean Mayer would be returning 3X value.


NFL DFS Week 1 Defense/Special Teams

Washington Commanders ($2,800)

This is really grabbing at the low-hanging fruit. The Commanders are easy six-point favorites early on and the over/under is currently at 40 points, which is one of the lowest on the slate. Kyler Murray is still rehabbing from a torn ACL last December. Typically, torn ACL’s require about 9-12 months to be fully healed so Week 1 would put him just at the early window of a return. He’s optimistic he’ll be ready but honestly he’s a longshot to play. The Commanders were disappointing at times for DFS last year, but they do have a great defensive front and can force sacks which lead to turnovers. Not to mention, this is a home game for Washington and Arizona has to come cross country for a 1:00pm ET game.

Carolina Panthers ($2,600)

If you do need a little more salary relief you can consider the Carolina Panthers in a divisional game to kick off the year visiting the Atlanta Falcons. This game has one of the lowest projected totals at 42.5 points and the Panthers are only three-point underdogs. Early reports from Falcons training camp indicate that Desmond Ridder has had accuracy issues in camp (surprise, surprise). The Falcons will likely look to run the ball down Carolina’s throat especially since they selected Bijan Robinson in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. If the Panthers can get pressure on Ridder they should get some sacks and force a fumble as Ridder fumbled in each of his final three games in 2022. There may not be as much of a ceiling with the Commanders, but there’s a path to 2X-3X value. 

If you need an absolute punt for salary relief you can look at the Houston Texans ($2,100) who came on strong to close out last season with 13 forced turnovers over their last five games and they moved up to select Will Anderson Jr. in April’s draft. The Ravens are a tough matchup but currently have some players not practicing whether due to holdout or injury. And remember, you are punting by playing the Texans. They provide a ton of salary relief and won’t be rostered in many lineups.