Week 1 of the NFL season is finally here which means it is time to dig into our NFL DFS Week 1 projections and rankings. Each week we will break down our top plays, values and fades at the QB position to help you build your NFL DFS lineups for the DraftKings and FanDuel main slate.
Be sure to check out the rest of the NFL DFS Coaches and DFS Watch List throughout the week!
NFL DFS QB Top Tier Picks
Week 1 of the NFL season kicks off with Lamar Jackson as the top priced QB over on DraftKings and the second-highest priced QB over on FanDuel only to Jalen Hurts. The matchup for Jackson is elite on paper as he draws a home start to begin the year against the Houston Texans. The Texas, though now coached by formers 49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans, do not figure to have a good defense at all this year. The Ravens on the other hand have a new Offensive Coordinator this season in Todd Monken. All reports this offseason out of Ravens camp is that Monken is going to look to spread the Ravens offense and push towards becoming more of a downfield passing offense than the grinding running game of years past. What this means is that Jackson should have the opportunity to throw a lot more this season while also utilizing his mobility to attack defenses who are in softer sets to defend the pass. When healthy, Jackson has the ability to be the highest scoring QB of the slate with his rushing ability alone but I'm excited to see this offense when it comes to the passing attack and what better way to put the league on notice than by picking on the Houston Texans.
Another QB with a new Offensive Coordinator. Kellen Moore brings his aggressive play calling to the Chargers this season which should mean great things for Herbert who has the likes of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler as his primary targets with Joshua Palmer and first round pick Quentin Johnston ready to make an impact. The Dolphins defense was improved last season but they made an attempt to really help their secondary by trading for Jalen Ramsey. Unfortunately, Ramsey was hurt during training camp and will not be available for this matchup. That leaves the Dolphins secondary down an elite cover corner. We also have the Dolphins being an East Coast team opening the season on the West Coast. While those things may mean more during the middle of the season, the travel factor should not be completely ignored. From a touchdown perspective, Herbert was a bit of a disappointment last season but this is still a QB that threw for over 5,000-yards and this game is feeling like it could be a shootout with Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the other side.
There is certainly some buzz starting to grow when it comes to this Jacksonville Jaguars offense after we got to see Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley together during the preseason. By all accounts Ridley is looking as good as ever and the last time we saw him play a full season he was a true WR1 and finished as a top five wide receiver in fantasy football. Lawrence himself is coming off of a breakout sophomore season which saw him throw for 4,113 yards and 25 touchdowns. The addition of Calvin Ridley allows for Christian Kirk and Zay Jones to slot in as the WR2 and WR3 in the Jaguars offense which really makes them one of the leagues better receiver groups and that's with me not even mentioning tight end Evan Engram. Talking about the pass catching options is just a long winded way for me to work my way back to why I love Trevor Lawrence this season and while he isn't that big of a bargain on FanDuel, you do get a nice mid-tier price point for him over on DraftKings. I'm looking for Lawrence and Ridley to connect in this game and show the league that last season's playoff birth for the Jaguars was no fluke.
NFL DFS QB Mid-Tier Picks
Last season with new Head Coach Kevin O'Connell we knew the team was looking to push the football down the field more. The issue was that outside of Justin Jefferson the Vikings offense really lacked some of those playmakers. Sure, Adam Thielen had moments, as did K.J. Osborn but it wasn't until the Vikings traded for T.J. Hockenson did we see what the upside for this offense could have the potential of becoming. Flash forward to this year's NFL Draft and the Vikings go and select USC wide receiver Jordan Addison in the first round to replace Adam Thielen and then sign T.J. Hockenson to the biggest contract for a tight end in NFL history. Sounds like the Vikings offense is gearing up to make some big plays. It's helpful as well that the Vikings defense is still not very good and while they have a home matchup against the now Baker Mayfield led Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there is still a chance this one can produce a competitive enough matchup to keep the Vikings offense pressing.
There probably hasn't been a player that I've flipped flopped more on this offseason than Geno Smith. Last year feels like a "Cinderella Story". The man was basically casted out of the league and labeled a bust. A destined to be a career backup and then in 2021 he gets a chance to play for an injured Russell Wilson and looked pretty good. In 2022 the team trades Russell Wilson and Geno Smith is named the starting QB and he goes on to lead the league with a 69.8% completion percentage while throwing for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns. It feels improbable to think that Smith is now all of a sudden going to take off and be a Pro Bowl caliber QB but the Seahawks offense is set up for Smith to be successful. They have DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett already locked in and then they used their first round pick this season on Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The team used a second round pick last season on running back Kenneth Walker and then a second round pick this season on Zach Charbonnet. Now, the status of JSN is still up in the air as he recovers from a small wrist fracture but he has been on the field during practice so there is a chance the rookie suits up. Either way, the Seahawks face a Rams defense that no longer has Jalen Ramsey to pester DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett is still a playmaker at the position. Seattle opens up at home here and that should also play into their advantage. I'm willing to bite on Geno, at least in this Week 1 matchup.
NFL DFS QB Value Picks
Woof, what a year 2022 was for the Denver Broncos. All the hype following their acquisition of Russell Wilson was immediately squashed after they lost to the Seahawks and it was discovered that they hired the wrong man as their head coach. With that season now in the past we look to the future where we see Sean Payton now coaching for the Broncos and a chance at redemption for Russell Wilson. In Week 1 they have a home matchup against a Raiders team that figures to rank towards the bottom of the league here once again and I look for Payton and Wilson to put their stamp on a fresh start to the 2023 season with a big performance here in front of the home crowd.
Have you checked out the Commanders schedule this season? It's pretty brutal, so this may be the only time all season where playing Howell is a viable option as Washington opens the season at home against the Arizona Cardinals. On DraftKings Howell is just $4,900, the cheapest of any starting QB aside from Baker Mayfield and Desmond Ridder who are also $4,900. Howell is definitely intriguing in this matchup as the Cardinals do no have a great defense and they just traded away one of their more dynamic players in Isaiah Simmons a few weeks ago to the Giants. When it comes to pass catching options the status of star receiver Terry McLaurin is still very much up in the air but many are excited to see what Jahan Dotson can do in his second season in the league. This Commanders offense is lead by former Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy which could mean good things for tight end Logan Thomas seeing how Travis Kelce was utilized in Bieniemy's offense. Howell is also a mobile QB, with some potential rushing upside to help boost his fantasy scoring floor in this matchup as well.
Maybe the biggest wild card on the entire slate. Richardson has been named the starting QB for the Colts and he gets a Week 1 home matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville's defense last year was nothing special and while the Colts offseason has been filled with the drama surrounding RB Jonathan Taylor, they do have some decent pass catching options in Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce and rookie Josh Downs. Richardson is an elite mobile QB and we've seen from the likes of Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson over the years that you can put forth elite fantasy production without being a great passer if you are going to be piling up the rushing yards. If multi-entering GPP's this week then I think Richardson should at least make a lineup or two.
NFL DFS QB Fades
There won't be many times this season, if ever again, where Hurts ends up on the fade list but this is going to be one of them. The Eagles open their season on the road against the New England Patriots on Tom Brady retirement day. While most will just throw the narrative out the window, what needs to be focused on here is the fact that Bill Belichick still knows how to coach a defense and he's been able to plan for Jalen Hurts to be his Week 1 opponent all offseason. Don't think that it's too much of a coincidence that the team has had Malik Cunningham on their roster all preseason and now have him on their practice squad or the fact that the team also just signed former Eagle WR Jalen Reagor to their practice squad as well. Could all of this mean absolutely nothing? Sure, it could. But, I'm willing to be on Belichick being ready for this Eagles offense in Week 1 with a defense that many expect to be pretty good this season.