Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season concludes Monday night with an AFC East matchup between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. This matchup certainly isn’t short of its own storylines. The Buffalo Bills are looking to take that next step in the AFC to get to a Super Bowl. They just haven’t made it over that hump, but they have one of the best young quarterbacks in the game with Josh Allen. The New York Jets have Super Bowl expectations with Aaron Rodgers joining the team and he brings Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb with him from Green Bay. Everyone got a good look at the Jets during HBO’s latest iteration of Hard Knocks so most are a bit bullish on them. I’m willing to pump the brakes and keep expectations in check. This is a stiff matchup against the Buffalo Bills but surely one that could have some fireworks Monday night in the Meadowlands.


Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Spread: Buffalo Bills (-2)

Over/Under: 45.5

Weather: Temps in the mid-70’s with a chance of rain prior to the game but should clear out around kickoff.


Notable Injuries

Buffalo Bills

New York Jets



Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

I’m always partial to recommending quarterbacks at MVP/Captain when they have rushing upside. It also doesn’t hurt that Josh Allen is a gunslinger and can put up 30+ fantasy points in any given matchup. There’s volume here in a variety of ways. He had eight games last year with at least 38 pass attempts and he had eight rushing touchdowns in the regular season and the playoffs. There’s a clear path to at least three touchdowns and getting that precious 300+ passing yard bonus on DraftKings. In addition, in 14 career Primetime games in the regular season he has 42 total touchdowns and averages over 260 passing yards per game with 30+ rushing yards. He’s one of the few quarterbacks you can be overweight on for NFL DFS Showdown contests.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

He possesses the slate-breaking upside that I’m looking for in a Showdown matchup. He can command double-digit targets any given week. However, the Jets allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last season so that’s working against him currently. Diggs can at least be moved around a little bit. Davis lined up wide on 90% of his routes whereas Diggs lined up outside 66% of the time. Diggs posted eight receptions for 130 yards on 15 targets in two games against the Jets last season. That’s not great and you can argue that it’s not “captain” worthy. And you would be correct! But we’ve seen him drop 25+ fantasy points previously for big performances. Regardless of the matchup, he still has that kind of upside so I can’t completely shy away from him at Captain.

Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets

Wilson was one of my favorite wide receiver targets in season-long drafts. He gets to practice each week against Sauce Gardner. That’s just iron sharpening iron on both sides of the ball. Two players who could be the best at their position and they’re there to make each other better. Wilson came on strong to close out the year with a heavy target share that included 46 targets over his final four regular season games. He just didn’t do much with them. However, the calendar turns to 2023 and Wilson gets a massive quarterback upgrade with Aaron Rodgers joining the team. The belief is that this is a breakout year for Wilson which is crazy to think because he went for 1,100+ receiving yards in his rookie season. 

Allen Lazard, WR, New York Jets

Yeah, I’m going a little bold with this one. And I have to give the ole “tip of the cap” to Britt Flinn for this one. In Britt’s Preseason Hot Takes article, she makes the argument for Lazard to lead the New York Jets in red zone targets and that he’ll emerge as the WR2 in this offense. I’m going to ride with that mindset into this Monday night matchup. The best part is that this is a “leverage” Captain as well. Most will like target Allen, Diggs, Wilson, or Aaron Rodgers at Captain. Lazard has chemistry with Rodgers from their time in Green Bay. Per Britt Flinn’s note, Lazard finished 12th in red zone targets in 2022 and 16th in 2021. Lazard may not draw the attention of the Bills defense like Wilson will, so I like Lazard as a potential Captain while everyone chases the more obvious options.


Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays

Aaron Rodgers, QB, New York Jets

It might surprise some that Rodgers isn’t listed as a MVP/Captain candidate. I’ll likely have some shares of him there, but truthfully, I don’t like rostering quarterbacks that don’t have much rushing upside. Rodgers had a total of 94 rushing yards last season and you have to go back to 2018 to find a season where he had more than 200 rushing yards. The lack of rushing just limits his ceiling a bit. Now where is Rodgers great? With the aerial attack. However, he didn’t throw for 300 yards in a game at all last season. He had one game all of last year where he threw over 260 yards. If you’re asking me if I’m low on Rodgers heading into this game, my answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ The Jets were featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks this year. That show will do nothing but tout the positives while not highlighting the negatives. So by all accounts, America is blinded by the New York Jets because of Home Box Office! Maybe the change of scenery ignites a new fire in Rodgers. But the betting markets have been very bullish on Rodgers and the Jets and if more than 10% of Showdown lineups are going to have Rodgers at Captain, I’ll go underweight and allocate my exposure elsewhere. But I do believe he’s viable in the Flex especially if you play Wilson or Lazard at Captain.

Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook, RB, New York Jets

Truthfully, I’m worried about both of these plays. For starters, Breece Hall was absolutely electric in a small sample size to start the 2022 season. He had touchdowns in four straight games before a season-ending knee injury. He was trending towards being a league-winning type of player. He’s been used modestly in training camp and looks to have regained explosiveness. He has made some comments that he’s not 100% confident he can make the ‘cuts’ that he used to. And that’s perfectly understandable. Most running backs don’t return to their previous form until year two after having recovered from a significant ligament tear in their knee. On top of that we also had this bit of news drop Sunday morning…

I kind of hate this news. Dalvin Cook signed very late in training camp as he fielded offers from a variety of teams to determine where he’d play this season. On top of that, he didn’t start practicing right away because he was expecting the birth of his child. His upside is massive but there is concern over whether he’s “game” ready. There’s a reason NFL teams have training camp and MLB organizations have Spring Training. They have to gradually ramp up to full speed competition and I have concerns that neither running back is fully ready heading into Week 1. As of right now, because of the news from RapSheet, I’m partial to more exposure on Dalvin Cook.

James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills

James Cook seems poised for a nice sophomore year. I won’t call it a potential “breakout” campaign, but I think he’s a viable RB2/Flex most weeks in season-long formats. My concern with any running back on the Buffalo Bills will always be Josh Allen vulturing the short yardage work in the red zone to get the touchdowns himself. Cook’s workload increased late in the year and the team moved on from Devin Singletary in the offseason and they traded Zack Moss in the middle of the season last year. On top of that, Nyheim Hines suffered a season-ending over the summer. So the workload is definitely there for him. The Jets allowed, on average, 120+ yards on the ground last year. With how good the Jets project to be against the pass, maybe the Bills hammer the ground game. New York allowed 97 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs. Earlier this week, Cook’s PrizePicks yardage prop was at 48.5 yards and that seemed like a tasty “over” to take. I like him as a Flex, but don’t feel like he’s as likely to find the end zone as other players.

Gabe Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills

You have to take some stands in Showdown slates. Especially if you max-enter lineups, you have to have your convictions and leverage spots. This is a spot I’ll have zero shares of at MVP/Captain. Davis is fine to mix in as a Flex, but he showcased zero upside against the Jets last season. Now let’s be objective and honest as we determine who we like at Captain and who we don’t. Davis had an ankle injury last year and when he mostly came back to full health, Josh Allen was dealing with an elbow injury. So they didn’t really get to sync up at perfect health. To start the 2023 campaign, both are locked in. But as mentioned in the Stefon Diggs section, Davis lines up primarily outside. He’ll likely draw plenty of coverage against Sauce Gardner, who is a premiere defensive back in this league. Last year against the Jets, Davis had just five catches on on nine targets for 64 yards. If you buy into the narrative there’s more of a ceiling will him and Allen healthy and on the same page, then go overweight.

Dalton Kincaid, TE, Buffalo Bills

The Bills used a first-round draft pick on Kincaid out of Utah and with that kind of investment you have to imagine they want an immediate return. He’s big and athletic at 6’4” and he was the kind of high-upside tight end you would draft as part of Andrew Cooper’s Yin-Yang strategy. But what is to be expected Monday night in his first career game? He’s only $5,000 on DraftKings but rookie tight ends have that stigma of being rather uninvolved in their first year. I think he could be top eight at the position, which may not say much given the low expectations tight ends tend to set. But this was clearly a position they wanted to improve at otherwise they wouldn’t have invested the draft capital. The addition of Kincaid does signal that the Bills may want to run more “12” personnel and two-tight end sets. The Bills operated “12” personnel the least of all 32 NFL teams in 2022. If there’s a focus to incorporate two-tight end sets more into the offense that could be beneficial to both Kincaid and Dawson Knox while alleviating pressure off Stefon Diggs at times. If the Bills run this formation more, then Dawson Knox is also viable as a Flex and he likely carries significantly less ownership than Kincaid. I don’t love Knox as a Captain candidate because I don’t anticipate the volume being there, but he provides some salary relief.


Defenses/Special Teams

I do believe both D/ST’s are live. As I mentioned in the NFL DFS Discord channel on Sunday night, I just don’t love playing this position at Captain. Usually 5-10% of lineups in a Tournament will play a D/ST or Kicker at Captain. I don’t love doing that because D/ST’s and Kickers are optimal at Captain less than 5% of the time. So I don’t mind automatically having leverage over a good amount of lineups. On Sunday night, the Cowboys were optimal quickly with two D/ST touchdowns. Those slates will happen and when they do, I’ll chalk up the loss.

I like both D/ST’s as Flex options, but again, I won’t play both in the same lineup. I would only go that route if a game was being played in a monsoon, a blizzard, or with severe winds. But these are two very good D/ST’s with some star players that can make plays. The Jets and Bills both collected 40+ sacks in the regular season last year. The Bills forced a total of 29 turnovers while the Jets forced just 16. Remember, you’ll need a very stout performance in terms of turnovers, sacks, and a touchdown for your D/ST to be optimal. This is a position of variance and we have two (presumably) great offenses. But the over/under did open at 47.5 points and has been bet down to 45.5 so the betting market suggests this could be a lower-scoring affair than originally thought.



I like both Kickers a lot for Monday’s game. Kickers are a nice, warm, soft, fuzzy blanket. Well, unless you’re the Dallas Cowboys and employ a former MLS player who missed his first extra point attempt in the Sunday night game. But I digress! With Kickers in a Showdown slate, you really do need them to get at least three field goal attempts and they need to drill them all and extra point attempts are just gravy. Fortunately, we do have two offenses that should move the ball and potentially stall in the red zone. Both Tyler Bass and Greg Zuerlein averaged 8.0+ fantasy points on DraftKings last year. This is a great cheap option at Flex that can go out and register 12+ fantasy points if the game script is right. I don’t typically play both Kickers together, but that’s just my own lineup construction preference for these slates. Kickers correlate well to teammates in the Captain position and there’s a little more positive correlation with their quarterback at Captain. So if playing Josh Allen at Captain, Tyler Bass correlates well. While I don’t love playing Aaron Rodgers at Captain, Greg Zuerlein would correlate in that situation. It’s hard to project the opportunities and output for Kickers in DFS. Instead, you should think about the lineup theory and if they fit the script that your roster would need to take down a big contest.


NFL DFS Dart-Throw Bargains

The pricing for this game was a little bit different than the Thursday and Sunday slates. There are more options priced below the D/ST’s and Kickers than we saw the last two slates so I’ll touch on the value options I do like.

Damien Harris, RB, Buffalo Bills

I’m mentioning Damien Harris because the rest of this section will mostly be filled with members of the New York Jets. James Cook is the starting running back and Harris will likely get a few touches as well. Perhaps he vultures a short yardage touchdown. I can’t say I’ll be going here too much because the upside seems limited unless there’s an injury to Cook.

Randall Cobb, WR, New York Jets

Pretty obvious value option here. He has the rapport with Aaron Rodgers after several seasons together in Green Bay and he has familiarity with Nathaniel Hackett’s offense. The concern is that he’s buried on the depth chart and he just turned 33 years old so he’s not exactly a spring chicken. I would rather throw more darts with the next player.

Mecole Hardman Jr., WR, New York Jets

All these players in this section are cheaper than Damien Harris and Tyler Conklin. And I think they have a higher ceiling as well. We’ve seen the big play potential for Hardman dating back to his time with the Kansas City Chiefs. He is listed on the depth chart as a starter, but I’m sure he’ll be spelled if the Jets run two-wide receiver sets with Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard. Additionally, he doesn’t have as much chemistry as Lazard and Cobb do. And he also isn’t Garrett Wilson. He’s certainly viable as a Flex and one that has big-play potential so I can’t sleep on him entirely.

Michael Carter and Israel Abanikanda, RB, New York Jets

Both are cheap, and likely won’t get much work with Dalvin Cook carrying the workload as Breece Hall is eased into the swing of things. Abanikanda is a rookie whose value took a big hit when Dalvin Cook signed with the team, so I don’t envision him having much of a role. Carter could get some work as the longest tenured running back for the Jets even though he’s just 24 years old. If playing either you’re hoping for a touchdown vulture.

Deonte Harty, WR, Buffalo Bills

It sounds as if Harty will serve as the team’s kick returner, but I found it interesting that OurLads also listed him as a starting wide receiver. There’s no way he stays on the field over Davis and Diggs in two-wide receiver sets. But for a player who is just $200 on DraftKings for this slate, if he returns a kick for a touchdown and catches a pass or two he could easily be optimal. A great strategy if you’re max entering or even making 20 lineups is to pair him with the Bill D/ST in some of your lineups. That way if he does return a kick for a touchdown, you’re double-dipping. Again, it’s a longshot, but it’s happened before.