Week 1 DraftKings Values: An Early Look


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Week 1 DraftKings Values: An Early Look

The DraftKings salaries are now out, to go along with the FanDuel salaries for Week 1! This can allow you to compare from site to site to basically site shop which players stand out as being more mispriced. We are now sneakily three weeks away from Week 1, and with the big money prize DraftKings contests, it is never too early to start your prep.

Because these prices are released so much farther away from gametime than is typical, Week 1 values are typically the most blatant and most egregious. But, at the same time, so much can change between now and September 13. With that being said, here are the players I found to be the most glaring and best values at each position:

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers ($5,900) vs. LV

This is a matchup of two of the worst defenses — it could be a sneaky game to target as a stack. That’s because it’s not a “sexy” game when you consider it is Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater under center, but should lead to lower ownership. The Raiders allowed the 2nd-highest passer rating (103.8) last season and the Panthers have advantages in the passing game across the board that Bridgewater can exploit. He is the QB13 based on DraftKings salary and has top-10 QB upside, but view him more as a cash game play with a solid floor for cheap.

Tom Brady, QB, Tamp Bay Buccaneers ($6,500) @ NO

This game has shootout potential written all over it, with the highest over/under of the slate (49.5) and a projected pace of play that’s well above average. On top of that, Tampa Bay and New Orleans ranked first- (56.7) and second-best (64.9), respectively, in rushing yards allowed per game (to running backs) last year. This should force both quarterbacks to lean pass-heavy. And in Brady’s case — throwing to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski — look for him to make a big statement in a clear statement game environment in Week 1.

Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots ($4,300) vs. Mia

Injuries to Sony Michel and Lamar Miller could give Damien Harris a chance to make his case to be the lead dog in a crowded backfield. At this point we do not know what their status will be for Week 1, but assuming both are out, Harris could return major value (RB44 by DK salary). CLNSEvan Lazar suggested Harris “might be New England’s best skill player through two days” of camp.

The game script is projected to be positive (New England is a 6.5-point favorite) and Harris could assume the Michel role in the offense if he can continue to impress and beat out Rex Burkhead. In Michel’s two seasons in the league, when the Patriots won by 6 or more points, he averaged 11.6 FPG. In games out of that split, Michel averaged 7.3 FPPG.

Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,300) @ Was

Miles Sanders is a breakout waiting to happen, but he isn’t priced like it in Week 1. Instead, he’s glaringly a value — we don’t have Week 1 projections yet, but he’s 7th according to our season-long PPR projections (18.3 FPG) but just 10th in salary on DraftKings. Add in a plus matchup, and he might be the best value on the slate. Positive gamescript feels like a lock – the Eagles are 6.5-point favorites – which gives Sanders 20-plus-touch-potential. In the second half of last season, we saw Sanders start to turn into that bell-cow running back that we envision him being this year, drawing over 80% of Philadelphia’s snaps in four of his last seven games. Keep in mind, he had his most productive game against this same defense (Week 15), with a season-high 122 rushing yards and 32.0 fantasy points. He’s a potential slate-breaker in Week 1.

Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns ($5,100) @ Bal

Despite Kareem Hunt joining the Browns in Week 10 of last season, they were not afraid to feature him right away. He racked up 5-plus receptions in four of his eight games (9th in routes run and 6th in targets among RBs) and is in an expected positive game script (7.5-point underdogs) for him to see the field over Nick Chubb in a more pass-heavy game script. Stacking Hunt and WR Odell Beckham and playing the odds that the Browns get down early and have to abandon the run could be a profitable way to attack the slate.

Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens ($5,100) vs. Cle

The top implied team total for Week 1 belongs to the Ravens (28.5 points). This is an offense you are going to want to have exposure to, and Marquise Brown’s upside at his price (WR32 salary) needs to be targeted in GPP formats — he could be a WR who breaks the slate. He dealt with a foot injury all season in 2019, and only played 58% of Baltimore’s snaps when active. The Ravens’ playoff game against Tennessee gave us a glimpse of what we could see this year, with Hollywood playing a season-high 85% of the snaps and turning 11 targets into 126 yards. There is almost certainly going to be some regression in the rate at which the Ravens run the ball as well. They ran on 54% of their plays in 2019, which was the highest ratio of run plays since the Seahawks in 2012. Expect defenses to make Lamar Jackson beat them with his arm.

Odell Beckham Jr, WR, Cleveland Browns ($5,900) vs. Bal

{Odell Beckham suffered a similar fate to that of Hollywood Brown last year. He battled injuries all season, and it clearly affected his production on top of adjusting to a new offense. However, the opportunity was there, as he was third in air yards among WRs. Another buy-low signal is his #7 rank in Scott Barrett’s top touchdown positive regression candidates (XTD: 7.3, TD: 4). A bounce-back season from Odell is coming, and his WR19 salary compared to our 7th highest FPG projection (season-long) is a massive discount.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons ($6,100) vs. Sea

It was a tale of two halves for Calvin Ridley last year. Before Mohamed Sanu was traded in Week 8, Ridley was just not involved enough in the game plan (15.1% target share) to be a consistently productive fantasy option. After Sanu was traded, his target share spiked to 19.0% and he rounded out the second half ranking ninth in FPG among WRs (15.0). He was already a top value according to our season-long projections – WR11 by projections, WR15 by salary – but on top of that, I think this game has massive shootout potential. This contest sports the second-largest over/under of the slate (48.5), but the spread is close (+/- 1.0), and we know Atlanta will lean pass heavy (first in pass% last year) with its foot on the gas (second in plays per game in 2019).

Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons ($4,300) vs. Sea

With how fantasy-friendly the Falcons offense is, there is no reason not to continue to look their way in Week 1. TE Hayden Hurst steps into a high-value role that saw Austin Hooper finish third in FPG (14.6) and on an 18% target share (seventh among tight ends). Ranking 10th in salary but sixth in our season-long projections, he stands out as one of the best values on the entire slate. And I especially like him (for deeper tournaments) when stacked alongside Calvin Ridley in Matt Ryan lineups.

Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets ($3,300) vs Buf

Chris Herndon was a potential sophomore breakout before he saw his season derailed by suspension and injuries. His ADP was absolutely depressed before some camp buzz, and the buzz makes sense. There is plenty of upside in this offense, especially with 30% of the team’s targets and 52% of the team’s air yards now vacated thanks to the departures of Robby Anderson and Demaryius Thomas. This game also sets up nicely for the passing attack, as the team should lean pass-heavy as 6.5-point underdogs. With Breshad Perriman drawing elite shadow cornerback Tre’Davious White, I’m expecting a big game from Herndon, who is clearly mispriced as just the 20th-most expensive tight end on the slate.

Irv Smith Jr, TE, Minnesota Vikings ($3,100) vs. GB

The Vikings are going to ask for a lot more out of Irv Smith this season. He averaged 60% of the snaps and ranked 22nd in routes run among TEs in his rookie year. Expect both of those numbers to increase with no proven receiving options outside of Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. And a promising report out of camp from The Athletic's Arif Hasan notes that the Vikings are "experimenting” with using Smith outside more. The Vikings using more 2-TE sets and getting creative to give Smith mismatches will present him with a lot more chances to produce. If he can come close to his efficient catch rate of 77% (ninth among TEs with more than 20 targets) with the added opportunity, he can be one of the biggest risers at TE this year.