2023 Week 1 Top DFS Values


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2023 Week 1 Top DFS Values

During my first few seasons playing DFS, I got crushed. Lineup after lineup, slate after slate, I just couldn’t do anything right. I was hemorrhaging my hard-earned money, and I really didn’t have much to spare. Just like those late-night infomercials, I had to find a better way!

I was making far too many mistakes to list them all here, but what I really needed then was a guiding hand, a voice (or an article perhaps?) that could, at the very least, help me understand who the best plays were, and more importantly — why?

This is that article.

Once I found FantasyPoints, and this article, everything changed. With a deeper understanding of which players are values (and why), I was able to make great strides in my own DFS play. And now, I’m writing this article.

Utilizing both Scott Barrett’s DFS SuperModel and our site projections, we can lock-in on the week’s top DFS values.

Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts (VS. JAX)
DK: +$177, 3.32X / FD: +$683, 2.78X

Richardson is the Week 1 starter for Indianapolis, and it’s almost difficult to fathom how high his fantasy upside is…

Richardson has been billed as a raw, developmental prospect. But Brett Whitefield disagreed, noting that outside of accuracy issues and a lack of experience, Richardson is a QB with “a pretty refined skillset.”

It’s easy to look at the recent history of fantasy rookie QBs and write off Richardson – after all, only four rookie QBs in the history of the NFL have averaged more than 20.0 FPG. But three of those seasons were from Robert Griffin, Cam Newton, and Deshaun Watson – a trio of players who collectively averaged 47.2 rushing YPG across their rookie seasons.

And when we look at the best single-game rookie QB fantasy performances of all time, we see that eight of the top 10 were performed by Konami QBs. Cam Newton dropped 34.7 fantasy points in his first-ever NFL game (the 26th-best fantasy outing by a rookie QB), and Richardson is one of just two QBs to post a better speed score than Newton since 2000. Richardson could absolutely post a tournament-winning score in his first NFL game.

And we haven’t even noted the elephant in the room: Jonathan Taylor isn’t with the team. He can’t soak up ~20 carries and goal-line work. This run game will revolve around Richardson. The Indianapolis OC (Shane Steichen) coached Justin Herbert in his rookie season (helping him to set NFL rookie records for passing touchdowns and passing YPG) and then Jalen Hurts over the last two seasons (23.5 fantasy points per start, over a dozen “tush push” rushing touchdowns).

Richardson is a legendary athlete who is likely paired with the perfect OC in an offense devoid of its top RB (and also likely without their 2nd-best RB). That’s too much to pass up at a QB14 price tag ($5,600).

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (@ CLE)
DK: 2.53X / FD: 1.99X

Mixon finished as the RB6 last season (17.1 FPG). But, he ranked 2nd among all RBs in XFP/G (18.8), with that number nearly matching Austin Ekeler’s league-high 19.9 if we exclude the one game he left early due to injury (19.6).

Samaje Perine (8.1 XFP/G) is no longer with the team. And Cincinnati’s decision to wait until Round 5 to add another RB to the room means Mixon is only competing with Round 5 rookie Chase Brown, Trayveon Henderson (55 career touches in four seasons), and Chris Evans (most notable for being +1400 to date Kim Kardashian last offseason).

In other words, Mixon is locked into a top-5 workload at a low-end RB1 price tag. He’s a great value before we note the matchup, which is among the best on the slate. Last season, Cleveland gave up the 10th-most FPG to opposing RBs (24.5), the 4th-most rushing TDs (22), the 3rd-most missed tackles per attempt (0.23), the 8th-most yards after contact (1,363), and the 6th-highest rate of runs of 10 or more yards (13.5%). Mixon could have one of his most efficient rushing outings of 2023 in this matchup, and it’s easy to see why he’s a compelling play when you combine that with elite volume.

Rachaad White, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ MIN)
DK: 2.58X / FD: 1.91X

Last year, Leonard Fournette suffered a hip pointer in Week 10 that caused him to miss the end of that game and Week 12. In those two contests, White earned 16.4 XFP/G, 15.2 FPG, a 78% snap share, and a 58% route share – marks that would have ranked 7th-best (ahead of Jonathan Taylor), 11th-best, 2nd-best, and 2nd-best over the full year. In other words, White was an RB1 without Fournette.

To be fair, it’s reasonable to discount his XFP and FPG this season after the loss of check-down king Tom Brady, a departure that will lower this backfield’s target share and tank the team’s scoring expectation.

But I don’t think we can discount that elite snap and route share. White is competing with Ke’Shawn Vaughn (91 career touches in three seasons), Chase Edmonds (68 carries for 3.6 YPC last year), and Sean Tucker (a UDFA rookie) for playing time. He’s going to get fed – and his coaches have noted as much.

A bell cow workload at an RB22 price tag? Yes, please.

Raheem Mostert, RB, Miami Dolphins (@ LAC)
DK: 2.50X / FD: 2.12X

Jeff Wilson is out, and Devon Achane is likely limited to a touch count, meaning Mostert’s volume should be excellent this week – especially against a Brandon Staley-led defense that begs opposing offenses to run on them. Last season, the Chargers were the 2nd-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing RBs on the ground (+3.5 rushing FPG). They also gave up a league-leading 5.4 YPC.

Keep in mind Mostert managed to exceed 18.5 DraftKings points in three of his final seven games last year in a ~50/50 committee. He’s a likely bell cow in Week 1, yet his price presumes committee status. You don’t need me to tell you that makes him an obvious value.

Jamaal Williams, RB, New Orleans Saints (VS. TEN)
DK: 2.53X / FD: 1.78X

Kendre Miller is dealing with a hamstring injury, and Alvin Kamara is suspended, leaving Jamaal Williams, Kirk Merritt, and Tony Jones as the presumptive Week 1 RBs for New Orleans.

Obviously, Williams is going to dominate backfield work, given the available personnel. But he also isn’t very good. Among 51 qualifying RBs last year, he ranked 39th in yards after contact per attempt (2.7), 47th in missed tackles forced per touch (0.12), and 37th in YPC (4.1). And the matchup is brutal – Tennessee was quietly the 3rd-toughest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing RBs last year (-3.6 FPG).

He’s fine in cash, but he feels like a clear fade in tournaments if he ends up among the highest-owned RBs of the slate.

Deon Jackson, RB, Indianapolis Colts (VS. JAX)
DK: 2.54X / FD: 1.63X

Jonathan Taylor is out. Zack Moss is out. Jackson will be the starter, and could even be the bell cow – but will more likely be working in something of a committee alongside rookie Evan Hull. It’s a neutral on-paper matchup, a below-average game environment, and Vegas isn’t expecting too much from Indianapolis with QB Anthony Richardson starting just his 10th career game since high school. Nonetheless, he’s a viable punt; the best argument for Jackson isn’t necessarily what he can do for your lineup, but it’s whether or not he plus the high-priced options he allows you to afford were necessary to post a GPP-winning score.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins (@ LAC)
DK: 2.10X / FD: 1.61X

This is by far the top-scoring environment of the week (51.0 total), and Miami should be forced to throw as 3.0-point underdogs. Tyreek Hill has played in 22 career games as an underdog. He averages an absurd 26.0 DraftKings FPG in those contests, scoring over 40.0 DraftKings points four times (18% hit rate).

His QB is healthy; In Tagovailoa’s healthy games, Jaylen Waddle averaged 17.0 FPG (would have ranked 8th-best among WRs), and Tyreek Hill averaged 23.0 FPG (would have led all flex-eligible players).

But this is also a sneaky-great matchup. The Chargers have a reputation as a “bend but don’t break” kind of defense, but that wasn’t true last season. On passes of 20 or more yards last season, the Chargers allowed the 4th-most receptions (30), the 3rd-most yards (1,012), and the 2nd-most TDs. This is one of the league’s weakest pass defenses against the deep ball. The offense that led the league in passing YPG on throws of 20 or more yards? The Miami Dolphins.

Hill is my clear top option when paying up at WR – but expect him to be among the highest-owned WRs of the slate.

Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints (VS. TEN)
DK: 2.17X / FD: 1.59X

Last season, Olave led New Orleans in routes (419), targets (112, 39 more than his next-closest teammate), receiving yards per game (69.5), end zone targets (5), 1st read share (32%), and XFP per route run (0.5). In nearly every measurable way, Olave was immediately New Orleans’ most impactful offensive skill player. Among rookie WRs all time, Olave earned the 20th-most receiving yards (1,042), 26th-most targets, and the 3rd-most receiving YPG. Olave wasn’t just great for New Orleans; he was historically great for a rookie WR.

His efficiency numbers back this up. Olave’s 82.9 PFF receiving grade and his 2.42 YPRR were the 5th-best and 3rd-best marks by a rookie WR since 2015. The only players who beat him out in both stats? Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase.

And now, almost unbelievably, we get the historically great Olave at a WR15 price tag (if pricing were based on DraftKings' best ball draft ADP, he would be the WR8). Relative to an actually liquid market (DraftKings best ball), Olave is one of the most mispriced players of the slate at any position.

The matchup is pretty great too. Tennessee gave up the most receiving yards (4,935), 3rd-most YAC (2,235), and the most deep receiving yards (1,314) of any pass defense last season. Olave – who earned the 8th-most targets of 20 or more yards last season – should have a field day running behind this Tennessee secondary.

Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos (VS. LV)
DK: +$211, 2.46X / FD: +$500, 1.79X

Sutton earned a 22% target share in his two games without Jerry Jeudy last season – a mark that would’ve ranked 25th-highest among WRs over the full year. Far more impressive than that, Sutton dominated 1st read throws in Jeudy’s absence last season, earning 43% of the Broncos 1st read targets (1st among all players by 4% over the full season). It seems extremely likely Sutton is the focal point of this passing attack on Sunday.

This week, Sutton faces a Las Vegas secondary that allowed the 4th-most receiving yards (4,320), 6th-most receptions (398), and 8th-highest YPRR (1.58) to opposing pass catchers last year. And they rank as a bottom-3 secondary (per PFF) this year.

With Jeudy looking questionable, it’s clear Sutton – who is just $5,200 (WR31) – pops as a value, especially on FanDuel.

Elijah Moore, WR Cleveland Browns (VS. CIN)
DK: +$703, 2.97X / FD: 1.68X

What if this really is the year for Elijah Moore? You don’t have to take our word for it – we here at Fantasy Points have been above market on Moore since he came out of the womb, effectively – just look at the above tweet. Moore is the most mispriced player on the slate relative to DraftKings ADP.

And remember who Elijah Moore is. He was among the most efficient rookies in a stacked class, with his 1.95 YPRR from out wide ranking 23rd overall and 3rd among rookies, behind only Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle (min. 200 routes) in 2021. He was Scott Barrett’s WR3 in the 2021 class, ranking “as the 10th-best WR prospect to come out since 2015, directly in between Justin Jefferson and Jerry Jeudy.”

Reports from camp have been glowing…

We can’t underestimate what a change of scenario could do for a player with Moore’s talent. Moore and the Jets clearly didn’t see eye-to-eye, resulting in a dramatic mid-season trade request and public statements about wanting the ball more. In stark contrast, Browns HC Kevin Stefanski has showered Moore with praise, gushing, “He takes it very seriously, which is great. It’s fun to be around a guy that really works at it. He’s taken the bit on everything we’ve asked him to do.”

If the vibes are immaculate, maybe Moore’s Week 1 DFS performance will be too. I’ll always take shots on players of Moore’s caliber when they only cost 8% of your total salary.

Jonathan Mingo and Marvin Mims

Rookie WRs aren’t generally the players I want in my Week 1 DFS lineups, but I think we can make a (modest) exception for this duo – given Mims is the stone minimum and Mingo is just $3,200.

Jerry Jeudy could sit, and if he does, Mims will be working as the clear WR2 in this Denver offense. Mims being out there for nearly every snap is probably all we need at his price, as we know he’s an awesome talent.

Meanwhile, Mingo’s biggest target competition (Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark) are both seriously banged up and questionable to play. He likely doesn’t offer the same single-game upside as Mims, but we have both players projected for near-identical volume. And Mingo was an impressive prospect in his own right…

Luke Musgrave, TE, Green Bay Packers (@ CHI)
DK: 2.62X / FD: 1.41X

We are almost always targeting at one of the cheapest TEs of the week as our top value, and that looks like Luke Musgrave in Week 1.

This preseason, Musgrave ran a route on 33 of a potential 37 dropbacks with the first-team offense (89% route share). For perspective, Mark Andrews was the only TE to clear an 80% route share last season. And with Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson both banged up, Musgrave legitimately could be the team’s No. 1 receiver this week.

Brett Whitefield noted that Musgrave has a “mouth-watering blend of size and athleticism.” Combine that with an every-down role, and Musgrave could easily be the piece required to ship a tournament this week. And even if he isn’t, a few catches is all you need for him to hit value at this price.

Jake Tribbey is the 2022 FSWA Football Writer of the Year and the leading Spring Football expert in the fantasy industry. He is a lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.