We have a rare Monday night football DFS double-header, with the New Orleans Saints traveling to Carolina and the Cleveland Browns traveling to Pittsburgh. Why are there two games tonight? Who knows! However, we now get a 2-game DraftKings slate, which is a dream come true for us sickos. Let’s dive in!
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Quarterback Picks
Deshaun Watson is the top projected quarterback on this slate, albeit the four quarterbacks project fairly closely. Watson had a fine Week 1, with 154 yards through the air and one touchdown to go with one interception. He added 45 yards and a touchdown on the ground, too, which bolsters his outlook.
Pittsburgh got shredded through the air last week, and Watson had a solid start against Pittsburgh last year. He had 230 yards through the air, with a pair of touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. He also added 22 yards on the ground.
Derek Carr comes in with the highest Points/Salary mark at the position and has a plus matchup against Carolina. The Panthers allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per pass attempt last week, and that came against the Falcons’ meager passing attack.
Carr had a great debut in New Orleans, throwing for 305 yards while averaging 9.2 yards per attempt. He tossed one touchdown and one interception and should be in line for another solid performance tonight.
Kenny Pickett had a rough Week 1, but Pittsburgh showed their confidence in him by still passing 8% over expectation with the negative game script. Pickett struggled against Cleveland last year, but he’s still a solid option if looking past the top two options.
Bryce Young‘s debut left a lot to be desired, as he showed inconsistency and threw two interceptions. The team also had a very run-heavy approach despite the negative game script. He’s a good ownership play, and it’s never a bad idea to lean into the uncertainty of a rookie quarterback on a two-game slate.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
To the surprise of no one, Nick Chubb headlines the stud section. He had a solid Week 1, carrying the ball 18 times for 106 yards while catching four balls. He only ran a route on about a third of the team dropbacks, so it’s unlikely his high target rate per route run mark continues.
However, any passing game work is valuable.
We just saw Christian McCaffrey run wild on Pittsburgh, and now Cam Heyward is going to miss this contest for Pittsburgh. Chubb owns the highest ceiling projection by almost five points. He’s an easy click tonight.
Miles Sanders leads the position in Points/Salary, and his Week 1 role was very valuable.
Sanders played on 57.1% of the snaps and handled 66.7% of the running back touches. His final stat line was 18 carries for 72 yards while catching four of six targets for 26 yards.
The Saints just allowed 147 yards on 21 touches to Tennessee backs, so the matchup is advantageous. Chuba Hubbard will likely take work, as he totaled 11 touches in Week 1. However, Sanders’ outlook is strong and he’s one of the top options on the slate.
If looking for a strong workload, look no further than Jamaal Williams. Rookie backup Kendre Miller didn’t practice all week, which should lead to Williams owning a lion’s share of the touches again. Williams was inefficient in a horrible matchup last week, as he handled 18 carries for 45 yards while catching both of his targets for seven yards.
Atlanta carved up Carolina last week, as their RBs combined for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, good for 5.2 yards per carry.
Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren look far more like a split than Harris’ fantasy owners would like to see. Harris played on 52.4% of the snaps, compared to 39.7% for Warren. Both backs handled eight touches last week. Harris ran 24 pass routes compared to 18 for Warren, while Warren earned six targets compared to just two for Harris.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
Chris Olave is poised for another great year, and Week 1 was a great way to start it off. He caught eight of 10 targets for 112 yards last week, posting a 22.2-point DraftKings performance.
His underlying metrics were also elite, running a route on 84% of the dropbacks, with a 31% target share and 33% air yards share. Also, he saw a 25% first-read target per route run, showing that he was consistently the main option in New Orleans’ offense. The Panthers ranked 19th in coverage grade against Atlanta, who is a poor passing offense. With Jaycee Horn out with a hamstring injury, it looks like all systems go with Chris Olave.
He has the highest ceiling projection on the slate by over four points, as he’s a clear priority at the WR position.
With Amari Cooper (GTD) looking like he’s going to miss this contest, Elijah Moore looks like one of the top values. He had solid usage in Week 1 and could be in line for more work. Moore saw seven targets, catching three balls for 43 yards. He also saw two carries.
Moore was used all over the field, running routes from the slot and outside. He also saw an 18% first-read target rate, which is very promising.
He’s the top WR in Points/Salary as well as Projected Plus/Minus. He’s a strong click in all formats on Monday Night.
George Pickens mostly took a backseat in first read targets in Week 1, seeing just an 8% clip compared to 22% for Johnson. However, with Johnson out, it should open up work for Pickens. He ran a route on 92% of the dropbacks last week, seeing seven targets and catching five balls for 36 yards. We just saw Cleveland shut down Cincinnati’s top receiving duo, so the matchup is worrisome. However, Pickens should still see a good amount of work.
Calvin Austin III also looks to benefit from Diontae Johnson’s injury, seeing six targets and catching six balls for 37 yards last week. Austin has a good chance to go overlooked, but he’ll run a route on almost every dropback and is a strong, lower-owned option.
Rashid Shaheed had a 16% first-read target rate and a 24% target rate per route run in Week 1. Shaheed ran a route on 66% of the dropbacks and continued his role as a big play threat. He caught five of six targets for 89 yards and a touchdown while handling two carries. Only Tyreek Hill averaged more yards per route run than Shaheed in 2022. Sign me up for Shaheed.
If looking for a dart throw, Jonathan Mingo looks like a solid option. Mingo ran a route on 93% of the dropbacks last week, seeing a 17% target share and 36% air yards share. He also had a 15% first-read target rate, which is very promising. Sign me up for Mingo at this very cheap price. DJ Chark’s return is somewhat worrisome, but I’m expecting that to bump Terrace Marshall Jr. to the bench, not Mingo.
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NFL DFS Tight End Picks
Stud is a strong term, but Pat Freiermuth is my favorite option at tight end, and is the second-highest-priced tight end on the slate. He missed some of the game with a chest injury, running a route on just 50% of the dropbacks. However, he saw a healthy 15% first-read target rate, seeing four total targets and catching one ball for three yards and a touchdown. He could see some extra work with Johnson out, and he has a rapport to
Hayden Hurst ran a route on 64% of the dropbacks last week, seeing seven targets and catching five balls for 41 yards and a touchdown. He saw a first-read target on just 11% of his routes, which I wish was a little higher. However, it’s likely Young continues to lean on his tight end. Hurst is squarely on my radar.
David Njoku had just three targets in Week 1, catching two balls for 24 yards. He ran a route on 69% of the dropbacks, with an 8% first-read target rate and a 12% target share. He shredded Pittsburgh last year with 9/89/1 and 4/42/1. The latter came with Watson under center. I prefer too many options in that price range and am personally uninterested in Njoku.
Juwan Johnson caught three of five targets for 36 yards last week while running a route on a promising 81.6% of the team dropbacks and seeing a 16.1% target rate per route run. Johnson also has been utilized as a red zone threat before, giving him some touchdown equity which makes him stand out.