It’s finally here! The much-anticipated, long-awaited return of the NFL includes our first full Sunday of meaningful football of the season. With 13 games on DraftKings’ main slate, there are lots of great options to consider as you assemble your Week 1 NFL DFS squad.
Let’s take a look at a few players who stand out for Week 1, using the early projections in our NFL Player Models. Of course, these models update frequently. Things will likely change between now and Sunday, but it’s still good to have a plan of attack.
If there’s news between now and lock — and there will be — the models will update to reflect that.
As always, they’re powered by Sean Koerner — the most accurate fantasy ranker in the industry from 2019-2021 — BUT that’s not all. This year, Chris Raybon’s projections will also be available in our NFL Player Models.
For full access to our models, you’ll need to sign up for a FantasyLabs subscription:
NFL DFS Quarterback Values
Anthony Richardson ($5,600) Indianapolis Colts (+5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (45 total)
Richardson has the highest projected Plus/Minus of all quarterbacks as well as the most projected Points per Salary. The No. 4 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft is making his NFL debut, and since he’s still got so many question marks, he’s projected for ownership in the single digits.
While he has yet to prove it in an NFL contest, Richardson has all the raw tools to be a standout fantasy contributor. At Florida over the last two seasons, the dual-threat rushed for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns while throwing 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his 20 games. He has an extremely high ceiling and relatively high floor with his projected rushing production.
Of all the rookie QBs priced around this level, Richardson lands in probably the best matchup at home against the Jaguars. Last season, the Jags’ defense allowed the sixth-most DraftKings points per game to opposing QBs. Of the rookies, he’s expected to be the most productive rushing option, and the absence of Jonathan Taylor in the backfield will put even more of the workload on Richardson.
While there may be some mistakes and growing pains in Year 1, the Colts are clearly committed to Richardson as their QB going forward. They only needed one game in the preseason to announce him as the starter and are ready to give him the reigns of the Colts’ new era.
Richardson’s elite athletic skillset gives him plenty of ceiling to be an excellent option for your fantasy team in Week 1 as well.
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NFL DFS Wide Receiver Values
Tutu Atwell ($3,000) Los Angeles Rams (+5.5) at Seattle Seahawks (46 total)
As is usually the case for Week 1, some great value has emerged at wide receiver since salaries were released. The top option in both Projected Plus/Minus and Points per Salary by a wide margin this week is Atwell, who gets a great opportunity to step up with Cooper Kupp (hamstring) unlikely to play.
While Van Jefferson ($4,700) is expected to be the team’s No. 1 option, and rookie Puka Nacua ($3,000) could also be involved along with the versatile Ben Skowronek ($3,200), Atwell has the highest ceiling of the group and can serve as the vertical threat in the offense both while Kupp is out and even after he returns.
Last season, he had just 18 catches, but his 16.6 yards per catch average would have been the fifth-highest if he had enough receptions to qualify. He hasn’t consistently shown he can be a top option, but the potential is definitely there for him to go off with a huge game from the minimum salary.
Atwell will be working with Matthew Stafford ($5,700), who represents a big upgrade in quarterback play and recently called Atwell a “master of the offense.” The third-year receiver has a chance to make a splash to start the season in this matchup in Seattle, and the Rams will be desperate for play-making potential, so they should scheme up ways to get the ball in his hands like they did in last year’s season finale when he scampered to the end zone on an end around.
NFL DFS Running Back Values
Jamaal Williams ($5,100) New Orleans Saints (-3) vs. Tennessee Titans (41 total)
Williams is another player who will be getting more work than initially expected when salaries were released a few weeks ago. After he signed with the Saints following a successful season in Detroit, the depth chart has opened up in front of him, leaving him as the last man standing in the backfield for Week 1. Alvin Kamara (suspension) and Eno Benjamin (Achilles) are out and Kendre Miller ($4,300; hamstring) has been missing practice and is an unproven rookie. Tony Jones Jr. ($4,500) was just added to the practice squad, but the majority of the work seems set to fall to Williams in Week 1. As a result, he leads the position with a 95% Bargain Rating for this week.
While he may not have the job for long, at least this week, Williams should serve as a featured back. He led the NFL with 17 touchdowns last year in Detroit, but he wasn’t solely a short-yardage beast at the goal line. Don’t miss the fact that he also ran for over 1,000 yards and caught 12-of-16 passes for 73 yards out of the backfield.
The Saints system typically features plenty of work for running backs, and Derek Carr ($5,300) has had a tendency to check down to them as well. Williams is almost guaranteed a big workload in his Saints’ debut, and the volume should be enough to overcome a tough matchup against the Titans and result in him out-producing his salary expectations with or without his typical touchdown volume from last season.
NFL DFS Tight End Values
Adam Trautman ($2,500) Denver Broncos (-4) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (44 total)
Trautman won the starting job in Denver this preseason and has been a favorite of coach Sean Payton throughout his career, which began when Payton traded four picks to move up in the 2020 NFL Draft to select Trautman out of Dayton. Payton traded for him again this season in a draft-day swap with the Saints. Last year, he was relegated to blocking most games and only had 18 catches for 207 yards and one touchdown. Payton praises his overall game, which should earn him plenty of playing time, even if he is blocking for much of his time on the field.
Both Payton and Russell Wilson ($5,900) have a history of making tight ends fantasy relevant, and both Trautman and Greg Dulcich ($4,000) could end up being worth watching as the season goes on.
If you need an ultra-cheap option at TE this week, Trautman jumps off the projection page as a good option with upside at the minimum salary. He checks in second at the position at both Points per Salary and projected Plus/Minus coming into his Broncos’ debut.