Top-ranked daily fantasy sports pro Jason Mezrahi, founder and CEO of WinDailySports.com, breaks down his favorite DFS plays at various salary ranges for Week 1 of the NFL season.
We are back for another year of DFS domination and we have some new tools to take advantage of from my team over at WinDailySports.com. Our projection model, lineup optimizer, and data tools have been revamped and back tested to start the season off right. So what I will do in this article is list some of our highest projected players based off raw points and our highest point per dollar plays based on DraftKings.com pricing.
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These are some of the players Jason will be locking in his lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel for this weekend’s slate.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
I will go out on a limb here and call Mahomes elite. We all the know the talent he possesses and the weapons he has around him, but people will choose to “fade” the man who is in a great spot this week just to get different. We have a over under of 54, which is the highest on the board with a spread of only 6, so Vegas is predicting a high-scoring shootout that bodes well for fantasy points. Take your pick with whom to pair Mahomes, or play both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in a three-man stack. Mahomes is as safe as it gets for cash games, and with enough salary savings on the board, I like him in both tournaments and cash games.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
We go from elite to truly unproven, but the savings and rushing upside provides a path where Hurts smashes his value. What he possesses is a huge rushing upside at the quarterback position. With that comes a nice floor. He finished last year strong, also adding another year to his belt and some new weapons. I would not force a receiver with Hurts in a stack but wouldn’t oppose it, either. Vegas has the Eagles coming in as 3.5-point underdogs and has the total at 48. So Hurts is setup in a up-paced environment where he may be trailing late, which should equate to more fantasy points. He is more of a tournament play for me, but I think his rushing floor puts him in cash game consideration as well.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
You really can’t go wrong with Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, or Derrick Henry, but give me Kamara at a discount — especially on DraftKings, where you get a full point per reception. There has been some questions marks all offseason in regards to the New Orleans offense, but I think Week 1 is now setting up perfectly for Kamara with Jameis Winston starting and Latavius Murray having been cut. We may see the Kamara show early and often this year, and before the industry takes notice, lock in Kamara and his pass-catching upside. The Saints are at home as a 4.5-point underdog with a game total sitting at 49.5, which I think shoots over. This is a good game script for Kamara and fantasy points, so lock him into both cash games and tournaments.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
We are going to need some value wherever we can find it on this slate, and this is a great spot for Mixon with Joe Burrow back along side him. This offense has potential to light any team up, and the Minnesota Vikings defense has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. Vegas has the total at 47.5, and I could see this as another game that shoots over 50. Mixon is not in any form of time share with Gio Bernard out of town, and it could lead to more receptions for Mixon. We have a great price on Mixon, so take advantage of it.
DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
I don’t know if this is a bold statement, but I think Metcalf ends this season as a top-5 wide receiver. The guy is a athletic freak, and there is nothing he can’t do on a football field. The Seattle offense sputtered to finish last year, and the occasional drop from Metcalf hurt as well. I don’t expect that trend to continue, and I will be all over the discount off the top tier. Vegas has the Seahawks as slight favorites with the total set at 50. This is a great game environment in a dome, so expect a lot of points on the scoreboard. I am expecting a big game out of Metcalf, and I love attacking his props as well.
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts
Seattle’s secondary was very suspect last year, and I see them as another area to attack in Week 1. The Colts are a run-first offense, but with the addition of Carson Wentz, combined with the injury to T.Y. Hilton, we have some nice upside along with a value price on Pittman. He emerged as a go-to target last year and should only get better over time. As I mentioned above, we have a 50-point over/under with the Colts possibly playing from behind and forced to throw the ball to catch up. Pittman should provide upside at lower ownership, which could be a recipe for success in your tournaments on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Don’t hate me for pointing out the obvious, but there is truly no need to avoid Kelce. Give me the best tight end in the game in a good environment. This game has shootout potential, and I believe the Cleveland Browns find a way to keep it close enough for us to see a ceiling-level Kelce game here in Week 1. In cash games, don’t get cute … in tournaments, I will have 50 percent of my teams with Kelce and then will sprinkle shares of tight ends who are in good game environments.
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
The price is right on Pitts in his career debut in the NFL. Pitts is another wide receiver playing the tight end position. This contest has a total of 48, and this defense in Philly has holes to take advantage of in the passing game. Outside of Calvin Ridley, Pitts should be the second-highest targeted player in this game. There is some risk to a rookie tight end in his first game, but at this value price tag and game script, he should be good for 8-plus fantasy points and will exceed value at $4,400 on DraftKings. Honorable mentions to Logan Thomas, Dallas Goedert, and Gerald Everett, all of whom I will have shares of in tournaments.
Good luck in your games, and let’s start the season off right!
Jason Mezrahi has been a professional, top-ranked Daily Fantasy Player on FanDuel and DraftKings for more than eight years. He has won FanDuel’s $155,555 King of the Diamond competition and placed second in DraftKings’ Fantasy Basketball World Championship, earning him $300,000. He owns and operates WinDailySports.com, which supports the DFS and Sports Betting community with resources such as tools, projection models, expert chat, in-depth written analysis and podcasts, plus much more.