Welcome to my NFL Week 1 daily fantasy breakdown.
Each week, I will provide the full list of players I am targeting in DFS - including Monday, Thursday and Sunday night Showdown games, featured Showdown contests, and the Sunday main slate.
This article will change almost daily as more information comes to the forefront. Take advantage of the Table of Contents to the right to jump to where you’d like to read as the week progresses and certain contests conclude.
One important point before heading into this week’s novel: When playing DFS, especially Showdown with minimal roster selection, the goal is to win (solo first). That means collecting the “best plays" is not always the goal. Instead, it’s finding the best fits to construct the strongest lineup to take a contest down.
It is not the most comfortable mindset to have when playing DFS, but it gets you closer to winning and farther from just minimum cashing. Let’s go.
Thursday Night Football DFS: Lions @ Chiefs
Using Vegas Lines To Construct DFS Week 1 Lineups
You can track the full Lions vs Chiefs betting market up until kickoff.
The NFL lines I used for TNF are up to date as of September 5, 2023, at 1 p.m. ET., courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:
- Spread: Chiefs -6.5
- Total: 55 Points
The lid lifter on the 2023 NFL season is in Kansas City, home of your defending Super Bowl champs the Chiefs.
They welcome a team on the rise, with the Detroit Lions looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016 – and seeking their first playoff win since 1991.
This clash of offenses should make for fun DFS football contests.
Both offenses finished in 2022’s top 10 in pass attempts, passing touchdowns, net yards, and catchable passes, respectively, according to Sports Info Solutions. Not much has changed in terms of offensive philosophy for either team, but both have roster changes that are expected to boost their production.
Patrick Mahomes ($12,200 on DraftKings) is hoping for WRs Skyy Moore ($4,800), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,400) and Kadarius Toney ($7,000) to step up as they enter their second years in the Andy Reid offense.
The wrench in the plan to continue their offensive dominance is Travis Kelce ($12,000) hyperextending his knee in practice on Sept. 5. Depending on the player, the injury can take anywhere from one week (Justin Fields last season) to two months (majority of other players) to recover from.
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Next up for the Chiefs at tight end is Noah Gray ($2,400) and Blake Bell ($200).
The Lions enter 2023 with one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, but what good is the protection without a dearth of talent to throw to?
Jared Goff ($9,400) will be looking to find Amon-Ra St. Brown ($10,200), Kalif Raymond ($800), Marvin Jones Jr. ($6,200) and Josh Reynolds ($2,800) in three-wide sets Thursday. Jameson Williams is out six weeks because he violated the NFL’s gambling policy, which is a huge blow after he missed the majority of 2022 because of injury.
Detroit is putting a lot of trust in rookies Jahmyr Gibbs ($8,200) and Sam LaPorta ($5,000). Both project to see a lot of time and routes run, but both have slightly tempered expectations for Week 1.
The reason the rookies and, to a degree, the passing offense as a whole have muted expectations is tied to Detroit’s 3,916 intended air yards (SIS), good for 22nd in the NFL last season.
The offense made big plays with their legs after the catch more than Goff simply airing it out. He has a good arm, but not an elite one.
Favorite Thursday Night DraftKings Showdown Plays
Showdown fantasy football lineups can hit with stacks that may or may not make sense. Again, we want all the first-place winnings and not to be duped.
Patrick Mahomes, with two wide receivers/tight ends
The Kelce injury opens up the combination for Mahomes stacks. Including Bell/Gray in a stack with Mahomes is between a $9,600-$11,800 price difference on DraftKings. That also opens the option to play mid-priced wideouts who were not an option before.
That could be the biggest shift in roster construction if Kelce is out. It is viable, but not gospel if you’re trying to be different.
Amon-Ra St. Brown Captain, with Patrick Mahomes & David Montgomery
Goff could blow up for the 300-yard bonus on DK, but if he doesn’t, we know that ARSB is the apple of his eye. You achieve “different" by stacking the WR without Goff while still including Mahomes minus the CPT price tag.
David Montgomery ($6,600) gets a chance to eat yards without DT Chris Jones. Jones helped the Chiefs limit opponents to a 0.7% TD rate on runs to the right, his primary side of the defensive line. K.C. was bottom half of the league in yards per game in that area, which is also important even if Jones were to play.
He’s just as tough as it gets in the red zone.
Skyy Moore, with Patrick Mahomes & Harrison Butker
Moore has had the steady drumbeat (and snaps with the first team) to warrant CPT rostership and stacking with Mahomes. The Chiefs have an implied team total of nearly 32 points, which means Harrison Butker ($4,400) has a chance to get extra points and field goals through the uprights.
* Dart Throws/Cheap Options
TE Noah Gray ($2,400)
There were only three games in which Gray and Bell played together, but in those games, Gray played at least 50.9% of snaps, while Bell maxed out at 30.5%.
Both could see red-zone targets in Week 1, but I want the guy on the field who has more of a chance to get those targets.
WR Kalif Raymond ($800)
Raymond is a field-stretching wideout who will have a chance to get in three-receiver sets for Detroit. When the Lions struggled with WR health between weeks 4-12 in 2022, Raymond’s snap percentage ranged from 51% (Week 4, his only week below 76%) to 95% (Week 9). He had 5, 7, 6, 4, 3, 3, 7 and 6 targets in that span.
WR Richie James ($2,000)
Richie James is not expected to have the biggest role, especially if Kadarius Toney is active. Toney playing would take the shine off of James. If Toney is out, James is a solid dart throw because he has a 118.8 QB Rating when thrown to in 2022 (71 targets) and a 44.1% win percentage against man coverage, according to Player Profiler, which is great considering he isn’t a great separator.
* TNF Captain Picks
QB Patrick Mahomes ($18,300)
Mahomes is elite in season-openers and in general. He will be tested by a tough Lions front four, as well as a deep secondary unit (I-L-L represent!).
That doesn’t take away from his ability to be the tide that lifts all boats. Having three active running backs is also going to help, especially if Kelce is out. That’s where Jerick McKinnon ($5,600) will see his role increase, while Isiah Pacheco ($6,800) leads in carries and Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($3,600) mixes in for both.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown ($15,300)
ARSB can be what we’ll miss if Kelce is out; the Chiefs defense will know the ball is coming to the WR, but he finds a way to make them pay regardless.
Detroit needs a big opening night from their star, or else the game could get ugly quickly.
DFS Sunday Main Slate Week 1
Week 1 gives us the most likely week of variance during the NFL season.
Do we know exactly how each team will operate? No. Do we have good ideas and opinions? Sure. Beyond that, everything else is essentially up for grabs.
That means that player rostership is more likely to be flat this week, and that is where DFS players need to find their advantage.
It is also important to consider scenarios for every game on the Main Slate - Vegas odds (spread, Over/Under), player personnel, offensive/defensive expectations (pace being a top consideration), and judging how your opponents will construct rosters (projected ownership).
Let’s look at Week 1’s 13-game Main Slate.
Week 1 Quarterbacks to Target
Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence, and Anthony Richardson
Tackling two QBs at once Trevor Lawrence and Anthony Richardson have an opportunity to be in a shootout with only three games having a higher implied Over/Under. Neither defense is inspiring, and the Colts secondary is one of the worst in the NFL.
I also doubt either comes with a double-digit rostership.
Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson will draw at-or-near-the-top of QB rostership numbers. Hurts has a loaded offense and still elite offensive line, while Jackson has depth at pass catcher and a new offense that is expected to pick up the pace and throw more (to what degree is unknown).
Week 1 Quarterbacks to Consider
Justin Herbert, Deshaun Watson, and Kenny Pickett
Injuries help Herbert and Watson because the Miami Dolphins are without CB Jalen Ramsey, and the Browns are dealing with their own secondary injuries.
There is no guarantee that Joe Burrows (calf) is 100%, but in the case that he can still step into throws and find his dearth of receiving talent, the Browns will be throwing.
Watson is a major question mark after missing nearly two seasons, and playing poorly when he was in the lineup for Cleveland. An offseason of time in the Browns offense, plus a solid corps of offensive talent will keep the Browns in most games.
Pickett is a home underdog which makes him in play for a couple of reasons. If the San Francisco 49ers are misjudged as (-2) favorites, it means that they will put a slower Steelers offense in a hole, or the Steelers offense took the jump we saw in Pickett’s five preseason series.
Herbert is in a new offense with Kellen Moore taking over for short-pass extraordinaire offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. It’s okay to get excited about Herbert versus Miami, I just have to control my exposure since the game has the highest implied point total on the slate.
Week 1 Running Backs to Target
Raheem Mostert, Aaron Jones, Joe Mixon, and Brian Robinson Jr.
Mostert was surprisingly mediocre against the Chargers in their matchup last season, but it should not deter you from putting him in your lineups.
Tua Tagovailoa threw his only dud in a stretch of nine games where he threw for at least 234 yards and a touchdown in each game; he had five multi-TD contests in that stretch.
The Dolphins are relatively healthy (Jeff Wilson) but LT Terron Armstead is in midseason form by having multiple injuries and is not playing Week 1. That hurts the whole offense but also gives the Dolphins the chance to give their speed backs (Mostert, Devon Achane) ample chances to run. I lean toward Mostert as the veteran.
Aaron Jones is a complete back going against a weak Bears front four. Chicago has little depth up front, and if the Packers want to limit Jordan Love’s throwing exposure against a very good secondary, Jones is going to get double-digit carries and a handful of targets out of the backfield.
The Packers may be without Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, as well. That will draw more ownership to Jones, but some chalk is good chalk.
Mixon has little competition and is playing behind an improved offensive line. There are numerous RBs with strong ownership and a chance to explode. Mixon does not carry the rostership heading into Sunday.
Week 1 Running Backs to Consider
Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, and James Conner
CMC and Ekeler sit atop RB salary, which can bring down their ownership naturally. McCaffrey has the more difficult matchup but is in an offense that will find ways to get him in space.
Ekeler is a way to stack the Chargers without a wide receiver since he is active in the passing game.
Williams and Perine face a soft Raiders defense and may be called on to run the clock and limit Russell Wilson’s cooking prowess, for now. The Broncos’ defense can stymie the Raiders but may need to make up for focusing on elite talents such as Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs.
Williams is a candidate for a smaller workload than Perine coming off his ACL and LCL tears last season. Regardless, both have a chance to be low-owned hits.
Conner is not the only talented player on the Cardinals, so dismissing him against the Commanders could backfire. Neither Josh Dobbs nor Clayton Tune will be asked to stretch the field in the passing game, which is where Conner can collect receptions.
It’s not just an easy way to get chunk yards, but it limits a potent Commanders pass rush.
Week 1 Wide Receivers to Target
Drake London, Ja’Marr Chase, DK Metcalf, Calvin Ridley, and Christian Kirk
London is in an ideal spot as the clear WR1 in the Falcons offense going against a thin Panthers team. Not only does the Panthers receiver room have 1.5 healthy wideouts, but the defense lacks the depth to handle Atlanta’s battering ram of an offensive line.
The secondary won’t look nearly as scary to Atlanta if they tired from slowing down Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier.
Chase is cheaper than Justin Jefferson in that they’re both nearly impossible to shut down, let alone slow down. Cleveland could also be without Denzel Ward.
Metcalf is a personal choice this week despite my adoration for Tyler Lockett. Both can be slate-breakers, but Metcalf is coming in with notably lower ownership at this time.
I’d be lying if I said I knew any of the Colts cornerbacks in three-wide sets. Cue Calvin Ridley in his first game back from suspension, and Christian Kirk continuing to prosper with Lawrence.
Week 1 Wide Receivers to Consider
Amari Cooper, Courtland Sutton, Diontae Johnson, and Chris Godwin
Cooper in a game stack is the best way to get unique, especially if your QB is Watson and not Burrows.
Sutton has been dogged for some time, but opportunity is opportunity. He will be in all two receiver sets for Denver and will come in with a lower rostership than teammate Marvin Mims Jr.
The season of positive regression for Diontae Johnson begins Week 1 against a suspect 49ers secondary. He also does not have nearly the hype behind him as George Pickens.
Chris Godwin is being forgotten because Baker Mayfield is the starter in Tampa Bay. It’s far from ideal coming from Tom Brady, but let’s not pretend Mayfield can’t get hot in select games. The Vikings’ secondary is not very talented and is anchored by an aging safety.
Week 1 Tight Ends to Target
Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, Hunter Henry, and Taysom Hill
Andrews is the only tight end who projects to see a Travis Kelce-like workload and is slated to play Week 1. That’s enough for me.
Hurst is the last man standing in terms of health for the Panthers. He isn’t elusive but does enough to find the soft spots in the defense and faces a Falcons defense that has a weak linebacker unit in coverage.
The other double-H has had a steady drum beat of positivity all preseason as the go-to tight end. The Patriots will also be looking for more production from him with multiple WR injuries. The Eagle’s defense is going to be good, but one area that the Pats passing game should be attacking is at linebacker.
Hill has a chance to slot in at tight end and finish the game against Tennessee with the second-most carries due to injuries.
Week 1 Tight Ends to Consider
Pat Freiermuth, T.J. Hockenson, Gerald Everett, Luke Musgrave, and Evan Engram
Everett and Engram come in lower for me in Week 1 because there are a lot of mouths to feed in their respective offenses. I am okay with being underweight on them.
Freiermuth is a favorite of Pickett’s, but the 49ers linebacking corps is one I like to avoid more often than not. That will keep my exposure to the Penn Stater lower than most.
I get paying up for Hockenson because he has a locked-in role with Minnesota, but his target competition is fiercer than Andrews to start 2023.
Musgrave would be a lot more appealing if he wasn’t getting steamed. He will be the Green Bay TE1, but is still a rookie at a position historically known to take time to adjust, and also faces a Bears LB/safety group that is strong, especially if LB T.J. Edwards or S Eddie Jackson is guarding him.
Week 1 D/ST to Target
Commanders, Titans, Saints, and Packers
Washington is the chalk this week and for good reason, but being in the middle of D/ST salaries is a knock. Play them, but not at 100%
The Titans and Saints could be the most boring game this week. The O/U is 41, one of the lowest of Week 1. Neither QB is lethal under pressure and both lack depth of offensive weapons.
The Bears’ offensive line is better, but injuries have them struggling to form a front five that intimidates. The Packers can get after Justin Fields, especially if he has not improved on getting rid of the ball.
Week 1 D/ST to Consider
Cardinals, Bears, Browns, Raiders, Steelers, and Broncos
What if Washington’s offense struggles in a game with an implied point total of 38? Arizona offers salary relief without the ownership of a team such as Tampa Bay.
If Green Bay is without their top two wideouts, the Bears could surprise with Yannick Ngakoue ready to pin his ears back and get to the QB.
Cleveland has a top front four, and if Denzel Ward is healthy, coverage sacks are in play against Joe Burrows.
Las Vegas and Denver could fall flat on offense, and each team has very good edge rushers.
Favorite Dart Throws
QB: Jordan Love, Packers
RB: Kyren Williams, Rams
WR: Trey Palmer, Buccaneers
TE: Durham Smythe, Dolphins
Week 1 Main Slate DFS Showdown
The AFC North is on display in Week 1 with the Battle of Ohio.
Deshaun Watson ($9,400 on DraftKings) enters his first full season under center with the Browns, surrounded by a dearth of talent and backed by one of the better defenses in the NFL.
Joe Burrow ($10,200) looks to get back to the Super Bowl after Cincinnati came up just short in 2022-23. The band is back together on offense and features improvements on the offensive line.
The Bengals were ninth in situation-neutral pace, and this game projects to be a tight one. Add in a top 10 neutral passing rate, and Cincy could cook.
The hope is the Browns offense can match pace and open the passing game with Amari Cooper ($7,800), Donovan Peoples-Jones ($5,200), Elijah Moore ($6,200), Marquise Goodwin ($200), Cedric Tillman ($1,400), David Njoku ($7,000), and maybe David Bell ($200). This could also be the year Nick Chubb ($10,400) flirts with 40-plus receptions.
A lot is unknown with the Browns offense, which means having to plan for multiple game scripts while building lineups.
Favorite DraftKings Plays
Captain Nick Chubb with Deshaun Watson
In the small sample size, we have with the two playing together, this less conventional stack is the top Chubb correlation, according to 4for4.
I also want to take advantage of a strong Browns offensive line against an okay Bengals defensive line and linebacking corps.
Captain Ja’Marr Chase with Joe Burrow and Tyler Boyd
This is more zigging when others zag because having a second wideout from the team that holds down your CPT isn’t ideal. I want this because we know Chase is an alpha receiver who may be the best in football, and Boyd is nearly $3,000 cheaper than teammate Tee Higgins ($8,200).
This is also a week where we find out how involved rookie RB Chase Brown ($3,000) could be in a game that could get high-scoring. Samaje Perine saw more targets per touch than Boyd last season, but some of those early targets could be Boyd’s (or Joe Mixon’s) while Brown is potentially eased into the offense.
Evan McPherson and Dustin Hopkins
Pairing the two in builds with one QB or less helps cover stalled drives in a game where the opponents are familiar with each other, even in Week 1.
*Dart Throws/Cheap Options
WR Marquise Goodwin ($200)
The good news is Goodwin was cleared to play after dealing with blood clots. On top of clearing his medical issue, Goodwin has speed to burn and gives the Browns another downfield weapon. Goodwin is expected to be Cleveland’s WR4, which is good enough to get on the field.
TE Jordan Akins ($600)
Expect the unexpected with Kevin Stefanski. Akins is listed as the TE2, and it would surprise me if he were to vulture a David Njoku touchdown after the latter’s preseason hype train was moving faster than ever.
Chris Evans ($1,600)
Evans could get the first crack at 3rd down work if Mixon is pulled on passing downs or longer down and distances. He’s a play in 1-2% of lineups if you are the type to max enter contests.
Browns Defense ($3,600)
I think this is a misprice, but I’m also not facing Joe Burrow and a loaded offense. The Browns’ pass rush is one of the best in the NFL, and even against an improved Bengals o-line, has an advantage.
Deshaun Watson ($14,100)
If you’re projecting Watson to be closer to his MVP-like self, he should be your overwhelming favorite at CPT.
He is priced below the opposing QB, his top offensive player, and the opposing offense’s top player.
Joe Mixon ($13,200)
The longtime Bengal is kind of forgotten because he has logged a good amount of miles. What we don’t know is how much of Perine’s 2022 target load he will absorb. If he gets half of his 11% target share from last season, Mixon could have a monster Week 1 despite the opponent.
Ja’Marr Chase ($16,200)
Nothing wrong with betting on the best player in a game.
In two full games against the Browns, Chase has averaged six receptions for 84 yards on 14 targets. There is inefficiency in his first go-round in 2021, but his lone game in 2022 was a monster output.
Chase has also received three carries in those contests and has played at least 94% of snaps.
Week 1 Sunday Night Football DFS Showdown: Cowboys at Giants
Spread: Cowboys -3.5
Total: 45.5 Points
Both offenses retooled in the offseason and are expected to be better than 2022-23.
The Cowboys said goodbye to Ezekiel Elliott and Dalton Schultz and handed the backfield to Tony Pollard ($11,000 on DraftKings) and tight end role to Jake Ferguson ($4,800). The Boys also traded for Brandin Cooks ($7,200), who slots in as the WR2 behind CeeDee Lamb ($10,400).
New York added Darren Waller (questionable, $8,400) via trade, and drafted Jalin Hyatt ($4,600), all while letting Kenny Golladay go. The Giants signed Parris Campbell ($4,400) with the hopes of health with his arrival. He is expected to complement incumbents Sterling Shepard ($2,400), Darius Slayton ($5,400), Wan’Dale Robinson (doubtful, $200), and Isaiah Hodgins ($6,400).
If all breaks correctly for both offenses, they could be in the top 10 by season’s end. Neither passing offense finished in positive territory according to Sports Info Solution’s Expected Points Gained/Lost (EPA). Both offensive units excelled in rushing EPA, which isn’t a surprise, especially when you consider Dak Prescott ($10,000) and Daniel Jones ($9,400) can run (more Jones at this point).
If the Giants want to cover/win Sunday night, their pass rush has to get home. The Cowboys led the NFL in sacks and hurries in 2022, while the Giants were 10th in hurries and tied for 14th in sacks.
Neither line was good in 2022. The Cowboys will hope for health once again as they did not draft an offensive lineman until the 5th round in this year’s draft. The Giants added center John Michael Schmitz via the draft on what is a younger line that needs to take a step (or three) forward.
Favorite Sunday Night Football DraftKings Plays
Captain Daniel Jones with Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb
We got a taste Thursday of what happens when you have zero top options at wideout. Waller is in play, but Dallas only allowed 10.5 adjusted fantasy points per game over the final 10 games of 2022, according to 4for4.
Captain Tony Pollard with Dak Prescott and Jake Ferguson
Pollard is going to see catches out of the backfield, especially if Prescott is under pressure because the o-line isn’t what it used to be. The Giants’ front seven is better at rushing the QB than being asked to cover tight ends.
Prescott targeted the tight end position in 25.1% of passing plays in 2023, the 7th-most in the NFL.
Dak Prescott, Brandon Aubrey, and Darren Waller
Prescott has odd correlations, usually with an RB not expected to get targets and the majority of opposing players (which makes sense). What also makes sense is Prescott’s correlation with his team’s kicker, considering the offense can stall out.
Enter Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, your 2023 Cowboys playcaller. We know two things about McCarthy - he shouldn’t call plays and he is risk-averse; only nine teams went for it on 4th down fewer times than Dallas in 2022.
Take what could be a muted offense with the opponent’s top pass catcher for a stack that should accumulate yards for both offensive players.
This could mean nothing if Waller doesn’t run a full complement of routes.
*Dart Throws/Cheap Options
TE Luke Schoonmaker ($600)
The rookie appears to be over a partially torn plantar fascia and is slotted behind Ferguson on the TE depth chart. Schoonmaker is a strong blocker but should cut into Ferguson’s workload as a 2nd-round pick, two rounds earlier than his teammate was chosen in 2022.
TE Daniel Bellinger ($400)
The second-year player will lose a lot of work with Waller in town, but as a rookie he saw six red zone targets, securing five, and converting two for scores.
The Giants ran 12 personnel (two tight ends) only 93 times in 2022, but 63 of those snaps were passing plays. There’s a glimmer of hope there with the Giants running a sophisticated offense.
WR Sterling Shepard ($2,400)
The Giants didn’t exactly add unquestioned talent to the receiver room in the offseason. Before Shepard was lost for the 2022 season after Week 3, he played an average of 79.97% of snaps. Veterans who can run routes and get open quickly, like Shepard, make a difference.
RB Rico Dowdle ($1,800)
The presumed backup while Ronald Jones is suspended acquitted himself well in the preseason, landing 19 total touches (5 receptions) in 3 games.
Dowdle will get at least one series spelling Pollard, and if the Cowboys front five is winning at the line of scrimmage, Dowdle could have a touchdown to his credit by the end of the game.
QB Daniel Jones ($14,100)
Aside from Waller, who can you trust to pair with Jones?
His combination of passing and running (at times for his life) gives him a reasonable floor to be the optimal CPT.
RB Tony Pollard
I can argue that Pollard is the best offensive talent in this game, and his usage in all phases of the offense means more opportunities to accrue fantasy points.
WR CeeDee Lamb
Wide receiver at CPT without his QB is a viable option in Showdown, especially in this game. The Giants could be improved at pass rushing, and the Cowboys line could be worse. That means Lamb, the apple of Prescott’s eye, could see double-digit targets as a floor; Lamb averaged 9.18 targets per game in 2022.
Week 1 MNF DFS Showdown
Spread: Bills -2
Total: 45.5 Points
The finale for Week 1 brings the Buffalo Bills to New Jersey to take on the New York Jets in an AFC East matchup.
This will be the first start for Aaron Rodgers ($9,800 on DraftKings) as a Jet, which is great news for the offense. After starting four quarterbacks in 2022-23, New York will be in position to execute a functioning passing attack with one of the best signal -callers in NFL history.
Garrett Wilson ($10,400) will look to improve on an outstanding rookie season that saw him accumulate 83 receptions for 1,103 receiving yards despite the QB carousel. Wilson is joined by former Packers Allen Lazard ($6,400) and Randall Cobb ($3,400), as well as former Chiefs speedster Mecole Hardman Jr. ($3,000) in the receiver room.
The Jets also boast a strong 1-2 punch at running back with Dalvin Cook ($7,800) looking to be the early-season leader with Breece Hall ($8,200) working back from ACL surgery. Both will play against one of the better rush defenses from 2022 that remains largely intact.
That means the Rodgers-led passing offense should be featured. He can nickel-and-dime any offense into submission and keep a defense on the field longer than they’d prefer.
The Bills defense ($3,800) will need to test the Jets tackles as Duane Brown has a lot of tread on the tires, and Mekhi Becton has not been healthy to start his career.
Josh Allen ($11,400) has his work cut out for him. He remains a terrifying player to line up against, but he was kept in check while passing against New York last season, averaging fewer than 200 passing yards per game while completing just 52% of his passes.
If it weren’t for his rushing, he’d have been a bust against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Bills did add to their offensive line, but the improvements shouldn’t push the unit as a whole into top-10 territory.
The Bills passing attack has a few new weapons behind Stefon Diggs ($10,600), but again, the Jets were able to neutralize their passing. The addition of Dalton Kincaid ($5,000) at least offers a wrinkle in the passing attack.
The Jets run defense allowed nearly as many schedule-adjusted fantasy points to running backs as the pass defense allowed to wideouts last season, according to 4for4. That puts a slightly brighter spotlight on James Cook ($8,000) and Damien Harris ($5,400).
Captain Josh Allen with Damien Harris
Harris has been the goal-line back between he and Cook, and paired with the true Bills goal-to-go rusher in Allen, covers the majority of rushing equity when looking for touchdowns. It is also a way to bet on Allen and not attach him to a specific WR in a stack with the Jets possessing a strong defense.
I am more inclined to pay down for a Buffalo receiver with Allen at CPT.
Captain Garrett Wilson with Josh Allen and Gabe Davis
I am looking to get unique with Wilson by not stacking him with Rodgers. Rodgers could turn the clock back and air out the ball, but he is more likely to spread the ball around and cap the ceiling of targets for all.
In this instance, it would be a Wilson-heavy target game which is more likely than the star WR seeing fewer than a handful of passes his way.
If you want to go Wilson CPT with Rodgers, a popular (and justified) way to target the Jets, four Bills as the bringback is the way I prefer to go.
Captain Dalvin Cook with James Cook
The brothers Cook could be heavy targets in a game script where the passing attacks struggle. Dalvin could be in for a bigger Week 1 role as the Jets figure out where Breece Hall is with his recovery.
James would benefit from a muted passing attack because of a shorter aDOT, and also works as a pass catcher while trailing if his older brother dominates in his Jets debut.
*Dart Throws/Cheap Options
WR Deonte Harty ($200)
The former Saint is projected as the WR3 for the Bills and will also be the lead kick and punt returner. His salary and opportunity to score on special teams will make him a popular player.
WR Trent Sherfield ($200)
The least popular $200 option for the Bills, Sherfield received a lot of hype from Bills coaching and served a meaningful role with the Dolphins last season.
TE C.J. Uzomah ($800)
Uzomah has been out-snapped and out-targeted by Tyler Conklin ($4,800) since joining Gang Green in 2022, but is salary relief and could be a target for Rodgers in the red zone.
Garrett Wilson ($15,600)
I am willing to be overweight on Wilson at CPT because we have seen him already building chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. He offers a slight discount ($300) from Diggs at CPT, which is a testament to Wilson’s upward trajectory and not a slight to Diggs.
Allen Lazard ($9,600)
His target competition is more fierce in New York than Green Bay, but his chemistry with Rodgers is undeniable. Lazard averaged over one red-zone target per game last season and should still see double-digit RZ targets on an improved Jets offense.
This is a play that I’d do once if I am building 10-plus lineups as a contrarian way to target the Jets pass offense with a WR CPT.
James Cook ($12,00)
The lack of goal-to-go touches is going to scare DFS players from Cook no matter the roster spot. I get it, but there is still around 90 yards on the field that Cook can dominate and still score from, and he’s the pass-catching back on a good offense.
Josh Allen ($17,100)
His talent is unquestioned, and if the passing catches up to his rushing ceiling against the Jets, Allen could be the optimal CPT despite being the most expensive player on the slate.