Draftkings Week 1 Targets and Fades QBs and RBs
High: ($6,500 or above)
Target- Justin Herbert ($7,600)
Fade- Jalen Hurts ($6,800)
It’s tough to choose a favorite quarterback in this top tier as many of them are elite and with favorable match-ups. Herbert though has a slight early edge for me, as my favorite one to target.
He plays in the 2nd highest game total, he’s at home and he is returning his top receivers and Austin Ekeler. Unlike a number of quarterbacks in this group, there aren’t a lot of new faces or question marks among his pass-catching depth. If there is a QB who will be on the same page with everyone in his offense week 1, it should be Justin Herbert.
Finding a fade option in this group isn’t typically easy, but Jalen Hurts stands out as a trap play. Hurts was a top 6 fantasy-scoring QB last year per game, but his production was weighted heavily to the first 6 weeks. The Eagles were 2-4 in that time and decided to become more run-heavy. Hurts saw his production fall as he was no longer throwing as much or picking up points in garbage time. Hurts has a strong floor, but you are going to need a 2 or 3 rushing TD game for him to have any shot here.
Medium: ($5,500 to $6,400)
Target- Derek Carr ($5,900)
Fade- Justin Fields ($5,600)
The mid-tier has a number of interesting QB options starting with Joe Burrow and Kirk Cousins. Trey Lance, Trevor Lawrence, and Matt Ryan all feel like solid plays as well. Derek Carr though is the one in this range I’m most interested in.
The Raiders vs Chargers has an O/U of 52 points, just one point behind the Chiefs vs Cardinals. Despite that, Carr will likely be owned the lowest of the 4 QBs by a considerable amount. Given that he offers $1,000+ in savings, I want to be overweight here on Carr.
Not only does this game have the potential to become a major shootout, but Carr feels underpriced here. Yes, his fantasy production was disappointing last season, but he has a stable offensive system now in Josh McDaniels. This offense could be very potent with Darren Waller back healthy and the addition of Davante Adams and this offense could be very potent.
For a fade, the easy call is Justin Fields. The Bears’ offense as a whole is weaker than it was a year ago, and they will face a good 49ers defense. San Francisco will likely also slow down this game with their running philosophy.
Low: ($5,400 or below)
Target- Jameis Winston ($5,300)
Fade- Marcus Mariota ($5,200)
I don’t think I’d spend much time building line-ups down in this range, but if so my target will be Winston. The Saints figure to be more pass-happy in general this season, and now have a strong receiving corps to throw to. With Kamara potentially suspended, New Orleans might need to rely on the pass even more early in the season. The Falcons had one of the worst defenses in the league last season, and not a lot has changed this year.
As for Mariota, the Saints’ defense continues to project as a top unit. I don’t want to play a weak quarterback, on a bad offense vs a tough defense regardless of the price.
High: ($6,500 or above)
Target- Christian McCaffrey ($8,500)
Fade- DeAndre Swift ($6,800)
The top of the running back market is very exciting for week 1. Of the 11 guys in this range, only 4 are road running backs (one of which is Kamara who might not play). And almost all of them have favorable match-ups and/or are favored.
McCaffrey though is the RB I want to prioritize in week 1. The Panthers have invested in their offensive line and CMC might see the best QB play he’s had around him in years. We’ve seen his ability to just take over games, and become a slate breaker. The Panthers aren’t currently favored, but it’s only a 1 point game right now. With the Panthers at home, I like McCaffrey in this game.
Swift is an explosive player, who for the season I like quite a bit, but in week 1 this seems like an avoid situation. The Eagles should have one of the better defensive fronts in the league, which could make it tough to find running room. The Lions should be down, which will help passing opportunities for Swift, but I don’t think you can rely on the garbage time success that he had a season ago. The biggest issue though is the soft pricing below him. You are paying a big opportunity cost in rostering him.
Target- Elijah Mitchell ($5,400)
Fade- Saquon Barkley ($6,100)
There are a lot of solid options in this group, but Eli Mitchell stands out in a big way. The 2nd year back figures to be San Francisco’s top option in the run game, in a game that they are favored by 6.5 points. Mitchell has a great chance to rack up carries and hit that 100 bonus. If he can add a TD or two, he’s looking at a strong day for his price, even without passing work.
Barkley has a lot of high hopes in this new offense, but this is a tough start. The Titans were the number 2 rushing defense a season ago, giving up only 100 or more yards to a total of 3 teams (only 1 RB). So for Barkley to get there he will likely need significant passing work. There are just far better options in this price range to target.
Low: ($5,300 and below)
Target- Chase Edmonds ($5,200)
Fade- J.D. McKissic ($5,100)
Generally, this is a weak area unless we get some value due to injuries in camp/preseason. Right now though Edmonds stands out as the one potential starting back in this group. The match-up isn’t great, but he could rack up some PPR points as Tua’s safety net. The big worry for Edmonds is always TD production, but at this low price, he could get there on catches and combined yardage alone.
DraftKings has done better in pricing up 2nd and 3rd backs to ensure that injuries don’t open up extreme value cases. McKissic though is the type of back who has a solid 20-point upside but probably caps around there. The Commanders now have 3 running backs potentially splitting time this season. Also, with the team being favored by 3.5 in a low-scoring game, that isn’t an area to target a guy like McKissic.