DraftKings Week 1 Salary Release: VERY Early Analysis
We still have about 6 weeks until the first NFL Sunday, but it’s never too early to look at DraftKings Week 1 salaries. DraftKings released their Week 1 salaries for the main slate yesterday, and I couldn’t be more excited! I know a lot will change between now and Sunday, September 11, but I love analyzing the salaries early to start the research process.
First, remember that we will not have the Bills, Rams, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Seahawks and Broncos on the main slate since those teams play in Primetime Week 1. Hello Showdown, oh how I’ve missed you!
Below are my initial gut reaction thoughts at looking at Week 1 salaries. I will have plenty more deeper analysis on every angle of Week 1. But let’s start here…
HIGHEST VEGAS TOTALS:
There are only three Vegas game totals that are currently set north of 48 points.
-Chiefs vs. Cardinals – 52.5 points
-Raiders vs. Chargers – 51. 5 points
-Packers vs. Vikings – 48.5 points
At this point, I believe the Chiefs/Cardinals stack will be the most popular. I’m sure I will find a way to get exposure to that game. But I’ve seen the highest total game fail many times before, so for Week 1, I may focus my stacks on a few other games.
-Raiders vs. Chargers – 51. 5 points
-Packers vs. Vikings – 48.5 points
-Steelers vs. Bengals – 44.5 points
FAVORITE EARLY STANDS/FADES:
I will be writing an ongoing series of articles about players that I’m overweight and underweight the market. In those articles, I will go in-depth with stats and data as to why I feel strongly on these particular players. Some of the players or position groups are listed below. So for now in the interest of time, these are my quick Week 1 thoughts, but I have plenty more analysis on these players coming soon.
I will also write a weekly “Take a Stand” series. Because you can’t play all the players in daily fantasy no matter how many lineups you play. So it’s important to take a stand on players . It is especially important in the first 4 weeks of the NFL season. We have been analyzing these players and teams all summer and we think we have it all figured it out. We do not. We will learn a lot in the first quarter of the season to then use as data points moving forward. Taking advantage of the unknown and making early stands against the public can really pay off.
Also, a lot of people carry their Redraft or Best Ball draft research into the early weeks of daily fantasy. That doesn’t always translate well for all players depending on match-up, salary, ownership, etc. Take advantage of places where you see that ownership could balloon because of that bias if you see a path to failure for that player/team.
Meg’s Week 1 OVERWEIGHT Plays:
-The Vikings offense – I have been bullish on the Vikings offense all summer, so I’m not going to slow down heading into Week 1. Especially in a potential shootout with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
-The Dolphins offense – I can’t wait to see what new HC Mike McDaniel does with this Dolphins offense. Sure his press conferences and interviews are hilarious, but he’s also a young, brilliant offensive mind who has learned from Kyle Shanahan. Now he can set-up QB Tua Tagovailoa to succeed with Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki and Chase Edmonds. I want to be early to this party!
-The Panthers offense – This one may have some scratching their heads. QB Baker Mayfield’s stats plummeted in 2021 from 2020. But he was playing through several injuries, most notably a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Assuming Mayfield is fully healthy and head coach Matt Rhule can get him on the move and play to his strengths, I think this could be a sneaky, fun offense to watch this season. It doesn’t hurt when the offense is also anchored by RB Christian McCaffery and WR DJ Moore.
Meg’s Week 1 UNDERWEIGHT/FADES:
-QB Jalen Hurts ($6800) & WR AJ Brown ($6400) – The lovefest for Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts and WR AJ Brown this summer in redraft and best ball is off the charts. Yes, I know there is a case to be made for the potential upside that AJ Brown can help Hurts unlock. But I have plenty of arguments to counter those points and I look forward to writing a detailed article about how I think Hurts and the Eagles’ offense could be a big letdown.
I think at their price points, the summer best ball draft bias, and the Lions match-up will make these two massively over-owned. The Lions defense is young, but improved. This may not be a defense to overlook early, especially if DE Aidan Hutchinson can make an immediate impact.
-QB Trey Lance ($6000) – Yes, I realize I said to make early stands and take advantage of unknowns. We have a very limited sample size from Lance last season. He showcased the rushing upside, which gives him a safe floor. But I didn’t see enough last season to feel confident about a Week 1 ceiling performance. So the unknown of how Lance will perform outweighs what I believe will be high ownership on him. I also like several other QBs in that range to have a higher ceiling at lower ownership. More on this in future articles.
FAVORITE SPEND-UP PLAYERS:
-RB Christian McCaffery ($8500):
There has been a debate all offseason if CMC is worth his draft position. Now we are focused on daily fantasy. When healthy he’s a threat to double bonus, rack up receptions and get high value touches. I want to take advantage of the $8500 price tag before it goes up.
-RB Dalvin Cook ($7900):
There has been talk this offseason that the Vikings could be more pass happy under new head coach Kevin O’Connell. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s bad news for Cook. There has been some reports that he could be used in the passing game more too, which is great for full PPR on DraftKings.
-WR Justin Jefferson ($7800):
When I said I’m bullish on the Vikings, I wasn’t kidding. I believe we could see a Cooper Kupp-like eruption season from Jefferson under new HC O’Connell and I want to be early and on it.
-WR Ja’Marr Chase ($7100):
I want to pick up right where I left off the end of last season…playing Chase and taking advantage of those insane ceiling weeks.
-WR Tyreek Hill ($6800):
Another receiver I want to be early on is Hill’s move to Miami. As I expressed earlier about the Dolphins, I look forward to watching this offense’s potential and believe it can start Week 1 against the Patriots.
-TE Travis Kelce ($6600):
We’ve seen Kelce priced much higher like the true receiver that he is, so I love paying just $6600. Again, this is the highest total game on the slate and Kelce is Mahomes’ most familiar weapon.
FAVORITE VALUE PLAYERS:
There are several starting running backs to choose from in this very affordable price range that should all have the volume to pay off their salary Week 1. This includes running backs David Montgomery, Mark Ingram (if Alvin Kamara is suspended), Antonio Gibson, Damien Harris, Breece Hall, Eli Mitchell and Miles Sanders.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5200) and Skyy Moore ($3800) seem priced at a discount as new receivers for Patrick Mahomes. This is especially surprising considering they are playing in the highest total game on the slate.
-Rookie Wide Receivers:
If you like rookie receivers like Moore, and you think any have the potential to breakout Week 1, then you can get these rookies at a discount because of the unknown factor. Two are priced at $5000 – Drake London and Treylon Burks. Then you have Garrett Wilson ($4700), Chris Olave ($4500) and Jahan Dotson ($3400).
-Other WR notables:
Marquise Brown ($6200), Tee Higgins ($6100), DJ Moore ($6000), and Michael Pittman Jr. ($5500) seem too cheap given their role in their respective offenses and potential for ceiling performances.
-Tight Ends at most price points:
I think several of these tight ends could end up priced much higher as the season progresses. Most notably, Kyle Pitts ($5700), Mike Gesicki ($4800), Dallas Goedert ($4500), and Zach Ertz ($4400). Then there are several TEs under $4000 for even more value, including Gerald Everett, Austin Hooper, Cole Kmet and Irv Smith Jr.
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