NFL DFS Plays Week 1: Low Ownership Picks for DraftKings
Welcome to the first main slate of the season! Earlier in the week, we witnessed the Detroit Lions breakout party with a 21-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on opening night and now we transition into a no-bye, full slate, 13-game DFS Sunday. Below, we will review the ownership projections at each position and identify the best 'leverage' plays for Week 1 specifically on DraftKings.
To win a large-field contest or stand out in a cash game, you need to find some low-owned, high-ceiling performances to win big. Especially in Week 1, it is important to not eat the chalk and find some production at under 10 percent ownership when there are a lot of unknowns around target share, backfield splits, defensive performance and rookie output. Be sure to follow me on X at @MiLBMan to let me know what you think and for injury updates that may affect ownership.
Highest Ownership Projected: Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, Anthony Richardson
Trevor Lawrence ($6500) should see some decent ownership this week, but it's certainly not enough to not find leverage in playing Lawrence against the Colts this week. Coming off of a stellar second season (4,600 yards, 30 TDs), Trevor Lawrence adds a true WR1 with Calvin Ridley ($6500) returning from suspension. Stacking these two against Indianapolis where the Jaguars are expected to have the third highest team total on the day seems like a safe bet at reasonable ownership.
In Minnesota, the Vikings will face off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who no longer have the championship pedigree they held with Tom Brady and company. Kirk Cousins ($6300) comes into the weekend projecting under 5 percent ownership and is a great pivot off of the Hurts and Herbert's of the world. Along with having a bevy of offensive weapons against an aging Bucs defense, the Vikings defense has major concerns of their own allowing 25.4 points per game last season. In what should be a high-scoring affair, I like stacking Cousins with KJ Osborn ($4300) and TJ Hockenson ($5900) who will both be under 10 percent owned. Justin Jefferson will certainly help Kirk's fantasy output, but it is hard to stick him into a lineup at $8800 and likely 15-20 percent ownership. You can run back the Tampa side with Rachaad White ($5500) and/or one of Chris Godwin ($5900) or Mike Evans ($6300).
I also like Derek Carr ($5300) this week coming in around 5 percent as well. The chalk in New Orleans will center around Jamaal Williams this week, and rightfully so with Alvin Kamara set to miss the first few games of the season. Carr joins the Saints this season after a tumultuous tenure with the Raiders and is an instant upgrade for New Orleans after the Dalton/Winston/Hill era. Although Chris Olave ($6500) is among the highest projected ownership for wide receivers, the stack is still a safe bet and you can even add a Rashid Shaheed ($3700) or Juwan Johnson ($3900) to expand the stack.
Other QBs on the radar this week for low-owned options include Geno Smith ($6100) who returns to Seattle after being paid in the offseason with the same reliable targets in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett while adding talented rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Russell Wilson ($5900) gets a chance at redemption in Denver with a new head coach in Sean Payton in one of the biggest boom-or-bust plays of the week. Denver's offense will be funneled to Courtland Sutton and Marvin Mims Jr with injuries to a number of their receivers including Jerry Jeudy. Denver also has the advantage of facing off against one of the worst teams in football, the Las Vegas Raiders. Finally, I like a healthy Brock Purdy ($5400) at the helm in what is the best offensive unit in football vs. a Steelers team that should keep the score close.