With 31 days to go between now and the start of the regular season, it’s way too early to begin crafting DFS lineups that will actually be playable come September. But Draftkings released Week 1 NFL pricing last week, which means it’s time to begin exercising our DFS brains by checking for salary inefficiencies and exploring ways to gain edges in tournaments.
One note of caution: These are first-blush, EARLY reactions to DraftKings’ Week 1 pricing -- little more than a written stream of consciousness while making a first pass on each position. As summer winds down, preseason fallout is likely to make some of these takes appear downright silly. If you’re reading this article for anything more than a first look at what jumps out on DraftKings pricing, you’re not using it as intended. Stay tuned to Footballguys as the preseason wraps up, and make sure you’re subscribed to our All-Pro or DFS Plans, for a well-informed guide to beating DraftKings contests in Week 1.
With that important caveat out of the way, here are the things that stood out most on a first pass through DraftKings pricing:
DraftKings’ quarterback pricing is notoriously flat, but there is some separation at the top in Week 1. Patrick Mahomes II ($7,200) is the QB1. Some GPP exposure to the Chiefs offense is always warranted but a Week 1 road matchup in Jacksonville is less than ideal. The Jaguars picked off Mahomes twice in Week 5 last year and were the only team to hold him without a passing touchdown during the regular season.
The over/under is on the rise in San Francisco at Tampa Bay (49 points) and the Buccanneers passing game is getting plenty of love in redraft leagues. Jameis Winston ($6,600) is priced way up and this has the feel of a game the crowd will pile on. If it becomes clear Winston will be popular at an inflated price, Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,800) might be the better tournament play against a Tampa Bay pass defense that surrendered the sixth-most passing yards and third-most passing touchdowns in the league last year.
Cam Newton ($6,500) is at home against the Rams in the game with the second-highest point total on the slate (51 points). Given his high price relative to the field, Newton should go lightly owned despite Vegas’ implied game script and his immense upside as one of the league’s premier dual-threat quarterbacks.
By the time the preseason is over, enough value should open up to allow you to spend big at quarterback (if you feel the need). But for now, targeting the $6K and under range looks like the right call. Lamar Jackson ($6,000) can blow past his median projections against a Miami team in the midst of a complete rebuild, even in a game with a 37.5-point over/under.
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