NFL DFS First Look: Justin Jefferson in Prime Spot vs. Packers & Dameon Pierce a Top Value Pick in Week 1 (September 6)

After months of waiting, the 2022-23 NFL season is finally here and on the menu for this Sunday is an NFL DFS slate of 13 games.

In this NFL DFS first look article, I take an early look at the main slates on DraftKings and FanDuel and break down some of my favorite options at each major position (QB, RB, WR & TE).

While Week 1 brings much more clarity in terms of injury news compared to a standard week of NFL football, still be sure to be watching all of the Stokastic NFL shows on the Stokastic YouTube Channel all the way up to lock so you have the breaking news and best Week 1 NFL DFS picks.

NFL First Look: Week 1 NFL DFS Picks


Jalen Hurts, PHI vs. DET ($6,800 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)

Playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the league and with the new weapon A.J. Brown at his disposal, Hurts should have an excellent fantasy campaign in 2022. To kick off his season, Hurts couldn’t ask for a better matchup, facing a Lions’ defense that ranked dead last in yards per pass attempt last year (7.6). In this spot, the Eagles carry the fourth-highest implied team total on the slate (26.25 points). Furthermore, this is one of the best game settings to attack Sunday, with this tilt’s total the third highest on the board (48.5 points) and with Philadelphia only favored by four points. Hurts eclipsed 20 DraftKings points in nine of 15 starts last season and with his dual-threat ability, he has a ceiling north of 30 fantasy points in this tremendous spot. In Stokastic’s NFL DFS projections, no quarterback has a higher projection than Hurts for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Jameis Winston, NO vs. ATL ($5,300 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel)

If looking to save at quarterback, Winston looks like the best option on both sites. Before tearing his ACL in Week 8 last year, Winston looked great in his first season as a Saint, averaging 7.3 yards per attempt with a 14-3 touchdown to interception ratio in seven games. Given he started in the final preseason game, Winston is now back to full strength. Michael Thomas (ankle/hamstring) is also expected to start in Week 1 after missing all of last season, giving Winston that reliable receiving threat that he missed a year ago. As for the matchup, this Falcons’ defense Winston is going against yielded the 10th highest yards per attempt (6.8) and the third most passing touchdowns (31) last season. The Saint’s implied team total is set at a healthy 24 points and Winston should supply 20 fantasy points this Sunday. For GPPs, combing Thomas and Winston is an appealing inexpensive stack that should be contrarian.

Running Backs

Jonathan Taylor, IND vs. HOU ($9,100 DraftKings, $10,200 FanDuel)

For the always volatile Week 1, building around Taylor is a smart choice, especially in cash games. Last season, the 23-year-old ranked first in the league in carries per game at 19.5 and first red zone carries with 85, which was nearly double the number of Austin Ekeler, who ranked second with 46. Additionally, Taylor led all backs in touchdowns (20) and ranked second in yards per rush (5.5), while playing 69% of the snaps. As a receiver, he hauled in 83% of his targets and ran a route on 51% of dropbacks. With 24 DraftKings PPG, Taylor ranked second only to Cooper Kupp in fantasy points for the year. Coming off last year’s brilliant campaign, Taylor starts this season against a Texans’ defense that allowed the fourth-highest yards per rush last season (4.6) and third most rushing touchdowns to running backs (18). The Colts’ implied team total ranks third on the slate (27.5 points) and the largest favorite on the board (-8). Last season, Taylor destroyed Houston for 30 DraftKings PPG across two matchups and he produced 26 DraftKings PPG for the eight occasions the Colts were favored.

Aaron Jones, GB vs. MIN ($6,700 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel)

With Davante Adams out of town and Jones competing in a potential shootout, he is a terrific target at these price tags. Whenever Adams was inactive, the Packers relied on Jones more and in the seven contests the back has played without Adams over the last three seasons, he has generated 26.7 DraftKings PPG. While A.J. Dillon will see a good chunk of work and also sees a boost with Adams out of the equation, Jones is still the Packers’ top backfield option. His upside is incredible on Sunday, with this contest’s total presenting the fourth-highest total (48 points) and tightest spread on the slate (GB -1.5).

Jones also shows up in Nate Otto’s Top Week 1 NFL DFS Value Plays. Be sure to check out who else he has as some of the top bargain plays on the slate.

Dameon Pierce, HOU vs. IND ($4,800 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel)

While attacking two backs from the same game usually isn’t ideal, we need to make an exception this week given how underpriced Pierce is for his expected role. With Marlon Mack released by the Texans and an outstanding preseason, Pierce will serve as the Texans’ No.1 back to open the season. During the preseason, the rookie out of Florida averaged an immense 7.8 yards per rush and was the highest graded running back in the league on PFF. While Rex Burkhead should operate as Houston’s receiving back, Pierce should see all the early down work and goal line touches. Obviously, being a large underdog isn’t ideal, but Pierce should still see 15+ touches, which is an outstanding opportunity relative to his cheap salaries.

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Wide Receivers

Justin Jefferson, MIN vs. GB ($7,800 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel)

Competing at home in a high-scoring environment against the Packers, Jefferson is worth paying up for. Last season, he ranked sixth in target share (28.7%), fifth in red zone targets (20), first in targets over 20 yards (39) and first in air yards (1,898) among receivers. Now, with former Rams’ OC Kevin O’Connell as the Vikings’ new head coach, Jefferson is a strong bet to finish this season as fantasy’s No.1 receiver, as Coach O’Connell has plans to utilize Jefferson like he did Kupp in Los Angeles last season, As noted above, this NFC North clash carries the fourth highest total on the slate (48 points). Plus, Jefferson has notoriously been a more productive player on his home turf so far during his career, averaging 7.7 more DraftKings PPG in Minnesota compared to when on the road. In Stokastic’s NFL DFS Boom Bust Tool, no receiver brings a higher ceiling than Jefferson for the main slate.

Marquise Brown, ARI vs. KC ($6,200 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel)

Brown is an excellent way to gain exposure to this elite setting between the Cardinals and Chiefs. Last season, both of these offenses ranked inside the top-six in game script adjusted pace according to Stokastic’s Advanced NFL Stats. As a result, this matchup carries the largest total of this 13-game slate (53.5 points) and is also expected to stay competitive throughout, with Kansas City only favored by four points. Brown was acquired by Arizona this summer, reuniting him with his former college quarterback Kyler Murray. With Deandre Hopkins serving a six-game suspension to start the season, Brown should be Murray’s undisputed top target. Playing with another dual-threat quarterback in Lamar Jackson last season, Brown ranked 16th in target share (26.32%) and averaged 17 DraftKings PPG for the five instances he played in a total of at least 50 points.

Kadarius Toney, NYG vs. TEN ($4,100 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel)

Toney (leg) returned to practice last week and is expected to suit up Sunday. If not limited, the versatile receiver should have zero issues outproducing these low price points that in no way reflect his role as the Giants’ top receiver. In the seven games the Florida product played at least 50% of the snaps last season, Toney was targeted on 27% of his routes, including five red zone targets and three targets over 20 yards. The Titans gave up the second most catches (248) and yards (3,210) to receivers last season and as 5.5-point underdogs on the road in Tennessee, the Giants should be forced to rely on their passing game. Rating as a top-five flex value for both DraftKings and FanDuel in Stokastic’s NFL DFS projections, Toney is a sharp punt play for all formats.

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce, KC vs. ARI ($6,600 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)

With Tyreek Hill now in Miami and the Chiefs’ lacking a true No. 1 receiver, expect Kelce to be one of the league leaders in target share this season. Playing alongside Hill last year, Kelce garnered a 23% target share, including a team-high 14 red zone targets. In nine of 16 starts, the tight end recorded at least 17 DraftKings points. In this fast-paced setting against the Cardinals, Kansas City carries the largest implied team total on the slate (28.75 points) and for the last 10 times Kelce has played behind an implied team total of 25 points or more, he has amassed 21.4 DraftKings PPG. Having shares of Kelce on both sites is a must this weekend, but at less than $7,000 on DraftKings, the tight end is without a doubt one of the best values available.

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Darren Waller, LV vs. LAC ($5,400 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel)

While Waller now has to compete for targets with Adams, the tight end should still see elite usage this season, especially in this beautiful matchup. Last season, the Chargers surrendered the most yards (1,170), second most touchdowns (13) and sixth most catches (92) to the tight end position. Among tight ends, Waller ranked fifth in target share (23%), including 11 red zone targets in only 11 games. This matchup’s total is the second largest on the board (52 points) and the Raiders are 3.5-point underdogs, which should translate into a pass-heavy game plan for this Las Vegas offense. Particularly at only $5,400 on DraftKings, Waller is a terrific choice.

Dallas Goedert, PHI vs. DET ($4,500 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel)

In the nine games Goedert played with Hurts starting at quarterback after the Eagles traded Zach Ertz to the Cardinals last season, Goedert ran a route on 78% of Hurts’ dropbacks and saw a target on 23% of those routes. On top of giving up the highest yards per attempt in the league last season, the Lions yielded the fifth most catches (93) and second most yards (1,127) to tight ends. Combine Goedert’s compelling usage with this prime matchup and he is an awesome paydown option at tight end for Week 1.

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