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Top Picks for Underdog Fantasy Pick'em Week 1

By Matt Schauf 4:36pm EDT 9/6/23

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You probably came to Draft Sharks for the most accurate rankings in the industry.

And you’re probably leveraging those to embarrass your league mates in your draft, and then throughout the season.

But do you know about another way our weekly projections can help you?

It’s Underdog Fantasy Pick’ems. (In case you couldn’t tell from the title.)

What is Pick’em in Underdog Fantasy?

The Pick’em platform on Underdog Fantasy presents a series of stat projections for most offensive players each week. You pick out your favorites and then say whether the player’s actual total for that category will be higher or lower than the projection.

Justin Jefferson’s Week 1 line for receiving yards is set at 89.5, for example. Think he’ll beat that? Click “Higher.”

Choose at least one more stat for another player on a different team, then select how much money you want to put on the line. And that’s it.

The more player stats you combine into one Pick’em, the bigger the pay out.

If you haven't played before, use this Underdog Fantasy promo code to get your first deposit matched up to $100.

How Can Draft Sharks Help?

As I mentioned, we deliver weekly projections throughout the NFL season. You can find them not only powering all the tools connected with your synced team on the My Leagues page. They’re also on display with the weekly rankings – including just about all the stat categories available in Underdog Fantasy Pick’ems.

You can check our numbers every week for the biggest discrepancies, and then target those players on Underdog Fantasy.

In fact, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing for you in this space every Wednesday.

Not only that … I’ll also go back and check the previous week’s results.

Here’s how our numbers fared in 2022 …

Week 1: 16-8
Week 2: 16-8
Week 3: 11-5
Week 4: 8-9
Week 5: 10-8
Week 6: 13-12
Week 7: 18-6
Week 8: 9-7
Week 9: 13-7
Week 10: 17-14
Week 11: 10-8
Week 12: 18-13
Week 13: 11-6
Week 14: 7-9
Week 15: 22-14
Week 16: 15-11
Week 17: 13-3
Week 18: 8-6
Wild Card: 8-9
Divisional: 10-2
Overall: 253-165

Not bad, huh? Just three weeks all season in which these picks finished sub-.500.

Overall: 60.5% success rate.

What Are These Picks?

To be clear: I’m not listing my personal favorites in these weekly picks. There’s enough unintentional bias included in any set of stat projections, and in who you ultimately decide to play. 

Adding another layer of my own bias by picking out favorites from the DS projections could steer you away from picks that my colleagues like just as much as they’d steer you to my favorites.

So I’m merely comparing our projections to the Underdog Fantasy lines and then showing you the biggest differences – either above or below.

Take that info and build your best Pick’em tickets.

Note that their lines will change throughout the week. 

And some of our projections will, too. So you might find different numbers than what’s listed below. If the adjustments take a player close to what we have projected for him, don’t consider him a highlighted play any more.

Real Talk

The 60.5% success rate above signals that we’ll give you good numbers to work from throughout the season. But it also means there will be wrong ones every week.

No one’s making me include a disclaimer here. But I think it’s worth saying that you need to play Pick’em responsibly.

Hit the right combo and you can win quite a bit. But get one guy wrong out of four on a ticket, and you get nothing.

I recommend leaning toward two-player entries for safety. And keep track of your spending throughout the season.

Now let’s get to the Week 1 numbers …

Best Picks for Underdog Fantasy Pick’em

Passing Yards

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Draft Sharks projection: 244.8
Underdog: 215.5
Difference: 29.3

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
DS: 286.2
Underdog: 259.5
Difference: 26.7

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
DS: 266.9
Underdog: 241.5
Difference: 25.4

Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
DS: 236.9
Underdog: 212.5
Difference: 24.4

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
DS: 285.5
Underdog: 265.5
Difference: 20

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
DS: 277.5
Underdog: 257.5
Difference: 20

Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
DS: 256.1
Underdog: 236.5
Difference: 19.6

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
DS: 273.9
Underdog: 255.5
Difference: 18.4

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
DS: 283.2
Underdog: 268.5
Difference: 14.7

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
DS: 300.7
Underdog: 286.5
Difference: 14.2

Daniel Jones, New York Giants
DS: 225.5
Underdog: 211.5
Difference: 14

Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
DS: 179.7
Underdog: 200.5
Difference: -20.8

Here’s every QB whose projection came in 10+ yards above or below his Underdog Fantasy line at the time.

We tend to have more passing over plays than anything else here, and they also fared quite well last year.

Lamar Jackson’s Week 1 passing line is interesting. He averaged 202.8 yards per game across 11 healthy outings last year; 240.2 per game the year before.

Kirk Cousins, as of this writing, checks in short of his weekly yardage averages for any of the past three seasons and four of his five Minnesota years.

You’ll also find a certain receiver of his below for pairing …

Receiving Yards

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Draft Sharks projection: 75.3
Underdog: 59.5
Difference: 15.8

Christian Watson, WR, Green Bay Packers
DS: 66.3
Underdog: 50.5
Difference: 15.8

D.J. Moore, WR, Chicago Bears
DS: 60.7
Underdog: 46.5
Difference: 14.2

Josh Reynolds, WR, Detroit Lions
DS: 38.8
Underdog: 25.5
Difference: 13.3

Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
DS: 53.8
Underdog: 40.5
Difference: 13.3

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
DS: 70
Underdog: 57.5
Difference: 12.5

George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
DS: 53.8
Underdog: 41.5
Difference: 12.3

A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
DS: 79.5
Underdog: 67.5
Difference: 12

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
DS: 60.4
Underdog: 48.5
Difference: 11.9

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers
DS: 58.3
Underdog: 46.5
Difference: 11.8

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
DS: 82.1
Underdog: 71.5
Difference: 10.6

DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
DS: 70.9
Underdog: 60.5
Difference: 10.4

Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
DS: 88.8
Underdog: 78.5
Difference: 10.3

Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns
DS: 65.7
Underdog: 55.5
Difference: 10.2

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
DS: 46.7
Underdog: 36.5
Difference: 10.2

Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
DS: 99.6
Underdog: 89.5
Difference: 10.1

John Metchie, WR, Houston Texans
DS: 9.2
Underdog: 25.5
Difference: -16.3

Metchie’s might have been the most surprising line I came across. The market has him for 64% more receiving yards than we do in Week 1.

Does that mean the line-setters know more than the rest of us do about Metchie’s expected role? It looks like he’s no more than the WR4 in a shaky Houston pass offense. And to be that, he’ll need to work ahead of exciting rookie Tank Dell.

Frankly, I was surprised to see any line on Metchie.

Overall, this week delivers more receiving-yardage lines than we’ll get in a typical week. We’ll see whether that means we’re closer to the real numbers or overrating a number of pass catchers.

Rushing Yards

Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Draft Sharks projection: 66.2
Underdog: 49.5
Difference: 16.7

Rachaad White, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DS: 61.8
Underdog: 45.5
Difference: 16.3

Brian Robinson, RB, Washington Commanders
DS: 69.6
Underdog: 53.5
Difference: 16.1

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
DS: 69.7
Underdog: 54.5
Difference: 15.2

Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears
DS: 66.3
Underdog: 51.5
Difference: 14.8

Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
DS: 70.7
Underdog: 57.5
Difference: 13.2

AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
DS: 49.6
Underdog: 38.5
Difference: 11.1

Raheem Mostert, RB, Miami Dolphins
DS: 66.4
Underdog: 55.5
Difference: 10.9

Kenneth Walker, RB, Seattle Seahawks
DS: 74
Underdog: 63.5
Difference: 10.5

Najee Harris’ inclusion is a good example of me just presenting the numbers and ignoring my personal picks.

Frankly, I’m not buying into him or Pittsburgh offensive success in general this year. And San Francisco’s a potentially tough matchup.

We’ll see whether I talk Harris’ numbers down on our site at all this week. But here he is if you believe.

How We Make the Rankings

Interested in how we build our projections? Here's some behind-the-scenes talk on what goes into it ...

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