Week 1 DraftKings Tournament Picks
Lamar Jackson ($7,300) + Rashod Bateman ($5,300) + Mark Andrews ($6,800)
This is a smash spot for Jackson. He gets a Jets defense that ranked 32nd in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA and 29th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs last year. New York added some pieces this offseason, but don’t expect this defense to take a big leap early in the season.
On top of the matchup, we’re projecting an elevated pass rate from Baltimore with RB Gus Edwards out and RB J.K. Dobbins out or limited. That might also make Jackson an even bigger part of the running game than usual.
In the passing game, it should be a condensed attack with Andrews and Bateman dominating targets. Both guys have plus individual matchups, too. The Jets ranked 21st in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs last year and 26th vs. TEs.
We’ll need the Jets offense to do at least some scoring to force the Ravens to attack for 4 quarters, so use WR Elijah Moore ($5,100) as a runback in your Jackson stacks.
Jalen Hurts ($6,800) + A.J. Brown ($6,400) + Dallas Goedert ($4,500)
The Eagles are sporting the 3rd-highest implied total on the main slate at 26.75 points. They dumped 44 points on the Lions last year.
Hurts threw just 14 times in that blowout win, so we’ll need more from Detroit’s offense this go around if the Eagles passing game is going to hit its ceiling. But that’s certainly possible with RB D’Andre Swift, WRs Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark and TE T.J. Hockenson all healthy.
The 2021 Lions ranked 27th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA and 31st in run defense DVOA and don’t project to be much better this season. So Hurts could have a big day in the air and on the ground.
Brown has shown tournament-winning upside throughout his career and has a huge matchup advantage against this weak group of Lions CBs. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles look to get him going early after swinging that big trade for him on draft night.
Goedert posted a 6-72 line on 7 targets in last year’s game vs. Detroit, despite Hurts throwing it just 14 times. The 2021 Lions ranked 25th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.
I usually don’t like double-stacking QBs who score a lot with their legs. But I think Brown and Goedert are strong enough values that it can work this week.
Patrick Mahomes ($7,700) + JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,200)
It’s notable that the Chiefs are sporting the highest implied total on the week at 29.75 points – 1.75 points more than any other team.
The injuries on Arizona’s defense likely have something to do with that. Starting CB Trayvon Mullen has been ruled out, and DE J.J. Watt is listed as questionable after missing practice all week.
We’ll see exactly what this Chiefs offense looks like sans Tyreek Hill. But Mahomes looked awesome in the preseason, averaging 8.5 yards per attempt and tossing 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs.
Smith-Schuster, by most accounts, was Kansas City’s top WR in training camp and has a nice individual matchup here vs. an Arizona defense that struggled vs. slot receivers last season.
You could add TE Travis Kelce ($6,600) to this stack. But the Cardinals were tough against TEs last season, and Kelce is projected for 16% ownership.
James Conner, Cardinals ($7,000)
Here’s your runback for Mahomes stacks.
I’m considering Conner in cash for his projected volume in this plus matchup. So the fact that he’s currently projected for just 4.0% ownership makes him an elite tournament play.
Alvin Kamara, Saints ($7,600)
Kamara opens with a dream matchup against a Falcons squad that ranked 27th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs and 29th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA last year. Kamara tallied 20.4 and 21.2 DK points in 2 games vs. Atlanta last year.
His Saints are 5.5-point favorites with a nice 24.25-point implied total in this matchup.
Kamara is projected for just 7.0% ownership.
Aaron Jones, Packers ($6,700)
You’ve probably heard about Jones’ split in games without WR Davante Adams. So imagine his pass-catching upside with Adams gone and WR Allen Lazard out.
We’re projecting Jones to lead the Packers with 5.9 targets – and there’s upside for 8+.
This is also a nice matchup on the ground vs. a Vikings team that ranked 25th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA last year.
Travis Etienne, Jaguars ($5,600)
I’m optimistic about this Jaguars offense in QB Trevor Lawrence’s 2nd season and with a big coaching upgrade in Doug Pederson.
And I expect Etienne to play a big role in it. Last year’s 1st-rounder had a buzzy offseason and a busy preseason. He should open with big volume. I’m not buying a significant role this week for RB James Robinson, who’s still not even 9 months removed from his torn Achilles.
Washington notably finished 21st in Football Outsiders’ RB coverage rankings last year, so Etienne could do serious damage in the passing game.
Mike Williams, Chargers ($6,600)
Williams at 5.0% projected ownership is always worth a look in tournaments. He topped 20 DK points 6 times last year.
He’s especially worth a look in a projected shootout against the Raiders. The Chargers’ 28-point implied total is 2nd highest on the main slate. There’s big TD upside here.
Marquise Brown, Cardinals ($6,200)
I hate playing chalky WRs in tournaments – and Brown will be chalky.
But he’s tough to fade in this spot. The Cardinals are 6-point underdogs to the Chiefs in a game with a 53.5-point over/under. That could mean lots of passing from Arizona in a high-scoring game.
And Brown has a chance to dominate targets with WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore out and TE Zach Ertz iffy with his lingering calf injury.
Kadarius Toney, Giants ($4,100)
Despite missing time in August with lower-body issues, Toney is not listed on the Week 1 injury report. That positions him as the Giants’ #1 WR for Sunday’s opener vs. the Titans.
It’s tough to know what to expect from this new Brian Daboll-led attack, which is why Toney is a tournament play only. But we’re talking about a guy who flashed big-time talent last year for just $4,100.
Toney is projected for 10.0% ownership but still provides some leverage off the chalkier Saquon Barkley.
Romeo Doubs, Packers ($3,000)
Doubs was 1 of the buzziest players in football in early August. That’s died down lately – and Doubs actually looked set to open the season as Green Bay’s #4 WR.
But WR Allen Lazard’s absence should push the rookie into a prominent role in Sunday’s opener vs. the Vikings. Doubs reportedly made tons of big plays in camp and caught 8 balls for 82 yards and a pair of TDs in preseason action.
He has a chance to return massive value at the minimum $3K price tag.
Darren Waller, Raiders ($5,400)
Waller is well off the cash-game radar after missing almost all of August with hamstring and/or contract problems – especially considering he’s operating in a brand new offense under HC Josh McDaniels.
But those concerns figure to suppress his tournament ownership. He’s projected for just 8.0%.
Waller’s ceiling remains as high as any TE in the game, including Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews, who are $1,000+ more expensive this week.
Sunday’s opener vs. the Chargers has obvious shootout potential. And the Chargers ranked 28th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs last year.
Gerald Everett, Chargers ($3,800)
Everett is a cheap way to get exposure to the other side of that Chargers-Raiders game.
Last year’s Raiders finished 20th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs and 25th in Football Outsiders’ TE coverage rankings. TE Jared Cook, who Everett is replacing, totaled 10 catches for 150 yards and a score in 2 games vs. Vegas last year.
Evan Engram, Jaguars ($3,500)
If you were with us this preseason, you know that we’re much higher than consensus on Engram. The former 1st-round pick is still just 28 and finds himself in the best spot of his career in Doug Pederson’s TE-friendly offense.
If we’re right about Engram, $3,500 is way too cheap. And the best part? He’s projected for just 1.0% ownership this week.