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Week 1 FanDuel Tournament Picks

By Jared Smola | Updated on Tue, 23 May 2023 . 1:27 PM EDT


QB

Cam Newton ($7,300)

With the uncertainty surrounding the Patriots offense and Newton making his team debut, I’m going to buy the situation in a great matchup against the soft Miami defense.

With the Patriots favored by a TD and Cam notoriously being a front-runner, I expect the Patriots to dominate in time of possession and for Cam to use his legs early and often.

If he regains his 2018 form, this price of $7,300 will quickly rise to $8,000+.

Josh Allen ($7,900)

With 7 games over 20 fantasy points last season, Allen quietly had a great fantasy season as he offers probably the 2nd highest rushing upside at the position behind only Lamar Jackson. Allen ran for a whopping 9 TDs in 2019.

The Week 1 matchup is a good one with the Jets ranking 20th against the pass in 2019 and offering minimal to no pass rush. The offense will probably struggle, allowing the Bills to dominate time of possession.

With a low projected total of just 39.5 and the Bills favored by 6.5 points, most DFS players will elect to cross this game off the list. Allen will assuredly go low owned and is always a threat for a monster game with his lethal combo of rushing and big-play ability to speedster WRs Stefon Diggs and John Brown.


RB

Kenyan Drake ($6,600)

Drake had mixed results in 2019 against the 49ers, with 1 monster game in Week 9 (15-110-1 rushing and 4-52 receiving) and 16-67 rushing plus 6-13 receiving in Week 11.

San Francisco ranked 2nd against the pass and 9th against the run in 2019 but may regress in 2020 with DeForest Buckner off to Indianapolis and multiple injuries striking throughout training camp.

I expect the 49ers and Cardinals to go over the projected total of 47.5 points and Drake to be heavily used in the receiving game. He had 10 catches in just 2 games against this ‘Niners defense last season.

James White ($5,300)

Coming in priced as the RB28, there is some solid value on James White with Sony Michel coming off foot surgery, Damien Harris being placed on IR and the Patriots unwilling to use Rex Burkhead in a workhorse role.

White is a sneaky option in Week 1 with Miami ranking 32nd against the pass and 29th against the run last season. Cam Newton was reportedly locked in on Julian Edelman and James White throughout training camp.


WR

Tyler Lockett ($6,800)

The perfect FanDuel play, Lockett has a knack for making huge plays on minimal targets with magician Russell Wilson slinging it to him 50 yards downfield on a broken play.

With an over under of 48.5, Vegas is expecting a shootout in Atlanta. The Falcons have no pass rush to disrupt Russ and Lockett from gashing them deep — and had the 21st ranked pass defense in 2019.

With the COVID-impacted offseason, I expect most QBs to really target the guys they trust in Week 1 — and no one has a better connection than Russ and Lockett.

T.Y. Hilton ($6,400)

Hilton comes in priced as just the WR20 in a cake matchup against the tanking Jaguars, who lost stud corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye and pass rushers Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue.

T.Y. is an exceptional GPP play based on price, where he’s sandwiched between chalk options Calvin Ridley ($6,600), Terry McLaurin ($6,500) and D.K. Metcalf ($6,400).

The only concern for Hilton is a potential blow out where the Colts should be able to run all over the pathetic Jaguars defense. But I can see T.Y. catching a couple of long passes on play-action with QB Philip Rivers having all day to throw behind a great offensive line.


TE

Zach Ertz ($6,600)

It appears likely that Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor won’t be ready for the opener, which once again locks in Ertz as a top target.

Ertz has long tormented Washington, who lacks LB and S talent. Washington ranked 26th against TEs in 2019.

Ertz should have a field day as QB Carson Wentz figures to look his way early and often. He’s very affordable as the 4th highest-priced TE on the slate.


DST

Chargers ($4,200)

The Chargers defense suffered a big hit, losing S Derwin James for the season to a knee injury. But they still offer plenty of upside with a great pass rush against a weak Bengals offensive line.

They also have the secondary to make it a miserable debut for rookie QB Joe Burrow as they are absolutely loaded with Chris Harris Jr. joining forces with Desmond King and Casey Hayward.

I anticipate Burrow making a couple of poor decisions in his debut. And with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa in his face, it will only increase the chances of the Chargers forcing turnovers and accumulating fantasy points. Priced as the 8th highest defense, I think they can break the slate with a couple of forced turnovers and possible TD.


Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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