Thursday - May 6, 2021

Home / DFS / DFS VALUE PLAYS: Week 1


Welcome back readers! Football is back! Now that season long drafts are coming to a close and Best-Ball leagues are wrapping up, it’s time to jump back into the weekly NFL DFS grind. My article will focus on the main slate and the value plays you can look at to build your lineups.

Most of us by now have had some exposure to DFS if we don’t normally play almost every day. Regardless of how much DFS you play and the contest you play, you are always looking to improve your game and get better at the building lineups.

For those that are still new to NFL DFS, it is very important to build a solid lineup or your entry will be dead in the water. Unlike DFS baseball, where Mike Trout can go 0-4 and give you a 0, you still have a chance to reach the cash line. However, in DFS NFL, if Julio Jones or another high priced stud goes for 30 yards and fails to score, you will likely have trouble cashing. I’m not saying you won’t cash but you will likely need another player to double score in order to make up the difference. Value plays for NFL lineups need to be chosen with the expectation that the player will score enough points so that the savings on him to pay up for a stud is justified. This is easier in MLB where you can throw in a $2K catcher or SS to pay up for expensive bats or pitching, but it doesn’t work the same for the NFL because usually sub $4K players don’t get the volume to become fantasy relevant. A $2K catcher could be a terrible hitter but regardless of his batting average, he will get 3-4 at bats in a game. This is different for a minimum priced wide receiver as he could play all game and not see enough targets to generate much production. The key to NFL value is to find players who are mispriced due to role change either by promotion such as Ryan Fitzpatrick getting the start.

Luckily in Week 1, value isn’t hard to come by. Many of the players have been priced down to start the season to make lineup building a little easier. As the season progresses, salaries will become tighter making value selection a lot harder.

DraftKings is offering the biggest daily fantasy football prizes in the industry this season:

DraftKings is making an emphasis on in-season daily fantasy play and Showdown momentum with new game modes.

  • In-Game Showdown
    • Perfect for those who miss the entry cutoff at the start of NFL games, this mode will be available full season for the first time and allows players to set and enter a Showdown lineup for the second half of a given single-game match-up
    • Last Super Bowl they had almost 3 million entries, a 70% YOY revenue increase, and In-Game Showdown looks to build upon the momentum of their Showdown product.


Quarterback selection depends on match-up and Vegas totals. This week the Chief and Jaguars have the highest total on the main slate with 52.5 implied total, so you should have exposure to both Patrick Mahomes and Nick Foles. Usually I pay down at QB because you can get 20+ fantasy points from a value quarterback but in this matchup where 7+ touchdowns are expected and the line is close, I want to spend up in a few lineups for Mahomes.

$DPP Value Plays

Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA (DK: $4,900/$377 DPP — FD: $6,200/$477 DPP)

Last year Fitzpatrick lit up the scoreboards to start the season. He had 45.28 DK points in Week 1 with almost no ownership. He followed that up with back-to-back 30+ DK point games before he went back to having a terrible game and subsequently being benched. Fitzpatrick is now on Miami and was named the starter last week which gives him the 2nd lowest salary among starters. The Dolphins are expected to be bad this season but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fantasy goodness to be had. Fitzpatrick isn’t afraid to throw a ton as he threw as many as 50 passes in a game last season. He is a good GPP play that I will have some exposure to.

Kyler Murray ARI (DK: $5,600/$509 DPP — FD: $7,300/$664 DPP)

Murray was the top draft pick in this year’s draft and will be very popular in Week 1. The rookie has had an up and down preseason but many are expecting him to play well early. The Cardinals will face one of the worst pass defenses from last year with a DVOA 31 against the pass which is the worst on the slate. Stacking him with his receivers will be easy, as all three of them are under $5K on Draftkings. David Johnson could also be a stack option as he can catch passes out of the backfield. I’ll have some Murray but he won’t be my main lineup.

Jacoby Brissett IND (DK: $4,400/$259 DPP — FD: $6,000/$353 DPP)

Andrew Luck announced his retirement just a few weeks ago catching everyone off guard. With Luck gone, Brissett is set to run the Colts offense. If we look back at his 2017 stats he had an average floor of 13 and a ceiling of about 17. It is not a slate winning performance but his salary wasn’t this low. At his price, he needs just 13 DK points to make value. Given the matchup if he was anywhere over $5,000, I wouldn’t consider but at this price he can allow you to pay up at other positions. You can play him in a stack with T.Y. Hilton or solo.

Running Backs

Regardless of today’s season long fantasy philosophy of the zero-running backs theory, I still believe running backs win slates in DFS. The top studs are always the highest priced among all the positions so you will want to spend up for at least one of them depending on the slate. I also prefer to use value running backs in my flex position when there are good plays over a value wide receiver.

$DPP Value Plays

Tony Pollard DAL (DK: $4,500/$409 DPP — FD: $5,200/$520 DPP)

UPDATE: Ezekiel Elliot has signed and will play on Sunday. Pollard is now just a GPP flyer at best.

Devin Singletary BUF (DK: $3,600/$327 DPP — FD: $5,300/$530 DPP)

The surprise release of LeSean McCoy vaulted Singletary up the depth chart. The Bills felt that Singletary can carry the load and have Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon on the roster to provide some depth. With the recent release of McCoy, Singletary’s salary is at near minimum. You don’t get this type of value every week and he has a nice chance to produce against the Jets who ranked in the bottom half of the league against the run.

Austin Ekeler LAC (DK: $5,500/$373 DPP — FD: $6,400/$582 DPP)

Similar to Pollard, Ekeler is in a position to take advantage of a holdout. Melvin Gordon is expected to miss some games and could sit out the season or be trade. He will get the bulk of the carries over Justin Jackson and can catch passes out of the backfield. Last season he had 23 DK points in the season opener at just 1% ownership. With all of the running backs such as Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb priced above him, he will likely again go overlooked.

About Walter Collazo

Writer for Fantasy Sharks since 2006. Member of FSTA. Winner of the 2014 Fantasy Football Article of the Year Online award, awarded by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.