The first Sunday slate of the year is upon us, and I couldn’t be more excited! My name is Matt Hakim, DFS pro with multiple 6 figure wins and one-time Milly Maker winner on DraftKings, and I’ll be providing you with this article every Friday until the end of the season. My goal is to help you become a better high stakes DFS player and hopefully a very profitable one. If you want to win big, you’ll need to outwork everyone you’re going up against. I spend hours researching, analyzing data and matchups to help me gain a competitive advantage against my opponents. This season, I’ll be sharing that information with you every week, helping you gain an advantage as well.
Contrary to most DFS pros, I don’t usually run 150 lineups or use an optimizer. I hand build 1 or 2 of my favorite lineups using my own projections and enter them into multiple tournaments. I typically play all the Milly Makers, a few single-entry contests, and I’ll dabble in the Satellites & Qualifiers. The DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship is in New Orleans this year with a $2.5 Million top prize, so I’ll shoot to get a few seats there.
To start off, let’s be honest with each other. If you’re entering large field GPPs, you may not win every week, but that’s OK. These contests only pay 20-25% of the field so it’ll be tough for anyone to cash every week, nonetheless, finish at the top of the leaderboard. If you’re playing in a smaller field, the ownership will usually condense, and the more obvious plays will be even more chalk. But, to win any tournament, you don’t need to avoid all the chalk, you just need to be right.
Having a strategy is very important when you’re playing high stakes DFS, especially since you’ll be going up against some of the best players in the country. After reading this, you can check out my article “Anatomy of Winning a GPP” to see my strategy for my Milly Maker lineup in week 3 of last year.
Let’s get to it.
- WR Christian Kirk $5,100 – Christian Kirk’s price is way too low on DraftKings. He’s the clear number 1 for the Jaguars, and they’re facing a Commanders pass defense that ranked dead last in multiple categories last season. They’ll also be without their best player, Chase Young. Kirk will be operating from the slot and should be a reliable target. This is especially helpful because DraftKings is Full Point PPR. I know preseason doesn’t mean much, but in the only game that Kirk played with T-Law, he racked up 5 receptions for 54 yards on 8 targets, all in one half. I think this game has some shootout potential. Consider pairing Lawrence with Kirk and coming back with McLaurin or Dotson.
- WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown $6,200 – Brown will be making his debut for the Cardinals, and he’s in a perfect spot to ball out. He’ll be going up against a Chiefs defense that was consistently torched by deep threat receivers all last year. That’s exactly who Hollywood is. They lost the Honey Badger in free agency and made some unspectacular changes to their defense. Arizona is in a predicament this week: Deandre Hopkins is suspended, Zach Ertz and Rondale Moore are banged up, and A.J. Green is not the player he once was. This will leave Kyler Murray no choice but to force the ball to his former college teammate. $6,200 for a receiver who will command 10+ targets in a potential shootout? I’ll take it.
- RB Saquon Barkley $6,100 – This is a little more of a gut play than anything. Saquon said and did all the right things in the offseason, and I truly believe he’ll end up being around $9,000 by the time the season is over. It’s not the most ideal matchup, and I certainly won’t stack this game. However, Barkley’s price tag is not steep enough for me to shy away from him. Brian Daboll, the former OC for the Buffalo Bills, has taken over as head coach of the Giants. That’s a massive upgrade from Joe Judge. The offensive line should also much better than it was in years past, having added Andrew Thomas in 2020 and Evan Neal in this year’s NFL draft. Saquon is a superstar and a home-run hitter when healthy, and it seems like he’s 100% healthy coming into the season. Don’t be afraid. Saquon will not disappoint you this week.
- WR Michael Pittman $5,500
- RB A.J. Dillon $5,300
- TE Cole Kmet $3,700
- QB Derek Carr $5,900 (see below)
- RB Austin Ekeler $8,200 – Fun fact: Austin Ekeler loves fantasy football. The Chargers vs. Raiders should be one of the more entertaining games on Sunday. Ekeler was a focal point in this potent offense last season, having scored 20 TDs to go along with 70 receptions and 1,558 yards. This guy just racks up points from everywhere and gives us a floor/ceiling combo that challenges any player on the slate. I do think he’ll be popular but not necessarily chalky with the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Jonathan Taylor, and Derrick Henry all available in this price range. However, out of all those players, Ekeler and the Chargers are in the best spot to put up monster numbers. This is a game I’m going to look at stacking with so many options at every position.
- WR Davante Adams $8,100 – Another receiver who will be reuniting with his college quarterback, Davante Adams is ready to show the football world that he can still be elite without Aaron Rodgers. The Raiders gave up a lot to get Adams, and for good reason. He’s one of the best wide receivers in the league and has been the most consistent over the last few years. Thankfully for him, it looks like J.C. Jackson will not play for the Chargers this week. Regardless, Adams is matchup proof. As I mentioned above, this is a game I’m very much looking forward to stacking. Pairing him with Ekeler is a bit pricy, but you can make it work while also getting a bit different from the field. Carr’s price is low on DraftKings at only $5,900 so that trio seems ideal with all the other values we have on the slate.
- TE Kyle Pitts $5,700 – If you’re playing a stud tight end this week, Kyle Pitts is your guy. Sure, Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are the two names that people will gravitate toward. However, Andrews may not be needed much against the sorry Jets, and Kelce is going up against the Cardinals defense, who gave up the least points to the TE position last year. I know the Saints defense is stout, but Pitts is a game breaker. Mariota will rely on him to make big plays. As a rookie, Pitts only scored one touchdown, but he had 110 targets and turned that into 68 receptions for 1,026 yards. I think it’s safe to say he’ll score more than one touchdown this year, considering his target share should only increase. The Falcons’ receiving core is depleted with Calvin Ridley suspended for the season. Rookie Drake London is currently banged up and questionable for Sunday, too. Pitts really is a receiver with TE eligibility, and he’s a great way to get different on Sunday.
- QB Justin Herbert $7,600
- RB Christian McCaffrey $8,500
- RB Jonathan Taylor $9,100
- WR Josh Palmer $3,800
- RB Dameon Pierce $4,800
- WR Jahan Dotson $3,400
- TE Irv Smith Jr. $3,400
- QB Daniel Jones $5,000
Favorite Game Stacks
Reach out to me via Twitter if you have any questions or just need some advice!