Week 1 is almost here, and the excitement is building as DraftKings releases the salaries for the main slate. As we prepare for the action-packed kickoff, let's take a closer look at the games expected to be popular and the standout players at each position worth considering or avoiding.
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MIA @ LAC
This is the only game on the slate that has a 50-point over-under and a close spread of 2.5. The Dolphins lost Jalen Ramsey, boosting the Chargers passing game. The Dolphins' passing attack relies on Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, and their running backs are extremely cheap so it’s easy to run back.
Justin Herbert will gain more hype after his big contract, and Kellen Moore will showcase an aggressive, down-the-field approach. This game will be the most popular on the slate.
LAR @ SEA
There are two other games with a projected total over 47 points: Rams vs. Seahawks and Bengals vs. Browns. With the recent news about Joe Burrow, I believe the Rams-Seahawks matchup will be more popular until the injury situation clears up. It also features a much cheaper quarterback duo in Geno Smith and Matthew Stafford.
Stafford is an easy quarterback to stack with Cooper Kupp and one of Tyler Higbee or Van Jefferson. Then, you have a multitude of choices for a run back from the Seahawks, with all of them being relatively affordable.
Smith is extremely cheap for the matchup he has and it's easy to afford two of DK Metcalf, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Tyler Lockett. The running backs will not get much action because they should be in a timeshare and priced up.
Notable Players For Each Position
Geno Smith $6,100
The Rams are a depleted defense, and the Seahawks added weapons for Smith this offseason. I anticipate Smith to be one of the most popular quarterbacks on the slate, and at his price, it will be a difficult fade.
Derek Carr $5,300
The value quarterback of the week on DraftKings will be Derek Carr, given how poor the Titans secondary has performed in recent years. Last season, against the Titans, Carr threw for 303 yards, with 158 yards going to Mack Hollins. With Chris Olave and Michael Thomas at reasonable prices, I expect that stack to be popular.
Brian Robinson $5,100
The Commanders are six-point favorites, and Brian Robinson is going to be the player that gets volume when they are winning games. The Cardinals had a better defense last season and still were a bottom-tier run defense. I expect Robinson to be a popular player, and it is justified.
Miles Sanders $5,600
Miles Sanders is likely to be popular due to expected increased touches as the Panthers lean on him with a rookie QB on the road. The Falcons' poor run defense last year adds to his appeal. However, I'll consider other options if he becomes too popular, as relying solely on last year's data may not be accurate with their scheme change and defensive additions.
Chris Olave $6,500
The Titans had a poor record defending the deep ball last season, and Carr excelled at pushing it down the field against them with Hollins. As a rookie, Olave was this offense's main down-the-field threat, and he excelled at it.
Regardless of his popularity, I want to get to Olave in this matchup. The Titans are expected to give plenty of single-high coverages, and Olave has proven to be an elite player against that defensive look.
Mike Williams $5,700
While Amari Cooper at $5,800 is an intriguing pivot option, Williams' popularity seems justified given the factors in his favor.
Tyler Higbee $4,800
Higbee might be popular due to the Seahawks' past vulnerabilities against tight ends and a pass-heavy game plan. But with Bobby Wagner's addition, I see him as a fade at his current price. I'll look for better value picks at tight end, and cheaper options.
Pat Freiermuth $4,100
This season, the 49ers' defense is undergoing a significant change as they adapt to a new scheme for the first time in years. However, one aspect that will remain consistent is their usage of two safeties deep in coverage.
This fact holds particular importance because in the past, Pat Freiermuth has been the primary target for Kenny Pickett when facing a defense employing this deep safety look. Given Freiermuth's potential and his likely affordable price, I believe he could be a great value in Week 1.
Washington Commanders $2,800
In Week 1, the Commanders' defensive line might see the return of Chase Young, which would strengthen their defense. On the other side, the Cardinals might have Colt McCoy as their starting quarterback. The Commanders are favored by six points at home in a game with a projected total of 40.5 points. As a result, the Commanders' defense is expected to be a popular choice.