DFS starts, fades and undervalued options

Whether you’ve played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.

Lineup building blocks

Nick Chubb ($31) vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Chubb should be looking at increased targets with Kareem Hunt gone and Jerome Ford slowed by a hamstring injury. His salary is reasonable, and he gets a home matchup against a Bengals squad that could feature a less than 100% Joe Burrow.

Deshaun Watson remains a wild card, but Cleveland has a loaded roster that includes one of the league’s best offensive lines. Chubb is arguably the NFL’s best runner right now and should get off to a nice start in 2023.

Tyreek Hill ($34) @ Los Angeles Chargers

Hill is coming off an incredibly impressive season in which he posted historical yards per route run numbers and finished as the WR2 in fantasy despite a career-low in TD%. Hill caught all his touchdowns last season from Tua Tagovailoa, who’s healthy entering Week 1. The Dolphins play indoors in a matchup with the highest total on the slate, so Hill is a strong DFS building block.

Davante Adams ($25) @ Denver Broncos

Adams could also fall under “undervalued,” as his salary is barely that of a top-15 WR/RB this week. There are questions regarding Adams’ ability to repeat his recent performance at age 30 and with Jimmy Garoppolo as his new quarterback, but this is still arguably the NFL’s best receiver. Adams saw 180 targets last season when he led the league in air yards. He’s been easily the most productive fantasy player since 2020. Adams averaged 8-121-1 on 13 targets over two games against the Broncos last year and has a favorable matchup against Denver’s scheme. He might not have a salary this low again in 2023.

Star to Fade

Christian McCaffrey ($40) @ Pittsburgh Steelers

McCaffrey’s fantasy value takes a small hit in a 0.5 PPR format, and he has a touch matchup in Pittsburgh. CMC has the highest salary in Week 1, but his opportunities (from 24.1 to 16.4) and fantasy points dropped when Elijah Mitchell was on the field last year in San Francisco. Mitchell is highly unlikely to hold up over a full season, but he recently returned to practice and appears ready for Week 1. The Steelers have one of the league’s best defensive fronts and were the toughest opponent for fantasy backs (schedule adjusted) last year. McCaffrey will have much bigger games this season than in Week 1.

Undervalued Options

Anthony Richardson ($22) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Richardson is going to make plenty of mistakes, and the Colts offense will suffer, but his salary is criminally low. AR is an athlete the QB position has never seen before, and he has the right coaching to help him succeed. The Colts’ up-tempo pace will also help, and they get a matchup at home against a middling Jaguars defense that allowed the third-most rushing yards to quarterbacks last season. Richardson’s Week 1 salary is a gift we won’t see again.

J.K. Dobbins ($21) vs. Houston Texans

Dobbins enters finally injury-free with a career 5.9 YPC mark. He gets to play for a Ravens offense that features a healthy Lamar Jackson and huge upgrades at receiver and offensive coordinator. Dobbins is also expected to catch a lot more passes this season.

He gets a highly favorable matchup Week 1 at home against a Texans defense that ceded the most rush attempts, rush yards, rush touchdowns and fantasy points to running backs last season. Baltimore is the biggest favorite and has one of the highest implied team point totals on the slate, so game script should cooperate as well. Dobbins is a smash in DFS this week.

Diontae Johnson ($15) vs. San Francisco 49ers

Johnson had by far the biggest difference in expected fantasy points and actual fantasy points among all pass catchers last year. He’s a terrific route-runner who also gets to play in an emerging Steelers offense that averaged the third-most yards per drive after their bye last year. Kenny Pickett looks primed to make a leap this season, with Johnson a huge beneficiary.

The Steelers get a pass-funnel 49ers defense that could be missing Nick Bosa and allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs but the sixth-most to wide receivers last season. Johnson is incredibly undervalued in DFS this week with a salary outside the top 30 WRs.

Bargain Bin

Jahan Dotson ($12) vs. Arizona Cardinals

Dotson is an emerging star who should see increased targets in Week 1 with Terry McLaurin battling turf toe. Logan Thomas is also banged up and questionable to play, while new QB Sam Howell looks poised to break out. There’s some game script concern facing the Cardinals, but Dotson is a steal at the near DFS minimum in Week 1.

Leave a Comment