A First Look at DraftKings Week 1 NFL DFS Salaries

Jul 28, 2023
A First Look at DraftKings Week 1 Salaries

NFL kickoff is still well over a month away but DraftKings has already released salaries for the Week 1 Main Slate. With the calendar not even turned to August yet, there are obviously a ton of unknowns when it comes to depth chart battles and potential injuries so no one should even think about lineup construction yet, but it is fun to glance at the slate and see what values stand out.


Geno Smith, Seahawks ($6,100)

Early Week 1 lines have been out for some time and scoring on the main slate is expected to be relatively low with no team totals currently at or above 27 points on DraftKings Sportsbook. Four teams do have a projected total of at least 26 points with one of them being the Seahawks. Of the four quarterbacks on those squads, Geno Smith is the most affordable, priced as the QB9.

Seattle invested heavily in the passing game this offseason and Smith stands to be the biggest beneficiary. For redraft purposes, there are few players that 4for4 is higher on than Smith so this presents an opportunity to roster him and his teammates at a value before their offense takes off and salaries rise.

Sam Howell, Commanders ($4,900)

John Paulsen has referred to Sam Howell as arbitrage Anthony Richardson, giving the Commanders quarterback a rushing projection of 35 yards per game. That rushing floor will give Howell cash game appeal as the only viable sub-$5K quarterback on the slate. Howell’s upside comes from the fact that he will be facing the Cardinals, arguably the worst team in the league heading into the season.

Running Back

Alexander Mattison, Vikings ($6,500)

With Dalvin Cook no longer in Minnesota and no notable additions to the Vikings backfield, it appears that Alexander Mattison is in line for a true bell-cow role. He’ll get to prove his worth in a Week 1 matchup against Tampa Bay where Minnesota is the second-largest favorite on the slate (-6.5). Coming in as DK’s RB13, Mattison stands out as one of the more obvious early values with 20+ touches likely coming his way to start the season.

Devon Achane, Dolphins ($4,900)

Running back committees scare off most DFSers but early in the season is a good time to target rookies before they break out—this can be one of those spots. Miami spent significant draft capital on Achane, who is built in the mold of Chris Johnson. If his talent matches that comp in what should be one of the most explosive offenses in the league, the rookie running back could be priced as a starter in no time. The Dolphins matchup against Miami is the only contest on the slate with a game total of 50 points and a long touchdown or two from Achane could help this likely shootout reach its ceiling.

Wide Receiver

Diontae Johnson, Steelers ($5,300)

It’s well known that Diontae Johnson didn’t catch a touchdown last year but he was still a target monster and that will always carry value on a full-PPR site like DraftKings. Johnson’s touchdowns should revert to the mean and the Steelers' entire passing game could have sneaky value early in the season. Johnson is ranked as 4for4’s preseason PPR WR18 but carries a WR28 salary in Week 1.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seahawks ($4,900)

Rookies are always early-season values since most fantasy players are hesitant to roster a player that they haven’t seen in action yet but in DFS the only way to win is to be ahead of the crowd. Jaxon Smith-Njigba should share a rotating role with Tyler Lockett between slot and flanker while encouraging Seattle to run way more three-wide sets than they did in 2022.

As stated with Geno Smith above, Seattle is in one of the best spots on the main slate and Smith-Njigba is the salary-saving stacking partner with Locket priced at $6,800 and DK Metcalf at $7,000.

Tight End

Evan Engram, Jaguars ($4,700)

After Jacksonville finished 12th in passing offense last season, they are a trendy pick to enter the elite ranks in 2023. Trevor Lawrence certainly looks the part as long as Urban Meyer isn’t coaching him and Calvin Ridley could take this attack to the next level. If a rising tide lifts all ships, then we should certainly see some spike games from Evan Engram, and the team invested in him like they expect the same. Rather than paying $6,500 for Ridley or $5,600 for Christian Kirk, DraftKings players targeting the Jaguars' passing game can access it for under $5K with their tight end.

Luke Musgrave, Packers ($2,900)

The cheap tight end options look pretty thin at first glance so if you are going to punt the position you might as well take a shot at one of the most athletic players at his position in an offense with a completely ambiguous target tree. The game environment against the Bears doesn’t pop as one of the best of the slate but with relatively low totals across the board, one touchdown from a sub-$3K tight end could be enough to separate. If Justin Fields and the Bears are as exciting as many are hoping, maybe this game gets paced up more than expected.

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