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Week 1 DFS Value Plays

Written by: Michael Sicoli
Published September 9, 2023
7 min read

Daily fantasy leagues are growing in popularity each year, and 2023 is no exception. Each week people get to piece together new lineups under a strict budget, optimizing matchups to be the best lineup of the week. 

Taking players who offer strong fantasy production at fair prices is the key to success in fantasy, for DFS and redraft alike. All that matters is that your player outperforms the price you pay for him.

Unfortunately, DFS managers don’t have the budget to line out Justin Jefferson, Christian McCaffrey, and Lamar Jackson. These names below offer the best bang for your buck in DFS this week!

This weekly column will provide you with the information you need before choosing a value in DFS. Prices are sourced from DraftKings and FanDuel. Ownership projections are sourced from Pro Football Focus.

DFS Value Plays Week 1

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DFS Value Plays Picks

Quarterback Geno Smith vs. LAR, $6100 on DK / $7200 on FD

No player earned Comeback Player of the Year more than Geno Smith last season. After finishing sixth in quarterback rating and leading the Seahawks to the playoffs Smith received an extension to run it back in 2023.

The team added first-round receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba to the star duo of Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, providing Smith with one of the best receiver rooms in the NFL. The Rams are far from a threatening opponent, especially after losing starters Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner and Nick Scott to free agency.

Smith should be a QB1 this week with top-five upside.

Projected ownership on DraftKings (PFF): 5.7% 

Projected ownership on FanDuel (PFF): 6.3% 

Running Back Antonio Gibson vs. ARI, $5200 on DK / $5800 on FD

Every year has provided a new reason for Antonio Gibson to break out. Each year since his rookie campaign, for one reason or another, he failed to meet expectations. Well, it may be the textbook definition of insanity, but give Gibson some run this week.

The arrival of offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy represents a tremendous upgrade in play-calling from the dated playcalling of Scott Turner. The team also hopefully has an upgrade under center in Sam Howell, who looks much better than Carson Wentz did in the burgundy.

Gibson held a whopping 14.3% target share across Howell’s 44 passing attempts in the preseason. 

That’s not something to bank on — preseason usage is unreliable — but if Gibson can command steady receiving work then the 2020 third-round pick will finally be used in the right way.

Projected ownership on DraftKings (PFF): 4.1% 

Projected ownership on FanDuel (PFF): 3.3% 

Wide Receiver Diontae Johnson vs. SF, $5300 on DK / $6400 on FD

The Steelers host the 49ers in Week 1, which isn’t as daunting as you may think. San Francisco allowed the sixth-most points to wide receivers last season, and Johnson is due for some positive touchdown regression after scoring zero in 2022. 

If Kenny Pickett can replicate even half of his perfect preseason — scoring a touchdown on every drive he led — then Johnson represents a massive value. The Steelers receiver was limited in a simple offensive scheme last year designed to protect Pickett in his rookie year. Expect a much different offense in 2023.

Projected ownership on DraftKings (PFF): 2.9% 

Projected ownership on FanDuel (PFF): 2.9%

Tight End Greg Dulcich vs. LV, $4000 on DK / $5300 on FD

It’s easy to forget how hyped everyone was for Greg Dulcich after his impressive end to his rookie season. He had the sixth-most slot snaps among tight ends despite not playing until Week 6. That role is valuable for fantasy, and while Jerry Jeudy’s absence aided that usage, the wide receiver may miss Week 1 due to a hamstring injury.

Either way Dulcich faces a Raiders defense that sorely lacks talent beyond Maxx Crosby and Tyree Wilson. Las Vegas finished 20th in points allowed to the tight end and won’t be improving too much this season.  

Projected ownership on DraftKings (PFF): 1.6% 

Projected ownership on FanDuel (PFF): 1.5%

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Michael Sicoli

58 Articles

Michael Sicoli has been writing about fantasy football and betting within the NFL space since 2020. He works as a writer and content creator with ClubFantasyFFL and runs an NFL defensive (IDP) newsletter with The IDP Guys. A graduate from Quinnipiac University, Michael is a long-time NFL fan with a love for soccer and the NBA.

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