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NFL Week 1 DFS Sleepers

Written by: Michael Sicoli
Published September 7, 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. 

However, nobody gets anywhere of note without hitting on a sleeper or two. Cheaper plays with lower ownership mean value for you that others in your DFS competition don’t have.

Does that mean you just play the second or third option for a team in an ideal matchup? Not necessarily. Let’s look at the sleeper picks for Week 1

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

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Sleeper Picks

Quarterbacks - Derek Carr vs. TEN, $5300 on DK / $7000 on FD

Carr is set to make his regular-season Saints debut against the Titans this week, and the matchup couldn’t be juicier. The Titans possess one of the strongest run defenses in the league, but their defense finished 29th in points allowed to quarterbacks.

With very minimal changes to the secondary Carr should be the driving point in this game. Armed with Chris Olave and a healthy Michael Thomas — for now — the former Raiders quarterback could leave the day with two or three touchdowns to his name.

The Saints running-back room is also dangerously thin at the moment. Rookie Kendre Miller is dealing with a hamstring injury, and veteran Alvin Kamara is suspended for the first three weeks of the season. New Orleans has featured a balanced offense since the retirement of Drew Brees, but the $150 million quarterback will likely buck that trend, if only for a week, in this ideal matchup.

Running Back - Cordarrelle Patterson vs. CAR, $5,000 on DK / $5400 on FD

Technically, Cordarrelle Patterson isn’t listed as a running back on the team’s depth chart. But he’s not a wide receiver either; the 32-year-old veteran is listed as a “J” — the Joker.

Who knows whether Patterson can see enough work to be relevant, but the team has given the Swiss Army Knife his own position. There will be plenty of plays designed just for Patterson and valuable touches through the air they will be.

It’s the riskiest name on the list, but Patterson will have a bigger role than some think in 2023.

Wide Receivers - Odell Beckham Jr. vs. HOU, $5,000 on DK / $5700 on FD

The Texans' defense still leaves a lot to be desired, despite the arrival of head coach DeMeco Ryans and star first-round pick Will Anderson. Who knows what to expect from Odell Beckham Jr. this season, but there’s a history of Lamar Jackson supporting his top receiver.

It’s easy to forget how good Beckham was with the Rams two years ago as he helped Los Angeles win a Super Bowl. He may not be the player he was, but if offensive coordinator Todd Monken is going to employ a more receiver-friendly offense, then that only means good things for Beckham.

Remember; the team gave Beckham a deal worth up to $18 million. That could equate to quite the statement game in Week 1.

Tight End - Cole Kmet vs. GB, $4,400 on DK, $5700 on FD

 Kmet was largely touchdown-or-bust last season, aided by an offense that completed a mere 223 passes. Week 1 offers a chance for that to change in Green Bay. The 2021 second-round pick should hold most tight-end snaps and quietly accrued a 19.3% target share last season.

Kmet also finished fourth among tight ends in fantasy points per target and fifth in fantasy points-per-route-run, according to PlayerProfiler. These metrics may sound meaningless to you, but they represent what could be for Kmet if Chicago can improve its passing attack beyond the amoeba level. 

New top target D.J. Moore should have his hands full with Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander, and the Packers sat tied for the ninth-most touchdowns allowed to tight ends in 2022. While Green Bay was restrictive on the yards it allowed to tight ends, once you go dumpster diving at tight end all you want are touchdowns. 

Kmet has a good chance of finding the end zone, especially if Green Bay struggles to regain field position should Christian Watson (hamstring) and Romeo Doubs (hamstring) sit out.

This is a better play on DraftKings than FanDuel, head to DraftKings and sign up for a DFS account.

Projected ownership on DraftKings (PFF): 1.6% on DK / 6.6% on FD

New Users Only. Min. $5 Deposit. Eligibility restrictions apply. See DraftKings.com for details.
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AUTHOR

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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