When searching the back end of the DFS wide receiver pool, it is critical to avoid too much speculation about players with uncertain playing time in Week 1. I understand the upside of rookie players, but their coaching staff must show their usage before buying into them in the daily space. Again, the goal is to win money, which requires not giving away roster slots to players who may give lineup short scores.
Here’s a look at my top three undervalued wideouts for Week 1:
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts (DraftKings – $5,500/ FanDuel – $7,200)
Pittman became a sexy pick in the season-long drafts in the high-stakes market by some sharp fantasy football drafters in August. He is now considered a top-10 wideout after getting an upgrade to Matt Ryan at quarterback. In his time with Atlanta, Ryan helped Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley post many impactful seasons. Indy wants to run the ball close to half the time, something the Falcons failed to do. In 2021, Pittman caught 88 passes for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns on 129 targets, but he posted two dull games (2/35 and 6/77) against the Texans. Houston has plenty of work to do on defense while ranking 24th vs. wideouts (211/2,882/16 on 324 targets) in 2021. His salary and potential ceiling will be easy to identify in Week 1, so Pittman should be on many rosters.
Elijah Moore, New York Jets (DraftKings – $5,100/ FanDuel – $6,000)
When looking at my Week 1 projections, Moore (6th at wide receiver) sticks out as an excellent buying opportunity. Unfortunately, many teams in the DFS market will avoid him due to Joe Flacco throwing him the ball. Last year the Ravens played their way to 30th at defending wide receivers (214/3,119/21 on 343 targets) due to their cornerbacks missing 22 games. Moore brings speed and quickness to the table. He should excel over the short areas of the field for the Jets passing game. Over six games from Week 8 to Week 13 in his rookie season, Moore caught 34 passes for 459 yards and five touchdowns on 51 targets.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs (DraftKings – $5,200/ FanDuel – $6,400)
Smith-Schuster gained momentum midway through August in season-long fantasy drafts, but a minor knee injury stalled his rise up draft boards. The fantasy market almost had a love/hate relationship with him due to underperforming production in two of the past three seasons. However, in 2018, he dominated for the Steelers (111/1,426/7) while working as their WR2 behind Antonio Brown. In essence, Smith-Schuster should fill Tyreek Hill’s role in the Chiefs’ starting lineup while offering a slightly different skill set and a much cheaper salary in Week 1. The Cardinals had plenty of issues defending wide receivers in 2021 (29th – 217/2,592/26 on 342 targets). Schuster’s ability to play out of the slot sets a reasonable floor in catches. DraftKings lists his matchup with the Chiefs with the highest over/under (53.5) of the week, so scoring should be plentiful in this game.