Top NFL DFS Sleepers to Target for Week 1 (2021)

| August 11, 2021 6:08 am PDT

The 2021 NFL season has snuck up on us a bit. Many dominos have fallen, as Aaron Rodgers didn’t get dealt, and some big injuries have shaken up the league.

It’s still possible a massive star like Deshaun Watson gets traded, too, while future injuries could create wrinkles in the league’s fabric.

For now, all you can do is bask in the glory of week one NFL DFS salaries. They’re out for all to see, which means you can spot the best values and hope they stick come week one.

I’ve already taken a look at my favorite top week one NFL DFS picks, and it’s time to point out some of the best NFL DFS sleepers. Here is my favorite value play at every position to kick off the 2021 NFL season.

Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals ($5.7k)

I also have an interest in guys like Cam Newton, Taysom Hill, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields, but I will wait to see how things shake out in the preseason.

For now, I have my eye on Burrow as one of the best NFL DFS value picks for week one. The guy has a good system and is blessed with a litany of weapons.

Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd both established a connection with him last year, and Cincinnati spent a first-round pick on Ja’Marr Chase in this year’s draft.

Chase is really the one to get excited about here. Just look at his 2019 college numbers with Burrow.

  • 84 receptions
  • 1,780 receiving yards
  • 20 touchdowns
  • 21.2 YPC

The year away from football is disconcerting, but Chase is an elite talent that could be a stud right away in year one. Undeniably, he’s one of the top 10 NFL rookies to watch in 2021.

I do acknowledge the reports that Burrow isn’t fully all the way back from last year’s devastating knee injury, of course.

The good news? Burrow has all of August to ramp up his confidence and timing, while any risk with him is baked into his cheap price tag at DraftKings.

Burrow also has a bevy of weapons around him, and he faces a Minnesota Vikings defense that struggled immensely last year.

Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals ($4.6k)

Edmonds is way too cheap. I know James Conner is also there, and Edmonds wasn’t able to explode with extra work last year, but he still should have a big role in a potent Arizona offense.

Arizona is going to use Edmonds as their main pass-catching tailback no matter what, and it’s still very possible he ends up being this team’s feature back.

Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley said as much.

“[Edmonds] is the favorite to be the team’s featured back.”

I definitely am a bit worried about Edmonds’ inability to shine last year, as well as the presence of Conner. However, Edmonds should get plenty of opportunities to succeed, and he comes into week one with the third-best points per dollar average among running backs.

Even more enticing is a date with an awful Titans defense that gave up the 7th most fantasy points to the position in 2020.

Looking for running back values in redraft leagues? Check out the top running backs sleepers for 2021 fantasy football.

Top Running Back Sleepers for 2021 Fantasy Football

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Jaylen Waddle, WR, Dolphins ($3.6k)

There is so much value at the wide receiver position in week one for NFL DFS. I could write an entire post on NFL DFS wide receiver sleepers.

Seriously, other guys like Marvin Jones, Tee Higgins, DeVonte Smith, and so many more feel way too cheap to get the 2021 season going.

The name of the game is paying up for the reliable studs, and the best way to cram more than one of them in is to roll the dice on punts like Waddle.

Waddle has been making quite the name for himself in training camp, too. The deep speed is obvious, while Miami has been supremely banged up at the position.

Whether they get healthy or not, Waddle looks locked in as the team’s main deep threat, and the odds are decent; he’ll spring a big play or two in week one.

A date against a sound New England Patriots defense isn’t ideal, but the Dolphins will probably be playing from behind, so I wouldn’t let it deter you too much.

Adam Trautman, TE, Saints ($2.9k)

Is Kyle Pitts even a sleeper anymore? The best tight end in some time has the athleticism and receiving chops to be a monster immediately, and he comes into week one with the best points per dollar projection of all tight ends.

I almost put him here, but at $4.4k, he’s not that cheap compared to the other tier two options at DK.

If you’re like me and want to save even more, guys like Anthony Firsker ($2.9k) or Trautman tend to pop.

Trautman is looking at a huge second-year leap thanks to the departure of Jared Cook in free agency, and with a non-Drew Brees option under center (and Michael Thomas hurt again), his role could be huge early.

The top NFL betting sites also list his showdown with Green Bay with a total of 50. There’s going to be a good amount of scoring in this one, folks.

Trautman clocks in just behind Pitts when looking at week one NFL DFS points per dollar averages (2.97), and he’ll probably be playing from behind against Green Bay.

The Packers were rather stingy against tight ends in 2020, but Trautman wouldn’t have to do much to pay off this cheap price tag.

New York Jets Defense ($2.4k)

I have Christian McCaffrey as my top NFL DFS pick for week one, but the Jets are worth a look. They stand out for three reasons specifically.

  • Robert Saleh is a defensive guru
  • They’re cheap
  • Sam Darnold faces them

There is a clear revenge narrative brewing for Darnold, but he also is a turnover machine who famously once admitted to “seeing ghosts.”

Darnold is not an easy guy to trust, while we do need to consider the possibility that the Jets try to make this game ugly and just take advantage of mistakes by their former franchise passer.

They’re also just cheap and will project well because of the matchup and price. I won’t go all-in with them, but they stand out as a nice punt if you don’t like paying up for team defense.

Other NFL DFS Sleeper Picks for Week 1

  • Trey Lance, QB, 49ers ($4.5k)
  • Mike Davis, RB, Panthers ($5.4k)
  • Jalen Reagor, WR, Eagles ($3.7k)
  • Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons ($4.4k)
  • Jaguars Defense ($2.7k)

Lance is just way too cheap in the event he steals the starting job from Jimmy Garoppolo. He will be in a good system with a solid band of weapons, and he’d have a nice floor due to his rushing ability.

If he’s the guy at $4.5k, he’ll easily be one of the top NFL DFS sleepers to start the season.

Davis is a chalky value play, assuming he holds onto the lead rushing duties for the Falcons. I don’t particularly trust him, but he flashed nice ability in Carolina last year.

Reagor is presently looking at a huge role with DeVonta Smith banged up. That should be the case, anyway, and he faces a terrible Falcons defense. Pitts is on the other side of that game and could crush against Philadelphia.

Jacksonville isn’t anything to get excited about defensively, but assuming Deshaun Watson isn’t playing, they’d be facing a bad Houston offense. They could be rather chalky if that’s the case, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore them.

Overall, the point is there are tons of NFL DFS sleepers for week one. The options I’ve gone over just happen to be my favorites to get 2021 going.

Hopefully, my top NFL DFS value picks serve you well. If you need a little more help, brush up on some great DFS tips by looking at this daily fantasy sports guide.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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