Cash games are a premier way to try to maximize your chances to consistently make a profit in NFL DFS (check out my cash-game lineup construction article). When putting together a cash-game lineup on DraftKings, you want to have a decent grasp on who the highest-rostered players are going to be and the best matchups to attack.
Having a subscription to a site that offers projected ownership percentages for NFL DFS is a massive advantage. That being said, not everyone can utilize ownership percentages when creating their cash-game lineups, so I’ll be listing my pool of players for cash games every week during the 2022 season.
While more news could reveal itself over the weekend that could alter my stance on certain players, let’s discuss a few cash-game options at each position on DraftKings’ main slate in Week 1.
Lamar Jackson @ NYJ ($7,300)
Running quarterbacks are premier options in cash games due to the relatively safe floor they bring with their dual-threat ability. The best running quarterback in the NFL is Lamar Jackson and the former NFL MVP is slated to face the New York Jets in Week 1. Jackson recorded the second-most non-passing fantasy points per game (6.9) in 2021, meaning he gives us a decent number of points before he even attempts a pass.
Kyler Murray vs. KC ($7,200)
The game with the highest projected total is the impending showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals. Patrick Mahomes is certainly worth consideration in NFL DFS every week, but Kyler Murray gives us a higher floor due to his usage in the running game. The defense of the Chiefs allowed the second-most fantasy points per game and a league-high seven rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks in 2021.
Jalen Hurts @ DET ($6,800)
The quarterback that is likely going to be rostered the most on the first main slate of the season is Jalen Hurts. Hurts is the only quarterback that scored more non-passing fantasy points per game (9.0) than Jackson last season. The QB9 from a season ago gets to face the Detroit Lions in Week 1 as the Eagles possess the 3rd-highest projected team total on the main slate at 26.25 points.
Jonathan Taylor @ HOU ($9,100)
Taylor is the highest-salaried running back on DraftKings in Week 1. The league-leading rusher from 2021 is set to square off with the Houston Texans to begin the season, a team he combined to score 61.1 DraftKings points against in their 2 meetings last year. Taylor will unquestionably be one of the most popular running backs in Week 1 with him facing a defense of the Texans that had the fifth-worst DNEFF rating in 2021.
Christian McCaffrey vs. CLE ($8,500)
When considering running backs in NFL DFS, you want guys that have a legitimate path to seeing consistent usage in the running game and the passing game. There isn’t a running back in the NFL—when healthy—that sees a larger workload than Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey now has Baker Mayfield as his quarterback and the Panthers are favored at home over the Cleveland Browns to begin the season.
Saquon Barkley @ TEN ($6,100)
Everyone (including myself), is rooting for a healthy season from Saquon Barkley in 2022. The electric running back gets a new offensive system with the arrival of Brian Daboll, and with the New York Giants experiencing injuries at the wide receiver position, Barkley could be extremely busy in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans.
*Pay close attention to the status of J.K. Dobbins in Week 1 as Mike Davis ($4,400) could be a salary-relief option in cash games if Dobbins is ruled out.
Ja’Marr Chase vs. PIT ($7,100)
Ja’Marr Chase was given a lower salary than I expected on DraftKings at $7,100 and he’ll be facing a new-look secondary of the Pittsburgh Steelers to kick off the 2022 season. The second-year wideout led all wide outs in our NECC rating last season, making him one of the most consistent and efficient receivers in fantasy.
Michael Pittman Jr. @ HOU ($5,500)
The Colts are going to lean on their ground game with Taylor leading the way, but the addition of Matt Ryan should inject a much-needed boost to the passing game. Michael Pittman Jr. should be the main beneficiary of Ryan’s arrival after logging the 10th-most yards per route run in 2021 (2.14, min. 400 snaps). Even if you expect the Colts to blowout the Texans in Week 1, you have to figure Pittman could be involved in that, especially with Indianapolis lacking pass-catching options outside of him.
Rondale Moore vs. KC ($4,000)
Finding the value is key in cash games in NFL DFS and Rondale Moore appears to be a popular choice in Week 1. The Cardinals are going to be without DeAndre Hopkins for the first six weeks, which means that Arizona could use Moore in a variety of ways in the offense. While Moore didn’t have a productive rookie season in 2021, he figures to have a decent-sized role until Hopkins returns. Kadarius Toney ($4,100) is also worth considering if you’re looking to save salary at the wide receiver position.
Travis Kelce @ ARI ($6,600)
Tyreek Hill is no longer on the Chiefs, and while everyone is arguing over who will be the WR1 for Mahomes, Travis Kelce could easily lead the team in receiving this season. Once again, the matchup between the Chiefs and the Cardinals has the highest projected total on the main slate and Kelce is shaping up to be one of the highest-rostered players in Week 1.
Dallas Goedert @ DET ($4,500)
Paying up at the tight end position can be tough in certain weeks, so it’s more common to save salary in cash games. Dallas Goedert is shaping up to see an increase in targets in 2022 as the Eagles look to air the ball more and Zach Ertz is no longer in the picture. The Lions surrendered the second-most receiving yards to the tight end position in 2021, putting Goedert in a prime spot to excel in Week 1.
Cole Kmet vs. SF ($3,700)
Who is going to catch passes from Justin Fields aside from Darnell Mooney? Cole Kmet could legitimately be the No. 2 pass-catching option for the Chicago Bears this season while they could be playing behind in most games. The Bears are expected to lose to the San Francisco 49ers at home in Week 1, so Kmet could see a healthy number of targets from Fields in a potentially revamped offense.
Miami Dolphins vs. NE ($2,600)
Every time I hear news about the offense of the New England Patriots, it isn’t positive news. The Dolphins have a new head coach in place with Mike McDaniel, but this game shouldn’t have much scoring.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ WAS ($2,500)
Using cheap defenses in NFL DFS has proven to be effective as it allows us to save salary in GPPs and cash games. One cheap defense that could surprise in Week 1 is the Jaguars ahead of a salivating matchup versus a mistake-prone quarterback in Carson Wentz.