NFL 101: Week 1 Preview

The time has finally come. We are one week away from kickoff of the 2022 NFL season, so let’s use what we’ve learned in this series to identify some good targets in Week 1 markets.

This year, we’ve looked at single vs. multi game markets, value plays, when to short , and how to use volatility to your advantage. Let’s use each of these concepts to identify a player(s) that we can go after. All of our Week 1 markets are up in our app and website currently, so you can hop in there to start doing your research today. Target prices for all players in parentheses.

NFL Kickoff Market: Dawson Konx ($5.00) /Tyler Higbee ($5.00)

Tight ends profitability by IPO price

Let’s start with the first game of the season where the Bills take on the Rams a week from tonight. When we looked into single game markets we found that Tight Ends disproportionately outperform their expectations. Aside from tier 1 tight ends such as Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, Kyle Pitts and George Kittle, the position is usually the most forgotten about in the market. With everyone hyped for football to be back, the bids will be flying in on favorites such as Josh Allen, Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs and Matthew Stafford. Lots of traders will be competing for those shares, Tyler Higbee and Dawson (two solid tight ends in their own right) will likely see prices fall below their suggested price. Both tight ends only need to finish in the top 9 to profit, so if you manage to get shares under $5, this is a clear buy to me.

PLAY: Dawson Knox and/or Tyler Higbee at an IPO price < $5

Value Play Week 1 Main Market: Trey Lance + Justin Fields

Average Return of QB's by IPO price

In the next article, we talked about how cheaper quarterbacks return a high average profit for two different reasons: uncertainty or a bearish market on the QB. Unusually, both Justin Fields and Trey Lance meet both of these criterium. Lance was recently promoted to the starting job in San Francisco this offseason, but the team is still keeping former starting QB Jimmy Garropolo. Lance has seen limited NFL action and is a relatively unknown commodity heading into Week 1. Critically, Lance also is a running QB, which opens up a huge source of fantasy points unavailable to most quarterbacks in the league.

On the other hand, Fields started 9 games last year but the Bears are under a new regime and Fields has a chance to break out this season. Fields also runs and has shown flashes of brilliance in this facet of the game with his most impressive NFL play to date being this incredible touchdown run (ironically vs Lance’s 49ers). Other big name Quarterbacks like Josh Allen, Tom Brady and Kyler Murray are projected more points so the prices of these two undervalued QB’s with high upside are likely to remain quite low. If you are able to snag either under $4 (and Lance under $5), both will only need average games in order for you to get some solid ROI. Don’t be late, be early on these two overlooked QB’s!

Pick: Trey Lance under $5, Justin Fields under $4

Player to Short: Christian McCaffery ($10+)

Average return of skill position players by IPO bucket

In our shorting article, we looked at how expensive skill position players struggled to turn a profit. Christian McCaffery is a very talented player and has a high upside, but also has a history of injuries and plays for a Panthers team that is full of question marks on offense. If the price for C-Mac starts to balloon as traders compete over shares for the highly touted running back, be sure to wait until price spikes during live to short some shares to unsuspecting traders.

If you short McCaffery at $10, he would need to finish in the top 14 for you to lose money and the top 5 before you lost 50% of your investment. Alternatively, if the Panthers star has a bad game or if they never get anything going on offense with Baker Mayfield at the Helm, you could double your money if McCaffery falls out of the top 40 fantasy players!

Pick: Short McCaffery at $10 or higher

High Volatility Player to Target: Tyreek Hill ($6.00)

standard deviation of points differences for Jock MKT players.

When looking into volatility, we found that wide receivers with a large standard deviation of scored points compared to their projections tended to be profitable. This is because these types of players have market winning upside with minimal downside as long as their IPO price doesn’t get out of control. Tyreek Hill is the perfect player to target using this strategy. Hill recently moved teams and lost a sure-fire Hall of Famer under center in exchange for a much more uncertain quarterback situation in Miami.

Tyreek has always had the ability to put up tons of fantasy points at a time with his patented chunk play touchdowns. With the hesitancy to invest in him due to lack of Patrick Mahomes delivering him the football, his price should stay palatable. This puts investors into a low-risk, high reward situation as Hill has true market winning upside.

Article Specific + 2021 NFL Data!

Looking to do some analysis of your own? We have all the data from this article right here and the data for ALL of last year right here, so get busy because NFL season can’t get here soon enough!

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