After what feels like a lifetime, the NFL is finally back in our lives.
I plan to fully enjoy the next 18 weeks of football, as the season goes by in a flash.
The PrizePicks lobby has no shortage of options for Week 1, as they have projections for almost every statistic that you can think of.
I have narrowed it down to my four favorite picks of the week and will be using them in Flex Play format (1.5x for three correct, 5x for all four correct).
Derek Carr more than 245.5 passing yards (vs. TEN)
I generally shy away from new players on new teams, but everything is setting up well for Carr in his Saints debut.
For starters, the team will be without star running back, Alvin Kamara.
This is a blow to the running game and a potential boost to the pass volume for Carr.
The matchup also sets up well for a pass-heavy game script, as the Titans defense was ranked first in DVOA against the run and first in rush EPA last season.
They were very beatable through the air, which is how I expect offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael to attack this defense.
Chris Olave more than 4.5 receptions (vs. TEN)
There’s nothing wrong with building a little correlation into your PrizePicks plays. In fact, I encourage it.
As noted with Carr, I expect the Saints to have a pass-heavy game plan for their matchup against the Titans.
In 2022, Tennessee was ranked 28th in DVOA against the pass.
Tennessee allowed the second most receptions and the most fantasy points to wide receivers, so clearly this is a positive spot for Olave.
We typically see a sophomore jump at the receiver position and Olave is likely to become the number one target for Carr this season.
Joe Mixon more than 56.5 rushing yards (vs. CLE)
While it’s important to note that there is a lot of turnover year in and year out in the NFL, the Browns are returning a similar unit on the defensive side of the ball.
They struggled mightily against the run last season, ranking 28th in DVOA against the run and dead last in rush EPA.
The big problem for Cincinnati the last two seasons has been protecting their franchise quarterback and the Browns have a good pass rush, so look for the Bengals to lean on the run game early and often.
On top of the solid matchup, Mixon doesn’t have as much competition for touches now that Semaji Perine is with the Broncos.
Tony Pollard more than 69.5 rushing yards (vs. NYG)
The hope is that by the time Pollard takes the field on Sunday night, we are three-for-three with the other picks.
Much like the first three selections, I am targeting Pollard due to his increased workload and an elite matchup.
There were only a couple of teams worse against the run than the Giants last season.
They were bottom five in DVOA against the run, rush EPA, and rushing yards allowed per game.
With Ezekiel Elliott no longer in the mix, Pollard is the clear RB1 in Dallas.
We’ve seen him capitalize on his opportunities his entire career and now gets the chance to be an every-week feature back.