Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:

Mike’s Player Grid 1.23

Mike Johnson (MJohnson86) has racked up nearly $500,000 in DFS profit as an NFL tournament player with success in all styles of contests

Welcome back to my (Mjohnson86) Player Grid. The format will vary slightly from JM’s Player Grid, as we each see things slightly differently and play in slightly different contests, but should complement his thoughts and content very well for those looking to build their lineups for the week. The format of this article will likely evolve as the season progresses but should provide a lot of value. Enjoy!!

The Core

This is a list of players that stand out to me at each position from using my “Checking the Boxes” criteria outlined in my Checking The Boxes course. This list is a starting point, from which I build out lineups using game theory and roster construction concepts (which we will also touch on) with the mindset being to find the best plays with big ceilings. Low ownership is a bonus, but not a must. This section will focus primarily on three positions – running back, tight end, and defense – as the other two positions (quarterback and wide receiver) tend to have more dependent tendencies which I try to attack from other angles (which we will get into in the other sections). I like all of these plays on all sites, unless otherwise noted:

Week 1 Outlook::

As we enter Week 1, I am making a concerted effort this year to tighten up my Player Grid. Last year was the first year I shared this as an article for subscribers and in going back and evaluating things, I found that it steadily grew in size throughout the year as I succumbed to the thing that I specifically have tried to avoid in the past – trying to “cover too many bases”. You will notice this article will be a little tighter this year than last and that is on purpose. There will certainly be players each week who I like but don’t include here, but I’m willing to live with that in exchange for having the tighter view of the week that has led to my most successful seasons.

Running Back ::
JK Dobbins

Many people will refer to the usage of Dobbins throughout his career as a negative factor for his outlook but I see it differently for this year. In his 2020 rookie season, Dobbins was eased into the league and split work with other backs. He was set for a featured role in 2021 but then tore his ACL in the preseason. In 2022, he had a lengthy recovery from his knee injury and was never strong enough to take on a full workload. This year, he’s at full strength and playing for a contract. The Ravens offense should actually throw the ball to their RBs this year and I expect Dobbins to dominate this backfield while also benefiting from the team likely trying to preserve Lamar Jackson’s body near the goal line after giving him a monster contract. This is an elite offense, matchup, and talent. Dobbins is my top RB of the week by a wide margin.

Raheem Mostert

Elite running scheme facing a defensive scheme that is designed to be more vulnerable against the run than the pass. Should dominate the backfield touches and be the red zone/goal line back while also having a realistic shot at finishing third on the team in targets. Mostert’s season-long ADP was lower because of his age and worries about how long he can hold up, but entering the week fully healthy as the top dog, he is a terrific play.

Alexander Mattison

Four teams have a higher implied team total than the Vikings this week. Granted, Week 1 lines are the least efficient of the year, but we know the Vikings offense is loaded and the Bucs are likely to be down this year. Don’t let the name fool you, in terms of actual production Mattison isn’t that big of a change from Dalvin Cook in recent years yet is priced very affordably with a potentially huge workload on deck.

Miles Sanders

We really don’t know how good this matchup is going to be as we don’t know a ton about the Falcons defense yet. This game has one of the lower totals on the slate. Those will be viewed as negatives by most, but I just view them as “uncertainties”. I believe Sanders is in line for a bellcow role playing for Frank Reich and I also believe he is more talented than most people realize. I’m willing to take the leap.

Bijan Robinson

It’s simple. I think he’s a truly elite talent, like CMC/Saquon level, and he simply isn’t priced as such to start the year. How good did Jahmyr Gibbs look on Thursday night??? Robinson was viewed as clearly better than Gibbs by almost all NFL talent evaluators. I want to be early.

Tight End :: 
TJ Hockenson

Hockenson is healthy, talented, and reasonably priced. He is one of a few tight ends who can put the slate out of reach with a 30-point game and the pricing is loose enough this week to where you don’t have to sacrifice too much elsewhere to make it work.

David Njoku

Njoku is an extremely talented player who appears to have a great rapport with Deshaun Watson. This is one of my favorite game environments of the week and Njoku is priced just high enough to not carry massive ownership but just low enough to be worth the savings from the high-end tight ends.

Hayden Hurst

I am working under the thesis that Bryce Young is going to be really, really good. Hurst was reportedly a favored target for Young in training camp and the Panthers receiving corps is a little banged up. As discussed with Miles Sanders, I think this game has more scoring potential than the “line” would indicate and at $3,000 on Draftkings and $5,000 on Fanduel I love Hurst’s upside.

Defense :: 
Baltimore Ravens

Top play of the week and we have the salary to make it work.


Defense that has improved in the offseason and is playing at full strength facing an opponent that is missing their best player.


Everyone is searching for the answer of who the “value” is on the Packers offense but the reality is that it could just end up a mess without Christian Watson and possibly Romeo Doubs.

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