That depends... do you know you want to go to NW? If you are sure (or at least you know you'd be happy there), then apply there ED. If you don't know if you would like going there, apply to other schools.
Merit scholarships are extremely competitive, probably harder than getting into HYPS (generally <<100 merit scholarships given per year per school; in contrast, stanford admits >2000 applicants per year!); unless they have merit scholarships aimed towards athletes, it is by no means 'likely' that you will get one unless you're an incredible applicant.
If you are an incredible applicant, then why not apply to HYPS as an athlete? If you get in and are not high-income, they have very generous FA. If you are high income, then while money may be a consideration, it is probably not a 100% limiting factor.