Welcome to week 3 of the NFL season and week 3 of the DraftKings season. Truth be told, week 2 was not as successful as week 1 was for me, but I did manage to beat up on my friends and family in my private league which made it a break even slate. As for this week, there are three main attributes that I look at when selecting my daily fantasy players:
- Skill – this is pretty self explanatory, but I am looking for good players who are playing well.
- Match-up – I am looking for players playing against an opponent who struggles against what that player does well. It is best to dig a little beneath the surface here, because certain match-up plays are so obvious (i.e. the Saints have a bad defense) that ownership will be very high.
- Opportunity – Is a player’s role increasing due to injury or otherwise? This is often where you can find the cheapest punt plays to fill in your line-up.
This week in particular, there will be a lot of players with increased opportunities. Some will be red herrings (I don’t love Charles Sims against the Rams for instance), but others should flourish (I will have 80%+ exposure to Phillip Dorsett who I think will have a career day). Let’s see which players I think will have the best amalgam of skill, match-up and opportunity this week. Here we go….
Any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @AssemblyNeil
Drew Brees vs. Falcons ($7,900) – This will be a highly owned play, but Brees is an absolute monster at home. In his last 6 home starts, Brees has thrown for 3+ touchdowns in each of them and has been over 340 yards in 5 of 6. This week, he faces the Falcons who are ranked 30th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA through 2 weeks and also 30th in pass defense DVOA. This should be another massive performance.
Bang for Your Buck
Philip Rivers vs. Colts ($6,700) – The Colts defense has not been impressive thus far this season ranking 31st in DVOA and 31st in pass defense DVOA. Rivers and company, on the other hand, have been amazing with the 4th most efficient pass offense. Despite no Keenan Allen and no Danny Woodhead, I still see fireworks coming from the Chargers this week. Start Rivers with confidence.
Brock Osweiler vs. Patriots ($6,000) – The Texans have an underrated passing attack as first round draft pick Will Fuller has come as advertised with consecutive 100 yard games and DeAndre Hopkins has 167 yards after two games which also ranks in the top 20. Osweiler had 270 yards and a touchdown the last time he faced the Pats and might be even better this week as the Patriots have quietly struggled with their pass defense, ranking 28th in defensive efficiency. I would take a flyer on Osweiler who will likely be low owned.
David Johnson vs. Bills ($7,700) – David Johnson is ranked 8th in the NFL in rushing yards and 29th in receiving yards through two weeks, proving himself to be a multifaceted threat. Buffalo allowed 3 touchdowns and 100 yards to an aging Matt Forte last week. Johnson is a better player and should have a monster game.
Todd Gurley vs. Bucs ($7,100) – Gurley has struggled thus far this season, but has also faced the underrated defense of the 49ers and the smothering Seahawks defense. He is the unquestioned #1 running back for the Rams and is a lock for 18+ touches a game. This week he faces the Bucs who have allowed over 100 total yards to a running back in each of their first two games. I think Gurley will be low owned this week and this could be the week he busts out.
Bang for your Buck
Melvin Gordon vs. Colts ($5,800) – Being a Patriots fan, Danny Woodhead is one of my favorite players. He came from relative anonymity to play a huge role for a couple of really good Patriots teams. I was upset to see him lost for the season with a torn ACL, but his loss is Gordon’s gain. Gordon is the unquestioned top running back in San Diego now and he has run away (pardon the pun) with the job. After not scoring a touchdown last year, Gordon has 3 already this season and he also posted a 100 yard game last week. The Colts’ run defense is almost as bad as their pass defense, ranking 31st in defensive efficiency. Gordon should have some fun this weekend.
Theo Riddick vs. Packers ($4,900) – Usually when I recommend Riddick, I do it by reminding everyone that DraftKings is full point PPR. And while that point still stands, and Riddick has an impressive 9 catches for 91 yards on the year, he also carried the ball double-digit times last week and will be doing so moving forward now that Ameer Abdullah has been placed on IR. Riddick plays a big role on the Lions offense and comes at a good price. I love him this week.
Tevin Coleman vs. Saints ($4,500) – Have I mentioned that DraftKings is full point PPR scoring? Coleman has 120 yards receiving through two weeks and also carried the ball 12 times last week. The Saints struggle greatly defending the pass and have allowed the 3rd most passing yards in the NFL thus far this season. Coleman is the passing down back for the Falcons and could have a huge day.
Jay Ajayi vs. Browns ($4,000) – Another starting running back who has gone down is the Dolphins’ Arian Foster. Ajayi has not looked very impressive thus far in limited opportunity, but he should be in line for 15+ touches against the Cleveland defense which is ranked 30th on Football Outsiders’ DAVE defense, a metric that accounts for current performance as well as pre-season projections. I like Ajayi for a solid game.
Julio Jones vs. Saints ($9,500) – As mentioned when talking about Tevin Coleman, the Saints have allowed the 3rd most passing yards in the NFL this season, and they face Julio and the Falcons whose offense has the 2nd most passing yards through 2 weeks. By his standards, Jones is off to a modest start, but I expect him to be a world beater this week. He should be a staple in your cash game lineups.
Brandin Cooks vs. Falcons ($7,900) – Cooks is off to a hot start this season, ranking 4th in the NFL in receiving yards thus far. The Falcons are struggling to defend the pass this year, ranking 30th in pass defense efficiency. Brees will look for Cooks early and often and Cooks should respond with a solid game.
Allen Robinson vs. Ravens ($7,500) – I have already heard Robinson owners in season long leagues start to grumble about their star receiver’s slow start to the year. I will be trying to take advantage in season long games by trading for him, and I want to take advantage in daily fantasy by targeting him and hoping that he is low owned. The Ravens rank 28th in defensive efficiency versus #1 receivers so far and Robinson is a top 10 receiver in the NFL. He is going to have a monster week – don’t miss out.
Bang for your Buck
Mike Evans vs. Rams ($7,000) – I love to use targets as a basis for making my daily fantasy picks. As I mentioned in my open, in order for a player to make value, he needs opportunity. Guess who is leading the NFL in targets through 2 weeks? That would be Mike Evans. Evans is still priced pretty reasonably and is a lock to get a bunch of looks. He will exceed value at this price.
Travis Benjamin vs. Colts ($5,200) – Get him while he is cheap! Benjamin will be a top 15 receiver when the season is through. He is already 25th in receiving yards and was the Chargers’ #2 receiver for most of the first game until Keenan Allen got hurt. Benjamin is now the unquestioned #1 and responded with 6 catches for 115 and 2 TDs last week. The Colts struggle against the pass and will not have answers for Benjamin. He is a steal at this price.
Will Fuller vs. Patriots ($4,800) – Here is another player whose price tag does not match up with talent and production. Fuller is tied for 4th in receiving yards through two weeks with 211 and now faces a Patriots secondary that has struggled a bit thus far. Malcolm Butler will likely be shadowing DeAndre Hopkins leaving Fuller to do his thing. I think he will do his thing in a big way tonight.
Tajae Sharpe vs. Raiders ($4,700) – While he is not your prototypical #1 receiver, Sharpe has been the #1 target in Tennessee thus far this season. He is matching up against the dreadful Oakland secondary who rank a dismal 31st in defensive efficiency against #1 receivers. This is a great spot for Sharpe to put up his first 100 yard receiving day of his career.
Phillip Dorsett vs. Chargers ($4,400) – Jason Verrett will likely be shadowing TY Hilton all over the field and Donte Moncrief will not be suiting up for the Colts. That leaves former first rounder Phillip Dorsett as the #2 target for the Colts. I expect this game to be a shootout and for Andrew Luck to key in on Dorsett all day. This will be my make or break call of the week, but I am feeling a monster performance for Dorsett and will have him in a great many lineups.
Tavon Austin vs. Bucs ($4,100) – Austin has a meager 9 catches for 63 yards thus far on the season. That is certainly the bad news. The good news is that the Rams keep feeding him the ball as he ranks tied for 5th in the NFL in targets with 22. If the Rams keep throwing it to Austin this much he will start catching passes and he will start running after the catch. He is super cheap this week and will make value even if he catches 6 balls for 50 yards and runs for 25 more yards. I think that is the floor for him.
Greg Olsen vs. Vikings ($5,800) – I was debating just not listing a luxury item at tight-end this week since there is no one that I think is worth paying up for. That having been said, Olsen is still relatively cheap at $5,800 and is 10th in the NFL in receiving yards and 1st among tight-ends. If you have some money left over and are trying to fill your tight-end spot, this is the direction that I would turn.
Bang for your Buck
Dennis Pitta vs. Jaguars ($3,400) – Hey now! Pitta is just starting to get his footing after missing significant time over the last couple of seasons due to a hip injury. Last week, Pitta had an amazing 12 targets and made the most of them by catching 9 balls for 102 yards. Flacco will look for Pitta in the red zone and he seems to be fully ingrained in the Ravens offense again. At $3,400, you can’t go wrong here.
Jacob Tamme vs. Saints ($3,200) – Tamme has piqued my interest after his second straight week of 8 targets. Last season, Tamme only had 8+ targets 3 times, but he seems to be more of a focal point in the Falcons offense now. Facing off against the Saints this week at this price, Tamme could turn 8 targets into huge production. I, for one, will be paying to find out if he can.
Bang for your buck
Cardinals vs. Bills ($3,600) – The Bills have switched offensive coordinators, and the Cardinals will likely give their new playcaller a rude awakening. Arizona ranks 3rd in defensive DAVE and should force Tyrod Taylor into some mistakes.
Cowboys vs. Bears ($2,500) – Jay Cutler is hurt and the ground game looks dreadful in Chicago. I think the Cowboys will lay a pounding on the Bears this week and this is a good price to find out if I am right.
For any further questions, follow me on twitter @AssemblyNeil
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