Welcome to Week 3 of NFL DFS. Week 2 was another good one for me personally, as I cashed across the board in my FanDuel tourneys. The approach I’ve taken this year is to play a single lineup on FanDuel and enter it in tourneys of all sizes, with entry fees from a quarter to $200+. Then, on DraftKings, I have been playing only tourneys with a 20 entry max, and max entering those. Therefore, I really have to narrow down on FanDuel, while having a larger player pool on DraftKings.
I won a little on DraftKings in Week 1 and broke even to the dollar in Week 2. I have cashed across the board in all tourneys in both weeks on FanDuel. I always try to be transparent with my plays and results.
The last two weeks weren’t that tough with the loose salaries. With that said, don’t get down on yourself if you failed to have success on one or even both weeks. Each week, I have made a two for two decision correctly. Had I went the other way, I could have failed to cash both weeks.
Anyways, on to this week. Salaries are getting tighter and there are more plays I like this week than the past two. Therefore, I’m going to go by position and list the players I’m looking at. The running back pool is deep, but I think I can narrow down wide receiver to a smaller base to offset it. So, let’s dive in.
First things first, how can we avoid talking about Pat Mahomes. The guy has been outstanding and gets a great matchup against the San Francisco. At home against the 49ers, he has a really good chance of being the highest scoring quarterback of the weekend. San Fran is another opponent that screams shootout. Their defense gave up 244 yards and two touchdowns to Kirk Cousins in Week 1, followed by 347 and three touchdowns last week against Matt Stafford, who had thrown four picks in a game just six days prior. The only downside to Mahomes is his price and likely elevated ownership. For that reason, he’s a prime fade candidate in large field tournaments. But in cash and smaller tourneys, he’s an excellent play.
Jimmy Garoppolo will play opposite of Mahomes in this one, and I think he is a very strong play as well. He’s struggled a bit out of the gate, but we can throw Week 1 out against the Vikings. They have one of the best defenses in the league. In Week 2 he threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns, but the 49ers held a sizable lead most of the game against the Lions, therefore, he didn’t need to do much. He completed 69% of his passes in that contest.
This week he is going to have to sling it to keep up with the Chiefs offense. I’ve targeted QB’s against this defense in each of the first to weeks and I’m not going to stop now! Through those two weeks they have given up 876 passing yards and six passing touchdowns. Garoppolo makes for a very sneaky play in lieu of Mahomes, as his ownership will likely be less than half on both sites.
Lastly, if you’re looking to save a bit of money on DraftKings, Matt Ryan should make for a solid play. His matchup against the New Orleans Saints could also turn into a shootout. His price ($5,700) is just too cheap for his talent and the matchup. He’ll be on my shortlist at the position.
I’m really hoping that Alvin Kamara goes under-owned this week after a bit of a let down last week. His price dropped some, but the matchup alone may drive his ownership up. Did you see what Christian McCaffrey did last week against the Falcons? If not, let me fill you in. He caught 14 balls for 102 yards to go with 37 yards rushing. I highlighted the matchup against the Falcons for a receiving back in Week 2’s article, and I’ll go right back to that matchup this week after hitting the lock button on CMC last week. Atlanta is a team that is historically bad against receiving backs and are missing two of their best defenders. I think Kamara catches 10+ balls in this one, and if he does, he’s likely to have an absurd line and also pay dirt. He’s my top overall play at the position.
Speaking of McCaffrey, I like him again this week. Per Pro Football Focus Senior Fantasy Analyst Scott Barrett, the Bengals, McCaffrey’s Week 3 opponent, has allowed the second most receiving yards to running backs since the start of last season. Let’s just say he’s in play again this week, especially on DK.
Another guy that I have my eye on this week is Dalvin Cook. Cook has been okay, but he’s not jumping off the page as a must play. I have a handful of trusted ownership projections that I look at throughout the week, and they have Cook rather high. I don’t see it, but maybe I’m wrong. We’ll see how much he’s talked up or overlooked through the weekend. Cook hasn’t rushed for more than 40 yards in either of the first two games, but he has been involved in the passing game. One thing that I really like to see from Cook is his elusive rating. Also according to PFF, he is the second most elusive runner so far. His opponent, the Buffalo Bills, have been really bad against running backs, third worst from a fantasy perspective.
At first glance this week I liked Kirk Cousins, but I think this is a game they’ll get an early lead and rely on the ground game the rest of the way. I’m trying my hardest to find a way to play him in my main lineup, but there are so many good plays. We’ll have to see how things end up Sunday, but I will definitely have exposure to him somewhere.
Jordan Howard is right there with Cook as a non-chalk option that has big potential. Through two weeks the Arizona Cardinals have surrendered the most points to opposing running backs. They have allowed 256 rush yards and four rushing touchdowns, along with 11 catches (to RBs), for 164 yards and a touchdown. Tarik Cohen may be limited here, and Matt Nagy said this week that Howard needs more carries. He has seen 15 and 14 through the first two weeks respectively to go along with eight catches. He might get close to 20 carries to go along with 4-6 catches. I’m talking myself into him more just typing this.
I expect Giovani Bernard to be chalk, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good play. With Joe Mixon out he should get as much work as he can handle. We saw him excel in this role last season sans Mixon. I’m not sure what I’m going to do here yet. For what it’s worth, and contrary to my thoughts on Cook, I’m seeing Bernard ownership projections lower than what I assumed. I’ll be keeping my finger on the pulse here through the weekend.
I honestly think Matt Breida is going to help a lot of teams win season long championships this year. We saw his big play ability last week against the Lions, and I am excited to see if he can have another big game this week. Alfred Morris is not much more than a plodder, and I just can’t see the 49ers using him over Breida for very long. As Breida continues to break out, I think he’ll slowly flip the work share in his favor. In this expected shootout, he’s an affordable option with quite a bit of upside. He’s better suited for tourneys, simply because his touches will probably be less than a guy like Gio at a similar price, and the next guy at a lower price.
Corey Clement could shape up to be a good play this week if Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are both out. Clement and Breida are very similar, but I would put Clement above Breida if those two are out. He’ll have to handle a decent workload and his playmaking ability is similar to Breida’s. The other thing he has working in his favor is his price. As mentioned, Breida saw a slight bump after his big game last week, weighing the scales further in Clement’s favor.
One way to get off of the Kansas City chalk is to play Kareem Hunt. He hasn’t had much involvement in this passing game yet, but I think a big game is coming. This could be it and his price is very enticing on DraftKings.
The Rams are a really good team with a really good defense. With that said, this could be a funnel spot to Melvin Gordon. The Rams secondary is stellar and I think they will limit the outside receivers of the Chargers. They will also put a lot of focus on stopping Keenan Allen. Therefore, the path of least resistance will likely be hitting Gordon out of the backfield. He has 20 targets through two weeks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him finish with 10+ in this one as well.
I think the wide receiver play I’m going to hitch my wagon to this week is Will Fuller. Fuller has yet to not catch a touchdown from Deshaun Watson in the five games they have played together, and he has scored multiple touchdowns in three of those. We saw Watson look his way often last week, and with the target share he should get and the massive upside, I think he’s one of the better per dollar plays at the position.
If you play Mahomes, I think you pair him with Tyreek Hill. There’s just so much upside together with these two. Hill is expensive, but for good reason. I’ve seen DFS touts argue against Hill for two seasons now, but he continually goes out and makes the naysayers regret doubting him. I probably won’t play him in lineups that don’t include Mahomes, but then again, he does make a solid pairing with Garoppolo lineups as well to leverage the shootout potential.
We might look up at the end of the season and find Michael Thomas as the top overall fantasy wide receiver. He has taken a step into THE Elite Tier, next to a guy named Antonio Brown. The Saints could very likely find themselves in another shootout this week, and Thomas will likely have another monster line.
Davante Adams has fully transitioned into Aaron Rodgers favorite wide receiver, after it looked like he was headed that way the past couple seasons. This offense is going to throw the ball a lot and I really like this as a sneaky spot this for Adams this week. After two weeks, the Redskins have given up the fourth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. If you just looked at the surface, you may want to stay away from Adams. However, Washington started the season against the Cardinals and Colts. Neither team is doing much in the passing game, especially Arizona. This will be their first real test, and I expect Adams to turn in a solid line with a good shot at 100+ yards and a touchdown. I also don’t mind Geronimo Allison at his cheap price. Might as well stack them both up with Aaron Rodgers.
Keelan Cole is in play again this week after busting out in Week 2 to the tune of 7-116-1. The Titans have surrendered the second most fantasy points to the position, giving up 469 yards and four touchdowns.
If Marquise Goodwin suits up this week and we get word that he is 100%, he makes an excellent play with or without Jimmy G. He’s priced fairly on both sites and I think he will step right in and pick up where he left off last year. Don’t forget, this guy was going somewhere between the 4th and 6th rounds in season longs drafts, so there are big expectations for him.
Jordan Reed is probably my favorite play this weekend. He gives you a little salary relief from the top guys, but he still gives you quite a bit of upside. When he’s healthy and when he gets the snaps, he’s an exceptional player, in real life and fantasy.
I have no problem with anyone going up to Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce if they can find the money. I’d probably rank them in that order, but its very close. They’re both great options on the main slate.
Tight end just seems like the best spot to save money, and I might go back to the well with Jack Doyle. I think last week was an anomaly for Doyle, but time will tell. Eric Ebron had the bigger fantasy day, but Doyle still had more routes ran. Doyle has popped up on the injury report, and if he’s out, I then think you just plug and play Ebron. Either way, the Colts are going to have to throw the ball a lot to keep up with the Eagles, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Andrew Luck ends up coming close to the 53 passing attempts he had in Week 1. If that happens, Doyle could see 10+ targets.
George Kittle hurt a lot of people last week. This week the matchup is much better, and he should benefit from the improved game script. If Goodwin is out I think I’ll bump Kittle up my list a little, but even if Goodwin does play, I still like both of them as a stack option with Jimmy G. If you didn’t watch the Chiefs play last week, go back and watch what Jesse James did to them. He posted a line of 5-138-1, which has him as TE2 on the season so far.
The Chicago Bears seem like the play to me at the position, if money isn’t a thing. The Cardinals offense has been absolutely atrocious, and I think that the Bears are going to have a field day. If I can get to them, I will.
My favorite cheap defense is the Dallas Cowboys. This defensive unit has been sound through two weeks, and they are getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. That is bad news for Russell Wilson, as his offensive line is very bad. The Cowboys have nine sacks so far (best in the league), and it looks like Randy Gregory is going to return after getting knocked out in Week 1 with a concussion. I would probably lock button the Cowboys if this game was in Dallas, but I still think they are an cheap, sneaky play.
Due to soft pricing, I think roster construction this week should focus heavily on running backs. On both sites I’ll likely play three RB’s and pay down at receiver. I’ll be targeting Antonio Brown heavily, but after him, I’ll go down to some of the cost savings receivers and tight ends that I mentioned above.
Focus on the pass catching backs. Guys like McCaffrey, Conner, Alvin Kamara, Melvin Gordon, and the like can realistically carry the ball 15-20+ times and see just as many targets as the top priced wide receivers. You limit your upside by playing a WR in your flex spot who would likely see 8-12 targets. Why not use that spot for a guy that will see that many targets and carry the football 20 or so times. As the season goes on, this approach might shift a little as these receiving backs see their prices rise, but take advantage while you can!
That’s it for this week. As I mentioned before, I will be adjusting the format as we go, so if you have any input about what you like or don’t like, feel free to let me know on twitter @mrclutchdfs. Best of luck this weekend!
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