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Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

DFS Preview for Week 3

Thursday Night Football cynics had a rough night yesterday as the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams combined for over 800 total yards and 80 points in the most exciting game of the young season. Todd Gurley scored three touchdowns while topping 100 rushing yards for the first time in nearly two years, Pierre Garcon showed that at 31 he is still a viable fantasy weapon, and Jared Goff looked like a franchise QB for arguably the first time in his young career.

From a DFS perspective, Thursday’s surprising high-scoring game proved once again that the NFL is an unpredictable league and monster fantasy performances can occur in even the most unlikely games.

Here are a few players that I am targeting for this Sunday’s slate of NFL games. It may be hard to top Gurley’s three touchdowns, but all of these targets look primed for solid fantasy performances.

Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler's price tag and matchup against the Jets makes him an attractive GPP play in Week 3.


H2H/Cash - Matthew Stafford vs. Atlanta ($6,200 on DraftKings)

Stafford threw for an impressive 292 yards and four touchdowns at home Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals and then followed up that performance with a conservative but effective two-touchdown game against the Giants.

In cash games, you look for a solid floor at a reasonable price, and Stafford offers both at a modest $6,200 salary on DK. You can pass on the Falcons as evident to the fact that they have allowed the 10th most points to opposing defenses this season, but they also have a potent offense that will force Stafford and the Lions to keep pace in what could be a high-scoring game.

Look for Stafford to attack the Falcons with short passes to Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, and Golden Tate, as the Falcons have allowed the most points to receiving backs over the past 18 games.

Other options to consider - Matt Ryan vs. Detroit & Derek Carr @ Washington

GPP - Jay Cutler @ NYJ ($6,100 on DraftKings)

At first, I wanted to go with Cam Newton at home against a Saints defense that has given up six passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in two games, including three to Sam Bradford opening week.

But for GPP I like to aim for the stars, and what better way than Smokin’ Jay Cutler going against the lowly New York Jets. The Jets have allowed the third-most points to opposing quarterbacks this season, while Cutty looked comfortable and accurate running the offense in their road win against the Chargers last week. I am banking on the Cutler to DeVante Parker stack in GPP this week and in my league of record. No risk it, no biscuit.

Other options to consider - Cam Newton vs. New Orleans & DeShone Kizer @ Indy

Fade - Drew Brees @ Carolina ($7,200 on DraftKings)

Drew Brees is a first ballot hall of famer and will go down as one of the most accurate passers in NFL history. Despite his incredible career and video game numbers, Brees has struggled on the road against division foe Carolina, throwing less than two touchdowns per game against the Panthers dating back to 2007.

Running Backs

H2H/Cash - Devonta Freeman @ Detroit ($6,700 on DraftKings)

Fresh off signing a five-year, $41 Million contract over the offseason, Devonta Freeman has been a consistent rock for fantasy owners this season with three touchdowns in two games, including a two-touchdown, 24-point performance last week at home against the Packers.

The Lions have been surprisingly effective at limiting opposing running backs through two games, but those stats are skewed by the inept New York Giants backfield and an opening week game in which David Johnson left early with an injury.

Other options to consider - Le’Veon Bell @ Chicago & LeSean McCoy vs. Denver

GPP - Theo Riddick vs. Atlanta ($5,100 on DraftKings)

The Falcons have allowed the most points to opposing running backs in the passing game over dating back to the start of last season, and few quarterbacks utilize their receiving backs more than Matthew Stafford.

Theo Riddick caught six passes in the opening week contest against the Cardinals, but was limited last week against the Giants due to a negative game script. The potent Atlanta offense should present a more favorable game script for Riddick, opening the door for at least five catches out of the backfield, with the upside of a touchdown or two.

Other options to consider - Joe Mixon @ Green Bay & Chris Thompson vs. Oakland

Fade - Jacquizz Rodgers @ Minnesota ($4,600 on DraftKings)

Quizz played well in his temporary role as the starting tailback for the Bucs, with 67 yards and a touchdown last week against an injury-depleted Bears defense. His matchup this week against a Vikings front seven that limited Le’Veon Bell to 87 yards on 27 carries makes him a must fade in all formats.

Wide Receivers

H2H/Cash – A.J. Green vs. Green Bay ($8,100 on DraftKings)

The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and the complaining superstar who was able to spearhead the removal of an offensive coordinator who failed to get said superstar the ball will get peppered with targets in the subsequent game. Isn’t that how the old adage goes?

Maybe not, but I am buying into the narrative that Green will receive at least double-digit targets this week against a subpar Packer secondary. The question is can the turnstile Bengal offensive line give Andy Dalton enough time to throw the ball downfield to Green. I think so, and Green is a great play in all formats.

Other options to consider - Michael Crabtree @ Washington & Golden Tate vs. Atlanta

GPP - Devin Funchess vs. New Orleans ($4,200 on DraftKings)

Bunches of Funchess was the recipient of six targets for 68 yards last week against the Bills and is a likely beneficiary of an increase in workload now that Greg Olsen is out for the next eight weeks with a broken foot.

I am not a huge fan of Funchess, but you cannot ignore the fact that he is a big target for Cam Newton and will receive at least seven targets this week with Olsen on the shelf. The Panthers play host to the Saints, a defense that is dead last in points allowed to opposing passing games.

All of those factors make Funchess an excellent GPP option, especially at his relatively inexpensive price tag on DraftKings.

Other options to consider - DeVante Parker vs. Jets & Kenny Golladay vs. Falcons

Fade - Jordy Nelson vs. Bengals ($7,800 on DraftKings)

Nelson has been a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday after missing most of last week’s game with what the team is calling a quad injury. Soft tissue injuries often flare up, and it makes me nervous to invest nearly $8k in a player that could be used more as a decoy on Sunday.

Tight Ends

H2H/Cash - Zach Ertz vs. New York Giants ($5,000 on DraftKings)

With back-to-back games of 90-plus yards, Ertz is clearly a favorite target of Carson Wentz and a centerpiece of the Philly passing offense. He has yet to reach the end zone, but that shouldn’t discourage owners in cash games from using him, as the PPR format of DK makes him an excellent play with a high floor against a Giants defense that has allowed the 30th-most points to opposing tight ends.

Other options to consider - Kyle Rudolph vs. Tampa Bay & Charles Clay vs. Denver

GPP - Ryan Griffin vs. New England ($3,000 on DraftKings)

This pick is not for the faint of heart, as a lopsided butt-whooping by the Patriots could make all Texans un-ownable this week. My logic with this pick is based on the fact that Bill Belichick is known for taking away the top weapon of the opposing team, which certainly would be DeAndre Hopkins, who received nearly 50% of the target share last week against the Bengals.

Griffin is out of the concussion protocol and could be the only other viable receiving threat for rookie Deshaun Watson. It is, of course, a home run play, and Griffin is likely to have a minuscule ownership rate on DK.

Other options to consider - Ed Dickson vs. New Orleans & Jesse James @ Chicago

Fade - Rob Gronkowski vs. Texans ($6,800 on DraftKings)

Like Nelson, I am avoiding Gronk this week simply because I am worried about his groin injury flaring up, mixed with the fact that this could be a blowout and the Patriots may limit his snaps. Sure, Gronk could blow up and prove me wrong, but I’d rather use his $6,800 on other players in my lineup.