What’s up Karma Nation and welcome into my third game-by-game breakdown of the season. This is my third season doing this article, so if you’ve read it before welcome back, and if you’r new, grab a seat! I will also be covering cash games for both FanDuel and Draftkings on Fridays, and doing an NFL Final Thoughts cheat sheet each week as well…let’s get it!
Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Packers 26, Broncos 18
Quarterback: We kick off Week 3 with one of the more boring fantasy games, as Joe Flacco heads into Lambeau to take on Aaron Rodgers in what would have been a premier game in 2012. Flacco has yet to post a 20+ fantasy point game this season, and I doubt that comes this week against what has become a really strong Packers defense. The Packers are top-five in interceptions as a team through two weeks and will have an opportunity for more after Flacco threw 50 times in Week 2 in a close game. Rodgers on the other hand, has yet to eclipse 250 yards in Matt LaFleur’s new Packers offense that seems contingent on running the football despite having one of the best Quarterbacks of my lifetime. This is an equally tough matchup against the Broncos, and with them so set on running the ball I will be skipping these guys altogether in my personal pool.
Running Back: The Broncos backfield has been a mess to decipher, with them being separated by just one touch last week and both Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay playing over 45% of the snaps. One of them could have a solid game here, but it’s impossible to know which one and I won’t be spending my time trying to guess who. On the Packers side, Aaron Jones pulled away from Jamaal Williams last week, doubling him in touches and posting 116 yards on the ground, with four catches for 34 yards through the air. That was very promising to see, but LaFleur still sounded like he wants this to be a RBBC in press conferences this week. As a home favorite priced in the mid-tier on all sites, Jones will make my cash game pool but is probably more suited for GPPs given the wealth of good RB plays we have this weekend.
Pass Catchers: Since I am avoiding Flacco (and Rodgers) I’m not super interested here outside of some tournament darts. I don’t really want any Broncos exposure on this slate, but I will continue to buy low on Courtland Sutton who leads this team in air yards with an aDOT of nearly 12 yards. The Packers made it a point to get DaVante Adams the ball early and often against the Vikings, and that reminds us that true WR1’s are viable in all formats every week, especially when they will be less than 5% owned.
Cash Game Options: Aaron Jones
GPP Options: Davante Adams
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Patriots 33, Jets 11
Quarterback: This game is pretty easy to analyze, because there’s really only one way to play it. Similar to last week against Miami, the Patriots offense is so loaded, and the defense they’re playing is so bad, that it’s tough to one-off anyone for cash games and the best way to approach it is to simply stack the team in tournaments and capitalize on the monster 33 implied points. Once Josh Gordon was deemed eligible to play, I rocketed Brady up my season long rankings due to the positive splits Brady showed with Gordon on the field in 2018. That boosted even further once Antonio Brown came aboard, and Brady has had two spectacular fantasy games to begin his season. Luke Falk will start again for the Jets, which is why I’m not interested in the Jets offense.
Running Back: If looking to play a Jets player (why would you be doing that?) we can definitely look at Le’Veon Bell in Patriots stacks, who should benefit from Falk checking down. Bell was double-digit targets against the Browns on Monday night, and is a viable pivot at his price that will surely be low-owned. I’m not a Sony Michel fan whatsoever, I just don’t think he’s good, but that doesn’t really matter given his role on the team and the fact that he’s going to be in position to score a ton of touchdowns this season on this offense. Michel is first in the NFL this season with six attempts inside the 10 yard-line, and that alone will keep him playable throughout the season.
Pass Catchers: Luke Falk’s passing, and Robby Anderson being matched up with Stephon Gillmore is enough for completely X out the Jets this week outside of Bell. The problem with the Patriots is they have three very capable receivers and it’s going to be tough to know which will hit each week, though there is a great chance that more than one can pop off especially when the team is implied for over 30 points. Antonio Brown is probably my favorite option of the three, as he was fed eight targets in Week 2 on under 40% of the snaps, his snap count should continue to rise as he gets mroe acclimated to the team’s offense. Just stack the Pats in tournaments and go from there.
Cash Game Options: none
GPP Options: Le’Veon Bell, Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Sony Michel
Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Colts 24, Falcons 23
Quarterback: This game features one of the highest O/U’s on the slate, so it feels a bit weird to me that I’m not really locking onto anyone for cash games. I’ve already written about Matt Ryan’s positive indoor splits twice this season, this being his third game indoors, and despite it being on the road the 20+ PPG inside eases my concerns. He still managed 20+ DK points in Week 1 while getting blown out by the Vikings, and with this Colts defense being banged up Ryan is at the top of my list for tournaments this weekend.
Jacoby Brissett has once again filled-in nicely for Andrew Luck, but he has yet to top 30 pass attempts and it’s clear that the Colts want to center their offense around the run game, using Brissett more as a game-manager than a fantasy stud.
Running Back: Both of the Running Backs in this game will crack my Week 3 player pool, with Marlon Mack being usable in both cash games and tournaments while Devonta Freeman is better suited for the latter. Mack has benefited the most from Andrew Luck’s retirement, as Frank Reich has sculpted the new Colts offense around him and handed him the ball over 20 times in each of their first two games. This is a Falcons defense that we have attacked with Running Backs for years under Dan Quinn, and while Mack isn’t a known pass-catcher he has ran the most routes among Colts RB’s this season.
Freeman has been the victim of schedule, as he opened with two tough opponents in Minnesota and Philadelphia. He was tackled just short of a touchdown on Sunday night, and this will be his best matchup yet, especially with multiple players on the Colts defense banged up. I love the Falcons as a tournament team stack, pairing Freeman with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, who we will discuss next.
NOTE: MARLON MACK MISSED PRACTICE AGAIN THURSDAY, IF HE IS RULED OUT I WILL PROVIDE AN UPDATE!
Pass Catchers: Mack is by far my favorite Colts player, and with them slated as home favorites I would expect we see plenty of him again this week hoping that they don’t end up relying on Brissett to win them the game. TY Hilton has been the most targeted receiver by Brissett this season, but he has survived fantasy-wise on touchdowns and I just can’t expect that to continue.
Julio Jones, similar to Matt Ryan, excels indoors and is in a prime position to carve up this Indy zone-defense. He should have room to run after the catch if they prioritize getting him the ball quickly, and after Jones scored for the sixth game in a row (dating back to last season) on Sunday night it might be time to retire that narrative altogether. If you’re looking to save at Tight End this week, Hooper is one of the top value plays on the main slate especially when factoring in that the Colts allowed the most fantasy points to the position a season ago. Not normally thought of as a volume receiver, Hooper has catch totals of 9 and 4 through two weeks of play.
Cash Game Options: Marlon Mack, Austin Hooper
GPP Options: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman
Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Vikings 26.5, Raiders 17
Quarterback: This is one of the more boring games overall, but it does contain one of the best cash game plays on the slate in Dalvin Cook, and two high-upside receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. I was correct in my take that Derek Carr and the Raiders were a trap in Week 2, and now they get to travel cross-country to Minnesota for a 1PM EST game against a tough defense. I’m completely out on Carr like last week, while Kirk Cousins in the interesting one. I think I’m ultimately going to leave him off of my player pool, because this game sets up much closer to Week 1 where he threw just 10 times than it does to last week where the Vikings went down big early to the Packers. The Vikings want to focus on running the ball, and I think that’s what they’re going to do here.
Running Back: Josh Jacobs negative game-script concerns held true last week, as Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington stole passing down work from him. That should be the case again here with the Raiders being sizable road dogs, and due to the fact that Jacobs said he has been really sick this week and has dropped 10 pounds.
Dalvin Cook has topped 100 yards in each of the Vikings first two games, and is in another good spot against this Raiders defense. He’s a lock for over 20 rushing attempts in this game, and is at the top of the cash game list this week alongside Zeke Elliott and Christian McCaffrey. With some of the value opening up, we may be able to potentially play all three…but stay tuned for my cash game article for more on that!
Pass Catchers: Tyrell Williams is the one Raiders player that found the end zone in Week 2, but he should see a heavy-dose of Xavier Rhodes coverage this week who has eased my concerns that he was washed up. The reason I have Thielen and Diggs listed as GPP-only plays is mainly because I think that if the Vikings are winning this game we could see another 10-15 attempt-type game from Cousins. That didn’t prevent Thielen from scoring in Week 1, and with Diggs now healthy they both could have great games in addition to Cook dominating the work. It’s too much of a risk for me to consider in cash, but I love both in GPPs, especially Diggs as the Raiders have given up multiple long touchdowns already this season.
Cash Game Options: Dalvin Cook
GPP Options: Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs
Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Cowboys 34.5, Dolphins 13
Outlook: This is one of two games I’m breaking down differently this week, with it being such an anomaly. The Dolphins have been outscored by almost 100 points through two weeks of games, and we are coming off a week where the Patriots defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns thus breaking the NFL DFS slate. With it being such a wide spread, I wouldn’t normally be on any one-offs here for cash games, but there are two plays I would like to highlight for all formats here in Ezekiel Elliott and Devin Smith.
Zeke got up to 25 touches in Week 2 easing any workload concerns, and now he sets up as a massive home favorite against the worst defense in the NFL. Some may be worried about the blowout, but how often do we see guys get pulled in an NFL game? Sure, they could turn to Tony Pollard late in the second-half, but there’s a pretty good chance that if that’s the case, Zeke has had himself a day already and he is my favorite overall Running Back on this slate. As for Devin Smith, he will step in for Michael Gallup after popping for a 51 yard touchdown in Week 2. Smith was an absolute monster at Ohio State, and it wasn’t long ago that he was a second round pick for the New York Jets. Injuries derailed his career early on, but he’s healthy now and looking to build off a very promising preseason in Dallas. Amari Cooper will have his hands full with Xavien Howard, leaving Smith matched up with Eric Rowe who has been dog-walked throughout the first two weeks of the season. Rowe struggled to defend the speedy Hollywood Brown in Week 1, and I don’t see him keeping up with Smith’s 4.42 jets despite himself being a quick guy.
Now, those aren’t the only two plays in this game, they are just the ones that I feel best about and would be comfortable locking into my main lineup on any site. Dak Prescott has been amazing thanks to Kellen Moore unlocking his potential with his new twist on the Cowboys offense, and he is a great tournament play as part of a Cowboys stack — remember that this team is implied to score nearly 35 points. I will probably avoid Cooper given his individual matchup, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him pull double-digit targets with Gallup sidelined, You can get weird with other plays like Randall Cobb in GPPs as well, especially in playing Prescott, and you can run it back with DeVante Parker who quietly is second-overall in air yards among the entire NFL per airyards.com. The big question is whether or not to play Dallas D/ST, I personally don’t pay up for defense given the volatility and will be avoiding them (and praying) in cash games, while grabbing a few shares in GPPs just in case we see a repeat of last week.
Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Eagles 26, Lions 20
Quarterback: This is quietly one of my favorite games of the week, particularly on the Lions side of the ball with everyone focusing on the clearly evident Philadelphia value receivers. Matt Stafford erupted in Week 1 thanks in-part to the up-tempo Cardinals offense finishing with over 30 DraftKings points, and now gets a date with the Eagles secondary who has been absolutely abused through two weeks of the season. With multiple d-lineman out for the Eagles, Stafford should have added time to throw this weekend…if Matt Patricia is competent enough to implement a pass-heavy game plan in what appears to be a smash spot.
Carson Wentz rebounded from an ugly first-half in Week 2 to post just over 19 fantasy points thanks in-part to a rushing touchdown. The Lions have been surprisingly good against the pass this season, and with two of the Eagles top-three pass catchers down for this game, I will be avoiding Wentz in DFS contests.
Running Back: Kerryon Johnson hit paydirt through the air in Week 2, and will benefit with CJ Anderson finally released by the Lions. The question has never been Johnson’s ability, but his time on the field due to Patricia’s insistence of running a RBBC. Ty Johnson will step into the pass-catching role for this Lions team, capping Johnson’s ceiling but the floor will in-part, rise with Anderson no longer stealing work on the ground. I think that you can certainly look at Johnson in tournaments, but he doesn’t grade out any higher than a dart play for me this week. As for the Eagles, they continue to mix in Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles, and none of them have been good this season. There are too many good spots for running backs on this slate, and I think the situation is too thin as a whole.
Pass Catchers: I can’t believe that I’m interested in Matt Stafford this week, and if I’m rolling Stafford out in tournaments I’m going to be stacking him with Kenny Golladay. Dubbed BabyTron by JJ Zachariason of numberFire, Golladay has smashed each of the first two weeks, seeing a whopping 19 targets and ranking top-five in the entire NFL in air yards. This Eagles secondary was lit up by Terry McLaurin in Week 1 and Nelson Agholor in Week 2, surrendering big play after big play. I love Golladay as a GPP one-off or as part of a Stafford stack.
The Eagles situation is what everyone is wondering about, with DeSean Jackson out and Alshon Jeffery looking unlikely to play. Dallas Goedert is also banged up and may miss this game, with the main beneficiaries being Nelson Agholor and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Agholor popped off for a huge game on Sunday Night Football, and will have the best matchup in the slot. Agholor feels like a cash game lock at his price across both FanDuel and DraftKings, with JJAW being the tournament pivot. Arcega-Whiteside was one of my favorite players in this years draft, best comped to Kenny Golladay per PlayerProfiler, he played over 90% of the snaps in Week 2 and is too good to be on the field that much and not find success. Zach Ertz explains himself, while I don’t like to spend up at Tight End in cash games, Ertz saw over 15 targets in Week 2 and will be Wentz’s security blanket with the myriad of injuries to this Eagles receiving corps.
Cash Game Options: Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Zach Ertz
GPP Options: Kenny Golladay, Kerryon Johnson, Carson Wentz, Mack Hollins, Matt Stafford
Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Bills 25, Bengals 19
Quarterback: Andy Dalton was one of my biggest tournament misses in Week 2, and it’s pretty hard for me to go back to the well against a legitimate top-five defensive candidate in the Buffalo Bills. On the other side, Josh Allen anchored my cash game team on DraftKings in Week 2 and I am strongly considering locking him in again this week. I was all-in on Russell Wilson in Week 1, and Jimmy Garoppolo went into Cincinnati and dropped 296 yards with three touchdowns against them a week ago. Allen is one of my favorite DFS players, and outside of Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, he has the highest-upside on the slate at his position, despite being a full $1,000+ cheaper than both of them.
Running Back: I’m pretty much avoiding the Bengals offense here completely, especially a banged up Joe Mixon. This Bengals offensive line vs the Bills defensive front will be one of the biggest mismatches of the week, and I anticipate Gio Bernard to continue to be involved in the offense weekly after they willingly gave him a contract extension a few weeks ago. The interesting part here is Frank Gore. Yes, it’s 2019 and I’m writing up Frank Gore…sigh. Gore was out-played by Devin Singletary again last week, but that didn’t matter to the Bills coaches as they fed him 19 carries and now Singletary has missed practice time with an injury. If Singletary misses this game, I will 100% be forced into playing some Frank Gore as a home favorite and possibly elevating him into the cash game conversation as a punt option given his price tag.
Pass Catchers: I have absolutely no interest in picking on the Bills secondary who ranked first-overall in pass DVOA a season ago, but if you absolutely need to target one I would prefer Tyler Boyd to John Ross, narrowly. On the Bills side, John Brown is once again a smash play in all formats as a stacking partner with Josh Allen, who has served him an average of 9 targets per game through two weeks. The 49ers were able to get behind this Bengals defense a number of times last week — see Marquise Goodwin — which bodes well for the speedy Brown. Beasley will continue to rack up targets in the slot role for this Bills offense, but I’m more willing to bank on the homerun hitting upside of Brown than I was last week in their individual matchups.
Cash Game Options: Josh Allen, John Brown
GPP Options: Frank Gore, Cole Beasley
Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Chiefs 29, Ravens 23
Outlook: This is the other game that I will be analyzing differently, because it’s the best overall game on this slate and the best way to attack with is to full stack in tournaments. There are a few guys that I’m targeting in cash games, Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews, but pretty much everyone else I will be hedging with in tournaments due to their price tags, or due to plays around them.
Brown and Andrews have dominated looks from Lamar Jackson this season, seeing 18 and 16 respectively with the next highest target total being 4. Brown’s snaps increased a ton after he was limited in Week 1 due to injury, and if you go back and watch even a little of the Ravens past two games you can clearly see that these are the only two guys that Jackson seems to look for when he drops back to pass. The Chiefs pass defense is one we have went after both weeks already this season, and in an expected shootout, I would love grabbing a piece of this game in cash games with either (or both) of them.
Outside of those two as a pair or as one-offs in cash games, this is clearly the most stackable game of the week. Since I will have limited exposure to it in my main lineups on FanDuel and DraftKings, my first two GPP teams will be stacks of this game this week, and this is how I am playing it.
Stack 1: Lamar Jackson + Mark Ingram + Brown or Andrews + two of Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Travis Kelce
Stack 2: Patrick Mahomes + Sammy Watkins + Travis Kelce + Brown + Andrews
We also need to monitor the backfield situation for Kansas City, if both of Damien Williams AND LeSean McCoy miss this game, it will thrust Darwin Thompson and possibly Darrel Williams into consideration for all formats. Be sure to check my content throughout the weekend for any updates.
Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Panthers 24, Cardinals 22
Quarterback: This is one of my favorite games of the entire weekend, and by all accounts, one of the most important for DFS contests as well. Kyle Murray is set to start for Cam Newton this week, after balling out in Week 17 last season, Allen is firmly on the radar in cash games and GPPs at his min-priced salary. These are the two fastest-paced teams in the NFL so far this season, and the pure volume that Allen sees should make up for any inefficiency and I am strongly considering him in cash games as of now…which leads us to Kyler Murray. The number one overall pick has reached the 300 yard passing bonus in each of his first two starts despite not playing his best football by a wide margin, and has put up an average of 22 FPPG while adding nothing on the ground with his legs yet. This is the best matchup of his young career, against a team that doesn’t look to slow play to a snails pace like the Lions and Ravens do. Murray is equally viable in cash games, and one of my favorite tournament plays on the slate. This sets up as the perfect game-stack scenario again this week.
Running Back: While David Johnson is certainly viable in tournaments as part of a game-stack, I’m more focused on the passing game from Arizona and it’s obvious that Christian McCaffrey will once again be one of the top Running Back plays on the slate. Playing 100% of the Panthers snaps so far this season. McCaffrey should benefit from the injection of Allen into the starting lineup, as it will force the defense to defend the passing game more and not just stack the box forcing an injured Cam Newton to beat the through the air. He should be a lock for another 25+ touches here, and he’s neck-and-neck with Ezekiel Elliott as the top spend up on this slate.
Pass Catchers: Since we are stacking this game up, all of the Panthers pass catchers are in play, and like CMC, all stand to benefit with Allen taking over compared to the inaccuracy of Newton. If picking one, Curtis Samuel is my personal favorite and I will be looking to run back any Cardinals stack with McCaffrey + one of Samuel, Moore or Greg Olsen. On the Cardinals side, we have two equally solid options in Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. I was more on Kirk than Fitz last week, but they both ended with over 100 yards. It’s tough to argue with either of them in any format, though I could see Fitzgerald getting a bit more ownership this week. The interesting one is Damiere Byrd, whose chemistry with Kyler Murray allowed him to make this team. Byrd played over 90% of the snaps last week and has actually run more routes than Christian Kirk this season, if you’re looking for low-owned exposure to this game, Byrd just might be it.
Cash Game Options: Kyle Allen, Christian McCaffrey, Kyler Murray, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald
GPP Options: DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, Damiere Byrd, David Johnson, Greg Olsen
Houston Texans @ Los Angeles Chargers
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Chargers 25.5, Texans 22.5
Quarterback: With one of the highest totals on the main slate, I feel like I should be more interested in this game than I really am. To me, there are just 3-4 other games that set up better for a pure game-stack, so I will be focusing heavily on two Chargers in cash games, but will probably be underweight on the rest of the game which I will fully admit, might be a mistake on my part. Philip Rivers is not going to crack my QB pool with 6-7 guys already taking up spots, but I will admit that DeShaun Watson has slate-breaking upside every time he takes the field and will benefit drastically if the Texans go down in this game and he’s forced to play catch-up.
Running Back: Carlos Hyde has been surprisingly good for the Texans this season, and we have learned that it’s fruitful to attack the Chargers on the ground over the past few seasons. While he has played more than I would like, Hyde comes in behind Duke Johnson for me in this game given that the Texans should be trailing. The Chargers allowed the most yards out of the backfield last season, which should be a point of emphasis for Bill O’Brien to exploit if he has any common sense (he doesn’t). Austin Ekeler is one of the better plays from this game and on the entire slate, he has dominated work over Justin Jackson seeing 18+ touches in both games + goal line work. The volume tree is so small with no Melvin Gordon or Hunter Henry, it’s tough to avoid Ekeler any week and he still feels at a discount.
Pass Catchers: DeAndre Hopkins is playable on any slate, any matchup, but if looking to run back a Chargers stack or pair someone up with Deshaun Watson I’m going to lean towards Will Fuller this week. Bales did a great job covering this is his WR/CB matchups column this week, and with Hopkins dealing with Casey Hayward, Fuller has a severe speed advantage over the rest of the Chargers secondary.
Keenan Allen is a stone lock for me in cash games this week, and I think you can pair him up with Ekeler if you want like I did on FanDuel last week. Allen is known for low aDOT usage, but that has changed this season with him ranking first overall in air yards with an aDOT of 13.2 and over 50% of the Chargers targets. This type of role is tough to avoid. especially in a great matchup with an awful Texans secondary.
Cash Game Options: Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler
GPP Options: Duke Johnson, Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson
New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Bucs 27, Giants 21
Quarterback: This is one of the games I’m most excited to watch this week, and along with KC/BAL and ARZ/CAR, I think it’s one of the better overall spots for a full game stack. Daniel Jones is set to make his first career start after lighting up the preseason and earning the nickname ‘Danny Dimes” and I couldn’t be more excited to watch him play. I wasn’t super high on him coming into the draft process, but I felt like the Giants desperately needed a Quarterback so if that was their guy, I was happy they took him (even though I preferred Haskins). He looked the part in the preseason, this Giants offensive line has played very well this season, and I think he can really help unlock this offense — at least more so than what Eli was able to at this point in his career. I prefer Kyle Allen’s matchup better if looking for a cheap QB in cash games, but Jones will be firmly in my GPP pool this weekend.
Another Quarterback that we have to consider in tournaments is Jameis Winston, who will surely go over-looked after a rough first few games. I will admit, the Bucs have not passed nearly as much as I thought they would coming into the season, but some of that is evened out by the fact that this Giants defense has been victimized by Josh Allen and Dak Prescott this season. They haven’t been able to get much pressure on the Quarterback, ranking bottom-five according to PFF, which should allow Winston time to make his reads and pick out the open men on Sunday.
Running Back: I’ll address the Bucs backfield first, because it’s simply too big of a mess for me to deal with in DFS. I have way too much Peyton Barber in best ball so I’m happy he has commanded the most work so far this season, but there are enough mid-tier / cheap RB plays for me to not worry about this situation this week. Saquon Barkley on the other hand should benefit greatly from better Quarterback play, and is one of the best tournament plays on the slate with people focusing on Elliott/McCaffrey at the top-tier of Running Back.
Pass Catchers: Evan Engram is once again one of the top Tight End plays on the slate, and he, like Barkley, should benefit from the better quality QB play. I think Sterling Shepard should be back for this game, but that doesn’t affect my thinking on Engram against this Bucs secondary that was shredded by the corpse of Greg Olsen last week, and allowed two (called back) touchdowns to George Kittle on the road in Week 1. He’s not a must play in cash games, but he very well might be my favorite TE play again this week alongside Mark Andrews.
Both of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans make for exceptional GPP plays this week, and I don’t mind siding with Evans over Godwin if only picking one as I do expect Godwin to be higher-owned once again. Winston just missed Evans on a would-be TD last Thursday night, and Evans leads this team in air yards and aDOT by a wide margin. I think I will ultimately land on a Jones-Barkley-Engram-Evans stack in tournaments, just to spite the Jones haters.
Cash Game Options: Evan Engram
GPP Options: Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones, Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
Vegas Implied Team Totals: Seahawks 24.5, Saints 20
Outlook: I didn’t originally intend to separate this game and break it down differently than the others, but the more I’ve researched the more I think it’s necessary given that we just really don’t know about the Saints QB situation.
Saints QBs: Sean Payton was reluctant to say Teddy Bridgewater was the QB1, and I do think we will see a mixture of him and Taysom Hill throughout this game. Unless we get clear news, it’s going to be tough to consider either of them even in tournaments when it could be close to even split.
Russ Wilson: Wilson had a monster 28 DK point game last week against the Steelers, and now gets a date with the Saints defense that has allowed big games to both DeSahun Watson and Jared Goff through the air. I think he is a great tournament play this week, but he’s not at the top of my list due to game-script concerns.
Alvin Kamara: Surely Kamara will be virtually un-owned after a massive chalk dud in Week 2, while his ceiling will be limited due to the constraints on the Saints offense as a whole, his floor should remain the same or even increase slightly with Payton likely to lean more heavily on him. I can’t recommend him over the likes of Zeke, CMC, Barkley, Cook or Ekeler for cash games, but he’s worth a shot in tournaments just based off his projected ownership alone.
Michael Thomas: Thomas is in a very similar situation to Kamara, as people will be fading him simply due to the QB play, Bridgewater targeted him heavily once he took over for Brees against the Rams, and I am willing to take a flier on him in tournaments, just not in cash games.
Tyler Lockett: Lockett is my favorite play in this game, he leads the Seahawks in targets through two weeks, and gets one of our favorite matchups against PJ Williams in the slot. I honestly don’t expect many to flock to this game, so Lockett is right there with Kenny Golladay in my tournament pool.
Chris Carson: Carson had severe ball security issues last week, and while Rashaad Penny saw added work in that game because of it, Carson was still in the game at the end when it mattered, and I’m not worried about it yet. This matchup is better than you would think, especially as a home favorite, and I’m willing to consider Carson alongside Aaron Jones in GPPs.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Francisco 49ers
Vegas Implied Team Totals: 49ers 25, Steelers 18
Quarterback: We close the Week 3 main slate with Steelers new Quarterback Mason Rudolph making his first career start on the road against the 49ers. I actually think Rudolph is not bad, I don’t think this Steelers team is as good as it has been in years past, but I also don’t think that they will completely fold with Rudolph at the helm. People seem to forget, this Steelers offense didn’t look good at all in either game when Ben was in, but Rudolph was able to keep them in the game against Seattle. Unfortunately, we have a wealth of Quarterback value on this slate, so the week that we play Rudolph in DFS will have to wait.
Garoppolo reminded everyone just what he can do in this Shanahan led offense last week dropping 296 yards and 3 touchdowns on the Bengals in Week 2. I went over how Russ Wilson was able to torch this Steeler secondary last week, meaning that Garoppolo is definitely in the tournament pool this weekend even if I prefer guys like Matt Stafford to him (gulps).
Running Back: Given that James Conner is banged up, and will be in a negative game-script (hopefully) I’m not going to be targeting him over the other mid-tier backs I’ve covered in this article. As for the 49ers, I love both of Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert’s ability, but they are tough to trust in anything other than tournaments given the near equal split they see each week. They both saw over 12 touches last week, and I don’t like spending my time guessing which one will score.
Pass Catchers: Right there with Kenny Golladay and Tyler Lockett, JuJu Smith-Schuster tops my tournament dart list this week, and he will 100% come in under-owned thanks to the presence of Rudolph, even though I’ve went over how Rudolph may be an upgrade. JuJu led the team in targets after Rudolph entered the game last week, and gets one of our favorite matchups in DFS against K’Waun Williams in the slot. Much will be made of James Washington’s chemistry from college with Rudolph, while I’m not sure true impact that will have, what will have an impact is the fact that Donte Moncrief’s snaps decreased to just over 30% last week after having issues with drops. Washington is on the tourney list this weekend, but behind the Eagles value + Devin Smith by a wide margin.
George Kittle sticks out as the top play on the 49ers, he’s still leading this team in targets and was the victim of those called back touchdowns in Week 1. His fantasy point total is around the exact same it was heading into Week 3 last season, and I will continue to buy him at a discount against a team that allowed Will Dissly to find the box twice last week.
Cash Game Options: none
GPP Options: Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)