Welcome in to a new year of Ben’s NFL DFS Building Blocks for DraftKings and FanDuel! In this article, I will highlight my favorite NFL DFS plays at each position for small-field tournament formats. If you’re interested in signing up for premium access, which grants you Core Plays for every slate, projections, Final Thoughts player pool + expert picks and our premium Discord click HERE. You can also sign up for our plethora of AI-driven sports betting tools and access to my weekly betting card by clicking HERE. Let’s get into the plays…
It was an amazing start to the NFL season with my premium Core Plays taking down tournaments on the first slate of the season!
I had a bounce-back Week 2, and I’m looking to carry that momentum into Week 3 and hopefully get ourselves a nice sweat going on Sunday! It appears that heavy ownership will concentrate on the MIN/LAC game this weekend – given that it features a two point spready in a slate-high 54.5 O/U. There are quite a bit of teams projected north of 25 points this weekend, but few are in games expected to be close like this one. I agree with Vegas that this is the best game on the slate, but everyone already knows that. I will likely full stack this game on one of my three lineups – and then look at other stacks with pieces of this game mixed in on my remaining two or three builds. Kirk Cousins paces the field in expected OWN%, with Patrick Mahomes, Geno Smith and Justin Herbert not far behind.
As I’ve noted in previous weeks, QB OWN% if always fairly spread out and I mainly just focus on the stacks I want. Higher dollar, smaller-field tournaments can see some QB’s come in higher than expected – like Josh Allen last week, but overall it’s not something you have to overly think about. My tentative plan is to build with Cousins on my game-stack, but Herbert is firmly in play for me as well.
There is one player I want to take a stand on this week, and that’s Tua Tagovailoa at home against the Denver Broncos. Jaylen Waddle looks likely to miss this game, while I think that is an overall net loss for the offense I think the spot is fantastic for Tua. Denver’s defense has been horrible this season, allowing solid games to the likes of Sam Howell and Jimmy Garoppolo through two weeks. Neither of those players can hold a candle to Tua, especially in this Mike McDaniel offense. Early season visiting teams always struggle in Miami due to the sideline issues – and we also have Raheem Mostert popping for over 20% expected OWN%. If everyone is on Mostert, people will be avoiding the Dolphins passing stack despite them having one of the highest ceilings in the league. Listed with a healthy 27 point team total, the Dolphins will be one of my main GPP builds on Sunday. Tua leads the NFL in YPA so far this season, and is set up perfectly in this spot.
Other QB stacks I’m considering in order are Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence and Josh Allen.
Lamar has one of the bets match-ups on the slate against Indy, while I’ve been very encouraged with how the offense looks through two weeks. This is a prime get-right spot for Lawrence at home, facing off with the Texans who will be down their only strong CB in Derek Stingley. Allen was the mega-chalk stack last week, while nobody wants to play him this weekend against Washington who just allowed over 26 fantasy points to Russell Wilson.
The saving money at RB trend will continue in Week 3, especially with Christian McCaffrey not on the slate. Assuming Austin Ekeler is out once again, we currently have Josh Kelley ($5,500), Jerome Ford ($4,800) and Raheem Mostert ($6,000) all in the top-four projected owned RB’s on Sunday. The only spend-up that joins those ranks is Tony Pollard ($8,000) against the lowly Arizona Cardinals.
If Ekeler misses, Kelley will be tough to avoid in the game environment he is placed in this week. It’s a much different spot than last week against Tennessee. Speaking of Tennessee, Ford feels like a fade to me in tournaments given the match-up and expected OWN%. Mostert is a fine option on any non-Tua team and everyone that reads my content knows I love Pollard every week.
I expect there to be two mid-tier options that catch any sort of heavy OWN% number – Travis Etienne and Jahmyr Gibbs. Etienne is in an amazing match-up at home against Houston, while Gibbs will likely be playing without David Montgomery. I have no issues with either of these guys and have them graded as viable in all formats. I really like Etienne in this spot and you can easily correlate him with one of Nico Collins/Tank Dell on a non-Lawrence team. Gibbs is harder to correlate, but would be looking at the best role of his young NFL career in a close spread against Atlanta.
There’s two guys I want to take a stand on this week, one in the mid-tier and one as a value play. The first being Kenneth Walker against the Carolina Panthers. Walker ran hot in Week 2 with two close touchdowns, but this is the best set-up he’s seen this season. Listed as a healthy home favorite against a Panthers team that has been gashed on the ground, we could see a Week 3 eruption from K9 in the afternoon window.
The value play I really want is Kendre Miller. I can’t believe that he isn’t projecting for more OWN% right now. Green Bay has been below-average vs the run this season and there is nothing stopping Miller from being the lead back for New Orleans this week. Sure, Tony Jones scored two close TDs last week, but Miller is a high draft pick that the front office and coaching staff loves. Jones is just a guy at this point, while Miller can do things like this on the field. I was high on Miller coming out of the draft, and he could easily take the lead role and smash at only $4,300 this week. he’s an amazing pivot off Jerome Ford and all the reports are that he’s healthy and ready to go this week. I’ll be overweight to Miller in Week3, taking one of my biggest stands of the season thus far.
Other tourney options I will consider are Bijan Robinson, Isaiah Pacheco and Roschon Johnson. Note that Derrick Henry has missed practice time this week so monitor that, and be sure to check my updated player pool in our Projections Portal this weekend.
Per usual I will be focusing on my stacks and correlating other plays in my lineup at the WR position. As for now, it looks the highest ownership will concentrate on Mike Williams, Justin Jefferson, Keenan Allen, Jayden Reed (assuming Watson out), Tank Dell, Drake London and Amari Cooper.
Justin Jefferson is the top play on this slate, and I think we could see a nuclear game from him on Sunday. You don’t really need me to tell you this, but he has been unlucky with TD’s already this season yet has dropped 27+ DK points in each of his first two games…without a TD in either. He is going to likely put up a 35+ point game when he finally gets in the box, and I’m willing to predict that happens this weekend.
Mike Williams has the better match-up of the two Chargers players, but he will also be higher-owned due to price and I like both of them in all formats.
I was all-in on Tank Dell in Week 2 and now everyone wants to play him. He is simply too cheap for this role and I think both he and Nico Collins are strong plays. They can be used as one-offs, or in mini’s with any of Etienne, Ridley or Kirk (if Zay is out).
Reed is fine in all formats and I’m a big fan of his, but I prefer the match-up for the Houston guys. London can burn me, but I won’t be playing him at high OWN%.
Tyreek Hill will be a priority for me especially if Waddle misses. Waddle being out allows us to single-stack Tua with his alpha-WR or you can double him with any of the other cheaper guys — such as River Cracraft or Durham Smythe. Hill ranks first in the NFL in yards per route run this season and is set up for a monster game at home in Week 3.
I absolutely love Jordan Addison this week, and I love that it appears his OWN% will be held in check. Los Angeles has been cooked by deep, explosive plays all season and that sets up exactly into Addison’s game. You can easily double Kirk Cousins here, or use Addison as the one-off / mini stack in a lineup where you aren’t stacking this game. I will be overweight on Addison in Week 3.
If stacking Allen I would want Stefon Diggs at what looks to be minimal OWN%, or a double with a TE added in. Lamar would be Zay Flowers for me and Lawrence would be Ridley + Kirk (if Zay misses).
Low-owned plays I think are viable are Josh Downs and Jahan Dotson.
Tight End is partying like it’s 2018 in Week 3 — with Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz carrying the highest projected ownership numbers as of Friday. Following those two is Durham Smythe who has stepped into a larger role for the Dolphins this season – and may get that added boost of no Jaylen Waddle for the Fins on Sunday. He doesn’t have much action in the box-score, but through two weeks he has played over 98% of the Dolphins offensive snaps. Typically I like to avoid chalky, cheap Tight Ends in my contests. Given that I play these smaller-field tournaments, I have the ability to be a bit chalkier than usual in my roster construction — but TE is one of the best spots to differentiate. I agree that Ertz is the best cash game play this weekend, but I will likely be underweight in my three-max builds. Smythe would fit into my Tua stack, but there are also some lower-owned options that peak my interest.
It looked like we would have weather concerns in the WAS/BUF game, but as of now it appears all will be good by the time the game kicks off. I’ve played Dalton Kincaid in each of the first two weeks and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He wasn’t able to haul in an EZ target last week, but was seemingly more involved and now it looks like Dawson Knox may miss this game. I would prefer Knox be active for ownership purposes, it’s only a matter of time before Kincaid gets his first NFL touchdown.
I also like the idea of playing TJ Hockenson in the mid-tier. He has shown slate-breaking upside, he leads all TE’s in targets so far this season and has a middling ownership projection despite everyone wanting to stack this game.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)