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NFL DFS Week 3 – Slate Breakdown

Welcome to the NFL DFS Slate Breakdown! This is a new article I will be writing this season, offering my favorite plays position-by-position. I will be discussing my top cash game plays, GPP targets, pivots and stacks! This article will also feature data tables produced by Sam Scherman, that I use heavily in my decision making each week. If you’re a fan of my content (thank you) I highly recommend purchasing access to my Core Plays for both main slates and showdown, and joining our FREE Discord!

 

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Quarterback

Kyler Murray- Murray was the top option in this article a week ago, and he responded by dropping a cool 38 DK points on the Vikings. Once again, he is top-two in raw and ceiling projection in our Projections Portal. This is a smash match-up on the road against the Jaguars for the MVP favorite after two weeks of play. Initially, I thought the ownership would catch up to him like it did last year, but with the presence of some quality cheap options I think we once again see him come in under-owned. Not much more needs to be said, he is the overall QB1 on this slate and is a lock to make one of my main two builds.

Josh Allen- Allen is projecting extremely well this week, but is a near lock to come in low-owned due to guys like Murray, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson being similarly priced. Allen has had a couple “down” weeks after lighting the league on fire in 2020, and it looks like people are already jumping off the train. The usage has still been there for Allen, he just hasn’t been finding the end zone, and one game came against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Washington’s defense is a clear pass-funnel, and we can expect offensive mastermind Brian Daboll to deploy a pass-heavy game plan on Sunday afternoon. You’ll notice in the charts at the bottom of this article that both Washington and Buffalo rank inside the top-five in pace of play rank heading into this week. I think this is one of the sneakiest game stacks on the slate, and a massive leverage opportunity on Sunday.

Matt Stafford- This game will be no secret, sporting the slates highest O/U at 55.5 — a total that has jumped over a point since open. Stafford may not rank top-ten in pass attempts, but the Rams offense has been much more pass-heavy than in years past and the effort to show off Stafford’s arm has been very clear from Sean McVay. Tampa Bay has coughed up the third-most passing yards through two weeks, and the second-least rushing yards. This is another clear pass-funnel spot, and the game plan may end up even more through the air due to Darrell Henderson’s rib injury. We love to attack teams with a tight target concentration, and that’s exactly what this offense has been so far. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are accounting for 32 of the Rams 42 WR targets. Stafford is a high-upside play in this matchup that can be used in all formats.

Justin Fields- Fields will be making his first ever NFL start on the road in Cleveland, and will likely end up as the highest-owned option at his position on DK, at least in cash games. I think you can certainly make the case to fade him, but the fact of the matter is he should be at least $1,000 more in salary with his rushing upside. He is raw, and it won’t shock me if he struggles in this game, but he has a realistic floor with his legs that is hard to pass up in cash games at this price. Overall, I will likely eat the chalk in my cash game lineup, but look elsewhere in tournaments.

Pivot: Daniel Jones or Matt Ryan- I think this game will get more traction than people think, but it’s hard to overlook the way Daniel Jones has been playing. He’s averaging 25 DK points per game after two weeks, and draws the Falcons who have allowed 29.6 DK points to the position. He has upside with his legs, and they’ve actually been playing decently fast this season. He is in play in stacks with Sterling Shepard.

As for Ryan, he is once again being called upon to play hero ball for a terrible defense. We typically like him at home in the dome, but with how this team has looked this season it appears he will once again be thrust into weekly shootouts. Russell Gage looks set to miss this week’s game, and we have two clear options for out stack in Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. I prefer the BUF/WAS game, but I could see looking here for a GPP or 3 max stack.

Running Back

Dalvin Cook/Derrick Henry- These are the two highest-priced options on the slate, and both are projecting for pretty high ownership heading into the weekend. Henry is coming off a 50 burger, and despite increased passing game volume, has faired exactly like he has the last two seasons. When the Titans are winning, he absolutely crushes, but when they get down early he doesn’t get the touches to access that second-highest ceiling on the slate. Tennessee are installed as five point favorites, and look to be drawing the Colts without Carson Wentz. He is viable in all formats.

Cook is my favorite option, and I’m not worried about the ankle injury as of right now. He has put up two really solid games to start the season, despite just one touchdown. He has a great matchup with the Seahawks who have been carved up on the ground to start the season — including by Henry last week. We will have to monitor his status leading up to lock, but as of Friday he seems like the cash game anchor for me personally.

Austin Ekeler- Ekeler is my favorite overall RB option this week, and it makes me very excited to see him projecting for sub-10% ownership. Not only are we getting access to one of the highest O/U’s on the slate by rostering him, but we are getting access to an elite ceiling due to his passing game involvement. He has four attempts inside the ten this season, and two from the goal line. I view him as a mini-WR that also gets carries and goal line work, and I feel like he is at the perfect price point on a slate with no CMC to jam in. I do believe he has a higher ceiling than some of the guys like Harris who will be higher-owned, and this is someone I will be overweight on in Week 3.

Antonio Gibson- Most DFS players would have Chris Carson as their top mid-tier RB play, but I’m actually going with Gibson due to my affinity for that BUF/WAS game. I feel like all we’ve heard about over the first few weeks is how Antonio Gibson still isn’t being fed a work horse role and JD McKissick is the third-down back. While McKissick is in for the two minute drills and on third downs, Gibson is still being fed the rock. He has touch totals of 23 and 15 through two games, and has logged 73% of the Football Team’s snaps. Chris Carson was bailed out by two RZ touchdowns last week, on just 13 touches. 13 touches…yet, I don’t see the Chris Carson is a part-time player narrative on Twitter? I’ve noted I think this will be a sneaky fast shootout, and pivoting to Gibson in my Bills stacks or as a one-off makes sense in tournaments.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire- I didn’t want to write him up, but it’s becoming apparent how chalky Edwards-Helaire is going to be at $4,800 on DraftKings. He has been pretty terrible through two weeks, but he remains the RB1 in the most explosive offense in football. His matchup also stands out, as the Chargers have purposely schemed to allow rushing yards, to keep the ball out of opposing QB’s hands. Obviously you can only do so much to limit Patrick Mahomes, but if CEH happens to find the end zone he is going to beat salary-based expectations. I wish he was getting more passing work, but at this price it doesn’t even really matter. He is a cash game play, but GPP fade for me on DK this week.

Pivot: Leonard Fournette- As I just noted, I won’t be playing any CEH in GPPs, so I will need a similarly priced pivot — enter Leonard Fournette. Like my strategy with Ekeler, this is a way to get exposure to one of the best games on the slate for extremely low-ownership. It appears he will be taking over as the lead back for Ronald Jones moving forward, and we saw him perform on the field as recently as their SB run in the playoffs. Despite Jones being a bigger factor the first few weeks, Fournette remains tied for sixth in the NFL with six attempts inside the 20. It won’t shock me at all if this is the week he hits pay dirt, and he is a lock to be low-owned despite the Bucs owning a near 29 point team total.

Wide Receiver

Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods- Kupp has been the best WR in fantasy so far this season, and both of these guys are in the best game on the slate and affordable on both sites. As I noted above, they have logged over 75% of the teams WR targets through two weeks, and we know they will be getting the ball when Stafford drops back on Sunday. Kupp was massively-owned in Week 2 for his eruption, and I expect more of the same this weekend. He is arguably the top cash game play on the slate at this position.

Woods on the other hand is cheap, and will be much lower-owned. I like the idea of pairing both with Stafford in GPPs, or using Woods as a one-off in non-game stack lineups.

Chris Godwin- Godwin is trending for high-ownership, and will likely be a tough fade in cash games on DK. Tom Brady is currently fourth in football in pass attempts after two weeks, and Antonio Brown’s status is in doubt due to being placed on the Covid list. Even if Brown plays, Godwin is a great point per dollar play leading the team in targets and catches in 2021. We have seen Jalen Ramsey travel into the slot more and more since joining LA, but there is no guarantee he does so on Sunday. The last time these teams squared off he was predominantly on Mike Evans, and I’m expecting more of the same in Week 3. Overall, he is a strong play in game stacks, but an even better one in cash games and H2H’s.

Marvin Jones- Jones is underpriced once again on DraftKings, and may end up pretty chalky when it’s all said and done. Jones has assumed the WR1 role for Trevor Lawrence, topping 17 DK points in each of his first two games and ranking third in the NFL in Air Yards (279). There’s a very strong chance of the Cardinals putting up points on this Jags defense, thus making Jones an elite play in all formats as their offense attempts to keep pace with Kyler and co.

Ja’Marr Chase- I don’t expect Chase to be highly-owned, but this is a guy certain to get a weekend bump. It appears likely that team target-leader Tee Higgins will miss this game due to a shoulder injury, which should increase the volume for both Chase and Tyler Boyd. This is a tough matchup for sure, but I’m not nearly as scared of the aging Steelers secondary as I am of their defensive front. We saw Henry Ruggs get loose for a long TD against them last week, and there is no doubting he and Burrow’s chemistry. Chase is a great low-owned one off in Week 3.

Darnell Mooney- I’m super excited for the Darnell Mooney breakout, and I’m hoping that it comes this week with Fields under center. He has been utilized heavily already this season, hogging 38% of the Bears Air Yards through two weeks. Cleveland has also been extremely vulnerable to the long ball, ranking bottom-eight in deep completions allowed. I think this is a great matchup individually, and the price isn’t going to get better. Mooney will be one of my highest-owned players this weekend.

Top Pivots: Rondale Moore, Tyler Lockett, Courtland Sutton

 

Tight End

Tyler Higbee- Higbee was a chalk bust in Week 2, but he is my top overall option at his position vs the Buccaneers. Despite the dud, he logged all of the Rams TE snaps and this is a good matchup as TB is allowing over 15 DK points per game to Tight Ends. This game is arguably the top on the slate, so grabbing another cheap piece makes the most sense to me.

Outside of Higbee, we have a few great tournament plays in Kyle Pitts and Mark Andrews. I also like going back to the well with Rob Gronkowski in lineups where you are fading the TB/LAR game stack.

 

Ben’s Top Five Stacks

Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs-Cole Beasley-Terry McLaurin

Kyler Murray-DeAndre Hopkins-Rondale Moore-Marvin Jones

Matt Stafford-Cooper Kupp-Robert Woods-Mike Evans (projecting for much less OWN% than Godwin)

Matt Ryan-Calvin Ridley-Kyle Pitts-Sterling Shepard

Russ Wilson-Tyler Lockett-DK Metcalf-Justin Jefferson (or Thielen)

 

Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)

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