Week 3 – Thursday Night Football Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers Los Angeles Rams Quarterback
Well now, we can definitely say that Jared Goff (FDraft $10200, DraftKings – $5200, FanDuel – $6800) has shown glimpses of improvement over the first two games of the season compiling 530 yards through the air along with 2 touchdowns and only one interception. That said, he is really only an option if you are still maneuvering your Monday/Thursday prime time teams and he is by far the best option on the Thursday Night – Sunday Morning (London baby!) two game set. Both of these squads play at a pretty slow pace with the Rams checking in at #27 with 56.5 plays per game and San Francisco being in last place at 51.0 offensive plays per game so it is hard to see more upside than 270/2 and 240/1 is a more likely outcome.
Running Back – It is quite clear this week that Todd Gurley (FDraft $12700, DraftKings – $6800, FanDuel – $7900) will be the popular option in the second half of the prime time slate as well as checking in as a top five projected option for Week 3 overall. Gurley had a massive improvement after his Week 1 dud against Indianapolis with 48 snaps, 19 rushes for 40 yards and a touchdown, buoyed by five receptions on six targets for 56 yards. He showed that the passing game action may not be a fluke with four targets for 3 receptions, 48 yards and a touchdown but more importantly he had 88 yards on 16 carries and also tallied a rushing touchdown against Washington. While both of those games were at home, we will have to see if he can continue his upward trajectory on the road against the ‘Niners who have allowed the 9th most rushing yards this season at 123.5 yards per game, but also boasting the 12th best efficiency allowing just 3.3 yards per carry. As scary as it seems, I do have a fair amount of Gurley on my rosters locking Thursday (about 30% as of this writing). There is definitely merit to “fading” him in tournaments as his popularity could approach 20-25%. Of course if it feels like the consensus is “outsmarting” themselves, then playing him is just that much better! One thing to consider is that while San Francisco is only averaging 51 plays per game, their opponents:Week 1 23-3 loss vs Carolina 25 passing 38 rushing andWeek 2 12-9 loss at Seattle 39 passing 37 rushing have averaged 69.5 plays per game. Something has to give and I think the Rams will be closer to the 63 plays they ran in against Indianapolis in their home opener than they will be to their 47 offensive plays in their second outing against Washington last week.
Wide Receivers – While Sammy Watkins (FDraft $10400, DraftKings – $5500, FanDuel – $6900) and Robert Woods (FDraft $6400, DraftKings – $3300, FanDuel – $5200) tied for a team high in snaps at 45, rookie Cooper Kupp (FDraft $9200, DraftKings – $4700, FanDuel – $5700) saw 30 plays, yet his six targets were as many as the veteran duo received as a combined entity. While two games is a limited sample size, he does have a good connection with Jared Goff and at this price point half a dozen targets for 4-5 receptions 40-50 yards and a 50/50 shot at finding pay dirt make him a viable option.
Tight End – There is a good chance that Gerald Everett misses this game with a thigh injury and even if Tyler Higbee (FDraft $5000, DraftKings – $2500, FanDuel – $4500) is the last standing option, the only upside is if he manages to get a touchdown, with a quarterback only seven through is first nine games.
Defense/Special Teams – Once again we can look to a Thursday Night Football defense/special teams to finish with a likely top ten performance on the week. While they are not flashy and they are on the road, targeting the 49ers is going to be a viable “streaming” option for most of the season.
San Francisco 49ers Quarterback – There is no reason to consider Brian Hoyer (FDraft $10000, DraftKings – $4800, FanDuel – $6200) unless you are “drawing dead” in your Monday/Thursday games and need to pull a rabbit out of your hat. He has no touchdowns and two interceptions through two games and the focus of this offense is going to be Carlos Hyde.
Running Back – Speaking of which Carlos Hyde (FDraft $10200, DraftKings – $5200, FanDuel – $6600) is a fine option on the full slate and if you are looking to move away from the heard on the “late-swap” sites in tournaments in the hopes of some differentiation. Seeing Hyde post 15 carries for 124 yards on the ground in Seattle against the Legion of Boom was impressive, until we remembered that he went 21/103/2 last season in Week 3 in the same matchup. This should be a little easier going at home and we can consider him as a strong play in “cash” games and a viable option in tournaments since he has the ability and the potential to score twice in any game with his volume. The Rams were able to hold Frank Gore, Marlon Mack and the rest of the Colts in check Week 1 on 24 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown, but in last week they were exposed by Washington who had 39 carries for 229 yards and two scores along with three different running backs surpassing 67 yards.
Wide Receiver – The less-than-dynamic Brian Hoyer is under center and the Rams are fourth in the league allowing just 179.0 passing yards per contest through the first two games and one lonely touchdown. If you need a receiver in your Monday/Thursday contests, Pierre Garcon (FDraft $10500, DraftKings – $5300, FanDuel – $6400) is an acceptable option.
Tight End – Without peeking, can you name the San Francisco tight end this season? Hint, Vance McDonald is in Pittsburgh now. If you said George Kittle, congratulations. Now go choose someone else for your DFS squad.
Defense/Special Teams – In Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, the ‘Niners had one interception and one fumble, but no sacks. In Week 2 travelling up the coast to Seattle they sacked Russell Wilson three times behind the porous Seahawks offensive line, but had no turnovers. There is nothing to see here.
London Game – 9:30am ET Kickoff Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback – Joe Flacco
(FDraft $10500, DraftKings – $5300, FanDuel – $7100) has been rather lackluster over the first two games of the season with the Ravens content to let their defense do the heavy lifting (Week 1 20-0 in Cincinnati and Week 2 24-10 at home against the Browns). Though they are the visiting team, it is not a “home game” for the Jaguars either. This looks like another game where Baltimore will add to their current rushing totals of 74 attempts, 293 yards and two scores.
Running Back – As of Thursday, Terrance West (FDraft $9800, DraftKings – $4900, FanDuel – $6700) still had not practiced and if he is out, then former USC Trojan star Javorius Allen (FDraft $9800, DraftKings – $5000, FanDuel – $5700) is going to be projecting in the mid-teens on most full-PPR sites, making him a fine option in all formats on all slates for his favorable price point.
Wide Receiver – we can skip Jeremy Maclin (FDraft $10200, DraftKings – $5200, FanDuel – $6700) and Mike Wallace (FDraft $7300, DraftKings – $3700, FanDuel – $5400) with the lack of aerial opportunities, unless of course you are hoping to luck into a touchdown on the Thursday/Sunday London slate. God Save the Queen if you are…
Tight End – Well, on the two game “prime time” slate, Benjamin Watson (FDraft $7300, DraftKings – $3700, FanDuel – $4700) may actually be the only viable option with the tight ends in the LA/SF game dinged up and that leaves just whatever cast off (Jake O’Shaughnessy or Nick Boyle) option you want to use as some sort of blind squirrel gambit.
Defense/Special Teams – The Ravens are actually in play against the Jaguars and will likely be the most popular option on the London slate and they are a top five option on the overall slate.
Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback – If you are looking for a minimum priced option, the Blake Bortles (FDraft $10000, DraftKings – $4400, FanDuel – $7000) is your guy and there will be a strong need for him to throw the ball in this tilt. Of course, who he will be throwing it to is a whole other situation. Verdict: only if you are feeling frisky.
Running Back – Even though Leonard Fournette (FDraft $11300, DraftKings – $6000, FanDuel – $7400) saw his touches + targets drop from 29 to 19 between Week 1 and Week 2, it was encouraging to see that he did score both weeks and that he saw five targets in the passing game in his last outing. The running back choices are nice on this two game abbreviated slate, but on the full slate Fournette projects to something in the high-teens or low-twenties and his upside is dependent on scoring for the third week in a row.
Wide Receiver – Oh boy, Allen Hurns (FDraft $9100, DraftKings – $4600, FanDuel – $6200) and Marqise Lee (FDraft $8700, DraftKings – $4400, FanDuel – $6000) are on this slate! Okay, now that we have that out of our system, they are essentially unplayable on the full slate and are only options if you are going bargain hunting for a discounted long-shot touchdown on the London slate because the throws of Blake Bortles do have to be in the direction of someone and this duo is pretty much it for the Jags.
Tight End – Jake O’Shaunghnessy and I actually had to look that up. Hard pass.
Defense/Special Teams – They would be more on the radar if they were really at home and not in a different time zone, however, they are capable of pressuring opposing quarterbacks and a pick-six does wonders when you get it from a discounted defense.
Sunday Night Game
Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins
Quarterback – Derek Carr (FDraft $12700, DraftKings – $6800, FanDuel – $8400) will be a popular option on the full game slates and things will ramp up even more for him in the Sunday primetime contests. Washington has been a middle-of-the-pack team against opposing quarterbacks this season from a fantasy perspective, however, they have only faced Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. Football Outsiders has them just outside of the bottom five for Passing DVOA and conversely they have the Raiders just inside the top five from an offensive viewpoint. The best thing going for Carr is his many receiving options which should help Oakland somewhat neutralize the presence of CB Josh Norman.
Running Back – There is no need for the Raiders to wear down recently “un”retired Marshawn Lynch (FDraft $11300, DraftKings – $6000, FanDuel – $6700) with more than 12-15 touches per game, which pretty much neutralizes him from a daily fantasy perspective, unless of course you are touchdown hunting. Both Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington will also see time in the backfield, but neither is worthy of consideration even on the short game slates outside of a tournament dart throw (which of course can be said in reference to just about everyone in this game which boasts a 55 o/u).
Wide Receiver – It is seemingly a coin flip each week determining which of this dynamic duo will be the “better” option. Trick question, both are in play nearly every week with 3rd year veteran Amari Cooper (FDraft $13300, DraftKings – $7100, FanDuel – $7700) really coming into his own and savvy nine year veteran Michael Crabtree (FDraft $14000, DraftKings – $7400, FanDuel – $7700) specializing in redzone looks and catching nearly everything he can get his hands on this season. Both project out to a 7-8 targets, 5-6 reception, 70ish yard stat line and of course there is definitely upside available if this game turns into a track meet as expected. You can pair either one with Derek Carr or if you want to go all out, the trio is definitely in play as a synergistic strategy on all slates.
Tight End – Jared Cook (FDraft $6000, DraftKings – $3100, FanDuel – $5200) is a fine option across the industry for his low price point and with a reasonable likelihood of his quarterback throwing for three aerial scores. He should see a handful of targets working the middle of the field against an undermanned line backing corps and we know that he is essentially a giant wide receiver in disguise. Eat the chalk on this play.
Defense/Special Teams – West Coast team heading to the East Coast in a high scoring affair, no thank you.
Quarterback – The Raiders have won both of their games convincingly (Week 1 45-20 vs NYJ and Week 2 26-16 at TEN) allowing to Josh McCown touchdowns in the opening day rout and then keeping Marcus Mariota in check on the road in Tennessee last week. We know that Kirk Cousins (FDraft $11400, DraftKings – $6100, FanDuel – $7600) is off to a slow start this season, but he is moving on without familiar and trusted options Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Also do not lose sight that Week 1 was a tough matchup against a much improved Philadelphia Eagles defense and Week 2 was a clock management game in Los Angeles against the Rams.
This is the week for Cousins to remind everyone that he finished 2016 as a top five fantasy quarterback and he is the perfect pivot to Derek Carr. Washington has also been working RB Chris Thompson (FDraft $8800, DraftKings – $4500, FanDuel – $5600) into the passing game and he is providing a fine safety valve option which further enhances Cousins’ ability to keep his fantasy totals ticking upwards.
Running Back – Other than hoping for a long score from the aforementioned Chris Thompson, there is nothing to see here for Washington.
Wide Receivers – Both Terrelle Pryor Sr. (FDraft $11000, DraftKings – $5900, FanDuel – $6900) and Jamison Crowder (FDraft $9800, DraftKings – $4900, FanDuel – $5700) have been somewhat disappointing so far this season, but there is plenty of time to turn things around. They have seen 15 and 12 targets respectively and if tight end Jordan Reed is out or limited, they will see a 15-20% boost in opportunities each.
Here is a fun one, is it top of the mind for anyone to recall that Terrelle Pryor was actually a starting quarterback for the Raiders in 2012 and 2013. It is amazing how he has changed positions and become a game changer himself as a wide receiver, even with the hot mess, err I mean the Cleveland Browns quarterbacks throwing him the ball last season. On the primetime slate, he will be incredibly popular for his price point, but I have him on my short list for the full slate as well this week on all sites.
Tight End – Add in some sort of chest injury to his already broken (aka fractured) big toe and I am very little interest in Jordan Reed (FDraft $10100, DraftKings – $5400, FanDuel – $6700) this week and am choosing to remember fonder times such as the 2015 season when he had four, YES FOUR 2-TD games. He could very well break my heart Sunday night, but so be it.
Defense/Special Teams – a resounding HELL NO!
Monday Night Game
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals
Quarterback – Does anyone remember back to the amazing fantasy campaign posted by Dak Prescott (FDraft $10900, DraftKings – $5800, FanDuel – $7800) in his rookie season when he tallied the sixth most fantasy points by a quarterback? Come to think of it, that was just last year. My how things have changed. On the primetime slate against a strong Arizona defense, it is just easier to pick someone from the Sunday night game and on the Monday-Thursday slate we will want to turn our attention to Aaron Rodgers.
Running Back – This is not going to be an easy matchup for Ezekiel Elliott (FDraft $15600, DraftKings – $8300, FanDuel – $8800) who continues to be a lightning rod for criticism (both warranted and unwarranted), but he will be getting close to 20 touches and this makes him the top option at the position on the Sunday prime time slate and also worthy of DFS consideration on the Monday-Thursday contests. Again, to reiterate, the Cardinals defense is staunch, but we have limited choices. On the full slates, I have little interest in any Cowboys, regardless of position.
Wide Receiver – Some fun stuff from Pro Football Focus shows that Arizona CB Patrick Peterson shadowed Detroit wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. on 93% of his Week 1 routes allowing just one target for one catch, albeit for a six yard touchdown. In Week 2 he covered the Colts T.Y. Hilton on 65.9% of his routes which ended with one reception for 16 yards on two targets. This means that Dez Bryant (FDraft $12700, DraftKings – $6800, FanDuel – $7800) is likely going to be in for a long night. In Week 1, Bryant was shadowed by Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins and while he did get eight targets, he only corralled two for 43 yards.
Terrance Williams (FDraft $7100, DraftKings – $3600, FanDuel – $4700) is the “are you freakin’ kidding me” and Cole Beasley (FDraft $9200, DraftKings – $4700, FanDuel – $5300) is the “dammit I hate that guy” – which means that yes, they are actually viable punt plays on the prime time slates.
Tight End – So far this season, Pro Football Focus has Arizona as the toughest matchup for opposing tight ends. From a fantasy perspective they have allowed an average of 5.5 receptions for 54 yards on six targets to the position. Jason Witten (FDraft $8400, DraftKings – $4500, FanDuel – $5500) has been outstanding this season with 22 targets for 17 receptions, 156 yards and he has scored in each of his games. Not too shabby for not too shabby for a 15 year veteran. Witten is a top five option at this position again this week and most gamers will be looking for flashier options than the “Dad Runner” (h/t to J.J. Zachariason for coining that apropos moniker).
Defense/Special Teams – It is between Dallas and Arizona on the Sunday-Monday slate and even though they are on the road, close your eyes and tell me you can’t envision a Carson Palmer pick-six.
Quarterback – As much as we have turned on the “ancient” Carson Palmer (FDraft $11300, DraftKings – $6000, FanDuel – $7300) look at his numbers so far this season: 46 for 84, 600 yards, 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions and one fumble. The five turnovers to go along with five sacks are not heartwarming, but he is still a top 15 quarterback in the league (which is a different problem/conversation altogether) and he is three years younger than Tom Brady. Dallas was just carved up by Trevor Siemian who threw four touchdowns and we can see a path where Palmer ends up as the second best scoring option at this position for both of the upcoming primetime slates.
Running Back – Pick a Card(inal) any Card(inal) and hope you luck box your way into a touchdown.
Wide Receiver – John Brown is likely out again, so we have the trio of Larry Fitzgerald (FDraft $12000, DraftKings – $6400, FanDuel – $6500) who has disappointed his backers the last two weeks despite 19 targets, J.J. Nelson (FDraft $10500, DraftKings – $5300, FanDuel – $5700) who played the role of everyone’s darling discount dandy during Week 2 and Jaron Brown (FDraft $7300, DraftKings – $3700, FanDuel – $4500) who is in a position to become this week’s J.J. Nelson if the other Brown is indeed out. All three are in play for both primetime slates, but other options are plentiful on the full-game slates. Keep an eye on the news as Jaron Brown was banged up in-game last week and J.J. Nelson has been working through a tight hamstring this week. Both are expected to play barring a major change heading into Monday night.
Tight End – Jermaine Gresham (FDraft $5200, DraftKings – $2700, FanDuel – $4500) is pretty much a minimum price option, but he has “earned” his price tag and is dealing with a rib injury.
Defense/Special Teams – Dak Prescott only had four interceptions in his rookie campaign, though he did have nine fumbles. Additionally he is mobile enough that he does not get sacked all that often (about 1.4 times per game which is pretty amazing for someone of his experience level). I think I would rather roll with the Cowboys against Carson Palmer or with the Green Bay Packers against Chicago next Thursday.
If you have questions, reach out to me in the NFL Slack Channel. Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac