NFL DFS Deep Dive: Week 3

Week 2 Review

After a difficult Week 1, it was nice to have a more productive Week 2. I went from a very poor set of results to a much better set. You can keep up with my $100 bankroll challenge here, for a glimpse at some of my lineups. As a general viewpoint it seemed like some of the chalk faltered in games we expected to be high scoring, whilst other things turned out just the way we’d hoped. 

At Quarterback, I started miserably with Mac Jones in an absolute gimme matchup against the hopeless Jets, where he put up just 7.44 points. Lessons were learned that perhaps Mac Jones isn’t a fantasy worthy quarterback just yet. Matthew Stafford had another great game and Joe Burrow, who was featured in my Week 2, Stack of The Week, almost got there in garbage time but sadly you’d be hard pushed to call it anything but a ‘good’ play. 

Running back was good to our selections with Zeke putting up RB8 worthy points on the week, despite Tony Pollard’s usage. Chase Edmonds and Damien Harris both also finished inside the top 16 for RB’s and earned enough points to warrant ‘good’ plays. Receiver didn’t feature any blow-up performances, but Juju Smith-Schuster was typically very low owned in contests and scored 16.4 points. Darnell Mooney just squeaked into the 3x salary/points ratio for an ‘excellent’ play and our only bust here was Terrace Marshall managing just 4.7 points.

Unfortunately, Tight End was a complete bust again as Cole Kmet, Adam Trautman and Gerald Everett combined for 2.3 points. Defence played out nicely with the Panthers a top 5 unit and even the Chargers returned reasonable value to their cost. 

Results so far:

Great plays (3x$) – 10

Good plays (2x$)- 5

Bad plays (below 2x$) – 13


Join Adam’s league HERE and this weeks contest is here – Weekly $5 contest – After winning week one, Adam was dead last in last weeks contest. COME TAKE HIS MONEY


Week 3

My general approach to this slate will include paying up for stud quarterbacks and looking for value elsewhere. I’m not massively drawn to the top end range of RB’s this week and will aim to add elite receivers where possible. There are a lot of high scoring games predicted this week and choosing which chalk to eat will be the name of the game. You can check out my Stack of the Week article on my site, nflbestball.co.uk

Quarterbacks

Justin Herbert @ Kansas City Chiefs – $6500 – 54.5 over/under

Justin Herbert is showing no signs of a second-year regression after starting this season strong. Herbert has averaged 337.5 passing yards through two games and now finds himself a surprisingly soft matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs defence can often find itself under heavy passing attacks, due to the nature of their games, but so far this season they’ve reacted far poorer to it than in previous years, allowing 560 passing yards in two games. The Chargers rank highly in passing efficiency and their improved offensive line should do well against a Kansas pass rush that is yet to get going, ranking bottom ten across the league in sacks (3), quarterback hurries (4) and the 3rd fewest QB pressures overall.

Via Shiel Kapadia and The Athletic

Kirk Cousins Vs Seattle Seahawks – $6300 – 55.5 over/under

The Seahawks continue to be a defence to target in fantasy football, as their cap spending continues to ignore the passing defence. Instead favouring players nearer the line of scrimmage. Whilst the Vikings play slower than we’d ideally like for fantasy, Kirk Cousins has managed to put together enough fantasy points through two games to rank 10th overall. A drop off will come, but against a Seahawks team who have allowed an average of 299 yards per game, I’m okay with rolling Cousins out for one more week. This game has a lot of stacking appeal on both sides of the ball. 

Justin Fields @ Cleveland Browns – $5200 – 45.5 over/under

With Andy Dalton’s body even deciding it’s time he took a backseat, Chicago has to finally unleash Justin Fields upon us. In Week 2 Fields didn’t look fantastic when he entered the game, putting up six competitions on thirteen attempts, but whilst Dalton was starting Matt Nagy had Fields running the scout team, learning plays an opposition team might run, rather than ones Chicago designed. This week Fields will gain a full week of practices scripted to his abilities and he’ll throw to the first team players rather than the practice squad. We can count on Fields injecting some more fuel to this team in almost every area. Through two games Dalton attempted just one pass of 15 or more yards, whereas Fields has had three attempts of 15 or more yards, on a third of the passing plays. During preseason Fields went 30-49 for 276 and three touchdowns. He threw no interceptions and added 92 rushing yards. This Cleveland defence is no pushover, but they’ve struggled to pressure quarterbacks so far, with the fifth joint-fewest pressures through two games. Cleveland has also allowed an average of 282 passing yards per game. At this price, Fields looks like a solid play. 

Honourable mention

Trevor Lawrence $5500 – The price is alluring but Lawrence has the highest off-target throw rate through two games since 2009. Cardinals have allowed only 456 passing yards, which ranks 8th best in the NFL. Lawrence has the highest number of 15+ yard attempts in the league (25). 4th in offensive play rate. Boom/Bust option that may well be low-owned.

Running Backs

Alexander Mattison @ Minnesota Vikings – $6000 – 55.5 over/under

Dalvin Cook’s potential injury occurred early enough in the Sunday games that Draftkings were able to increase Mattison’s price by a thousand to negate Mattison becoming a complete chalk play for Week 3. Mattison will step into a nearly every-down role against a Seahawks team who rank almost exactly middle of the pack against the position at 15th. However, the Sea Chickens have allowed three top 24 games to running backs through just two games with Derek Henry, Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines all posting good days against them. Seattle are particularly vulnerable to pass-catching backs, allowing a whopping 189 yards to lead the league. Mattison boasts an 86.2% catch rate on targets throughout his career averaging 9.12 yards per reception.

Ty’Son Williams @ Detroit Lions – $5800 – 49.5 over/under

Sometimes in DFS, you have to talk yourself into a play and other times it takes no effort at all. As you can see in Hayden Winks graphic, the Ravens running game is primed for an explosion against this poor Lions defence that are ill-equipped to face them. The Ravens lead the league in rushing yards per game with a huge 220. The Lions have allowed two RB2 or better performances already and Ty’Son Williams could be primed for a big day. Despite fumbling the ball early against the Chiefs the Ravens continued to use him as the lead back, out-touching Latavius Murray and having two targets to Murray’s zero.

Via Hayden Winks excellent Fantasy Blueprint column

Javonte Williams Vs New York Jets – $4900 – 41.5 over/under

DFS can pay off marvellously when you get to a player earlier than the field and at the moment I feel like we’re edging closer and closer to the Javonte Williams breakout week. Gordon continues to see an even amount of work to Williams, with both players sharing an identical 26.1% touch share. William’s elusiveness is standing out for all to see with the 2nd highest amount of evaded tackles in the league, behind only Nick Chubb. In a game against the hopeless Jets, where the Broncos are favoured by 10.5 points, I expect the game script to favour the Broncos enough that Williams sees plenty of opportunities to showcase his talents.

** Updated Sunday Morning**

Michael Carter @ Denver Broncos – $4600 – 41.5 over/under

On Friday, Tevin Coleman was ruled out for Week 3 leaving Michael Carter a much clearer path to a breakout game. Carter’s usage jumped in Week 2 against the Patriots, out touching Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman 14-12-5 respectively. Now with a narrower backfield, in a touch matchup Carter could see a path to increase his 9.1% target share. I prefer Javonte Williams for not much more, but I don’t mind this play if you’re looking for a dart throw.

Kenyan Drake Vs Miami Dolphins – $5500 – 43.5 over/under

With Josh Jacobs ruled out for a second consecutive week, Drake has a chance to take on his former team as the lead back. Peyton Barber looked poor in Week 2, going 13-32 at 2.5 yards per carry. Drake should see an uptick in work in a confident Raiders side. I don’t dislike the play, but personally there’s other backs I like more.

Honourable Mentions

Chris Carson – $6400 – 10 missed tackles (top12). 26th fewest receiving yards to RB’s. 37.6% of SEA team touch share. One of 7 Rb’s to see 80% of backfield touches through two games. 

James Robinson – $5700 – 72% carries. ARI 12th most receiving yards allowed to RB’s. 29.7% of team touches. Hyde’s touches decreased by 45% in Wk2. Hyde had two touches on 14 snaps. Arizona only allowed 1 top 24 RB performance. 

Mike Davis – $5100 – 62% carries. NYG 14th most receiving yards allowed to RB’s. 33-20% team touch share Vs. Patterson. The Giants allowed 5.36 YPC so far.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – $4800 – 63% of KC RB touches. No goal-line work. Zero targets. 51st in PFF rushing grade. 49th in Elusive rating. 50th in yards after contact per attempt. Sees a 33% team touch share. One of two RB’s with 20+ carries and zero 10+ runs (James Conner the other). LAC allows 5.5YPC. Price will draw people in, some sites currently project him as the highest owned RB.

Wide Receivers

Sterling Shepard Vs Atlanta Falcons – $5900 – 47.0 over/under

Underappreciated each offseason Sterling Shepard always seems to remind us what he’s capable of when healthy and playing. Through two games Shepard by far leads the team in target share (27.9%) and ranks 10th in the league for the highest portion of a team target share. Despite a busy skill group of players, Shepard leads the Giants with nine more catches than any other player. The Falcons defence continues to be leaky to receivers, despite the change of coaching personnel, through two games they rank dead last against the position. Through those two games, the Falcons have allowed a total of 575 passing yards and four touchdowns. 302 of those yards have been too wide receivers. I don’t dislike Daniel Jones in this matchup either, and there could be routes to nice stacks with Atlanta bring-backs of Kyle Pitts (see below).

Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown – $5600 – 49.5 over/under

Marquise Brown has been consistently putting up good performances since Week 12 of the 2020 season. In that spell, Brown has put up an average of 64.8 Yards Per Game, along with averaging 1.0 touchdowns. Marquise Brown currently boasts the eighth-highest target share in the league at 29.6%. Brown has historically fared better on the road than at home, picking up 2.5 points more per road game than in Baltimore. The Lions rank 30th on defence to the position and are banged up with both of their top cornerbacks on IR. 

* Featured in my stack of the week

Marvin Jones Vs Arizona Cardinals – $4900 – 51.5 over/under

I spent a lot of time looking at the Jacksonville Vs Arizona matchup this week and there’s a lot that intrigues me about it. As you’ll see in my honourable mentions for almost every section I was eyeing at least one player at those skill groups. Both teams play at a good tempo, which can aid fantasy scoring but I’m not quite in on Trevor Lawrence and the Urban Meyer Experience. The one aspect of this offence I believe in is Marvin Jones, who was a priority free agent signing as soon as the window opened. Having played under Darrell Bevell before in this scheme Jones brings a familiarity to it. The stumbling Jaguars have only had three plays in the red zone through two games and all three were passes to Marvin Jones. As well as an impressive 33.3% target share in Week 2, Jones ranks third in the league with air yards and if Lawrence can settle down a bit and complete some of the deep shots, I’m confident Jones will return value.

Darnell Mooney @ Cleveland Browns – $4300 – over/under 45.5

As mentioned in the Justin Fields section above, there’s plenty of reason to be bullish on the Bears passing game going forward. Out of the 13 passes Fields threw in Week 2, Mooney received four of those targets. Cleveland’s defence whilst scary near the line of scrimmage still hasn’t seen incredible returns from a secondary that has invested highly in both draft picks and free agent moves yet ranks 23rd in pass coverage according to PFF. Mooney’s speed should benefit from Justin Fields average depth of throw being 10.5 (1st in the NFL), after struggling through Andy Dalton’s 4.6 (last in the NFL).

Emmanuel Sanders Vs Washington Football Team – $4200 – 54.5 over/under

Emmanuel Sanders disappointed my dynasty shares of Gabriel Davis by immediately ousting him from the WR3 role in this offence. Out targeting Davis 14-5 in the first two games Sanders’ role is almost every down, playing on 86%, which is higher than Beasley (77.3%) and only outdone marginally by Stefon Diggs (86.7%). Sanders ranks 11th in the league for air yards and only one player with more targets and air yards combined has more targets than his 7 (Courtland Sutton with 7.5). Washington is a strong defence but their secondary is poor and has the league 3rd worst PFF coverage grade so far. That will be put to the test by a Buffalo team that continues to pass at a higher rate than expected, even if last week’s blowout in Miami brought their average back down as they ran the clock out. 

Via Mike Leone on twitter

** Updated Sunday Morning**

Chase Claypool Vs Cincinnati Bengals – $5800 – 43.0 over/under

With Diontae Johnson being ruled out for Week 3, Claypool should see an increase in targets and ownership. He faces a terrible Bengals side that seem intent on slowing game pace down but the Steelers are also banged up and this one may stay closer than people think. In this fixture last year, Claypool scored 21.3 PPR points. Expect this play to pick up steam throughout Sunday.

Honourable mentions

Michael Pittman – $5500 – 23.2% target share. Not great if Eason starts, or an injured Wentz. Titans defence ranked 30th against the position. 

Rondale Moore – $5000 – 7 targets behind the line of scrimmage. Only 3 targets beyond 10yds. Ahead of DHop with 19.7% target share to 18.2%. 2nd in the league for yards per route run 4.82. Jax allowed 2 top 24 games to receivers so far. 

Will Fuller – $4700 – Making his season debut. Jacoby Brissett just 4.2 yards per attempt.

Scotty Miller – $3100 – If AB misses, love Scotty Miller coming in so cheap. Had four double-digit games before AB arrived in 2020. **Updated** Beat reporters are suggesting Miller will be the preferred option at WR3 over Johnson. For me, this is one of the best value plays of the week.

Tight Ends

T.J Hockenson Vs Baltimore Ravens – $5200 – 49.5 over/under

The Ravens have faced the two best tight ends in the game through their first two fixtures, giving up big days to both Darren Waller (29.5pts) and Travis Kelce (26.9pts). Those elite talents skew the picture somewhat, but no other team comes close to the yardage given up to tight ends by the Ravens, who lead the way with 245, compared to the next closest team at 186. Whilst Hockenson doesn’t deserve to be held in quite as high regard, he is off to a hot start with totals of 25.7 and 20.6 in his opening games. 

Hockenson boasts a target share of 20.9% on a Lions team depleted of quality and runs a route on 81% of all plays. The Raven’s tackling has been an issue dating back to last season, and Travis Kelce’s touchdown on Sunday Night Football showed the issue isn’t solved yet. Hockenson has racked up 73 yards after the catch so far this season, ranking 17th across all skill position groups, and I’d expect that figure to grow a healthy amount this Sunday. 

*Featured in my Week 3 Stack of The Week

Kyle Pitts @ New York Giants – $4900 – 47.0 over/under

With Russell Gage already ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Giants, Pitts has a chance to push his 17.7% target share even higher. Whilst we have yet to see him show his true ceiling in the NFL, it feels like it’s only a matter of time. The Giants defence has faced Noah Fant and Logan Thomas so far, giving up middling performances of 12.2 and 9.5 points respectively. Whilst Pitts isn’t in a smash spot, I’m confident in him to outscore his previous two games where he scored 7.1 and 12.3 points.

Tyler Higbee Vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $4000 – 56.0 over/under

** Play of the Week**

Tyler Higbee’s 2021 is turning out how everyone hoped his 2020 would go. Through two weeks he ranks 6th at the position in routes run per drop back and through two weeks he is one of only two tight ends in the league to have played on 100% of snaps (the other being Logan Thomas). Whilst the Buccaneers enjoy a reputation for a strong defence last year they ranked 22nd against the position and through two games have allowed 16 catches to the position. Higbee needs more red-zone looks to truly make the leap, but the volume at this position gets him most of the way there. 

Honourable Mention

David Njoku – $3500 – No Jarvis Landry, possibly no Odell Beckham. Hooper played on more snaps, but Njoku has seen 8 targets, including two in the red zone.

As always you can find me on Twitter @BestballUKNFL, where I’m happy to answer any questions you have. You can also follow along with all my DFS content each week on nflbestball.co.uk/DFS. Let’s go win some money!

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