D'Andre Swift Set for Explosive DFS Week 3
NFL Week 3 - Week 2 was packed with an explosive set of games, and Week 3 shapes up nicely with plenty of top-tier talent available on the main slate daily fantasy contests. With so many options to choose from, we'll get you up to speed with all the best plays and the reasons behind them.
Patrick Mahomes $7,900 @ Indianapolis Colts (48.0 over/under)
The Chiefs travel into Indianapolis for a matchup that on paper doesn't look good for the home team. Mahomes is the third highest-priced quarterback on the slate, but if the Chiefs feel like getting frisky, it's unlikely that the Colts defense (which ranks 29th in pass defense DVOA) will be able to stop Mahomes (who leads the league in DYAR). The Colts have looked less than impressive against the Texans and the Jaguars, and the only thing that can stop Mahomes from racking up points might be if the game gets out of control early.
Usage Suggestions: Mahomes is a great play in cash this week. In tournaments, look to stack the Chiefs heavily with either Michael Pittman (if healthy) or Nyheim Hines as a bring-back.
Jalen Hurts $7,600 @ Washington Commanders (47.0 over/under)
The Eagles surrounded Jalen Hurts with weapons in a prove-it scenario. After two games—which admittedly is a small sample size—Hurts looks to have proven it. In 2021 Hurts completed 61.6% of his passes; through two games that number has jumped to 69.8% with Hurts visibly more comfortable in the pocket and progressing through his reads. The Commanders have been pleasantly entertaining so far this season, but their defense still has a lot of room to improve, ranking 28th in DVOA and (perhaps even more concerning when it comes to Hurts) 31st in rush defense DVOA.
Usage Suggestions: Hurts is a good play for either cash games or tournaments. In tournaments, the Commanders play better against WR1s than WR2s, so Devonta Smith ($5,200) might be the man to stack Hurts with for the second week running.
Derek Carr $5,900 @ Tennessee Titans (46.0 over/under)
In Week 2, Carr was one of the highest rostered quarterbacks, selected on 20% to 25% of tournament rosters, and seemed to be a consensus good play against the Cardinals. Unfortunately for DFS players, Lamar Jackson and Tua Tagovailoa went nuclear and made it very hard for managers who rostered Carr to come back from the deficit. The Raiders travel to Tennessee for a game that the Titans simply must win, but bookmakers have the Raiders favorites by one point. Through two games, the Titans have been incredibly poor, and whilst it's OK to lose to the Bills, the manner in which they were put to bed whilst the sun was still shining was quite alarming. Under Josh McDaniels the Raiders have played fairly quickly, ranking 10th in situation-neutral pass rate, which is good news for passing attacks. Carr has thrown for two touchdowns in both of his games this year, and I have a feeling he might go beyond that this week in a game that could be overlooked.
Usage Suggestions: Carr lacks the rushing floor to compete with the dual-threats on this slate, and as such, I wouldn't be playing him in cash games, but in tournaments, this game has lots of potential. Stacks with Davante Adams, Darren Waller, or both look great against this banged-up Titans defense.
Trevor Lawrence $5,400 @ Los Angeles Chargers (48.0 over/under)
It wasn't that long ago that people couldn't stop talking about Trevor Lawrence being the second coming of Andrew Luck. Then Urban Meyer halted the hype train, and ever since the momentum hasn't picked back up. But if you listen closely the wheels are starting to turn in Jacksonville, and this game could provide Lawrence and the Jaguars with an opportunity to make a real statement. The Chargers pass defense is a tough unit, ranking eighth in DVOA, but when an offensive player is on form I prefer to side with them, particularly in a high over/under game. Lawrence ranks sixth in DYAR, one spot behind Justin Herbert. The Chargers play at the sixth-highest neutral pass rate and should be able to force the Jaguars into a pass-heavy game plan.
Usage Suggestions: Lawrence is as cheap as I'd go at quarterback in tournaments this week and will give you access to a game people will want to attack. Stacking Lawrence with Christian Kirk ($6,200) and running it back with Gerald Everett or Josh Palmer will open up a lot of salary to attack higher-priced players elsewhere.
D'Andre Swift $7,200 @ Minnesota Vikings (54.0 over/under)
The Lions rank second in offensive rushing DVOA and face the Vikings, who rank dead-last in run defense DVOA. That's about as strong an indication as you can get that this is a good spot for Swift in Week 3. Despite Jamaal Williams leading the league in red zone carries (nine), Swift is the PPR RB3 through two weeks and has shown a tremendous amount of efficiency, scoring 16.7 points on just seven touches in Week 2. No matter which way you look at it, this looks like a great spot for Swift.
Usage Suggestions: With this game having a high over/under, it's unlikely Swift is a player people overlook. Find creative ways to correlate Swift in tournaments. Pairing Swift and Justin Jefferson ($9,300) is a pricy combination, but because of this, it might be uncommon. If you can make that pairing work with a cheap game stack, such as Jaguars/Chargers, then it might have all the ingredients to get explosive.
Leonard Fournette $6,500 vs Green Bay Packers (41.0 over/under)
This game feels a little less impressive than it might have looked on paper at the start of the year, and it might be a good thing that the scheduling folks kept it off prime time. Fournette is coming off a disappointing 9.4-point performance, but Week 2 wasn't a good week for anyone involved in the Buccaneers' visit to New Orleans. Tampa Bay will play their home opener without Mike Evans (suspension) and Chris Godwin (hamstring), whilst Julio Jones' status remains up in the air. Fournette has held off rookie Rachaad White so far, out-touching him 51 to 10 over the opening two games, and the Buccaneers will need to rely on Fournette against the Packers, who just allowed David Montgomery to run all over them to the tune of 122 yards on just 15 attempts.
Usage Suggestions: Fournette's pricing falls into a range where many people will shy away from him, opting to pay up or down instead. This can make for an interesting tournament play.
David Montgomery $5,900 @ Houston Texans (41.0 over/under)
For long-time followers, it might come as a bit of a surprise to see a known David Montgomery "hater" such as myself writing him up, and whilst I certainly believe the Bears view Khalil Herbert as a big part of their plans for this season, in the here and now, Montgomery is ticking boxes. Through two games, Montgomery has averaged a 72.5% opportunity share, leaving a little over a quarter of the work for Herbert. Whilst Herbert has been more efficient on his carries, averaging 7.3 yards per carry to Montgomery's 4.8, the Bears clearly aren't in a rush to move away from Montgomery, giving him 15 attempts in Week 1 and 17 in Week 2. The Bears are passing the ball at a historically low rate with 14 pass attempts per game to open the season, and even if they look to pass more against the Texans, it's likely Montgomery remains a big part of the game plan.
Usage Suggestions: Montgomery's ceiling is a little below what I'd hope for in tournaments, but if it helps you create a perfect lineup elsewhere, I'm not against it. But I would lean towards cash games as a pairing with a higher-priced, higher-floor running back.
Rashaad Penny $4,900 vs Atlanta Falcons (42.0 over/under)
Week 2 was a bad week for Seattle running backs, particularly those who were asked to pass the ball, but it feels like DraftKings have priced Rashaad Penny down too far for this week as the Seahawks welcome the Falcons to Seattle. The Seahawks trailed for 55 of the 60 game minutes against the 49ers, and whilst that may be something they have to get used to this season, the Falcons might not offer the toughest test they will face, particularly against the run, where they rank 28th in rushing DVOA. Kenneth Walker made his debut in Week 2, but he was firmly behind Penny in the pecking order, and at this cost, we can live with Penny being in a timeshare.
Usage Suggestions: Because of the timeshare element, Penny is a tournament-only play. Correlating Penny with either Drake London or Kyle Pitts should give you access to the upside of this game, but it's not essential due to the low over/under and could be rolled out as an individual play.
Zamir White $4000 @ Tennessee Titans (46.0 over/under)
(UPDATE: Jacobs has now traveled with the team. Keep a close eye on this and if Jacobs is rumoured to still be struggling Zamir White can be considered for tournaments)
Josh Jacobs hasn't traveled with the team due to illness and Zamir White could be set to be the main beneficiary this weekend. So far in White's rookie season opportunities have been few and far between, but the Raiders main alternatives are Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah who they have typically used in more pass-catching scenarios. At $4000 White comes in at the absolute minimum for running backs and as such the price reflects that it's not a terribly strong play.
Usage Suggestions: Because of the lack of evidence here this play is best reserved for tournaments as leverage off Carr and the passing game. Even at $4000 White in unlikely to prove popular.
Justin Jefferson $9,300 vs Detroit Lions (54.0 over/under)
On Monday Night Football, the Vikings failed to live up to expectations against the Eagles, and Justin Jefferson was as disappointing as any Vikings player from a fantasy perspective. When targeted, Jefferson had a QBR of 22.9, a vast drop-off from Week 1's perfect passer rating (158.3). The Lions represent a great bounce-back opponent, however, ranking bottom-10 in overall pass defense DVOA and against WR1s. Jefferson's price is expensive, and with a lot of talent on the slate, we may see people gravitate elsewhere. The Lions lead the NFL in situation-neutral pass plays, which can help to push the Vikings into a shootout.
Usage Suggestions: Jefferson is cash game- and tournament-viable, as long as you can make the lineups work without ending up too thin elsewhere.
Mike Williams $6,700 vs Jacksonville Jaguars (48.0 over/under)
DraftKings has increased Mike Williams' price by $100 since he put up 28.3 points against the Chiefs on Thursday of Week 2. Perhaps there is an element of concern around Justin Herbert's health here, but regardless, Williams has shown us he can be a true WR1, and if Justin Herbert suits up, your lineups should be considering Williams.
Usage Suggestions: Because of the questions surrounding Herbert's health, this is a tournament-only play, and if you only make one lineup it might be a tough pill to swallow, but the best-made tournament lineups happen when we get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Tee Higgins $6,100 @ New York Jets (45.0 over/under)
On Sunday, Higgins returned from a concussion to put up 10-6-71 with a touchdown against the Cowboys, helping him secure 19.1 points. Next up for the Bengals is a visit to New York City to take on the feel-good Jets. The Bengals could do with some feel-good vibes of their own, and despite their issues keeping Joe Burrow upright, this has the makings of a bounce-back. The Jets rank dead-last in pass defense DVOA and, importantly for Higgins, rank 31st against WR2s. Higgins might not have had quite as high-ceiling outcomes as Ja'Maar Chase over the last year, but they have both had the same amount of top-five weeks (three), and Higgins' discount is always worth considering.
Usage Suggestions: Stacking Higgins with Burrow and Garrett Wilson will offer plenty of ceiling in a game that might just sneak the over.
Chris Olave $4,500 @ Carolina Panthers (40.0 over/under)
The problems are piling up for Matt Rhule, and a visit from the division-rival Saints won't help matters. The breakout game hasn't happened yet for Chris Olave, with point totals of 9.1 and 12.0 across the opening two games, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic that it's coming. Olave has run a route on 84% of dropbacks, earning a 19.9% target share and an incredible 372 air yards in just two games. Whilst air yards don't pay the bills, it's worth noting that only 43% of Olave's Week 2 targets were catchable, and it's a good indication that the team trusts him on deep targets going forward. When the breakout happens, it could be truly slate-breaking.
Usage Suggestions: Tournament only.
JuJu Smith-Schuster $5,500 & Marquez Valdes-Scantling $4,700 @ Indianapolis Colts (48.0 over/under)
Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is more than familiar with Patrick Mahomes from his time trying to outwit him when Bradley worked for both the Chargers and Raiders, division rivals to the Chiefs. According to Warren Sharp, Mahomes has faced a Bradley-led defense on seven occasions and thrown 17 touchdowns to two interceptions. Particularly noteworthy for Marquez Valdes-Scantling is that Bradley rarely moves away from his preferred cover scheme of Cover-3, and whilst some defensive coordinators opt to take away the deep ball by sitting two safeties deep, Bradley has avoided that in the past. Meanwhile, Smith-Schuster will aim to create damage in the slot, an area where the Colts struggled to deal with Jaguars slot receiver Christian Kirk, who racked up 78 yards and two touchdowns.
Usage Suggestions: Double-stacking Patrick Mahomes in tournaments sounds like all kinds of fun, particularly if people shy away from JuJu and MVS, who both disappointed in Week 2.
Rashod Bateman $5,700 @ New England Patriots (44.0 over/under)
The Ravens are scheming Bateman well and counting on him regardless of coverage. The Ravens running game just isn't good enough for them to not lean on the passing attack, and DraftKings continues to price Bateman lowly.
Curtis Samuel $5,100 vs Philadelphia Eagles (47.0 over/under)
Only four receivers have seen more targets than Samuel's 15. Carson Wentz has a safety outlet and he's not afraid to use it. Samuel also ranks third amongst receivers with six rushing attempts.
Greg Dortch $4,300 vs Los Angeles Rams (49.0 over/under)
Dortch has been a reliable option on short passes that the team envisioned Rondale Moore being on the field for. The Rams got to Kyler Murray frequently in the playoffs and Murray will need a quick release option.
Kyle Pitts $4,800 @ Seattle Seahawks (42.0 over/under)
It's been bleak in them Kyle Pitts streets, that's for sure. Through two weeks, Pitts has posted identical stat lines of two catches per game for 19 yards in both. Better times are ahead though, and the Falcons get the ideal opponent in the Seattle Seahawks, who just allowed Ross Dwelley to score a 38-yard touchdown in Week 2, a week after allowing Broncos tight ends to combine for seven catches and 85 yards in Week 1. The Seahawks rank 26th in DVOA against tight ends and Arthur Smith seemed visibly annoyed when reporters asked about the lack of Pitts' involvement so far this season. The squeaky wheel gets the oil sometimes, and at $4,800 Pitts is definitely in play
Usage Suggestions: It's hard to compete with the floor/ceiling combinations that Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews bring to this slate for cash games, but Pitts is a great play for tournaments this week. Particularly bold lineups might care to stack Pitts with Marcus Mariota ($5,500) for just over 20% of your allotted salary.
Tyler Higbee $4,500 @ Arizona Cardinals (49.0 over/under)
Through two games, Higbee leads the NFL in tight end targets with 20, and is fifth at the position in receiving yards (110). In Week 3, Higbee will face up to the Cardinals, who have so far allowed Travis Kelce and Darren Waller to combine for 43.1 PPR points across the opening two weeks, unsurprisingly resulting in Arizona ranking dead-last in DVOA against tight ends.
Usage Suggestions: Stack Higbee with Matthew Stafford to maximize Higbee's potential output.
Juwan Johnson $2,900 @ Carolina Panthers (40.0 over/under)
Johnson has seen the 13th-most targets at tight end over the opening two games and has clearly moved ahead of Adam Trautman in the Saints' pecking order. The Panthers rank 29th in DVOA against tight ends, and at this price a touchdown would pay off the decision to bypass the higher-priced options. Johnson has seen two of the Saints' nine targets in the red zone, second only to Michael Thomas (three).
Usage Suggestions: Johnson is cash game-viable if the rest of your team is unlocked with the cheap savings on offer here.
Irv Smith $3,100 vs Detroit Lions (54.0 over/under)
With the Vikings playing on Monday Night Football Draftkings have priced him for the production he received in Week 1 where he saw two catch-less targets, as opposed to Week 2 where he saw eight targets and was a much firmer part of the Vikings game plan. At $3100 Smith is a very appealing play in a game with a very high over/under.
Usage Suggestions: Smith is a fine play in both cash games and tournaments. For tournaments consider double-stacking Kirk Cousins with Jefferson and Smith or correlating Swift with Smith.
Stack of The Week
Last week's Stack of The Week was let down by Kyle Pitts, who contributed 3.9 points to a 56.1 total where Marcus Mariota and Cooper Kupp did nearly all of the hard work. This week we're going with Derek Carr ($5,900) and Davante Adams ($8,400). When the chalk fails, sometimes those who go back to it a week later are rewarded, and I'm expecting that to happen here. I would also be fine adding Darren Waller ($5,800) on top of this and considering Treylon Burks ($4,900) as a bring-back option. (Update: With Hunter Renfrow ruled out through concussion, this play is even stronger now).
Fade of The Week
Staying in Tennessee, Derrick Henry won't be making his way into any of my lineups. Henry is last in the league with 46 rushing yards below expectation and has seen just one target this year. He no longer has the high ceiling or floor he once did and until I see otherwise, it's a hard fade.
Cash Locks of The Week
Patrick Mahomes $7900
Jalen Hurts $7600
Marcus Mariota $5500
Joe Mixon $7600
David Montgomery $5900
Dameon Pierce $5000
Stefon Diggs $7700
Amon-Ra St. Brown $7200
Curtis Samuel $5100
Tyler Higbee $4500
Irv Smith $3100