Week 3 in the NFL was the week of the defenses. We saw 7 teams post double digit fantasy points, and if you played the Chiefs, Vikings, or Bills you likely ended up doing pretty well for yourself on Sunday. We also saw some surprising performances from players. Most notably from Cleveland wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor. The former Ohio State quarterback showed he still has an arm as he competed 3 passes for 35 yards while adding in a rushing touchdown and 144 yards receiving. Let’s take a look at the matchups around the league to see who we think you should be inserting into your daily fantasy lineups.
Side Note: the values and scoring we use are from Draft Kings. I prefer them for two reasons. They utilize PPR scoring and have an additional flex spot on the roster with no kickers. Everyone hates kickers.
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Value – $7,800
After the terrible performance Cam displayed against the Vikings last week some daily fantasy players may be fading on him going into Sunday. Last season’s MVP threw for 262 yards and three interceptions but has a real opportunity to shine this week against Atlanta. The Falcons just gave up 376 yards and 3 touchdowns to Drew Brees on Monday night and are really weak in the secondary outside of Desmond Trufant. The game against Carolina and Atlanta has the second highest projected point total of the week, so I anticipate a high scoring affair. Cam comes in as the highest priced QB on Draft Kings this week, but I think he gives us a solid return on that investment.
Phillip Rivers – San Diego Chargers
Value – $6,900
On paper Rivers should’ve had a better game statistically against the Colts on Sunday. He threw for 330 yards but wasn’t able to find the end zone against an Indianapolis defense that has been shredded through the air this season. A lot of the struggles from Sunday could very well be stemming from the fact that Rivers lost both Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen in back to back weeks in addition to Antonio Gates sitting out last week with a hamstring injury as well. All that aside, I’m willing to give him another shot this week as the Chargers face a New Orleans Saints team that has given up 35 points or more against strong passing teams in two out of three weeks to start the season. Rivers’ price tag has been steadily creeping up over the last two weeks, so this may be the last time you can snag him for under $7,000 unless he completely falls apart.
Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
Value – $5,900
If you hadn’t watched a single NFL game this season I’m willing to bet you’d never guess the Ravens are undefeated through the first three weeks of the season. While that’s great for the team in general, trying to navigate this offense from a fantasy perspective has proven to be frustrating. They deploy multiple running backs and spread the ball around to multiple receivers in the passing game. That being said, I think I’m taking a chance on Flacco this week for two reasons. First, he plays an Oakland team that surrendered 69 points in the first two games of the season. Secondly, he’s one of the least expensive starting quarterbacks and is sure to be relatively underutilized this week. I’m only recommending Flacco if you submit multiple lineups each week or are willing to take a gamble. If you’re trying to maximize your potential in a single lineup, then I’d look elsewhere for more guaranteed points. If Flacco can produce at a high level, then his price tag certainly helps free up some of your budget at other positions.
Matt Stafford – Detroit Lions
Value – $7,300
I like Stafford for all the reasons I included in my Hot or Cold article earlier this week. The Lions are one of those teams that will almost certainly miss the playoffs this season but still provide a ton of fantasy production due to them having a weak defense and talented offense. Stafford has thrown for over 340 yards and 3 touchdowns twice in three weeks, and I look for him to continue his hot streak against the Bears on Sunday. Chicago has given up more and more points as the season has progressed, and Detroit is arguably the strongest offense they’ve faced so far this year. The emergence of Marvin Jones provides Stafford with a big bodied playmaker down the field that has helped replace Calvin Johnson. I’m full speed ahead on Stafford this week.
Hail Mary Play:
Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos
Value – $5,400
Trevor Siemian looked to be a prototypical game manager through the first two weeks of the season, and the Broncos won with their defense and run game. That is until Siemian exploded against the Bengals for 312 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. Now we’re all rethinking our stance on the first year starter for Denver. We can only assume that the team is beginning to feel more comfortable with the former Northwestern signal caller and is opening up the playbook a little more as the season progresses. Not to mention the fact that the Broncos still have two very talented receivers in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Siemian has a very favorable matchup this week against a Buccaneers defense that is giving up 28 points per game so far this season. At only $5,400 he’s worth a gamble and could pay off big time.
DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans
Value – $6,800
I’ll admit I was one of the many people that were down on DeMarco Murray heading into this season. Derrick Henry scared me, and I was skeptical of the Titans offense in general. At the least the latter part I at least was a little right about. Through the first three weeks of the season DeMarco Murray is the third highest scoring running back in standard leagues and ranks higher in PPR scoring. What’s surprised me most about Murray is huge contribution in the passing game as he has racked up 17 receptions for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. That’s better than some starting wide receivers in the league. Murray and the Titans take on a Houston defense that was dominated by LeGarrette Blount last week and just lost star defensive end JJ Watt for the season. He should be a relatively safe pick this week but will likely be highly owned. Make sure you look elsewhere for more contrarian selections.
David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
Value – $7,800
David Johnson exploded onto the scene late last season after Chris Johnson was injured, took the starting job by the throat, and never looked back. Through three weeks this season, Johnson is the NFL’s leading scoring running back. This kid is everything you’re looking for in a three down back and is proving himself to be immune negative game scripts like what the Cardinals found themselves against the Bills last week. DJ was the lone bright spot in an offense that was seemingly helpless against Buffalo and should continue to put up big points against a LA Rams team that has been gashed by running backs this season. He’s the most expensive running back on the board this week, but I think Johnson gives you guaranteed points. Something that has been hard to come by so far this season.
LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots
Value – $5,000
It will be interesting to see what happens with Blount once Tom Brady makes his triumphant return from his 4 game suspension. The former Oregon Duck is averaging just under 100 yards a game and has 4 touchdowns through three games so far this season. Historically, Brady led offenses don’t typically feature a power back like Blount. Either way, we still have another week before we have to start analyzing Blount’s future. For now I’m riding this wave of fantasy production that comes at a discount. He comes into this week with more carries than any other running back in the NFL, and I have to assume that Belichick will want to continue that trend with the uncertainty surrounding both of his backup quarterbacks. As I mentioned, Tom Brady will play week 5 against Cleveland, so enjoy one more week of the Blount show before the team reverts back to the typical New England offense we’ve seen in the past.
Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals
Value – $4,100
If you own either Jeremy Hill or Giovani Bernard you already understand the frustration that comes along with trying to predict what will happen in this backfield. For example, the Bengals played a stifling Broncos defense on Sunday that should have limited Hill’s day. Instead we saw a 97 yard 2 touchdown performance. Granted, 50 of those yards came on one big play, but he still finished the day with almost 22 points. So here we are once again trying to figure out what to do with Jeremy Hill against the Dolphins this weekend. Miami hasn’t been terrible against the run this year, but I’m still taking a gamble on Hill simply because of his price tag and upside. I doubt he replicated his performance against the Broncos, but I think he has a good enough day to put up decent fantasy points and free up some cash that can be used to upgrade other positions in your lineup.
Hail Mary Play:
Value – $3,800
I pegged Washington as a waiver wire addition in our podcast last week, and I’m standing by my word. The fact of the matter is Theo Riddick is not a prototypical running back that can pound the ball between the tackles, and Dwayne Washington is. Where Riddick excels in catching the ball out of the backfield and creating space, Washington is the tough nosed runner that will be utilized on early downs. Each running back received 10 carries last week. Riddick mustered up 9 yards while Washington rushed for 38. For perhaps just the second time this season, the Lions have the ability to take an early lead and hold onto it by pounding the football on the ground. For that reason I’m plugging him in to a couple lineups this weekend. At only $3,800, Washington is worth a gamble if you’re playing in multiple DFS games this week.
AJ Green – Cincinnati Bengals
Value – $8,500
Green is my favorite high-tier receiver coming into week 4. The Miami Dolphins just allowed Terrelle Pryor to catch 8 passes for 144 yards against them. This came from the same team that also deployed Pryor as a quarterback and runner with a fair amount of success. I have to think the Bengals will want to make a statement at home after losing to Denver last week, and Miami will likely lack any consistency on the ground after Adam Gase announced they will roll out four running backs this week. Green is the 6th most targeted receiver in the league so far, and I look to him to have a big game against a Miami secondary that can be beat.
Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars
Value – $8,000
If the Jacksonville offense can’t start clicking this week, then I will be at a loss for words. It’s obvious any improvement we were anticipating from the Jags on defense has been overthought to this point. The biggest difference between 2015 and 2016 is how poorly Blake Bortles has played when his team has been forced to play from behind. The lone bright spot I can point out is Allen Robinson. He finally lived up to expectations against the Ravens as he caught 2 touchdown passes and went for 57 yards. Robinson has been targeted 31 times through three games, so the opportunities are certainly there. I’m taking one last chance on him against a Colts defense that has been soft against the pass. Robinson should be fairly under-owned due to the offensive struggles as well. On paper, this game has the callings of a shootout, so we’ll see what happens on Sunday.
Tyrell Williams – San Diego Chargers
Value – $4,400
Once again, the Chargers have incurred drastic injuries to the wide receiver position. And once again we are stuck trying to predict which receiver will have a big day. My money is on Tyrell Williams this week for a few different reasons. First, Williams was targeted 9 times against the Colts on Sunday. Through three games he’s seen only one less target than Travis Benjamin. Second, the Chargers face a Falcons defense that effectively shut down Julio Jones on Monday night and forced Matt Ryan to look for other targets. The same very well could happen to Benjamin this week. Third, Williams is incredibly inexpensive and will help you conserve your budget. The matchup against the Saints could very well turn into a shootout against two veteran quarterbacks, and I’m buying in wherever I can. Use Williams as a value play with a lot of upside this week.
Emmanuel Sanders – Denver Broncos
Value – $6,400
There’s obviously a direct correlation between Trevor Siemian’s development and the success Sanders enjoyed against the Bengals last Sunday. It’s clear through three weeks that the Denver Broncos want to run the ball and utilize their defense to win games this season. However, Siemian showed he can put a game on his shoulders and be effective in the passing game when called upon in week three. I’m anticipating this Sunday’s matchup against Tampa Bay to be a higher scoring game than the 44 points that are being projected. The Buccaneers have a plethora of weapons on offense and have the ability to score touchdowns on any given play. If Denver finds themselves in a shootout I think Sanders could be in line to see a lot of targets come his way in the Broncos offense. If he can come close to matching his totals against the Bengals, then Sanders provides huge value at the wide receiver position.
Hail Mary Play:
Tavon Austin – LA Rams
Value – $4,000
Perhaps the biggest disappointment so far this season has been the slow start we’ve seen out of Todd Gurley. The entire offense is centered around the sophomore running back, so naturally opposing defenses are organizing their game plans around the focal point of the Rams offense. Tavon Austin is the second most talented offensive player in LA, and he’s averaging just under 10 targets per game. His defense is prone to giving up points, and they’ll face an explosive Cardinals’ offense this week that will want to redeem themselves at home after a poor showing against the Bills. If Arizona starts to run away with this one I look for the Rams to target Austin often to get back into the game. At only $4,100 I think he provides solid upside at a great value this week.
Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins
Value – $6,300
The tight end position has been tough to evaluate to this point in the season. We’ve seen some big games, but there hasn’t been one player that has been particularly dominant. Reed is tied with Desean Jackson and Jamison Crowder as the most heavily targeted player in the Washington offense but hasn’t produced at the level we saw last season. I think that changes this week against the Cleveland. The Browns have given up at least 25 points in every game so far this season and are struggling to contain opposing pass catchers. I think this is the week we see the Jordan Reed we saw last season, and he finally connects with Cousins for some big plays. He’s the second most expensive option at the tight end position behind Gronk, so you’ll want to find value at other positions if you roll with him.
Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions
Value – $3,700
Ebron has been fairly consistent through three games this season, but his price tag has remained relatively stagnant to this point. He’s the 6th highest scoring player at the tight end position and should have another serviceable outing this week against Chicago. The Bears defense has given up at least 23 points in each game so far, and the Lions are arguably the most talented offense they’ve faced to this point. They also surrendered 5 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown to relatively unknown tight end Trey Burton in week 2. Ebron is clearly showing a strong rapport with Stafford, and I think that continues this week. At only $3,700, you’re rostering guaranteed points with some upside this week.
Dennis Pitta – Baltimore Ravens
Value – $3,900
Dennis Pitta is a comeback story if I’ve ever seen one. After being plagued by injuries he’s back this season and playing football for the first time since 2014. Despite the long absence, he seems to have picked up right where left off in terms of his strong rapport with Joe Flacco. Through three games Pitta is tied for third in the league in targets and is averaging just over 13 fantasy points a game. The Ravens will host the Raiders this week and should be able to score against a defense that is prone to giving up touchdowns. Furthermore, Oakland has had difficulty covering opposing tight ends dating back to last year. If Derrick Carr can take an early lead I think this game has the potential to put up more points than what is being projected, which will force Baltimore to turn to the passing game to keep pace. At only $3,900 Pitta is a relatively cheap tight end option that has a lot of upside. Roll him out with confidence this week.
Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints
Value – $3,200
Just when you give up hope on a guy, he goes and does something like what Fleener did on Monday. And totally redeems himself! In all seriousness, what we saw out of the New Orleans tight end Monday night is what we all were expecting coming into this season. I’m not championing for him to be a must start option or anything along those lines, but he has definitely earned my attention. The Saints have a terrible defense and explosive offense. This is almost always a recipe for fantasy relevance. Drew Brees and the Saints will face San Diego on the road this week, and this should be one of the higher scoring games this week. Fleener is incredibly cheap and could have another big day on Sunday.
Hail Mary Play:
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts
Value – $2,500
If I had told you two months ago that three weeks into the season Jack Doyle would be tied for 3rd as highest scoring tight end you probably would have laughed in my face, and I wouldn’t have blamed you. Yet here we are. Doyle has racked up 24 points in standard scoring leagues and is being targeted often by Luck. We saw the Colts run a lot of two tight end sets last season with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, and it appears they don’t plan on shying away from that concept this year. The Colts square off against the Jaguars in London this week, and this should be a high scoring game in theory. Both teams have talented offenses but are struggling defensively. At only $2,500, Jack Doyle is a flier that can pay off in a big way if he continues to see the targets he has over the last few games.
Denver Broncos – Value $3,700
The Broncos are an elite option at defense week in and week out. They’re the second ranked defense in terms of pressuring opposing quarterbacks and are basically guaranteed to score points off sacks. Tampa Bay is talented offensively, but I think Von Miller and company will harass Jameis Winston enough to make some mistakes.
Washington Redskins – Value $3,500
Washington plays Cleveland this week. Don’t overthink it. I’m not scared off by Terrelle Pryor’s performance from last week, and I don’t think you should be either.
Who I’m Stacking:
Cam Newton/Greg Olsen – Total Value $13,800
I thought about going with Kelvin Benjamin here, but I like Olsen’s consistency and upside more this week. After seeing the Falcons defense shut down Brandin Cooks for the Saints last week I feel like Benjamin might struggle again. The assumption is that this could be a decently high scoring game with Matt Ryan playing at a high level. The Falcons were dominated by Coby Fleener last week, so I think we see similar results from Olsen as well. Cam struggled against a fierce Vikings defense last Sunday, but I think he has more success against an Atlanta team that is giving up more than 30 points per game so far this season.
Phillip Rivers/Tyrell Williams – Total Value $11,300
Again, I’m finding myself targeting the Saints defense this week. The Chargers have lost a lot of players to injuries in only three games, but I think they still have the talent to put up some points against a New Orleans team has surrendered 35 points or more twice in the first three games. My initial thought here was to roll with Benjamin, but the Saints made it a point to limit Julio Jones last week as much as possible and succeeded (although Julio is a little banged up). The Saints can hold Benjamin in check, I think Rivers reverts to Tyrell Williams. This is a relatively inexpensive stack, so you’ll have additional cash to spend elsewhere as well.
Hail Mary Play:
Trevor Siemian/Emmanuel Sanders – Total Value $11,800
The game plan for Cincinnati on defense last week against the Broncos was fairly simple. Stop CJ Anderson and make Trevor Siemian beat them through the air. Man did that blow up in their face. The first year starter threw for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Bengals fifth ranked passing defense in route to 32 fantasy points. After expressing his frustrations of not being targeted often enough, Emmanuel Sanders was the main beneficiary as he hauled in 9 catches on 13 targets for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. Denver plays a talented Tampa Bay offense this week that has had struggles on defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is higher scoring than it looks on paper. If that happens Siemian and Sanders could each have big days again.
Steal of the Week:
Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers
Value – $6,300
Before I continue, Gordon is essentially guaranteed to be one of the highest owned players in daily fantasy this week. If you select him make sure you go with more obscure options elsewhere. Now that we covered that, Melvin Gordon is a must start this week. He saw every single carry last week and faces a Saints defense that was absolutely dominated by both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman on Monday night. Nothing is certain in fantasy football, but I will be stunned if Gordon doesn’t perform. At only $6,300 he’s the guy to build your lineups around this week.
I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it each week. I’m truly passionate about fantasy football and love any opportunity to share my opinions with you. As always, hit us up @No_HuddleFFB on Twitter for any questions you might have. Get rich this week!!!