FanDuel Picks: Week 3 Edition
**NOTE – Starting in Week 3, FanDuel has eliminated the Monday Night Football game from their main slate tournaments. Therefore, I won’t be writing about any players in the Monday night game from here on out.**
Welcome to the weekly “one stop shop” for all things DFS. I tout my favorite plays of the week after breaking down all of the games, looking at matchups, and considering all relevant weekly and season-long injuries/suspensions. As a guide, you can think of the “Top Plays” sections as cash game recommendations and the “Under The Radar” sections as GPP tournament recommendations. Confused on the difference? Check out a recent DFS Strategy article I wrote. However, I refuse to specifically title the sections in that way because I believe it boxes in the picks. Many players can and do fall under both categories in any given week. I delve more into that in the article linked above as well. When reading, keep that in mind. Now let’s get to it, starting with my top Bonanza candidates.
Domination Bonanza Candidates: Miami Dolphins blowing out the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys blowing out the Chicago Bears
Back and Forth Bonanza Candidates: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Aaron Rodgers vs DET, $8,900
Aaron Rodgers has generally played better at home and that trend continued even during a down year in 2015. Rodgers averaged 4.38 more completions, 0.37 more pass TDs, and 51.37 more passing yards at Lambeau Field last season. Those numbers paint a promising picture for Rodgers in Week 3 as the Packers return home for this first time after playing in consecutive road games to begin the 2016 season. Plus, Rodgers is in a much more favorable spot after having to face the Vikings elite defensive unit on the road last Sunday night. He gets a Lions defense that has given up the 10th most passing yards so far this season along with 6 TD passes as well. With Jordy Nelson back and having caught a TD pass in each of the first two weeks, this could be the first time we really see Rodgers blow up in 2016.
Ryan Tannehill vs CLE, $7,400
This might be the best spot to use Ryan Tannehill in DFS all season long. Cleveland will be starting their 3rd string QB, Josh Gordon is still suspended, and Corey Coleman just broke his hand in practice. The Browns offense should struggle meaning Tannehill will have the ball in his hands plenty in this one. With an already iffy running game and Arian Foster looking like he won’t play, look for Adam Gase to have Tannehill throwing early and often. He should be able to take advantage of a Browns defense that gave up the 11th most passing yards and 3rd most pass TDs last season. Through two weeks the Browns defensive ranks look very similar to last season.
Marcus Mariota vs OAK, $7,700
I’ll take the L for my Raiders defense prediction last week. I thought they had actually improved over the offseason and that Week 1 on the road against Drew Brees was just a fluke. I was wrong. Back at home in Week 2, they got lit up again by Matt Ryan. It appears that for the most part, the Raiders are the same old Raiders. Marcus Mariota gets his turn this week against a Raiders defense that gave up the 7th most passing yards last season and that has given up 113 more passing yards than any other team in the NFL through two weeks of 2016.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar QB Plays
Russell Wilson vs SF, $8,700
FanDuel stopped showing own percentages after the Thursday night game kicks off. Fortunately, other daily sites have not. Russell Wilson is only 2% owned in a GPP tournament on another website this weekend. That is why he falls into the under the radar category. He has struggled to begin the season, suffered an ankle injury in Week 1, and his pass catchers got a little banged up last week as well. However, as Cam Newton showed us a week ago, a home contest against the 49ers presents the perfect opportunity for a get right game. Wilson says his ankle feels a lot better, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are back to practicing in full, and Jimmy Graham is back to playing the majority of the snaps. Just when everyone goes away from Wilson, he could have a great game against a 49ers defense that gave up the 6th most passing yards last season.
Dak Prescott vs CHI, $7,100
If you're keeping tabs, Danny Trevathan needs thumb surgery, Eddie Goldman will likely miss 4 weeks, Lamarr Houston's season is done.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) September 20, 2016
The Bears were already banged up with OLB Pernell McPhee on the PUP list and CB Kyle Fuller still working his way back from a knee issue. Things got a lot worse on Monday night. In just the second start of his career, Prescott threw for nearly 300 yards and ran for a TD on the road at Washington. Now, he gets a home start against an extremely banged up Bears defense that wasn’t even all that good to begin with.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
David Johnson vs BUF, $8,400
The Bills are missing tons of pieces on their defensive line. DT Marcell Dareus is still suspended, first and second round picks DE Shaq Lawson and LB Reggie Ragland are both injured, and DE IK Enemkpali was lost for the season before it even began. Matt Forte showed us just how much those losses are hurting the Bills when he ran for 100 yards and 3 TDs against them in Week 2. David Johnson, am extremely talented dual-threat back playing in one of the best offenses in the NFL, gets his shot this Sunday.
Ezekiel Elliott vs CHI, $8,100
Through two games, Ezekiel Elliott has seen the 5th most rush attempts in the NFL. There are no volume concerns here and the matchup looks to be a great one. The Bears gave up the 10th most rushing yards in the NFL last season, have given up the 11th most rushing yards to begin 2016, and are now down numerous starters on defense due to injury.
The #Bears lost their QB and almost half of their starting defense on MNF and they are now traveling to Dallas on a short week.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 20, 2016
Look for Elliott to make it three games in a row with a TD on Sunday night. The real question is, will he see the end zone more than once?
Melvin Gordon vs IND, $7,100
Melvin Gordon has received the 7th most rush attempts in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season, most of which came with Danny Woodhead seeing plenty of playing time himself. With Woodhead now out of the picture due to a torn ACL, Gordon is the clear lead back in an offense that will also be without Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson for the rest of the year. As if it couldn’t get any worse, Antonio Gates is also iffy for Week 3. Gordon should have no issues with volume whatsoever in this one against a Colts defense that gave up the 8th most rushing yards and 6th most rush TDs last season. They’ve given up the 4th most rushing yards and are tied for the 2nd most rush TDs allowed to begin 2016 as well.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar RB Plays
Charles Sims vs LA, $6,300
Doug Martin is out for Week 3 meaning Charles Sims will be the Buccaneers unquestioned starting RB. A dual-threat back who can produce on the ground and in the passing game, Sims should produce at home against a Rams defense that gave up the 13th most rushing yards last season and was lit up by Carlos Hyde back in Week 1. Even with the Seahawks mightily struggling against the Rams last week, Christine Michael still ran for 60 yards on only 10 carries. The Rams still carry a public perception of being a very good defense despite losing MLB James Laurinaitis, DE Chris Long, DT Nick Fairley, CB Janoris Jenkins, and FS Rodney McLeod this past offseason. Playing Sims could be a good way to exploit that potentially false narrative.
Theo Riddick vs GB, $6,400
With Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve, Theo Riddick’s role looks set to increase a little bit starting in Week 3. Already a phenomenal pass catcher, Riddick has also seen 18 carries through the first two weeks of the season. While he will share time with teammate Dwayne Washington, Riddick is still an intriguing play this week in a game against the Packers that has a chance to turn into a shootout.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Jarvis Landry vs CLE, $7,000
Cleveland will be starting their 3rd string QB, Josh Gordon is still suspended, and Corey Coleman just broke his hand in practice. The Browns offense should struggle meaning Tannehill will have the ball in his hands plenty in this one. With an already iffy running game and Arian Foster looking like he won’t play, look for Adam Gase to have Tannehill throwing early and often. Plenty of those passes will be thrown in the direction of Jarvis Landry. Look for Landry to absolutely eat in this one against a Browns defense that gave up the 11th most passing yards and 3rd most pass TDs last season. They’ve looked just as bad to begin 2016.
Amari Cooper vs TEN, $7,700
— Nick Mensio (@NickMensio) September 19, 2016
WR1s against the Titans this season:
You do the math.
Mike Evans vs LA, $8,000
With Doug Martin out for Week 3, Mike Evans becomes the unquestioned best and most important player on the Buccaneers offense, in case there was any question to begin with. Already the most targeted player in the NFL through two weeks, look for Evans’ high volume to only continue. He should be able to take advantage of a Rams secondary that gave up the 10th most passing yards last season. Per Scott Barrett of Pro Football Focus, Evans will likely see Coty Sensabaugh and Trumaine Johnson in coverage, both of which have struggled this season according to PFF.
Odell Beckham Jr. vs WAS, $8,900
I’m telling you guys right now after “letting everybody down” by ONLY catching 8 balls for 86 yards last week and with Josh Norman next up on the schedule, Odell Beckham is going to be crazy low owned in GPP tournaments this weekend. You ALWAYS play Beckham in GPP tournaments when he’s low owned. ALWAYS. Especially when the Josh Norman narrative makes no sense. It has already been established that Norman only covers one side of the field meaning we don’t even know how often the two will match up against each other. Then there’s the fact that Antonio Brown put up 8 for 126 and 2 TDs on Washington in Week 1 and Dez Bryant put up 7 for 102 on them in Week 2 while catching passes from a rookie making only his second start in the NFL. Oh ya, there’s also that whole thing where Beckham is unguardable. He dusted Norman multiple times in last year’s matchup, one for a game-tying TD catch in the 4th quarter:
Hey guys remember that one time OBJ roasted Josh Norman? Because I do ? pic.twitter.com/c9n5EtZ9pv
— Ben Cummins (@BenCumminsFF) June 30, 2016
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Plays
DeVante Parker vs CLE, $6,200
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m very bullish on the Dolphins passing game in Week 3. That includes DeVante Parker who saw 13 targets and caught 8 balls for 106 yards in his season debut last weekend. A freakish athlete, Parker has a chance to go off on this bad Browns pass defense on every single play…as long as Tannehill doesn’t let me down and can get him the ball. I’m doomed aren’t I? Still, I like the idea of stacking Tannehill with Landry and Parker because:
Over the last seven games:
Jarvis Landry: 78 tgts, 537 yards, zero TDs, 104.7 PPR
DeVante Parker: 55 tgts, 551 yards, three TDs, 103.1 PPR
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 19, 2016
Join me in cursing Kenny Stills’ name all day Sunday, won’t you?
Tajae Sharpe vs OAK, $5,800
#Titans WR snaps through 2 weeks:
Tajae Sharpe 98%
Rishard Matthews 53%
Harry Douglas 42%
Andre Johnson 29%
— Chris Raybon (@ChrisRaybon) September 21, 2016
Tajae Sharpe is the unquestioned WR1 in Tennessee and he gets a matchup with a Raiders defense that gave up the 7th most passing yards last season and that has given up 113 more passing yards than any other team in the NFL through two weeks of 2016. Sharpe will likely see some Sean Smith in coverage which has been money so far in 2016:
Currently, the highest scoring fantasy wide receiver is whoever is in coverage against Sean Smith. pic.twitter.com/mcESVxvqRi
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 19, 2016
Tyler Lockett vs SF, $6,100
The Seahawks offense has been stuck in the mud for two straight weeks to begin the season. They need big plays to help snap out of their funk. Tyler Lockett caught a 53 yarder at the end of the game last week that if not for a shoe string tackle, would’ve gone to the house. I expect Pete Carroll and company to remember that play and to dial up more deep shots for Lockett this week. If you’re playing and stacking Russell Wilson, Lockett is your guy.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Delanie Walker vs OAK, $6,900
Oakland gave up 10 catches for 180 yards and a TD last week to Falcons tight ends and their pass defense as a whole has just been putrid to begin the season. Delanie Walker reminded us all last week he should not be forgotten in this Titans passing offense. He should have another solid game in Week 3.
Julius Thomas vs BAL, $6,100
TEs who ran the most routes Week 2
Julius Thomas, 50
Eric Ebron, 42
Jordan Reed, 37
Greg Olsen, 36
Coby Fleener, 36
Dwayne Allen, 36
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) September 19, 2016
Julius Thomas is heavily involved in the Jaguars passing offense these days. He’s a good play at home against a Ravens defense that gave up the 9th most pass TDs last season. Although they’ve opened up 2016 strong, Josh McCown was putting it on them last week before he got injured.
Eric Ebron vs GB, $5,600
Eric Ebron ran the second most pass routes of any TE in Week 2. He’s heavily involved in the Lions high volume passing offense and should’ve scored a TD for the second straight week if it wasn’t for an egregious pass interference penalty called on him last Sunday. Ebron gets a Packers defense that struggled to cover the middle of the field last Sunday night allowing Stefon Diggs to go off and Kyle Rudolph to post a solid game himself.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar TE Plays
Dennis Pitta vs JAX, $5,000
With Ben Watson out for the year, Dennis Pitta has stepped up as the go-to tight end in Baltimore. Pitta was the only tight end in the league to see double-digit targets (12) in Week 2 and only trails Jason Witten by 2 for the tight end league lead in targets through two weeks. It sure seems like Joe Flacco and Pitta are re-establishing the connection they once had before Pitta’s injuries started to pile up. He’s currently healthy and is the one position player on the Ravens that seems to have a defined role as of right now. Pitta gets a Jaguars defense that gave up the 4th most pass yards in 2015 and that has been lit up by the Packers and Chargers to begin the season.
Jimmy Graham vs SF, $5,200
After playing sparingly in the Seahawks opener, Graham’s playing time shot up to 82% of the snaps in Week 2.
Carroll says Jimmy Graham feels like he's back to normal now and will be a big part of things going forward.
— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) September 21, 2016
Now he gets a 49ers defense that gave up the 6th most passing yards last season and that Greg Olsen just torched last week.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Dan Bailey vs CHI, $4,700
I don’t expect Dallas to have many issues with the Bears banged up defense. That should mean multiple field goals and extra points for Bailey. Through two weeks, he is tied for the 2nd most made field goals in the league.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar Kicker Plays
Andrew Franks vs CLE, $4,500
Andrew Franks is the Dolphins kicker and should benefit from a positive game script in this one. Cleveland will be starting their 3rd string QB, Josh Gordon is still suspended, and Corey Coleman just broke his hand in practice. The Browns offense should struggle which should allow Franks the opportunity to kick multiple field goals.
Ryan Succop vs OAK, $4,500
Tennessee’s offense should play well at home against an Oakland defense that has really struggled to begin the season. Succop should get his chances.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
Miami Dolphins vs CLE, $4,600
Cleveland will be starting their 3rd string QB, Josh Gordon is still suspended, and Corey Coleman just broke his hand in practice. Miami’s defense is in a really good spot here at home.
Dallas Cowboys vs CHI, $4,600
With Jay Cutler almost definitely out for Week 3, it looks like Brian Hoyer will be starting for the Bears on Sunday night. Hoyer has shown flashes in the past but also has shown a propensity to turn the ball over repeatedly. The Cowboys get him and the struggling Bears offense at home. Plus, Alshon Jeffery did not practice on Thursday and his status for Sunday night is currently up in the air.
Cincinnati Bengals vs DEN, $4,500
Trevor Siemian is making his very first NFL start on the road against a solid Bengals defense. Do I need to say anymore?
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar Defense Play
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs LA, $4,500
The Rams have yet to score an offensive TD. We’re heading into Week 3.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 20, 2016
The Buccaneers are good at stopping the run meaning they should have the ability to mitigate the strength (if you can even call it that right now) of the Rams offense and even though their pass defense can be attacked, Case Keenum isn’t going to be the one to do it. They make for a very solid defense play this weekend.