Week 3 Daily Fantasy Football Preview: Sleepers, Matchups, Busts and More
Decision time arrives on Sunday morning, when you need to figure out which NFL players you choose to trust for you week three daily fantasy football lineups. Whether you play at DraftKings or FanDuel, the goal remains the same: you want to make the right calls that are going to help you win cash.
While playing cash games in DFS is very smart and the way to go for consistent winnings, we aim high and hope to help you bring home some major bank in big GPP tournaments.
If you need an extra eye on the week three daily fantasy football scene, we’re here to point out our favorite – and least favorite – plays of the week. Let’s dive in as we run through a few different segments and see which players ultimately are worth the trouble, and which are better off left alone.
Top Week 3 DFS Sleepers
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans ($5.8k at DK)
Mariota has been just decent through two weeks, but he’s gotten at least 18 fantasy points in both efforts and he’s done so in less than ideal situations. Now at home against a Raiders defense that has gotten shredded by quarterbacks in 2016 (7 TDs), he has a real chance to blow up.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings ($3.8k)
There are a lot of DFS sleepers to look at, but a lot of people should be on McKinnon, who earns the start in Minnesota with Adrian Peterson on the shelf. There is some concern of a road matchup with the Carolina Panthers or Matt Asiata vulturing some scores, but the value and upside with an athletic freak like McKinnon is beyond clear.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Colts ($4.4k)
Donte Moncrief is out for at least the next month and T.Y. Hilton will probably get the luxury of being shadowed by Jason Verrett. That probably leaves the speedy Dorsett to get way more targets than usual. He could be a hit or miss prospect this week, but the upside and value is there for the taking.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks ($3k)
There are a ton of tight ends to consider, but there is a growing argument to use Graham this week. Obviously the guy’s talent and past production speaks for itself, but so does his increased involvement in week two.
Graham is starting to take on a bigger role on the field, seeing over 60% of an increase in his snap count from week one to two. With a better role and a cheap price tag against a Niners defense that got ripped up by Greg Olsen last week, the upside is pretty tempting here.
Ravens Defense ($2.5k)
I keep hearing bad things about this Ravens defense, yet through two weeks they have five sacks, a pick, a safety and have given up just 27 total points. This week they draw a Jaguars offense that has disappointed while drowning in a sea of turnovers. Jacksonville might end up putting up some points, but odds are Baltimore gets some sacks and turnovers. At this price, even a modest output would be more than enough.
Everyone knows who the top chalk plays are (most of the time) and the tough part is deciding whether to roll with this week’s chalk or go against the grain and try to differentiate with a contrarian play. If you’re going chalk, be sure to consider these chalky options:
Drew Brees, QB, Saints ($7.9k)
Brees ends the week as the highest priced quarterback when he takes on the Falcons at home on Monday Night Football. Brees was a sorry sack in week two, but put up 400+ yards and 4 TDs in week one and usually crushes at home. Atlanta has been a weak defense through two weeks, and everything adds up for Brees to have a shot at posting the top QB numbers in week three.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers ($5.8k)
No running back brings more to the table in week three, as Gordon already was scoring (three TDs) and putting up solid yardage, but with Danny Woodhead done for the year, his solid role only grows from here. Even better, he’s got a cushy road date with a Colts defense that has not done well against running backs through two weeks. Gordon is a value, but he should be highly owned due to his very attractive matchup and upside.
Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers ($9.6k)
Browns was a monster in week one and then got shut down last week, so even though he’s super expensive, everyone is going to be banking on a huge bounce back game. It’s fair to wonder just how good this Eagles defense is that he’s facing, but considering they’ve only been tested by the Browns and Bears, DFS gamers won’t be too afraid to take the mild risk. Besides, what are the odds Brown gets stifled two weeks in a row?
Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts ($3.8k)
With several tight ends banged up this week (Delanie Walker, Antonio Gates and others), Allen looks better than ever with such a good price and a plus matchup. Allen already enjoyed a nice week one, but with Indy down a weapon with Donte Moncrief hitting the shelf, Allen and other Colts receivers should be looking at enhanced roles. All he really needs to do is score to pay off, anyways, so he’s looking like a popular (and safe) week three daily fantasy football play.
Dolphins Defense ($3k)
There are a lot of defenses to consider at DraftKings this week, but none feel better than Miami. The Dolphins looked sharp in week one and after a down week they’re at home against a bad Browns team. To make matters worse for Cleveland, they’re down to Cody Kessler, their third string quarterback, and also lost number one wide receiver Corey Coleman to a broken hand. Miami doing anything less than crushing it this week would be a massive shock.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks ($7.1k)
Wilson was a freak in 2015, but through two weeks he’s faced less than ideal matchups and has struggled with a bum ankle. Not only has he been awful and banged up, but this week he remains a less than ideal price, all things considered. However, Cam Newton put up 4 TDs against the 49ers last week and this Seattle offense needs to wake up eventually.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills ($6.5k)
This doesn’t feel like the week to target Shady, as he has a pretty rough matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. He’s also a little more expensive than we’d prefer. However, not many people should be on him and he’s actually been stable thus far, putting up 13 and 17 fantasy points in his first two games. Buffalo is at home in a must-win game, too, so maybe he shows up big in the clutch.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants ($9.1k)
ODB probably isn’t the most contrarian, but he pops off the page considering how good and explosive he can be. He does draw Josh Norman, who has been a stud corner through two weeks, but these two guys do not like each other and it’d only be fitting for Beckham’s best game of 2016 to see him erupting in this high profile matchup.
Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers ($5.8k)
It’s weird to think Olsen could be even mildly contrarian, seeing as he’s been great in 2016 overall and blew up last week (26 fantasy points). Even more, with so many TE injuries this week, you’d think more people would confide in the normally stable Olsen to help them out of a jam. Perhaps it’s the perceived tough matchup with the Vikings, who didn’t give much wiggle room in week one. Still, Olsen is a stud option at home and he’s even a decent price.
Seahawks Defense ($4.1k)
Seattle is oddly on the contrarian bubble, as they haven’t looked amazing through two weeks and some are starting to doubt if they’re even still an elite team. Their defense hasn’t been the issue, though, and with a home date with Blaine Gabbert and the Niners, a huge day could be coming. Normally more people would give the ‘Hawks the benefit of the doubt, too, but as the #1 priced defense for week three, people will be looking for value elsewhere.
Players to Avoid
One thing to always keep in mind in this section is that when a player should be avoided, it’s usually for very good reason. However, in an unpredictable league like the NFL, those same reasons could make them an amazing contrarian play. That being said, here are the guys we’re not touching this week:
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins (6.4k)
We’re fading Cousins for so many reasons this week, but the first big one is that he just hasn’t been good. His DFS numbers weren’t awful in week two (22 fantasy points) but he just hasn’t been the same guy he was in 2015 and now he’s on the road against an improved Giants team.
Not only is Cousins not good on the road normally, but the matchup could be bad and he is turning the ball over too much. What pushes it over the top is the value elsewhere at quarterback. Guys like Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill are all cheaper and feel like better tries.
Jeremy Langford, RB, Bears ($5.2k)
This one could actually backfire a bit, as Jay Cutler is hurt and it’s very possible Chicago runs the ball like crazy this week. Unfortunately, the Bears are starting Brian Hoyer and they’ll probably be down early. That, and Langford has not been impressive through two weeks and could suddenly start losing work to Jordan Howard.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals ($8.1k)
I hate to fade Green, but the Denver defense is pretty strong and it’s tough to trust Andy Dalton in brutal matchups. We saw how it can go bad last week, when Green mustered just two grabs off of 8 catches. He probably will be a little bit better this week, but odds are you can’t expect an elite performance.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns ($4k)
Hoping a bad rookie third string quarterback checks down to Barnidge 10 times isn’t our idea of fantasy upside. That’s likely the best we can hope for in week three, as Barnidge has not been a factor through two weeks and likely won’t be again this week.
Chiefs Defense ($3.2k)
Color us unimpressed with the KC defense thus far, as in two weeks they got shredded by the Chargers and barely held the Texans in check. We witnessed this past Thursday that isn’t an impressive feat.
There’s no denying the value and upside with the Chiefs, but they have a tough draw with a good, balanced Jets offense this week. Limiting the Jets to 20 points or fewer is the first problem at hand, and even that isn’t a given. Kansas City isn’t the worst play, but they’re not the best one either and there are so many good directions to go in here.
These are without a doubt the week three matchups to avoid, as we all know Denver can snuff the life out of anyone and the Bengals also defend pretty well. That could be a very ugly game, making even top options like A.J. Green and C.J. Anderson absolutely useless this week.
We did mention some Seahawks as sleepers or contrarian plays, but that’s admittedly a roll of the dice. Seattle’s offense has not been good and the Niners showed their defensive potential in week one. Chances are this game ends up being fairly low-scoring, which probably keeps anyone from really blowing up.
This Rams game is also likely not going to feature many points, but we probably don’t need to tell you to stay away from Case Keenum and L.A.’s passing attack. There is a chance the Bucs go nuts here and win in a blowout, but that’s even not overly likely. In fact, the only real target in this game might be Todd Gurley, simply because he feels contrarian after two bad weeks to start the year.
You can bounce around all you want, but these are without a doubt the top two games to target. Indy and San Diego both have flashed brilliance on offense and we can assume Andrew Luck and co. will be playing well on their home field.
There is a ton of value in this game, too, with guys like Philip Rivers, Frank Gore, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams and the aforementioned Dorsett all looking like fun cheap plays. Whether you pay up for Luck or dig for some value, you’re going to want a hand in this game.
The Saints and Falcons cap the week in style, as these two NFC South foes almost always provide fans with an intense shootout. Matt Ryan has somehow been the top DFS producer thus far and against a trash Saints defense in the Superdome, he could be in for his third straight awesome game.
The speed and scoring in this game put the usual suspects on high alert, making Ryan, Brees, Julio Jones, Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead (check his status) all obvious chalk plays. Sleepers guys that could make a big impact are Mohamed Sanu, Coby Fleener and Michael Thomas. Much like the Chargers/Colts, you’re going to want a hand in this game.
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