Week three presents some very interesting matchups that we’ll want to go over before finalizing our daily fantasy football lineups. Some may be hard to see at first glance and others may feel more obvious than they really are.
That was certainly the case last week, as the Giants/Saints game was targeted by many, yet yielded very little DFS results. On the flip side, many strayed from what should have been an ugly TNF clash between the Bills and Jets, yet that game ended up producing 68 total points.
Those are anomalies we can’t really account for, but it happens in the NFL and we just have to roll with the punches. Overall, we did a solid job pointing out the matchups to avoid and exploit in week two.
Avoid: Andrew Luck, Todd Gurley, Lions RBs
Exploit: C.J. Anderson, Delanie Walker and Blake Bortles
Avoid: Jets/Bills and Melvin Gordo
Exploit: Jay Cutler and Saints/Giants
With that, it’s on to week three:
Matchups to Avoid
Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Josh Norman
Don’t get us wrong, this could actually be the perfect spot for ODB to go completely nuts. It’s a huge divisional clash with the Redskins, Beckham hates Norman and he hasn’t scored yet this year.
While this could easily be the perfect stage for Beckham Jr. to go off, I’m not sure paying a hefty $9.1 is something we want to do when he’s being shadowed by Norman.
Norman is notorious for stifling top receivers and he’s been amazing wherever he’s lined up in 2016. It’s only just now that Washington is deciding to move him around as a shadow corner, but regardless, he comes into week three as PFF’s #1 cover man.
Throw in the fact that Norman got into Odell’s head last year and held him to a meager 4-30-1 line, this may be a spot to avoid.
Eagles TEs vs. Steelers
Zach Ertz could be back this week from a ribs issue, but even if he plays it may not be the week to target him. He’ll be facing a seemingly very good Steelers defense that kept Jordan Reed under wraps in week one and through two weeks is #1 against the tight end position.
This may not be a great matchup for a young Eagles team in general, and if Ertz is out for the second week in a row, you’d be looking at guys like Trey Burton or Brent Celek. Celek laid an egg (0 fantasy points) in week two, while Burton was surprisingly heavily involved (15 fantasy points). Still, this is a trio to forget about with this brutal positional matchup in week three.
A.J. Green vs. Broncos
You probably have to start Green as usual in season long fantasy leagues, but it could be a whole different story in daily fantasy football. We know how good Denver’s defense can be and we even saw Green quieted in week two against a solid Steelers defense (just 5.8 fantasy points).
Green might not get stifled that badly two weeks in a row, but it’s hard to imagine him crushing this matchup. The Broncos did give up some production to Kelvin Benjamin in week one, but were dominant in the second half of that game and in week two held T.Y. Hilton to just 8.1 fantasy points.
Green could still get 10+ fantasy points, but he’s expensive and isn’t likely to reach his projected value. He’d certainly be a contrarian play in GPPs, but he’s all of the risky.
Latavius Murray vs. Titans
Murray and the Oakland offense have looked pretty great through the first two weeks, with the explosive rusher specifically shining (14 and 22 fantasy points in first two games).
That being said, Murray hasn’t had a tough matchup on the ground yet, as the Saints and Falcons have trash defenses. Tennessee, which ranks #1 against running backs in 2016, could be a different story.
The Titans didn’t have much to defend in the Lions in week two, but kept Adrian Peterson glued to his offensive line in week one. Murray could still get you around 10 fantasy points this week, but a big game is unlikely.
Patriots/Texans (Entire game)
If you’re thinking of kicking off week 3 of daily fantasy football early with Thursday night’s game, you should probably think again. There really are only a handful of guys you would even remotely consider here, but on such a loaded slate, it may be best to avoid this game altogether.
Guys like LeGarrette Blount, Julian Edelman, Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins are all tempting, but this could be a very low-scoring game with few big plays. The Patriots’ game plan is going to be running the ball and controlling the clock. If successful, Blount might pan out, but no one else will.
On the other end, New England’s solid defense could be aggressive and successful at home against a still erratic Brock Osweiler. That could impact Nuk and even Miller in the running game. Overall, even with a few potential bright spots, this game is best off left avoided.
Matchups to Exploit
Marcus Mariota vs. Raiders
While we don’t want to use Latavius Murray against the Titans, we do want to target Marcus Mariota and Tennessee’s passing game in that same game. Oakland’s pass defense has been absolutely dreadful through the first two weeks, putting Mariota very much in play this week.
The Raiders defense has been less than stellar so far this season. Is it time for a defensive switch-up in Oakland? pic.twitter.com/G2dDdO5Nb5
The beauty here is Mariota has been decent (at least 18 fantasy points) in each of his first two contests, and he’s done it against tough matchups. With a tasty matchup against a Raiders defense that is dead last in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks AND wide receivers, you know this will be a popular play. You naturally can include Tajae Sharpe and Delanie Walker in potential stacks, but the guy we love specifically is Mariota.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Lions
A-Rod is taking a ton of heat for being just “meh” for a while now, but even his bad play ends up being pretty good. He has 23 and 19 fantasy points in his first two outings this year, with both games coming on the road and one of them – last week – coming against a very good Minnesota defense.
Also, I see this is "What's wrong with Aaron Rodgers?" week. That usually means something like 5 TD passes the following Sunday. We'll see.
There is a reasonable chance all feels right this week, as Rodgers returns home to Lambeau Field to take on a Lions defense that hasn’t been great in 2016. Detroit first got shredded by Andrew Luck in week one and then allowed Marcus Mariota to beat them late in week two.
The Lions have defensive talent and did win in Lambeau last year, but you can bet the Packers won’t soon forget that. I using Aaron Rodgers ends up going against the grain this week, all the better.
Melvin Gordon vs. Colts
This is probably the most popular pick of the week, simply due to Danny Woodhead being lost for the year and Gordon’s enhanced role. For a guy who disappointed in 2015 with zero scores during his rookie season, he’s already more than made up for his shortcomings by scoring thrice in 2016.
In week three his prospects look even better, as he’s still a good price at DraftKings and should have as big a role as ever against a bad Indy defense. The Colts got destroyed by Detroit running backs in week one and then gave up another fine outing to C.J. Anderson last week. That bad run will likely continue and result in a big fantasy performance for the red hot Gordon.
Jeremy Maclin vs. Jets
Maclin has been hit or miss through the first two weeks, but he seems destined to blow up in a week three meeting with the New York Jets.
Darrelle Revis is a thing of the past, as he’s gotten burned by A.J. Green and something called a Marquise Goodwin in successive weeks, potentially showing us that he’s lost a step or three. Even if he hasn’t, it won’t be easy to keep up with the speedy Maclin, who could easily break away for a score or two in this one.
The Jets defense as a whole hasn’t been good, either, as they enter week three of daily fantasy football action ranked 31st against wide receivers. Yeah, we like Maclin this week.
Saints/Falcons (Entire game)
We’re holding out hope that the Saints don’t bone us all like they did last week, but the history between them and the Falcons suggest we’ll be fine. That, plus the fact that New Orleans is at home (where they’re their best) and badly needs a win at 0-2, tells us we could see a lot of points in this one.
On top of it all, this game caps the week on Monday Night Football, which could make for a ton of explosive plays under the bright lights. Both of these teams have put up big numbers in 2016 and could be in for a shootout for the ages. In a game that just might be what we hoped the Giants vs. Saints meeting last week could be, you’ll want a piece of this action in week three daily fantasy football leagues.
That does it for our look at the top matchups to exploit and avoid in daily fantasy football for week three. Let us know how our advice helps you moving forward, and regardless of what you decide to do, good luck!
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