I wouldn’t call last week’s NFL DFS picks a huge success. Tyrod Taylor was a smart play in New Orleans against the Saints, but he wasn’t a profitable one. Not when guys like Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Fitzpatrick are making it rain from the skies.
There were some solid picks, though. Todd Gurley was a monster, Christian McCaffrey had a huge bounce-back outing and JuJu Smith-Schuster was the killer pivot off of Antonio Brown I dreamt he’d be. James Conner, Jordan Reed and Jarvis Landry weren’t necessarily crippling, but they also weren’t nearly as good as they were in week one.
The Jets were a letdown and Josh Gordon didn’t even play, so overall it wasn’t a great NFL DFS squad, but there were pieces to take advantage of.
I’ll start over for week three, where things are starting to clear up a bit. Here’s my favorite lineup for GPPs at FanDuel:
QB: Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers ($7.4k)
This isn’t so much me vouching for Jimmy G as it is looking at Kansas City’s awful defense through the first two weeks of the 2018 NFL season. Big Ben put up 38 fantasy points against them last week and Philip Rivers dropped 29 on them the week prior.
The scenery does shift to Arrowhead here, but Jimmy G hasn’t really had the luxury of getting to/having to pass a lot in a good matchup. After struggling at Minnesota in week one and not really being asked to do too much in a win over Detroit at home in week two, this may finally be that “play Jimmy” moment.
This looks like it should be that, so with the Niners likely playing from behind all game, he looks like an elite value. His weapons aren’t the best, but I’m not sure it matters. In addition to ranking dead last against quarterbacks through two weeks, KC also ranks 28th against running backs, 29th against wide receivers and 31st against tight ends.
Everyone is going to be all over the Chiefs again this week – and for good reason – but a great tourney pivot is to stack Niners DFS options.
RB: Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins ($6.8k)
I am looking at the studs like Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara just like everyone else. I love them, but I don’t really want to pay for them this week. They’re both in great spots and should work out nicely, but I’m not sure paying for both of them gets me my favorite overall lineup.
One main reason why is I think I can come close to their production with cheaper options. One of them is Drake, who has been pretty quiet to start the year but is getting 15+ touches per game and is bound to erupt. This dude is simply way too explosive to not have a huge game in the near future.
I think it could come this week against the Raiders, who allowed Gurley to pop off for 22 fantasy points in week one and proceeded to get fleeced (107 rushing yards) by Phillip Lindsay. Oakland’s defense is not very good and they’ll be on the road against what appears to be an underrated Miami team.
The Dolphins could have full control in this one, which could allow for Drake to get a ton of work. One or two explosive plays is all he really needs to pay off and when you factor in his upside, he just feels too cheap right now.
RB: Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears ($7.4k)
I think a huge part of DFS in general is not just plugging in the big names all the time, but seeing that big performance before anyone else does. Jimmy G and Drake are two guys I think pop off in week three and a third could be Howard.
This is another talented runner who has a nice role (18.5 touches per game) and has even factored into Chicago’s passing attack.
He’s normally a solid presence near the goal-line, but hasn’t managed to score yet in 2018. That should change in week three, where he goes up against a vastly under-performing Cardinals defense that got burned by an aging Adrian Peterson in week one and thoroughly embarrassed by the Rams in week two.
Maybe the Cards show some pride and step up here, but a terrible offense isn’t doing them any favors and a much improved Chicago defense could put Howard in great position more than a couple times. I think a huge outing is coming this week and if it does, I’m getting it while shaving $2k+ off the top backs.
WR: Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs ($6.2k)
Tyreek Hill is the main man for the Chiefs, but I love the idea of pivoting down to teammate, Sammy Watkins. Watkins isn’t quite as explosive as Hill is, but he’s still pretty darn fast in his own right. Watkins is a terrific deep threat and he’s actually been pretty involved in KC’s game plan so far.
Last week he popped off for six catches and over 100 yards and I think something similar – along with his first score as a Chief – could be in play. This entire Chiefs offense is on fire and I can’t imagine them cooling off at home against the 49ers. Not only has San Francisco given up 24+ points in both games thus far this year, but they’ve had a really tough time against the pass.
It’s only been two games, but ranking 26th vs. QBs and 25th vs. WRs doesn’t bode well for them.
A lot of the ownership will be split up between the likes of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt and obviously that has to be where the Niners’ defensive focus is as well. I’m not at all saying you can’t or shouldn’t use those guys, but Watkins is a terrific talent and will be overlooked even at this solid price.
You need to take some risks in GPPs and I’m lining up some big plays I think can deliver in tourneys. Watkins is yet another to consider.
WR: Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons ($8.7k)
Jones is banged up and was a huge disappointment last week, but he’ll be chalk in what should be an explosive shootout versus the Saints.
This isn’t a tough call. He should be popular and he should have a big game. He knows the Saints very well, he’s at home, he’s a freak and his role speaks for itself.
Pivoting from or to Michael Thomas is your call, but I prefer Jones this week. Teammate Calvin Ridley (just $5k) is a very interesting GPP punt if you want to save some cash, but I’ll spend here and move along.
I also am interested in a pivot to Odell Beckham Jr. or A.J. Green. I don’t love their matchups, but they’re beasts and pretty much matchup proof. That being said, even in GPPs you need to eat the chalk in some spots and I think Julio is one of them.
WR: Geronimo Allison – Green Bay Packers ($5k)
Maybe you can use Ridley here if you’re not with me on Allison, but teammate and Packers #1 receiver Davante Adams is going to see a lot of top Redskins corner, Josh Norman. That has to open things up for the rest of Green Bay’s offense and specifically Allison, who showed in week one (15 fantasy points) he can be a key NFL DFS contributor in the right spots.
His role has been pretty good for a #3 guy, as he’s seen 6+ targets in both games and has 5+ catches in both contests. He has the ability to continue with that workload, as well as the size and ball skills to continue to be a factor in the red-zone. Washington has been good against the pass by the numbers, but they dominated the Redskins and then were playing from behind all day against the Colts.
Something tells me guys not being draped by Norman might do well for the Packers in this one, while cheap exposure to this Aaron Rodgers-led offense is just too good to pass up.
TE: George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers ($5.8k)
I want to trust the 49ers wide receivers with such a nice matchup in front of them, but I can’t. Pierre Garcon has shown us nothing so far and while Marquise Goodwin could be back this week, he did not look spry in practice tape available to the media.
The good news is Garoppolo made quick use of Kittle in week one and I think the game script here demands he do so again. I’d prefer Goodwin to sit, but him being active might actually play a hand in Kittle’s ownership being lower than it’d normally be. Against a shaky Chiefs defense that has had trouble with tight ends (31st), he’s an elite stacking option to go with Jimmy G.
I also really like the prices for Jordan Reed and Jimmy Graham this week. Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are the top dogs, but I don’t see a reason to pay up at tight end with all the value available to you. I’m probably not going there, but even Tyler Eifert ($5.1k) feels way under-priced.
FLEX: Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams ($9.3k)
Okay, I lied. I don’t want to pay for Gurley and Kamara, but I’m still going to roster one of them. That’s going to be Gurley for me, as I just feel his role is way more reliable right now.
FanDuel is not a full PPR site like DraftKings, so Kamara is really going to need to find a way to get in the end-zone. I still think he’s a good play, but on the road against the Falcons, he’s very much second to Gurley’s first for me.
Obviously Gurley is a monster, as he’s picked up right where he left off last year, posting 22 and 30-fantasy point outings through the first two weeks. He got a little banged up last week, but he should be fine at home with a really nice matchup against the Chargers. I know L.A. is supposed to be good defensively, but they’re playing without both Joey Bosa and Corey Liguet right now.
Bosa actually is out indefinitely after surgery, so L.A.’s defensive morale has to be at an all-time low.
That’s a huge hit to their run defense and pass rush, so it’s not shocking at all that they’re ranking 26th against fantasy backs right now. I don’t expect them to suddenly morph into an elite unit, either, so Gurley remains one of the top plays of the entire main slate.
DEF: Dallas Cowboys ($3.4k)
If I’m being honest, I typically prefer to pay up for more reliable team defenses and I covet the Vikings and Jaguars this week. I don’t have the funds to get either of them, though, so I’m punting defense and trying out the Cowboys.
There is some risk here, as the Seahawks will be playing their home opener and it’d be so Russell Wilson for him to blow up and drop 30 points in a really big game for an 0-2 Seattle squad. That could happen, but I can’t play the “what if” game when the Seahawks have been so bad offensively and the Dallas defense has looked pretty legit.
The Cowboys have allowed 29 total points through the first two weeks, recorded 9 sacks and have two fumble recoveries. Hopefully they can keep that going and get a defensive score and/or a couple of picks. Wilson has not looked like himself to get 2018 going, as his o-line and running game have both left him hanging through the first two weeks.
Losing key bodies to free agency and not having top deep threat Doug Baldwin have clearly impacted him and it’s led to three interceptions, a pick-6, virtually no success in the running department and he’s also taken a league high 12 sacks.
Is all of this really going to change just because the Seahawks are at home? I tend to doubt it. Even if the Cowboys give up a few points, I think they’ll get some stats and aren’t about to get housed here. As a punt, they make a ton of sense.
I’m eating the chalk in Julio and Gurley, but I will be differentiating my lineup in quite a few other ways.
I’m high on a 49ers stack this week, while I like the idea of value running backs and sprinkling in pivots from top options (see: Allison and Watkins). If you disagree with my stack, feel free to adjust or make any changes you need to. That goes for the rest of my week three daily fantasy football picks, too.
I personally love this team as it stands, but personal preference and extra research may lead you to a different combination and that’s always part of the process. Whatever you decide, hopefully my insight and NFL DFS picks help you win in some manner. Good luck in week three and enjoy the games!