As mentioned in my inaugural article, there are two main statistical components that I use as the foundation of most of my DFS selections: 1) the implied totals for each NFL game/team; and 2) the DraftKings fantasy points that each defense allows to the four skill positions(QBs/RBs/WRs/TEs). I have posted a link below for last week’s article which provides a more in-depth discussion of these criteria.
Review of last week’s results:
Last week was a definite smorgasbord of results. For almost all of the fire and ice picks, as well as my favorite stack, I was pretty much spot on. Unfortunately, the only value play(out of four) that hit was Teddy Bridgewater (26-34 for 328 yards and two touchdowns). James Conner (8 rushes for 26 yards), KJ Hamler (1 catch for five yards), and Cole Kmet (1 catch for zero yards) were completely off the mark. The important thing for DFS players to remember is to always stick with the system that has worked for them in the past.
My fire picks were as follows: 1) Justin Herbert (31-41 for 338 yards and one TD); 2) Nick Chubb (RB8-11 carries for 95 yards and one TD/1 catch for 3 yards); 3) CeeDee Lamb (94 total yards and 8 catches); and 4) Rob Gronkowski (4 catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns). I would have preferred more touchdowns from Herbert, but at least 16.8 PPR fantasy points from all four players is definitely a win to me.
My ice picks were: 1) Josh Allen (17-33 for 179 yards and two TD’s); 2) Jonathan Taylor (15 rushes for 51 yards and one catch for 2 yards); 3) Adam Thielen (6 catches for 39 yards and a touchdown); and 4) Dallas Goedert (2 catches for 24 yards). Thielen’s touchdown is the only thing that kept the ice picks from being perfect.
Last, but not least, the stack of Tom Brady (24-36 for 276 yards and five TD’s) and Chris Godwin (4 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown) also performed well in their matchup against the Falcons. Below, I will provide my picks for each of the four skill positions, as well as my favorite stack.
Fire Them Up!!
Justin Herbert, Chargers-$6500-@ Chiefs
With games of 337 and 338 passing yards respectively, and an overall 70.5% completion rate (62 completions in 88 attempts), Herbert continues to find himself sliding down the price ladder to a season-low. Having only one touchdown in each of the first two weeks will do that to you.
This week, Herbert finds himself with another prime matchup. The Chiefs gave up the ninth-most fantasy points to QBs in 2020 and the implied total is 24. In all fairness, Herbert has been a tad unlucky in the touchdown department. In a game that features the highest Vegas over/under, look for Herbert to keep pace with Mahomes and finish as a top-seven QB this week.
Chris Carson, Seahawks-$6400-@ Vikings
Although Carson has yet to get involved in the receiving department (3 catches for 26 yards) this season, he has had 29 carries for 122 yards(4.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Through two weeks, he is averaging 14.85 PPR fantasy points per game.
In Week 3, Carson faces a Vikings’ defense that allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to RBs and the implied total is 28. Over 11 games in 2020, Carson had 37 catches for 287 yards. Perhaps this is the week for Carson to be more involved in the passing game, as this matchup also has an over/under of 55. Look for Carson to finish as a Top 10 PPR running back in week three.
A.J. Brown, Titans-$6500-vs Colts
Despite having 17 targets through two games, Brown has struggled mightily. He has caught only seven balls (41 percent catch rate) for 92 yards and one touchdown. Brown caught sixty-six percent of the passes thrown his way in 2020, so look for a regression to the mean over the next several games.
Although this is not a perfect matchup against the Colts (15th-most fantasy points allowed to WRs in 2020, I look for Brown to start trending in the right direction this week. With the Titans’ implied point total of 27, this could be another shootout. Brown should be viewed as a Top 15 wide receiver this week.
Kyle Pitts, Falcons-$4900-@ Giants
This is one of those cases where opportunity sometimes outweighs perfect statistical settings. The Giants only allowed the 20th most fantasy points to TEs and the Falcons’ implied total is only 22. With that being said, we saw the first glimpse of Pitts’ tremendous upside last week against the Bucs. He had five catches (on six targets) for 73 yards.
Heading into Week 3, WR Russell Gage (ankle) has already been ruled out. This will open up an opportunity for Pitts to garner even more targets. Due to the potential increased target share, I view Pitts as a top-five tight end this week.
Colder than Ice:
Tom Brady, Bucs-$6800-@ Rams
In all fairness to Brady, I do not envision a definite slam dunk at quarterback this week. On the season, Brady has completed 56 passes out of 86 attempts (65 percent) for 655 yards and nine touchdowns. Obviously, Brady will be difficult to sit most weeks.
Making Brady my selection is more of a matchup-based decision. Giving up only 14.1 fantasy points to QBs in 2020, the Rams were the leaders of the pack. In the Bucs/Rams matchup last year, Brady completed 26/48 for 216 yards and two touchdowns (with two interceptions). A repeat of this performance would definitely be considered a win.
Joe Mixon, Bengals-$6300-@ Steelers
Although Mixon has gotten off to a hot start this year (49 carries for 196 yards and one touchdown), the divisional road trip will not make for a cupcake matchup. The Steelers gave up the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs in 2020 and the implied total is only 20.
To add to a difficult matchup, a few key injuries alter the landscape. Steelers’ LB Devin Bush and CB Joe Haden return after missing last week’s game, while Bengals’ star wide receiver Tee Higgins will sit this one out. Although Mixon’s pure volume will make him a viable play, I anticipate him falling outside of the Top 12 this week.
Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team-$6900-@ Bills
McLaurin has gotten off to a very hot start this year, with a combined 15 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown through two games. In Taylor Heinicke’s first start, McLaurin had 11 catches (on 14 targets) for 107 yards and one touchdown.
The Bills should provide a stiffer challenge in Week 3, as they gave up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to WRs in 2020 and the implied total is only 19. I look for McLaurin to fall outside of the Top 24 WRs in this difficult matchup.
Mark Andrews, Ravens-$5k-@ Lions
In what was a disastrous defensive year for the Lions in 2020, the defense did rather well against TEs (11th-fewest fantasy points given up). Through two weeks, the Lions’ defense has held George Kittle and Robert Tonyan to a combined seven catches.
In addition, Andrews only has eight catches for 77 yards on the season. Much like at quarterback, it is hard to fade the top TEs this week. Nonetheless, I will roll the dice on Andrews not getting the volume he needs to have a big week.
Bargain Bin-Deep Tourney Plays
Justin Fields, Bears-$5200-@ Browns
Making his first career start, there is a lot of unknown with Fields. Replacing an injured Andy Dalton in Week 2, Fields only completed six of 13 passes for 60 yards. He added 10 rushes for an additional 31 yards. The rushing upside is well worth the price of admission.
At this price tag, the Browns also offer an upside for the passing game (Browns gave up the eighth-most fantasy points to QBs). Although the implied total is only 19, starting your lineup with an inexpensive quarterback offers a lot of wiggle room elsewhere.
Ty’son Williams, Ravens-$5800-@ Lions
After all of the running back injuries that the Ravens suffered during the preseason, Williams has solidified the backfield. Through two games, he has carried the ball 22 times for 142 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and scored one touchdown. Williams has also hauled in five catches for 45 yards.
As mentioned previously, the Lions were an awful defense in 2020. This included allowing the second most fantasy points to RBs. With an implied total of 29, Williams has a very sneaky opportunity to finish amongst the Top 12 RBs this week.
Darnell Mooney, Bears-$4300-@ Browns
Although listed on the injury report as questionable (groin), Mooney is expected to play on Sunday. For the season, Mooney has 11 catches (on 15 targets) for 92 yards and zero touchdowns. Andy Dalton has yet to attempt a pass of more than five yards, so DFS players will hope that Fields can stretch the field.
Playing against a Browns’ defense that allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to WRs, Mooney should be able to turn his ample opportunities into true on-field success. DFS players should view him as at least a top thirty WR for week three.
Jared Cook, Chargers-$3900-@ Chiefs
In a game where I want to roster every player that I can fit within my salary cap, Cooks provides one of the cheaper alternatives. On the season, Cooks has eight catches (on 13 targets) for 84 yards and zero touchdowns. He did, however, have a TD called back in Week 2 due to a penalty.
With the Chiefs allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to TEs and an implied total of 24, Cook has an opportunity to finish as a Top 12 TE this week. At this price point, I am more than willing to see if he can reach this goal.
Stack of the Week:
Along with the inexpensive contrarian stack of Fields and Mooney($9500 total), my preferred stack this week is Kirk Cousins ($6300) and Justin Jefferson ($7200). Although Cousins has gotten off to a fast start (595 passing yards and five touchdowns), Adam Thielen has been the main benefactor with three touchdowns of his own. Meanwhile, Jefferson has still registered 11 catches (on 19 targets) for 136 receiving yards and one touchdown.
In 2020, the Seahawks gave up the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs and the fourth most to WRs. Although Derek Henry (35 rushes for 183 yards and three touchdowns) torched this defense last week, Dalvin Cook is questionable heading into this one. Look for both Cousins and Jefferson to put up massive stat lines, and connect on at least one touchdown.