After an injury-filled Week 2, this slate is defined by replacement players and two games that will draw a ton of ownership: Lions-Cardinals and Cowboys-Seahawks. I’ll spare you a long-winded intro and get right to the good stuff.
It’s Miles Sanders week…
At just $6400 on DraftKings, Miles Sanders is egregiously under-priced and is going to draw massive ownership. We have Sanders projected for 30+ percent ownership on DK and the real number should be 70%. After getting bellcow usage in his first start of the season off of a hamstring injury that caused him to miss most of camp, Sanders is in the premier matchup of the week against a Bengals front seven that will be without DT Geno Atkins again. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt both lost their minds last week, combining for 234 yards and 4 TDs on 36 touches against when Atkins missed. This article is about fading bad chalk, but Sanders isn’t it. He’s a free square and is the best individual play we’ve seen all season. Sanders is less of a value on FanDuel at $7400, but he’s right up there with Ezekiel Elliott ($8,300 DK; $9,000 FD) in our projections as the top RB on the slate.
… But there are leverage plays off of Sanders
While there is no way I’m building lineups without Sanders this week, he is definitely going to draw ownership away from two running backs in great spots at similar price points this week:
Chris Carson ($6,600 DK: $7,700 FD) is priced right above Sanders on both DraftKings and FanDuel and will only draw 5-8% ownership in what should be the highest-scoring game on the slate. Cowboys-Seahawks has an over/under set at 56.5 and Carson is a home-favorite running back against an ailing defense. With Sanders absorbing a lot of the attention, Carson makes for a fantastic tournament play and can be included in lineups with Russell Wilson / Tyler Lockett / D.K. Metcalf or Dak Prescott / Cowboys WR stacks. Carson has averaged +2.0 more fantasy points per game when Seattle is favored by at least a field goal over the last three seasons while his uptick in usage in the passing game also helps his floor. After being targeted on just 14% of his routes last year, Carson has seen a target on 23% of his routes through Week 1-2.
Who is going to want to play James Conner ($6,700 DK; $7,100 FD) this week? After tweaking his ankle in the opener, Conner got his bell-cow role back in Week 2 -- playing on 77% of the Steelers snaps and handling 16-of-19 RB carries (84%). Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels were both afterthoughts in the passing game, too, as Conner ran 26 routes to Snell and Samuels’ combined nine routes. The Steelers are also four point favorites over the Texans, which is huge for Conner’s projection. Conner has been the most game script sensitive running back in the league over the last two years, averaging 25.1 fantasy points per game in wins but just 11.9 FPG in losses. Against a Houston run defense that has been shredded for the third-most fantasy points, the second-most yards, and the most expected points per carry -- Conner is an awesome tournament play.
On FanDuel, Jonathan Taylor ($6,700) is just far too cheap once again -- but pairing him with Sanders and one of Carson or Conner is an easy way to differentiate your lineups. I also suspect Kenyan Drake will be one of the highest owned running backs on the slate at his depressed price on both sites, making the Carson and Conner leverage even stronger. Drake is a good play -- the Cardinals could easily score 4-5 touchdowns against the Lions -- but he’s splitting passing down reps with Chase Edmonds while Kyler Murray is always a threat to steal red-zone work.
It’s also Terry McLaurin week
Despite having two strong games out of the blocks -- he went for 5/61 in Week 1 and 7/125/1 in Week 2 -- Terry McLaurin is still extremely underpriced on both sites. Priced as the WR22 on DraftKings and the WR16 on FanDuel, McLaurin is the second-most mispriced wide receiver according to Scott’s SuperModel and is only projected to garner 5% ownership in an absolutely perfect matchup. The Browns will be without top CB Denzel Ward after he picked up a groin injury in practice this past week while their other starting boundary CB Greedy Williams is also out. With CeeDee Lamb and Diontae Johnson likely absorbing a lot of ownership at slightly lower price points, McLaurin is an excellent pivot play. The Football Team are 7.5-point underdogs and should be forced to throw a ton, leading to plenty of volume for McLaurin.
Josh Allen is going overlooked again
On last week’s livestream, I mentioned that a Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs stack against Miami’s man-heavy defense was going to go overlooked. And it sure was, as the duo combined for nearly 70 DK points at sub-5% ownership. This week’s matchup against the Rams is obviously tougher, but Allen in particular is an equally appealing tournament play at his price point on DraftKings. With everyone wanting to play Russell Wilson ($7,300), Dak Prescott ($7,200), Kyler Murray ($6,800), and Cam Newton ($6,700) -- Allen is sandwiched right in the middle at $6,900.
People will see the matchup and price point on Allen and mostly stay away again this week. Let them. Not only has Allen’s accuracy been better through two games, he’s seeing insane volume as the Bills run this new spread-based offense. No team has run a higher percentage of plays with 3 or more WRs than Buffalo as they’ve completely opened up and centered their offense around Allen. Through two games, Allen ranks fifth among quarterbacks in pass attempts and carries while only Russell Wilson and Cam Newton are averaging more fantasy points per dropback.
Now with Zack Moss (toe) out, the Bills backfield is condensed to just Allen and Devin Singletary. While Singletary is under-priced on both sites and should see 20-25% ownership, stacking Allen with Singletary is an interesting way to build a unique lineup since Singletary is pretty involved in the passing game. Singletary already has 10 targets through the first two weeks and averaged nearly 4 targets per game as a rookie.
Final thoughts: Low-owned stacks and contrarian plays
With Darren Waller, Noah Fant, Jordan Reed, and Logan Thomas likely absorbing a ton of ownership on DraftKings, we have Hayden Hurst projected at just 4% ownership on Sunday. Hurst is priced in no man’s land -- he’s sandwiched between Waller ($5,700) / Fant ($5,400) and the cheaper Reed ($4,000) / Thomas ($3,700) -- which will likely keep people from clicking his name into lineups. If he’s sub-5% owned, Hurst is an awesome one-off contrarian play -- especially with Julio Jones (hamstring) less than 100%. Even with little time to acclimate with his new team, Hurst has been highly involved in the Falcons attack, running a route on 84 of Matt Ryan’s 104 dropbacks (81%). The matchup is quietly really nice, too. The Bears allowed decent days to both T.J. Hockenson (5/56/1) and Evan Engram (6/65) to start the season after allowing the fifth-most receptions and 10th-most yards to tight ends last season.
The 49ers injury luck so far this year has been unfair. How ridiculous is this? This week, they’re going to be without Nick Bosa (ACL; IR), Solomon Thomas (ACL; IR), Richard Sherman (short-term IR), Dre Greenlaw (quad), and possibly Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) on defense. And, on offense, the 49ers will be down their starting quarterback, tight end, and two running backs. Against a completely destitute 49ers team, Daniel Jones is my favorite cheap QB play this week ($5,500 DK; $6,900 FD). A cheap Jones to Darius Slayton or Golden Tate stack will be lightly owned.
T.J. Hockenson provides an interesting angle to get a good play at low ownership on DraftKings in what should be a shootout in Arizona. I expect Hockenson will be pretty popular on FanDuel at his low price ($5,400; priced as TE9) but less so on DraftKings ($5,300; TE5) for all the same reasons that I like Hurst. Kenny Golladay (hamstring) will be back this week, albeit at less than 100%, but his presence will open up the Lions vertical passing attack and draw attention away from Hockenson in the middle of the field. You can pair Hockenson with Matthew Stafford this week as low-owned leverage and then play Kenyan Drake for a full game stack. A Kyler Murray-DeAndre Hopkins-Hockenson game stack makes sense, too.
I’m contractually obligated to mention DeSean Jackson once again in this space. With everyone on Sanders, no one is going to want to play two Eagles in the same lineup because of how bad Carson Wentz has looked. D-Jax is going to be under 8% owned this week in a choice matchup and Jalen Reagor (thumb) out. Jackson is second among all receivers in targets of 20+ air yards (6) while the Bengals have allowed the fifth-most receptions (32) and fourth-most touchdowns (10) on passes thrown over 20 yards since the start of 2019.