DFS research can be tough. We may not always know what to look for, or where to look for it.
But this article helps solve that problem – by providing some early-week research to give readers solid footing for the upcoming Week 3 DFS slate.
Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (O/U: 49.5)
Since the start of the 2021 season, Matt Ryan has scored more than 20.0 DraftKings points as often as he’s fallen below 10.0 DraftKings points (6 times).
Jonathan Taylor averages +5.1 more FPG in wins (21.8) than losses (16.7) across his career.
Interestingly, Taylor has actually performed well as an underdog in high total games over the last two seasons, averaging 25.4 FPG when the Colts are dogs in games with a total over 48.0, compared to 20.8 FPG outside of that split. Granted, Taylor has only played four games in that split, so it’s an admittedly small sample.
The seven best fantasy outings of Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s career have come as a 5.0-point or more favorite with a total over 48.0. Unsurprisingly, Kansas City collectively averaged +5.8 more PPG in this split (32.8 PPG), compared to 26.9 PPG outside of it.
Kylen Granson has more targets (8 to 5), more routes (48 to 37), and more snaps (78 to 77) than Mo Alie-Cox through two games. He costs just $2,700 on DraftKings this week.
Since 2020, Travis Kelce has averaged +6.1 more DraftKings FPG as a favorite (20.8 FPG) than as an underdog (14.7) when the game total is over 48.0.
So far this season, KC is allowing the 2nd-most FPG to opposing RBs (28.8). They also gave up the 3rd-highest YPC in 2021 (4.6).
Excluding TDs, no team gave up more FPG to opposing TEs last year than IND (12.6 FPG). This season, they are giving up the 6th-most FPG (TDs included) at 17.7.
Baltimore Ravens (-3) @ New England Patriots (O/U: 43.0)
Lamar Jackson averages +4.9 more DraftKings FPG as a favorite (25.7) than as an underdog (20.9).
And, Jackson averages +8.0 more FPG in wins (25.1) than losses (17.1) across his career.
Damien Harris averages a very pathetic 9.6 FPG in the seven career games he’s been an underdog by 2.0-points or more.
And, last week, Harris was out-snapped by Rhamondre Stevenson (42 to 27) for just the 3rd time ever. Even so, Harris earned 17 opportunities to Stevenson’s 11.
Since becoming a full-time starter in 2020, Jakobi Meyers has exceeded 20.0 DraftKings points in just 10% of his games. New England was favored in all of those contests.
In 19 career starts, Mac Jones has never exceeded 23.0 fantasy points.
No team is giving up more FPG to opposing QBs than the Ravens (33.5 FPG). That’s heavily influenced by Tua Tagovailoa going nuclear in Week 2, but Baltimore also gave up the 4th-most QB FPG (19.9) last season.
NE is giving up the 6th-fewest FPG to opposing QBs this season (15.3), after giving up the 2nd-fewest FPG (14.1) last season.
BAL is giving up the most FPG to opposing WRs (66.9). Obviously, that’s what happens when you don’t cover Jaylen Waddle or Tyreek Hill, but BAL also ranked 3rd-worst in FPG allowed to WRs last season (38.6), so there is probably something here.
Las Vegas Raiders (-2.5) @ Tennessee Titans (O/U: 45.5)
Josh Jacobs averages 16.8 FPG as a favorite, compared to 14.2 FPG as an underdog. Unsurprisingly, Jacobs averages a much more extreme 19.4 FPG in wins, but 11.2 FPG in losses.
Since 2018, Derrick Henry averages +11.5 more FPG in wins (22.9) than losses (11.4). Those are the most extreme win/loss splits that exist in fantasy football.
Since 2021, Ryan Tannehill has exceeded 300 passing yards just twice in 19 games, while earning more than 22.0 fantasy points just once.
Treylon Burks led the Titans in targets in Week 2 (6) on just 17 routes. He leads rookies in TPRR (min. 10 targets), and is certainly due for a breakout if Tennessee ever gets it together offensively.
Davante Adams has been historically better in wins (23.0 FPG) than losses (20.0 FPG) since 2018.
Derek Carr just isn’t capable of big fantasy performances. He averages a pedestrian 18.6 FPG when the game total is under 47.0 since 2017.
The Titans gave up the 2nd-most FPG to opposing slot WRs (16.7) last season. In Week 2, BUF slot WRs combined for 53 yards on 3 catches, while outside WR Stefon Diggs did whatever he wanted.
The Raiders gave up the 3rd-most FPG (27.3) to opposing RBs last season. This season? They are once again giving up the 3rd-most FPG (28.1) to opposing RBs.
LV is giving up the 4th-most FPG (18.3) to opposing TEs. Last year, they gave up the 7th-most (15.1).
Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5) @ New York Jets (O/U: 45.0)
Since 2019, Joe Mixon averages 22.3 FPG in wins, but just 13.4 FPG in losses.
And, as a favorite of 2.0-points or more, Mixon averages a very impressive 21.0 FPG since 2019.
Michael Carter has the 3rd-most RB targets so far this season (13). He’s averaged 5.7 targets per game (~RB5) in his 10 career games as a 3.0-point or more underdog, compared to just 2.3 targets per game outside of that split.
Ja’Marr Chase averages +4.9 more DraftKings FPG as an underdog (20.7) than as a favorite (15.8). He averages 1.5 fewer targets per game in wins (7.7) than losses (9.2).
Hayden Hurst is averaging 6.5 targets per game this season. In his 11 career games with 6 or more targets, Hurst averages 11.0 FPG – equivalent to 2021 Dallas Goedert (TE8).
Joe Burrow averages 24.0 FPG (~QB1) in wins, but just 20.0 FPG (~QB8) in losses across his career.
The 29.0 XFP Garrett Wilson earned in Week 2 was the 4th-most by a player this year. Only Week 1 Ja’Marr Chase, Week 1 Joe Mixon, and Week 2 Jaylen Waddle have had better single-game usage thus far.
The Jets gave up 19.2 rushing FPG to opposing RBs last season (worst), and have given up 27.1 FPG to opposing RBs this season (8th-worst).
NYJ is PFF’s 3rd-worst graded run defense (38.0 run defense grade).
The Bengals gave up the 3rd-most FPG to opposing TEs last season (12.5) excluding TDs. Tyler Conklin has quietly racked up the 8th-most TE targets (13) this season.
No team gave up more FPG to WRs on deep throws last season than the Jets (11.5). Joe Burrow had the 5th-most deep attempts (80) of any QB last season.
Buffalo Bills (-5.5) @ Miami Dolphins (O/U: 53.5)
Over the last 3 seasons, Josh Allen averages 27.4 DraftKings FPG and 26.3 FanDuel FPG in the 15 games his implied team total was 28.5 or higher. The Bills implied team total this week is 29.5.
And, Allen averages a truly mind-boggling 31.3 DraftKings FPG and 30.8 FanDuel FPG when his game total is over 51.5 over the last 3 seasons. For reference, there were only 37 instances of a QB scoring more than 31.3 DraftKings points in all of 2021 (7% of QB starts). And Allen has done that in 55% of his starts within this split, averaging that ridiculous 31.3 DK FPG in the process.
Since 2020, Stefon Diggs averages 22.4 DraftKings FPG as a favorite when the game total is 50.0 or greater, compared to just 13.6 DraftKings FPG as an underdog.
As an underdog, Tyreek Hill has averaged an insane 26.7 DraftKings FPG and 23.8 FanDuel FPG across his career (15 instances). Hill has exceeded 40.0 DraftKings points in 27% of those games.
Raheem Mostert has scored over 23.0 FPs in 30% of the games he’s had 12 or more carries. In Week 2, Mostert worked as the lead RB, capturing a 55% snap share and 54% of backfield opportunities. He costs just $4,500 (RB53) on DraftKings this week.
Buffalo ranks 1 in pass rate over expectation. Miami ranks 3rd. These teams also rank 1st and 4th in PPG. This is tied for the highest-total game of the slate for a reason. Expect heavy ownership for almost every player involved in this contest.
The Bills are the 3rd-toughest defense against opposing RBs this season, allowing just 12.8 FPG. Last year, they ranked 8th-toughest (20.9 FPG).
Miami has given up the 2nd-most FPG to opposing QBs (30.2) this season. We can call that the Lamar Jackson effect. The Dolphins were, however, much tougher against opposing QBs last season, allowing just 16.9 FPG (7th-toughest).
Buffalo is PFF’s 5th-highest graded coverage unit, through 2 weeks. Last season, they gave up the fewest FPG (13.0) to outside WRs, 3.0 FPG better than the No. 2 team, Seattle.
Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) @ Washington Commanders (O/U: 47.5)
Jalen Hurts is averaging 16.4 rushing FPG through 2 weeks. The all-time record for rushing FPG by a QB? 10.8, set by 2019 Lamar Jackson.
There were only 22 instances of a QB carrying the ball 11 or more times in a game last season. Jalen Hurts has done that twice this season.
Since 2021, Jalen Hurts has been favored by 3.0 points or more just 4 times. He averages 25.3 FPG in those games, compared to 22.8 FPG outside of that split.
AJ Brown averages 20.8 DraftKings FPG and has scored over 22.5 DraftKings points in 58% of his games with an implied team total of 25.0 or more. The Eagles implied team total this week is 27.0.
Since 2020, Brown averages 17.3 FPG in wins, but just 13.5 FPG in losses.
Among WRs, Curtis Samuel has seen the 2nd-most designed touches (carries and screens) at 10 total. He’s also accounted for 43% of all targets to Washington WRs (18), averaging 21.0 FPG in the process.
Since 2018, Carson Wentz averages just 17.6 FPG when he’s an underdog of 6.0-points or worse, compared to 20.3 FPG outside of that split.
Wentz also averages a pathetic 14.0 FPG in losses of 10.0-points or more since 2018. If things get out of hand in this game, he’s complete dust.
The Commanders have faced Jared Goff and Trevor Lawrence, and are giving up 23.5 FPG to opposing QBs (12th-most). Last year, no team gave up more FPG to opposing QBs than Washington (22.6). They also gave up the 3rd-most rushing FPG (4.6) to opposing QBs last year.
WAS is also giving up the 4th-most FPG to opposing RBs (28.0). They were much tougher last year, allowing just 20.2 FPG (5th-fewest).
Last season, the Commanders gave up the 5th-most FPG to opposing outside WRs (23.2). This season, they are giving up the 5th-most FPG to opposing WRs (46.2).
Washington is PFF’s 6th-worst graded coverage unit (50.1 coverage grade).
Houston Texans (+3) @ Chicago Bears (O/U: 40.5)
Dameon Pierce logged 84% of backfield opportunities in Week 2. In Week 1, he only logged 36% of total backfield opportunities.
Over the last 2 seasons, David Montgomery has averaged a very impressive 19.6 DraftKings FPG (~RB4) and 17.9 FanDuel FPG (~RB4) as a favorite (7 instances), going over 20.0 DraftKings points in 71% of those outings.
Despite 9.5 rushing attempts per game (tied for the 5th-most ever by a QB), Justin Fields is averaging just 2.5 YPC and 5.4 rushing FPG – a mark that ties 1998 Steve Young for the 66th-best QB rushing FPG ever.
Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet have combined for 1.2 fantasy points through 2 games. At this point last season, they had combined for a much more respectable 24.4 fantasy points.
So far this year, Houston is giving up 162.0 rushing YPG (4th-most), and 34.5 rushing attempts per game (3rd-most).
Last season, Houston gave up the 4th-most FPG to opposing RBs (26.8), and the 3rd-most rushing FPG (18.5).
The Texans offer the worst run defense grade (31.9) in the entire NFL, per PFF.
No team has given up more rushing yards to opposing RBs than the Houston Texans (287). Overall, the Texans represent one of the two or three best matchups for opposing RBs.
New Orleans Saints (-3) @ Carolina Panthers (O/U: 40.5)
Chris Olave has just one fewer target (16) than Michael Thomas (17) through Week 2.
Olave also ranks 8th (among all players) in his percentage of team air yards (43%), and leads the league in targets of 20 or more yards (7).
It’s likely a good sign for CMC that the Panthers are underdogs. In his career, McCaffrey averages +4.5 more FPG in losses (24.3) than wins (19.8).
With that said, low total games haven’t been great for McCaffrey across his career, as he’s averaged just 19.7 FPG and 6.2 targets per game in games with a total under 42.0, compared to 22.9 FPG and 7.9 targets per game outside of that split.
The same is true for Alvin Kamara, who averages just 16.1 FPG in games with a total of 42.0 or less, compared to 21.1 FPG outside of that split.
Michael Thomas appears to be his old self, leading NO in targets, and grading out as PFF’s 15th-best WR through two weeks (76.1 PFF receiving grade). Thomas is currently the WR10, ranking ahead of Ja’Marr Chase and Davante Adams by FPG.
This is only the 10th game Jameis Winston has ever played with a total under 42.0. He’s actually done relatively well in these spots before, averaging 19.4 DraftKings FPG (~QB13) with games of 30.5 and 24.0 DK points, at an average ownership of 0.9%. He’s priced as the QB22 on DraftKings this week.
The Saints are once again a brutal matchup for opposing RBs, allowing the 9th-fewest FPG so far this season (17.4) against the combination of Leonard Fournette and Cordarelle Patterson. Last season, New Orleans was the toughest matchup for opposing rushers, allowing just 17.4 FPG.
The Panthers are the 4th-toughest defense against opposing QBs this season, allowing just 13.6 FPG. But, I don’t think that matters much at all given they’ve faced Jacoby Brissett and Daniel Jones.
Detroit Lions (+6) @ Minnesota Vikings (O/U: 53.5)
D’Andre Swift has scored more than 20.0 DraftKings points nine times. In 67% of those games, the game total was 48.5 or more.
Amon-Ra St. Brown has earned double-digit targets in his last eight games. In 2021, only nine players earned double-digit targets in eight or more games.
And, over that eight-game stretch, St. Brown averages 26.4 FPG. 2021 Cooper Kupp averaged 25.9 FPG.
Jared Goff has had outings of 26.0 and 15.5 FPs in two games this season. Those are the 2nd- and 7th- best fantasy games of his Lions career (16 total games).
The Minnesota Vikings (29.75) have the highest implied team total of the slate. And remember, the slate includes Buffalo (29.5 implied total), Kansas City (28.0), and the Los Angeles Chargers (27.5).
Dalvin Cook has played in just three games with an implied team total of 28.0 or more. He averages 28.0 DraftKings FPG, and his worst game in that sample is 26.9 DK points. Extremely impressive, granted it’s obviously a minuscule sample.
Kirk Cousins has exceeded 26.0 DraftKings points in 50% of his games with an implied team total of 28.0 or more. He averages 21.9 DraftKings FPG in that sample with an average ownership of 9.3%.
Cousins also averages 23.2 DraftKings FPG in his 25 career games with a total of 50.0 or higher. He’s scored over 25.0 DraftKings points in 52% of those games.
Justin Jefferson has played in five career games with an implied team total of 28.0 or more. His DraftKings scores in those games: 42.6, 30.3, 25.3, 22.4, 17.6. He averages 27.6 DraftKings FPG in that sample.
Jefferson has 14 career games with a total of 50.0 or higher. When favored, he averages 31.0 DraftKings FPG. As an underdog? 18.6.
The Lions are the 8th-worst team against opposing WRs this year, allowing 39.9 FPG.
No team gave up more FPG to opposing slot WRs last year than Minnesota (17.0). And now they face the Sun God. Prayers are appreciated for the Minnesota slot defenders.
Both Minnesota (16.8 FPG) and Detroit (16.9 FPG) allowed the 4th- and 3rd-most passing FPG to opposing QBs last year, respectively.
The Lions have given up the most FPG (31.1) to opposing RBs so far this season. They ranked 4th-worst last season, allowing 26.8 FPG.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) @ Los Angeles Chargers (O/U: 47.5)
Christian Kirk is currently averaging more XFP/G (15.8) than AJ Brown (15.6). Kirk is also PFF’s 8th-highest graded WR thus far (80.0 PFF receiving grade). Maybe that contract isn’t as ridiculous as initially believed?
The 13.8 XFP/G that James Robinson is averaging ranks 14th-best among RBs this year. Travis Etienne is averaging 11.2 XFP/G, which ranks 27th.
Over his career, Justin Herbert averages an insane 29.6 FPG in wins, but just 21.4 FPG in losses. For perspective, 2019 Lamar Jackson (the greatest fantasy QB season ever) averaged just 27.7 FPG.
Everyone is freaking out about Austin Ekeler’s usage. Last season, he averaged 18.1 XFP/G (5th-most among RBs). This season? 17.8 XFP/G, 5th-most among RBs.
When favored by 6.0-points or more, Ekeler averages 22.6 FPG, compared to 19.0 outside of that split.
The Chargers were an elite matchup for opposing RBs last season, allowing 4.6 YPC (4th-most), 18.6 rushing FPG (2nd-most), and 26.3 total FPG (5th-most).
JAX showed vulnerability to the deep ball last season, allowing the 4th-most YPG (57.3) on throws of 15 or more yards.
No team gave up more FPG (17.2) to opposing TEs last season than the Chargers.
Atlanta Falcons (+2) @ Seattle Seahawks (O/U: 42.0)
Cordarrelle Patterson lost his bell-cow role in Week 2, as Tyler Allgeier captured 48% of backfield opportunities.
The Seattle RB rotation is a complete disaster, at least for fantasy purposes. In Week 2, Travis Homer led the way with 22 snaps, Rashaad Penny earned 20 snaps, and rookie Ken Walker earned 12 snaps. Nobody in this backfield is playable outside of the afternoon-only slate, and it’s still thin on that four-game slate.
Geno Smith has never exceeded 22.6 DraftKings points as a favorite, and he averages just 12.3 DK FPG as a favorite.
Marcus Mariota is averaging 7.4 rushing FPG, which ranks as 3rd-best among 2022 QBs, and 24th-best all-time if sustained for a full season.
Atlanta gave up the 3rd-most FPG to opposing QBs last season (20.1). After games against Jameis Winston and Matt Stafford, they rank 11th-worst this season (24.0).
Seattle was the 2nd-worst team against opposing RBs last season (29.8 FPG allowed). This season, they rank 9th-worst (27.0 FPG allowed).
The Falcons are giving up the 3rd-most FPG to opposing WRs (50.7) this season. Last season, they allowed the 9th-most FPG (22.7) to opposing outside WRs.
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) @ Arizona Cardinals (O/U: 49.0)
Through two games, Cooper Kupp has earned 26.9 XFP/G. Last season, he averaged just 21.0 XFP/G.
Kyler Murray averages just 20.2 FPG in losses, compared to 27.3 FPG in wins. The Cardinals implied win probability this week is 39%.
Similarly, Matthew Stafford averages 23.6 FPG in wins, but just 17.2 FPG in losses since he joined the Rams.
Allen Robinson has only played in eight games where his team's implied total is over 25.0 (poor guy). In those games, he averages an impressive 18.8 DraftKings FPG (~WR6). Robinson is the WR27 (by salary) this week on DraftKings.
Despite +1.7 more targets per game in losses, Marquise Brown averages a disastrous 9.6 FPG in losses, compared to 13.7 FPG in wins. In 17 career losses, Brown has never exceeded 20.0 fantasy points.
And, despite being far and away the most talented receiver in Arizona, Brown’s usage hasn’t improved relative to last season, at least not yet. Through two weeks, Brown averages 16.9 XFP/G. Last season? 16.7 XFP/G.
Darrel Williams appears to be the 1a to Eno Benjamin’s 1b if James Conner is out this week. Williams out-snapped Benjamin 40 to 37, while usage was split almost exactly 50-50 between the duo.
Both of these teams have been terrible against opposing QBs this season, with the Cardinals giving up the 3rd-most FPG (30.0), and LAR giving up the 5th-most (28.9).
Last season, though, LAR was much tougher against opposing QBs, allowing the 4th-fewest FPG (16.2).
Last season, Arizona allowed the 5th-most YPC (4.6) to opposing RBs. This year, they’ve given up the 5th-most FPG to opposing RBs (27.6).
Arizona is the league’s worst-graded coverage unit (36.9 PFF coverage grade). They rank just 15th in FPG allowed to opposing WRs (35.2), but I would expect that to change after Week 3.
Green Bay Packers (+1.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (O/U: 41.5)
Tom Brady hasn’t been phased by low total games since joining Tampa Bay, as he averages 24.3 FPG in games with a total under 44.0 (5 instances).
But, I’m not sure that’s very applicable this season. Tampa Bay just isn’t passing as much as year’s past, averaging just 30.5 pass attempts per game this season, compared to 40.3 per game in previous years with Brady. That ~25% drop in passing volume is worth about 5.6 FPG, if it’s sustained.
Aaron Rodgers has struggled more than Brady in these low total spots, averaging 20.6 FPG in games with a total under 44.0, compared to 23.8 in games with a total over 44.0 since 2017.
Since 2019, Aaron Jones has fared much worse as an underdog, averaging 16.9 DraftKings FPG, compared to 19.5 DraftKings FPG as a favorite.
Mike Evans is officially out for Week 3. Unfortunately, we don’t have much of a sample for how the remaining Buccaneers perform without him. In his lone game without Evans since joining TB, Brady scored just 16.7 fantasy points. He averages 24.4 FPG in his other 34 games with Evans.
TB has been tough against opposing QBs thus far, allowing just 13.5 FPG (3rd-toughest) this season. Last year, TB allowed the 4th-fewest passing fantasy points per attempt (0.38).
No team gave up less rushing FPG to opposing RBs than Tampa did last season (8.0). This season, they’ve allowed the 2nd-fewest FPG to opposing RBs (12.7).