Scott Barrett's Week 3 DFS Breakdown


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Scott Barrett's Week 3 DFS Breakdown

What is this column? Each week I’ll be listing the best and most-interesting plays of the week, grouped by position, and ranked and tiered in some sort of descending order. Keep in mind, we’re looking only at the players available on the main slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

This article is long. It’s going to be long every week. Ideally, it’s all you should need to know to be able to profit playing DFS in any given week.

Be sure to also watch our DFS Preview livestream every Friday at 3PM EST. Be sure to get in our Discord — if you’re not in there already, you’re missing out on a lot of important news updates as well as personal guidance and advice from our experts. And, most importantly, be sure to check back on Sunday mornings for the “Sunday Morning Update” – basically a TLDR version of this piece along with any injury-related updates we might need.

Anyway, let’s dive in…

TLDR: Too Long, Didn’t Read

How to play this slate (GPPs)

Week 3 is always a great week for tournaments; a great week to go contrarian. Players will get drafted in Round 2 or Round 3 of season-long leagues, have two down-games in a row, and then will be written off as dead by the fantasy community. That means low-ownership, but also low salaries. And then, inevitably, roughly half of those players will smash. And then the other half will bust, and continue to bust for the remainder of the season. That’s sort of what we’re looking at this week with guys like Saquon Barkley (FD) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (DK).

Initially I assumed TB@LAR stacks would be massively owned for tournaments. And LAC@KC and SEA@MIN too. But that doesn’t appear to be the case at all. For that reason I suspect to have massive exposure to Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford stacks. (There’s no need to get cute when the field is doing that for you.) And then the other ~40% of my lineups will have exposure to Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, etc.

Graham and I will be digging a bit deeper into all of this — ownership, low-owned contrarian plays, leverage options, general tournament strategy, etc. — in the Sunday Update, as always.


For cash, on both sites, you’re really only looking at Lamar Jackson all the way at the top, or Justin Fields all the way at the bottom.

In the middle tier Tom Brady, Justin Herbert, Matthew Stafford are all in play if you have enough salary leftover to move up from Fields, but not enough to roster Jackson. Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Kyler Murray are hard to argue against as well, but I do prefer Jackson. Daniel Jones and Jared Goff are also strong values, but, again, I’d much rather take the savings with Fields.

Fields is one of the best cash-game plays on the slate, but I don’t expect to have any exposure to him in tournaments. For instance, on DraftKings, I’d much rather play Jared Goff at the same price-point in GPPs.

As you’ll see in a moment, I initially had Kyler Murray written up as my top QB, but I was forced to pivot following the news that DeAndre Hopkins’ injury put him in danger of missing Sunday’s game. That, and, Baltimore will be without five starters on defense, which should force Jackson to keep his foot on the gas. That was, at least initially, a pretty big concern for me.

Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
[DK: QB1, FD: QB1]

Murray is not yet the favorite to be the MVP of the 2021 season (he ranks 2nd), but he should be. At the very least, he has the best odds of any QB to be MVP of the fantasy season. Murray averages 31.0 FPG over his last 11 healthy games, hitting at least 30.0 in each of his last 5 healthy games. The all-time record for any QB in any season is 27.7 FPG, set by Lamar Jackson in 2019. Murray has eclipsed that 27.7-point threshold in 7 of his last 7 healthy starts.

I talked to a top DFS Pro earlier this week who told me, “You’re a fish if you don’t play Murray every week until he’s $1,000 more expensive on both sites.”

On paper this week’s matchup is excellent. Jacksonville has given up back-to-back QB1 finishes to the lowly likes of Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater, who collectively averaged 22.4 FPG against them. Over the past two seasons, Jacksonville ranks bottom-3 in passer rating allowed, bottom-3 in fantasy points allowed per dropback (or pass attempt), and bottom-5 in FPG allowed to opposing QBs. Arizona is favored by 7.5-points, behind a 52.0 over/under. Historically, Murray averages 33.1 FPG in games Arizona is favored by at least 6.0-points, and 28.7 FPG in games with over/under of at least 51.5.

Update: With DeAndre Hopkins questionable, and five of Baltimore’s defensive starters out, Lamar Jackson is now a better play than Murray on both sites. With those defensive players out, this game now has massive shootout potential (or, at least, less blowout potential). And the Lions probably have the worst pass defense in football, giving up a 40/53-576-6-0 line to San Francisco and Green Bay passers (148.0 passer rating, 3 total sacks). Jackson averages 28.7 DK FPG, and, over his last 7 games, averages 12.0 carries, 89.0 rushing YPG, and 14.9 DK rushing FPG..

Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
[DK: QB23, FD: QB25]

Fields ranks just 23rd at the position in salary on DraftKings ($5,200), and 25th on FanDuel ($6,500). But there’s not a single fantasy website on earth that doesn’t have him ranked as a borderline-QB1 this week.

Basically, he’s the exact same sort of play Jalen Hurts and Taysom Hill were last year. In games started and finished last year, Hurts averaged a return of 4.3X value on DraftKings on an average salary of $6,000. Hill returned 3.6X value with an average salary of $5,975. Like with Hill and Hurts last year, we don’t really know how good Fields will be from a real NFL-standpoint. But like with Hurts and Hill last year, it doesn’t really matter.

Simply, the Konami Code is real, and it is glorious. Fields has massive Konami Code-upside, ranking top-5 all-time in Speed Score and forty-yard-dash time by a QB. He averaged 10.2 rushing FPG and 64.6 rushing YPG in 2020, after averaging 9.2 and 49.1 in 2019. This preseason, Fields averaged 22.8 fantasy points and 10.1 rushing fantasy per four quarters. And dating back to the preseason, we’ve seen him scramble at a much higher rate than Hurts or Hill, or even Lamar Jackson.

Running Backs

Expensive Running Backs

Derrick Henry averages only 11.2 FPG over Tennessee’s last six losses. But he averages 34.1 FPG over Tennessee’s last six wins. That’s supra-McCaffreyian levels of production. Good news: The Titans are 5.0-point favorites against an Indianapolis team that might be forced to start Brett Hundley or Jacob Eason this week. Henry has faced Indianapolis four times over the past two seasons: in two wins (32.1 FPG), in two losses (14.7 FPG). Oh! And he’s catching passes now, earning a career-high 6 targets last week, following a near-career-high 4 targets in Week 1.

Dalvin Cook doesn’t quite have the gamescript advantage Henry does, but Minnesota's projected gamescript is at least close enough (+1.0). More importantly, he has a far superior matchup-advantage. Henry, afterall, just dropped 47.7 fantasy points on this same Seattle defense, after Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines combined to score 31.8 despite not finding the end zone. Still, maybe the matchup isn’t as good as it looks; Seattle ranks 7th-best in PFF run defense grade, so maybe that was just Henry being Henry… Cook is seeing phenomenal volume, despite back-to-back games with poor gamescript, averaging 21.0 carries and 5.0 targets per game. Over the past two seasons, he’s hit at least 19.8 DKFP in 75% of his games, averaging 23.4 FPG (27.6 FPG in wins). On paper, it would at least be very close. But it’s not at all close now, after Cook failed to practice all week (ankle) and is officially a GTD in a 4PM EST game.

Despite his slow start to the year, Alvin Kamara looks mispriced. Those were two very weird games, and, outside of that, Kamara is seeing terrific usage. (You just have to squint really hard.) Among RBs, Kamara ranks 3rd in XFP market share (31%), 6th in snap share (78%, up from 65% last year), and 1st in target share (23%). Unfortunately, the matchup against New England worries me. New England has historically been especially vulnerable to pass-catching backs, but New England also always schemes to their opponent. And over the past few years, they’ve done a terrific job of holding Kamara-style running backs like Austin Ekeler and Christian McCaffrey to near-season-low performances.

Yeah, just play Henry.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
[DK: RB5, FD: RB9]

15 carries in Week 1. 9 catches in Week 2. A Chiefs defense giving up 31.6 FPG to opposing RBs (3rd-most) in Week 3.

I’m not sure anything more needs to be said. He’s getting all of the team’s goal-line work now. This game offers a 54.5-point over/under.

Yeah, he’s a near-must play on FanDuel, and is close to that on DraftKings.

Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
[DK: RB9, FD: RB5]

From Wes Huber’s Advanced Matchups:

Matchup to Target

The Vikings have stacked the box at the fifth-highest rate over the last three seasons. During that same stretch, Chris Carson ranks with the fifth-highest FP/attempt (1.72) when working against a stacked box. And he’s generated 3.87 yards after contact/attempt (fourth-highest) against stacked fronts. While the numbers tell us that Minnesota’s defense is warranting the 11th-most pure rushing FPG to RBs, those numbers are tainted after facing the anemic rushing attack of Arizona. The Vikings permitted Joe Mixon to pace all RBs with 28 FPs in Week 1. That result represents the potential of Carson vs. Minnesota. The third-highest elusive rating informs us that Carson is at the top of his game. Since he’s the dedicated goal line back, we just want to see that 14% target share return from Week 1 to assemble a full collection of optimal factors in his favor.

Although Carson's usage wasn't ideal in Week 2, with Rashaad Penny out, playing on just 63% of the team's snaps (after seeing 77% in Week 1), I'm inclined to agree with Wes. He’s a strong value on both sites.

Mike Davis, RB, Atlanta Falcons
[DK: RB25, FD: RB27]

Here’s what I said in the Week 3 XFP Report:

Davis is your No. 3 positive regression candidate.

Through two weeks, Davis is averaging (per game): 13.0 carries (19th), 8.0 targets (4th), and 20.9 XFP (4th) on a 68% Snap% (13th). He leads all RBs in receiving XFP.

On one hand, the volume he’s seeing is excellent. On the other, his inefficiency is especially alarming in light of Cordarelle Patterson’s hyper-efficiency. Patterson is averaging 16.3 FPG on a 12.1-point expectation, giving him a +4.2-point differential (3rd-best).

So, we can argue this two different ways:

1) Patterson is significantly more efficient than Davis. It’s only a matter of time until Patterson takes over this backfield. Or, at the very least, tips this committee more towards his favor.

2) Davis is an ideal high-risk / high-reward buy-low trade target, coming off of a game against the league’s best run defense. Patterson has been the more efficient running back, but not necessarily the better one; Davis ranks 22nd in PFF Grade, Patterson ranks 25th. Every year there’s a number of Duke Johnson-esque RBs the fantasy community wants to see get 15-plus touches per game. But, for whatever reason, and through multiple coaching staffs, they’re always inexplicably capped at 6-12 touches per game. Perhaps the 30-year-old former-WR Patterson fits that bill.

On Twitter, due to a limited character count and a penchant for malevolence, this has translated to:

1) “Mike Davis was a wasted pick, he was always going to be a wasted pick. Your an idiot for drafting him.” [bad grammar for emphasis]

2) “Chase volume. He’s seeing RB1-volume. The production will follow.”

Ultimately, I find both points very compelling. I don’t have any exposure to Davis in season-long leagues, but could see myself trying to buy-low (very low) for my RB-needy teams.

Anyway… Davis is a phenomenal value and a strong high-risk / high-reward play. He ranks 4th among RBs in XFP per game (20.9), but he ranks just 25th (DK) and 27th in salary (FD). And I think this is a phenomenal matchup. The Giants rank 4th-worst in YPC allowed (5.36) and they just gave up 83 receiving yards to J.D. McKissic last week. By an important advanced stat, the Giants rank dead-last in yards before contact allowed per RB rush attempt (2.86). I’m in the minority here, but I like him more than Edwards-Helaire at a similar price-tag and lower ownership.

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
[DK: RB9, FD: RB19]

From Jake Tribbey’s Top DFS Values:

This is the spot to play Saquon Barkley. Last week didn’t bring much fantasy production for the former No. 2 overall pick, but it did usher in an impressive 84% snap share for Barkley — the 2nd-best mark of any Week 2 RB. That 84% snap share is critical to note, as Barkley eclipsed that mark in 7 of his 13 games in 2019, signifying that the NYG coaching staff is likely ready to unleash the talented 4th-year RB in the bell cow capacity we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. With additional rest from playing their Week 2 game on Thursday night, Barkley’s Week 3 workload could easily be similar to the 16.7 carries and 5.6 targets per game he saw in 2019. Not to mention this is by far the cheapest Barkley has ever been on Fanduel — and by $1200 in salary.

If Twitter discourse is any indication, people are still worried about Saquon’s performance post-ACL tear. And those worries are certainly rational, given Barkley looks closer to Falcons-era Todd Gurley than 2019 Saquon Barkley. But even if Saquon is 90% of his usual self on a full Saquon workload, we are still looking at roughly 15.1 Fanduel FPG — a mark that would’ve been good for RB10 last year. And yet Barkley is the RB20 by salary on Fanduel. So, as I see it, we are staring at the rare opportunity of a generational talent at RB priced as an RB2, and likely seeing lower ownership than he should due to concerns over his rehab and recovery. Which is to say, he’s both a lock-button play in cash games and an excellent leverage opportunity in tournaments on Fanduel.

Johnny: “Bro, he’s officially off the injury report. That’s huge. He’s a must-play.”

As a Giants-homer who is egregiously over-exposed to Barkley in season-long leagues, I’m extremely nervous and very skeptical. To me, Barkley did not look at all close to 100% last week. But, still, I can’t deny he’s a top value, and I have a hard time ever fading Johnny when he takes stances like this with so much conviction.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
[DK: RB35, FD: RB14]

From Jake Tribbey’s Top DFS Values:

This is the cheapest Edwards-Helaire has ever been on DraftKings — by $1,000 in salary. That salary discount isn’t without cause, as CEH has averaged a dreadful 3.3 YPC and 6.9 DraftKings FPG through two weeks. Still, CEH has seen 13 or more touches in each contest, and his 69% snap share ranks 13th at the position so far this year, while his 78% XFP positional market share ranks 8th.

He might be #NotGood, but he’s still the lead back on the best offense in the history of football. That’s absolutely worth something in fantasy, especially at his absurd RB34 DraftKings salary.

Week 3 ushers in (shockingly, I know) another high total game (55.5) for the Chiefs, with KC presenting the main slate’s highest implied team total (31.0). More importantly, the Chargers are an outstanding matchup for opposing RBs, as Brandon Staley’s defense has been daring opponents to run the ball this season, giving up the 7th-most rush attempts per game (29.0) and 6th-most FPG to opposing RBs (23.1). With Tyreek Hill’s game breaking speed always on display, I would expect the Chargers defense to play even more conservatively than they did in Weeks 1 and 2 — which should present an opportunity for CEH to have his highest-touch game so far this year.

I get that this isn’t a sexy play by any means (which hopefully reduces ownership), but the salary, game environment, and matchup are simply too good to pass up. It’s probably too cute for cash, but Edwards-Helaire is one of my favorite tournament this week. Granted, if he can’t provide value this week on his meager $4,800 salary, then he can likely be written off for the remainder of his KC tenure as a ‘generational bust’.

My go-to film expert (after Greg Cosell) Brett Whitefield had a Day 3-grade on Edwards-Helaire coming out of college. And I’ve never been able to get that out of my head. He certainly looks like a Day 3-caliber player these days. Or, maybe he’s still impacted by an ankle sprain suffered late in the preseason. But still, $4,800 is insanely cheap. And I have a hard time fading a RB at this price-tag, who is seeing 67% of the team’s snaps and 78% of the XFP out of the backfield (8th-most). And, on a team favored by 7-points behind the highest implied point total on the slate (30.75). And, the matchup is excellent. Los Angeles ranks 3rd-worst in yards before contact allowed per rush (2.59), 2nd-worst in YPC allowed (5.52) and worst in rushing YPG allowed (143.5) to opposing RBs. But, undoubtedly, it does feel very gross.

Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team
[DK: RB14, FD: RB18]

Gibson is seeing legitimately good usage, despite the fact that Washington has trailed on 79% of their plays — 16.5 carries and 3.5 targets per game. That’s solid, but, with 0 opportunities (and 0 of 3 snaps) inside the 10-yard-line, that equates to just 13.1 XFP per game (21st). As 9.5-point underdogs, against a stout Buffalo run defense, allowing just 9.2 FPG (3rd-best) to opposing RBs, I’m not really about it. Though I do love Gibson. And he is undoubtedly a strong value on FanDuel, and did manage to rise above league-low levels of QB-play and negative gamescript (on a lesser workload) prior to injury last year.

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
[DK: RB10, FD: RB12]

From Wes Huber’s Advanced Matchups:

Matchup to Avoid

We certainly know HC/play-caller Zac Taylor is going to feed Joe Mixon the rock. Even with Chicago showing no signs of letting up in run defense last week, he still called for 20 handoffs. It’s a noble effort, but a foolhardy approach if it’s a sign of things to come. On the positive side, the Steelers rank with the 10th-highest rate of stacking the box. And Mixon has been better this season when facing stacked boxes. On the flip side, Pittsburgh has limited opposing RBs to the fourth-fewest FPG this season. Mixon will have an avenue of attack through the air, but the 15% target share he was provided in Week 1 declined to 7% last week.

Ultimately, I do agree with Wes that this matchup is exceedingly difficult. Still, like with Barkley, Edwards-Helaire, and Gibson, he’s another mispriced technical “value”, but still a fairly gross play. Through two weeks, Mixon totals 49 carries and 6 targets, hitting 21 touches in back to back games. He ranks 5th in XFP per game (19.3) and 2nd in snap share (81%), and if you know me, you know I have a really hard time fading the uber-bell cow RBs seeing ~80% of their team’s snaps or more.

Johnny brought up on this week’s livestream that he thinks Cincinnati wins this week, against a banged-up Ben Roethlisberger (who looks 2015 Peyton Manning-levels of bad) who will also be without his go-to receiver this week. Neither of us were very bullish on Mixon overall, though we both agreed he’s mispriced. Johnny likes the idea of playing him in tournaments, stacked with the Bengals DST, which might be the best DST-play of the slate (on DraftKings). And I agreed.

Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
[DK: RB7, FD: RB6]

From Wes Huber’s Advanced Matchups:

Matchup to Avoid

The prospects are no better for the run game on the other side of the ball. The struggles of Ben Roethlisberger have resulted in defenses nearly eliminating the Steelers’ ground game. Pittsburgh ranks dead last with an average of only 57 total rushing YPG. Lacking a ground game and the ability to attack downfield, it’s no surprise to see Pittsburgh averaging the eighth-fewest PPG (20). And that rough sledding will not see any signs of letting up against a Bengals’ defense confining opposing backfields to the eighth-fewest FPG. Offering the same path to production as for Mixon, Cincy’s defense has been vulnerable to RBs through the air with the 11th-most pure receiving FPG surrendered. That offers nowhere near the amount of upside I expect to justify investing RB9/RB8 dollars.

Again, same thing as with Mixon. Harris is too cheap on DraftKings, at just $6,600. He ranks first in snap share, by a margin, at 97%, though just 15th in XFP per game (14.7). And projected gamescript is (technically) more in his favor than Mixon's, favored by 3.5-points. But I’m also very sympathetic to every point Wes just made.

Other / Notes

D’Andre Swift looked like he was shot out of a cannon on every touch last week. He ranks 9th in XFP per game (17.5) and 8th in snaps per game (46.0), on a 66% snap share. And yet, he ranks just 16th in salary on DraftKings, though 7th on FanDuel. Baltimore will be without at least five starters on defense this week: DE Derek Wolfe, DT Brandon Williams, DE Justin Madubuike, LB Justin Houston. and DE Jaylon Ferguson. He’s a great play.

Alexander Mattison is just the 37th-most expensive RB on FanDuel this week, and Dalvin Cook is a true gametime decision. In the two games Cook missed last year, Mattison flopped in Week 6 (11 touches, 4.0 fantasy points) but smashed in Week 17 (24 touches, 29.5 fantasy points.) Ultimately, we probably won’t get word on Cook’s status until after 1PM EST lock, so he’s an excellent late-swap option on FanDuel. But probably not a player to build around before then.

I didn’t give Jonathan Taylor a featured write up, because he’s the same price as Austin Ekeler on FanDuel, and I like Ekeler significantly more. He has a gimpy QB, three dinged up starting offensive linemen, and projected negative gamescript working against him. But he ranks 3rd among RBs in XFP per game, and still warrants a discussion if only because of that. I spent more time on him here.

Nick Chubb is a good-to-great play for tournaments on FanDuel. And especially if stacked with Cleveland DST.

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I still like Leonard Fournette for all of the reasons I liked him last week. Of course, Tom Brady seems dead set on breaking Peyton Manning’s single-season touchdown record, only allowing a RB to touch the ball whenever he needs a breather. Gamescript isn’t as good this week (-1.0), and neither is the on-paper matchup, though the implied total is still high (28.25). But, Ronald Jones is finally going to ride the bench this week, right? Right?! Fournette already ranks 14th in XFP per game (13.7), despite his lowly XTD (0.45). Anyway, he’s a strong value on DraftKings, priced as the RB29, and is a great low-owned leverage play for tournaments.

James Robinson played on 72% of the team's snaps last week, earning 11 of 14 carries and 3 of 5 targets out of the backfield. He’s vaguely in play.

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp / Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
[DK: WR9, FD: WR5] / [DK: WR25, FD: WR26]

From Jake Tribbey’s Top DFS Values:

Kupp ranks 1st among all non-QBs in FPG (30.3) and while we can’t continue to expect that level of dominance to continue, he does rank 3rd among WRs in XFP per game (20.7). And Kupp ranks 7th among WRs in targets per game (11.0), 1st in end zone targets per game (2.5), 3rd in YPRR (4.59). Yet, he’s the WR9 on DraftKings.

A matchup against a Tampa Bay defense that embarrassed the Chiefs in last year’s Super Bowl is never ideal, but this game does offer the highest over/under (55.5) of the week, and the Rams have the 6th-highest team implied point total of the slate (27.25). If we eliminate Jared Goff’s dreadful 2020 season from the equation, then Kupp has averaged an impressive 19.9 DraftKings FPG when the Rams’ implied team total is more than 27.0 points. And our own Wes Huber noted Kupp’s matchup with Ross Cockrell as one to target in his Advanced Matchups column.

Ownership here should get pretty heavy, so pivoting off of Kupp to other leverage options in tournaments is absolutely worth consideration. But for cash games on DraftKings, Kupp’s a must-play.

As Johnny predicted last week, Kupp was in fact the No. 1-best overall play of the slate. And he said the same thing again this week (for DraftKings at least). I’m in complete agreement, though I do like the value on Robert Woods as well.

Yes, it’s very weird that Van Jefferson has run more routes than Woods this year (56 to 50), but Woods also saw 9 targets last week (30% target share). And now he gets a matchup against a Tampa Bay defense that’s given up a league-high 67.1 FPG to opposing WRs. Kupp is the better on-paper play on DraftKings (and has the better matchup), but Woods is still an incredibly strong value on both sites.

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
[DK: WR14, FD: WR27]

From Jake Tribbey’s Top DFS Values:

Williams ranks 2nd among all WRs in XFP per game through two weeks (22.5). And he ranks 2nd in end zone targets per game (2.0), 2nd in targets per game (12.0), and 5th in FPG (22.2).

Surprised? Well, you probably shouldn’t be if you listened to OC Joe Lombardi in June, when he noted that Williams was in line for a massively expanded, Michael Thomas-esque role.

And since this is a values article, I’m obligated to point out that Williams is the WR26 on Fanduel. In the 3rd-highest total (54.5) game of the Week 3 main slate, as 7-point underdogs. Despite ranking in the top-5 among WRs in all those aforementioned metrics. Absurd, I know.

Sometimes values just slap you across the face because they are so glaringly obvious, and Mike Williams on Fanduel is one of those moments. I’m not overthinking this spot, I’m just hitting the lock button on Williams.

Ja’Marr Chase / Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
[DK: WR30, FD: WR30] / [DK: WR46, FD: WR38]

From Wes Huber’s Advanced Matchups:

Matchup to Target

If Tee Higgins is unable to shake his shoulder injury, get ready to fire up a higher percentage of Ja’Marr Chase in your GPPs. Chase has been everything Cincinnati hoped for when they selected him with their first pick. He has supplied 14.1 yards in return for each target sent his way (ninth-best). And his 146.8 targeted passer rating is fifth-best among qualified WRs. We’re a ways off from constructing a reliable coverage chart for Chase so, until then, we need to play the surface matchups. But it’s great to see Chase working all across the offensive formation. With a 24% rate of routes run out of the slot, he will have an opportunity to cash in on Pittsburgh allowing the third-most slot FPG to WRs.

The downside to the Cincinnati offense this week is from the Steelers featuring the two coverages that have given Joe Burrow the most difficulty during his early career: Cover 2 and Cover 3. However, those numbers could improve now that he has Chase injected into the attack. In any case, Chase will align across from James Pierre on just under half of his routes. Pierre, a 2020 UDFA out of Florida, has allowed the 44th-ranked YPCS (1.19), 34th-ranked FP/CS (0.22), and 48th-best targeted passer rating (103.7) among 76 qualified outside CBs.

With Higgins out of the equation, I don’t know how Chase isn’t one of the top plays of the slate on both sites. Chase has been dramatically overachieving his volume, ranking 20th in FPG (17.2) but just 70th in XFP per game (9.1). But now Higgins leaves behind 7.5 targets per game and 15.7 XFP per game (20th).

And Tyler Boyd is also a phenomenal play, priced as just the WR46 on DraftKings. He went 7-73 on 9 targets last week, and, with CB Joe Haden likely to return, he also has the more favorable matchup. The Steelers were a top slot-funnel defense last year, with 42.4% of their production allowed to WRs coming from the slot (4th-most). And the slot funnel seems to have continued into 2021, with both Cole Beasley and Hunter Renfrow leading their respective teams in targets against Pittsburgh in Weeks 1 and 2.

Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
[DK: WR23, FD: WR33]

From Jake Tribbey’s Top DFS Values:

With Diontae Johnson out this week, Claypool is a screaming value as just the 30th highest-priced WR on Fanduel. Since Week 4 of last season, Claypool has averaged 19.9 FPG in games Johnson failed to see double-digit targets (5). For perspective, 19.9 FPG would’ve ranked 4th-best among WRs last season.

And let’s not forget that Claypool is really #good at football. He led all Steelers WRs last season in YPRR (2.00), PFF receiving grade (76.1), YAC per reception (5.4), deep targets (31), and passer rating when targeted (116.7). Plus this is a solid matchup, as Cincinnati’s defense gave up the 7th-most FPG to outside WRs last year (24.1).

Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
[DK: WR11, FD: WR15]

From Jake Tribbey’s Top DFS Values:

Allen ranks 5th among WRs in XFP per game (20.3) and 5th in targets (21), but is just the WR11 by salary on DraftKings and the WR15 on Fanduel. And the Chargers are 7-point underdogs in the 3rd-highest total game (54.5) of the Week 3 main slate. In his career, as more than a 5.5-point underdog Allen averages 18.9 DraftKings FPG and 14.6 Fanduel FPG — numbers that both would’ve ranked top 7 among WRs last year.

The Chargers will almost certainly need to throw the ball, and Allen is going to see roughly 23-25% of those passes come his way. He’s a solid play on DK, but an excellent one on Fanduel at WR15, where he can absolutely be considered for cash game lineups.

K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings
[DK: WR77, FD: WR65]

From Jake Tribbey’s Top DFS Values:

Through two weeks, K.J. Osborn has run a route on 82% of Kirk Cousins’ dropbacks. And he’s been targeted on 15% of Cousins passing attempts, catching all 12 of his targets for 167 yards and a score. Unbelievably, on a per-game basis, Osborn is currently the WR19 in PPR. Minnesota, thin at TE, has clearly moved away from their usual 2TE usage in favor of more 3WR sets. In fact, they’ve increased their utilization of 3WR sets by 26% (from 38% to 64%) since last year. And Osborn is the big winner.

Week 3 brings the ideal game environment for Vikings’ pass catchers, as Minnesota faces Seattle in the game with the highest total (56.0) of the week. And Osborn has played 70% of his snaps from the slot; great news considering Seattle gave up the most FPG (16.5) to opposing slot WRs last year. Osborn is realistically mispriced by $500-1,000 on both sites, and given that I wouldn’t expect massive ownership here, he’s likely to be one of my favorite overall plays Sunday.

Marvin Jones, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
[DK: WR42, FD: WR23]

From Start/Sit:

Since Week 8 of last season, only three wide receivers have outscored Marvin Jones: Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs. Over this span, Jones is averaging 8.8 targets and 18.0 FPG. For perspective, those numbers would have ranked 10th- and 6th-best (respectively) if over the full season.

This year, Jones ranks (per game): 17th in targets (9.5), 9th in air yards (132.0), 4th in end zone targets (1.5), 5th in deep targets (2.5), 15th in XFP (17.6), and 16th in FPG (18.1).

So, he’s producing like a high-end WR2 on high-end WR2-levels of volume. Or, WR1-levels of both volume and production if you include the second-half of last season. And now he gets a top-3 CB matchup, in a game that offers the 4th-highest over/under of the week (52.0). Laviska Shenault is banged up with a shoulder injury, and D.J. Chark, after missing all of the team’s preseason games and months of practice time, doesn’t yet have the rapport with QB Trevor Lawrence that Jones has.

On DraftKings, Jones is glaringly mispriced as just the 42nd most-expensive WR of the slate.

Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
[DK: WR26, FD: WR19]

Johnny (from our livestream): “He’s one of the best plays of the slate… I can’t go all-in on him while he’s dealing with the ankle, but he’s probably my favorite tournament-play of the slate.”

Is it… Is it possible that I was not just dead-wrong on it being #HollywoodSZN last year? Perhaps I was just a little bit off on the timeline, and #HollywoodSZN actually began in Week 12 of last season. Since then (postseason included), Brown averages 7.3 targets and 17.1 FPG (WR9). Over this span he’s either caught a touchdown or eclipsed 80 receiving yards in 10 consecutive games. This year, he ranks 7th in FPG (21.4), on the back of a massive 31% target share. As Wes Huber outlined here, he gets a top matchup this week against Bobby Price and a Cover-2 / Cover-3-heavy Lions defense. He’s a bit mispriced on DraftKings as just the 23rd highest-priced WR of the slate.

Other / Notes

I’m probably not paying all the way up for a WR this week, but Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, D.K. Metcalf, and Justin Jefferson all stand out as “values” per the SuperModel. The latter two are very strong values on FanDuel. Though we like Tyler Lockett’s matchup a lot more than Metcalf’s. And Justin Jefferson’s matchup isn’t bad, but also isn’t ideal (ideal would be a Cover-1-heavy defense)… Tyreek Hill warrants some GPP exposure just about every week, even in tough on-paper matchups like this one… Diggs has a great matchup this week, and averages 10.5 targets and 16.0 FPG, after back-to-back tough matchups (Joe Haden, Xavien Howard) and last week’s lopsided victory.

Though I think A.J. Brown might be a better value than any of those four wide receivers on FanDuel. Indianapolis has given up a combined 62.8 fantasy points to slot-heavy WRs Lockett and Kupp. That’s especially notable considering Brown leads the team in slot routes this year, running a route from the slot on 38% of his routes (up from 14% last year). He’s averaging 8.5 targets and 15.0 XFP per game after averaging 7.6 and 13.0 last year. And he might have been a top play this week, had he not uncharacteristically dropped three passes last week, worth an absolute minimum of 9.3 fantasy points.

Chris Godwin would be the nuts play if I didn’t think Jalen Ramsey was likely to shadow. Unfortunately, as I outlined here, I do think that’s going to be the case. Still, like with Henry last week, his potential upside might outweigh that risk for tournaments. And as such, he still warrants some exposure in GPPs. But I will have more Mike Evans exposure than Godwin exposure this week.

Our projections are IN LOVE with Darnell Mooney this week, as the No. 1-overall WR value on DraftKings. Jake Tribbey went in-depth on him here. Although I’m not quite as bullish, I’ve found our projections are right more often than they’re wrong in instances like this.

Rondale Moore is an excellent value if DeAndre Hopkins is out, but I’d bet ownership is higher than it otherwise should be for a part-time player coming off of a massive game.

If Kenny Golladay is out, Sterling Shepard is a near-must play. He now averages 8.5 targets per game over his last 12 games, and has scored at least 17.5 fantasy points in each of his last four games.

D.J. Chark is a strong pivot off of Marvin Jones chalk for tournaments on DraftKings. He’s extremely boom-or-bust, but that’s ideal for large-field tournaments. I dug in deep on this here.

Tight Ends

Darren Waller / Travis Kelce / T.J. Hockenson

As I discussed in the Week 3 XFP Report: Waller currently leads all players at all positions in XFP per game (27.1). That’s also 54% more (+9.5 more XFP per game) than the next-closest TE (T.J. Hockenson).

Waller also leads all players at all positions in targets (29), by 4, and ranks 3rd in air yards (304). Since Week 13 of last season, he leads all players at all positions in targets, receiving yards (by 105), and total fantasy points scored. He averages 24.3 FPG over this span, which ranks behind only Travis Kelce (25.1), but ahead of all WRs.

Yeah, Waller is an absolute freak cheat code. So is Kelce.

How freakish? How much of a cheat code? Based on VORP (ESPN standard settings), owning a TE averaging 25.1 or 24.3 FPG, is equivalent to owning a WR averaging 28.5 or 29.3 FPG (respectively). Though the all-time record for a WR is just 26.5, set by Elroy Hirsch in 1951.

So, yeah… Waller is priced as just the WR4 on DraftKings, and the WR8 on FanDuel. Kelce, the WR2 on DraftKings and the WR3 on FanDuel. Arguably, or at least based on what’s happened since Week 13 of last season, they have a greater straight-up expectation than any WR. And then, factor in their intra-positional advantage, and it’s not even close. So, I don’t know how you don’t go all-in on these two TEs this week….

Well, I have a two good reasons why:

1) Waller is a monster, no doubt, averaging 17.6 FPG over the past two seasons (18 games). But he's also been extremely volatile, averaging 27.5 DK FPG in his 9 best games and 9.9 DK FPG in his 9 worst games over this span… Kelce doesn’t have Waller’s ceiling, with a high of just 27.6 fantasy points over the past two seasons, but he’s been far more consistent. And actually, arguably the most consistent player in fantasy football (minus Christian McCaffrey). Over the past two seasons, he’s hit 21.5 fantasy points in 71% of his games. Davante Adams is the next-closest receiver with 50%. DeAndre Hopkins ranks 3rd with 44%.

(To summarize: you can never go wrong with Kelce in cash. Waller is no sure thing, but still a great play.)

2) The biggest problem is: Hockenson looks fully poised to break into that tier. And he’s $2,200 cheaper than Waller on DraftKings. And $1,100 cheaper than Waller on FanDuel.

Among TEs, he ranks 4th in route share (87%) and 3rd in target share (22%). He ranked 2nd-best among TEs in XFP in Week 1 (11 targets, 25.7 fantasy points) and 1st in Week 2 (9 targets, 20.6 fantasy points). He’s glaringly mispriced on both sites, as another WR1 masquerading as a TE. He’s a phenomenal play.

Other / Notes

I still LOVE Tyler Higbee, for all of the reasons I outlined here (last week). And I love that he’s going to go lower-owned this week, after flopping last week. The only problem is, I also love Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods this week, and I have a hard time playing Higbee with another Rams WR on non-Stafford / non-Brady teams.

I like Higbee more than Jared Cook, at a near-identical salary, but he’s at least worthy of a shoutout. He ranks 4th among all TEs in XFP per game (13.7), behind only Waller, Hockenson, and Gronkowski. But again, I’d rather just play Higbee.

Mark Andrews, Noah Fant, and Kyle Pitts are all fine values. But I’d rather just spend the extra $100-400 for Hockenson.

Rob Gronkowski has two touchdowns in each of his last three games. He ranks 3rd among all TEs in XFP per game (14.2). The Buccaneers have a 28.25-point touchdown (implying 3-4 touchdowns), and are up against a Rams defense that’s far more vulnerable to TEs than WRs. Yeah, it’s hard to argue against that.

Scott Barrett combines a unique background in philosophy and investing alongside a lifelong love of football and spreadsheets to serve as Fantasy Points’ Chief Executive Officer.