In addition to providing the same invaluable passing game analysis from last season, Advanced Matchups has evolved to encompass offensive ground game study. In fact, each and every team will now be analyzed to provide more Advanced Matchups than ever before. As a premium subscriber at Fantasy Points, you also have access to an Advanced Matchups that will be updated throughout the week.
A slight alteration to the format this week. We’ll be releasing Advanced Matchups in three parts:
- Thursday Night Football
- The Main Sunday Slate (will be released early tomorrow)
- Sunday and Monday Night Football (will be released later tomorrow)
The same level of analysis will be packed into the trilogy for all of your needs. My Against the Spread (ATS) picks, Total wagers, and, new for this week, a Moneyline parlay are included if you so choose to tail my selections. Week 2 was not kind to my ATS picks, easily the worst week since I began including picks early last season.
Without further delay, let’s skydive into the Week 3 analysis.
Against the Spread Picks (5-7 — 1-5 in Week 2 😱)
Tennessee Titans (-5.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Los Angeles Rams (+1.0) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks (-2.0) at Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers (+3.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Total Wagers (3-3 — 1-1 in Week 2)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (Under 55.5)
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (Over 49.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (Over 51.5)
Carolina Panthers (-380) at Houston Texans
Arizona Cardinals (-355) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans (-260) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Buffalo Bills (-390) vs. Washington Football Team
Kansas City Chiefs (-300) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Denver Broncos (-610) vs. New York Jets
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
8:20 PM EST (Sunday Night Football)
Santa Clara, California
Betting Line: 49ers -3.5
Moneyline: 49ers (-178), Packers (+151)
Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives
TE Jacob Deguara (No Practice - Questionable - Concussion)
OT Elgton Jenkins (Limited Practice - Questionable - Concussion)
OG Lucas Patrick (Limited Practice - Questionable - Concussion)
OC Josh Myers (Full Practice - Probable - Finger)
DT Tyler Lancaster (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)
DE Za'Darius Smith (Limited Practice - Questionable - Back)
CB Eric Stokes (Limited Practice - Questionable - Quadriceps)
SS Darnell Savage (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)
FS Vernon Scott (Limited Practice - OUT - Hamstring)
RB Trey Sermon (Limited Practice - Questionable - Concussion)
RB Elijah Mitchell (Limited Practice - Questionable - Shoulder)
RB JaMycal Hasty (No Practice - OUT - Ankle)
RB Raheem Mostert (No Practice - OUT/IR - Ankle)
DT Javon Kinlaw (No Practice - Questionable - Knee)
DE Arik Armstead (No Practice - Questionable - Abdomen)
DE Dee Ford (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)
ILB Dru Greenlaw (No Practice - OUT/IR - Groin)
ILB Marcel Harris (Limited Practice - Questionable - Oblique)
CB Emmanuel Moseley (No Practice - Doubtful - Knee)
CB Jason Verrett (No Practice - OUT/IR - Knee)
Matchups to Target
Devante Adams, GB ($8.3K DK | $8.2K FD) vs. Josh Norman, SF
We can clearly see residual side effects from Davante Adams not having the opportunity to work with Aaron Rodgers throughout training camp/joint practices/the preseason. Simply seeing Adams rank 21st in FP/Rt comes across as weird. Part of that is the result of being steamrolled 38-3 in Week 1. But Adams has only manufactured an 86.7 targeted passer rating. However, it will only take these seasoned vets a small number of reps before that timing is reestablished. Adams’ target share rose from 23-to-33% last week, and his 75.5 air yard/game average is going to rise in a hurry. And Adams will be in a position to find success across from Josh Norman. Norman actually handled himself remarkably well considering he’d only been on the 49ers’ roster for a week. He played a significant hand in limiting DeVonta Smith to a 2/16/0 line in Week 2. He was, however, flagged for a pair of interference penalties on Smith. But that may have been an intentional opportunity for Norman to establish his functional strength on Smith’s frail frame.
Getting into the head of a rookie wideout making his second career start and significantly limiting, arguably, the top WR in the game are matters separated by a galaxy of differences. Everything Norman used to his advantage with Smith will be converted to friendly fire by Adams. We won’t see Adams across from Norman the entire game but, short of San Francisco getting key components of their secondary back healthy, whenever Adams aligns on the left side of the formation, Norman will be waiting. The 49ers are featuring three schemes: Cover 1 (ninth-highest rate), Cover 3 (fifth), and Cover 4 (sixth). The ‘9ers could see the healthy return of Jason Verrett and he would not stand a chance against Adams in a Cover 1. Devanta leads all WRs over the last three seasons with 0.80 FP/Rt when defenses scheme a Cover 1. Over the same stretch of time vs. Cover 3, Adams has the fifth-highest FP/Rt at 0.51. Against Cover 4, Adams “only” ranks 19th-best with 0.47 FP/Rt.
Robert Tonyan, GB ($4.4K DK | $5.3K FD) vs. Azeez Al-Shaair, SF
Next to seeing Seattle surrendering 42.7 FPG to RBs after Derrick Henry’s demonstrative performance, one of the most shocking stats of the early season is San Francisco delivering the eighth-most FPG to TEs. Sans Nick Bosa, the most outstanding defender for SF is Fred Warner. It’s true that Warner devotes a chunk of his time rushing the pocket, and in run defense. And that highlights how vulnerable 2019 UDFA Azeez Al-Shaair has been in coverage on opposing TEs. He ranks 65th in YPCS, 73rd in FP/CS, 41st in AY/CS, and 48th in targeted passer rating among 79 qualified LBs. These are mouth-watering coverage susceptibilities in support of Robert Tonyan exposure.
Matchups to Avoid
Aaron Jones, GB ($7.8K DK | $6.9K FD) vs. Fred Warner, SF
Aaron Jones looked like a madman on a yardage-killing spree while slicing up the Lions’ defense for 41.5 FPG on Monday Night Football. But Jones would have failed to hit value were it not for his trio of receiving TDs. Jones actually struggled to get going on the ground, averaging only 3.9 YPC. As stated above, a large chunk of Fred Warner’s attention is dedicated to run defense. Checking the FPG allowed data indicates that the 49ers are giving up the third-most FPG to RBs. But 62% of those FPs were gained through the air. And a massive percentage of that receiving volume was collected in Week 1 with San Francisco in off-zone coverage as Jared Goff checked down to his RBs at a record-breaking rate. Assuming Aaron Rodgers isn’t intent on checking down 25 receptions to his RBs and TE to break Goff’s record, it’s reasonable to assume that Jones will not be presented with anything resembling the situations granted to the Lions. On FD, exposure to Jones is actually reasonable. On DK, Jones will not be added to a single one of my rosters.
Final notes on Green Bay
Don’t sleep on the stack potential of Aaron Rodgers ($6.7K/$7.7K) and Davante Adams. On 50 routes this season for Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4.0K/$5.4K), he’s manufactured a 0.0 targeted passer rating. Think about that one for a moment. None of the Packers’ secondary WRs have provided any type of sign deserving of our DFS attention.
Final notes on San Francisco
Not the week to get cute with Jimmy Garoppolo ($5.6K/$6.6K) roster additions. The numbers suggest Green Bay’s run defense is solid. It is not. If Elijah Mitchell ($5.3K/$5.6K) manages to gain clearance with his shoulder injury, get some. If Mitchell sits and Trey Sermon ($4.6K/$5.4K) somehow manages to clear the protocol after the gruesome helmet-to-helmet hit took last week, fire him up. On the other side of the coin, none of the 49ers’ receivers scream value this week — including Deebo Samuel ($6.7K/$6.6K) and his ridiculous 38% target share. In actuality, Samuel is the option I see as having the most limited upside with Jaire Alexander now patrolling the slot. Nothing has changed on the Brandon Aiyuk ($4.9K/$5.5K) front to suggest he’s primed for anything significant. And he’ll need to deal with impressive ‘21 first-rounder Eric Stokes. Perhaps a GPP stab at Trent Sherfield ($3.3K/$4.8K) vs. Kevin King could get us somewhere, but unlikely. The most likely outcome is seeing George Kittle ($6.2K/$6.0K) construct his best game of the season against the unimpressive LB unit of GB.
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
8:15 PM EST (Monday Night Football)
Betting Line: Cowboys -4.0
Moneyline: Cowboys (-193), Eagles (+162)
Notable Injuries/Possible Key Inactives
WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ankle)
TE Zach Ertz (No Practice - Questionable - COVID-19)
OG Brandon Brooks (No Practice - OUT/IR - Pectoral)
OG Landon Dickerson (Full Practice - Probable - Knee)
DE Brandon Graham (No Practice - OUT/IR - Achilles)
DE Ryan Kerrigan (No Practice - Questionable - Personal)
ILB Davion Taylor (Full Practice - Questionable - Calf)
CB Avonte Maddox (Limited Practice - Questionable - Groin)
SS Rodney McLeod (Limited Practice - OUT - Knee)
FS Marcus Epps (Limited Practice - Questionable - Concussion)
WR Amari Cooper (Limited Practice - Questionable - Ribs)
WR Michael Gallup (No Practice - OUT/IR - Calf)
OT La’el Collins (No Practice - OUT - Suspension)
OT Ty Nsekhe (No Practice - OUT - Illness)
DE DeMarcus Lawrence (No Practice - OUT/IR - Foot)
DE Chauncey Golston (Full Practice - Probable - Hamstring)
DE Dorance Armstrong (Limited Practice - Doubtful - Ankle)
CB Nashon Wright (Full Practice - Probable - Personal)
FS Donovan Wilson (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)
FS Darian Thompson (No Practice - Questionable - Groin)
SS Damontae Kazee (No Practice - OUT - Hamstring)
Matchups to Target
CeeDee Lamb, DAL ($6.5K DK | $7.0K FD) vs. Darius Slay, PHI
For all of those unaware, it’s CeeDee Lamb SZN. The kid has been balling out since the first day of training camp. Virtually unguardable by all but the top-two or three corners in the NFL. In previous years, We would expect Darius Slay to resume his outstanding shadow coverage of Amari Cooper. But DC Jonathan Gannon’s new defense does not assign Slay with those responsibilities. Slay has planted roots at left corner within the Eagles’ Cover 2- and Cover 4-heavy rotation. For Slay, at least, the results speak for themselves. Darius ranks 12th-best in YPCS, 13th in FP/CS, 13th in AY/CS, and 18th in targeted passer rating. With Brandon Graham being placed on IR, the impact of his absence cannot be understated. And the offense also lost perhaps it’s top O-lineman to IR in guard Brandon Brooks.
Philadelphia’s pass defense has been stingy. But they have allowed 72% of FPs to WRs out of the slot. That’s certainly useful information, but only in serving the “why” on a platter. In Week 1, the Eagles embarrassed an unprepared Atlanta offense 32-6. In Week 2, Deebo Samuel went ballistic out of the slot. That is an outstanding example of the dangers in trusting statistics at face value. Always search for that context. Even if Lamb is forced to collect his numbers aligned inside, he’s run nearly half of his routes from the slot. But I am thoroughly convinced Lamb will find production from any location on Monday night. CeeDee has already established himself as the only wideout on Dallas’ roster without a coverage weakness.
Quez Watkins, PHI ($3.8K DK | $5.0K FD) vs. Anthony Brown, DAL
Quez Watkins is barely north of 100 routes into his career. An NFL WR can approach two-thirds of that number in a single game. So you could state that 90% of his predictability is replaced by projection. Watkins leads NFL WRs with 28 YPT, but that’s due to a 91-yard catch-and-run against the 49ers. He’s only been fed 2.5 targets/game, and his snap numbers remained consistent from Week 1. That said, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sub-$4K wideout on DK with anything remotely close to the upside plus ceiling provided by Quez. The floor is also lower than anything you’d allow to touch a Cash/SE lineup, but he is my favorite GPP stack with Jalen Hurts this week.
Matchups to Avoid
DeVonta Smith, PHI ($5.3K DK | $5.7K FD) vs. Trevon Diggs, DAL
Why is Watkins my favorite stack with Hurts over DeVonta Smith? In Week 1, Smith benefited from an Atlanta pass rush that did nothing to disrupt Hurts in the pocket. In Week 2, Smith lost out to the accrued experience of Josh Norman. In Week 3, Smith will easily face the toughest challenge of his young career: Trevon Diggs. After shutting Mike Evans down with a 1/10/0 line in Week 1, all it took was three targets while attempting to defend the elite route running of Keenan Allen to obliterate Diggs’ sexy coverage metrics. Those three targets resulted in 72% of the yardage permitted by Diggs this season. Diggs does rank with the sixth-lowest targeted passer rating (43.2) only a touch above the allowance for a spiked football. Other than that, you’ll just need to take me at my word that Diggs is a big problem for Smith’s inexperience.
Final notes on Philadelphia
Due to his leg work, Jalen Hurts ($6.8K/$8.2K) still holds significant value potential with the expectation that his WR1 will be limited. Perhaps it’ll prove to be a miscalculation on my part, but I’m going to force both Miles Sanders ($6.2K/$6.1K) and Kenneth Gainwell ($4.3K/$5.2K) to prove I should’ve rostered them before I take the leap. Jalen Reagor ($4.6K/$5.4K) whiffed on his opportunity against the 49ers’ Cover 3 when he stepped out of bounds on an excellent TD toss from Hurts. He’s fade fodder in Week 3. It appears there’s a good chance Zach Ertz (concussion) ($3.4K/$4.7K) is able to gain clearance prior to gametime, rendering both he and Dallas Goedert ($5.1K/$5.5K) useless until forced to do otherwise.
Final notes on Dallas
You can take it to the piggy bank that I’ll have a variety of GPP lineups stacked with Dak Prescott ($6.9K/$8.0K) and CeeDee Lamb after the Cowboys burned so many folks last week.
I have zero answers as to what we should do with Ezekiel Elliott ($6.4K/$7.8K). Tony Pollard ($5.7K/$5.4K) is just eating up all of Zeke’s upside. A few of those GPP stacks will also include Amari Cooper ($6.3K/$7.3K) if he gains clearance. Dallas’ talented TE duo of Blake Jarwin ($3.2K/$4.7K) and Dalton Schultz ($3.3K/$4.8K) are excellent for the ‘Boys in real life, not so much in the fantasy realm.