Hello and welcome to the Week 3 Sunday Morning Update. What is this article? Mostly it’s a follow-up to yesterday’s big DFS piece – Scott Barrett’s Week 3 DFS Breakdown. But this article should also offer some utility of its own for redraft and dynasty players.
Each week Graham Barfield and I will be breaking down the key injuries, news, and notes from Saturday / Sunday and will be updating this article up until kickoff (1PM EST). And we’ll also be providing a sort of TL;DR to yesterday’s big DFS article. Who are my core cash game plays? Who are Graham’s preferred low-owned plays for tournaments? You can find that at the end of this article.
Key News, Injury Updates, & Notes
Sunday Morning Update
Dalvin Cook is OUT, per FOX’s Jay Glazer. (at 12:57pm)
No real surprises with the 1am inactives…
D’Andre Hopkins is ACTIVE.
Kenny Golladay and Evan Engram are both ACTIVE.
Marquise Brown is ACTIVE.
Tee Higgins is OUT.
Carson Wentz is ACTIVE.
Marlon Mack (healthy scratch) is OUT, which is a small boost to Jonathan Taylor’s carry total.
Odell Beckham is ACTIVE.
Rhamondre Stevenson is OUT. It’s the Damien Harris / James White show again.
Russell Gage is OUT.
TJ Watt is OUT.
Trey Flowers is OUT… he’s the Lions best pass rusher. Jamie Collins is also OUT. Lamar Jackson to the moon.
Devontae Booker is OUT. Gary Brightwell has passed him as the No. 2 back.
Some pretty big news this morning (written at 8-10am ET)…
Dalvin Cook is “UNLIKELY TO PLAY” going into pregame workouts per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Speaking on NFL Gameday Morning Ian Rapoport mentioned that Cook will be “extremely limited” if he does suit up. Cook is dealing with a sprained ankle and would obviously be at risk of re-injuring it and it nagging him all season long if he doesn’t sit here. Unfortunately, we won’t know for sure if Alexander Mattison will get the start until 3pm ET when Vikings inactives come out, but Schefty’s report does make it possible to plan. The Vikings also elevated Ameer Abdullah up from the practice squad, further pointing to Cook missing.
Mattison is a terrific value on FanDuel at just $5,200 – he’s cheaper than Peyton Barber – against this Seahawks defense that just gave up 31.8 FP to Colts RBs in Week 1 and a 47.7 FP bomb to Derrick Henry. Mattison is way more expensive on DraftKings ($6,000), but if Cook somehow is able to play, you can swap to Chris Carson ($6.4k) or to Chris Godwin ($6.1k) / Courtland Sutton ($6k) in the FLEX relatively easily.
Make no mistake: Mattison will end up being one of the most popular plays on the slate, but he’ll wind up in the 25-30% ownership range with this late news breaking combined with the late start. If Cook were ruled out on Wednesday and this Vikings game were in the 1pm window, Mattison would be 50+ percent owned (on FanDuel especially).
Darrell Henderson is “NOT EXPECTED TO PLAY” per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Sony Michel will start while Jake Funk will be the No. 2 back. After Henderson left in the fourth quarter last week, Michel played on 16-of-19 possible snaps while Funk played 3. Everything points towards Michel getting borderline bell-cow usage… but the problem is the Bucs’ run defense doesn’t give anything up. Tampa has allowed 18 or more FP to a single running back just four times in their last 22 games since Week 1 of last year (including playoffs) and those RBs to find success against them are all among the elite (McCaffrey, Cook, Kamara, Montgomery).
Michel is a mid-range RB2 in this spot even with his strong expected usage and tied to a big team total, but he is a better play than CEH at the same price on DraftKings. He has more TD upside and will be significantly lower owned. Michel is a slightly worse play on FanDuel because Saquon Barkley is just $300 more and we can find that extra $300 to get up to Barkley.
If anything, Henderson missing just makes Matthew Stafford an even stronger play as the Rams rely more on the pass. Stafford has only had to attempt 26 and 30 passes through two games because they didn’t have to do much in Week 1 to beat the Bears and controlled the game last week against the Colts – so there will naturally be a big boost in volume for Stafford here against this Bucs’ secondary that has seen 58 and 46 pass attempts against them in Weeks 1-2.
DeAndre Hopkins is “LIKELY TO PLAY.” No surprise. Nuk doesn’t miss games.
Kenny Golladay is a GAME TIME DECISION. He’ll test out his hip in pregame warmups. Obviously, if Golladay misses, Sterling Shepard becomes a significantly better play – especially on DraftKings where he’s still too cheap regardless of Golladay’s health. Meanwhile, Evan Engram is EXPECTED TO PLAY… but we can’t go there in his first game back. Tight end is simple this week (you play Kelce, Waller, Hockenson, or Higbee and move on).
Carson Wentz is EXPECTED TO PLAY per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Brett Hundley, not Jacob Eason, will back him up.
- Falcons WRs Russell Gage and Frank Darby are OUT.
- Falcons CB A.J. Terrell is OUT.
- Bears QB Andy Dalton is OUT.
- Colts RT Braden Smith is OUT.
- Saints C Erik McCoy is OUT.
- Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, LB TJ Watt, and LB Alex Highsmith are OUT.
- The Baltimore Ravens are down their LT Ronnie Stanley, and five starters on defense: DE Derek Wolfe, DT Brandon Williams, DE Justin Madubuike, LB Justin Houston, and DE jaylon Ferguson. And WR Marquise Brown, CB Jimmy Smith, and S DeShon Elliott are all QUESTIONABLE.
- Titans TE Anthony Firkser is OUT. LB Bud Dupree is QUESTIONABLE.
- Browns LB Sione Takitaki is OUT. LT Jedrick Wills and C JC Tretter are QUESTIONABLE.
- Chargers CB Chris Harris Jr. is OUT. DE Justin Jones and DE Joey Bosa are QUESTIONABLE.
- Jets RB Tevin Coleman is OUT. WR Jamison Crowder is DOUBTFUL. DE John Franklin-Myers is QUESTIONABLE.
- Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa is OUT.
- Raiders LG Richie Incognito is OUT. RB Josh Jacobs is DOUBTFUL.
- Seahawks RT Brandon Shell, RB Rashaad Penny, and WR Dee Eskridge are OUT.
- Vikings LB Anthony Barr is OUT.
- Buccaneers LB Jason Pierre-Paul, WR Antonio Brown, and WR Jaydon Mickens are OUT.
- Bengals WR Tee Higgins, RG Xavier Su'a-Filo, and CB Trae Waynes are DOUBTFUL.
- Chiefs DE Frank Clark is DOUBTFUL. DE Chris Jones and CB Charvarius Ward are QUESTIONABLE.
- Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins is QUESTIONABLE. As is CB Byron Murphy and RT Kelvin Beachum.
- Jaguars DE Roy Robertson-Harris and CB CJ Henderson are QUESTIONABLE.
- Bears DE Akiem Hicks, DE Bilal Nichols, DT Eddie Goldman, FS Eddie Jackson, WR Darnell Mooney, and WR Marquise Goodwin are QUESTIONABLE.
- Bills CB Levi Wallace is QUESTIONABLE.
- Patriots RT Trent Brown is QUESTIONABLE.
- Lions DE Michael Brockers, LB Trey Flowers, LB Romeo Okwara, WR Kalif Raymons, and RB D'Andre Swift are all QUESTIONABLE.
Things I Think
I think I don’t really have much to add based on what I said in yesterday’s article. I think we nailed things from a cash-game perspective.
For tournaments, it’s a little trickier.
Initially I assumed [email protected] stacks would be massively owned for tournaments. 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 ~35% of my lineups will be gamestacks involving QBs like Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, etc.
Digging deeper into ownership projections…
- Nick Chubb stands out as a phenomenal GPP-play. He projects to be only 4.3% owned on DraftKings and 6.8% owned on FanDuel.
- Mike Williams is projected at only 1.1% ownership on DraftKings ($6,400), which seems absurdly stupid to me. He’s at 8% on FanDuel ($6,000), but it should be at least double that.
- On FanDuel, Chase Claypool and Ja’Marr Chase project to be only 3-5% owned, but I think they should be at least 3X that.
- In tournaments, I’d much rather play Mike Davis on DraftKings (10.2%) than Clyde Edwards-Helaire (16.9%).
Digging even deeper…
- For large-field tournaments on DraftKings, DJ Chark (1%) remains a strong leverage-play off of Marvin Jones (10%).
- Don’t hate me, but I still like Leonard Fournette (4.4% / 4.4%).
- Odell Beckham Jr. is in play at just 2.5% projected ownership on both sites. For tournaments, it’s always better to be too early than too late on a play like this.
- David Montgomery (4.4% / 3.4%) isn’t quite on Chubb’s level, but I could see him getting 25-plus carries this week in Justin Fields’ first start.
Graham Barfield’s Contrarian Angles
Overlooked Stacks / Games
Russell Wilson + DK Metcalf + Tyler Lockett + Vikings WR – This game has massive shootout appeal and will end up going way under-owned with everyone on Chiefs-Chargers and Bucs-Rams (for good reason). You can pair Wilson with both of his WRs because of how condensed Seattle’s passing game is and then stack this game up with a Vikings WR that will naturally provide leverage off of what will be a popular Alex Mattison.
Matthew Stafford stacks are going to be way under-owned. He’s projected for 5-7% ownership on DK / FD despite this spot being so ripe. Tampa has faced 58 (Prescott) and 46 (Ryan) pass attempts in Weeks 1-2 because their secondary is much easier to pick on than running against that front-seven. Stafford’s volume is even better with Henderson likely out, too.
Contrarian Plays With Slate-Breaking Upside
(Projected ownership in parenthesis).
- Nick Chubb (5-7%) is the best tournament play at RB on the slate. And, honestly, he’s the only RB projected for under 8% ownership that can break the slate. Chubb averages 96.5 rushing yards and 0.8 TDs per game when the Browns are favored by a FG or more.
Courtland Sutton (2%) against arguably the worst secondary in the league? Sign me up. Sutton led the league in air yards (250) last week.
Chase Claypool (2-3%) with no Diontae Johnson? Sign me up. Claypool was second in air yards (200) last week. Claypool will be lower owned on DK than FD.
Marquise Brown (3% on FD) is battling through an ankle injury, but is in no man’s land in FD’s pricing leaving him massively under-owned relative to his ceiling.
- Mark Andrews (8-9%) is overshadowed by the four best TE plays on the slate (Waller, Kelce, Hockenson, and Higbee) and will come in way lower than those four. Andrews has scored just 16.7 total FP in Weeks 1-2 on five targets in both outings, but is poised for a blowup game here against a Lions secondary that is giving up a league-high 3.3 fantasy points and 16.3 yards per target to the position. While his production has been disappointing, Andrews’ usage has not. He’s run a route on 92.5% of Lamar Jackson’s dropbacks – which is the highest rate among TEs and a huge uptick from previous years.
Chalk Plays (Ownership Projections)
1. Cooper Kupp, WR (22.9%)
2. Austin Ekeler, RB (21.9%)
3. Derrick Henry, RB (19.9%)
4. Tyreek Hill, WR (17.6%)
5. Keenan Allen, WR (17.0%)
6. Saquon Barkley, RB (17.0%)
7. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (16.9%)
8. Chris Godwin, WR (16.4%)
9. Robert Woods, WR (15.0%)
10. Dalvin Cook, RB (14.4%)
1. Saquon Barkley, RB (24.0%)
2. Cooper Kupp, WR (22.9%)
3. Derrick Henry, RB (22.4%)
4. Tyreek Hill, WR (19.6%)
5. Dalvin Cook, RB (19.4%)
6. Robert Woods, WR (19.0%)
7. Austin Ekeler, RB (18.4%)
8. DK Metcalf, WR (17.6%)
9. Travis Kelce, TE (17.4%)
10. Chris Godwin, WR (16.4%)
Cash Core (DK/FD)
QB: Justin Fields, Lamar Jackson
RB: Saquon Barkley (FD), Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler, Alex Mattison (FD), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (DK), Mike Davis (DK), Chris Carson
WR: Cooper Kupp, Mike Williams (FD), Robert Woods, Ja’Marr Chase, Chase Claypool (FD), Tyler Boyd (DK), Marvin Jones (DK), KJ Osborn (DK), Keenan Allen, A.J. Brown (FD), Sterling Shepard
TE: T.J. Hockenson, Tyler Higbee (DK), Darren Waller (FD)
DEF: CIN / TEN (DK), BUF (FD)