DFS Player Pool Week 3
Well, that was fun. After a slew of injuries and other bad chalk on the main slate, cash lines took a dive. As obvious as it may seem, do not forget that small sample sizes will inevitably yield some unusual results. Do not get discouraged, and continue to leverage any statistical advantages that may exist. Look for weird pricing. Read the injury reports. Continue to make sound, analytical choices and manage risk. This week has some interesting pricing and several new starting QBs. The shifting faces of the offenses around the league can be good or bad, but either way, it’s an opportunity. Now, onto the DFS Player Pool, Week 3.
DFS Player Pool Week 3
Dak Prescott, $6,500, MIA
Things just don’t seem to be getting any easier for Miami. After their beatdown against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, the division rival New England Patriots came and put up 43 on the ‘Phins. Now, Dak and the Cowboys play hosts to the league’s worst team. The loss of mid-breakout WR Michael Gallup is offset by the trade of Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh. The move makes isolating top CB Xavien Howard that much easier.
Dallas’ offense will have little trouble moving the ball, with RB Ezekiel Elliot almost back up to speed and Amari Cooper another week healthier too. Miami has already given up over 1,000 total yards, and are top 5, or worse, in passing yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, and first downs. Due to Dak’s price being a minor discount still, he could easily hit value by halftime, easing concerns of an early shut down due to a blowout. Cash lineups are begging you to use Dak.
Deshaun Watson, $6,400, @ LAC
The Houston RB situation, which was looking like a mini-crisis at one point this off-season, seems to have sorted itself out. Carlos Hyde is effectively running the ball, allowing Duke Johnson to settle back into his specialty role as a pass-catching back/occasional slot receiver. Will Fuller V is still running on two good hamstrings, DeAndre Hopkins is still a beast, and recent acquisition Kenny Stills is integrating more into the offense. The sky is the limit for this offense, and there shouldn’t be a ton of resistance from Los Angeles on Sunday. Fuller for $4,900 is a particularly intriguing stack play as his 23.8 aDoT and 18.2 yards per reception make him ideally suited to attack the safety position (yes I did sneak in a WR option in the QB section, deal with it).
Kyler Murray, $5,800, CAR
In the preseason, if projections had Murray leading the league in passing attempts, fourth in yards, and with only one INT, everyone would be happy with that. The perception of Murray’s on-field achievements is docked due to skewed expectations fueled by the recent immediate success of Pat Mahomes. What he has been, is an excellent game manager who has put his team in a position to win their first two games. Two solid outings with 25+ and 19+ points have Murray hitting an ROI just over 4X on average, and that is without anything in the way of rushing attempts. Given the combination of Arizona’s already accelerated pace of play, and Kyle Allen making just his second career NFL start, Murray should see well north of 40 passing attempts.
Jameis Winston, $5,400, vs. NYG
This is gross to think about, and gross to write, but Jameis could be one of the best values this week. Everyone who hasn’t completely bailed on him will be on this game. A Week 3 matchup against a bad New York Giants team with a new starting QB is about as good an opponent this offense could ask for. New York has given up the third-most passing yards and tied for the third-most TDs. Defensively, the Giants have only picked up 3 sacks while generating no INTs. Jameis makes for a solid GPP play, with the first sighting of the mythical Arians’ offense likely to happen Sunday. If Winston cannot come through here, he can be safely ignored until he starts to return value.
Dalvin Cook, $7,800, vs. OAK
Officially, Cook is in “start every week” consideration. Back to back games of 20+ touches and 111+ yards is an incredible floor. Coach Mike Zimmer has made his desire for the offense to run a lot abundantly clear and is following through with his promise. Do not be scared of the numbers the Oakland defense has put up so far. This will be the best rushing attack the Raiders have faced, and will not be able to handle Cook.
Austin Ekeler, $7,200, vs. HOU
Following right behind Dalvin Cook in the total yards category is Austin Ekeler. Quickly shaping up to be the breakout RB of the season, Ekeler has racked up a combined 287 yards. The matchup against the Texans is about as simple as it can get. One of the best RBs the first two weeks is facing one of the worst RB defenses in 2019. Facing the Texans at home, Ekeler will be against a team giving up 6.0 yards per carry, which pairs nicely with his 7.0 yards/touch number. Among RBs with 20+ touches, only Saquon Barkley and Raheem Mostert (wtf?) have a higher yards/touch average. This game has the potential to turn into a shootout as two solid offenses bump into “meh” defenses.
Sony Michel, $6,000, vs. NYJ
Not much to cover here. The Patriots defense looks to continue to hold opponents without a TD as rookie QB Luke Falk will make his first NFL start. Anyone who used Michel last week vs. the Miami Dolphins, have reason to use him again here. His price has dropped $200 and his usage could increase this week. He is the main rushing back here, and that includes in the red zone.
Devonta Freeman, $4,900, @ IND
Clearly, it has not been a great start for Freeman. Through two games, he has only 41 rushing yards on a 2.2 ypc rate. Early investors have not been happy with their returns. And that might be the best thing going for Devonta. He showed signs of life last week in the passing game, catching 3 passes for 42 yards. In fact, Freeman is on pace for his most targets since 2016 and remains a very good receiver out of the backfield. He’s also facing one of the most generous rush defenses in the NFL. The Indianapolis Colts have given up the third-most fantasy points to RBs so far and are vulnerable on the ground and in the air. Still the lead back in Atlanta, Freeman will be getting an RB1 workload in Indy and can put up RB1 numbers.
Frank Gore, $4,400, vs. CIN
Honestly, the durability of Frank Gore is astounding. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2006, Gore has only had one season where he did not play 14 games or more, 2010. That season was also the only one before last year where he did not handle 250+ touches. He can still get it done, too. Just last season, he finished with his highest YPC mark since 2012. With rookie, RB Devin Singletary expected to miss the game, and T.J. Yeldon being T.J. Yeldon, Gore is lined up for a good workload. His opponent is the most friendly defense to opposing RBs. To RBs, the Bengals have given up the most rushing yards, the 6th most receiving yards, and the most total TDs. This will be one for the Old Guys on Sunday.
Julio Jones, $7,300, @ IND
“Never Julio” proponents seem awfully quiet lately. Jones showed exactly why he’s a worthy DFS play last week, as his 54 yard TD took him from a solid day to an excellent one. He could be off to an even better start if Matt Ryan had wanted to force things in Week 1. With Xavier Rhodes shadowing Jones most of the game, they avoided the matchup, only targeting him once. There is no concern about that against Indy, as their top CB, Pierre Desir has been limited in practice all week with a knee injury. Their top LB, Darius Leonard has also not practiced while dealing with a concussion. Jones will look to continue his league-high streak of 6 weeks with a touchdown, and should be facing an excellent individual and team matchup.
Kenny Golladay, $6,600, vs. PHI
Speaking of Julio, the team he just torched in Week 2 now faces another tough cover in Kenny Golladay. Philly’s issues covering WR1s should be well known to DFS players at this point. In Week 1, rookie WR Terry McLaurin tore them up in his first NFL game to the tune of 5/125/1 . Follow that up with Julio’s 5/106/2 game, and a pattern is quickly emerging. The Lions defense could be effective in this one, with the Eagles potentially being down Alshon Jeffrey, Desean Jackson, and Dallas Goedert. As road dogs, Detroit should be chasing points, even with the Eagles short-handed. The volume and opportunity demand you have some Babytron exposure.
Mike Evans, $6,600, vs. NYG
Reports of Mike Evans’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. Now priced behind teammate Chris Godwin, Evans is an excellent GPP option. Ownership is likely to be depressed, but his big-play ability still remains. He leads the team in air yards by a significant margin, and on 2 fewer targets than the next WR (Godwin). Facing up against Janoris Jenkins will not slow down Evans, as he has already been beaten several times this year, first by John Brown, then by Michael Gallup. Big plays and TDs should never be counted on, but they are likely here.
Larry Fitzgerald, $5,100, vs. CAR
While on the topic of air yards, ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald is currently sixth in the league. His team-leading 24 targets are tied for third-most in the league and his 217 yards receiving put him 8th in that category. As long as Arizona continues to ramp up the pace, the WRs will be excellent values in DFS based on their volume. Just what kind of volume might we see here?
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 18, 2019
QB Kyler Murray leads the league in pass attempts, and the team saw an increase in their no-huddle usage in Week 2. As fast as they have looked, they can still go faster. Carolina likes to push the pace as well and could be more effective with a healthy Kyle Allen starting.
Nelson Agholor, $3,600, vs. DET
Sometimes the best ability is availability. That about sums up Nelson Agholor. As mentioned above in the Kenny Golladay section, Philly could be very shorthanded for this game. Agholor’s teammate JJ Arcega-Whiteside might seem like an interesting play too, Agholor has the better matchup out of the slot. A week after seeing 11 targets in semi-relief, Agholor should again see close to double digits, especially if Golladay and the Lions can score enough to make this game push its 45.5 game total.
Zach Ertz, $5,900, vs. DET
Just read the Agholor section again and replace Ertz’s name in there. It mostly works. Ertz should be a monster for Carson Wentz and should again see a hefty amount of targets. Last weeks 16 might be high, but it should definitely be double digits.
Mark Andrews, $4,600, @ KC
Preseason breakout predictions for Andrews might end up being conservative. Through 2 weeks, Andrews is 7th in receiving yards and has out produced Michael Thomas, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Travis Kelce, just to name a few. While Baltimore doesn’t throw a ton, Lamar Jackson is 24th in pass attempts, Andrews has a 28% target share (he has one target from Robert Griffin). He trails only Marquise Brown in targets and yards and leads the team in receptions. He will be a top option against KC who average a 8.5/72.5 receiving line in 2 games this season (that’s already a 3.4X ROI by the way).
Vance McDonald, $4,300, @ SF
No one is really sure how the Steelers’ offense will look with Mason Rudolph taking over. What we do know is that Vance McDonald looked like the early winner of the new arrangement. While Juju was being targeted deep, McDonald assumed the role many thought he would for Pittsburgh and worked underneath. He was Rudolph’s second most targeted receiver and caught two TDs from the rookie. Now, he will be the first real test for the 49ers coverage group from the TE position. San Francisco has only faced the ghost of O.J. Howard and the mess that is the Tyler Eifert/C.J. Uzomah combo this season. Still, somehow, they have allowed an 11/74/1 line to opposing TEs. McDonald could be capable of eclipsing that himself. Look for SF to push the pace in their home opener, meaning more potential volume for Vance.
Greg Olsen, $3,700, @ ARI
Just a public service announcement for DFS players: START ALL TEs PLAYING THE CARDINALS! Arizona is allowing an average line of 8.5/136.5/1.5. That would rate out to be the greatest receiving season of all time. Olsen should be a favorite target of new starting QB Kyle Allen. In his lone start last season, Allen targeted Ian Thomas 7 times, and he finished with a 5/61/1 day. Amazingly, that would be a solid defensive day for the Cardinals.
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