Happy Saturday to all of you wonderful and dedicated DFS players out there! I hope you’re still trusting the process and ready to dive in as we always do to find the value plays on the week. So grab your Cooper Kupp of coffees and join me to straight cash money, homie, because boy, does this slate look freakin sweet. But, before we get started here, I have to ask a question. Is it just me, or does it seem like to all of you that the weeks where football games are being played seem to move a lot faster? I swear that I have never seen a set of 3 weeks move this quickly in my life. That sure doesn’t happen while I’m waiting for football to come back! But that is neither here nor there, and we are already getting into week 3 of the 2021 NFL season.
I am fired up to finally make it to the point where we start to see some real consistency in offenses and defenses. Then, finally, we will get some clarity on what is real and what is a fantasy illusion. There are so many questions we have, and I’m a curious cat. I need to know things. Like is Josh Allen really going to do that whole regression thing we talked about over the off-season, or is he still for real? Is Alvin Kamara going to continue to disappoint and be a bust that you wasted a top 3 draft pick on? Or are the Houston Texans not actually as bad as we all expected them to be? What about Cooper Kupp and Tyler Lockett? Are they going to continue to dominate with WR1 production for the rest of the season? I mean, I don’t know because I don’t have a crystal ball. But I’d like to believe or maybe not believe some of that to be true because, with the short sample size we have, it suggests that hell yes, they are. It’s honestly just tough at the beginning of seasons for us fantasy analysts to differentiate what we believe to be real and what is just merely a mirage.
You’re going to have to stay tuned for more on next week’s episode of week 4 of the NFL season to find some answers. But as for the time being, we have to focus on the here and now and answer some questions you may be pondering over about this Sunday slate. So let’s wrap this up to keep it short and sweet because the real reason you’re here isn’t to listen to me babble and rant about nonsense. It’s to find out who we want to be getting into your lineups! So let’s go kash out!
Justin Herbert (Draftkings: $6,500 / Fanduel: $7,500)
Sometimes you have to go back to the well to drink, and just because something didn’t work out the previous week doesn’t mean it can’t work out this week. That’s where I am at with Justin Herbert. The process was right, and he was very close to having more than just one touchdown last weekend that could’ve dramatically altered his fantasy outcome for the day. Instead, he still threw for 338 freakin’ yards… it was there. But let’s not dwell on the negatives; let’s look forward to why we like him again this week in DFS. One of those reasons is that maybe people are sick of his subpar fantasy finishes over the last two weeks and will turn to a different matchup instead. That’s okay because not us, let em! Justin Herbert is still throwing the football a lot more than they are running it compared to last season. The pass to run ratio in this offense is 66.67-33.33. We are just missing this breakout performance by the skin of our teeth, and I think that Herbert can easily deliver in this matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Through the last two weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs are giving up the 5th most points per game, and when you are playing opposite of Patrick Mahomes, it creates the opportunity for the opposing quarterback to get a lot of fantasy points. You have almost to assume that with the Chiefs because they also have scored the 4th most points per game! I am willing to throw out Baker Mayfield’s performance and lack of touchdowns in Week 1 against the Chiefs because the style of offense Cleveland plays relies heavily on their dynamic running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. They accounted for the team’s touchdowns. Baker still threw for over 300 yards which tells you the game script kept him involved. In Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson finished as the QB2 against the Chiefs. Another team whose style fits with a running offense.
So okay, maybe it looks on paper that the Chiefs are just so terrible against the run and a little better in the passing game. But I’m choosing to look at the bigger picture and say I think the defense is its weak spot as a whole. They just faced two teams who decided to be a run-heavy offense, and that’s where the points accrued. So I see no problem here with Herbert getting it done through the air for us this week. It’s really not that hard, guys; it’s pretty simple to see why Herbert is a great option this week, and I am more than happy to use him and his wide receivers in my lineups Sunday.
Matthew Stafford (Draftkings: $6,400 / Fanduel: $7,600)
If you are a fan of the DFS and Chill podcast hosted by Club Fantasy on Thursday nights, then you already knew this guy would be mentioned in today’s article. I absolutely love Matthew Stafford this week! It’s been repeated time and time that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an excellent run defense. I mean, it’s nearly impossible to get a ground game going against them. Through the last two weeks of football, the Buccaneers have only allowed a total of 115 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. So you have to take to the air if you want to keep up with the super talented Tampa Bay offense.
In week 1, Dak Prescott threw the ball a crazy 58 times! In week 2, Matt Ryan continued the trend with a healthy dose of throwing the ball 46 times. Those passing attempt numbers are top tier, and it’s insane, but this is what’s happening when playing against the Buccaneers. As if the opportunity itself doesn’t present a juicy enough matchup for Stafford, then the idea that he’s probably going to be without his starting running back Darrell Henderson should sweeten the deal. Did I mention Matthew Stafford has been playing some lights-out football with his shiny new team of weapons? He came out guns blazing in Week 1 against his ex-divisional rivals, throwing for 321 yards and passing for three touchdowns. Week 2 was more of the same, where he threw for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns. He is getting the breath of fresh air that he needed when he got out of Detroit, and his new home in Los Angeles presents plenty of fantasy value that I am totally here for!
Honorable Mention: Ryan Tannehill (Draftkings: $6,200 / Fanduel: $7,000)
Deep Sea Dive: Justin Fields (Draftkings: $5,200 / Fanduel: $6,500)
Saquon Barkley (Draftkings: $6,500 / Fanduel: $6,000)
A wise man once said that a vital part of maturing is learning how to forgive. I’m just kidding. I don’t know if anybody has said that in particular, but it is extremely wise that we learn how to forgive in fantasy football. It’s going to help our growth. We have to be okay with forgiving Saquon Barkley for the rough 2021 start! Now I’m from around the way where we believe in “trusting the process” of our sports teams, and I’d like to apply that to my fantasy teams as well. Barkley will be fine, and he will give us his boom weeks to go along with those couple of busts. But let’s not forget this absolute animal of a person is coming off of a pretty damn bad ACL tear and walked into the season with some of the most challenging running back matchups in football! It hasn’t been a warm welcome back for Barkley!
He had a tough Week 1 matchup against the Denver Broncos just to make an early turnaround three days later to play a Thursday night matchup against the Washington Football team’s tough front 7. Give the guy a break here… the NFL just did… a ten-day one that should help him out a lot this week. We’ve slowly seen Barkley’s usage go up each week, going from 48% of snaps in week 1 to 84% of snaps in week 2. After that nice long rest, I would be willing to bet that he’s going to see his snap percentage increase even more in week 3. We also got a little taste of that Barkley burst last week when he took off for a 41 yard gain. Who’s to say we can’t see more of that this week, going up against a butter-soft Atlanta Falcons defense. Atlanta can’t stop anything on defense in fantasy points per game or real life. They rank toward the very bottom in almost every metric, and if they can’t even stop a nose bleed, then they aren’t stopping Saquon here in a nice bounce-back spot. The dude is only $6,500 on Draftkings and $6,000 on Fanduel; just take your chances, people.
D’Andre Swift (Draftkings: $5,800 / Fanduel: $7,400)
I’ll be honest I expected the Detroit Lions offense to be so much worse than what I’ve seen it become over the last two weeks. Instead, they shockingly make it work well enough to keep up in games and keep guys like D’Andre Swift in the game script regardless of what’s happening because they need to use him as a passing option or obviously in the run game as well. He is basically out there on the field getting targeted like a wide receiver.
Over the last two weeks, Swift has led all running backs in targets. Yes, more than guys like Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara. I also truly believe we saw his absolute floor last week against Green Bay. This week it’s a tough matchup for the Detroit Lions as a whole against the Baltimore Ravens, and they are more than likely going to be playing from behind. Not to keep sounding like a broken record, but another over the last two weeks stat is that the Ravens are giving up the 13th most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs while giving up the 7th most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. I look at Swift as a combination of a little bit of both, and he is going to be needed in this game often if they intend to contend on any sort of level.
Honorable Mention: Javonte Williams (Draftkings: $4,900 / Fanduel: $5,800)
Deep Sea Dive: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Draftkings: $4,800 / Fanduel: $6,500)
Keenan Allen / Mike Williams (Draftkings: $6,600 / Fanduel: $6,900) (Draftkings: $6,400 / Fanduel: $6,000)
I have started every single one of my DFS lineups this week by plugging in both Allen and Williams and then saying, “okay, now what”? I can’t get enough of the Chargers stack this week, and I seriously don’t understand why they are priced in the mid-level tier of wide receivers on Draftkings and Fanduel with the amount of upside they present, especially in this matchup, but whatever were taking full advantage of it. So many of the reasons I love Justin Herbert this week correlate with why I love Allen and Williams. I don’t think people realize just how good the duo has been so far this year.
Both players are have accumulated 21 and 22 targets over the last two weeks, and Mike Williams is tied for 2nd most targets in the league at wide receiver, with Keenan Allen not very far behind. All these targets and all these opportunities are bound to lead to a tremendous amount of fantasy points. What better day to do it than with a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are not toting a scary secondary by any means. So with having the highest over/under on the slate, I am more than cool with getting these two high upside guys into my lineups this week.
Sterling Shepard / Kenny Golladay (Draftkings: $5,900 / Fanduel: $6,400) (Draftkings: $5,600 / Fanduel: $5,600)
Speaking of target monsters, Sterling Shepard has been an absolute target eating machine over the last two weeks. Do we think this is just smoke, or is this something that will continue? I guess a lot of what people figure is when Evan Engram, the Giants’ target leader last year, will eat into that level of production Shepard has seen so far this season. I personally have liked Shepard since last season, and I think he’s a very reliable option for Daniel Jones. He’s actually currently sitting as the WR15 in fantasy.
While he may not always or hardly ever give you huge weeks like Tyreek Hill can offer, but he provides to us as a safe option. Especially this week, going up against the Atlanta Falcons defense, we talked about earlier who couldn’t stop a nose bleed. The Falcons are continuing right where they left off in 2020 with their bad secondary woes and have given up the 8th most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. I also cheated again and added another wide receiver in that offense with Kenny Golladay, who has also quietly watched his targets go up. Maybe he was being eased in a bit from injury, and perhaps the changes at the offensive line the Giants made last week have helped give Daniel Jones more time to throw, and it’s helping this offense move better as a whole. I really like them this week as a pay-down option if I want a safer play in cash games.
Honorable Mention: Marvin Jones Jr. (Draftkings: $4,900 / Fanduel: $6,300)
Deep Sea Dive: Darnell Mooney (Draftkings: $4,300 / Fanduel: $5,600)
T.J. Hockenson (Draftkings: $5,200 / Fanduel: $6,300)
What can I say T.J. Hockensen has been nothing short of spectacular this season and still isn’t being priced like the actual TE3 rank that he is. For me, it absolutely should go Kelce, Waller, Hockensen, but what the heck Draftkings and Fanduel, don’t you like money? This is an easy money pick. Give me Hockensen all day at $5,200 on Draftkings going up against the Baltimore Ravens. I said it earlier that the Lions only have so many offensive weapons to keep this train rolling, and Hockensen is truly the star of the show. We know the Lions are going to be playing from behind unless some freak accident happens. Hockenson has seen the 2nd most targets at the tight end position, and this week, he gets Baltimore’s defense, which allowed the most fantasy points per game, to the tight end position! So set it and forget it I don’t need to waste your time; if you’ve been paying attention to football at all, then you know Hockensen is the call this week.
Kyle Pitts (Draftkings: $4,900 / Fanduel: $6,200)
Another week goes by, and Kyle Pitts’ value still stays at a nice and easy price to squeeze him into your DFS lineups just awaiting that big game where we will never find his price set so low ever again. So while the gettin is good, I’m going to keep on gettin. Kyle Pitts is basically operating in this Atlanta offense as a wide receiver which comes as no surprise considering that’s how a lot of the football world has profiled him. Pitts has run the 2nd most routes on the Atlanta offense and saw 14 targets over the last two weeks. He’s run 46% of those routes out of the slot and 26% of them out wide. So he’s being used as a wide receiver 72% of the time, and honestly, we should see an uptick from that this week with fellow wide receiver Russell Gage being out of the lineup due to injury.
It’s really a no-brainer, but I’ve got to say it anyway; the matchup is pretty nice for Pitts, seeing as the Giants have given up the 4th most fantasy points per game to tight ends on the season thus far. Those numbers aren’t totally fudged either by facing Travis Kelce or Darren Waller the first two weeks either. If you think that Kyle Pitts can’t put up similar numbers to Noah Fant or Logan Thomas, then hey, stay away, but I think he provides a lot more upside and can have an excellent fantasy finish this week.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Higbee (Draftkings: $4,000 / Fanduel: $5,500)
Deep Sea Dive: Gerald Everett (Draftkings: $3,000 / Fanduel: $5,000)
Las Vegas Raiders vs Miami Dolphins (Draftkings: $3,400 / Fanduel: $4,000)
Arizona Cardinals vs Jacksonville Jaguars (Draftkings: $3,000 / Fanduel: $4,600)
Honorable Mention: Miami Dolphins vs Las Vegas Raiders (Draftkings: $2,700 / Fanduel: $3,800)
Deep Sea Dive: Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh Steelers (Draftkings: $2,100 / Fanduel: $3,400)