Collin Hulbert again gives you his favorite picks and analysis on who to start for Week 3 of the NFL season.
Week 2 was a devastating week in many DFS formats as major injuries and flops really changed the landscape of many contests. Our DraftKings lineup scored 146.32 points, and we cashed over the 135 average breakpoint marker (FanDuel is around 120).
At DraftKings this week, we cashed the one lineup but will be switching to a two-lineup format moving forward. So we are tracking, we cashed both DraftKings lineups so far in 2019 (Week 1: 168 – Week 2: 146). Our FanDuel scores this week were split (152 & 104) as one of the two lineups cashed. The average cash breakpoint was down for both sites, as you can imagine, with all the injuries and the fallout from quarterback injuries and how that has a trickle-down effect with those QBs and their receivers and running backs.
Week 3 Preview
Week 3 has two notably lopsided spreads, which could really be a cause for concern with variance among the players apart of the four teams. We are sticking to the hot players and high scoring total over/under games this week, to maximize the anticipated scoring projections from those teams’ stars.
There’s a lot of uncertainty with all these new quarterbacks making their first starts with these teams. This week, we are going top-heavy with the quarterbacks and the lead running back. We filled in the rest with low-priced options who should be getting plenty of opportunities.
As it is set every week, the prices on DraftKings are listed next to every player in parentheses.
|US Poker Open $25,000 No Limit Hold'em|
Pat Mahomes (DK-$7,600)
According to oddsmakers, Pat Mahomes has the best projection this week and it isn’t even close to anyone else. He’s projected for 330 yards passing and 3.5 touchdowns. It’s a ridiculous line but considering the matchup and the over/under total points line (55), it makes total sense.
The Ravens have been explosive thus far in 2019 and the Chiefs defense still doesn’t seem like they’ve made a lot of strides in the past year. Mahomes will also likely be without his starting running back, Damien Williams. Expect Mahomes to air it out once again and I fully expect this to be a shootout.
Lamar Jackson (DK-$7,000)
Typically, I avoid pairing quarterbacks from the same matchup, but I did this very same thing last season when the Rams played the Chiefs and the over/under for total points was 53. Both teams nearly got there by themselves and although I don’t expect the same level of a shootout here, the line of 55 is a good indicator this game should be a quarterback showdown.
The Ravens have proved in 2019 they are capable of being an effective, potent passing offense. I fully expect Jackson to put together another massive week on both the ground and through the air. His line is 260 yards passing, 2.5 touchdowns, and 65 yards rushing.
Jimmy Garoppolo (DK-$6,200)
Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have the best start to the pre-season. He really didn’t have the best start to the actual season either. From what we know now, the Bucs were better than we initially thought on defense and the Steelers are much, much worse. It’s an unfortunate circumstance for such a historic franchise to be in, but if we’re comparing their luck to other teams, they’re long overdue for some devastating injury to put their season in doubt. Even with the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick, I doubt it’ll make a huge difference as Jimmy G looked excellent a week ago in Cincinnati.
This week, he’s got George Kittle facing a defense who just gave up two touchdowns to Seahawks tight end, Will Dissly. The secondary has been missing assignments all season and their quarterback situation isn’t great. I expect the Steelers to score to an extent, but I think Jimmy G will put this game out of reach by the time the clock strikes double zero. Jimmy’s line this week is around 290 yards passing and 2.75 touchdowns. Though I’ll be starting both Jackson and Mahomes in both DraftKings contests this week, I would recommend Jimmy if you want to beef up your roster in other areas.
Ezekiel Elliott (DK-$8,900)
Zeke is a fine play this week for about every reason one could come up with. I don’t need to explain much about this one because he could have a career day if the Dolphins actually posed a threat on offense but my guess is, Zeke will be pulled at some point when this game is a four score contest — so it’s probably going to be the second or third quarter. His line is around 140 yards combined, 4 receptions and he’s rocking a 1.5 touchdown total as well. If you ever were to have a sure thing in DFS, Zeke is just that this week. The Dolphins have been outscored 102-10 in two games and this contest is a 23-point spread. Why pass on this slam dunk?
Dalvin Cook (DK-$7,800)
The Raiders rushing defense has been decent thus far. That being said, the quarterback they faced in Week 1, Joe Flacco, didn’t exactly force them to consider the fact they could be susceptible to being beaten in the air. Unfortunately, the Raiders forgot the quarterback they were facing in Week 2 was Pat Mahomes and four second-quarter touchdown throws later, it was already over. Dalvin Cook’s line is 93 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards on an estimated 4 receptions.
Cook has speed unlike anything the league has seen at running back since Chris Johnson was on the Titans a decade ago. All he needs is a little wiggle room and he is gone. Regardless of how the Raiders scheme to stop Cook, he just needs one slip up to turn the week into a fantasy home run.
Frank Gore (DK-$4,400)
In the beginning, there was Frank Gore. He has been here long before us and will be here long after we’re all dead. Gore doesn’t even have a line this week, because oddsmakers don’t even know how to estimate him anymore. I suppose the typical methods for estimating player performance don’t work on Gore and perhaps the only way to know his numbers would be to cut him open and count the rings.
Regardless of what we actually know about the old Redwood, Gore is about to get the Bell cow duties against a team who just gave up a combined 259 rushing yards against the 49ers. He’s still ripe and he’s especially ripe in this matchup. For the strategy this week, he’s so inexpensive, it’s hard to argue against pairing him with Zeke or Cook versus two mid-level plays.
Mike Evans (DK-$6,600)
Okay, hear me out. Evans hasn’t done anything all season, but the Giants have been getting torched all season and Evans has a remarkable line of 6 receptions for 90 yards. That’s going to be a lot of points for a very nice price when you add it up. It’s going to be even more nice if he can find the end zone, but for this price, there isn’t another receiver outside of Keenan Allen — $400 more expensive on DraftKings — who is anywhere near the same expected output in this price range. I’ll be starting Evans in both contests this week.
Marquise Brown (DK-$5,900)
Hollywood Brown has been everything he was advertised to be and more. He’s an absolute burner and much more polished as a receiver than anyone would expect for a rookie. Though he still has plenty of room to develop as a route runner, he’s already demonstrated he’s more than just a deep threat. Brown is the outright #1 receiver in this offense and (Mark Andrews aside) he’s the clear target for Lamar Jackson on these vertical routes. The Oddsmakers have set his line this week at 75 yards, so he’s a tremendous value for the price. Expect a high floor in this highly anticipated shootout. I recommend stacking him alongside Lamar Jackson in a roster this week.
D.K. Metcalf (DK-$4,700)
Metcalf has been a surprisingly productive rookie receiver this year. Following a pair of games to begin his career in which he had 4 receptions for 89 yards and 3 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown, Metcalf is set up nicely for a weak Saints secondary in Week 3. Metcalf shouldn’t draw difficult matchups defensively, so he should be a vibrant option for Russell Wilson on Sunday. The Saints rushing defense thus far seems stout, so the conventional wisdom here is that the Seahawks will take to the air here. Metcalf’s line this week is around 63 yards.
George Kittle (DK-$6,600)
Expect to see Kittle here most weeks, or at least until he starts scoring more touchdowns. He’s almost always a good, safe play at the position, but his ceiling may be limited, given the low touchdown numbers from both last season and now (5 TDs over past two seasons). His line this week is 85 yards, so there’s a good reason to expect the same offense who surrendered two scores to Will Dissly will likely be in over their heads this week with George Kittle. Snatch him up at this low price while it lasts.
Zach Ertz (DK-$5,700)
Ertz will have a lion’s share of targets this week, seeing as howDallas Goedert, Alshon Jeffrey, and Desean Jackson will likely all be out. In the past, Ertz has been targeted at a ridiculous rate in the absence of other receiving options. Last week, Ertz was targeted 15 times in the game and is looking at a receptions line of 7.5 and around 70 yards receiving. The Lions defense is nothing to brag about, so I expect to see Ertz getting plenty of work in this game.
Darren Waller (DK-$3,300)
Waller has made the list, again. He’s got a good matchup this week against a team known for strong corners. If the focus can be drawn to the outside receivers and Joshua Jacobs, Waller should get a lot of good looks in this game. Waller’s line is currently listed at 6 receptions for 65 yards, which gives him incredible value given his $4,100 price tag on DraftKings.
Cowboys D (DK-$4,300)
The Dolphins may be the worst team in NFL history. That’s impressive when you look back on all those football folly films from back in the day, which depicted the Bucs as a minor league team stuck in the NFL. The Dolphins aren’t just off to a historically awful start, they’re outright tanking. As if things couldn’t get much worse, Josh Rosen will be making the start, so any chance of Fitzmagic happening is slim to none now.
Patriots D (DK-$3,800)
There’s a good case to be made the Patriots could be the top defense this week. After all, they’ve scored 12 points on defense and given up just 3 all season. Now they’ll be facing the Jets and their third-string quarterback on short rest, coming off an embarrassing loss at home to the Browns. It’s a 22.5 point spread.
Nelson Agholor (DK-$3,600)
For whatever reason, Agholor costs next to nothing this week. I imagine his lack of success the opening week plummeted his value, but the recent spike in injuries amongst the receiving corps in Philadelphia resulted in Agholor getting a great deal of work in their road loss to the Falcons in Week 2. For this price, you should be able to start both Dalvin Cook and Zeke in some formats this week.
Jordan Wilkins (DK-$3,500)
Wilkins is solely a Plan B option here. Monitor the Marlon Mack injury situation close to kickoff. If Mack sits, play Wilkins in the flex. Last week, Wilkins had 82 yards rushing from just five carries and it included runs of 15 and 55 yards. The shifty, second-year glider from Ole Miss is the perfect discount option this week for a team set to face off against a poor Falcons defense.
Calvin Ridley (DK-$5,300/FD-$6,500)
Ridley isn’t an incredible value this week by any means, but he’s become a good Red Zone target for Matt Ryan the past two seasons and he’s carrying a high expected yardage line into this game, given his low price (5 receptions for 70 yards). If you want an alternative option to DK Metcalf or you don’t feel tremendous about Marquise Brown, Ridley is a good value and probably a safer option.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.
Follow Collin on Twitter @CollinHulbert