All of a sudden, Week 3 of the NFL season is upon us. Hopefully you finished in the money with your Week 2 lineups. Either way, I’m here to help you build the best possible lineup in this weekend’s games.
Sometimes opportunity just falls in your lap. We have a couple of cases of this happening in Week 3 thanks to some key injuries last week. They have opened the door for the backups to get some burn at a very cheap price. Just don’t roster any of the Buffalo Bills in your PlayON daily fantasy lineups. You might only get a half score when they walk out at halftime.
Let’s dig into the Week 3’s top picks.
PlayON PICK OF THE WEEK
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs ($11.2M)
Time is quickly running out for you to roster Mahomie. He started the year priced at $9.7M and in the space of 2 weeks, has gone up $1.5M. The reason for this is that he’s come out in his 2nd and 3rd career starts and thrown an NFL record 10 touchdowns through the opening 2 games. Better still, he’s done it with no interceptions and both games on the road.
Both of those stats are unsustainable, but I wouldn’t count on the regression happening this week at home against a San Fran defense that just allowed Matt Stafford to have 347 yards and 3 touchdowns. The oddsmakers are expecting this game to be a shootout and the over/under for the game has been set at around 56 points. That tells me there’s a very good chance that Pat throws a few more. And so does….
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers ($10.7M)
I wrote about Jimmy GQ in both the previous weeks articles. Week 1, he was a sit against the Vikings. Week 2, he was a start against the Lions. He had his best game since midway through last year in that Lions game and this time gets the Kansas City Chiefs.
They’re a defense that have so far allowed 424 yards and 3 touchdowns to Philip Rivers, and 452 yards and 3 touchdowns to Big Ben and an average of just about 365 PlayON DFS points. And the Chiefs won both these games. There will be a whole lot of offense in this game, and little-to-no defense. Buckle up.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars ($11.2M)
Despite all the criticism he attracts, Blake Bortles puts up fantasy points. He just had a 366 point day against the Patriots thanks to 376 yards, 4 touchdowns and just the 1 interception. He now plays the Titans who actually shocked me last week by upsetting the Texans. Deshaun Watson still had 268 points in that game.
The difference here is that it was a Tennessee home game, and this is a Jags home game. Bortles is going to get a lot of chances to air it out when his defense makes life hard for Mariota and co. They’re one of, if not the best defensive teams in the NFL and I think the Titans will have a hard time staying on the field. I mean, Brady only had 234 yards last week. These Titans QB’s are not Tom Brady.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals ($11.2M) vs. Panthers, Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles ($12.7M) vs. Colts
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals ($7.8m)
There is so much value in the running back spot this week, and none more so than Giovani Bernard. He was very nearly my Pick of the Week. Usual Bengals starter, Joe Mixon, has been sidelined for at least a week after a minor knee procedure so Gio will see a bump in usage at a discount price.
Last season, Mixon missed 2 games against the Bears and Vikings. In those games, Bernard was a workhorse. He had an 87% snap count, 78% of the RB carries and 20% on the Bengals passing targets. So what right? Those numbers don’t equal points. Well, it added up to 173 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. In Joe’s return game, he was limited and Gio exploded for 168 yards and a touchdown. The guy can play. The matchup with the Panthers isn’t the greatest, but it should mean a lot of work for Gio based on the game script.
Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears ($11.5m)
Howard hasn’t been setting the world on fire thus far, but that’s primarily because he’s been underutilized and Bears coach Matt Nagy recognized that following their win over Seattle. So he should see more carries this week to help him get going. The only other thing he needs is a super matchup against a defense that has allowed 5 touchdowns to running backs already this year.
Yes, the Arizona Cardinals defense has been awful. Not only are they allowing all the touchdowns, but they’re getting shredded for 210 rushing yards per game. Which is insane. The Cards offense has scored just 6 points this year too so they’re not controlling the time of possession. The Bears should hit the front early and ride their bell-cow all the way to the promised land.
Sony Michel, New England Patriots ($9m) vs. Lions, Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles ($6.8M) vs. Colts (if Ajayi and Sproles are out), Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings ($8.5M) vs. 49ers (if Cook is out)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($14.2m)
Here’s another crazy stat: Michael Thomas is on pace to finish this year with 224 catches, 2,144 yards, and 24 touchdowns. His price has risen to $14.2M on the back of 28 catches on 30 targets in just the 2 games.
Brees has returned to his pass-first offense and is throwing it Thomas’ way as often as possible. He had 12 catches, 89 yards and 2 touchdowns last week, and was just as good the last time the Saints and Falcons met in Atlanta. In that game last year, Thomas had 10 catches, 117 yards, and 1 touchdown. The Falcons defense has been decimated by injury already so MT should dominate once again.
Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs ($9.3m)
Honestly, I’m not the biggest Sammy Watkins fan but if you’re stacking him with Mahomes, it just makes sense. This guy was the forgotten man last week against Pittsburgh as they put all their energy into stopping Tyreek Hill. So Watkins snuck around for 6 catches and 100 yards. He just missed out on a touchdown too with Mahomes misjudging the throw to a wide open Watkins on what would have been a 35 yard score. It was the only target he had that wasn’t caught.
Watkins is $3.3M cheaper than his teammate Hill, who will likely be shadowed by Richard Sherman all day, allowing Watkins to stroll around against the rest of the lackluster 49ers pass defense. Go back up again and see what Stafford did to them last week. As long as Mahomes is breaking records, Watkins should benefit.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans ($9.3m) vs. Giants, Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams ($11.1m) vs. Chargers
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles ($11.2m)
Tight end is getting harder and harder to pick. So go with the top guys and save yourself the headaches. Ertz is shaping up as a great play this week. He’s been targeted 23 times through the first 2 games and had 94 yards on 11 catches in last weeks loss to Tampa Bay. The problem is, he hasn’t hit the endzone yet which has limited his scoring. But Carson Wentz is back under center for the first time in 287 days and Ertz is his favorite target. Ertz had 7 touchdowns through 11 games when the 2 played together in 2017, plus with the QB returning from a serious knee injury, he’ll go where he feels comfortable.
Last week, the Colts gave up 6 catches and 55 yards to Jordan Reed in a 21-9 win. There’s an exploitable matchup there for a great tight end to take advantage of.
Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts ($6.2m)
Somehow, I keep recommending guys playing against each other. But if you are looking for a cheap TE option, look no further than Eric Ebron. Ebron is often a maligned player. He sits on a lot of fantasy coaches “do not draft” lists, but he has been quieting the harshest critics so far. Through 2 games, he’s caught 7 of 9 targets and 2 touchdowns. He isn’t getting a lot of work but is becoming Andrew Luck’s best redzone guy.
The matchup with the world champs might look like a bad one on paper, but they just let OJ Howard torch them for 96 yards and a score last week. On top of that, Jack Doyle hurt himself in practice this week so won’t be there to steal a share of the targets.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers ($6M) vs. Chiefs, Trey Burton, Chicago Bears ($6.7m) vs. Cardinals
Chicago Bears ($6.1m)
I almost wrote about the Bears last week and they dominated the Seattle Seahawks all night long. That’s 3 out of the 4 halves that this squad has left a huge impression on, and the only exception being that Aaron Rodgers miracle comeback. Da Bears monstered Russell Wilson to the tune of 6 sacks, 2 takeaways, 276 yards and just 17 points, including a junk time touchdown. It was good for 140 DFS points and the top defensive score of the week.
And if that wasn’t exciting enough, Sam Bradford and the Arizona Cardinals are next on the schedule. They’re fresh off a 34-0 beatdown at the hands of the Rams in which they produced 137 total yards, 1 sack and 1 turnover. It’s an exciting matchup for the defensive unit that is quickly shaping as one of the best of the year.
Dallas Cowboys ($5.8m)
There are 2 offensive lines that stand out to me as the absolute worst in the NFL. The Giants and the Seahawks. The Dallas Cowboys fearsome frontline played one last week (and created the new Manning face meme) and plays the other one of them this week.
The Cowboys pass rush had 6 sacks and a fumble recovery last week and only allowed the G-Men to rack up 255 yards and 13 points. And I just told you what the Bears did to Seattle last week. So, Wilson could be running for his life all over again.
Minnesota Vikings ($7.2M) vs. Bills, Houston Texans ($4.7M) vs. Giants
PlayON PASS OF THE WEEK
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers ($6.7m)
Williams is in for a very tough afternoon in LA. This is somewhat of a rivalry game as both LA teams play each other for the very first time. The franchises have met 11 times before but never as LA sides. Williams was bad last week with just 87 points, and that included a touchdown. He was only targeted by Rivers twice against a very poor Bills team, which is very concerning coming into a matchup with one of the league’s best defenses, the Rams.
The Rams haven’t allowed a passing touchdown through the first 2 weeks of the season and have allowed less than 200 yards passing each game. With Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters leading the outside men, this isn’t an aerial defense to be messing with. I’d avoid all the Chargers this time around.
That’s all for this weekend’s picks. Now be sure to get your lineups in and win a share of guaranteed cash prizes playing daily fantasy NFL at PlayON.