Fantasy NFL

Daily Fantasy NFL Football: Week 3 Ultimate Guide – Ownership, Value, & Sleepers

Written by: Alex McKinnon– Staff Writing Intern (@1ReturnOfTheMac)

Week 2 is in the books and we continue to watch the development of the league, rookies and the decline of veterans as we try to establish the best DFS plays for the coming weeks. With another full slate of games on deck for the weekend, let’s take a look at some of the best options for DraftKings Sunday and/or Monday contests and find a few hidden gems. We will go through each position and analyze ownership projections and identify value and establish sleeper picks and low ownership-high potential candidates.

| Quarterbacks

Highest Percentage of Ownership Projected:

  1. Philip Rivers $6700 (20-25%)
  2. Marcus Mariota $5900 (18-23%)
  3. Drew Brees $7900 (17-22%)
  4. Matt Ryan $7400 (16-21%)
  5. Andrew Luck $7600 (16-21%)

Additionally… Prescott, Tannehill, Bortles, Joe Flacco and David Carr are expected to be in the 10-15% range. The rest of the board is expected to land between the 1-7% ownership range. Some notable low owned guys will be Cam Newton (vs. Minnesota D), Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger and Jameis Winston. As far as evaluating your selection of a QB for your lineup (ignoring the price tag), Rivers should certainly have a field day with the Colts defense and the same goes for Andrew Luck against the Chargers. However, with the amount of DFS players expected to own either, it is a homerun to go with Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger. Yes, Cam Newton is facing off against the tough Vikings Defense but his offense is much more impressive than Carolina’s defense thus far and I still think Newton is somehow improving as we watch him. Aaron Rodgers faces the Lions who are the 30th ranked defense in the league and allowed Andrew Luck to get 38 DraftKings points while still winning the game. Roethlisberger faces an Eagles Defense that smothered the Browns and the Bears but that doesn’t say much. It should, however, be a competitive game and Big Ben often steps up to the plate with the lights shining down.

Your best value play is Marcus Mariota at $5,900 at home against the Raiders. Mariota is a dual-threat and has started to get in a rhythm with guys like Sharpe and Walker. Oakland has also allowed 34 and 35 points through the first two weeks. Derek Carr and the Raiders offense will also be able to score on the Titans defense so this could become a shootout.

The best bargains or sleepers include Blaine Gabbert, Brian Hoyer and Alex Smith. Gabbert and Hoyer will cost you $5000 on DraftKings and Alex Smith is $5800. Gabbert will face a strong Seahawks defense but a team that is coming off a loss to the Rams. Gabbert has looked decent thus far and the 49ers were able to shutout the Rams and keep up with the Panthers for three quarters. Hoyer will take over for Cutler in Chicago for this weeks SNF matchup against the Cowboys. The Cowboys are likely to win this matchup but their defense is not very spectacular. Hoyer is a seasoned veteran when it comes to being a backup QB or a stop-gap for the Browns and Texans. He isn’t uber talented but he has Alshon Jeffery to work with. Alex Smith had a subpar game last week against the Texans but he still managed to avoid any turnovers. After a uneventful encore to his Week 1 32 point performance, his ownership will sit around 1% with a reasonable price of $5800.

| Running Backs

Highest Percentage of Ownership Projected:

  1. Melvin Gordon $5800 (34-39%)
  2. DeAngelo Williams $7500 (32-37%)
  3. Theo Riddick $4900 (26-31%)
  4. Charles Sims $4900 (20-25%)
  5. David Johnson $7700 (12-17%)

DeMarco Murray, Zeke Elliott, Mark Ingram and Frank Gore are also expected to between 10-15% and everyone else on the board will be 7% or lower in ownership. The most notable low-ownership backs will be CJ Anderson, Latavius Murray, Matt Forte, Todd Gurley and LeSean McCoy. Forte is obviously coming off an insane Thursday Night game against the Bills and will face the Chiefs this week. The Chiefs have historically been a stout defense but have only accumulated 8 total DK points through two weeks allowing 46 points. Forte should benefit again from a heavy workload and looked incredibly shifty behind the talented Jets O-Line. He is projected around 4% and is only the 5th most expensive play. There are a TON of value picks (see below) and should allow you to add a high priced running back. Why not Forte? Anderson and L. Murray have scored a TD in each of the first two games and are pivotal parts of their teams with young QBs. Anderson is slightly overpriced at $7300 but Murray is still undervalued at $5700 coming into the week. Gurley and McCoy have yet to provide the numbers expected in the preseason. To win in the large tournaments, you must take a few risks with low owned players and Gurley and McCoy always have the ability to burn a team for a pair of TDs.

As we previously mentioned, there is a lot of value this week after 6 starting running backs went down last week. Let’s start with Melvin Gordon. The second year back has bursted out of the gate providing 17.7 and 24 points in back to back weeks with the Chargers despite having to fade some time to Danny Woodhead. With Woodhead being out for the rest of the season, there is little doubt that Melvin Gordon has all the tools to have a monster season. Facing the poor Colts defense this week gives Melvin a perfect opportunity to continue his success. At $5800, his value is incredible. Theo Riddick ($4900) now only shares the backfield with D. Washington after the Abdullah injury. Although Riddick won’t see a huge change in his role as a pass friendly back, there is little doubt that he will see an increase in workload. Charles Sims is the most obvious candidate for a huge increase in workload. After the Doug Martin injury and Sefarian-Jenkins release, he joins Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans as Winston’s only target. He has been a touchdown vacuum in the past and now has the workload needed for a huge week at only $4900.

Arian Foster was hurt in last weeks contest which opens the door for the elusive backup, Jay Ajayi to step up. The Dolphins face the homely Browns this week and Ajayi will be a critical piece as Miami looks for their first win, at the low cost of $4000. Next, we have the Vikings. With AP out for an extended period of time, the Vikings will turn to a pair of backs to pick up the workload. Jerick McKinnon ($3800) and Matt Asiata ($3000) will fill in for the injured Peterson. Both will serve a purpose in the offense and Asiata has succeeded in the ‘fill-in’ role in the past. McKinnon is the more talented back and should see a heavy amount of the carries.

For the deep-sleepers you have a few backs who will see an increase in workload but still have a low potential for a high output of points. Kenyan Drake will be sharing some of the reps with Jay Ajayi in the wake of the Foster injury. He has low TD potential but he has explosive tendencies. At any minute he can rip a 50 yard run and presents an interesting option for $3600. Dwayne Washington will take over the Abdullah role for the Lions but should yield a lot of the opportunities to Riddick. Also at $3600, he is another option if you are looking to pay up for guys like DeAngelo WIlliams or pump up the WR slots. Cameron Artis-Payne has been discussed throughout the week but it seems like most will stay away with the other options at RB. At $3000, he is still decent value if you want to take a chance on someone who will sit around the 5% ownership after Jonathan Stewart was injured. Mike Tolbert will see a lot of the Red Zone touches and Fozzy Whitaker showed up after Stewart went down so don’t expect a lot from CAP. Kenneth Farrow will step in as the backup RB for Melvin Gordon after the Woodhead injury. He is more of an explosive, change of pace back so he won’t see a lot of the pass catching opportunities that DW was useful for, but he will be in there a lot to give Gordon rest.

| Wide Receivers

Highest Percentage of Ownership Projected:

  1. Willie Snead $6500 (22-27%)
  2. Travis Benjamin $5200 (20-25%)
  3. Tajae Sharpe $4700 (19-24%)
  4. Tyrell Williams $4300 (15-20%)
  5. Allen Robinson $7500 (14-19%)

Dorsett, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, Marvin Jones, Brandon Cooks and Jarvis Landry are also sitting around the 10-15% ownership projected. Plenty of top receivers are sitting under that 10% ownership level who should be decent selections if you want to have a unique lineup. Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald, Stefon Diggs, Alshon Jeffery and Odell Beckham Jr are expected to be around 5% or lower. Mike Evans should definitely benefit from the loss of Doug Martin and Seferian-Jenkins to pair with the pass-happy Jameis Winston. Evans has been a favorite of Winston since JW was drafted and that shouldn’t slow down anytime soon. At $7000, he is the 15th most expensive option. Last week against the Cardinals, he saw 17 targets come his way. SEVENTEEN. Unfortunately he only caught 6 balls but it still indicates Winston isn’t afraid to force it to Evans. He has a TD in both of the first two games and put up 19 and 20.9 points. Larry Fitzgerald is Mr. Consistent. He is not very flashy and he is in the final year of his prolific career, but that is not slowing him down at all. With 28 and 19 points and 3 TD total through two games, he remains Carson Palmer’s safety blanket with 10 targets in each affair. At $6900, I still believe he is undervalued.

Stefon Diggs is VERY fun to watch. He is almost a must play this week with his situation. He is only $5100, and will definitely benefit from the Peterson injury. Coming off a 9 catch, 182 yards and a TD game, he is somehow only around 5% ownership. My best guess is that people are afraid he won’t perform against Carolina’s defense or they are fading him assuming everyone will put him in their lineup. I am very excited about Diggs potential this week as he builds chemistry with Sam Bradford. Alshon Jeffery ($8000) has yet to explode this year and now has to play with backup Brian Hoyer on Sunday Night Football. Despite this, Hoyer has a strong history with elite receivers as depicted during his short tenure with DeAndre Hopkins in Houston. Odell Beckham Jr will face Josh Norman for the first time this year and will do anything to prove he is the better in the matchup. At $9100, he is very pricey but with so many cheap options with great value, he is a good risk.

The best value plays this week will be Phillip Dorsett, Tyrell Williams, Eddie Royal and Vincent Jackson. Dorsett will slide into the #2 spot behind TY Hilton in the Colts offense. Andrew Luck has historically spread the ball around and with San Diego on the slate this week, they should be able to score plenty of points. Dorsett, $4400,  has always been talented but has had to sit behind the now injured Montcrief. With Montcrief out multiple weeks, Dorsett has the chance to prove his worth. Tyrell Williams stepped into the #2 slot last week after the Keenan Allen injury and was able to grab 15.1 points on DraftKings. He stepped up to the challenge and now with the Woodhead injury, he becomes an even more vital part of the offense. The Colts offense..well..stinks so he should be able to grab the same if not more points this week. Eddie Royal is only $3500 and has solidified himself as the #2 receiver and a strong special teams threat. With 15.7 and 15.2 points through two weeks, he isn’t a bad option on SNF. Vincent Jackson isn’t nearly the same player as he used to be but purely due to the fact that Seferian-Jenkins and Doug Martin are gone, he should see an increase in opportunities at only $3900.

| Tight Ends

Highest Percentage of Ownership Projected:

  1. Dwayne Allen $3800 (18-23%)
  2. Jordan Reed $6500 (14-19%)
  3. Delanie Walker $5000 (11-16%)
  4. Trey Burton $2500 (11-16%)
  5. Jacob Tamme $3200 (9-14%)

Outside of Dennis Pitta, the rest of the field is projected 5% or lower. The best options within the low owned tight ends would be Julius Thomas, Greg Olsen and Gary Barnidge. Thomas ($4600) will take on the Ravens this week as the Jaguars look to get in the win column. The Jaguars came into the season with high hopes for a playoff run but have disappointed thus far. Thomas has still collected a pair of solid outings with 17.4 and 11.1 points over the first two weeks. He will always be a Red Zone threat for gunslinger Blake Bortles and is an excellent option as a low ownership-high upside this week. Greg Olsen is coming off a giant game of 5 catches, 122 yards and a score. Cam Newton’s security blanket, Olsen is expected to garner a shockingly low 2-5% ownership projection and is still reasonable at $5800. If you are looking for a safe option, Olsen is your guy. Gary Barnidge will be at the bottom of the ownership for tight ends and hasn’t proven to be a solid commodity so far. He will be paired with his 3rd Quarterback in 3 games but you have to expect a turnaround for Barnidge at some point with his level of talent. Facing Miami, he should definitely get his opportunity to shine if Cody Kessler can piece any sort of performance together

Trey Burton is your best value you this week at $2500. Replacing Zach Ertz last week, he shined with his 7 targets putting together a 15.9 point performance. Although Brent Celek should see his normal amount of snaps, Burton is the explosive pass-catching tight end who has gained the respect of the coaches. Dennis Pitta is $3400 this week and is coming off of a 12 target, 9 catch performance. Joe Flacco has always loved his tight ends and Pitta is definitely capable of seeing a similar amount of targets this week against the Jaguars. Although he is not a supremely talented prospect, Brandon Myers fills in as the starting tight end for Tampa Bay. He is certainly a red zone threat this week and might sneak you a touchdown or two for $2500.

Deep sleepers would include Jimmy Graham, CJ Uzomah and Jack Doyle (again). Jumping in snaps from 21% to 82% between week 1 and week 2, Jimmy Graham seems to finally be healthy again. At $3000, Graham is a decent risk play with such low percentage and his historically high upside. He is definitely not the same tight end since leaving Drew Brees, but if Russell Wilson can get him the ball, he has the potential to have a good game. Despite being banged up, Uzomah seems to be a full go this weekend. At this point Tyler Eifert is doubtful, but even if he plays, Uzomah has shown much more than Tyler Kroft through two weeks. At $2500, he is a strong contrarian play against the nasty Broncos defense. Although Jack Doyle didn’t perform after my suggestion of playing him last week, he still saw 5 targets. Again, Andrew Luck loves his tight ends and should be throwing the ball a lot against the Chargers. Doyle could sneak in a touchdown on Sunday and still only costs $2500.

| Defense

Highest Percentage of Ownership Projected:

  1. Dolphins $3000 (46-51%)
  2. Buccaneers $3100 (8-13%)
  3. Cowboys $2500 (8-13%)
  4. Panthers $3800 (5-10%)
  5. Giants $3300 (3-8%)

The rest of the field is 3-5% or lower. The most interesting choice in the low ownership club is the Arizona Cardinals at $3600. Still reasonably priced, the Cardinals will face the Buffalo Bills and are projected to be the lowest owned defense. Despite struggling against New England in Week 1, the Cardinals put up 23 points against the Bucs last week. I’m pretty shocked to see the Cardinals owned this low as Tampa is turnover prone. The Cardinals have continuously picked apart weak offenses and can turn in a TD or two any given week. Outside of that, the 49ers at $2400 are facing the Seahawks who have struggled scoring points this year. Every other matchup on the board is pretty uncertain so try to stick with the top 5 owned or grab one of the low cost D’s in the Cardinals or the 49ers.


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