Week 2 was a bit of a low scoring week, but expect that all to change with this slate! Week 3 is filled with phenomenal plays, and it wouldn’t shock me if we see a 300 point lineup at the top of the leaderboards. I’m feeling great about it! Quickly recapping, there were again some unfortunate circumstances last week, to say the least. Injuries all over the place, derailing many lineups from the green promised land. This unfortunately included Drew Brees tearing ligaments in his thumb early in their game. Although Brandin Cooks did get his long ball touchdown, he didn’t do much more beyond that. Josh Jacobs also vastly underperformed, even for his low pricing.
Flipping over to the positive side, the Josh Allen and John Brown stack turned out to be pretty solid. For those who played the Patriots defense in lineups without either Brees or Ben Roethlisberger, congratulations are in order. I hate to say I was in that group in over half my lineups, but also had Brees in a majority. In DFS sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. But that’s alright, because we’ve got a whole new slate coming this week filled with what should be some fireworks! All pricing I mention is for DraftKings pricing.
I think this slate is about to go bananas. Legitimately, there are arguments to be made for all four of the highest priced Quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes [$7,6000], Lamar Jackson [$7,000], Tom Brady [$6,500] and Dak Prescott [$6,500]. Yet, if I’m paying up this high at QB, Patrick Mahomes is where I’m going. Mahomes has shown us with his 2018 MVP campaign, and even already this year dicing up a solid Jacksonville defense in Week 1, that he truly is the cheat code. Lamar Jackson is getting close to his level with his hot start to the season, but I’m going to be valuing the MVP higher, thanks to being at home, a slightly lower projected ownership of 10% to Lamar Jackson’s 11%, and a larger sample size of putting up video game numbers. Lamar Jackson is a close second of the four due to his rushing ability, and the resistance the Chiefs will offer with their fire power, forcing the Ravens to sling it around as well. Something to remember, Lamar Jackson has played two of the worst defenses in the league this year in Miami and Arizona. A Chiefs defense at home tends to become stouter, as Arrowhead is one of the most underrated home field advantages in the league. Caution for this game as heavy rains may impact play. For tournaments it makes me lick my chops as it could drop Mahomes’ ownership even lower.
As for stacking with Mahomes, you can really use everyone. My personal favorites have to be Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce. Watkins should go under owned, currently at a projected ownership mark of 8.9%, thanks to his not so great performance last week. Yet, he still finished the contest with 13 targets, a clear sign Watkins is the alpha receiver with Tyreek Hill out. Travis Kelce is the best Tight End in the NFL and is paired with the best Quarterback in the NFL. It’s hard to not see where things could continue to go right with Kelce again this week. Not to mention he is currently the 4th highest owned TE at a projected ownership of 10.9%. This offense is so lethal it can support three passing weapons, so tacking on Demarcus Robinson at a projected 2.3% ownership, or Mecole Hardman at a projected 3.3% ownership to this stack is something I will be more than happy to do. As for running it back, give me a $5,900 priced Marquise Brown at a projected 12% ownership. Knowing this game should be a shootout, and Brown has been a big play machine, it’s easy to see why throwing him in this game stack feels great. If you wanted to throw Mark Andrews in there going double TE, and a full blown game stack, I wouldn’t talk you out of it. One of the issues with this is using just about all of your funds. Meaning you are going to have to pay down almost everywhere else. Yet, it’s also a great way to differentiate yourself in large-field tournaments, as everyone and their mother will want to pay up at running back this week. With this roster build, it forces you to be a bit different than the field. I’ll touch on this again a bit further down in our backs section.
This second stack is one in which a lot of experts around the industry are hammering hard, and for good reason. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals’ offense are living up to their mascot and just letting it fly. This offense has thrown the ball 99 times through the first two games, and it’s hard to imagine anything is going to change. In the fantasy community we know more plays mean more opportunities to score fantasy points. That’s the exact scenario in Arizona this weekend. Carolina comes in at 68.5 offensive plays run from their first two weeks, good for fourth highest in the NFL, while the Cardinals come in just behind them at 68 plays ran per game and fifth highest in the NFL. The Air Raid is on in Arizona. Many are seemingly taking sides, either going with Larry Fitzgerald at a price point of $5,100 and a projected 18.2% ownership, or Christian Kirk at $5,00 and a projected 11% ownership. I say, why not both! Fitz is averaging 12 targets a game through two weeks, and Kirk is at an average of 10 in the same span. There’s more than enough opportunity in this sling it around offense where both could have phenomenal games. Running it back, how about the best running back play of the week in Christian McCaffrey, even at his projected 35.5% ownership. With Kyle Allen under the helm, it provides a bit of an unknown, but it’s hard to imagine the Panthers won’t want to get the ball into Christian McCaffrey’s hands even more. I also LOVE Greg Olsen. Looking at what T.J. Hockenson did against the Cardinals Week 1 (6 REC, 131 REC YD, 1 TD for 28.1 DK Points), and seeing Mark Andrews put up a similar monster line (8 REC, 112 REC YD, 1 TD for 28.2 DK Points), how can we not vault Greg Olsen at a projected 6.9% ownership mark into the top tier of tight end plays this week? If you’re feeling lucky, and you love narratives, Damiere Byrd is going up against his old team the Panthers at minimum price. He’s had 7 targets each of the past two weeks. Do with this information as you will. I’m also not against using Kyle Allen with McCaffrey, Olsen, or even the receivers of D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. Kyle Allen opens up so much cap space for the rest of your lineup, it’s very tempting. I would recommend putting together one Kyle Allen lineup just to see how it looks. You might be surprised by what you can do with a minimum $4,000 priced quarterback. Quick recap on this stack: feel free to fire up Kyler Murray with Fitz and/or Kirk, along with running it back with McCaffrey and Olsen in a high paced game with great match-ups all around.
The last stack I want to hone in on is one not for the faint hearted. Jameis Winston has had a tough start to the season, but this week he’s got the Giants who have just been an absolute mess on defense so far. We’ve already seen Dak Prescott throw for over 400 yards against the Big Blue defense, and Josh Allen had a good game as well last week. Winston’s price point on DraftKings is at a mere $5,400 and a projected ownership mark of 6%. Not to mention, he still has one of the most talented pass catching corps in the league! Chris Godwin has stolen the show so far in Tampa Bay this season, but don’t count on Mike Evans and O.J. Howard to stay silent for too much longer. All three are great options, as Godwin is at a price point of $6,900 with a projected ownership mark of 8.8%, Mike Evans very similarly at a $6,600 price point and an 8.3% projected ownership mark, while O.J. Howard comes at a major discount at $3,800 and a projected ownership of 6.9%. Seeing all three are at a similar low ownership you could make an argument for all three. My personal preference has to be the two receivers as O.J. Howard has shown us nothing too promising so far. But at the same time, O.J. Howard’s struggles make him a prime tournament option. Even though I’d rather play Greg Olsen at a similar price point, I’ll more than likely still have a couple O.J. Howard shares. My favorite part about this stack is that it is your differentiation, and relatively cheap, meaning you can go with the great chalk plays at running back while still having a great tournament lineup. No need to run it back in this one, as the Buccaneers have been pretty solid on the defensive side of the ball this year.
It’s relatively straight forward this week. There are the four elite backs at the top, and one other guy I’ll mention. Our four elite must play backs this week are Ezekiel Elliot, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Austin Ekeler. Let’s work our way through this list!
Starting with Zeke, we know the Cowboys are going to put up points against the Dolphins who have been an absolute dumpster fire this season. Zeke should take full advantage of this atrocious defense. He’s going to cost a pretty penny at $8,900, and his ownership is up at 28.1%. He’s a must play in cash, as even if he gets pulled later on in this one it’s extremely likely his damage is already done. As for tournaments, you can comfortably play Zeke, the only concern being him splitting touches and possibly pulled early.
I’ve already discussed McCaffrey a bit, and yes he’s my favorite play of these four. Let’s move on to Dalvin Cook. Cook has shown us throughout his whole NFL career he is truly one of the best backs in the league, when not injured. Healthy as can be, Cook is going up against the Oakland Raiders this week who have actually looked pretty solid against the ground games of both Denver and Kansas City. We know exactly what Gary Kubiak wants to do, and that’s run, run, and run some more. Not that this Raiders defense is scary by any means, but even if it were, Cook is as matchup proof as they come. He enters this matchup at a price point of $7,800 and a projected ownership mark of 26%. Although he is my least favorite of the four, Cook in what should be a positive game script, will very likely continue on his hot start. Fire him up in cash, but I’m probably going elsewhere in tournaments.
Last, but definitely not least of the elite backs is Austin Ekeler. Last week I was 100% wrong. Ekeler is getting so much work both in the rushing and passing attack, he is truly proving all of the doubters wrong, like me last week. The fact that the Chargers scored only ten points and he still managed to put up 24.3 DK points is outstanding. This week he draws a much more favorable matchup against the Texans at home. Ekeler is the cheapest of the four at $7,200 and is at a projected ownership mark of 17.9%. Ekeler is a great cash play, and on account of his ownership, he’s the best tournament play of these four elite backs.
If you need to pay down at RB, such as having that Kansas City Chiefs stacks, there is one option that pops off the screen. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but 36-year-old Frank Gore is a great play. He’s priced at $4,400 and an ownership mark of 8.2%. Gore has every facet of what we look for in a DFS back: the workload to see 20+ touches with Devin Singletary sidelined, the BEST matchup of the week against the whimpering Bengals defense, he’s a home favorite, and he’s going to get goal line touches having compiled 75% of the Bills red zone rushes this season. Gore is one of the best plays this week, period. Don’t let those biased against old men steer you off of a great cash and tournament play that is Frank Gore.