The Week 3 DFS double-header on Monday night caps off with the Rams traveling to Cincinnati to battle with the Bengals at 8:15 p.m. ET. The Bengals are listed as 2-point home favorites, while the total sits at 43.5 points.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase (Chris Raybon’s come included with a FantasyLabs subscription) within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Stud Picks
The elephant in the room is the status of Joe Burrow, which obviously has a massive impact on this slate. He was working with the scout team on Friday and Saturday, which made his chances of playing seem slim. However, on Sunday, he took first-team reps in the team walkthrough.
You’re likely looking to me for answers, but I don’t have them. I truly don’t know if he’s going to play. I have a slight lean towards yes, but it’s 55/45. Even if he does play, Burrow hasn’t looked good. He’s currently 29th in EPA per dropback, 29th in completion rate, and 31st in yards per attempt. He played against two solid defenses in Baltimore and Cleveland, but this week may be no different.
Many thought this Rams defense would be a dumpster fire, but that may not be the case. Geno Smith threw for just 112 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, while Brock Purdy threw for 206 yards and no touchdowns in Week 2.
If Burrow were to miss, Jake Browning would be thrust into our lives and a strong option in all formats as a starting quarterback on a showdown slate.
It’s been a rough start to the year for Ja’Marr Chase, with just 17.2 DraftKings points through two games. However, we all know that he’s a monster. He has a 26% target share and a 20% first-read target rate. His expensive price tag makes him a tough click if Burrow were to miss, but his talent is undeniable.
Tee Higgins has seen more success than Chase to start the year. After airballing in Week 1, he caught eight of 12 targets for 89 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. He’s also seen a higher first-read target rate than Chase, at 26%. I slightly prefer Higgins with the savings, but it is close.
Matthew Stafford had turned in back-to-back solid performances, with 17.46 and 18.98 DraftKings points in the first two weeks. The matchup is middling this week, as Cincinnati has allowed the 11th-fewest yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks on the year. He still projects as one of the top options on the slate.
Puka Nacua has taken the NFL world by storm through the first two weeks. He’s currently questionable with an oblique injury, but Sean McVay said he expects him to suit up.
Nacua has 35 targets over the first two weeks, with 24.9 and 33.1 DraftKings points despite not finding the end zone. He has a ridiculous 31% first-read target rate and 38% target rate per route run. I’m buying all of the stock that I can until Cooper Kupp returns, and he’s likely my first click in lineups tonight.
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NFL DFS Midrange Picks
Kyren Williams was the lead back in both games this year and that looks to continue. The real story was his pass game usage in Week 2, catching six of 10 targets for 48 yards and a touchdown. He’s totaled 45.4 DraftKings points through the first two games.
The matchup is easier than last week’s versus San Francisco, as Cincinnati is allowing 4.5 yards per carry to opposing backs through the first two weeks. He looks like another strong option on this showdown slate.
Joe Mixon may be in for an increased workload on Monday night. With Burrow either playing injured or out, they likely should lean on a more run-heavy approach.
Mixon faced two stout run defenses and now gets the Rams, who have allowed 5.3 yards per carry to opposing backs. This offense has been ugly through two weeks, but Mixon is a good bet to see a solid amount of volume this week.
Tutu Atwell has been overshadowed by Nacua, but he’s quietly putting together a great start to the year. He’s seen 17 total targets, catching 13 balls for 196 yards. He has an 18% first read target rate, which is respectable. He may get overlooked tonight as everyone runs to click Nacua, Williams, Chase, and Higgins.
Tyler Higbee has kind of been a forgotten man in this offense. He’s running a route on 84% of the dropbacks but has just an 11% target share and a 10% first-read target rate. I’m personally not too interested here, but he could fall into the end zone and pay off his price tag.
Like Higbee, Tyler Boyd has kind of been an afterthought in the Cincinnati offense. He has 11 targets through two weeks but only a 15% target share. We could see Cincinnati shift more run-heavy with Burrow out or limited, and Boyd’s role has been questionable thus far, regardless.
If you want to roster someone and just watch him run wind sprints, Van Jefferson might be your guy. He’s running a route on 85% of the dropbacks, with an 8% first-read target rate and nine total targets on the year. He and Boyd strike me as guys who are priced where they are since they’re always on the field, but their volume is way too low. I’m out on Jefferson as well.
NFL DFS Value & Punt Picks
- Defenses & Kickers: These options are always in play in the single-game format, but make sure to correlate the rest of your lineup around them. Given the expected low-scoring nature, these options may be more appealing than usual. The kickers make for intriguing targets, with this slate being devoid of value.
- Drew Sample ($200 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): Yes, there’s really only one viable option down here with how condensed these offenses are. Irv Smith Jr. looks doubtful for this contest, so Sample will have an increased role. He makes a lot work at the minimum price on DraftKings and allows you to fit a lot of the high-end studs.