NFL Week 3 features a 13-game main slate starting at 1 p.m. ET.
In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase 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 Quarterback Picks
Jalen Hurts has been absolutely fantastic to start the year. He’s provided his usual outstanding production on the ground, averaging 73.5 rushing yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game, but he’s taken some nice strides as a passer as well. He torched a Vikings’ defense that shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers the week prior, completing 83.9% of his passes for 333 yards and a score. Overall, he’s averaged 8.7 adjusted yards per attempt through the first two weeks, which is easily the best mark of his career.
Hurts should be able to build on his success this week vs. the Commanders. Their defense has struggled to start the year, giving Hurts an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.1 on DraftKings. That’s the third-best mark at the position. The Eagles are also implied for 27 points, which is the fourth-highest mark on the main slate.
Finally, Hurts also benefits from his previous game being played on Monday Night Football. He wasn’t given a chance to be priced up following his big performance, so he’s priced at a value across the industry. His price tag is particularly appealing at just $8,100 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%.
The Falcons were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this season, but their offense has held its own through the first two weeks. They’ve racked up the ninth-most points per game, although they definitely benefitted from some good variance last week vs. the Rams.
Marcus Mariota has also provided some decent fantasy value. His passing numbers have been solid, but his rushing upside is what makes him appealing. He’s had at least six carries in back-to-back games, and he’s turned that into 88 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons have the potential for more points vs. the Seahawks. They rank just 25th in Football Outsiders‘ defensive DVOA, including 30th against the pass.
Mariota is very reasonably priced in this matchup at just $5,500 on DraftKings. His Bargain Rating of 56% doesn’t jump off the page, but it’s the top mark at the quarterback position.
It’s Josh Allen’s world, we’re just living in it. The MVP favorite has looked unstoppable to start the year, scoring at least 32.68 DraftKings points in back-to-back games. Those performances came against the Rams and Titans, who both had above-average defenses last year. The Dolphins rank just 31st in pass defense DVOA this season, so Allen could be in for a field day. The fact that the Bills are also missing some defenders means this game could easily turn into a shootout.
Matt Ryan is another potential value option to consider on DraftKings. I don’t blame you if you want nothing to do with the Colts after last week, but it’s worth noting that Michael Pittman missed that game. Ryan was much better with Pittman available in Week 1, racking up 352 yards and a touchdown. This game between the Colts and Chiefs also has a 50.5-point total, so this is an excellent buy-low opportunity.
Speaking of buy lows, Joe Burrow is an outstanding GPP option this week. He’s struggled against two excellent pass rushes in the Cowboys and Steelers, but the Jets don’t present nearly the same challenge. Their secondary has also been exploitable to start the year, so it could be a big day for the Bengals’ passing attack.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
The Buccaneers are decimated heading into a marquee matchup vs. the Packers. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are out, while basically the rest of their offense is questionable.
That includes Leonard Fournette, but he’s expected to suit up after getting in a limited practice on Friday. As long as he’s active, Fournette should be asked to carry a massive workload. His role grew in Week 2, racking up 87% of the snaps and 80% of the rushing attempts against the Saints. He wasn’t particularly effective, but that kind of volume could pay dividends against the Packers. They rank just 30th in rush defense DVOA to start the year.
Fournette is also active in the passing game. He’s run a route on 71% of the team’s pass plays this season, and he ended last year with at least seven targets in five of his final six games. Given all the uncertainty with the Bucs’ receivers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Fournette get a few additional targets this week. He’s simply too cheap across the industry and should be a staple of cash game lineups.
No team has been more invested in the running game this season than the Bears. They’ve run the ball on approximately 65% of their plays, which is easily the top mark in the league. Some of that stems from the fact that their passing attack is horrendous, but the Bears should continue to lean on the running game whenever possible.
This week’s matchup vs. the Texans should be particularly appealing for David Montgomery. It’s one of the few games that the Bears will actually be favored in this season, and Montgomery has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.66 as a favorite (per the Trends tool). The Texans have struggled to defend the run. They rank merely 25th in rush defense DVOA, and Montgomery averaged a stout 8.1 yards per carry last week.
The only concern with Montgomery is his volume. His splitting the workload a bit more evenly with Khalil Herbert this season, and Herbert has been the preferred option near the goal line. That limits Montgomery’s ceiling a bit, but he should still be able to pay off his current price tag.
On the other side of that matchup, Dameon Pierce has some appeal for the Texans. Even though they’re underdogs, it would surprise no one if they ended up winning this contest. Pierce was also more involved in Week 2, targeting every running back carry for the Texans vs. the Colts. He also caught his only target, and he should be looking at a similar workload vs. the Bears. If he can score his first career touchdown, he should provide excellent value.
The matchup between the Vikings and Lions stands out as one of the best of the week. The total sits at 52.5 points, which trails only the Bills-Dolphins mark of 53.0. Dalvin Cook has had a quiet start to his year, but this seems like the perfect opportunity for him to break out. The Lions’ run defense was destroyed by the Eagles in Week 1, and Cook isn’t expected to garner a ton of ownership on DraftKings. He figures to be a bit more popular on FanDuel, but that’s warranted given his Bargain Rating of 92% and position-high 12 Pro Trends.
It never feels good to roster Josh Jacobs. He’s extremely touchdown dependent, and he’s likely going to bust if he doesn’t score. However, he’s priced very fairly at just $5,400 on DraftKings in a game where the Raiders are favored.
That said, Jacobs is currently dealing with an illness, and he did not travel with the team to Tennessee. That doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play – he could always travel on Saturday – but it does put his status in doubt. Zamir White would likely handle most of the early-down responsibilities if he’s out, with Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah playing in passing situations.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
Stefon Diggs is coming off a monster performance on Monday Night Football. He racked up 14 targets with Gabe Davis out of the lineup, and he turned them into 12 catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Diggs didn’t even need to play in the fourth quarter, but he still racked up 47.8 DraftKings points.
Diggs saw a slate reduction in target volume in 2021-22, but if the first two weeks are any indication, Diggs is poised for a massive year. He’s racked up 33% of the Bills’ targets, which is tied for the fourth-highest mark in the league. He’s also gobbled up 45.7% of the air yards, which ranks eighth among pass-catchers.
Davis is expected to return to the lineup this week, but it’s still hard not to love Diggs at his current salary. He represents a significant savings compared to guys like Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson, making him the clear preferred target in the stud tier.
Given all the uncertainty with the Buccaneers’ receiving corps, there’s bound to be some value with their pass-catchers. Julio Jones and Russell Gage are both questionable, and Jones is currently considered a game-time decision. Gage also missed practice on Friday, which is never a good sign for a player’s availability.
That leaves Breshad Perriman as basically the last man standings. He’s technically questionable as well, but he was at least able to get in a limited session on Friday. Perriman was also highly involved last week, posting a 78% route participation and 22% air yards share. He also had the team’s only end zone target, which he converted into a score.
Ultimately, Perriman would be hard to avoid at $3,900 if Jones and Gage are inactive, and he’d have some viability even if both players are in.
Amon-Ra St. Brown is quickly moving up the fantasy football receiver rankings. He ranks third in the league in target share through the first two weeks, and he’s now racked up at least 30% of the Lions’ targets dating back to last year. ARSB has posted a positive Plus/Minus in all eight of those contests on DraftKings, including a massive 42.4 DraftKings points last week. He’s been priced up to a career-high $7,200, but that’s still probably too cheap given his insane volume and consistency.
Brandin Cooks has yet to come through for fantasy owners, but it hasn’t been due to a lack of opportunities. He’s had at least 10 targets in both games, and he’s racked up 34.8% of the team’s air yards. A matchup vs. the Bears could be what finally unlocks his upside, but he’s expected to be one of the highest-owned receivers of the week.
Justin Jefferson should be a bit less popular, at least at $9,300 on DraftKings. He struggled to get anything going last week vs. the Eagles, but they have a pair of outstanding corners in Darius Slay and James Bradberry. That won’t be the case vs. the Lions, so he’s a prime bounce-back target. He ranks first in the league in air yards market share, giving him arguably the highest ceiling at the position.
Curtis Samuel has been productive through the first two weeks this season. He’s racked up 20 total targets, which he’s turned into 15 catches for 133 yards and two scores. He’s also received some work on the ground, which raises his floor ever-so-slightly. He makes a ton of sense in cash games in what should be a fast-paced game vs. the Eagles.
NFL DFS Tight End Picks
It’s another week where most people are going to pay down at the position. There are some stud options to choose from – Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and Darren Waller are all available – but none is grading out particularly well in our NFL Models.
I’d rather use Kyle Pitts, who seems due for a breakout performance. He’s struggled to start the year, but there are still some positives to take away. He has the second-most unrealized air yards at the position, and he trails only Andrews and Kelce in terms of air yards market share.
More importantly, he draws a phenomenal matchup this week vs. the Seahawks. They rank 26th in DVOA vs. the position, and Pitts owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.8 on DraftKings.
Irv Smith Jr. was much more involved for the Vikings last week than he was in Week 1. He increased his route participation to 60%, and he ranked third on the team with eight targets. Part of that could’ve been due to the matchup – the Eagles are a bit more vulnerable against tight ends than receivers – but it’s still an encouraging sign.
Smith remains dirt cheap at $3,100 on DraftKings, and he leads THE BLITZ in projected Plus/Minus at the position. There isn’t a ton of value at receiver or running back this week, which should make Smith extremely popular in cash game lineups.
Logan Thomas is one of my favorite pivots from Smith. He gets the same matchup that Smith succeeded in last week, and he’s projected for a sliver of the ownership. The Commanders’ pass-catchers are particularly viable in game stacks, especially since the Eagles rank fifth in neutral pace.
T.J. Hockenson is currently questionable, but he warrants some consideration if he’s active. He’s logged seven targets in back-to-back weeks, and he’s fifth among tight ends in team target share this season. His salary has decreased by -$700 since the start of the year, so he’s a viable buy-low option.
Zach Ertz was limited in Week 1, but he was a massive part of the Cardinals’ offense last year. He ran a route on 92% of their pass plays, and he racked up 25% of their targets. That’s in line with his mark from last season with DeAndre Hopkins out of the lineup, so he has the potential to post a similar stat line vs. the Rams.
My cash game lineup came together pretty easily to start the week. There’s obviously still time for things to change – Jacobs’ status will be particularly important – but this seems like a strong week for a balanced build.
I’m starting with Fournette and Montgomery at running back, who provide a nice combination of floor and ceiling at their price tags. That allows you to pair Diggs and St. Brown at receiver, who are arguably the two best per-dollar plays at the position.
After that, it comes down to finding the right value plays. I like using Perriman at WR3, and pairing him with Smith at tight end frees up plenty of salary. It allows you to get up to Hurts at quarterback if you’re willing to go with a value option like Jacobs in the flex, or you can pair a value quarterback with someone like Cook or Joe Mixon. I’m currently leaning towards the Hurts side, but both are acceptable options.
The optimal FanDuel construction is a bit different than usual. The high-end receivers have stood out on FanDuel dating back to the start of last year, but that’s not really the case this week. In fact, there’s more value with the high-end running backs. Cook stands out as the best of the bunch given his Bargain Rating, while guys like Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Jones, and Alvin Kamara all have Bargain Ratings of at least 92%.
Still, I like the idea of pairing Cook with Mixon and Fournette. Those guys aren’t quite as good pure values, but they still are among the leaders in projected Plus/Minus.
If we’re spending up for three RBs, we’ll obviously need to go with some value receivers. That’s more than ok this week, especially if Julio is active. Drake London also stands out as an elite option at just $6,200.
Ertz is the easy choice for me at tight end at just $5,200. That puts him in the company of some pretty pedestrian players despite garnering 11 targets last week.
As far as GPPs, you can utilize our NFL Models to identify some potentially overlooked targets. We do ownership projections for every player, and our Leverage Rating compares those projected ownerships to each player’s projected ceiling. If a player has a high ceiling but low projected ownership, they will have a strong Leverage Rating. Those types of players are ideal in tournaments.
Make sure to also take advantage of all the excellent written content that will be produced prior to kickoff.
Good luck this week!