NFL Week 3 features a Sunday Night Football matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers at 8:20 p.m. ET.
If you’re unfamiliar with the single-game NFL DFS format, it differs a bit on DraftKings and FanDuel. On DraftKings, you have one “captain” spot and five flexes. The captain will score 1.5x fantasy points, but he also costs 1.5x salary. That means if you want to roster Alvin Kamara at captain and take advantage of the scoring boost, you’ll have to pay $17,700 as opposed to $11,800.
FanDuel’s single-game format features one “MVP” spot and four flexes. The MVP also scores 1.5x fantasy points, but he doesn’t cost any additional salary. That takes away a bit of the strategy and makes the goal simple: get your highest-scoring player in the MVP spot.
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The biggest news heading into this contest is the potential absence of Michael Thomas and Davante Adams. Those are arguably the two best receivers in football, and both players command massive target market shares for their respective teams. Their absences would have a reverberating impact throughout the rest of the roster.
Thomas has already been ruled out – he’s eyeing a potential Week 4 return – while Adams is listed as doubtful. There is some growing optimism that Adams will be able to suit up, so make sure to monitor the news prior to lineup lock.
With those two players likely sidelined, both RBs figure to command massive workloads.
Let’s start with Kamara. He’s the most expensive player in this matchup and has been a fantasy monster to start the season. He’s scored four TDs through his first two games, and he’s averaged 120.5 yards from scrimmage. Most of his damage has come in the passing game, which is a major plus from a fantasy perspective.
He’s logged at least eight targets in each of his first two games, resulting in an average of seven catches per contest. That’s particularly valuable on DraftKings, where each of those catches are worth a full fantasy point.
This matchup vs. the Packers also sets up as a good one for Kamara. It results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.4 on DraftKings, and they rank merely 30th in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA to start the season. They also rank just 24th in terms of pass defense DVOA vs. the RB position.
Aaron Jones is coming off a monster performance last week vs. the Lions. He finished with more than 230 total yards and three TDs, resulting in 48.6 DraftKings points.
That has caused his salary to jump up quite a bit for today’s contest, but it’s hard to argue against him if Adams is ruled out. Jones saw a nice spike in opportunities in four games with Adams out of the lineup last season, including 6.75 targets per game. Overall, he averaged a ridiculous 31.03 DraftKings points per game in those contests, which gives him a monster ceiling at his current price tag.
With the RBs likely garnering the majority of the attention, the QBs could actually fly a bit under the radar. Aaron Rodgers has been red-hot to start the season, averaging 302 passing yards and three passing TDs per game through his first two weeks. His production did drop off a bit with Adams limited last week, but Rodgers had no problem producing with Adams out of the lineup last season. He actually increased his fantasy production by nearly 8.5 DraftKings points in those contests, albeit over a small sample size.
Stacking Rodgers with Jones is an interesting option on today’s slate. Those players have historically posted a correlation of -0.13, but that number doesn’t appear indicative of their correlation with Adams out of the lineup. I would actually look to increase my projection for Rodgers whenever Jones is in my lineup, and you can do that using our new and improved lineup builder:
Brees stands out as possibly the strongest stud option at his current salary. He could see reduced ownership after a shaky performance to start the season, but he currently owns the top ceiling projection in our NFL Models.
It is definitely fair to question if Brees is on the decline at nearly 42 years old, but he should benefit from today’s contest being back in New Orleans. Brees has historically posted a Plus/Minus of +3.11 when playing at home compared to a Plus/Minus of -2.78 when playing on the road (per the Trends tool).
The midrange features the pass catching options in this contest. There are sure things at the WR position on today’s slate if Adams is unable to suit up, but these guys obviously have increased upside.
Tre’Quan Smith is the most expensive option in this group on DraftKings, but he’s just the fourth-most expensive option on FanDuel. Ultimately, his $9,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%, which is the top mark on the slate.
Smith was solid in relief of Thomas last week, totaling five catches for 86 yards on seven targets. Smith entered the league as an intriguing prospect – you can check out his report at Player Profiler – so he could take advantage of an increase in playing time.
The Packers aren’t a great matchup for WRs, but Smith has one of the better individual matchups for the Saints. He plays the majority of his snaps in the slot, and Chandon Sullivan has graded out as the Packers’ worst corner per Pro Football Focus to start the season.
Jared Cook is another player who stands out in this matchup. The Packers rank dead-last in terms of DVOA vs. TEs to start the season, so he should be able to improve on his two catches for 13 yards last week. He did find the endzone in that matchup, but that was the only thing that saved his fantasy value.
Emmanuel Sanders was expected to pick up the majority of the receiving slack with Thomas out of the lineup, but he has not looked like the same player to start the season. He’s logged just four catches for 33 yards through his first two contests, which puts some serious doubt into his fantasy outlook moving forward. It’s possible he’s still developing chemistry with Brees, but it’s also possible that he might be washed.
That said, his salary has decreased pretty significantly for tonight’s contest. His $5,600 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 90%, so this could be an interesting buy-low spot.
For the Packers, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard figure to handle the majority of the reps at the WR position if Adams is ruled out. MVS was the superior fantasy producer last week, turning seven targets into three catches for 64 yards and a TD.
That said, Lazard has the significantly better matchup according to PFF, and he owns better median, ceiling, and floor projections in our NFL Models. He’s also cheaper than MVS across the industry, which makes him the superior option. Lazard is a particularly strong target on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 86%.
Values & Punts
- Kickers and Defenses – Kickers and defenses are always in play in the single-game format, although this doesn’t stand out as a particularly appealing slate for them. The one thing to keep in mind with these options is their correlations. Mason Crosby doesn’t appear to have any correlation issues with Rodgers, but Wil Lutz owns a negative correlation with Brees. Both defenses own pretty massive negative correlations with their respective QBs, so I would look to exclude those players if you’re including a defense:
- Latavius Murray: $2,800 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel – Murray’s usage appears to be dictated primarily by game script. He saw 15 carries in Week 1 – a game where the Saints led throughout – but just three carries in Week 2. He’s an interesting option if you think the Saints can control this game as 3.5-point favorites.
- Robert Tonyan: $2,200 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel – Tonyan played on 60% of the Packers offensive snaps last week and finished with two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown. That definitely makes him a viable option at his current salary.
- Jamaal Williams: $2,000 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel – Williams simply just won’t go away. Despite the fact that they drafted A.J. Dillon in the second round of the draft, Williams remains a thorn in the side of Jones’ fantasy owners. He saw seven carries and four targets in Week 1 and followed that up with eight carries in Week 2.
- Taysom Hill: $1,800 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel – Hill continues to get opportunities all over the field for the Saints. He played on 23% of their snaps in Week 2 and has seen a red zone carry in each of his first two games this season.
- Deonte Harris: $1,600 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel – Harris saw a nice spike in playing time with Thomas out of the lineup last week and is a dangerous player when he gets the ball in space. The Saints have drawn up some gadget plays to put Harris in those situations to start the season, so he figures to have a couple of opportunities to make plays in this contest.
- Malik Taylor: $200 on DraftKings, $5,000 on FanDuel – Taylor is an appealing option if you’re looking to load up on the studs in this contest. He operated as the Packers’ No. 3 WR following Adams’ departure last week and finished with 15 offensive snaps.