featured Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy Football Picks for Week 3 - FanDuel, DraftKings, Draftday, and Draftster

Week 2 is in the books, and it was great times here at DFSR central. Last week's picks worked out great, and we're energized that our projection system is pumping out winners. Want to peek behind the curtain and get a taste of this week's action? Click here to check out our sleeper and stack recommendations for this week. Read on!

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Week 2 Football Picks Recap

Well, week 2 was a great one for our daily fantasy football picks. We crushed double up formats, and had a little GPP success as well when our QBs were right. Blech, though - QB was a mess last week! Coming into this week, we're feeling very confident after a strong first couple of weeks. On to the picks!



Drew Brees - FD 9100 DK 8900 DD 16400 DFSTR 9000
Count me firmly out of any group that's worried about Drew Brees so far, and doubly out of any group that is concerned about taking him against the Vikings' defense. Without Adrian Peterson, the Vikings showed what they are capable of on offense, which led to plenty of opportunities for the Pats last week. The Vikes allowed the 2nd most passing yards of any team in the NFL last season, and getting back in the dome can't mean anything but great things for Brees and his many weapons. Listen - Brees' completion % is almost identical to his completion % last year, and the TD-INT will quickly get back to where it was if he keeps that up. He's still getting to know a couple of young receivers (and getting used to working with a Marques Colston who isn't what he was), but I think this is a monster game for Brees and the Saints.

Nick Foles - FD 8400 DK 8500 DD 14500 DFSTR 8300
It's easy to turn your nose up at Foles since he's a part of Chip Kelly's offense, but the guy has the 2nd most passing yards in the league, and a fine collection of weapons in his own right. Vegas has the Eagles/Redskins game as the 2nd highest point total of the week, and Philly as a -6.5 favorite. This is going to mean lots of opportunities for Foles, and potential for a big week against the Redskins. Quick caveat - the Redskins have allowed the 3rd fewest passing yards this season, but they were also trailing the Texans who were content to run them to death, and the Jags, who allow Chad Henne to throw passes for them. The Redskins were below average against the pass last year, and I think that's more indicative of their true defensive talent level.

Matthew Stafford - FD 9000 DK 8800 DD 15950 DFSTR 7800
Our projection system thinks this one is going to be a shootout, and I'm inclined to agree. With the highest total of the week, I actually like both sides of the Stafford/Rodgers equation. But I'm leaning Stafford in this one, for a couple of reasons. First of all, Detroit's running game hasn't shown me anything to think that they'll be able to keep GB off the field in the unlikely chance that Detroit is up big. Second, I think GB is simply the better team, leaving the Lions with the opportunity for more passing attempts. Stafford always feels like a risky play due to the low completion %, but I think he puts together a fine outing here.

Ryan Tannehill - FD 6500 DK 6300 DD 11750 DFSTR 6600
There will be several weeks this season where teams with cheap QBs win the huge tourneys with top heavy prize structures, and if week 3 is one of those weeks, Tannehill might be your guy. With both of his lead running backs dinged up, it stands to reason that the Dolphins will rely on Tannehill a bit more this week. He's developing a nice rapport with Mike Wallace, and the Chiefs' defense has been well below average in terms of passing yards allowed both this year and last. Not a safe play by any stretch, but there's potential for a sneaky big game on the price point here.

Russell Wilson - FD 8300 DK 6800 DD 13600 DFSTR I26
With 4 TDs and 0 INTs to go with a 67.9% completion rate, Wilson and his efficient approach have put together a decent little start to the daily fantasy football season. In this superbowl rematch he'll face the Denver Broncos at home - a team that has allowed the most passing yards to opposing QBs this season - and have all the reason in the world to want to put up numbers. Probably not a bad week for a Seahawks stack, in general.

Also considered - the best of the rest
Well, our projection system likes Tom Brady again this week, based on what Oakland did vs. the pass last year. The issue here is that Oakland is so damned terrible that teams really haven't had to pass against them. The Jets and Texans haven't flashed much passing might regardless this year, so I'll probably stuff Brady into a few lineups just so the football Gods don't make me want to kill myself, but I'll probably stick with the recommended guys above. For the rest of the guys we like? Grab a free trial to our projection system.


Running Backs

As a quick reminder, we like to play cheaper running backs in big top heavy tournaments, and more expensive ones in double up formats. Running backs tend to be less volatile on a week to week basis.

RB was a mess of injuries and changing roles last week, but we're here to do our best to get you straightened out. Let's have at it.

LeSean McCoy - FD 9200 DK 7800 DD 14300 DFSTR 8100
With 25.5 touches per game, McCoy is seeing a pretty heavy workload this season, and I don't have any reason to believe that will stop here in week 3. The Redskins' stingy season line when it comes to stopping the run is bolstered by facing a Houston team that it knew had to run with the lead, and a Jaguars team that A) sucks at running the ball and B) was down by 20 points for most of the game. I'm more of a believer in Washington's middle of the road rushing D from last year, and McCoy should do great against any middle of the road team - especially if Cousins can't keep Washington in what rates to be a fast paced affair.

DeMarco Murray - FD 8700 DK 7900 DD 14700 DFSTR 6200
Speaking of the Cowboys, it seems clear that they're ready to ride Murray until he breaks down. The good news for us? We're daily fantasy football players! Who cares if he breaks down eventually!? Well, his mother does, I guess. And I do too. But not for fantasy purposes. The Rams have allowed the most rushing yards of any defense this season, and that ain't getting any better against a Cowboys team who will likely be running down the clock beginning in the 2nd half.

Giovani Bernard - FD 8500 DK 7300 DD 14150 DFSTR 6400
Bernard has been incredible this year, seeing touches far beyond what anyone could have forecast. He'll bring his 279 total yards against the Tennessee Titans, who have allowed the 6th most rushing yards this season and got absolutely shredded by the Cowboys' rushing attack last week. If Bernard remains this active in the passing game, his price will soon climb to "cream of the crop" levels, especially in PPR formats.

Ahmad Bradshaw - FD 5200 DK 4800 DD 5950 DFSTR 3300
Well, somebody sound the bell on Trent Richardson's career. The reborn Bradshaw had 18 incredibly effective touches last week, and got all of the red zone and goal line work (as evidenced by his 2 TDs inside the 10). The Colts trust him, and I do too - especially in a game where they'll almost certainly run the Jags off the field.

Knile Davis - FD 7000 DK 6200 DD 11700 DFSTR 3100
Like we've seen many times in the past, a lot of the effectiveness of a team's running game comes from the guys who don't carry the ball. Knile Davis has been stellar when Charles has been out, averaging nearly 100 total yards and 2 touchdowns per contest in the 3 games he's carried the bulk of the workload. It seems like the Chiefs are committed to using him as a feature back in Charles is out, and if he is, Davis will be a great cheap option.

Chris Johnson - FD 6800 DK 4500 DD 9500 DFSTR 5200
Chicago is back to its old tricks. After being the league's worst rushing defense last year, the Bears have allowed the 4th most rushing yards in the league this season. While Johnson didn't do much with his touches in week 2, he should get ample opportunity against this lousy Bears team, and makes for a good separation play.

Also considered:
A nod to Donald Brown, who allegedly is going to get the bulk of opportunity in Matthews' absence. I'm semi-underwhelmed, but wanted to make sure I mentioned him.


Wide Receivers

Jordy Nelson - FD 8600 DK 8400 DD 13250 DFSTR 6800
In the "this doesn't seem like a fluke" category, Jordy Nelson was out of this world last week after he exceeded target expectations in week 1 as well. Here's the bottom line - Aaron Rodgers is looking at Nelson 20% more than any other QB is looking at any other target. That's downright ridiculous. It can't possibly continue at that rate, but even if he targets Nelson 13 times a game instead of the 15 he has so far this season, Nelson is going to be a monster. In a game against Detroit that Vegas thinks should have the highest point total, I love him this week.

Calvin Johnson - FD 9000 DK 8900 DD 14300 DFSTR 8300
On the other sideline will be the game's best, and in a week where you can go cheap in some other spots (like RB and TE), you might be able to spend and get both. After a TDless week, it's hard to imagine Stafford not taking advantage of a more run and shoot style of contest to hook up with Megatron as frequently as he can. I'm not spooked by GB's low passing yards allowed this year - the Seahawks didn't have to pass against them and the Jets won't be able to pass against anyone. Johnson will be the real test.

Steve Smith - FD 6200 DK 4500 DD 10500 DFSTR 3700
Smith followed up a 15 target game with a 10 target game in which Flacco didn't even look at Torrey Smith at all. I believe this game with the Browns will be closer than the Steelers game, and that should give Smith even more opportunity. It's a little troubling that Flacco has looked elsewhere near the end zone, but Smith looks as safe as anyone in double up formats, with room for more in big tournaments if he can break a play down field. Keep your eyes peeled for news that Joe Haden will cover him, but I suspect Haden will be on Torrey Smith for the bulk of the time, leaving Steve open even more.

Julio Jones - FD 8500 DK 7500 DD 4000 DFSTR 7300
Averaging more than 100 yards a game and topping his team in targets, Jones will ply his trade against a Bucs team that can literally do nothing right. It's clear that Ryan is keying in on Jones at the beginning of every route, and Vegas thinks this game will stay close enough to give Jones ample opportunity to go off.

Andrew Hawkins - FD 5300 DK 5000 DD 8050 DFSTR 3900
We gave you Hawkins in last week's picks column, and his # of targets only increased. Our projection system really looks at how frequently a QB is trying to find his receiver, and Hoyer seems awfully comfortable looking Hawkins' way. I'm not scared by the Ravens' reputation - they've allowed the 8th most passing yards in the league this year, and Hoyer will ultimately have to throw to someone. Still a nice buy while he's cheap until he inevitably starts finding the end zone.

Mohamed Sanu - FD 6100 DK 5300 DD 9650 DFSTR 3300
Possibly a little fluky given only 4 targets last week, but Dalton is going to have to throw to somebody if AJ Green is out. And theoretically, he won't be able to just throw to Bernard out of the back field. Sanu is now the Bengals' "big play" guy - a role he is well suited for if AJ Green doesn't lace it up next weekend.

Also considered: Jeremy Maclin, Golden Tate, Brandin Cooks, TY Hilton & Reggie Wayne


Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham - FD 8400 DK 8000 DD 14650 DFSTR 6800
I wrote this about Graham last week, and I'm not sure what's changed for this week:

"When Graham is going, he'll be one of the highest upside plays you can possible track down for large tournaments. He was Brees' favorite red zone target by a mile last year (25 targets - the next closest had 10), and while it didn't play out for him that way on Sunday, it shouldn't spook us going forward. Graham still converted 8 of his 10 targets into catches, and the presence of Joe Haden should drive more passes towards the TE spot and away from WRs."

Okay, so I do know what's changed. He's facing a much worse pass defense and the Saints are playing at home in the Superdome instead of on the road in Cleveland. It's somehow a better situation this week than next, and I just might not make the mistake of hedging away from him on 1/4 of my tournament teams!

Niles Paul - FD 5000 DK 5800 DD 8850 DFSTR 0
I have to say, I love it when a guy slides into a spot where the guy in front of him was having success. I was a little concerned that Cousins wouldn't look to his TE as much as Griffin did, but if anything, he looked Paul's way even more. Paul had a staggering 11 targets, and converted them into 99 yards and a touchdown. In a fast paced tilt with the Eagles, he could easily match last week's performance on a bargain basement price.

Martellus Bennett - FD 6000 DK 5200 DD 9350 DFSTR 4000
With Jeffery and Marshall a little bit banged up, Bennett has been a target magnet this year. His 18 targets are 4th among all tight ends, and he's compiled them consistently across his 2 games. He doesn't seem like a big play breaker, but Cutler definitely looks for him in short yardage/end zone situations, and I think he could be in line for a nice performance against a Jets team that was bad against the pass last year even with Revis, and got bulldozed by the Packers last week.

The elephant in the room:
Just wanted to tip my hat to Delanie Walker - thanks for the memories from week 2. It's weird to say this a week after feeling like a genius for recommending and playing him, but both the 14 targets and the 61 yard TD reception feel a little like an aberration. With the increase in price, I'll probably just play Paul on my teams where I go cheap at TE.



My weekly note on kickers:

Frankly, ranking kickers is sort of beneath me. So what I'm going to do, instead of give you a long and drawn out explanation for each, is give you a little insight into our kicker strategy, and give your our top plays on a points per dollar basis.

Here's brass tacks: I rarely stack a kicker with my offensive players because that limits their collective upside. I try to take kickers in good weather in games where they are a favorite with high totals. When pressed, I'll just whatever money I have left on a kicker that looks decent. Cool? Here's who our system likes:

Mason Crosby 5100 on FD
Josh Brown 4500 on FD
Robbie Gould 4600 on FD
Shayne Graham 4700 on FD
Mike Nugent 5100 on FD


Defense & Special Teams

Houston Texans
They annihilated the Raiders, and honestly, the Giants show a lot of similarities with the Raiders to me. What I love about Houston most is just getting the guaranteed sack/turnover potential that JJ Watt generates. And did I mention the Giants have averaged just 269 yards of total offense this season? Good for 3rd worst in the whole league? Yeah, I'm a fan of the Houston DST this week.

Indianapolis Colts
Not a conventional DST play, but this is just match-up heaven. The Jaguars, in two games against teams that allow lots of yards, have amassed just 227 yards per game this season. 227! That's just so awful that it's hard to describe. I think the Colts will be up huge and Henne will start passing more. And start turning it over. And you'll be happy, and want to send me kind and thankful emails.

New England Patriots
The Pats have allowed the 4th fewest yards this season, and the Raiders offense has totaled the 2nd fewest. You have to pay up a little bit, but it's easy to picture Derek Carr getting overwhelmed and starting to make deposits onto Revis Island.

Atlanta Falcons
Just because I'm a fan of the bargain defense - the Falcons are a cheap play against a Bucs team that has scored 27 total points this season. Josh McCown and Bobby Rainey are a fearsome duo, no doubt, but this is definitely a spot where you could run good with a lot of random turnovers and the potential goodies that can come with.

Hungry for more? Click here to check out our sleeper and stack recommendations for this week.


Give a follow on Twitter @dailyfantasysr and @dougnorrie.

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Thanks, and good luck!


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