It’s hard to believe we’re already at Week 3 of the National Football League regular season. The bad news is that the season is going quick. The good news is we have games to review recent performances, and we’re getting a good idea about which defenses will be good, and which defenses we can exploit for DFS purposes. And we’re also getting an idea of defenses to avoid for DFS matchups – I’m looking at you, New York Jets.
While there are a handful of trends that are solid, we obviously cannot expect the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck to continue struggling, and the Seattle Seahawks are not going to go winless. So some of the early results are a bit misleading. And either the Cleveland Browns or Oakland Raiders will be 2-1 after this weekend, since they play each other, but neither of those teams can be considered elite, or even contenders. So it might be another two weeks until we have a full idea of which teams are good and bad. However, it’s become abundantly clear early on that the Chicago Bears are a team you want to pick on, and the Browns and Raiders have also been teams to pick on for big offensive numbers.
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FantasyAces.com salaries included below where applicable. (*** salaries subject to change ***)
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami ($6,400 vs. BUF): Tannehill (ankle) is on the injury report this week, but he was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday before a limited session Friday. Does that mean he will not play? No, he is listed as probable for Sunday’s game. The Bills defense has had some mixed results through two games. They completely shut down the ice-cold Luck in Week 1, but were shredded by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots last weekend. Tannehill has great tools in WR Jarvis Landry ($4,900), RB Lamar Miller ($4,600) and, perhaps more importantly, the South Florida heat and humidity, to make it a long day at the office for the Bills defense in their first road game of the season.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City ($6,200 at GB): While the Packers run defense has given up just one touchdown to date, they also have been dinged for 154.0 yards per game through their first two victories. That includes three rushes of 20 or more yards. Charles should add to their woes in a prime time game, piling up 100-plus yards while visiting the end zone at least once.
Nick Foles, QB, St. Louis ($5,900 vs. PIT): Foles has a much lower price tag than some of his other counterparts, but he could shine in Week 3 against a Steelers pass defense which has yielded 289.5 yards per game, 27th in the NFL. The Steelers have also allowed a league-high six touchdown passes in the first two games, and the three pass plays of 40 or more yards is the most allowed in the AFC. Foles posted 297 yards, a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown against Seattle’s defense in Week 1. If you’re looking for a mid-level value among the signal callers, Foles is your man.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami ($4,900 vs. BUF): You’re not going to beat Buffalo with the vertical game, but rather by bleeding them with short and intermediate routes. That’s Landry’s specialty, and he could see even more targets than usual with Lamar Miller (ankle) and Jordan Cameron (groin) nursing nagging injuries. While both are questionable on the injury, yet expected to play, they’re banged up. Landry is not. He has snagged eight receptions in each of his first two games, and he blew up for 110 yards last weekend in Jacksonville.
BARGAIN BIN VALUES AND CONTRARIAN PLAYS
Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland ($4,400 vs. OAK): Benjamin has been, arguably, one of the more electric players in the NFL through the first two weekends. He has three receiving touchdowns, he ranks fourth in receiving yardage and he also had a punt return for touchdown on special teams (doesn’t count for DFS purposes). His offensive numbers have been tremendous yet there are 37 other receivers with a higher DFS salary. Benjamin and the Browns will be facing an Oakland pass defense which has allowed 326.5 yards per game with four passing touchdowns and a league-high 12 pass plays of 20 or more yards. It sounds like Benjamin is in line for another giant week of stats. If so, don’t expect this cheap price to last long.
Atlanta Falcons DST ($2,650 at DAL): The Falcons defense hasn’t had a lot of production to date, posting just two sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery while allowing 44 points. However, they’ll be facing a Dallas Cowboys team starting Brandon Weeden at QB, and without the services of WR Dez Bryant (foot). TE Jason Witten is also not quite 100 percent due to ankle and knee issues, although he is expected to play. If you need a cheap DST with some upside, Atlanta might be able to create several turnovers in their road game.
Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland ($4,750 at CLE): Murray received plenty of preseason hype in Fantasy circles, but opened with just 44 rushing yards on 11 carries. It wasn’t his fault, though, as Oakland fell behind early in Week 1, lost their QB and their game plan was out the window. With QB Derek Carr back in action he snapped back with 65 rushing yards and a touchdown, while also adding 22 yards on three receptions in Week 2 at Baltimore. The Browns have been trampled on the ground, allowing 160 yards per game which is worst in the NFL. At this price level Murray is a must-have DFS option.
New England Patriots DST ($3,100 vs. JAC): The Patriots defense is one of the most expensive on the board this weekend, but they’ll be well worth the money. The Jaguars might be 1-1 through two games, but they have struggled offensively and averaged just 16.0 points per game. QB Blake Bortles has shown plenty of improvement early on, but this is Jacksonville’s first road game and they’ll likely struggle mightily and have several turnovers.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota ($4,400 vs. SD): Rudolph has produced rather middling results so far, posting 10 grabs for 103 yards and one touchdown through two games. The San Diego Chargers allowed a touchdown to Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron in the opener, and Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert found the end zone against them in Week 2. The Chargers have had difficulty against the tight end, and Rudolph should find his way into the end zone while posting 50-60 yards.