5 min read

2023 NFL Week 3: Top Underdog Higher, Lower Entries to Consider

We will evaluate the projections available on Underdog Fantasy each week and craft entries that leverage game environments and correlation to maximize value. 

Week 3 Higher/Lower Entries

Derrick Henry LOWER than 82.5 rushing yards, Dak Prescott HIGHER than 225.5 passing yards and CeeDee Lamb HIGHER than 65.5 receiving yards

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So far this year, Derrick Henry has split snaps with rookie Tyjae Spears more than expected, and a tough matchup against the Cleveland Browns’ rushing defense makes 82.5 too high of a number. 

The Dallas Cowboys visit the Arizona Cardinals this week as heavy favorites. Despite the likely run-heavy script that the Cowboys will adapt later in the game, Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb’s projections are both 5-10 yards too low against a paltry pass defense. All three picks should be played until they move at least five yards. 

Miles Sanders LOWER than 60.5 rushing yards, Frankie Luvu HIGHER than 6.0 tackles and assists, Geno Smith HIGHER than 11.5 passing first downs, Jaxon Smith-Njigba HIGHER than 3.0 receptions and Kenneth Walker HIGHER than 64.5 rushing yards

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This five-pick entry relies on a game script in the Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers game where the Seahawks move the ball easily, run the ball to close the game out and force the Panthers to abandon the run in the second half. 

If Geno Smith gains twelve passing first downs, he will likely utilize slot receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Additionally, Kenneth Walker gaining at least 65 rushing yards will help the Seahawks’ offense succeed. Smith-Njigba and Walker will likely do damage over the middle of the field, where Panthers’ linebacker Frankie Luvu will have ample tackle opportunities. 

Miles Sanders will see far fewer carries when Seattle dominates time of possession and moves the ball, so tacking on his lower rushing yards adds another level of correlation. Seattle’s run defense has also impressed early this season, making the lower on Sanders’ rushing yards also leverage possibly poor efficiency on the ground.

Play this 20x entry. 

Miles Sanders LOWER than 60.5 rushing yards, Frankie Luvu HIGHER than 6.0 tackles and assists and Kenneth Walker HIGHER than 64.5 rushing yards

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This 6x entry operates under the same thesis as the above 20x but removes the Smith and Smith-Njigba pieces and narrows in on the Seahawks holding the ball and the Panthers shifting tendencies to pass the ball. 

Lamar Jackson HIGHER than 224.5 rushing yards, Mark Andrews HIGHER than 52.5 receiving yards and Michael Pittman Jr. HIGHER than 56.5 rushing yards

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Per usual, the Baltimore Ravens have been decimated by the injury bug. With a depleted running back room against a weak secondary, the Ravens should look to pass early and often as long as the Indianapolis Colts stay in the game. 

After returning from a shoulder injury, Mark Andrews earned targets at an elite 24 percent rate. With Odell Beckham Jr. out, the Ravens should operate their passing game through Andrews, with healthy doses of Zay Flowers touches around the line of scrimmage. 

With Anthony Richardson missing this week, the Colts turn to veteran Gardner Minshew. While their offense may lose efficiency on the ground, Minshew should stabilize their passing attack. Through two weeks, Michael Pittman has already demonstrated elite target earning (a 32 percent target share) and efficiency with a yards per route run (YPRR) of 1.91. 

Tony Pollard HIGHER than 14.35 fantasy points, K’Von Wallace HIGHER than 5.0 tackles and assists and Brandon Aubrey HIGHER than 2.5 XP made

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Tony Pollard should benefit greatly if the Cowboys successfully move the ball on the Cardinals. Pollard has received a plethora of goal-line touches in the first two games, and more of the same this week should be expected. 

When Pollard has a successful day on the ground, he likely scores a touchdown. In this scenario, Cowboys’ kicker Brandon Aubrey is likelier to make at least three extra points. Continuing down this game script, the Cowboys will attempt to burn the clock by pounding the rock. Cardinals’ box safety K’Von Wallace will have many opportunities to contribute to tackles if this is the case. 

Justin Fields HIGHER than 177.5 passing yards, Roschon Johnson HIGHER than 10.5 receiving yards, DJ Moore HIGHER than 3.5 receptions, Matthew Stafford HIGHER than 252.5 passing yards and Puka Nacua HIGHER than 63.5 receiving yards

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The Chicago Bears enter Week 3 in disarray as they travel to play the Kansas City Chiefs as major underdogs. If the Chiefs take the lead early, the Bears will have to chase and pass the ball. Despite a likely increase in the quarterback run game, Justin Fields should surpass 177.5 passing yards slightly more often than not in negative game scripts. 

DJ Moore's receptions and Roschon Johnson's receiving yards are downstream of the Fields passing line, as the scenarios where Fields passes more often will positively correlate with the above two selections. 

While the Los Angeles Rams box scores have been buoyed by unsustainable play volume, their efficiency has been impressive. Puka Nacua’s historic first two weeks are not sufficiently weighted, as his receiving yards projection sits at an achievable 63.5 receiving yards. When the Rams pass enough for Puka to record at least 64 receiving yards, Matthew Stafford is likelier to pass for at least 253 yards.

Play this 20x entry.

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