Welcome back to the Daily Fantasy: Love it, need it, Hate it, Lottery Picks article for Week 3 of the NFL season. Before we get into the Week 3 plays, we will recap how Week 2 went, and discuss how the players we talked about in last week’s article performed. Week 2’s article was similar to Week 1’s, as it was up and down. That’s how DFS tends to go, and when those weeks come when everything clicks, you win big. In the strategy article that comes out tomorrow, we will talk about interesting lineups from last week, and discuss the strategies that were used in those lineups. Make sure to stop by The 33rd Team Friday to see that article!
Week 2 Recap
Self-reflection is an extremely important part of Daily Fantasy. You need to look back on your lineups and figure out where you were right, and where you were wrong. Another important aspect is not being extremely result-oriented. Just because a player had a poor fantasy performance doesn’t mean he was a bad play and vice versa. The process should always carry more value than the results. Over the long term, sticking to your process week after week is bound to reap good results. Changing your process each week due to how the past week went is a recipe for disaster.
We’ll start off on a positive note, and highlight where we were correct in Week 1.
CeeDee Lamb ($6,400 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel)
CeeDee Lamb headlined the “Need it” section of last week’s article. Lamb had a solid performance, putting up a 17.4 DraftKings point performance. He didn’t win you any tournaments, but he didn’t torpedo any lineups as well. This analysis is going to be common throughout this section this week. If Lamb was able to get into the endzone, it would’ve vaulted him into the next tier of players from last week. He was “fine.” Not much else. His stable volume is good to see, as he’s someone you can count on week in and week out. Dallas had a rather poor offensive day, only putting up 20 points. Even on a low-scoring day for Dallas, Lamb can get there fantasy-wise.
Najee Harris ($6,300 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel)
The other member of the “Need it” section, Najee Harris also had a good week, putting up 19.1 DraftKings points. The volume for Harris was there, which we expected. Harris had 15 touches, seeing 10 carries and catching all 5 of his targets. It was an underwhelming day for Harris until he found the endzone to salvage his fantasy day. The Steelers’ offensive line is a big weakness of that team, which keeps Harris from taking advantage of his touches. Either way, we know the volume is there, and Harris had a solid fantasy performance.
Deebo Samuel ($6,700 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel)
Can we just copy and paste the CeeDee Lamb write-up in this section? No? Okay. Deebo Samuel had a solid fantasy day, racking up 16.1 DraftKings points in a rather uneventful game against Philadelphia. Similar to Lamb, Samuel was able to put up a solid performance despite the offense as a whole underperforming. If you see a week where you think San Francisco scores a lot of points, then Samuel seems like a good guy to roster that week. He’s Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target, and there is no reason to think that changes. Samuel didn’t post the tournament-winning upside that we were looking for, but he didn’t murder any tournament teams.
Myles Gaskin ($5,900 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel)
The Myles Gaskin fade worked out in our favor in Week 2. The Miami Dolphins got absolutely slaughtered by the Buffalo Bills, which led to only 9 touches for Gaskin. The Miami backfield was all over the place in that blowout, as Gaskin had 9 touches, followed by 6 for Salvon Ahmed, and 5 for Malcolm Brown. Until there is a clear divide in the backfield, we have no interest in any of them for daily fantasy purposes.
Next, we’ll look at where things went wrong in Week 2.
Dak Prescott ($6,800 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)
Yuck. My goodness. Sadly, the two players who we loved last week will be headlining this section. Dak Prescott had a poor fantasy performance, as the Dallas Cowboys didn’t produce much through the air on offense. Prescott only mustered 8.48 DraftKings points, which more than certainly tanked any lineups that he was in. It happens, plays don’t work out. Prescott’s volume wasn’t where it usually is, as Dallas kept the ball on the ground for most of the game. Prescott’s passing volume will be worth monitoring going forward.
Joe Mixon ($7,000 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel)
Joe Mixon also had a fairly poor performance in Week 2. The volume was as expected, as he saw 20 carries and 2 targets against the Chicago Bears’ middling defense. Sadly, this Cincinnati offense isn’t up to snuff with what we thought it’d be. Mixon seems to be a solid tournament option every week, as his volume should allow him to break out in certain matchups. However, 8.1 DraftKings points definitely doesn’t cut it, and he most definitely murdered lineups.
Week 2 wasn’t a horrible performance for us, but the players we loved the most ended up crashing the hardest. It’s alright. Moving onto Week 3.
Week 3 Picks
Players in the “Love it” section are guys that we are excited to play in any format, regardless of the ownership that they may garner that week.
Mike Williams ($6,400 DraftKings, $6,000)
Gone are the days of “Mikey Air Yards.” Mike Williams has turned into a full-fledged wide receiver for the Chargers’ offense, as he has expanded his route tree to run more than what seemed like “go” routes. Williams’ average depth of target (aDOT) has dropped immensely from last year to this year. Through two games, Williams’ aDOT is 9.9 yards, which is far less than the past two seasons. Williams averaged 14.6 yards in 2020 and a whopping 17.8 yards in 2019. His target numbers have also been rock-solid this year, as he saw 12 targets in Week 1, and then 10 in Week 2. He is fourth out of all players in targets, as he has slowly become one of Justin Herbert’s favorite options.
The Chiefs haven’t been killed through the air in the first two weeks, but that is due to them facing two of the run-heaviest teams in the league. Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson combined for only 1 touchdown through the air against Kansas City. We expect that to change this week, as Kansas City posts one of the most beatable defenses in the league. The Chargers are 5th in total yards through the first two games and 27th in points scored. We expect those numbers to regress as Los Angeles will get the ball into the endzone, and we expect Mike Williams to be a big part of that.
Lamar Jackson ($7,800 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel)
We’ve preached about rushing upside in this article in Weeks 1 and 2, and we’re going to do the same in Week 3. Lamar Jackson is the epitome of rushing upside, as he is averaging 14 rushes for 96.5 yards and 1 touchdown a game through the first two weeks. That’d be good for over 15 DraftKings points before any passing stats. Jackson comes with one of the highest floors due to his rushing volume and efficiency, as well as one of the highest ceilings, as he can break a long run, or hit Marquise Brown for a long touchdown from anywhere on the field.
Jackson and the Ravens’ match up with the Lions, who have been getting annihilated this season. The Lions gave up 41 points to San Francisco in Week 1, and then 35 points to Green Bay in Week 2. Aaron Rodgers put up 26.8 DraftKings points against the Lions in Week 2, and Jimmy Garoppolo posted an 18.76 DraftKings point day in Week 1. Neither of these quarterbacks is the fantasy monster that Jackson is, and we expect Jackson to run and throw all over Detroit. The added bonus is the fact that Detroit has been hanging in football games. If the Ravens jump out to a 28-0 lead, then they’ll take their foot off the gas pedal, and potentially bring in the backups. With Detroit putting points on the board, it’ll keep Jackson in the game, and allow him to keep racking up fantasy points.
This section will contain guys who we believe are necessary when you are constructing a lineup for cash games. They are still viable in tournaments, but they aren’t necessary. We still like them as plays, but these guys may come with higher ownership, which could provide merit to fading them and going another route.
Cooper Kupp ($6,800 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel)
Some people may be shocked to see Cooper Kupp’s price so high, but after his start to the season, it is well deserved. Kupp is up to 21 targets through two games, as he has quickly become Matthew Stafford’s favorite target in Los Angeles. He is averaging 33.3 DraftKings points per game, solidifying him as the WR1 so far this season. Kupp has performed this well despite the Rams not having topped 30 pass attempts. If Tampa Bay jumps out to a lead, and the Rams are forced to throw, Kupp’s target number could get laughably high.
Speaking of Tampa Bay, they have gotten gashed by wide receivers recently. Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Calvin Ridley have all had at least 7 catches, 60 yards, and a touchdown. Cooper and Lamb put up far more, as both topped 100 yards, and Cooper found paydirt twice. Tampa Bay’s slot corners are mediocre at best, and the slot is where Kupp runs most of his routes. This game could get high scoring, and we expect Kupp to be a focal point of the Rams offense. Kupp’s ownership will be high, so you could go another direction in tournaments. However, Kupp is a solid play in all formats.
Players in the “Hate it” section are guys that we do not want to roster that week in DFS for a number of reasons. They may have a bad matchup, they may be projecting to have too much ownership, they may be too expensive, or it could be a combination of the three.
Antonio Gibson ($5,900 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel)
Antonio Gibson has disappointed season-long owners so far in 2021, and we expect that to continue this week. The volume is fine for Gibson, as he has averaged 19 touches per game through the first two weeks of the season. However, J.D. McKissic has taken up a chunk of the passing game work that we expected to go to Gibson. It could just be a one-game overreaction, but with a matchup against Buffalo, it is not a spot that we are excited about.
Buffalo has stifled opposing backs through the first two weeks, as they gave up 45 yards on 16 carries to Najee Harris in Week 1, and a combined 63 yards on 16 carries to the Miami backfield in Week 2. The Bills are favored by over a touchdown, and we expect them to jump out to a lead, forcing Washington into a passing game script. With McKissic eating into Gibson’s passing game work, and the Bills shutting down opposing backs, Gibson’s outlook is not very positive.
The Lottery Picks section contains players with low ownership who we think have the upside to be in tournament-winning lineups.
Justin Jefferson ($7,200 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel)
If we write up Justin Jefferson every week, eventually, it has to pay off. In all seriousness, we love Jefferson’s upside this week. Jefferson has seen 10 and 9 targets through the first two weeks, solidifying the targets that we expected him to receive. His fantasy performances have been solid, as he put up 12.54 DraftKings points in Week 1, and 18.5 DraftKings points in Week 2. Jefferson is currently projecting for single-digit ownership across the industry, making him someone that I am looking to in tournaments.
The Vikings have an exciting matchup with Seattle this week, where we could see a lot of points. The Seahawks just played a 33-30 overtime thriller against Tennessee, and the Vikings lost a heartbreaking 34-33 matchup with Arizona on a missed kick. Both of these defenses are subpar, both offenses can put up points, and that’s what we expect them to do. Jefferson thrives in these track-meets, and we’d love to see him post a big performance this Sunday. He also fits well in a game stack, which we’ll talk about in tomorrow’s strategy article. Justin Jefferson makes for a great tournament play on Sunday.