NFL Week 3 Draftkings Notes and Thoughts
Every week is undoubtedly the same routine – I have a general idea of which plays I like early in the week and then a barrage of online touts, conversations with my brother (who is one of the sharpest sports minds I know), advanced numbers, coach speak, and vague injury and weather news has me running in all sorts of directions at the end of the week as I scramble to somehow fit all the guys I like into my lineups. I want to post this blog to just have a record of what plays I liked early in the week or what my initial thinking / reasoning was so that I can refer back to it as the week goes on. And if this information is useful to anyone else, then even better! So I caveat this blog with this is just the simple ramblings of a football fan who doesn’t watch nearly enough (if I’m lucky I see 2-4 games each week) and really relies more on stats, match-ups, narratives, and injury news. What you’ll find reading is that I love more plays than dislike any because I’ve seen too often plays I thought were mediocre end up being the winning plays and I would feel terrible to drive anyone off a good play that I just didn’t realize at the time. What you’ll also find is I change my style up a lot even within the same blog – I may start by talking about a certain team match-up, then move to just individual plays, or even just look at players from different games at similar price points.
Las Vegas Raiders @ New England Patriots
This one is going to depend a lot on how the Raiders do tonight vs the Saints (I’m writing this on Monday) because if the Raiders win, I feel this would be a much better New England spot. It’d be hard to see the Raiders beating the Saints and then beating New England on the road to start 3-0. If they lose however, there might be a little less pressure and it would feel like more of a toss-up. Still, this game is interesting to me because I still feel New England’s defense is always strong against bad or inexperienced teams but falters against good offenses and that contrast is more pronounced than any other team in the league. Watching them last year (and last night), they could shut out teams like the Jets with ease but then give up 5 passing touchdowns to these stronger offenses. In this match-up, I like the Raiders offense to at least put up points and do their job. The more interesting story of this game is the Pats Offense – I did not expect Cam Newton to look so good early and I’ve had to eat crow. I wonder if there’s going to be a little bit of lag with people picking up Cam Newton, projecting him to fall back into old habits of the last two seasons and fall off a cliff. This might be a good time to just ride Cam Newton and the passing offense of the Patriots. If James White plays next week, I would love to use him with Cam – I think he is the best RB on the Patriots anyway and I like rooting for guys coming back from emotional situations. Losing a parent is heartbreaking (let’s send James White our love and energy) and I would have a smile on my face seeing him get into the end zone.
On the Raiders side, Josh Jacobs is just a beast. He was last year as well and even if he has a poor game against the Saints, I like him in this game as well. I also like Darren Waller – I think he is probably their best receiver still and despite a high tight end price, 5700 isn’t too bad for a first option. Because of how young the actual wide receivers are, it seems like this a good spot for him.
Figuring out the receivers for both teams is tricky and I’m not quite sure how to manage that. I’d expect Edelman to come crashing back to earth and I thought Harry would be Cam’s favorite option but it’s possible they’re both equally viable in this passing game and that it’s pretty random for one of them to outdo the other. I do like the idea of gamestacking this because we have the #4 and #5 ranked offenses by DVOA through week 2 (not updated with the Raiders/Saints though obviously, so the Raiders are only judged by week 1) against two meh defenses. I could see this being a very good offensive game that might have lower ownership than you would think because people are going to be more interested in Dallas/Seattle. I could see a lineup of Cam Newton #josh-jacobs)Josh Jacobs”:/players/josh-jacobs-973101/”(player-popup #james-white)James White”:/players/james-white-18458/”(player-popup #darren-waller)Darren Waller”:/players/darren-waller-21556 getting you the major pieces in that game (with maybe another Pats Receiver if you really want to go in on this) and if it all of a sudden becomes another shootout, it becomes very interesting.
Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons blew another big lead and now follow it up with a home game against a very weird 2-0 Bears team. The Bears seem pretty mediocre but at the same time, Atlanta has to feel deflated. Atlanta’s defense is just terrible against the pass while the Bears are pretty good overall but the offensive story is the reverse – Atlanta’s pass offense is very good but the Bears offense is just terrible. It’s a really weird spot because the game script could be all over the place. I could see either team being blown out which makes it tough to look at. Here are some general thoughts on some players.
Matt Ryan ($6600) – As the 6th highest priced QB he’s just too pricy for me. You’re not getting much rushing upside here so you need Ryan to throw 3-4 TDS with 300 yds. It’s always in his range of outcomes against any team but because the match-up is pretty tough this week and he’s been playing well to start out, I’d expect a little regression here. I would expect Julio to play but if he sits out, that hurts Ryan even more.
Mitch Trubisky ($5700) – I am not a fan of Mitch in most cases (pretty much always) but this week, he seems pretty cheap against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Mitch does have slight rushing upside as well and if he’s going to have a ceiling game, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be this one. DVOA actually ranks the Giant’s pass defense as better than I would expect so I could see people not wanting to go back to Mitch after a mediocre game in a “plus” match-up. I think he’s definitely an option at his price and is going to be one of my favorite GPP plays.
David Montgomery ($5700), Tarik Cohen ($4300), Allen Robinson ($6200), Anthony Miller ($4900) – These are pretty much the only skill guys I see mattering for the Bears. If you go with the Trubisky play, I think you definitely want 2-3 of these guys along with him (probably just two but Cohen is so cheap and has that beautiful pass-catching RB vs Atlanta match-up). I think Allen Robinson had the squeaky wheel narrative last week, did nothing, and now will probably be lower owned in a better match-up because of it. He was 8.1% owned last week in the Slant so if he goes lower than that to 5%, I think he could be a slate-breaker. Montgomery is the real interesting play – he’s definitely usable in a stack or just solo and could steal pass receptions from Cohen. If the Bears offense is rolling and just control the game, I could see less Cohen and more Montgomery anyway which does make it difficult to figure out the appropriate stack.
On the Atlanta side, they’re all just too expensive for me. Ridley is probably not going to catch 30+ touchdowns this year so I’d expect a 0 from this game for him even if Julio sits (and if Julio sits, Ridley could become chalky making it even less appealing). I’m a big believer in regression and I think this is probably a let-down game from the Falcon’s offense after last week. Again, it’s really weird because the Bears being 3-0 just seems ridiculous but I do think things will get back to normal as the season goes on (like when Aaron Rodgers gets his hands on them).
As the Bears, Raiders, and Patriots are going to be three of my favorite offenses to target this week, let’s move onto some pricing comparisons.
Upper Tier Wide Receivers where I like their RB Counterparts much more:
Deandre Hopkins – What’s interesting to me is DVOA ranks the Arizona passing offense as actually quite mediocre but the rushing offense as very good. The Lions meanwhile I think just showed problems against the run despite their bad corner situation and Detroit by DVOA through 2 weeks has the 32nd ranked Run Defense. I think I’ll be fading Hopkins (and by extension Murray) this week to run Kenyan Drake in a great match-up at possibly lower ownership. I think people are going to fall in love more with Murray in this match-up whereas I could see this just being a Drake game.
Adam Thielen – I will make the prediction that the Vikings have seen enough of Captain Kirk and in desperate need of a win will just pepper Dalvin Cook with runs and screens. I’ll be using a lot of Dalvin Cook this week and probably having no exposure to Thielen. This is one of those hard-line stances you have to make (look at Green Bay as an example – each week you’ll likely have to make a hardline stance of Adams vs Jones for GPP and just hope you get the coin flip right).
DK Metcalf T.J. Lockett – Again, I like Carson a lot more here. I was big on Gurley last week (wrong call) but I think that was due to me underestimating how inefficient the run offense of the Falcons was. DVOA has them ranked 27th – Seattle is ranked 7th in run and 1st in pass and while there’s nothing wrong at all with Wilson/Metcalf/Lockett, I think those guys will be popular off his 5 touchdown game last night and that Carson could just grind down the Cowboys.
I already talked about the Bears which I think will be a solid stack this week, but here are some others I like:
Daniel Jones / Darius Slayton / Golden Tate – These guys are super cheap and if Shepard is out next week (along with Barkley being out with an ACL tear), these guys will have very concentrated usage against a 49ers defense that just lost their best defensive player as well as well as Solomon Thomas. With Dee Ford out as well, this could be a situation where the pass rush just isn’t there and with injuries to the 49ers’ offense, the Giants surprisingly control the game through the air. I will not be playing Dion Lewis, I think he is just priced a little bit too high and there are better RBs on the slate. But the Jones/Slayton/Tate (or Engram) stack certainly looks appealing and will be something I look hard at.
Jared Goff / Robert Woods / Cooper Kupp – This is more just a “too cheap for their ceiling” call. I’m not the biggest believer in Buffalo’s defense as I think they have really good weeks and then really meh weeks and if this stack hits, you’re looking at low ownership with high potential upside. After Higbee’s 3 TD game, I would expect the Bills to zero in on him and force Goff to beat their corners 1v1 – the thing is, I could see that happening with Woods in a revenge game and Kupp always being a speed threat. I’m not sure how I would bring it back on the Bills side or even if I would bother doing so. My first thought would be Diggs but I’d imagine I can’t afford him to get these 6k receivers in along with the RBs I like.
DeSean Watson / Will Fuller / Brandin Cooks – I don’t see David Johnson running on the Steelers anyway but this is a must-win game for the Texans and more importantly, for Bill O Brien. I could see a lot of early chatter of him being fired if they start 0-3 and he was likely already on the hot seat after blowing last year’s playoffs. Regardless of the validity of that, I would imagine BoB just puts the ball in Watson’s hands for the entire game and let’s him try to win it as if his job is on the line. If that’s the case, (and if Fuller is healthy), I could see Watson throwing a lot and to these two guys as well as using his legs. I like the idea of using Ju-Ju in a bringback as well with this stack.
Joe Burrow / A.J. Green / Tyler Boyd – I think people might end up being wary about Joe Burrow after Week 1 still, but after seeing the Chargers put a similar lockdown on Mahomes, I’m more inclined than ever to buy low on Burrow and his elite receiving options. This is similar to the Rams where there pieces here are just a bit too underpriced but in Burrow’s case, he’s facing the DVOA ranked 26th pass defense in the Eagles. I would use Ertz here as my bring back but I also like Miles Sanders (Cinci is 25th vs the Run via DVOA).
Tight End looks terrible this week
How do you even pick a Tight End this week? I have almost no desire for any of the cheaper options and even the top options are lacking with Kelce and Mandrews out. Names that really stick out to me are Noah Fant (The Buccaneers seem to always have terrible games against Tight Ends when I watch them play live), Zach Ertz (in a must-win game for the Eagles, I could Wentz just forcing it to the guy he trusts the most), and the aforementioned Darren Waller. I will likely try to use these three guys in my lineups because they’re all at similar price ranges.
I hate RBs in time shares
I will be fading Austin Ekeler this week and I hate it. Carolina is the 29th worst run defense by DVOA but I just can’t figure out who’s going to get the work. If Tyrod plays, that hurt’s Ekeler’s receiving upside as well. Even though I like Nick Chubb, I feel the same way about him and Kareem Hunt. They are messy situations to figure out and it’s easier just going with the workhorses.
Wait, What’s that guy’s price?
Terry McLaurin still can’t get a photo up on Draftkings but he is the clear #1 receiver there and his price is only 300 more than last week against the Browns. Cleveland has the 30th ranked pass defense and McLaurin is just too good to be at $5900. I think I heard a stat that he was #1 in the entire history of the NFL for contested catch percentage as a rookie. So I think he’s pretty good.
This concludes my general thoughts on this week. I think most of these guys constitute my core plays early in the week and hopefully I will remind myself to come back and read my own words after the masses poison my instincts. Good luck to everyone this week and I hope you enjoyed reading!