NFL DFS Picks and Analysis Week 3: The Grind Down

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, a fantasy football advice article for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo. This DFS breakdown is an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the projections, projected ownership, picks, targets, and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.

NOTE: Games will be published as they are completed. Main slate writeups will be completed by Friday PM.

Every game will be broken down with a DFS-first mentality. Betting lines are shown with projected team totals, spreads, and moneyline to give you an idea of the game environment. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow. At the end of each section, we’ll deliver a DFS cheat sheet of stacks to build, players to target, and low projected ownership plays that can make an impact on your weekly success.

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Sports Betting Lines and Overview


New York Giants DFS Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Daniel Jones NYG $5,500 $6,900 $26 15.6 QB29 35.62 236.81
RB Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Dion Lewis NYG $5,300 $5,500 $11 9.07 RB37 35.00% 12.00%
Wayne Gallman NYG $4,900 $5,400 $10 6.47 RB53 35.00% 3.50%
Elijhaa Penny NYG $4,000 $4,600 $10 0 RB94 0.01%
WR/TE Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Darius Slayton NYG $4,900 $5,500 $20 11 WR44 24.00% 9.30
Golden Tate NYG $4,500 $5,400 $16 10.38 WR51 18.00% 6.97
Damion Ratley NYG $3,000 $4,500 $10 2.93 WR114 6.00% 2.32
C.J. Board NYG $3,000 $4,500 $10 1.44 WR129 3.00% 1.16
Austin Mack NYG $4,500 0.81 WR154 1.50% 0.58
Evan Engram NYG $5,000 $5,900 $14 11.04 TE7 22.00% 8.52
Kaden Smith NYG $2,800 $4,100 $10 4.55 TE39 5.50% 2.13
Injuries to Monitor

Saquon Barkley (Out)
Sterling Shepard (Out)

Running Game Outlook

Week 2 hit hard for many teams, but few were hit harder than the Giants and Niners. Saquon Barkley tore his ACL and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. This is a big blow for the Giants, a big blow for season long owners, and a big blow to the bankroll of anyone that rostered him in DFS last week. Dion Lewis picked up the majority of the work in his absence, but only managed to gain 20 yards on 10 carries against the Bears. He did catch four of his five targets and score a touchdown, but the Giants didn’t have anyone else to turn to with Wayne Gallman inactive.

While we love targeting cheap workhorse running backs in DFS, Lewis is far from it. The Giants signed Devonta Freeman on Tuesday and will have Gallman back in the fold for this week’s game against the Niners. Freeman practiced on Wednesday and is tentatively expected to suit up. Even if the Giants decide to hold him out a week while he gets acclimated to the offense, we shouldn’t expect Lewis to see much of a role change. In that scenario, Gallman would handle the early-down work and Lewis would handle the passing situations. The Niners are short-handed defensively, but should still have an above-average run defense and there are too many unknowns in the Giants backfield right now.

Passing Game Outlook

Daniel Jones has shown upside throughout his career, but has been limited to 19 and 10 fantasy points in the first two games of this season. His weapons are dropping like flies, as the Giants will be without both Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard this week. The Niners have been a brutal matchup for quarterbacks over the last couple of seasons, but are expected to be without Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Dee Ford. This certainly improves the fantasy outlook for Jones, but not enough to where he stands out as a viable play in the main slate. We currently have him projected as the QB29 for the week.

This game features a total of only 41.5 points, which is far from ideal. For reference, the next closest total is 43 points. Shepard being out should open up a few targets in the offense, but the Giants wideouts are far from priority plays in this slate. Golden Tate caught all five of his targets in Week 2, but has shown limited upside over the last couple of seasons. Evan Engram has a difficult matchup, as the Niners have long been tough on opposing tight ends. My favorite target here is Darius Slayton, who posted a 6/102/1 line against the Steelers in Week 1. He currently lead the Giants in air yards (165) and aDOT (11.0).

Strong Projections: None

High Upside Correlations: None

Strong GPP Differentiators: Darius Slayton

Roster Construction Punts/Values: None

My Expected Team Exposure: Low

San Francisco 49ers Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Nick Mullens SFO $5,100 $6,500 $23 15.79 QB27 34.74 229.97
RB Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Jerick McKinnon SFO $4,900 $5,700 $14 17.16 RB8 30% 9%
Jeff Wilson SFO $4,000 $5,200 $10 9.95 RB33 43% 4%
JaMycal Hasty SFO $4,500 2.68 RB94 13% 2%
WR/TE Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Kendrick Bourne SFO $5,000 $5,500 $15 9.91 WR58 19% 6.89
Brandon Aiyuk SFO $4,100 $4,800 $15 6.41 WR88 15% 5.40
Trent Taylor SFO $3,400 $4,500 $10 6.28 WR89 13% 4.65
Mohamed Sanu SFO $3,000 $4,900 $10 3.98 WR105 10% 3.54
Dante Pettis SFO $3,100 $4,600 $10 1.64 WR124 3% 1.12
George Kittle SFO $6,300 $7,500 $25 #N/A #N/A 0.00
Jordan Reed SFO $4,000 $5,300 $14 5.83 TE30 19% 6.89
Injuries to Monitor

RB Tevin Coleman (Doubtful)
WR Deebo Samuel (Out)
RB Raheem Mostert (Doubtful)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Questionable)
TE George Kittle (Questionable)
DE Nick Bosa (Out)
CB Richard Sherman (Out)
DT Solomon Thomas (Out)
DE Dee Ford (Doubtful)

Running Game Outlook

The Niners injuries aren’t just limited to the defensive side of the football. Tevin Coleman injured his knee and could be out for up to four weeks. Raheem Mostert also hurt his knee and is tentatively expected to sit out this week against the Giants. After Jerick McKinnon took a 55-yard run to the house in Week 2, he was one of the most popular waiver wire pickups in season-long leagues. While there is still a path for him to reach value in DFS, he’s not the automatic play that we often see in these situations. He missed nearly two full seasons with an MCL injury and is still getting eased back into the mix. He only had four touches last week against the Jets and is only projected for only 30% of the rush attempts this week.

The Giants don’t have an elite defense by any stretch, but they haven’t been terrible against the run in the first two games of the season. They are currently ranked sixth in DVOA against the run and 13th in defensive adjusted line yards. We should have concern about McKinnon’s workload, the matchup isn’t all that enticing, and his price point is much higher than we typically see from a third-string running back. On top of all that, he’s going to garner a decent amount of ownership. I understand the play, but would spend a little more on running backs that we can actually project for 20 touches. Jeff Wilson is expected to lead the Niners backfield in carries and JaMycal Hasty will also mix in for a few snaps.

Passing Game Outlook:

With half the defense and half the backfield out, that has to be the end of the injuries for the Niners, right? Wrong. Jimmy Garoppolo was forced from last week’s game with an ankle injury and has yet to practice this week (as of Thursday). At this point, he’s looking closer to doubtful than questionable. Jimmy G doubters will lead you to believe that Nick Mullens is just as good of a quarterback for this offense. While I’m not there just yet, Mullens did fare well in his eight starts in 2018. During that stretch, he averaged 285 passing yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game. I would have interest in Mullens as a DFS streamer this week if he had all of his weapons, but that’s not the case.

One of the big injuries to monitor this week is the status of George Kittle. He is dealing with a knee injury, but was able to log a limited practice on Thursday. His presence would be a massive boost for this offense as a whole, especially against a Giants team that gave up eight touchdowns to the tight end position in 2019. If Kittle is ruled out, Jordan Reed would become a viable punt for the second straight week. He only played 28 snaps, but was heavily targeted while on the field. He finished the game with seven receptions, 50 yards, and two touchdowns. Kendrick Bourne is still the WR1 in this offense with Deebo Samuel out, but rookie Brandon Aiyuk played a big role in his debut. He ran a route on 80% of dropbacks and is a player to keep an eye on moving forward. I don’t mind the matchup for these receivers, but there are better values at the position this week.

Overall, this game features the lowest total on the board and two banged up teams that don’t offer as much value as you might expect.

Strong Projections: None

High Upside Correlations: None

Strong GPP Differentiators: George Kittle (if active)

Roster Construction Punts/Values: Jerick McKinnon, Jordan Reed (if Kittle is out)

My Expected Team Exposure: Low

Written by Notorious

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