NFL DFS Picks and Analysis Week 3: The Grind Down - Patriots vs. Raiders
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.
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 England Patriots DFS Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
James White (Questionable)
Julian Edelman (Questionable)
N’Keal Harry (Questionable)
Running Game Outlook
We should have plenty of interest in the Patriots running game, but not because of their running backs. Through the first two games, the four backs from New England have combined for 40 carries, 139 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown. By himself, Cam Newton has 26 carries, 122 rushing yards, and four rushing touchdowns. He accounted for 444 of the 464 total yards last week against the Seahawks. I will note that James White (personal) missed last week’s game and was not present at Thursday’s practice. If he does sit this game out, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel would see an uptick in snaps. This is an appealing matchup, as the Raiders are ranked 28th in DVOA against the run this season. Unfortunately, Newton takes too much of the rushing volume and the redzone carries away from these running backs for them to deserve consideration in this week’s 13-game main slate.
Passing Game Outlook
As noted above, Cam Newton has already rushed the ball 26 times in the first two games of the season and only a handful of them were on scrambles. The Patriots are calling designed run plays for him, especially when they get down near the goal line. In addition to the rushing upside, his throws have more velocity on them than they did in his final games with the Panthers. Mobile quarterbacks like Newton are always great from a DFS perspective because they don’t need a specific game script to rack up fantasy production. He will be heavily involved in the run game if the Patriots are playing from ahead and he will make plays with his legs and his arm if they are playing from behind. This is a strong matchup, as the Raiders are ranked 28th in DVOA against the pass this season.
Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry have both seen 18 targets through the first two weeks and have accounted for a massive 57% target share. They are both listed as questionable, but logged limited practices on Thursday and are tentatively expected to suit up. I’m going back and forth on how I want to treat them this week. The pass volume is unlikely to be high if the Patriots are able to jump out to a big lead in this one. If the game stays competitive or if the Patriots fall behind early, this should be a great spot for both receivers. They’ve had a change in roles this season, as Edelman has racked up 224 air yards while Harry has an average depth of target of 5.2 yards. The Patriots are force-feeding Harry the ball around the line of scrimmage and taking deep shots with Edelman. It all comes down to volume, as they both have favorable matchups against a beatable Raiders secondary.
Strong Projections: Cam Newton
Strong GPP Differentiators: Julian Edelman
Roster Construction Punts/Values: N’Keal Harry
My Expected Team Exposure: Medium
Oakland Raiders Projections Breakdown
Injuries to Monitor
Running Game Outlook
Josh Jacobs hurt his hip against the Saints and was forced to miss quite a few plays in the fourth quarter. He ultimately returned to the game and had some big runs that helped clinch the win in their home opener. He has yet to practice as of Thursday, so keep an eye on his status for Friday’s practice. He’s been a true workhorse in the first two games of the season, carrying the ball 52 times and adding nine targets through the air. The Patriots had one of the best defenses in football last season, but many of their key players decided to opt out for this season. They still have elite cornerbacks, but have been beatable on the ground through the first two games — 20th in DVOA against the run and 19th in defensive adjusted line yards. If Jacobs is ruled out, Jalen Richard and Devontae Booker would split the work in this backfield.
Passing Game Outlook:
Derek Carr still makes some questionable decisions every now and then, but he’s led his team to a 2-0 start. He looks a lot better now that the Raiders have surrounded him with some weapons. From a fantasy standpoint, he’s going to be an easy fade most weeks. The Raiders are a run-first team and want to give Josh Jacobs the ball as many times as possible. The Patriots haven’t been great against the pass this season, but should benefit from playing at home. We currently have Carr projected as the QB30 this week, which takes him out of consideration for both cash games and tournaments.
We have to keep an eye on the injury report for the Raiders, as Henry Ruggs, Darren Waller, and Bryan Edwards are all listed as questionable. If all three are active, Waller is the one player that we can look to in tournaments. He has caught 18-of-24 targets for 150 yards and a touchdown in the first two weeks of the season. As noted above, the Patriots are missing their best defenders in the middle of the field, while they still have elite cornerbacks. Ruggs will likely draw the Stephon Gilmore matchup, which makes him a very risky option. For Edwards and Hunter Renfrow, the volume just hasn’t been there (eight targets combined).
Strong Projections: None
High Upside Correlations: None
Roster Construction Punts/Values: None
My Expected Team Exposure: Low