I'll admit it. I was wrong last week. I thought the Tampa Bay Bandits would pulverize the New Orleans Breakers, but the exact opposite happened. If you closely mirrored my daily fantasy football (DFS) picks for Week 2 of USFL action, my apologies.
The Bandits, at least by their record, are nowhere near the top of the USFL. New Orleans now looks like the best team in the league. If the Breakers win this week, they will be the only undefeated team in the league. And I, therefore, have come to a crossroads for my USFL Week 3 DFS picks.
Do I stick with my gut and instinct on how to play USFL DFS? Is my process the right one? What is it I am doing wrong? To be honest, I don't know. What I do know is that the USFL is like any other sport. And that is that once something seems universally obvious, something else comes along to obliterate that thinking.
So yes, I know the Breakers seem to be the best team in the USFL right now. Even the league's site has them atop their power rankings. But I am going to try to avoid all New Orleans players this week if possible.
The rationale is simple. First off, one of the few things I know about playing DFS is that when it comes to GPPs, if everyone else is zigging, you should zag. The Birmingham Stallions are the only other undefeated team in the USFL and will be trying to slow down the Breakers. But the Stallions have allowed the most points of any team in the league. So I expect the Breakers' roster to be very popular this week. This seems like an obvious choice. Which is why I'm going to zag with everyone zigging.
Secondly, Birmingham has the benefit of being the "home team" once again (and will all year). The difference in the attendance between Stallions games and all other USFL games is clearly visible. I am not comfortable paying the premium for Breakers when they will be challenged more this week than in their previous two games.
So with that as the backdrop, here are my Week 3 USFL picks. You should already have a pretty good picture of what my entries will look like this week.
USFL Week 3 DraftKings Picks
Just a reminder that the DraftKings USFL lineups are a little different than their regular NFL lineups. A USFL lineup includes 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, 2 FLEX, and a DST. Let’s go through each position and break it down.
Kyle Slotter is so tempting. It's not even like he'll cost a lot, as he is only the fourth-most expensive QB option. But as I said, that's going to make him very popular, especially in cash games. I will instead pivot to the QB who actually had the best game last week, Bryan Scott ($10,100) of the Philadelphia Stars.
I love the ceiling, but it is Scott's floor that's really appealing. He is the only quarterback this young USFL season to have passed for at least 200 yards in each of his starts. Furthermore, Scott leads the league in total passing yards, supported by his league-high 272 last Saturday.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
I am still going to stack and therefore go with a pair of Philadelphia pass catchers: Jordan Suell ($7,200) and one of my favorites, Bug Howard ($4,100).
Suell's Week 1 was pretty forgettable, but this past weekend he hauled in six of 10 targets for 72 yards. Any player seeing double-digit targets needs to be on your radar. But he's not just on my radar, he's part of my lineup too.
Howard meanwhile did not score last week as he did in Week 1. Yet he was targeted more and caught more of them, with those catches going for more than triple the yards (44) from the previous week (14). The bottom line is that he continues to be an integral part of this offense and is a steal at his current price.
I know the Bandits burned me last week, but I can't quit them completely. So I'm going to return to the well with BJ Emmons ($9,300) whose salary continues to rise. This price is uncomfortably high given how inefficient Emmons has been. But he's that price because DraftKings is fully aware that volume is king and Emmons' 33 carries are third in the league after two weeks. I'm giving Emmons at least one more game, I suggest you do the same.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
And since I'm riding with Emmons, I'm going to stack the Tampa Bay Bandits DST ($4,300) with him. The truth is that this is less of an endorsement of the Bandits' defense than it is skepticism of the Houston Gamblers' offense. Quarterback Clayton Thorson has more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes (three). He's averaging less than 110 passing yards a game. And he's only completing half of his passes. This type of performance is benchable in the NFL and it's not much better in the USFL. I'll give the Bandits DST one more chance too.
Birmingham Stallions wide receiver Osirus Mitchell ($8,200) has been targeted seven times each of the last two weeks. I'm going to agree with Royal Retros on this one:
Well, at least the Mitchell part. If Birmingham is going to try to keep up with the Breakers' explosive offense, they are going to need to rely on their usual weapons. That's Mitchell.
I am expecting a pretty high-scoring game between Birmingham and New Orleans. And the sportsbooks agree, putting this game at an over/under of 44.5 points. That's 10 percent higher than any other game. So I know I was trying to resist it, but I want some piece of the New Orleans offense. Wide receiver Johnnie Dixon ($6,700) scored last weekend and I'm willing to bet on him having another nice game on Saturday night.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.