My Week 2 daily fantasy football (DFS) picks weren't too bad. I had a couple of sizeable misses like Jameis Winston, but I also slam-dunked with my Tom Brady pick and the much-harder-to-predict Dawson Knox pick. But let's move on to my Week 3 DFS picks.
As a reminder, I will go through each position and list one "safe" pick and one "high-risk/high-reward" pick. For those of you familiar with DFS, the first is essentially a cash-game play and the second is a GPP play. I also will make sure that said player is priced proportionately about the same across DraftKings, FanDuel, and the other major sites. For those of you unfamiliar with DFS, do yourself a favor and look up cash games vs. GPPs. Or hit me up on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) and I will explain it to you personally.
And this will be the last time I ask this: Whether you are experienced or a beginner, however, let me know what you want this column to be. Should I highlight only guys that seem mispriced? Do you want me to let you know who I am fading? Would you like to see what lineups I am playing? Those questions are just a start. Let me know. In the meantime, I'll let you know some of my favorite safe and high-risk/high-reward picks this week.
Safe Quarterback Week 3 Pick
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (DK $6500, FD $7500)
I wouldn't fault you for grabbing Patrick Mahomes either. However, the primary members of the Chiefs' passing game are really expensive this week and leave you with very little money to spend elsewhere. So instead, we'll go with the other side of this potential AFC West shootout. Because that's what the books believe this game will be, with an over/under of over 54 points.
Kansas City is allowing the fifth-most points per game and a league-worst 469 yards per game. Herbert's owners would like to see a few more touchdowns, but he is coming off two straight weeks of 300-plus yards. Expect Herbert to exceed 300 yards again, but I also expect him to pass for a pair of touchdowns as well.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Week 3 Pick
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns (DK $5200, FD $6500)
This will not be the first time I've expressed a leaning towards Fields this week. I have already recommended him as a "start." I know this is his first start as a rookie, but he's seen some NFL action already. It's always tough to play a rookie making his first start on the road. But if you think the Browns are a tough matchup, you really haven't been paying attention.
Safe Running Back Week 3 Pick
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (DK $7200, FD $7000)
I am not liking the RB position for DFS this week at all. And Ekeler is not the safest pick in the world given that he had zero targets in Week 1. However, he did have nine targets last week and his arrow is pointing upwards. He had an additional 54 yards on the ground, which is also key. Kansas City has definitely been struggling with their opponents' rushing game this year.
Let's ignore for the moment what Lamar Jackson did to them. The unproven Ty'Son Williams had 93 total yards against them, while the week before Nick Chubb scored twice and registered 101 yards. I'm not sure Ekeler can get to either of those marks, but I think he has the safest floor amongst the top 12 fantasy RB options this week.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Week 3 Pick
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos vs. New York Jets (DK $4900, FD $5800)
Williams is no longer a super-cheap alternative, but he's still quite affordable and makes for a nice pivot. I don't think I have ever recommended the same player in the same space three weeks in a row, but golly gee willikers, I'm going to do it!
For one, Williams has a decent floor given he's a GPP pivot. He and Melvin Gordon III had an equal number of carries last week, but Williams outrushed him by 33 yards. And he has been targeted in both games so far this year. But the inclusion of Williams this week has a lot to do with the matchup. The Jets are giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to RBs. They have given up more than 30 points each of the first two weeks. Even if Williams gets less than half of that, it's still a tremendous profit. Williams is worth the three times mention.
Safe Wide Receiver Week 3 Pick
Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Football Team (DK $7600, FD $7700)
Through two weeks, Diggs has not done enough to warrant his first-round status in fantasy drafts. But he hasn't been horrible and is still averaging almost 16 PPR fantasy points a game. And let's consider who he has played so far. The Steelers and Dolphins both have pretty good secondaries.
Washington however does not. I love the front seven but something is amiss in the secondary. Washington is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to the WR position so far this year. Diggs has been targeted 21 times already. He should easily see double-digit targets again this week. I'm going to predict that he has at least 100 receiving yards or a touchdown if not both.
High Risk/Reward Receiver Week 3 Pick
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns vs. Chicago Bears (DK $5300, FD $6500)
Yup, it has come to this — OBJ is now a "risky" play. Yet we can't ignore that he is coming off an ACL injury and no one knows exactly what his target share will be. However, with Jarvis Landry on IR, I think Beckham sees a "normal" load. And given that the Bears have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs, this makes for a pretty nice matchup. I think we see a return this week to his 2019 late-season form when he finished with three straight weeks of double-digit PPR fantasy points.
Safe Tight End Week 3 Pick
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers (DK $8200, FD $8500)
George Kittle is not on the main slate and I don't like Darren Waller's matchup this week. So we go with the guy at home in a game with a projected total of more than 54 points who has been targeted 13 times already this season and has turned that into three touchdowns. Oh, and he's Travis Kelce. He's expensive, but I'm willing to pay for the high floor.
High Risk/High Reward Tight End Week 3 Pick
Maxx Williams, Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK $3200, FD $4700)
In Week 1, Williams was targeted just once and put up a big goose egg. In Week 2, Williams was targeted seven times and caught all seven for a hugely profitable 94 yards. Should we expect an outcome closer to Week 1 or Week 2?
I say Week 2. Perhaps there is some recency bias there. However, with DeAndre Hopkins a game-time decision, there could be a tremendous amount of targets suddenly available. Seven targets might be a bit optimistic, but I think Williams sees at least three or four, which he can then turn into at least three catches and 50 yards. At his low price, that still gives us a nice profit and his upside is 100-plus yards and a score. Williams is one of my favorite bargain plays this week.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 3 Pick
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK $3000); Buffalo vs. Washington Football Team (FD $4100)
I like some of the top options at DST this week, but they're a little pricey for my tastes on both sites. Furthermore, FD has Arizona too expensive while DK has Buffalo priced too rich for my blood as well. But the alternative option on each site is quite attractive. I like both of these DSTs to have extremely solid days. Each should have at least three sacks and allow less than three TDs. There will be defenses that have better DFS outputs this weekend, but I love the value we are getting accordingly on each site.
High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 3 Pick
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (FD $4600); Buffalo vs. Washington Football team (DK $3800)
Well, not entirely. In your large GPPs on the respective sites, it might not be such a bad strategy to pivot to these DSTs as they should be low-owned given their price and I like them to have good weeks. However, I would only do it if you have the salary to spare and pricing feels a little tight this week. So let me give you an alternative.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DK $3500, FD $4000)
The risk here is obvious. It's betting against Tom Brady who has nine TDs and 655 passing yards through two weeks. But as I mentioned in my Week 3 QB rankings for this week, the Rams are a far better defense than either the Falcons or Cowboys. I think the Rams can get three sacks for the third week in a row. And while they are not going to keep the Bucs to under 20 points, I do think they can keep them to under 30 and maybe get a turnover or two. You are not going to see the Rams priced this low again. Might be nice to grab 'em while they're inexpensive.
— 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.