Welcome everyone to my third game-by-game breakdown of the 2018 NFL season! If you read this article last season, welcome back! And if you're new here, grab a seat! My goal here is to give you my overall thoughts on each game and narrow down my overall player pool for you. I'm predominately a cash game player, but I do play in more tournaments for football than I do baseball and basketball. My cash game pool will be narrowed down even further in my Building Blocks article that will also be available here via DFS Karma on Friday's. Let's get it!
New York Jets @ Cleveland Browns
Vegas Insight: Browns 21, Jets 18
Quarterbacks- Yes folks, the Cleveland Browns are favored in an NFL game. This is a pretty low O/U, so I don't love a ton here if you're playing the Thursday-Monday slate. Tyrod Taylor has had a lot of success on the ground against this Jets defense in his past years with the Bills, and I prefer him to Sam Darnold in this game. Darnold is a rookie Quarterback, on a short week, who is going to have to deal with the Browns fierce pass-rush all night. Both are in play for the single-game slate, but if choosing one it's Taylor for me and it's not close.
Running Backs- Carlos Hyde touched the ball 17 times again last week against the Saints despite some negative game-script, and he appears locked in as the guy in Cleveland. The Browns came out and said they need to get Duke Johnson more involved in the offense after his 6 touches last week, which would make sense with Josh Gordon out of town, but I'll wait and see until they actually prove it. Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell remain in a legitimate timeshare for the Jets, but Powell will continue to provide more value given his usage in the passing game. Though, this is a #RevengeGame for Isaiah Crowell.
Pass Catchers- Jarvis Landry is expected to play after being limited in practice this week (it's contagious), and he has the best overall matchup against former-Brown Buster Skrine. Landry hasn't had a huge game yet for the Browns, but he remains in the top-ten in the NFL in air yards -- per airyards.com -- and Skrine has not looked good this season. Quincy Enunwa has dominated work from Sam Darnold, owning almost 40% of the teams targets through two games and is a legitimate volume play on Thursday night. If you need a sneaky play for the single-game slate, the guys I would be looking at are Antonio Callaway, Terrelle Pryor and Chris Herndon. Callaway popped for a big play at the end of the Saints game, and played over 80% of the snaps in week two. Pryor has been better than Robby Anderson this season, and he, like Crowell, have the #RevengeGame narrative. Herndon is in line to start while Neal Sterling is out, and we know that we can attack this Browns defense with tight ends.
Overall Outlook- I don't think I would be playing anyone here on the Thursday-Monday slate, but I do think the single game slate is interesting. Jarvis Landry would be the number one play for me, and I like him in the MVP/Captain spot on all sites.
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Vegas Insight: Falcons 28, Saints 25
Quarterbacks- We kick off with one of the juiciest DFS games of week. After rushing over 27 times per game last season, the Saints are handing it off just 18 times per game so far in 2018 and without Mark Ingram I anticipate that trend to continue this week. This Falcons defense allowed one of the most inefficient quarterbacks in the league, Cam Newton, to complete 71% of his passes last week. It should be an all-out air attack again and I love Drew Brees in all formats.
Matt Ryan's week two DFS score was ballooned by two rushing touchdowns, which let's be honest, is not going to happen again. I expect Matt Ryan to be pretty popular at his price, but if they are chasing his huge score from last week I'm going to be underweight. I don't think it's a bad matchup or play, I simply think that Brees in this same game is a much better play with a higher ceiling.
Running Backs- Alvin Kamara has 23% of the Saints targets through two weeks, and this defense that's still missing Deion Jones and Keanu Neal surrendered 14 catches to Christian McCaffrey last week. He's basically a WR1 who is going to get goal line work, but he doesn't have the same type of touch floor that someone like Todd Gurley has. That being said, this is the best possible matchup for him and Kamara is my number one overall play on this main slate.
The Falcons essentially replaced Devonta Freeman with Tevin Coleman, and Tevin Coleman with Ito Smith. Coleman rushed 16 times for 107 yards while hauling in all four targets for 18 yards. He was also vultured twice by Matt Ryan in the red zone, ruining what could have been a monster game. Like last week, this isn't an above-average matchup but he should see another 20 touches in an extremely positive scoring environment. I don't think he is a must-play where he is priced, but he is viable in all formats should you choose to go that route.
Pass Catchers- Michael Thomas owns 38.5% of the Saints team targets through two weeks, between that and Kamara's 23% it's pretty clear that this is an all-out pass offense while Mark Ingram is out. His increased slot usage will land him on Brian Poole some this game, which is a very exploitable matchup. He is going to get volume, and be efficient with it, the problem is his price and I'm not paying for him over Kamara in cash games. He's a fantastic tournament pivot, however.
Julio Jones had a pair of strong games against the Saints last season, and was missed on two long balls by Matt Ryan last week. He remains first in the NFL in air yards (477) by a wide-margin, and it just feels like the fantasy eruption is coming. He is down to $7,900 on DraftKings, making him cash game playable if you can get to him. Calvin Ridley saw five targets last week and caught a touchdown, making him a fine GPP play along with Austin Hooper. The Saints are not a good matchup for tight ends, and Hooper never sees volume but simply getting a cheap part of this high O/U game is fine with me in tournaments.
Cash Game Outlook- Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman
GPP Outlook- Austin Hooper, Calvin Ridley
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Vegas Insight: N/A
Quarterbacks- The line for this game hasn't been posted given the statuses of Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles, but we know that the Jaguars will be favored. Whether or not Mariota plays, I have no interest in either him or Blaine Gabbert against this Jaguars defense on the road.
My interest in Blake Bortles will widely depend on whether or not Leonard Fournette is active. Dating back to last season, Bortles averages over 300 yards per game and 2 touchdowns when Fournette is not in the lineup. When Fournette misses, the offense opens up and they actually let Bortles throw, it's not shock to me that he did what he did against the Patriots last week.
Running Backs- The Titans backfield is too much of a timeshare for me to have any interest in DFS, and the Jaguars did a great job at limiting Dion Lewis in their playoff game against New England late last season.
Like I said above, we don't know if Fournette is going to play in this game and TJ Yeldon missed some practice time this week as well. If Fournette is in, I would have interest in large field tournaments and if he is out Yeldon/Corey Grant become interesting tournament pivots off of the other value running backs.
Pass Catchers- Corey Davis ranks fourth overall in the NFL in team targetshare at 35.1%, but I'm not going to roster him against this Jaguars defense with Blaine Gabbert potentially throwing to him. Jonnu Smith did step in for Delanie Walker and play every snap last week, but the 0 targets put him out of contention for DFS.
Keelan Cole had a monster week last week after a let-down in week one, but he still only saw eight targets. The Jaguars are going to spread the ball around if Fournette is out, and if he isn't they aren't going to throw it a ton. I will pretty much be fading this pass catchers corps unless we get news that Fournette is out bumping Bortles into my pool.
Cash Game Outlook- none
GPP Outlook- Blake Bortles (If Fournette out), Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook
Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens
Vegas Insight: Ravens 24, Broncos 19
Quarterbacks- Case Keenum missed some practice time this week, but returned on Thursday and it doesn't look like he's in any threat of missing this game. Andy Dalton shredded this Ravens defense to the tune of 265 yards and four touchdowns last week, but they are much better at home. There are a lot of solid QB plays this week, so I doubt I will take any shots with Keenum on the road.
The same can be said for Joe Flacco. He has actually played really well this season, but I'm not sure the upside is there against this Broncos defense despite their secondary being potentially a bit overrated.
Running Backs- Enter: Phillip Lindsay. The Broncos came out and said that they would continue to ride the hot hand at running back moving forward, but Lindsay has been the best and it's not even close. It's not a stretch to think he will struggle in this spot on the road with the Raves, because eventually he will hit a bump in the road. Either way, I'm not taking my chances in DFS with a backfield that's going to give three different guys carries.
It's the same situation in Baltimore, except with two guys in Alex Collins and Buck Allen. The Broncos are well on their way to being like the Eagles, who severely funnel usage to the passing game, and even if there was one clear guy I wouldn't want them in DFS in this matchup.
Pass Catchers- According to Pro Football Focus, AJ Green scored twice from the slot last Thursday night which can only bode well for Sanders this week. Sanders is the Broncos full-time slot receiver this season, and has received 20% of the Broncos team targets this season.
The one guy I'm interested in on the Ravens is John Brown. Brown sneakily ranks 9th in the NFL in air yards this season and scored a red zone touchdown in week two. I noted that I think the Broncos secondary is a bit overrated, and you can look to exploit that in tournaments at low ownership.
Cash Game Outlook- Emmanuel Sanders
GPP Outlook- John Brown
UPDATE: With the Vegas total of this game moving up, I am becoming more intruiged with Joe Flacco as a GPP play. If you're playing a lot of teams, you can certainly use Flacco with Brown and Sanders.
Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles
Vegas Insight: Eagles 27, Colts 20
Quarterbacks- There are two expected shootouts this week, Saints/Falcons and 49ers/Chiefs, and this game falls under the "sneaky-shootout" label for me. I expect this total to rise a bit as the week progresses, and there could be some solid fantasy games here. Much has been made of Andrew Luck's low aDOT this season, and while most speculate that it's because he doesn't trust his arm, I actually think it could just be the scheme. The Colts offensive line is terrible, so by getting the ball out quick they limit the chances of Luck being sacked. The Colts won't be able to run on this defense, so volume should be up for Luck in a game where he will need to put up points. The Eagles secondary is not that good, and that's part of why this could turn shootout.
I don't think I want any Carson Wentz in his return to the starting role, but I also don't think he will struggle much with this terrible Colts secondary.
Running Backs- While I don't think the Eagles secondary is very good, their run defense is legitimate and that along with their pass rush is what enabled them to win a Super Bowl. Even with Marlon Mack back, I'll be fading this backfield for the time being.
One of the big things we need to monitor up until games kick off is the status of Jay Ajayi. Pricing is really tight this week on DraftKings, and if Ajayi and or Darren Sproles both miss this game that would thrust Corey Clement into the cash game range for some much needed value.
Pass Catchers- TY Hilton has 22 targets and two touchdowns heading into week three putting him firmly in the tournament conversation. The Eagles have given up two huge games to Mike Evans and Julio Jones to start this season and if the Colts are going to keep pace on the scoreboard it's on the back of Hilton. I want to say Jack Doyle here, because he is clearly out-snapping Eric Ebron, but Ebron is getting all the red zone work. For now, that situation is a fade to me.
I really wanted to play Nelson Agholor this week, but the Eagles just signed Jordan Matthews and he is expected to play on Sunday. This will push Agholor outside while Matthews resides in the slot, and Agholor really hasn't done anything in games where he has played outside. For now, Zach Ertz is going to be my main Eagles pass catching target until Alshon Jeffery returns.
Cash Game Outlook- Corey Clement (If Ajayi out), Zach Ertz
GPP Outlook- Nelson Agholor, TY Hilton
UPDATE: It looks like Ajayi and Sproles are both going to be out, bumping Clement up to playable in all formats.
UPDATE #2: Jack Doyle has been ruled OUT, making Eric Ebron a cash game tight end play at his price. He should see a solid increase in snaps and routes run this week, and he was already getting red zone work.
UPDATE #3: In an NBA-like turn of events, Corey Clement was moved to questionable after Ajayi/Sproles were ruled out. It looks like he will fine to play Sunday, but it's worth noting he might not be fully 100% and there are three backs total there. I think I'm bumping Bernard/Murray above Clement, but his price is so good. Tough decisions loom this weekend.
Buffalo Bills @ Minnesota Vikings
Vegas Insight: Vikings 29, Bills 12 (!!!)
Quarterbacks- This is one of the easier games to write about, because we aren't going to want any Bills player whatsoever. Period. Kirk Cousins had a monster game in a shootout with the Green Bay Packers last week, this game should be the opposite of a shootout. I can't remember seeing a team implied as low as the Bills are this week, it's truly mind-boggling how bad they are. Cousins is a fine GPP play, but the expected blowout makes it too risky in cash games.
Running Backs- I'm legitimately torn on what to do with Dalvin Cook this week. The Bills have surrendered the most touchdowns in the league season (10) and six of them have been on the ground. We have attacked them with running backs dating back to last season, and it's a smash spot for him even if they are winning easily. The problem is, he left last weeks game in overtime due to "fatigue" and his hamstring. Once they get up handily, I could see them just sitting him down and letting him rest and I think that keeps him out of cash games for me.
Pass Catchers- The Vikings pass catchers are in the same situation as Kirk Cousins. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have combined for over 50% of the teams total targets this season and both are going to have absolute smash years if healthy. Of the the two, I think Adam Thielen has the best overall matchup so I would choose him if picking one but both are fine in tournaments.
Cash Game Outlook- none
GPP Outlook- Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Kyle Rudolph
UPDATE: Dalvin Cook was still rehabbing at practice early Friday morning, if he ends up missing this game that would thrust Latavius Murray into the playable in all formats range.
UPDATE #2: Cook is officially OUT, bumping up Murray to playable in all formats.
San Francisco 49ers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Vegas Insight: Chiefs 31, 49ers 25
Quarterbacks- Much like the Saints/Falcons game, this one has shootout written all over it. Obviously I love Patrick Mahomes, and I have since he was drafted by the Chiefs. He's not going to continue to throw for touchdowns like he has, but you're crazy if you think he won't continue to put up monster fantasy games. He's in an offense loaded with weapons, and his defense is so bad that he will be in shootouts pretty much weekly. That can be said again this week, as he comes home for his first ever home start against the 49ers who are allowing an average of 386 yards per game this season. His price has shot up, but he remains playable in all formats.
Jimmy Garoppolo let me, and others who rostered him, down last week, but I think the sharp play in this game is to go right back to the well with him this week. The public's attention will be fixed on Mahomes, rightfully so, but this Chiefs defense is absolutely horrible. Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger have both thrown for over 420 (nice) yards against this defense this season, and you're going to get a key piece to this game at way lower ownership.
Running Backs- Enter: Matt Breida. Breida ripped off a 66 yard touchdown run last week and currently leads the NFL in rushing yards...yeah, you read that correctly. The issue is, last week he still played less snaps than Alfred Morris. I do believe that eventually Breida will become the lead back, and that could start this week with that he did against the Lions, the problem is once again the sites were very aggressive with his pricing. He remains a GPP play, but I wish he was cheaper.
Much has been made of Kareem Hunt this season, the problem has not been him, it's how this Chiefs offense operates under Patrick Mahomes. Hunt has seen just two targets this season and that's mainly because Mahomes leads the league in aDOT by a wide margin. He's still getting all the carries, and the Chiefs have actually yet to score on the ground this season. That's not going to continue for the whole year, and his price is down to $6,000 on DraftKings. I wish he was more involved in the passing game, but someone of his ability at that price in this game environment, I like him in all formats.
Pass Catchers- If Marquise Goodwin is able to play in this game, he would be a fantastic tournament play and immediately step back in as the 49ers top option in the passing game. I'm going right back to the George Kittle well this week as playable in all formats, and I hope people fade him after he disappointed last week. He is fifth overall in air yards among tight ends, and Jesse James went for 5-138-1 against this Chiefs defense last week.
Seemingly all of the Chiefs pass catchers are in play, especially in this expected shootout. I get that Tyreek Hill is an absolute freak, but I can't pay that price for him with his expected volume in cash games. He is a perfect tournament play, while Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins would be better cash game partners with Mahomes along with Kareem Hunt, should you choose to go that route.
Cash Game Outlook- Patrick Mahomes, Kareem Hunt, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle
GPP Outlook- Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Matt Breida, Marquise Goodwin (If active)
Cincinnati Bengals @ Carolina Panthers
Vegas Insight: Panthers 23.5, Bengals 20.5
Quarterbacks- This is one of the most interesting games of the week for me and there are weirdly a ton of DFS options throughout both sides of the ball. Andy Dalton has actually been really good since Bill Lazor took hold of the offense last season, and with an improved offensive line it's showing as he has averaged 22 DraftKings points thus far. He's not the quarterback I'm looking at in this game however...
Cam Newton is priced down at just $6,000 on DraftKings and I really like him in this spot. Joe Flacco put up 376 yards and two touchdowns against this Bengals defense last week, and while Cam is not going to throw as many times as Flacco did, his rushing ability greatly makes up for hit. Given his 40-50 yard rushing floor, Cam is playable in all formats this week and is right alongside Mahomes/Brees/Watson in the cash game conversation.
Running Backs- For whatever reason, people are looking at what the Panthers did against the run last year and using that despite their negative splits without Thomas Davis in the lineup. This season, without Thomas Davis, they are allowing over 5 YPC to opposing running backs and Gio Bernard is ready to be unleashed. Towards the end of last season when Joe Mixon was banged up, Bernard averaged 100 all-purpose yards per game on just under 18 touches per game. I'm not super scared of the matchup, and his passing game work will make up for that anyways. Bernard is firmly in play in all formats this week.
Christian McCaffrey has been exceptional for the Panthers this season playing 89% of the snaps and hauling in 20 balls. He actually has more catches than rushing attempts, but we know he is going to be on the field and he's going to get the ball one way or another each week. This is a very similar matchup to last week as the Bengals, like the Falcons, are missing their best linebacker. His price is rising, bu he's going to remain a strong play pretty much every week.
Pass Catchers- This is the most interesting overall spot to me. AJ Green is AJ Green, he has a solid one on one matchup with James Bradberry but we can't expect him to score three touchdowns again. I wouldn't put him above guys like Odell Beckham and Julio Jones, but he is playable in GPPs. The hot-button option this week is going to be Tyler Boyd, whose sub-$4,000 price tag on DraftKings has sprung him into the cash game range. According to Pro Football Focus, he's ran a pass route on every one of Dalton's drop backs this season and has 14 targets through two weeks. He is more trustworthy than John Ross, and has to be considered.
On the other side of this game, I like Devin Funchess again this week. We know about his string splits without Greg Olsen in the lineup, and he can pretty much count on eight to nine targets at just $5,000. He got a red zone look as well last week, and he is quickly rising up my value board.
Cash Game Outlook- Cam Newton, Devin Funchess, Tyler Boyd
GPP Outlook- AJ Green, Christian McCaffrey
Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins
Vegas Insight: Dolphins 23, Raiders 20
Quarterbacks- This is one of the least exciting DFS game of the week, with a low O/U and limited fantasy options for us to prioritize. Derek Carr had a much better week last week, but it translated to just 15.5 DraftKings points. He's now traveling cross country to meet a sneaky good Dolphins secondary.
Ryan Tannehill is averaging just under 17 fantasy points per game this season, and his ceiling remains limited given that the Dolphins use him more as a game-manager.
Running Backs- Marshawn Lynch is averaging under 4 YPC this season despite running behind one of the league's best offensive lines, though he has been matched up with two very good run defenses through two games. This Dolphins run defense is no slouch either, and I won't be targeting Beast Mode this week.
The matchup for Kenyan Drake is exceptional. The Raiders have surrendered over 100 yards on the ground to both Todd Gurley and Phillip Lindsay through two games, the only problem is Drake is going to be affected by the presence of Frank Gore. If we knew that Drake would be 100% the guy this week I would love him, but for now he is tournaments only.
Pass Catchers- Amari Cooper has a tough matchup on the outside with Xavien Howard, which has me focused on Jared Cook. The Dolphins ranked 28th in DVOA against tight ends last season, but weirdly rank 1st this season. It's actually not that weird when you see that they faced the Titans in a game where Delanie Walker left injured, and the Jets who trot out Neal Sterling and Chris Herndon at the position. Cook is top-ten among tight ends in air yards this season and has 16 targets through two games.
Kenny Still is the only guy on Miami I am interested in, but he will be negatively affected by the return of DeVante Parker.
Cash Game Outlook- Jared Cook
GPP Outlook- Kenyan Drake, Amari Cooper
Green Bay Packers @ Washington Redskins
Vegas Insight: Packers 24, Redskins 21
Quarterbacks- While I think there are some viable plays in this game, overall it's not super exciting for DFS given the expected pace of play. Aaron Rodgers is Aaron Rodgers, but he still boasts the highest-overall price tag among QB's on DraftKings, and let's not forget he is playing injured. This Redskins secondary is good, but they aren't going to be able to fully stop one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Given his price, he is tournaments only for me.
Alex Smith had a really rough game against a terrible Colts secondary last week, but he remains a high-floor, low-ceiling play this week. He always profiles more for cash games given his ability to limit turnovers but an overall low aDOT (average depth of target), but I will largely be avoiding him here.
Running Backs- Aaron Jones is returning to action this week after being suspended for the first two games, and he's definitely going to complicate things, Jamaal Williams hasn't looked good, but it's foolish to think he won't be involved at all moving forward. Overall, there's too many bodies here I will wait and see how they are used this week.
Chris Thompson has hauled in 19 of 21 targets so far this season, but the sites were super aggressive with his pricing. He still is only playing roughly half the team's snaps with Adrian Peterson there, and I can't pay for him despite how much I like the player.
Pass Catchers- The Packers pass catchers are the one place I am very interested in going this week with both Davante Adams and Randall Cobb sticking out as strong plays. Adams scored again last week despite being in a tough matchup with Minnesota, and has 20 targets through two weeks. His price his keeping him in the tournament-only range for me, while Randall Cobb sticks out as a cheap cash game play that you can consider. He has a fantastic matchup in the slot against Fabian Moreau and has 16 targets so far this season.
The only option I'm really interested in on the Redskins is Jordan Reed. He fits perfectly with how Alex Smith runs this offense (short throws) and he never garners the attention of the other "elite" fantasy tight ends.
Cash Game Outlook- Randall Cobb
GPP Outlook- Chris Thompson, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Jordan Reed
New York Giants @ Houston Texans
Vegas Insight: Texans 23.75, Giants 17.75
Quarterbacks- This game doesn't appear to be super-appealing for DFS, but I actually think some points can be scored here. I'm kind of hoping that Vegas gives it some love as the week progresses and we still get the expected low ownership. Deshaun Watson rebounded after a tough week one to post 26.8 DraftKings points in week two and I think this is a really strong spot for him. This Giants pass rush hasn't shown much in the first two weeks of the season, and neither has their secondary. Sure, their secondary's numbers don't look bad but you need to keep in mind all they have see so far is Dak Prescott and Blake Bortles. Watson hasn't done much with his legs yet either, and this could be the week he puts it all together.
I was debating whether or not to even write about Eli Manning, but I will just to say that I won't be playing him.
Running Backs- Lamar Miller will continue to be the guy for the Texans, but he will also continue to be a tournament only play given his lack of involvement in the passing game.
Saquon Barkley has been extremely inefficient through his first two NFL games, but can you really blame him? This Giants offensive line is a nightmare to run behind and it's not going to get better anytime soon. The thing that's keeping him afloat is his 20+ touches in each of his first two games, and his 22 targets. This game could set up a lot like last week with the Texan pas rush leading to quick dump offs to Barkley out of the backfield.
Pass Catchers- I love the pass catching options in this game, starting with the Texans. Will Fuller returned and saw nine targets in week two turning them into an 8-113-1 line. He and DeAndre Hopkins accounted for 20 targets out of Watson's 32 pass attempts and with seemingly no other weapons and no pass catching running back it should be more of the same this week. Janoris Jenkins got left in the dust by Tavon Austin on Sunday night football last week, and like I said above, I'd like to see what this defense can do against someone with the talent level of Watson. Watson should have all day to throw with how the Giants pass rush has looked this season and I think both Fuller and Hopkins could be in for big days.
Following that up, I absolutely love Odell Beckham in this matchup. He's seen 29% of the Giants targets this season, so the volume is there and he gets to matchup with an extremely man-heavy Texans defense. OBJ is un-coverable and will routinely beat teams in man coverage...like he did to the Jaguars in week one. We have to count on Eli being able to get him the ball, but I love a Watson-Fuller-Hopkins-Beckham (even Barkley) as an extremely low-owned game stack this week, especially if the total ends up moving up this weekend.
Cash Game Outlook- Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller
GPP Outlook- DeAndre Hopkins, Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham
Los Angeles Chargers @ Los Angeles Rams
Vegas Insight: Rams 27.5, Chargers 20.5
Quarterbacks- This should be a great real-life game to watch, though I really wish Joey Bosa was able to play. This Rams defense has elevated to a new level with some of their offseason moves and they currently rank third in pass DVOA. I don't see Rivers being usable in DFS in this matchup, but there are some other pieces in play for the Chargers.
The same thing can be said for Jared Goff in a tough matchup. He should have some time to throw as the Chargers pass rush is severely affected by the absence of Joey Bosa, but they are still a good enough unit that I don't want to pick on them with a quarterback. Goff is typically a smash play against weaker defenses, but this Chargers team has given up big games to Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen last week. He will be low-owned, but I think it's interesting in tournaments.
Running Backs- Both of the running backs in this game are in play, but due to their prices and other players priced similarly they might fall into the GPP range for me. We aren't really used to Melvin Gordon being the receiving threat he has been, but through two games he's hauled in 15 of 20 targets. If the game script goes like Vegas predicts, he should be heavily involved in the passing game again this week and should be low-owned relative to his ability due to the matchup.
Todd Gurley already has four touchdowns this season despite the Rams rolling to easy wins over the Raiders and Cardinals. The Chargers gave up the second-most yards on the ground in 2017, and there's no doubts that this is a fantastic matchup. He's always cash game playable, but he is priced over $9,000 on DraftKings so he isn't going to be a must-play.
Pass Catchers- The only Chargers pass catcher I'm interested in is Keenan Allen, who actually might have a sneaky good matchup on the inside. He should match up with Nickell Robey-Coleman in the slot, who Allen stands four inches taller than. Allen will be able to body Robey-Coleman up, and like Melvin Gordon he will be low-owned in this spot. If the Chargers can put up points this could be a sneaky game stack and I'm fine getting a lot of Rams and bringing it back with Gordon/Allen on a tournament team.
All three of the Rams wideouts are going to be in play this week, Brandin Cooks in tournaments given his price and Robert Woods/Cooper Kupp in cash games as they are $5,100 and $4,900 on DraftKings. Woods is quietly tenth in the NFL in air yards through two games, and also is first on the Rams in targets with 18. Kupp gets a ton of red-zone work, but you are banking on a touchdown with him and I prefer the upside of Woods for $200 more.
Cash Game Outlook- Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp
GPP Outlook- Brandin Cooks, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Jared Goff
Chicago Bears @ Arizona Cardinals
Vegas Insight: Bears 22, Cardinals 16
Quarterbacks- As you can tell by the Vegas insight on this game, it's not expected to be high-scoring but there are a couple plays I'm interested in. Neither of them will be the QB's however, one due to game script and one due to matchup/ability. The Bears offense is going to improve this season under new Head Coach Matt Nagy, but they still aren't turning Mitch Trubisky loose just yet. There also was coach speak saying they need to get Jordan Howard more touches this week, and if the Bears are in control, which they should be, they could look to pound the ball.
Sam Bradford has been horrid along with the entire Cardinals team this year. Given the Bears dominant pass rush and the Cardinals below-average offensive line...this could get ugly.
Running Backs- As I just noted, Nagy came out and said they need to get Jordan Howard the ball more and this is a GREAT matchup. The Cardinals have given up the seventh-most rushing yards this season and four touchdowns which sets up perfectly for Howard. I don't think he will be high-owned surrounded by guys like Tevin Coleman and Kareem Hunt in better games at similar prices, but I think he is just as good of a play as those guys and I want exposure to him this week.
Like I said with Bradford, the Cardinals are implied for 16 points and I'm not using anyone against this Bears defense. The Cardinals say they need to get David Johnson the ball more...DUH! They lack creativity on offense and have shown no urgency to throw the ball to DJ, I will be fading for now.
Pass Catchers- I wish this game was going to be closer because I love Allen Robinson and I'm interested in him in this matchup. Arob is coming off a 14 target game on Monday night football and should be able to find space in the Cardinals zone-heavy defense. He's in play as a floor play, but I don't think the upside is crazy in this game environment.
You could make the case for Larry Fitzgerald, but I'm fading the Cardinals.
Cash Game Outlook- Jordan Howard
GPP Outlook- Allen Robinson, Trey Burton
Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks
Vegas Insight: Seahawks 21.5, Cowboys 20
Quarterbacks- We have two snoozefests capping off the main slate as we close with the Cowboys heading into Seattle in what should be an extremely slow-paced game. Despite the Seahawks not being a very good defense anymore I don't want any Dak Prescott exposure in DFS. He has no offensive weapons outside of Zeke Elliott and doesn't have the playmaking ability like Russ Wilson to just take the game over by himself.
The aforementioned Wilson will always be in play for me in daily fantasy because there's a 99% chance that when the Seahawks score it stems from him. I just don't think this will be a high-scoring game, so I most likely won't have any exposure but if the Seahawks score two to three touchdowns they should be from Wilson.
Running Backs- Zeke Elliott is pretty much the only real play you can consider in this game, and it's only because he is going to get all of the volume for the Cowboys. I don't think the pace of play will be fast enough for him to smash his price tag, but he is in play from a volume standpoint every single week.
I'm not touching the Seahawks in this spot, especially when both Seahawk backs are averaging under 11 touches per game.
Pass Catchers- When Dak Prescott is throwing to Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley, we aren't going to be targeting them in daily fantasy.
As we saw on Sunday night football the Cowboys are going to force short throws so I can see throwing a dart with Tyler Lockett who should step into Doug Baldwin's role while he is sidelined. If I'm playing Russ, that's who I would stack him with.
Cash Game Outlook- Ezekiel Elliott
GPP Outlook- Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson
Prime time slate analysis will be posted this weekend!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)