DRAFT Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 3
Just because the NFL season is underway doesn't mean you can't enjoy fantasy football drafts.
Over at DRAFT.com, you can get the experience of a fantasy draft while building your daily fantasy rosters, and the format is quite simple.
You roster one quarterback, two running backs, and two wide receiver/tight ends while drafting against opponents in real-time. That means the typical "value" aspect of daily fantasy is different, as you're not worrying about salary cap and instead just playing your opponents for your preferred picks of the week.
What stands out for Week 3's main slate?
When considering running backs in the DRAFT format, you are required to draft two, but the difference between the top options and the next grouping can be a big drop-off. Our projections have three running backs projected for 21.1 points or more, while the fourth running back is projected for 18.4 fantasy points. A nearly two-point difference might not seem massive, but in fantasy football or DFS, every point matters. In your head-to-head matches, you will 100% be grabbing at least one of these running backs, but as you move on to 4-Person, 6-Person, and 10-person DRAFTS, things can change dramatically.
Let's take a look at a few players by tiers, so you can get a clear picture of where you should be targeting each player.
1. Ezekiel Elliott (RB1) - Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys are massive 22.5-point home favorites against the Miami Dolphins, which should see them controlling the game from start to finish. Elliott comes in as our highest projected running back on the week with 23.6 FanDuel points, almost two points higher than the next back. The Dolphins are allowing the second-most FanDuel points per game to running backs this season, making this the easiest pick of the week. Just draft him.
2. Christian McCaffrey (RB2) - Run CMC comes in as our second-highest projected running back this week, which is something you could probably see coming given a few factors. First, Cam Newton has been ruled out, and the Carolina Panthers will have Kyle Allen starting at quarterback. This means even more of the offense should fall to McCaffrey, who is projected for 19 rushing attempts and six receptions in the passing game. A back approaching 30 total touches is not something you want to pass on, making CMC an easy draft this week.
3. Saquon Barkley (RB3) - While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are allowing the second-fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs this season, Barkley is projected for the third-most FanDuel points among running backs. With Daniel Jones now under center for the New York Giants, we could see them lean on Barkley, putting him in line for a third straight 100-yard rushing game.
4. Dalvin Cook (RB5) - Cook sits firmly in the second tier because he is a full three points behind Barkley in our projections, but he should be trusted fully in this matchup. He is at home and a 9.0-point favorite against the Oakland Raiders, which has him set for a positive game script. I love him as a second running back pick this week; he just doesn't crack the top tier.
5. David Johnson (RB7) - DJ had a tough matchup last week on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, which saw him have a total of eight touches, with a mid-game injury not helping. A subpar performance from what should be an elite running back, but he is in a good spot to return to form this week. The Carolina Panthers are allowing 22.8 FanDuel points per game to running backs this season, which is the 11th-worst in the league. We have Johnson projected for 17.5 FanDuel points and over 20 total touches.
6. Sony Michel (RB10) - The New England Patriots are another massive home favorite, coming in as 22.0-point favorites over the New York Jets. New England will be in full control of this game, which should set up Michel for plenty of touches. We have him projected for nearly a 19.0 touches this week but only 14.1 FanDuel points. He's a solid option but a clear step behind some other top guys this week.
7. Chris Carson (RB13) - It's no secret that the Seattle Seahawks like to run the ball, and with them as home favorites against a Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints team, we should see them in a spot to feed Carson this week. He has 15 carries in each of his first two games along with a total of 10 targets, which is a nice change to see him involved in the passing game. The volume of projected touches is a bit lower compared to some other options -- which is why he is in this tier -- but he's a good option this week nonetheless.
8. Peyton Barber (RB17) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't put a large emphasis on their rushing game, but they are in a fantastic spot to mix it up this week against the New York Giants. Barber had eight carries in Week 1 and 23 carries in Week 2, showing that his role is highly variable. But we could see him on the higher end again this week, as the Giants are allowing 21.6 FanDuel points per game to running backs this season, the 12th-most in the league.
9. Devonta Freeman (RB19) - The Atlanta Falcons are on the road to take on the Indianapolis Colts in a game where the over/under is set at 47.0 points -- the fifth-highest on the slate. The Colts are allowing a whopping 30.9 FanDuel points per game to running backs, which is the second-most in the league. Freeman hasn't exactly gotten off to the best start this season, but if there is any time to fix that, it's in this matchup.
1. Davante Adams (WR1) - Adams is our top projected receiver for the week, which isn't too much of a surprise since he is one of the most consistent options in the league. The Green Bay Packers have an implied team total at 25.75 this week against the Denver Broncos, who got torched in Week 1 by Tyrell Williams but didn't face much pressure in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. Don't be fooled by them only allowing 19.9 FanDuel points per game to wide receivers this season. Adams can thrive against this defense.
2. Amari Cooper (WR2) - Another Cowboys player on this list shouldn't be surprising at all due to them facing the lowly Dolphins. With Dallas a massive home favorites against a horrible defense, just draft Cooper if you have the chance. Simple as that.
3A. Travis Kelce (TE1) - Kelce is projected for 14.6 FanDuel points, which is 0.1 lower than to DeAndre Hopkins' projection. So we are at a coin flip, and it comes down to preference. The 28.75 implied team total for the Kansas City Chiefs is the third-highest on the slate, and with the number of injuries they have, Kelce will be in for plenty of usage within the offense.
3B. DeAndre Hopkins (WR3) - As mentioned above, Hopkins and Kelce nearly identical in terms of their projection, and the only thing you need to decide when drafting one of them is if you are able to stack them with their quarterback. Hopkins has a higher target projection compared to Kelce, but Kelce has a higher team total by nearly six points.
4. Keenan Allen (WR7) - Allen kicks off the second-tier of receivers, all of whom are projected between 13.9 to 14.3 FanDuel points this week. The Los Angeles Chargers have an implied team total at 26.00, which is why you see Allen up here over some other options. Wide receivers and quarterbacks this week are loaded, and you really can't go wrong with any option. You'll notice on this list there is no Julio Jones, but fear not, he is projected for 14.3 FanDuel points, tied with Allen. Again, wide receiver is loaded this week.
5. Mike Evans (WR8) - Evans is off to a very slow start this season, posting only six catches and 89 yards through the first two games. That's not what we expect from a receiver in an offense ready to air it out, but the matchup versus the Giants, who have allowed 44.7 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers, is too good to pass up.
6. Adam Thielen (WR9) - The Minnesota Vikings haven't looked like the same offense from last season, but they can turn the corner this week against a bad Oakland secondary. The Silver and Black come in allowing the third-most fantasy points to wide receiver this season, so look for Thielen to have a strong game Sunday.
7. Christian Kirk (WR13) - Kirk and the Arizona Cardinals could pick up their first win of the season since they are facing a Cam Newton-less Carolina Panthers. Kirk has yet to find the end zone this year but has racked up 20 targets through two games along with being second on his team in market share of air yards. The big-play potential is there for him.
8. Kenny Golladay (WR14) - If you watched the Sunday Night football game last week, you know that the Philadelphia Eagles have an absolutely horrible secondary and allowed two receivers to go for over 100 yards. As such, Philly is allowing the second-most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers this season, putting Golladay in a fantastic spot this week.
9. Nelson Agholor (WR24) - Agholor should be popular this week as the Philadelphia Eagles are without DeSean Jackson and could be without Alshon Jeffery. Last week, Agholor saw 11 targets for 107 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions. That could very well be in the cards this week since he is up against the Detroit Lions, who are in the bottom-10 in FanDuel points per game allowed to wide receivers this season.
We all know you should be prioritizing elite running backs and receivers over taking a quarterback in season-long fantasy, and that should be the same here. This week, there are a whopping six quarterbacks who we have projected to score from 22.9 to 20.1 FanDuel points, and another four projected at 19.1 to 19.9. At a certain point, it can be splitting hairs between and essentially personal preference, but know that you will be in a good spot at quarterback this week.
1. Dak Prescott (QB1) - Prescott is our highest-projected quarterback as Dallas comes in with a slate-high 35.00 implied team total. Pair him with Cooper or Elliott, or you can play him solo. It doesn't matter this week as multiple touchdowns could be in his future.
2. Patrick Mahomes (QB2) - The highest over/under game on the week -- 52.0 points -- is with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes will always be one of the highest-projected quarterbacks on a weekly basis. Even against a tougher defense, the points will come.
3. Lamar Jackson (QB3) - Opposite of Mahomes, we have Lamar Jackson, who is in an equally good spot. The Chiefs' defense is nowhere near elite, and with the level Jackson is playing at right now, it's no surprise to see him projected for 21.7 FanDuel points, the third-highest on the slate.
4. Josh Allen (QB6) - Allen has the ability to throw for and run for a touchdown nearly every game, making him a high-upside option. A surprisingly strong 25.00 team total for the Buffalo Bills should put Allen in a good spot to continue racking up fantasy points this week in a date with the Cincinnati Bengals, who are allowing 20.2 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks.
5. Carson Wentz (QB7) - Despite a bit of a sloppy game in Week 2, Wentz was able to post 19.54 FanDuel points, He is up against the Detroit Lions this week, and the Lions are around the league average in FanDuel points allowed to quarterbacks but haven't faced a tough test through the first two weeks. The 26.00 implied team total for the Philadelphia Eagles is exciting, so expect plenty of passing.
6. Kyler Murray (QB11) - Murray has passed for more than 300 yards in each of his first two games and comes in with a 23.50 implied team total this week. The Cardinals are in a spot to pick up their first win against Carolina, who are without Cam Newton. There's no reason to think Murray won't be airing it out again.
7. Matt Ryan (QB10) - While this game is on the road for the Atlanta Falcons, it's indoors, a place Ryan feels most comfortable. He has posted 20 FanDuel points or more in each of the first two games. That is right where we have him projected -- 19.1 FanDuel points -- so we can safely go to the Atlanta quarterback once more this week.
8. Kirk Cousins (QB12) - The eighth-worst defense against quarterbacks -- the Raiders -- is who Cousins is facing this week. He hasn't been off to the best start this season, but the Vikings should score points in this spot. He's only an option for deeper formats.
9. Philip Rivers (QB14) - I'm not sure if many people will be targeting Rivers this week, but a 26.00 implied team total is strong and it's not as if the matchup is difficult. He is up against the Houston Texans, who are bottom-10 in the league against quarterbacks. Look to pair him with Keenan Allen if you can.