Onto the next battle. Since we're still early in the season, here's a bullet point list of what you'll find in 'Value Plays' article each Friday ...
- Each position features three players that I believe are strong value selections for the upcoming weekend, plus the reasoning behind the choice.
- The price tag indicated in parentheses is what you will find over at DraftKings.com.
- Following a quick write-up of why each particular player is a solid value, I'll offer a suggestion on where you should then take your money savings. This works to provide a run-down of the more highly-priced guys that I do like for the upcoming weekend.
- At each position I will also list the highest-priced player in that spot, alongside a 1-10 score which references how confident I would be in that player earning back their cost (10 being a guarantee).
Of course, when you're dealing with a salary cap structure, a good portion of the players I recommend do not correlate to top-notch starting options in season-long play. About half the time, a DFS recommendation is not a thumbs' up for that same player in your season-long set-up (i.e., suggesting Brandon Weeden for the tilt in New Orleans with the Saints).
Before I jump into the Week 3 DFS value plays, here's a look at the Week 3 Report Card ...
- My season-opening streak of nailing value QBs continued. Both Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr were top 10 within their position, while Blake Bortles outscored the likes of Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, and Philip Rivers.
- There were a couple of massive 'hits' here with LaGarette Blount and Ryan Mathews coming up with huge efforts. Meanwhile, Danny Woodhead was 'just a guy.'
- After a pair of dreadful efforts in Weeks 1 and 2, I rebounded with three decent-to-very-good calls as Donte Moncreif, Tavon Austin, and Marvin Jones, all performed with varying level of payoff.
- Eric Ebron and Coby Fleener turned in double-digit showings, but Crockett Gillmour was a slight let-down.
- For the most part, it was a swing-and-miss Week 3, as Miami, Tampa Bay, and Detroit, were all underwhelming.
Overall Week 3 Grade - B+
Andy Dalton ($5,900) vs. KC - Can it be? Andy Dalton is, dare I say, hot? Yes, it can be said. Through the first three games of 2015, Dalton ranks as the 3rd-highest scoring QB in fantasy football. Yet, if you head over to DraftKings, you'll find that he's the 12th-most expensive signal-caller. Beyond his own marks, he's set to do battle with Kansas City and the Chiefs have been brutally bad in the secondary this year. Not only have they allowed a league-worst mark of 10 passing TDs, but they also just lost cornerback, Phillip Gaines, to a torn ACL. At under six-grand, Dalton is tough to by-pass if you want to spend money elsewhere.
If you save here, spend here - Latavius Murray ($6,300) @ CHI
Derek Carr ($5,300) @ CHI - Carr and the Raiders are coming off a solid, yet messy win in Cleveland. Now, they'll shoot for two in a row on road with a trip to Soldier Field in Chicago. The Bears are far from Monsters anymore, performing more like Minions of the Midway. They'll been carved for 8 passing TDs already and the Raiders are finally a squad that figures to take advantage of such an advantage. Carr should be good for 35 passes, the trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Latavius Murray can combine for 15+ receptions, and the Oakland should have a third straight game over 24 points. After all, the Bears have allowed points in an almost-unheard-of, 52% of their defensive series.
If you save here, spend here - A.J. Green ($7,600) vs. KC
Brandon Weeden ($5,100) @ NO - I can't claim that Weeden showed much of anything against Atlanta last week. He didn't take any shots downfield and was the essence of a game manager under center. But, this matchup versus the Saints is just a bit too swell to immediately by-pass and dismiss. New Orleans has allowed the most yards per pass in the entire league (9.2) and Rob Ryan doesn't seem to be fooling anyone anymore with his packages or defensive game plans. If you understand what you're investing in - hopefully, 200 yards passing with a pair of scores - you have a half-way decent shot at getting your return, while blowing cash on some big names elsewhere.
If you save here, spend here - Julio Jones ($9,300) vs. HOU
Top of the Chart - Aaron Rodgers ($7,900) vs. KC - 9.0
Alfred Blue ($3,900) @ ATL - As of this writing, the Texans are calling for Arian Foster to have a 50/50 shot at playing on Sunday. So, understand that this recommendation obviously comes with the caveat that Foster remains sidelined for another week. If Blue is due starting-level chances, he becomes an immediate option against a Falcon defense that has been pushed around on the ground. There's also a legitimate chance that Foster works more as a decoy than as the usual Arian Foster that we've all grown to love. Blue is not a big-play threat, but he is a grinder that could pound out 20 carries. Those guys never show up for under four-grand.
If you save here, spend here - Carson Palmer ($6,800) vs. STL
Lance Dunbar ($3,600) @ NO - After coming across this number, I'll admit that I was surprised. Dunbar leads all NFL running backs in catches (21) and in receiving yardage (215). That's an average of seven receptions per week with another 70 yards per week. In DraftKings PPR-setup that's an impressive average of 14 points per week. That number makes this cost look plain silly. There's plenty of mouths to feed in the Dallas backfield, but the Cowboys are having success consistently feeding this particular mouth. With Weeden still handling the passing duties (all of which seem to be within five yards of the line of scrimmage), Dunbar is a still a solid bet.
If you save here, spend here - Russell Wilson ($7,100) vs. DET
Karlos Williams ($3,400) vs. NYG - Uh, well, yeah. Everyone is in on Williams for this weekend as LeSean McCoy appears certain to be sitting down in Week 4. Williams has been truly effective in limited chances this year (24 rushing attempts, 186 yards, and 3 scores) and now looks to be set up for somewhere north of 15 carries against the Giants. As we all know, the big problem here is that a huge percentage of other DFS players will be in on Williams. The decision mostly comes down to personal strategy. I'd rather follow the crowd here, trusting that I can differentiate myself with the other eight selections on my team.
If you save here, spend here - Randall Cobb ($7,400) @ SF
Top of the Chart - Adrian Peterson ($7,800) @ DEN - 7.1
Roddy White ($4,100) vs. HOU - Whhaaattt? Yep, I'm actually suggesting a guy who has put up back-to-back donuts. The biggest reason that I'm doing it is that literally nobody will spend on this guy. And, if you were to get 15 points out of him (5 catches, 70 yards, and a score gets you up to 18), you'd be DFS heaven. Remember, it was less than three weeks ago (look it up!) that he was at four catches and over 80 yards versus Philly. Statistically, Houston is so-so against the pass. But, when you consider that they have allowed an average of 225 yards per game against the likes of Alex Smith, Cam Newton, and Jameis Winston, you should get excited about what Matt Ryan can do. Some of that has to go to White soon ... right?!
If you save here, spend here - Jordan Reed ($4,500) vs. PHI
Jermaine Kearse ($3,600) vs. DET - Kearse registered double-digit targets in Week 1 against St. Louis. That was also the week that Seattle had Russell Wilson throwing the football 41 times. Since, Kearse hasn't been nearly as involved, but Wilson is still out-throwing his usual standards with over 100 total passes through three weeks of play. Surprisingly, Wilson is in the upper-half of the pass attempt standings. All of this leads to Monday night where the Seahawks could be without Marshawn Lynch. At the very least, it's expected to be a team sporting a hobbled Lynch. Detroit is below-average defensively and, although Kearse hasn't hurt many this year, he's a big-play threat who can post a start-worthy 4-80-1 line once every month or so. He's due to do it this week if we hold him to that standard.
If you save here, spend here - Michael Crabtree ($4,600) @ CHI
Ty Montgomery ($3,000) @ SF - The Packers head into the Bay Area (er, Santa Clara) with a banged up Davante Adams (ankle) who is not expected to play. That forces Montgomery up the depth chart. He saw extended snap time in Monday's Week 3 win over Kansas City, actually playing just as much as the more celebrated, James Jones. He showed up with an underwhelming two catches, although one of them did land him in the end zone. Still, considering that he and the team have gone into the week, knowing that he would be counted on for more work, Montgomery figures to get a bit more attention in when Aaron Rodgers drops back. With so much attention set to be focused on All-Pro Randall Cobb and TD-maker Jones, Adams could surprise with another score on a handful of receptions.
If you save here, spend here - Carlos Hyde ($5,100) vs. GB
Top of the Chart - Roddy White ($9,300) vs. HOU - 9.3
Kyle Rudolph ($3,200) @ DEN - In effect, there aren't many bargains ever found at tight end. And, if there is, you know that everyone will be in on it. Such scenarios make Rudolph a consistent fall-back type of guy at this position on the weeks when his price falls to this level. The Vikings are still involving him every week (19 through three games) and the particulars of the game with Denver make him in-play. First, the Vikes will likely be trailing. Secondly, none of the wide outs have good head-to-head match-ups. Finally, the Broncos will allow opposing tight ends to handle yardage and opportunities, while hoping to totally clamp down on the outside and down-the-field guys. Rudolph is a solid, low-floor option.
If you save here, spend here - Arizona DEF ($3,400) vs. STL
Coby Fleener ($3,200) vs. JAC - Fleener should get another opportunity to work extensively in the Indy offense this week. Unfortunately, we're now working under the uneasy circumstance of Andrew Luck's bum shoulder. That injury has a chance of keeping him out and, if it does, Fleener's stamp of approval goes to the trash can. But, if Luck is ready to go and cleared, Fleener is fine grab at a small price. Jacksonville doesn't bring anything particularly special to the table, meaning they can be hand in the passing game ... as long as it's not a 40-year old, Matt Hasselbeck, firing the leather.
If you save here, spend here - Chris Johnson ($4,500) vs. STL
Gary Barnidge ($3,100) @ SD - Believe me, over the course of an NFL season, we see a good dozen tight ends show up with a big week before slipping back into anonymity. Barnidge will try and break that mold after busting loose for an attention-grabbing half-dozen catches, with over 100 yards, and a score. The match-up isn't particularly appealing and neither is Barnidge's history (he's in his 9th season and has never had more than 13 catches!), but after last week's effort, the receiver-less Browns will likely try and target him again versus the Chargers.
If you save here, spend here - Frank Gore ($4,700) vs. JAC
Top of the Chart - Jimmy Graham ($6,000) vs. DET - 6.8
San Diego ($2,800) vs. CLE - From talking about Barnidge as a value play to then suggesting the defense he's facing, you ask? As they would say in a 'Grey Poupon' commercial, 'But, of course!' Frankly, there's just no fear with Cleveland. Their QB is over-matched. Their pass-catching corps are dire. And, their running game seems to have no tread. With the Bolts at home, all this adds up to a respectable cheap play.
If you save here, spend here - Charles Clay ($3,300) vs. NYG
Oakland ($2,600) @ CHI - Jimmy Clausen. Is there much more to add? I should admit that I'm not a huge fan of Oakland or their defense. But, they're incredibly cheap against a very mediocre, if not outright, weak quarterback. He's easily in line for a couple of picks and with a limping Alshon Jeffrey and the usual Eddie Royal, the Raiders may score some cheap points via sacks.
If you save here, spend here - Colin Kaepernick ($5,500) vs. GB
Jacksonville ($2,500) @ IND - With Luck now a question mark, the Jags jump up as a possibility. The Jags have been stout against the run (2nd-best in the NFL with just 3.3 yards per rushing attempt) and if they do that again, they may force an over-the-hill Hasselbeck to drop back and pass. Needless to say, the guy has no mobility and little arm strength, at this point. Even if Luck takes to the field, I wouldn't hate my chances of going cheap here, hoping for 5-6 points, and blowing the budget on superstars, elsewhere.
If you save here, spend here - Odell Beckham, Jr. ($9,100) @ BUF
Top of the Chart - Seattle ($3,700) vs. DET - 8.6
You can hear Kyle, Monday-Thursday from 8-10 ET and Friday's from 10-midnight ET, on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive', on Sirius 210, XM 87.