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RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 3

Fri Sep 25 9:16am ET
Contributing Writer

Murray should continue hot start

Week 2 was a disappointing one across the NFL with so many big players going down with injuries. From a DFS perspective, several of the top options won’t be available, as a result, so building your entry might feel a little different than usual. Let’s discuss some players who will take the field that are appealing options at various salary points, as well as some who might be best left out of your entry.


Kyler Murray, ARI vs. DET ($6,400): If you just look at his passing numbers through two games, Murray hasn’t been anything special with two touchdowns and two interceptions. However, he’s been spectacular on the ground, rushing for 158 yards and three touchdowns. The addition of DeAndre Hopkins certainly forces teams to focus more on stopping the Cardinals’ passing attack, which could continue to open up plenty of opportunities on the ground for Murray. It doesn’t get much better than this matchup against the Lions, who have allowed 69 points across the first two weeks. That’s the third-most in the NFL.

Ryan Tannehill, TEN at MIN ($5,900): Tannehill is showing that his success with the Titans last year was no fluke. Even without A.J. Brown (knee) at his disposal in Week 2, Tannehill threw for 239 yards and four touchdowns against the Jaguars. That came on the heels of two touchdown passes against a respectable Broncos defense on the road in Week 1. He’s potentially set up for another big afternoon against the Vikings, who have allowed even more points (71) than the Lions.

Player to Avoid

Jared Goff, LAR at BUF ($5,900): Goff was a major disappointment last season with 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He had a quiet performance against the Cowboys in Week 1, but he rebounded with three touchdowns and no picks versus the Eagles last week. He should still have plenty of productive weeks in his future, but this matchup on the road against a Bills team that has one of the best defenses in the league means he’s someone to stay away from, especially since Tannehill can be had for the same salary.

Running Backs

Jonathan Taylor, IND vs. NYJ ($6,900): The Colts’ first game without Marlon Mack (Achilles) couldn’t have gone any better for Taylor. He received 26 carries in what was a decisive win over the Vikings, turning them into 101 yards and a touchdown. There could be weeks in which Nyheim Hines is more involved, especially in the passing game, but this matchup might not require the Colts to throw much against what has been an inept Jets team. Expect a heavy dosage of Taylor once again.

Mike Davis, CAR at LAC ($3,400): This feels like a free square. After Christian McCaffrey (ankle) went down last week against the Bucs, Davis stepped in to catch all eight of his targets for 74 yards. Even though the Panthers might struggle to score points, Davis should receive enough volume on the ground and through the air to provide value at this dirt-cheap salary.

Player to Avoid

David Johnson, HOU at PIT ($6,700): Johnson couldn’t get anything going against the Ravens last week, rushing 11 times for 34 yards. That was a tough matchup against arguably the best defense in the league, so his struggles shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The problem is that he now has to face another tough defense in the Steelers, who have only allowed an average of 66.5 rushing yards through two games. Taylor’s salary is only $200 more, so rolling with Johnson seems like an unnecessary risk.

Wide Receivers

Allen Robinson, CHI at ATL ($7,400): The Falcons are a team to attack, regardless of who they are playing. Their defense has been awful and teams often need to throw a lot to keep up with their explosive offense, setting up an excellent game script for the opposition. Enter Robinson, who has received 18 targets across the first two weeks. He could be in line for a big performance.

Russell Gage, ATL vs. CHI ($5,500): As I mentioned, the Falcons’ bad defense has forced them to throw a lot. That’s left enough work for their number three receiver Gage, who has turned 21 targets into 15 catches, 160 yards and a touchdown. Add in Julio Jones battling a hamstring injury and Gage could be a steal at this salary.

Player to Avoid

Cooper Kupp, LAR at BUF ($6,800): If I’m avoiding Goff, I’m avoiding his wide receivers, as well. Kupp is still looking for his first score of the season and hasn’t been overly productive with nine catches for 121 yards, so far. Add in his expensive salary and it might be best to allocate your funds elsewhere.

Tight Ends

Jonnu Smith, TEN at MIN ($5,200): A Tannehill/Smith stack has mouth-watering upside. Smith already has three touchdowns on 12 targets through two weeks. With teams needing to focus so much effort on slowing down Derrick Henry, they can’t commit as much attention to Smith, who should be one of Tannehill’s top red zone targets throughout the season. If Brown is out again, it only tilts the scales even more in Smith’s favor.

Noah Fant, DEN vs. TB ($4,800): It was a rough week for the Broncos, who lost Drew Lock (shoulder) and Courtland Sutton (knee) against the Steelers. On the bright side, Jeff Driskel played well in relief of Lock in what was a tough matchup. With Sutton now out for the season, Fant should be one of the Broncos’ top pass catching options moving forward. In a game in which they might need to throw a lot to keep up with the Bucs’ offense, Fant could provide value.

Player to Avoid

Austin Hooper, CLE vs. WAS ($4,700): This is a pretty easy pass for me considering neither Smith nor Fant come at a salary much higher than Hooper’s. He’s not receiving nearly the target share that he did with the Falcons last year, which has resulted in him catching four passes for 37 yards through two games. The Browns have a dynamic running back duo in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to go along with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landy at wide receiver, which could mean Hooper remains in the background of their offense moving forward.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

Player Notes
Dak Prescott Oct 19 11:40pm ET

Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin (concussion) left the Monday night game against the Cardinals in the first quarter after suffering a concussion. Martin was ruled out to begin the second half with the team trailing 21-3. The Cowboys above-average offensive line has been decimated by injuries this year. Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired in the offseason. Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith had season-ending neck surgery last week, while right tackle La'el Collins is on Injured Reserve after having hip surgery. Joe Looney, who replaced Frederick at center, is on Injured Reserve as well. With quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) also out for the year, the offense struggled against Arizona. The injuries to the offensive line have been more bad news for the offense, especially for running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Andy Dalton.

From RotoBaller

John Brown Oct 19 9:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown returned after a one game absence, but it looks like he took this game off as well. Brown failed to haul in all of his four targets during the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Josh Allen had a tough time connecting with his receivers in this one. However, both Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley found the end zone. Brown should have WR4 upside against the New York Jets next week.

From RotoBaller

Gabriel Davis Oct 19 9:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis was not able to do much damage against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He finished with one reception on his lone target of the game for seven yards in the loss. Quarterback Josh Allen did not have a good game throwing the ball, so that was part of the problem as well. Davis is likely going to get lost in the shuffle with the Bills receivers healthy at the moment. He might have desperation deep league appeal against the awful New York Jets Defense in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Cole Beasley Oct 19 9:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been reliable all season long and that continued against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in four of his seven targets for 45 yards and one touchdown. The Bills weren't able to get the air attack going well in this game. However, that should change next week against the horrendous New York Jets Defense. Beasley continues to be a reliable PPR option and that should be the case next week as well.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Oct 19 9:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a fairly quiet game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in six of his eight targets for 46 yards and one touchdown in the loss. He led the Bills in all receiving categories, but quarterback Josh Allen finished with a total of 122 passing yards in this game. Diggs salvaged his fantasy value with the touchdown, but he should rebound nicely next week. He'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on him as a WR1 for that game.

From RotoBaller

Mecole Hardman Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman only received one target on Monday and recorded zero yards against the Buffalo Bills. Hardman is a weekly boom or bust candidate and he had some potential in Week 6 with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) sidelined, but it was Demarcus Robinson who took advantage on Monday. Due to inconsistent performances, Hardman is only WR4/WR5 with upside most weeks. Hardman will look to pick up some stats against the Denver Broncos in a Week 7 matchup.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was the lead back once again, but failed to do much damage on the ground. He rushed 10 times for 32 yards on the ground in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Singletary also hauled in one of two targets for 13 yards through the air. Rookie Zack Moss did return in this game, but Singletary still managed to get double digit carries. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on Singletary as a low-end RB2 against the New York Jets next week.

From RotoBaller

Zack Moss Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (toe) was able to suit up for the Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He missed each of the last three games due to a toe issue, but honestly he could've missed this one too and it wouldn't have changed anything. Moss finished with 10 yards on five carries in the loss to the Chiefs. Devin Singletary remained the lead back and that will probably be the case going forward. Moss should have increased value against the New York Jets next week. He could be worth a stash for that matchup.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Oct 19 9:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had arguably his worst game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He completed 14 of 27 passing attempts for 122 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss. He also added 42 yards on the ground with eight rushing attempts. Allen started off red-hot to begin the season, but hasn't looked the same over the last two weeks. He should be a top tier QB1 for the Week 7 matchup against the New York Jets.

From RotoBaller

Darrel Williams Oct 19 9:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams rushed six times for 26 yards and a touchdown on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Williams also snagged one reception for 15 yards. The Chiefs ran the ball 46 times and part of that could be because of the bad forecast throughout the game. Despite the nice night, Williams is likely to be demoted to the third running back on the roster with the recent addition of LeVeon Bell. Williams should be avoided in all formats and should only have value if Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Bell were to get hurt.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes went 20-for-25 for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. He also rushed eight times for 38 yards. It wasnt the most impressive game for the former MVP, but with rainy weather, the Chiefs elected to favor the run in this matchup versus the pass. The former MVP still put together a solid performance overall and will look to keep it going against an underrated Denver Broncos Defense in Week 7. Mahomes remains a QB1 every week.

From RotoBaller

Clyde Edwards-Helaire Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire put together his most dominant performance of the season on Monday versus the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs fed their rookie all night long and CEH responded by rushing for 161 yards on 26 carries. The rookie had his longest run of the season for 31 yards and also chipped in with four catches for eight yards. The rookie has looked strong all season and has become a big threat in the Chiefs powerful offense, but the Chiefs recent signing of LeVeon Bell is expected to put a dent in his workload. Even with Bell in the picture, Edwards-Helaire should be considered a high-end RB2 the rest of the year. The rookie will look to keep the momentum going against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce made fantasy managers proud on Monday by scoring touchdowns on five receptions for 65 yards. Kelce did have a fumble, but that was his only error for the night. Kelce continues to operate as a top option for quarterback Patrick Mahomes as part of a 1a/1b option alongside wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The tight end is the best at his position and managers have to be happy with their early investment in him. Kelce should be started every week and will be a TE1 versus the Denver Broncos heading into Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Demarcus Robinson Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson put together his best performance of the season on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Robinson has fallen victim to being on a Chiefs offense with plenty of options, but with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) out, Robinson took advantage by hauling in five catches for 69 yards. Robinson is the model for a boom or bust player and shouldnt be considered more than a WR4/WR5 with upside as long as Watkins is sidelined. Robinson will face the Broncos in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

KJ Hamler Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (ankle) and wide receiver K.J. Hamler (hamstring) could both potentially return to play in Sundays contest versus Kansas City after missing last Sundays outing due to respective injuries, per head coach Vic Fangio. Fant is the more fantasy relevant of the two, having established a considerable rapport with Drew Lock last season. Fant has hauled in five receptions in three of his four appearances this year, combining for 219 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Hamlers first two contests saw him receive 12 targets, which bodes well for his fantasy upside should he ultimately suit up. Check back throughout the week for updates on both players, whose return would knock Jerry Jeudys appeal down a notch.

From RotoBaller

David Njoku Oct 19 8:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku is hoping to have a new home prior to the NFL Trade Deadline on Nov. 3 after once again reportedly asking to be traded. Njoku has been lightly used in the passing game this season by the Browns, hauling in five receptions for 63 yards and one touchdown. Back in 2018, Njoku was a staple of the passing game, amassing 639 receiving yards while starting 14 contests; this season, the presence of Austin Hooper has knocked Njokus fantasy outlook out of consideration. What could spark that intrigue again would be a new situation, with teams such as the Eagles and Patriots presumably having openings heading into the second half of the season.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Oct 19 8:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hills five game touchdown streak ended on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Hill had a rough night overall and was pretty much non-existent in Week 6. The star receiver rushed one time for five yards and caught all three of targets for a season low 20 yards. Hill was outshined by tight end Travis Kelce and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in this matchup, but managers should just chalk this matchup up as a bad game. Hill remains a WR1 and should be treated that way going into a Week 7 matchup versus the Broncos.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 19 8:00pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) is trending toward a third consecutive absence Sunday when his team takes on the Bills, as head coach Adam Gase was not optimistic Monday that his signal caller would clear the necessary stages to get him back on the field. It seems likely that New York will stick with veteran Joe Flacco for the game in the event that Darnold is unavailable, even as the Jets were shut out Sunday by Miami. So long as Flacco is under center, New Yorks offense can be targeted by fantasy managers attempting to nab opposing defenses. Even upon his activation, Darnold will be in a rough spot from a fantasy perspective due to the Jets offensive line woes and general downturn in production from skill position players.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Oct 19 7:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) were both listed as limited practice participants Monday ahead of Thursdays contest versus the Giants. Both receivers were out of the equation Sunday against Baltimore, with Jackson already expected to suit up come Thursday. As for Jeffery, he would be making his season debut after working his way back from a Lisfranc injury. Having either back in the mix would be a boon for Carson Wentz, who will be without Zach Ertz (ankle) for the foreseeable future. Travis Fulgham has become a breakout fantasy sensation over the past three weeks, and while his stock would take a dip with Jeffery or Jackson back, any of the three are season-long options against a shaky Giants secondary.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slayton Oct 19 7:40pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (foot) was a limited participant in Mondays practice after having sustained a foot injury during Sundays contest versus Washington. Slayton hauled in his first touchdown since Week 1 in the game, but came down awkwardly on his foot after the grab. With little time to recover before Thursdays outing against the Eagles, the fact that he was able to practice in any capacity bodes well for his odds of suiting up. Fantasy managers interested in Slayton will want to keep an eye on Sterling Shepards (toe) status as well, as the latter returning to the mix would zap some of Slaytons intrigue, even if he were fully healthy.

From RotoBaller