DFS Value Finder: Week 3

Nick Mensio

This is a simple, straightforward piece. At the end of the week, I’m taking our weekly composite staff rankings from our Season Pass section and comparing those rankings as it pertains to players we see as starting caliber options to the pricing across the two major DFS sites in hopes of discovering some value. Easy as that.


Russell Wilson -- QB6 (FanDuel, QB9, $7,600)


Fresh off the overall QB4 day in Pittsburgh last week, Wilson remains insanely cheap on FanDuel and draws another ripe spot at home against a Saints Defense that both Deshaun Watson (QB3) and Jared Goff (QB9) have picked apart to open the year. The Seahawks remain a run-first offense, but Wilson’s pinpoint accuracy and propensity for the big play and mastery in the red zone make him a slam-dunk cash-game option. With Tyler Lockett and rookie DK Metcalf at his disposal, Will Dissly’s emergence in the red zone, and Chris Carson’s expanded game as a pass catcher give Wilson one of his best supporting casts in years.


Kyler Murray -- QB9 (FanDuel, QB15, $7,200)


The NFL’s leader in pass attempts (94) after two games, Murray has produced weekly fantasy finishes of QB11 and QB16. Holding back his stats to this point is the Cardinals’ inability to score in the red zone (31st in red-zone TD percentage) and Murray’s dual-threat ability has not been part of his game with just six rushing attempts for 17 empty yards and one fumble. After running the most offensive plays Week 1 against the Lions, the Cardinals fired off the second-fewest snaps last week in Baltimore against the ball-control Ravens. Things should swing back the other way back home against a Carolina squad that is 23rd in opponent plays per game after facing the fast-paced Rams and Bucs. This game should also operate at break-neck speed. The Cardinals and Panthers are both top-six in neutral-situation pace and bottom-10 in opponent plays per game. Carolina is No. 4 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks after shutting down Jared Goff in the opener before allowing just 208 yards and one touchdown to Jameis Winston on a meager 25 attempts last Thursday night. The Bucs surprisingly leaned heavily on the run in that one. Football Outsiders isn’t exactly buying the Panthers’ lofty success against the pass, instead grading Carolina No. 19 in pass-defense DVOA. This is a beatable matchup for Murray, largely due to the pace and expected high volume of plays. More opportunities equals more chances for fantasy points. Murray should again flirt with 40 pass attempts. The rushing numbers will eventually come.


Miles Sanders -- RB28 (FanDuel, RB35, $5,400; DraftKings, RB39, $3,900)


A mega-hype piece throughout the summer, Sanders has yet to really get his rookie year off the ground. He’s managed touch counts of 12 and 13 each of the first two weeks, but Sanders has just 64 scoreless yards to show for those 25 touches. Week 1 he was stuffed a couple times inside the five-yard line and then had a 21-yard touchdown scamper called back on a holding penalty. Last week in Atlanta, Sanders was given the start, but the Eagles averaged a pitiful 2.3 yards per carry as a team. Sanders actually led the team with his 28 yards on 10 carries, besting Jordan Howard’s 8-18 rushing line. Sanders also continues to pace this backfield in snaps. He’s been in on 45.5% of the downs to Darren Sproles 32.5% and Howard’s 22.7% clip. Sanders has also ran 36 pass routes, which is actually more than Sproles’ 33 and way ahead of Howard’s 14. All Sanders has to show for his first two weeks is the current RB54 slot in half-PPR formats. Some positive regression is due to hit, and a Week 3 date with the Lions looks like a potential breakthrough spot. Detroit has been annihilated by running backs. David Johnson and Chase Edmonds averaged 4.6 YPC across 19 totes Week 1, and Johnson pitched in a 6-55-1 receiving line. Last week, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson combined for 125 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries (5.2 YPC) while Ekeler also caught six balls for 67 yards. Johnson and Ekeler command more of their respective team’s share of the backfield snaps and aren’t stuck in three-man committees like Sanders, but this spot at home with the Eagles as 6.5-point favorites is good enough for the rookie to get his season going. Philly’s implied team total of 26.25 points is fifth-highest of Week 3.


Tyler Lockett -- WR14 (FanDuel, WR20, $6,600)


Lockett is coming off a 10-79 outing on 12 targets against the Steelers. His price is likely down because he didn’t find the end zone and never really busted a big play in Week 2 after catching his only target for a 44-yard touchdown in the season opener. This looks like a plum spot for Lockett to put those two together and light fire to a Saints secondary that gave up 5-120 to Rams slot man Cooper Kupp last week and got beat for a long touchdown by Kenny Stills from the inside in Week 1. Lockett dominated slot snaps Weeks 1-2 and was getting peppered relentlessly with passes last Sunday. With DK Metcalf likely to see a fair amount of CB Marshon Lattimore, Lockett should get to run most of his routes against a mixed bag of Saints slot CBs. Lockett is a strong option both in cash games and tournaments due to his floor and upside.


Larry Fitzgerald -- WR20 (FanDuel, WR35, $5,900; DraftKings, WR28, $5,100)

Christian Kirk -- WR27 (FanDuel, WR35, $5,900; DraftKings, WR31, $5,000)


Kirk has seen the 11th-most targets among wide receivers through two weeks, but he’s yet to find the end zone and is just the overall WR30 in half-PPR scoring because he hasn’t scored a touchdown to this point. Kirk is coming off an efficient 6-114 afternoon on eight targets against the Ravens in Week 2. On one of those catches, Kirk was tackled at the one-yard line. Kirk is top-24 in air yards through two weeks and is going to have a major breakout game in the very near future; the Cardinals just need to start putting the ball in the end zone instead of settling for short field goals. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald leads the Cardinals in targets and air yards as he turns back the clock with Kyler Murray. Arizona is 31st in red-zone success, scoring a touchdown on just 25% of their trips inside the 20. This Carolina-Arizona game looks like one to attack in fantasy. Both the Panthers and Cardinals are top-six in offensive pace and plays per game. And both defenses are bottom-10 in opponent plays per contest. Even with Kyle Allen starting for Carolina, it’s hard not to like the Cardinals’ skill players. Running over 85% of their routes from the slot, both Fitzgerald and Kirk are in prime spots against a Panthers Defense that was touched up by Bucs slot man Chris Godwin for 8-121-1 last week. And Cooper Kupp racked up 7-46 on 10 targets in Week 1. Kirk and Fitzgerald are two of my favorite Week 3 plays.


John Brown -- WR22 (FanDuel, WR35, $5,900)


The best wideout Josh Allen has ever played with, Brown is ninth in the NFL in air yards and averaging nine targets per game through two weeks. He went over 100 yards with a touchdown Week 1 before posting a respectable 7-72 against the Giants last Sunday. Brown now draws a Cincinnati defense that has been shredded through the air and on the ground. Brown has been getting plenty of looks out of the slot, as well as outside, and Tyler Lockett roasted the Bengals for a 44-yard touchdown from the inside in Week 1. DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel, and Marquise Goodwin have also all gotten loose for long pass plays against Cincy’s hodgepodge secondary. Brown has volume and big-play ability on his side as Allen’s No. 1 receiver.


Emmanuel Sanders -- WR24 (FanDuel, WR37, $5,700; DraftKings, WR37, $4,800)


The NFL’s leader in red-zone targets, Sanders doesn’t look like a guy who ruptured his Achilles’ tendon just 10 months ago. Sanders is averaging 10 targets per game and has eclipsed 85 yards and a touchdown in both games to start the year. He’s likely to see plenty of CB Jaire Alexander in a slower-paced game, but Sanders has Joe Flacco’s trust and is obviously a guy Flacco looks for in the scoring area. With volume and touchdown potential on his side, Sanders is simply too cheap on both sites when he’s consistently produced as a top-15 wideout to this point. Sanders is probably best-suited for cash games, but 100-plus yards and score are in play.

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