Fantasy Football Week 3: DFS picks and strategy for Yahoo Sunday Baller

Fantasy Football Week 3: DFS picks and strategy for Yahoo Sunday Baller

The Week 3 NFL main slate begins Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT and features 12 games, as the entire league will be in action sans the Thursday Night Football (Giants-49ers), Sunday Night Football (Steelers-Raiders) and Monday Night Football (Eagles-Buccaneers and Rams-Bengals) participants. Yahoo will be running plenty of NFL DFS contests for Week 3, but the biggest is the Sunday Baller, which pays out a guaranteed prize pool of $250,000 to the top 2,700 finishers, including $50,000 to the winner. You can submit up to 150 entries into this contest, which has a maximum total capacity of 14,700 entries but will still run if it doesn't fill, potentially providing you with enhanced odds of winning, also known as overlay.

Playing in guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contests is about chasing upside, while lineups geared towards head-to-head, 50/50 or double-up formats should prioritize high floors. The players you want to target for these different contest types aren't mutually exclusive, but winning a GPP tournament usually requires finding a hidden gem or going against the grain in a spot or two, while building a solid base of the same chalk plays you would use anywhere. Against-the-grain plays typically consist of big-name players in tough matchups or boom-or-bust types with uncertain roles.

[Play in Yahoo's Week 3 Sunday Baller — guaranteed prize pool of $250K]

Keep in mind that Yahoo DFS contests use 0.5 PPR scoring rather than full PPR, which lowers the comparative value of wide receivers and running backs (in that order) while especially affecting high-volume pass-catchers. Your NFL $250k Sunday Baller lineup will consist of one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and one D/ST unit.

Suggested Week 3 options include a QB-WR stack facing a struggling secondary, an elite TE and a backup RB who could be entrusted with a starter's workload.


Kirk Cousins, MIN vs. LAC ($32)

Both offenses are expected to thrive in this battle between surprise 0-2 teams, which has a slate-high over/under of 54.0 points. Cousins has thrown for 708 yards — seven short of Tua Tagovailoa's league-high total — and has a 6:1 TD:INT through two games, while the Chargers' secondary has surrendered a league-high 333 passing yards per game, including 466 to Tua in Week 1. Minnesota's offense should also benefit from three extra days to game plan, as the Vikings played on Thursday Night Football last week.

Honorable Mentions:

Patrick Mahomes, KC vs. CHI ($37); Josh Allen, BUF at WAS ($36); Deshaun Watson, CLE vs. TEN ($30)

Against the Grainers:

Justin Fields, CHI at KC ($32); Russell Wilson, DEN at MIA ($30); Geno Smith, SEA vs. CAR ($27)


Tony Pollard, DAL at ARI ($32)

Dallas is tied for this week's largest favorite at -12.5 points, as the Cowboys have outscored opponents 70-10 while the Cardinals are 0-2. Pollard should help Dallas get ahead early and stay there against an Arizona defense that allowed Saquon Barkley to score both a rushing TD and receiving TD in Week 2 after giving up a receiving TD to Brian Robinson in Week 1.

Pollard's finally getting the chance to take on a full starter's workload in his fifth NFL season, and the early results have been highly productive — 142 yards and two TDs on 39 carries, plus nine catches for 49 yards on 11 targets through two games.

Joshua Kelley, LAC at MIN ($18)

Kelley is set to get another chance to fill in for Austin Ekeler, who has been ruled out due to an ankle injury. Kelley struggled on the ground in Week 2 against a Titans defense that's allowed a league-low 75.6 rushing yards per game since the start of last season, but he excelled while splitting carries with Ekeler in the season opener, rushing 16 times for a career-high 91 yards and a touchdown against Miami. The 2020 fourth-round pick was set for a larger role even before Ekeler got hurt, and Kelley's poised to carve up a Minnesota defense that surrendered 259 rushing yards and three TDs on the ground to the Eagles last week.

Honorable Mentions:

Bijan Robinson, ATL at DET ($25); Travis Etienne, JAC vs. HOU ($24); Raheem Mostert, MIA vs. DEN ($15)

Against the Grainers:

Rhamondre Stevenson, NE at NYJ ($20); Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs. CHI ($14); Jerome Ford, CLE vs. TEN ($10)


Justin Jefferson, MIN vs. LAC ($43)

Jefferson's valuation is at least $4 higher than any other player on the Sunday Baller slate, but fitting him into your lineup could prove worthwhile, especially if you plan to stack him with Cousins. Jefferson has reached 150 receiving yards in each of Minnesota's first two games while catching 20 of 25 targets, and he's the early NFL leader in receiving yards again after posting a league-best 1,809 last season. The superstar receiver has yet to get into the end zone this season, but that could change against a Chargers defense that's allowed the most yards to wide receivers (565) and is tied for the most TDs allowed to the position (four). Other Minnesota WRs you can stack with Cousins are Jordan Addison ($22) and K.J. Osborn ($19).

Amari Cooper, CLE vs. TEN ($24)

Cooper leads the Browns in catches (10), receiving yards (127) and targets (17) through two weeks, and Deshaun Watson's favorite target could be in for a busy afternoon against the Titans. Running the ball effectively will be tough against what has been the league's best run defense since the start of last season — especially with Nick Chubb out for the season due to a gruesome knee injury — but the Titans are vulnerable through the air.

After allowing the third-most yards (3,199) and second-most touchdowns (20) to wide receivers last season, the Titans have allowed the third-most yards (476) to the position so far this season and are one touchdown back of the league-worst Chargers, Colts, Eagles and Raiders, each of whom have allowed four receiving scores to WRs. Cooper has a history of playing effectively through injuries and didn't seem hampered by his groin issue Monday, so his missed practice Wednesday isn't much cause for alarm.

Kadarius Toney, KC vs. CHI ($13)

If you want to afford the Cousins-Jefferson stack, you'll have to go bargain hunting elsewhere, and Toney offers a high ceiling at an affordable valuation against a Bears defense that's giving up 32.5 PPG. After making a mess of his five targets in Week 1, Toney caught all five of his Week 2 looks. He has also logged a rushing attempt in each of Kansas City's first two games and could see a few extra touches on the ground if top RB Isiah Pacheco is unavailable due to a hamstring issue. Toney is no stranger to the injury report himself and missed practice Wednesday with a toe injury, and if he's unable to recover in time to play Sunday, other affordable high-upside dart throws in Kansas City's receiving corps include Skyy Moore ($16), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($13), Rashee Rice ($12) and Justin Watson ($10).

Honorable Mentions:

Stefon Diggs, BUF at WAS ($28); DK Metcalf, SEA vs. CAR ($18); Nico Collins, HOU at JAC ($18)

Against the Grainers:

Michael Pittman, IND at BAL ($19); Garrett Wilson, NYJ vs. NE ($17); DeAndre Hopkins, TEN at CLE ($15)


Mark Andrews, BAL vs. IND ($20)

Andrews is simply too good a value at this salary to pass up at a tight end position that drops off considerably after the top few options. After catching five of eight targets for 45 yards and a touchdown in his season debut last week, he could be even busier against a Colts defense that's allowing the fourth-most passing yards per game as he gets another week further away from his quadriceps injury. By locking in Andrews, you save $12 compared to Travis Kelce and $4 compared to T.J. Hockenson. Since the start of the 2021 season, Andrews' 2,253 receiving yards trail only Kelce's 2,489 among tight ends, with George Kittle a distant third at 1,724.

Honorable Mentions:

Travis Kelce, KC vs. CHI ($32); T.J. Hockenson, MIN vs. LAC ($24); Sam LaPorta, DET vs. ATL ($15)

Against the Grainers:

Dalton Schultz, HOU at JAC ($17); Hunter Henry, NE at NYJ ($14); Kyle Pitts, ATL at DET ($13)


New England Patriots, NE at NYJ ($13)

During New England's current 14-game winning streak against the Jets, the Patriots have won by an average score of 29.3-10.9 while holding a 33-6 edge in the turnover battle. Against all competition, New England has forced 32 turnovers since the start of last season, trailing only Dallas (40), San Francisco (34), Philadelphia (33) and Jacksonville (33).

In two meetings with the Jets last season — both started by Zach Wilson, who will be under center for New York on Sunday — the Patriots racked up six sacks and three interceptions while allowing just 10.0 PPG.

Honorable Mentions:

Dallas Cowboys at ARI ($21); Buffalo Bills at WAS ($15); Kansas City vs. CHI ($14)

Against the Grainers:

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. HOU ($17); New Orleans Saints at GB ($14); Seattle Seahawks vs. CAR ($11)