In this weekly article, we’ll use the early betting lines from Vegas to take a deeper look at which games to target and avoid for NFL DFS. Implied team totals have positive correlations with fantasy output, especially for quarterbacks. Plus, we’ll highlight some potentially under the radar teams with high implied team totals despite a lower over/under. Note that these lines will probably change over the course of the week, which is why we call it ‘starting’ points.
Detroit at Arizona, Total 54.5
The highest point total of the week, and the season so far. Neither offense has been outstanding in terms of PPG scored, but Detroit has allowed opponents the third-most points. The Lions have once again been particularly vulnerable to the run, setting up a Kenyon Drake chalk week. At $6500 (FD), $6000 (DK) and $23 (Yahoo), Drake is in a very sweet spot to be a lineup cornerstone in Week 3. Drake is dominating the touches in the Cardinals backfield, though Chase Edmonds has been more involved on the receiving end (nine targets). Likewise, Kyler Murray’s favorite weapon has been DeAndre Hopkins, averaging 12 targets and 110 receiving yards per game through two weeks. He should have a field day vs. Detroit, but is priced accordingly as the top dog on FanDuel and DraftKings. Finally, with a total this high, Murray should be worth the money, even on Yahoo, where he is the most expensive QB option.
You can save some money and create a little tournament stack of Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay and Jonathan Swift on the other side of this huge point total. The Lions will be likely playing from behind, which does create opportunity for turnovers, but also favors the passing game. I don’t see getting much out of Adrian Peterson or Kerryon Johnson in this one, but Golladay’s debut could be an exciting one. I believe there’s a bias against using a player fresh off the injury list, but knowing that Golladay’s ceiling is WR1, any risk is more than baked into his salary (especially at $21 on Yahoo, but $6200 DK, $7500 FD is acceptable). T.J. Hockenson has caught every ball thrown his way this season. As a lover of extremes, I’ll certainly be rooting for him to keep that up, but even if he falls short, he can be a big part of the Lions plans this week. I think people will be a bit more dazzled by Noah Fant or Jonnu Smith coming off their big weeks in this price range and overlook Hockenson.
LA Rams at Buffalo, Total 48
The total on this game has already risen 3-3.5 points since the open. That’s noteworthy and reflective of the fact that both teams rank in the Top 10 in points scored through two weeks. The Bills might be the most surprising offense in the league, unless, like me, you live in Western New York, where fans ALWAYS believe. But the defense hasn’t been the brick wall it was in 2019. The Bills are in the middle of the league when it comes to both passing and rushing defense and have played the Dolphins and Jets, no offensive juggernauts.
I will continue to recommend Josh Allen, though at QB 2-4 he is now bunched in with the elite salaries at the position. He leads the league in passing yards (729) and is behind only Russell Wilson in total touchdowns (7). Stefon Diggs and John Brown have both met or exceeded salary expectations, and both are currently in the Top 10 for half-PPR fantasy receivers. Diggs ($6900) is still a nice value on FanDuel, while John Brown is significantly cheaper on all three main sites. Both are viable as part of a game stack here. The Zach Moss/Devin Singletary split is too even for me to invest even a small amount of salary in with so many better options in their price range (like Mike Davis or Jerick McKinnon).
The spread is narrow enough that considering a far less expensive Jared Goff isn’t unreasonable in GPPs. Tyler Higbee has been the star, receiving all three of Goff’s passing touchdowns, all in Week 2. Thanks to scheduling, if George Kittle doesn’t play this week, Higbee will be the most expensive TE on both DraftKings and Yahoo (just third on FanDuel). After seeing Mike Gesicki have such a nice day against the Bills, Higbee will be tempting. However, both Robert Woods (cheapest option) and Cooper Kupp (seems overpriced on FanDuel) are very much in this mix. I like using Woods to save some salary and hopefully see him score his first TD of the season. Yes, it is a revenge game for him. Darrell Henderson would be in play only if Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers are ruled out. Both seem to have at least some possibility of playing, though I think that’s optimistic, especially for Akers.
Dallas at Seattle, Total 55.5
All the regulars are in play in any lineup. 'Nuff said?
San Francisco at New York Giants, Total 41
There are still too many unanswered questions to go too in depth here on Tuesday, but for that reason alone this game can safely be avoided in most lineups. We hope George Kittle will be back, but that’s up in the air. The status of Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman is also murky, though I’m not optimistic about any of them. It’s much the same story for the Giants. They signed Devonta Freeman today, but that’s not much consolation for the loss of Saquon Barkley. Dion Lewis is likely to be the primary back this week, and without Sterling Shepard, I like Evan Engram to step it up a bit. Even with their full roster, the Giants have scored fewer points than any other team this year. The only play from this game I’m really considering in cash games is the 49ers D/ST. The Giants have turned the ball over four times already, and allowed Daniel Jones to be sacked seven times.
Cleveland vs. Washington, Total 44.5
The Browns have avoided injuries so far, and got a bonus three days to rest after playing Thursday night in Week 2. That game featured a heavy dose of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who are in about a 55-45 percent split of the RB touches. It’s notable that Hunt has been a factor both in the rushing and receiving game, and has more half-PPR fantasy points than Chubb. Hunt is only $13 on Yahoo, and the discrepancy between he and Chubb is also too big on FanDuel. The Browns run game takes a lot of pressure off Baker Mayfield, who did connect with Odell Beckham Jr. for a touchdown in Week 2. OBJ is the clear favorite target and I have no concerns with him at his price this week ($6800 FD, $22 Yahoo, $6300 DK). Jarvis Landry has a great catch rate, but too low volume to warrant a spot in a game where the plan should be run-dominant. The same goes for Austin Hooper, who has been a notable disappointment for season-long drafters (six total targets). Sometimes in these blurbs about the team who is a heavy favorite, the focus is on the QB. Not so with Mayfield, who seems to be playing intentionally conservative and is still making some mistakes (an interception in each game).
Indianapolis vs. New York Jets, Total 43.5
The Colts are the biggest favorites of the week, so even with a low game total, they have some fantasy potential. Their D/ST is worth paying up for. The Jets have scored just one more point than the Giants this season and that isn’t something I see improving the way things have been going in New York. On offense, Jonathan Taylor will be a popular play, rightly so. This looks like a game that could get out of hand early, so despite some coach-speak supporting a bigger role for Nyheim Hines, it might not be this time. The best chance for the Colts to get out to a big lead is Philip Rivers hooking up with T.Y. Hilton, who is super-cheap and will be needed all the more with Parris Campbell on IR. Zach Pascal is a little big intriguing, but with Hilton healthy and so inexpensive, I’m not chasing his touchdown from Week 2. Mo Alie-Cox could be the real deal here, given how Rivers likes to use a tight end. He had 117 receiving yards on six targets in Week 2, and could be the long-term beneficiary of Campbell’s injury. All in all, there aren’t any real bad plays from the Colts, but I prefer Taylor, Hilton and Alie-Cox.