Week 3 fantasy deep sleepers and DFS bargains: NFC North players among sneaky starts

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It’s time for a TGIF edition of Deep Sleepers and DFS Bargains. From Mike Wallace going down in the opening moments of the Eagles’ loss at Tampa Bay to Ian Thomas dropping a pass in the end zone … last week was a dumpster fire. This has got to be better. Let’s forge ahead, get crazy, and go deep.  To review … all of these players are owned in less than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks, but that’s why they’re so cheap and available! I’d never advocate taking all of these guys, but rather utilizing them if a manager were in a pinch at a position or aiming to build a “stars and scrubs” sort of DFS lineup.

Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers (Yahoo DFS price $11)

Drawing red zone targets in back-to-back outings and catching all six of his looks last Sunday, Allison has clearly earned Aaron Rodgers’ trust. With nearly 20 percent of Green Bay’s pass-catching opportunities focused in GMo’s direction, the third-year player deserves FF attention.

Speaking of attention, Davante Adams figures to get plenty from Redskins CB Josh Norman. That should keep Rodgers locked in on Allison, who is likely to draw Quinton Dunbar. While Dunbar has played well, he did give up 7 of 11 balls for over 80 yards to the Colts in Week 2. That’s enough to make Allison a top-40 flex option in deeper leagues.

Does Green Bay’s No. 3 WR, Geronimo Allison have fantasy upside? Yahoo Fanalyst Liz Loza believes so. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Does Green Bay’s No. 3 WR, Geronimo Allison have fantasy upside? Yahoo Fanalyst Liz Loza believes so. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Taylor Gabriel, WR, Chicago Bears ($10)

On the field for 90 percent of the team’s snaps, Gabriel is discovering life as a No. 2 WR. Second in team targets behind Allen Robinson, Gabriel has drawn three red zone looks in two games. He’s also being used in creative ways by Matt Nagy, who clearly enjoys exploiting the speedster’s playmaking ability on jet sweeps and gadget plays. With Tarik Cohen coming off a tweaked ankle, it’s possible that Nagy will continue to innovate with the former Falcon in mind.

Fellow offensive wizard Sean McVay successfully used Brandin Cooks in a similar fashion last week against the Cardinals. Arizona’s Jamar Taylor was abused by Cooks in Week 2, allowing 6 of 8 catches for over 150 yards. Gabriel may not post the same numbers as Cooks, but he figures to do some damage. Not for risk-adverse managers, rolling out Gabriel is equal parts high-upside and under-the-radar.

Latavius Murray, RB, Minnesota Vikings ($17)

The Vikings were hinting at it all week, but waited until Friday afternoon to officially announce that Dalvin Cook (hamstring) would be held out of Week 3. This forcefully boosts Murray’s stock. From Weeks 5-17, when Cook was sidelined last season, the former Raider carried the ball nearly 17 times per game and notched the fourth-most goal line totes (12). Facing a Bills defense that’s allowed four rushing scores over the past two weeks, Murray is top-15 play.

Jake Butt, TE, Denver Broncos ($10)

Over two weeks of play (yes, just two weeks) Will Dissly has been the most productive tight end in fantasy, which perfectly illustrates the TMJ-inducing volatility at the position. With top-end options like Greg Olsen (foot), Delanie Walker (ankle), and Jack Doyle (hip) sidelined and upstarts like Ricky Seals-Jones and Jonnu Smith failing to deliver, fantasy managers are left throwing darts like a gaggle of hipsters after trivia night. Admittedly, Butt is a long shot to hit the bull’s-eye, but he may get you on the board.

Fully recovered from an ACL tear that forced him to sit out 2017, Butt earned offseason praise from his HC and his QB. He’s still being out-snapped by Jeff Heuerman, but his opportunities in the passing game have been more abundant — and are growing. Drawing 10 targets on the season (TE11), Butt’s chemistry with QB Case Keenum is blossoming. In Week 2 he drew his first red zone target, converting 4 of 6 looks for 48 yards. I expect his opportunities to increase again in Week 3 when he faces a Ravens defense that will be without MLB C.J. Mosley (knee). Available in 95 percent of leagues, Butt is the Yahoo consensus TE21.

Indianapolis Colts Defense ($10)

In one of the biggest surprises of the season, the Colts’ defense has teeth and a backbone. From behemoth pass-rusher Margus Hunt (Two sacks) to rookie linebacker Darius Leonard (18 tackles in Week 2), Indy is finding ways to get after opposing QBs. Holding the Redskins – who have one of the most solid o-lines in the league – to just three field goals illustrates this unit’s surging vitality. Colts DC Matt Eberflus’ revitalized unit should continue to soar at Philly, especially with LT Jason Peters (quad) at less than 100 percent. A rusty Carson Wentz and a depleted arsenal of offensive weapons figure to further Indy’s chances of playing spoiler.

Dig Deep with Liz on Twitter @LizLoza_FF.

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