This article has been a lot of fun for me to write so far this season, and I am hoping that many of you are enjoying this as much as I am. So far, we have hit on some of the picks and we have whiffed pretty hard in some spots as well. Last week, if you played Larry Fitzgerald in GPPs, it was solid production for only $5,900 and may have been the missing piece to put together that perfect lineup. Unfortunately, with the triumphs also come the misses as I wrote up two New Orleans Saints in cash that rely on Drew Brees to get them the ball. Overall, this has been a great experience and I hope that you as the reader are taking something from this article that help you cash in and rake in some profits. This is a great week for DFS, and I am finding that it is much easier to build a lineup so hopefully we can win this week with these picks.
Kyler Murray – $7,200
The logic for having Murray in your lineup this week is simple, the Cardinals are currently throwing the ball more than any other team in the league with their rookie quarterback. What we are looking for at all times while playing DFS is volume, and the Arizona Cardinals have shown that they are not afraid to let Kyler loose and throw in every situation. Murray has thrown 94 passes for 657 yards through two games. This averages out to 328.5 passing yards per game and he is also averaging a touchdown per game as well. Normally what we are looking for in a cash game QB is 250 yards and 2 touchdowns which as long as Kyler continues throwing, there should be no reason he cannot get there every week. Murray, who is known for his mobility has only been rushing the ball on an average of 3 carries per week. I am expecting a game soon where Kyler will breakout and have more running room than he has recently which could be this week. At $7,200 you are getting the most bang for your buck as the Arizona Cardinals should continue throwing the ball consistently.
Austin Ekeler – $7,600
The Chargers started the season not knowing if they were going to have their star running back Melvin Gordon on the team. Many people expected them to struggle because of this, but luckily Ekeler has stepped up to the challenge and has shown everyone that he can lead a team and carry the workload if needed. I originally believed that this backfield was going to be a 50/50 split between Ekeler and Justin Jackson, but through two weeks Ekeler has clearly shown that he is the guy in Los Angeles. Ekeler currently has 29 carries and 12 receptions for four touchdowns on the season, compared to Justin Jackson who has only seen 13 carries and two receptions for no touchdowns. This not only makes Ekeler the number one running back on the team, but he is also the second leading pass catcher on the team ahead of Mike Williams. The Chargers are also taking on the Houston Texans this week, who in week one, gave up 140 yards on the ground and 76 yards receiving to the New Orleans backfield in week one. Ekeler will continue to see high volume in this offense, and should continue to produce at a high level.
Keenan Allen – $7,800
Just like Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen on the same team has seen a tremendous amount of targets due to injuries. Hunter Henry has been reported to be out for the next 4-6 weeks and the #2 wide receiver on the team Mike Williams has also been banged up as of late which means that Phillip Rivers has no choice but to throw it to Keenan Allen. Allen has seen 25 targets through two games which ranks #2 in the entire league, he has caught 16 of those targets for 221 yards which is 110.5 yards per game so far. Allen also currently has 334 total target distance which was #1 in the league. The Houston Texans’ defense is not an elite defense in the NFL, and should allow the Chargers to move the ball at will through the air. In week one, the Texans allowed 370 passing yards and two touchdowns to Drew Brees and the Saints. The Chargers are not quite to the Saints’ level when it comes to passing, but there should be no hesitation playing pieces of their offense in this game. As long as injuries plague players on this offense, Allen should continue to see immense volume which is king in fantasy.
Evan Engram – $6,400
The Giants have promoted Daniel Jones to their starting quarterback over Eli Manning for week three of the regular season. Although the Giants have not been a great offense this season, there has to be production coming from some of their players. Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley are the only two players who have been fantasy viable this year for this offense. Engram in week one caught 11 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown which is a huge statline for a tight end to put up. He did struggle in week two against the Bills, which is understandable because of the Bills’ defense being one of the best in the league, especially their linebacking core. Evan Engram is closer to a wide receiver than a tight end with his freakish athletic ability and route running skills. He has seen the second most targets in the league at 22 targets. The game against the Bucs currently is sitting at a 47 point over-under, which means that vegas is projecting there to be quite a few points scored in this game. As long as Saquon Barkley is not the one scoring all of the points for the Giants, there should be plenty of volume for Evan Engram to finish as a top three tight end on the week.
Aaron Rodgers – $7,900
The Denver Broncos are coming to Green Bay this week to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Aaron Rodgers has been regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, which he should be because of his talent. Rodgers is going to be a great play this week in FanDuel because of another game on the slate. The Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens take each other on this weekend, and that game is currently set at a 52 and a half point over under with two elite quarterbacks in it. Now, some newer DFS players may be wondering why this is good for Rodgers this week. This means that Rodgers will be low owned this week because most players are going to be looking to stuff either Mahomes or Lamar Jackson into their lineup. Rodgers also has underperformed so far this season, barely throwing over 200 yards in both of his games. Because of these reasons, I believe that Rodgers will come at a low ownership percentage while he may be able to have a 300+ yard game and I could even see him throwing for four touchdowns if they need him to. They are also at home, which should be taken into account when deciding who you are going to be playing at quarterback
Raheem Mostert – $6,000
Most people may think that I am crazy for putting Mostert on this list, but realistically sometimes a play that seems crazy in GPPs is exactly what you want to be looking for so that you capitalize on that low ownership percentage. Mostert has not been a work-horse back and will not see the majority of the work in this backfield. He will continue to split carries with Breida, and we may even see Jeff Wilson Jr. see the field near the goal-line like we did last week. What I love about Mostert mostly is that he has found himself on a team with a head coach who has proven that he can sustain fantasy production for more than one running back. When Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman were fantasy relevant options for owners the entire year. It seems that the 49ers are deploying the same philosophy with Matt Breida and Mostert as they both were extremely relevant last week. Mostert ended last week with over 150 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. The 49ers are facing the Steelers this week, which may not seem like a great matchup but as long as Mostert continues to see the volume he has recently, and the 49ers continue to dominate their opponents, there is no reason that Mostert cannot continue his production at this level.
Mike Williams – $6,100
While I am telling everyone to play Keenan Allen in cash games, I believe that the way to go in tournaments is Mike Williams down at $6,100. I think that Mike Williams has wide receiver one potential on any given week with the offense that he is on. Most fantasy players will not be touching him this week, as he is coming off a minor injury that he played through last week with no issues. The Houston defense should be focusing primarily on locking down Allen and Ekeler which should give Williams opportunities to get free down the field for those contested catches that he accels at. Last year in week 15, Mike Williams finished the game with 76 yards and three touchdowns, which speaks to how high his upside is when he is getting the targets. Williams is currently compiling 22.4 yards per reception this season, which is #7 in league. If the Houston Texans decide that they want to focus on the other options in the offense, Williams should see more targets than he has recently which could lend him to having a huge game at a cheap salary.
Zach Ertz – $6,900
What do you get when you combine all of the Eagles’ wide receivers getting injured with Carson Wentz’s favorite target? Zach Ertz seeing 16 targets in one game is the correct answer to this question. Last week, both Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery went down with injuries in the first quarter of the game against Atlanta. They both have been ruled out for the next couple of weeks, which leaves Carson Wentz either a bunch of sub-par options at wide receivers or one of the best tight ends of the league in Ertz. I figured that Ertz would have regression from last season, as he broke the record for receptions at the tight end position, but as long as there is no one on the field to take targets from him, he could continue to see 15+ targets every week. I would not expect Ertz to be a popular option this week for DFS players, as he has had a slow start to the season, not yet having a game over 75 yards and still has no touchdowns. Volume is what we should be looking for while playing DFS at all times, and I do not see much better of a situation than Ertz is in right now. I fully expect Ertz to end as a top three option at the position this week, and he may even see 30+% of the target volume coming from Carson Wentz.