Fanduel-DraftKings Week 3 Top Plays: The Tannehill Trap?

by Keenan Keeling
Fanduel-DraftKings Week 3 Top Plays

Fanduel-DraftKings Week 3 Top Plays

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

How'd you do in week two?


Let's just say I've had better weeks. For the most part, I was very happy with my process to narrow down my player pool to the most optimal plays of the week. I simply cannot account for Eli Manning throwing for over 300 yards, but zero touchdowns (only five other players in NFL history have done that). DFS is a game of skill, but like it's brother, poker, it is subject to a bit of luck as well.

One place where I believe I made a mistake in my roster construction last week is that I insisted on rostering two elite wide receivers: Odell Beckham, Jr. and A.J. Green. Who I still believe were in great spots last week to put up top performances. I have no issue with having both in my player pool. My mistake was not with the individual players, but rather my decision to roster the two of them. Fanduel and DraftKings have both raised the prices of elite wide receivers compared to last season. With prices above $9,000 on both sites, it is now much more difficult for these receivers to pay off their value, and even harder for them to exceed value.

I was able to eke out a win on Fanduel last week, even with two "duds" from my stud wide receivers, because we only need 2.5x return on our investments. So those mistakes are not as damaging. On DraftKings however, Green's three catch performance is a lineup killer based on his price.

This is the lesson from week two: Two top priced wide receivers in your cash lineups adds risk because of how hard it is for both to reach value. Let's keep that in mind as we explore week three.

Each week, I'm going to give you my top plays for the week in the hopes of preparing you for the week's slate of games. Winning at NFL DFS takes hours and hours of research, so hopefully this article can save you 10-15 hours of studying each week. Let's start with my...

Fanduel-DraftKings Week 3 Top Plays

Week Three's challenge will be how to navigate all of the value that has emerged due to injuries in Week Two. Nearly everyone will be looking to pay down at running back to take advantage of that value. However, it is difficult to figure out which of those players will exceed value at their low prices.

The value in Week Three lends itself to a certain kind of roster construction. Keep this in mind as you build your tournament teams this week. You can differentiate your lineup by simply not using the value and paying up at these positions.

Quarterbacks (Top Point-Per-Dollar Plays)

PlayerTeamFanduel PriceFanduel RankDraftKings PriceDraftKings Rank
Ryan TannehillMIA$7,4001$6,2002
Joe FlaccoBAL$7,6002$6,1001
Derek CarrOAK$8,1003$6,9004
Aaron RodgersGB$8,9004$7,7005
Alex SmithKC$6,8005$5,8003

Welp, Tannehill is The Chalk

I know, I'm as scared as you are. Ryan Tannehill has burned us before in spots like this, but "process over results" is what they always say. There are three reasons to love Tannehill this week:

  1. The Miami Dolphins simply cannot run the ball effectively and have just lost Arian Foster.
  2. The Miami Dolphins are facing a Browns' defense that only has a 2.3% (31st) sack rate after two weeks.
  3. The Cleveland Browns are unlikely to do anything on offense, leaving the Dolphins' offense to rack up stats against that defense.

There is no doubt Tannehill will be popular, but there are some concerns. The first concern is that Tannehill has broken our hearts before. The second concern is more actionable - Adam Gase may take his foot off the gas if Cleveland fails to generate any offense. Unlike some of the more aggressive coaches in the league, Gase may do this even if his team is only up 14 points, rather than 30.

If You Hate Tannehill Like I Do, There Is Another Great Play in Florida

I'm likely to pivot some of my cash action over to Joe Flacco, who is also in a great spot this week. Flacco's matchup is complicated to explore. The Baltimore defense, although strong versus the run, is weak versus the pass. That means the Ravens' opponent, Jacksonville, will likely need to be very pass heavy in order to sustain drives and score points. Lucky for the Jags, this is exactly how they'd prefer to play given their weapons on offense.

Since the Jaguars will be able to score points at home, the Ravens will need to keep up. Since the Ravens can't run the ball, they will do this through the air. Jacksonville's defense looks improved on paper, but in reality they have not yet come together as a unit. This game could be a shootout and Flacco is a great play at a great price.

Running backs (Top Point-Per-Dollar Plays)

PlayerTeamFanduel PriceFanduel RankDraftKings PriceDraftKings Rank
Christine MichaelSEA$6,9001$5,0001
Charles SimsTB$6,3002$4,9002
David JohnsonARI$8,4003$7,7003
Demarco MurrayTEN$7,7004$6,3005
Melvin GordonSD$7,1005$5,8004

Injuries have exposed a ton of value at the running back position this week. Adrian Peterson is out which gives us Jerick McKinnon. Ameer Abdullah gives us Theo Riddick. Doug Martin gives us Charles Sims. Jonathan Stewart gives us...well, a bunch of guys.

The top place to look at injuries for value is Danny Woodhead's injury in week two. Woodhead's injury (and San Diego's bare cupboard) paves the way for Melvin Gordon to get all of the meaningful running back snaps for the Chargers. His price is depressed on both sites due to his split role with Woodhead, and the Colts' defense ranks No. 31 (out of 32) in DVOA by Football Outsiders. Gordon is a top play this week, but he will definitely be popular.

Fade the Other "Value"

Outside of Gordon, I'm likely to fade all of the other "value" because I just don't feel confident I can get 20 touches out of them. For my money, I'm likely to go up to David Johnson for volume security. There is so much value on this slate, paying up at one running back position should not be a problem. I may end up playing Riddick on DraftKings for his PPR value, but only if I end up with three running backs on my roster.

Wide Receivers (Top Point-Per-Dollar Plays)

PlayerTeamFanduel PriceFanduel RankDraftKings PriceDraftKings Rank
Amari CooperOAK$7,7001$7,7002
Larry FitzgeraldARI$7,6002$6,9003
Kelvin BenjaminCAR$7,8003$7,2004
Allen RobinsonJAC$7,9004$7,5001
Eric DeckerNYJ$7,3005$6,9007
Jarvis LandryMIA$7,0006$6,6005
Jeremy MaclinKC$7,0007$6,0006

The situations with San Diego and Indianapolis have opened up some great value at wide receiver this week. Most people will be looking at Travis Benjamin against the Colts' make believe secondary, but I like Tyrell Williams more. Both players are likely to get 8-10 targets (remember, no Woodhead), but Williams is 6'4" to Benjamin's 5'10". This makes Williams a better red zone target, and the topper is that Williams is way cheaper.

Same Game, Other Offense

Phillip Dorsett will be thrust into a starting role as the Colts' wide receiver two with the injury to Donte Moncrief. Six to eight targets is a realistic projection, although we can't be totally sure wether T.Y. Hilton will play outside or in the slot. This is important because if Hilton plays the slot, Dorsett will be outside and will see a lot of Jason Verrett who is an elite cornerback. Pro Football Focus currently has it projected that way, which means I'll likely stay away myself. Just know that Dorsett is a source of cheap targets this week.

Other Top Plays

My top two wide receivers this week cost a bit more, but are both in amazing spots this week. Allen Robinson has let down season-long owners and DFSers alike in the first two weeks of the season. His target volume is there, and this week he gets a Baltimore defense that just allowed the Cleveland Browns to open up a 20-0 first half lead. I expect Robinson to bounce back in a big way this week.

The other wide receiver I love this week is Amari Cooper, who has seen a large jump in his market share of the targets from last season. Cooper faces off against the Titans' secondary that was poor last season and is equally poor this season. Also, with the Titans defensive strength against the run, it forces the Raiders to throw a bit more.

Tight Ends (Top Point-Per-Dollar Plays)

PlayerTeamFanduel PriceFanduel RankDraftKings PriceDraftKings Rank
Dennis PittaBAL$5,0001$3,4001
Jordan ReedWAS$7,5002$6,5002
Dwayne AllenIND$6,1003$3,8003
Julius ThomasJAC$6,1004$4,6004
Jared CookGB$5,0005$3,4005

I have been in love with Jordan Reed all week. He is the number one option for the Redskins' passing game and he's facing the slow-footed Giants' linebackers and safeties. He should be fed often by Kirk Cousins and he should have no problem eating all game long.

The one issue with Reed that may keep me from playing him in cash games is his price. He's the second highest priced tight end on both sites. However, there are some cheaper places where you can find a similar floor/ceiling combo. One such place is Dwyane Allen, who could easily be on the field for 100% of the Colts' offensive plays. He may only see one to two fewer targets than Reed, but the Chargers ranked 31st in DVOA against tight ends last season. Moncrief's injury means more two tight end sets for Indianapolis, and the only question mark is whether Jack Doyle siphons targets.

"Old Man Hips" FTW

Lastly (and the place I'm most likely to go), I love Dennis Pitta this week. It's quite possible that the Jacksonville/Baltimore game ends up as a shootout. Pitta is the only consistent part of the Ravens' offense outside of Joe Flacco, and the two have a well known "bromance". Pitta has been on the field for over 70% of the Raven's offensive snaps and he saw 12 targets last week. His opportunity is there and his price is low.

Keep checking the rankings page this weekend for updates, and I hope all of you win some money this week!

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