Welcome to the Week 3 DFS Blue Book; your weekly buyer’s guide as a GM in the DFS industry. Each week we will highlight players or match ups that could pay off big based on price, projections, historical performances, and other factors that you need to know about to build a winning roster. Here’s who we’ve highlighted for Week 2 of the 2016 season.
Drew Brees | QB | GPP
Last season, Drew Brees had dramatic home and road splits. In his 8 home games, Brees averaged 26.13 fantasy points per game (FPG). His road stats were the polar opposite; he averaged 15.71 FPG away from New Orleans. Delving further, Brees averaged .59 points per drop back (PDB), whereas in Brees’ away games his PDB dropped all the way down to .36. On Monday night, the Atlanta Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints. At Brees’ price point for this contest, an average home game returns value. This kind of high floor makes him a cash game consideration but his 4x upside makes him one of the best GPP plays on the slate.
Andrew Luck | QB | Cash
Andrew Luck in Week 1 was amazing. Luck in Week 2 was abysmal. Denver’s defense, specifically their pass rush, can do that to the best QBs. Thankfully, Luck does not have to deal with an elite pass rush in his matchup against the San Diego Chargers. More time for Luck means more time for the downfield throws that Indy loves to challenge defenses with. One significant difference between Luck’s first two weeks was his average depth of target (aDOT). In Week 1, Luck had the time to test the defenses with an aDOT of 11.3 yards but in Week 2 he wasn’t able to hold the ball as long and his aDOT dropped to 7.9 yards. This week, he will have more time to scan the field and attack which will result in a high-scoring week for the Colts offense.
Carson Palmer | QB | GPP
Carson Palmer bounced back in Week 2 from a poor start in Week 1 against the Patriots. In his Week 2 game against the Buccaneers, Palmer was able to throw for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns. This week, the Arizona Cardinals travel to Buffalo to play against a team that was just shredded for 374 yards by Ryan Fitzpatrick. In the game, Rex Ryan frequently left his cornerbacks on an island with no safety help. This led to Fitzpatrick throwing fades when the CBs were in trail technique, or using back shoulder throws to perfection when CBs were running stride for stride with his WRs. The Bills also use Nickell Robey-Coleman at nickel. Robey-Coleman has shown the ability to be a playmaker, but he has a significant size disadvantage against Larry Fitzgerald. Overall, the Cardinals are a terrible matchup for a Bills team that may have given up on their coach. Palmer definitely has the ability to turn in a Top-3 QB performance this weekend.
Philip Rivers | QB | Cash
Philip Rivers’ numbers took a significant downturn last season when Keenan Allen went on IR with his lacerated kidney. This season, Rivers did not look as affected by the loss. This is probably because last season’s loss of Allen was more of a culmination of injuries than a single injury that turned everything bad. In Week 2, Rivers was incredibly efficient with an adjusted completion percentage (aC%) of 81.8 percent. One play that stands out was his second touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin. Benjamin looked in toward Rivers and gave him a hand signal, ran a go route, and Rivers dropped it in perfectly to him. This kind of rapport with his new WR is great news for Rivers. This weekend, he plays against a Colts defense that has a secondary that has been significantly depleted by injuries. The high expected points total coupled with the Colts poor passing defense makes Rivers our preferred cash game target in Week 3.
Matt Ryan | QB | GPP
So far, 2016 has been a resurgent year for Matt Ryan. After posting a subpar season in 2015, Ryan has started strong with 730 yards and 5 touchdowns this season. This Monday, the Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on a Saints team that has lost its top-2 CBs to injury. Monday night, Ryan will have the option to pick on Sterling Moore, Ken Crawley, or DeVante Harris. In what is expected to be a high-scoring contest, Ryan might be a good mid-tier QB to roster that has high-end QB upside. Stacking Ryan with Julio Jones and perhaps some Saints WRs makes for an interesting lineup core that could pay dividends.
Marcus Mariota | QB | GPP
So far this season, Marcus Mariota has had his ups and downs. He had some fumbling issues in Week 1, but in Week 2, Mariota was able to lead the comeback against the Detroit Lions on the road. This week, Mariota gets to pick on the Oakland Raiders defense that has given up back-to-back top-2 QB performances. Expect Mariota to test the Raiders through the air and maybe get his legs involved (only 27 rushing yards through 2 games). At his price point, he definitely has 4x upside against the Raiders, making him a great source of salary relief at the QB position for GPPs.
DeAngelo Williams | RB | Cash
Through two games, DeAngelo Williams has been the No. 1 fantasy running back. He has excelled through the air and on the ground which is a staple of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. They get their RBs the ball and allow them to make plays. This weekend will be Williams’ last hurrah as the starter for the Steelers. Williams will face an improved Eagles defense on Sunday. The Wide-9 that Jim Schwartz runs does, however, have a tradition of giving up some rushing yards. Look for the Steelers to neutralize the Eagles pass rush with draws and screens to Williams and deploy him in your cash games.
Ezekiel Elliott | RB | GPP
There may not be a bigger mismatch this week than the Cowboys offensive line against the Chicago Bears front 7. This will allow Ezekiel Elliot to finally capitalize on his large workload. Through the first 2 weeks, Elliot has 2 games with 20 carries and a touchdown in each, but the yardage hasn’t been there. In Week 3, Elliot will once again get the lion’s share of the work but this week he will finally have some room to operate. In a game that we expect to turn ugly, lock in Elliot for all formats.
DeMarco Murray | RB | Cash
In Week 2, DeMarco Murray was able to strengthen his grip on the starting RB position for the Tennessee Titans. His 22 fantasy point performance definitely helped Blue Book subscribers win money last week. The area where Murray has been most impressive this year is the passing game. In his 2 games, he has caught 12 out of 12 targets which provides owners with a very stable floor. In Week 3, Murray is still underpriced but he is playing a struggling Oakland Raiders defense. So far this season the Raiders have been unable to defend the pass which could benefit Murray—one of the best receiving backs in the NFL.
Melvin Gordon | RB | Cash
There may not be a player in the NFL that has benefited more from injuries than Melvin Gordon. Through the season that is just two weeks old, the San Diego Chargers have lost Brandon Oliver in the preseason, Keenan Allen in Week 1, and Danny Woodhead in Week 2; not to mention an early preseason injury to Stevie Johnson. This has opened up a ton of usage that Gordon figures to fill. In both games this season Gordon has scored touchdowns. One area that Gordon hasn’t shown his talent this year is through the passing game. He only has three catches after being very successful catching the ball in his rookie year. In Week 3, Gordon takes on an Indianapolis Colts team that hasn’t stopped anyone yet. This game is going to turn into a shootout which will allow Gordon to finally show off his receiving chops. His usage in the running and receiving games will give Gordon tons of cash game appeal while his touchdown upside makes him a fine GPP play.
Christine Michael | RB | GPP
Through two games there is no question who the more impressive Seahawks RB has been: Christine Michael. Much of that could be because Thomas Rawls is still shaking off the rust, but Michael has been very good. PFF has him ranked at 71.5 which is 12th overall among qualified RBs. Even more impressively, he has graded highest in a pass-blocking role with a strong grade of 84.7. That kind of reliability really helps his fantasy value. This week, with injuries mounting in the passing game, expect the Seattle Seahawks to try and run the ball in vintage Seahawk fashion. As of this writing, there are still questions about Rawls availability which makes me really like Michael as a GPP play on sites that have Thur-Mon slates. Sneak Michael in and hope he gets the lion’s share of the carries for incredible upside.
Isaiah Crowell | RB | GPP
Isaiah Crowell has been a pleasant surprise for an otherwise unimpressive Browns team. Through two games, “The Crow” has a PFF grade of 70.6, but what is most impressive is his points per opportunity (PPO). Crowell leads all RBs with a PPO of .81. In Week 2, he even showed off his explosion. During his 85-yard touchdown rush, Crowell was clocked at over 21 mpg which was the fastest any player has traveled this year on a rushing touchdown. With Cody Kessler starting Week 3 for the Cleveland Browns, expect Crowell to get a ton of run in an effort to shorten the game. Over 20 carries and 3-4 targets in the passing game is completely reasonable. However, Kessler’s inabilities make Crowell a volatile play because the Browns could fall behind and abandon the run. Crowell does have immense touchdown upside, though, which holds him up as a strong GPP play.
Giovani Bernard | RB | GPP
Normally, the Denver defense isn’t defense place we like to target. Bernard is a special case because of his involvement in the passing game. Last week, he was a fantasy stud in the passing game which led to over 28 fantasy points. Bernard also paced the Bengals backfield by taking 61 percent of the snaps and he leads the NFL in targets at RB. This week, the Bengals face a tough matchup but it is a home game. Bernard will see plenty of work in the passing game due to the constant blitzing of Wade Phillip’s defense which gives Bernard immense receiving upside and a high floor on full-PPR sites.
Dwayne Washington | RB | GPP
Dwayne Washington gives you a great source of cap relief while also providing touchdown upside. Dwayne Washington is a 6’2, 211 lb. former wide receiver who is immensely talented but extremely raw. I’m not going to make David Johnson comparisons, but I’m not-not going to make them either. Washington is a guy that is going to break out in a big way and it’s just going to be a matter of investing in him while his price point is still low. Washington is a recommended player to sprinkle in to a GPP lineup or two this week.
Julio Jones | WR | GPP
Julio Jones enters Week 3 as our favorite WR target. With Jacob Tamme currently leading the Atlanta Falcons in targets, we expect there to be some regression to the mean in the Falcons passing game. In this case, that would mean Jones will see a significant increase in targets against the New Orleans Saints. Monday night, in primetime, Julio Jones will be covered by either Ken Crawley or Sterling Moore. In a high scoring game like this one, can you afford to not pay up for the best player on the field? We don’t recommend it.
Odell Beckham | WR | GPP
Last week, Odell Beckham failed to capitalize on his mismatch with the Saints secondary. Some of that was the effectiveness of Sterling Shepard out of the slot taking away targets from OBJ. But OBJ actually dropped what would have been a long touchdown pass, so his opportunity was definitely there. This week the Giants will take on the Washington Football Team in New York and OBJ will get a chance to redeem himself. The Washington duo of Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman is an above-average tandem, but they have given up back-to-back 100-yard performances to Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant. Beckham will have the chance to make it three straight this week and we like his chances.
Allen Robinson | WR | GPP
Allen Robinson has had a very disappointing two weeks of this young NFL season. With this disappointment has come a bit of a price drop across the industry. This weekend, Robinson will take on the suddenly hot Baltimore Raven,s but he will do so at home in a game that is a pick’em. Sunday is supposed to be 88 degrees in Jacksonville which will help the home team. We also have to remember that the Ravens just gave up a huge game to Corey Coleman. This could be the week that Robinson gets going and will likely be his lowest price point of the season. The discounted price points for the struggling Jags make an Allen Robinson/Blake Bortles stack an interesting GPP option.
Jordy Nelson | WR | Cash
In Week 2, Green Bay went back to the tried and true formula of targeting Jordy Nelson. Aaron Rodgers targeted Nelson 11 times which ended up being 30 percent of the Packers target share. In a Week 3 showdown with another division rival, the Detroit Lions, Nelson will once again be the focal point of the passing game. This week we are going to recommend Nelson as a volume play for cash games with 4x upside. It may be make or break for the Packers offense if they don’t get it figured out this Sunday.
Jarvis Landry | WR | Cash
Normally Jarvis Landry is a player that we like to target when the Miami Dolphins are underdogs. The game script that often comes with that is very favorable for Landry because he works the underneath routes well and that is what defenses are giving up when they are defending a lead. This week, however, the Dolphins are a 9.5-point favorite. That itself is a mind-bending statistic, but when you take into account that the Dolphins will likely be rolling out Jay Ajayi or Kenyan Drake at RB, Landry becomes a fascinating play. It is likely that the Dolphins will rely heavily on their passing game. This benefits Landry who has been on the field for 94 percent of the Dolphins offensive snaps and has a 20.5 percent Target Rate (Targets per snap). This season, Landry still has a very short aDOT of 6.3 yards but with the lack of talent on the Browns defense, he can certainly rack up the RAC (run after catch). His price point is relatively modest across the industry because of his perceived lack of TD upside, but he has as good a shot to score a touchdown this week as he ever will. Lock him and load him into your cash game lineups and watch as his receptions pile up.
Marvin Jones | WR | Cash
The emergence of Marvin Jones has been great for the Detroit Lions. Through 2 games, Jones has been targeted 21 times for 12 catches and 203 yards. Last season at this time, Calvin Johnson had been targeted 22 times for 12 catches and 122 yards. Jones will never be confused with Megatron, but these numbers at least show that he has filled the Megatron role in the Lions offense. This week, the Lions will be without Ameer Abdullah who was put on the IR with a foot injury. This will lead to the Lions using the passing game even more heavily than they already do. If that is the case, you can expect Jones to see double-digit targets once again. With the dearth of lower priced cash game RBs, you will need several mid-priced WRs to fill out your roster. We think Marvin Jones is a player you need to consider in cash games for the rest of the season.
Larry Fitzgerald | WR | Cash
Larry Fitzgerald has continued right where he left off last year with strong performance after strong performance. Fitz reinvented himself as a big slot man that has been popularized recently by offenses like the Cardinals, Jets, and Saints. These oversized slot receivers are especially effective because they often times get matched up with nickel CBs that are undersized for the position. This week, Fitz will be covered by Nickell Robey-Coleman who stands 5’7 tall. If that wasn’t enough to plug the future HOFer into your cash games, take into account that Fitz’s PPO is .65. That means that on average, every 3 pass routes he runs, Fitz is accruing nearly 2 fantasy points! That type of production gives Fitz the high floor that we are looking for in a cash game WR.
Stefon Diggs | WR | Cash
Stefon Diggs has really come on strong this year with 16 catches for 285 yards and a touchdown. But this type of production shouldn’t be unexpected. As a rookie, Diggs was excellent. From Week 6 to Week 17 (he didn’t see much of the field prior to Week 6), Diggs was the WR30 in PPR leagues. More impressively than that, of the 29 players ahead of him, only Allen Hurns had fewer targets. This year we are seeing what happens when Stefon Diggs has an increase in experience and target share. His price point doesn’t match his production yet so we are recommending him as a safe cash game play—even on the road against the Panthers.
Travis Benjamin | WR | Cash
Travis Benjamin has been very efficient since joining forces with Philip Rivers. Last season with the Cleveland Browns, Benjamin was effective but not efficient. He only caught 59 percent of the balls thrown his way. This season, albeit a small sample size, Benjamin has gone 13-13 catching his targets. There will be some regression there but you can’t underscore his newfound importance to Philip Rivers. This week he is taking on a beaten up Indianapolis Colts secondary and should be able to use his speed for some long receptions. He will also see a ton of targets with the injuries to Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen. Benjamin will be a popular play this week and we don’t think you can afford to fade him.
Tajae Sharpe | WR | GPP
Tajae Sharpe was everyone’s darling heading into last week, but was unceremoniously shut down by Darius Slay. This week he will be running routes against the likes of Sean Smith who has been doing his best Brandon Browner impression this season. Where we see room for improvement this week with Sharpe is an increase in Target Rate. So far this year he has a Target Rate of 13.7 percent but he has been on the field for 131 out of 134 offensive snaps. That number is significantly higher than any other WR on the roster. This week might be the week that begins to see a Target Rate that matches his snap percentage, which leaves Sharpe with 5x upside.
Phillip Dorsett | WR | GPP
Phillip Dorsett will be benefiting from Donte Moncrief’s injury, but also from downgrading his opposition. Dorsett’s aDOT for the year is 22.9 yards which means he’s only been running deep routes. This week he will likely have to take on more of the route tree but he will do so against Brandon Flowers instead of Aqib Talib. Dorsett will also benefit from the decrease in pass rush that Andrew Luck will face because he will have more time for his deep routes to develop. Dorsett definitely has 5x upside this week.
Jermaine Kearse | WR | Cash
Jermaine Kearse isn’t exactly an explosive player, but this week he could be a volume play that will give you salary relief. Through the first 2 weeks of the season, Kearse has taken 84 percent of the offensive snaps, but has only been targeted 10 times. This week, due to injuries to Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse will be the healthiest WR that has any track record of playing significant snaps in the NFL. At his modest price point, Kearse should be able to hit 3x value and give you some salary relief—if needed—to chase after higher priced studs elsewhere in your lineup.
Delanie Walker | TE | Cash
Delanie Walker is a great play this week in his match up against the Oakland Raiders. In past weeks, we have gone over Oakland’s struggles against the TE, but this season it seems as though there are struggles at all levels of that defense. Through 2 weeks of the season, the Raiders have given up more yards than any NFL team in the last 65 years. The passing game is where they are struggling the most; they have given up 846 yards through 2 games! Since Walker is the Titans No. 1 target, he will also be our No. 1 target at TE. We have him listed at cash because of his stable floor with touchdown upside, but he is also a preferred GPP play.
Dwayne Allen | TE | GPP
With Donte Moncrief’s injury, the Colts will be using a ton of 12-personnel (1 RB, 2 WR, 2 TE). This means that Dwayne Allen is going to get a significant bump in his target share in Week 3. Last week was a down week for Allen but that will happen against the Broncos. This week, Allen gets a bit of a reprieve with a home game against the Chargers. The Chargers LBs Denzel Perryman and Manti Te’o are especially poor in pass coverage, and safeties Jahleel Addai and Dwight Lowery will have to focus on the Chargers deep passing game. This should really open the middle of the field for Allen which makes him a great GPP play.
Dennis Pitta | TE | Cash
Dennis Pitta was in many of our lineups last week and really saved our bacon with his Top-5 TE performance. During his Week 2 game, Pitta was targeted a whopping 11 times; furthering the narrative that he is Joe Flacco’s favorite target. One stat that makes him a cash game only play, though, is his aDOT of 4.9 yards. Without any downfield targets, Pitta has limited upside. However, his huge target share means he has an extremely high floor. Pitta still has a low price point across the industry and we recommend using him in cash games until further notice.
Seattle Seahawks | DST | Cash
The Seahawks are an expensive defense this week and for good reason. They have a home game against the division-rival San Francisco 49ers. Coming off of a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Seahawks are going to be fired up in front of the home crowd. Expect the Seahawks to shut down the run and force Blaine Gabbert to beat them through the air. This will lead to multiple turnovers and several chances for defensive TDs. If you are willing to pay up at DST, dial up the Seattle Seahawks in cash this week.
Dallas Cowboys | DST | GPP
The Cowboys have quietly put together a decent start to their season on the defensive side of the ball. This week, they will look to build on their start at home against the Chicago Bears. The Bears are dealing with injuries on both sides of the ball. They are also struggling with their OTs. Both Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie have absolutely terrible pass protection grades from PFF at 43.2 and 26.5 respectively. If the Cowboys jump out to a lead on the Bears struggling defense, expect the Cowboys to be able to tee off on backup QB Brian Hoyer.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers | DST | GPP
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have some great pieces to their defense. Gerald McCoy, Kwon Alexander, and Lavonte David are all great defenders. Unfortunately, the Bucs have one of the shortest CBs corps in the NFL. Alteraun Verner, Vernon Hargreaves, and Brent Grimes are all undersized CBs that have been picked on by two of the largest WR corps in the NFL (Atlanta and Arizona). This week the Bucs have a home game against the Los Angeles Rams who don’t have that kind of receiving corp. Instead, they rely on their running game which is what the Bucs excel at stopping. After giving up 40 points on the road to the Cardinals, the Bucs will have low ownership, but they also have high-upside due to their matchup. This makes the Bucs an interesting GPP DST punt that will open up additional cap space elsewhere on your roster.
Miami Dolphins | DST | Cash