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Fantasy football and betting primer for Week 3

Your one-stop shop for NFL fantasy football, DFS and betting advice for Week 3.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) against the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium.  Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 3 of the fantasy football season. There are quite a few injuries to navigate this week, so we’ll need to take a look at the most impactful when setting our lineups. Then I’ll give you my favorite DK individual plays at each position. And I’ll wrap it all up with my favorite wagers for this Sunday.

I’ll also be answering start/sit questions in our War Room starting two hours before early game kickoffs. Do give a click if you’re reading this between 11 am - 1pm EST Sunday morningish.

Fantasy Relevant Injuries


Tyrod Taylor is out with a punctured lung, which will give Justin Herbert his second start of the season. Taylor gets a decent matchup with the Panthers and makes for a strong 2QB league streamer and GPP value play.

Jimmy Garoppolo is out with a sprained ankle, giving Nick Mullens the start. Mullens is a backup quarterback and will be inconsistent, especially considering the myriad of injuries on the 49ers offense. He’s not a recommended start other than desperate 2QB leaguers.

Drew Lock is out at least two weeks and likely more. Jeff Driskel will take over with Blake Bortles in the wings. He’ll take on a good Tampa Bay defense this week and is a downgrade for the offensive pieces in Denver.

Running Back

Christian McCaffrey is out for 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury, giving backup Mike Davis the lead role until he returns. Davis’s upside appears to be in PPR leagues, as he caught all eight of his targets for 74 yards and rushed once for one yard in come-from-behind mode.

Saquon Barkley is done for the year and the Giants will have Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman and Devonta Freeman fighting for work this week against the 49ers. Lewis is the likely player to lead the running backs in touches, but his upside isn’t great.

Cam Akers is out with a ribs injury, but Malcolm Brown will play with a pinky injury. That leaves Darrell Henderson and Brown to lead the way against the Bills. Henderson put up better numbers with more work in Week 2 than Brown and is the highest upside play of the two this week.

Phillip Lindsay is doubtful this week, which will once again give Melvin Gordon a big workload against a tough Buccaneers run defense. He’s not a high-upside play, but is a volume based start.

Zach Moss is out with a toe injury, which should help Devin Singletary see a bit more work against the Rams. It’s not a smash spot for Singletary, but in PPR leagues he should have a decent fantasy floor.

Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert are out this week against the Giants. Jerick McKinnon is next up in line but will likely share work with Jeff Wilson. Both have fantasy value but McKinnon is the upside play against the Giants this week.

Wide Receiver

Davante Adams is doubtful for Sunday night against the Saints. Aaron Jones should get a bump in work while Allen Lazard and Marques Valdez-Scantling both become a little safer plays with more upside.

Michael Thomas is out against the Packers. Tre’Quan Smith and Alvin Kamara were the biggest winners in extra receiving work last week and that could remain true this week, but Jared Cook and Emmanuel Sanders remain good possibilities for good fantasy stats.

Julio Jones didn’t practice this week and is listed as questionable, making for a game-time decision against the Bears. If active, he could be used as a decoy. Hopefully we get a better idea of how he looks before the game starts.

Kenny Golladay is a game-time decision and told reporters he’s not 100 percent, but that he also hopes to play. If he plays, he’s going to see work in a game the Cardinals should be able to get a lead. I’ll be starting him if he’s a go.

A.J. Brown is out with a knee injury, giving Corey Davis the No. 1 receiver job in Tennessee again this week. Tight end Jonnu Smith is also due for more work against the Vikings and both are worth a start.

Henry Ruggs is out with a hamstring injury. Bryan Edwards, Nelson Agholor and Hunter Renfrow will get more work, but this is a tough matchup against the Patriots. Darren Waller is likely the only receiver I’d start in most leagues.

Jerry Jeudy is a game-time decision after being listed as questionable against the Buccaneers. He’ll have Jeff Driskel throwing to him if he plays, but he will also be the No. 1 receiver, giving him volume.

Jalen Reagor is out for around eight weeks and DeSean Jackson should be set up well in a matchup with the Bengals this week.

Tight Ends

George Kittle is out with a knee injury, which will again give Jordan Reed the start in a good matchup.

Darren Waller is considered questionable against the Patriots, but will likely play. After seeing 16 targets on Monday night and likely being the key player Bill Belichick wants to take out of their offense, he could have a tough time repeating his big numbers from last week.

Jack Doyle will return from his one-week absence and likely hurt Mo Alie-Cox’s fantasy appeal against the Jets.

Favorite DK plays


Kyler Murray vs. Detroit Lions, $6,800 — Murray has put up two big fantasy days despite throwing just two touchdowns and two interceptions because he has 158 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. The Lions defense is awful and the only worry is that Murray and company will get a big lead and let Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds eat yardage and clock in the fourth quarter.

Cam Newton vs. Las Vegas Raiders, $6,700 — Newton gets a good matchup against a weak Raiders defense and we’ve already seen his upside this season with a monster 38.58 DK points game last week. His two rushing touchdowns per game isn’t sustainable, but he showed enough with his arm last week to feel good about him putting together enough stats in a good matchup.


Miles Sanders vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $6,400 — Sanders saw a huge workload in his first game back from injury with 20 rushing attempts and seven targets. He finished with 131 total yards and a touchdown against a Rams defense that is better than the Bengals defense they face today.

Jonathan Taylor vs. New York Jets, $7,000 — With the game in hand, Taylor saw 28 touches against the Vikings last week. He totaled 110 yards and a touchdown. That kind of workload should be in line once again against the Jets and their ineptitude.

Kenyan Drake vs. Detroit Lions, $6,000 — The Lions have had a bottom three run defense so far this season while Drake has averaged 20 touches per game. He hasn’t gone wild against Washington or San Francisco, but they have much better defensive lines than the Lions. Drake is another back we can feel safe about getting plenty of touches.

Jerick McKinnon vs. New York Giants, $4,900 — McKinnon is riskier than the first three backs on this list, but is in a good spot with both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman out against the Giants. The 49ers are down those two backs, along with Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle. Nick Mullens is a downgrade from Jimmy G, but should be able to get the ball to McKinnon through the air.

Joshua Kelley vs. Carolina Panthers, $5,000 — Kelley had more work than Austin Ekeler last week as the Chargers tried to take the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands. He wasn’t efficient on the ground but had 23 rushing attempts and two receptions while Ekeler had 16 rushing attempts and four receptions. I still like Ekeler this week, but Kelley’s price coupled with a Panthers defense that has allowed six rushing touchdowns to running backs, is nice.

Darrell Henderson vs. Buffalo Bills, $5,400 — Henderson looked great last week against the Eagles and the Bills weakness is on the ground. With Cam Akers out, I love Henderson’s upside at Buffalo.


DeAndre Hopkins vs. Detroit Lions, $7,900 — Nuk has been a target hog so far this season and that likely will remain the same, especially with Christian Kirk out. The Lions are hurting in the defensive backfield and have no answer for Hopkins.

CeeDee Lamb vs. Seattle Seahawks, $5,400 — Seattle has given up 50 receptions through two games. Fifty total receptions you ask. And I answer, no, 50 receptions to just wide receivers. A big chunk of those have gone to slot receivers, where Lamb spends most of his time. There are plenty of players to pick from this likely high-scoring affair, but Lamb is my favorite for his price.

Diontae Johnson vs. Houston Texan, $5,400 — Johnson has been a target hog for Pittsburgh and even though he’s had a few hiccups, he’s fared well, especially last week when he caught 8-of-13 targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. The connection between him and Ben Roethlisberger is getting better and they get a great matchup with the Texans.

Terry McLaurin vs. Cleveland Browns, $5,900 — Denzel Ward is questionable with a groin injury and there’s a good chance he misses this week. Even if he does go, a setback in game wouldn’t be out of the question with a groin injury. McClaurin went off last week and I expect he gets 10+ targets again this week.

DeSean Jackson vs. Cincinnati Bengals, $5,200 — Jackson has seen 16 targets and is going to bust a long touchdown sooner than later. With Jalen Reagor out, that might be much sooner.


Jonnu Smith vs. Minnesota Vikings, $5,200 — Smith didn’t see an uptick in targets with A.J. Brown out last week, but he did catch two touchdown passes, giving him three on the season. I like his upside, but his floor is still a little low for cash games.

Jordan Reed vs. New York Giants, $4,000 — With Kittle out last week, Reed caught two touchdowns on eight targets against the Jets. Now he’ll take on the Giants in the same stadium with Kittle out again. The 49ers are missing around 20 key players for this game, but somehow Reed has managed to stay upright.

Logan Thomas vs. Cleveland Browns, $3,700 — Thomas hasn’t done much with his opportunities except for a touchdown, but he’s had plenty of opportunities and I expect him to get more against a Browns defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends so far.


Colts vs. New York Jets, $4,100 —The Jets are a dumpster fire that is currently falling over a cliff into a bottomless pit.

Steelers vs. Houston Texans, $4,000 — As I’ll mention below, in my thoughts on betting the Steelers, Houston has given up the second most QB hits this season and the Steelers have given the most QB hits this season.

Buccaneers vs. Denver Broncos, $3,700 — The Broncos are hurting on offense, with Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton and Phillip Lindsay out this week, I expect the Buccaneers to win going away.

Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers. $2,700 — I don’t love any cheap plays this weekend, but the 49ers are absolutely gutted on offense and defense. They still have good players out there, but Nick Mullens is someone worth targeting with a cheap D/ST.

Favorite wagers

Last week I managed a 3-1 record against the spread. Let’s see how much luck I have left.

Patriots (-6) vs. Raiders — I like the Patriots here, as the Raiders are coming off a hard fought win on Monday night over a favored Saints team. In that game we saw Josh Jacobs banged up and now Henry Ruggs is out and Darren Waller isn’t 100 percent. This makes for a letdown game for Las Vegas.

Steelers (-4) vs. Texans — Houston looked like they were going through the motions against Baltimore as they gave up four sacks last week and now they face a stout Steelers defensive line. Only the Broncos have allowed more QB Hits than the Texans this season and part of that is because they faced the Steelers.

Buccaneers (-6) at Broncos — I don’t hate Jeff Driskel, but he is likely a downgrade from Drew Lock, while the Broncos won’t have Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy is not 100 percent healthy. They’ll also be without Phillip Lindsay and will face a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed just 2.55 yards per carry to running backs and ranks 6th against the pass and 7th against the run in DVOA.

Washington (+7.5) at Browns — The Browns got back on track against the Bengals last Thursday night, but it was the Bengals. Washington’s offense still has plenty of room for improvement, but their defensive line is stout, ranking third in QB hits and first in sacks. The Browns also could be without their top cornerback, Denzel Ward, which would be good news for Terry McLaurin and the passing game.

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