Week 3 offered some of the most shocking outcomes we’ve seen in a while, even by NFL standards. As usual, we have the three primetime games that are off the main slate, but the bye week also begins in Week 4, which leaves Carolina and Washington out of the mix as well. The Early Look will highlight salaries that jump out on this 12-game slate.
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Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. BUF ($6,800) — Rodgers has been solid on his bad knee, averaging over 20 DKFP through three games. The Bills won’t be sneaking up on the Packers after their shocking win in Minnesota, but let’s not forget the huge games Joe Flacco and Philip Rivers ($6,500) had against them in the first two weeks. Winless the last two weeks, the Packers are in need of making a statement against Buffalo. I prefer to pay down at QB this week, like most, but I see the GPP upside here. Same goes for Tom Brady ($6,700), while Drew Brees ($6,600) scares me a little with his first game of the season outdoors.
Philip Rivers, LAC vs. SF ($6,500) — If I were to pay up at this position, Rivers caught my eye. Quietly averaging close to 25 DKFP, the Chargers QB is coming off as tough a matchup as you can have and right into a near perfect situation. The 49ers are allowing an average of 25.8 DKFP to opposing QBs through three games, giving Rivers the type of ceiling he had in Week 1 against a similar KC defense which he dropped 33 DKFP against.
Andy Dalton, CIN at ATL ($5,400) — Dalton’s been a stellar fantasy QB so far this season, producing consistent numbers on his way to a 21.7 DKFP average. After a strong showing on the road against the Panthers, it makes no sense to see his salary decline $300 heading into a matchup against the Falcons in the dome in Atlanta, where we just saw Brees and Ryan score 43 DKFP each in Week 3. There are some other options below that interest me, but right now an extremely underpriced Dalton against a run down Falcons defense makes the most sense.
Other value options: Matt Ryan ($6,100), Eli Manning ($5,600), Ryan Tannehill ($5,500)
Alvin Kamara, NO at NYG ($9,600) — This is the last week we can take advantage of Kamara playing with Mark Ingram suspended, and that’s been a spectacular place to capitalize thus far. While we’ve always been concerned about the Saints limiting Kamara’s touches, he saw an insane 16 carries and 15 catches against the Falcons on Sunday. The 31 total touches and 20 targets couldn’t be more encouraging — leading to 37 DKFP without even reaching the end zone. Brees could see some limitations in the deep game against the Giants in Week 4, which will be the first time New Orleans plays outdoors this season. That could lead plenty of checking down to Kamara, which has been gold in the first three weeks.
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. DET ($7,700) — The top of the RB pool isn’t quite as deep as usual, but I love this spot for Zeke. Elliott’s been the only thing consistent about Dallas through three games, earning between 18-22 touches and 17.6-19.7 DKFP in each outing. While Detroit’s defense looked stellar against the Patriots on Sunday night at home, let’s not forget how bad they were in the first two games — Matt Breida ($5,800) and Isaiah Crowell ($3,700) turned 21 combined carries into 240 yards and three touchdowns. We know the Cowboys will lean heavily on Zeke, and the matchup brings huge upside.
James White, NE vs. MIA ($5,400) — I’m having a really tough time finding value at RB right now to be honest. White’s role as a receiver always keeps him in play for me — 20 targets and two receiving touchdowns through three games. While the three names in this section are decent plays, just look at all the value came on Friday of Week 3 when we got that rush of injury reports. I’d pay up at RB for now, but also expect some values to open up that we just don’t know about as of Monday.
Other value options: Lamar Miller ($5,000), Kerryon Johnson ($4,400)
Michael Thomas, NO at NYG ($9,100) — We thought Thomas was too expensive last week, and after another big game, catching all 10 of his targets for 129 yards, his salary has gone up $200. The time has come to fade Thomas. While I liked Thomas as a play in Week 3 against the Falcons, I just didn’t want to pay $8,900. Now, paying $9,100 for him is really crazy. As mentioned, the Saints will be playing outside for the first time this season, which could lower Brees’ upside, but the other factor is that Thomas will be matched up with Janoris Jenkins — a shutdown CB.
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG vs. NO ($8,700) — A play that I do like in this matchup is on the opposite side, where OBJ could feast. On 34 targets this season, Beckham’s produced 24 catches for 271 yards — averaging 19 DKFP without even reaching the end zone so far. The Saints rank dead last in the NFL in DKFP per game to the WR position, so the upside for OBJ’s breakout game is all here …
Calvin Ridley, ATL vs. CIN ($4,900) — After a 4-64-1 line in Week 2, Ridley’s 16.7 DKFP put him on the value radar at just $3,700 for Week 3. His 7-146-3 outburst for 43.5 DKFP now has him firmly on everyone’s Week 4 radar. Playing at home against Cincinnati, he’s still much too underpriced given the role we’ve seen Ridley unleashed in. I also love all the other value options below, which is nice given the lack of early value at RB.
Other value options: Tyler Boyd ($4,600), Ted Ginn Jr. ($4,600), Mike Williams ($4,500), Antonio Callaway ($4,300)
Rob Gronkowski, NE vs. MIA ($7,000) — The Patriots certainly don’t look good, but Gronk’s still shown high upside, going for a 7-123-1 line for 27.3 DKFP in Week 1. Miami has been one of the worst teams defensively against the TE position over the past season-plus, including getting hit with 25.2 DKFP by Gronk the only time he faced the Dolphins last season — he went for 5-82-2 in that game. The Pats are desperate for a bounce-back win at home, which means Brady will throw to who he trusts.
Austin Hooper, ATL vs. CIN ($2,900) — Ridley will be the value target in this offense, but Hooper is a great way to get cheap exposure. At $2,900, it’s tough for Hooper to really burn you, as he hasn’t scored fewer than 5.4 DKFP this season. At the same time, he comes with upside like the 16.9 DKFP he scored in Week 2. Cincy has really struggled against TEs, so the matchup works in Hooper’s favor as well.
Other value options: Jimmy Graham ($4,500), Jared Cook ($4,100)
Seahawks D/ST at ARI ($3,200) — For three weeks we’ve been targeting against the Bills in this spot, and it finally blew up in our face. Is the Packers D/ST ($3,500) a good play at home this week against Buffalo? Probably, but we can’t be as sure anymore. I kind of like saving a few hundred bucks and looking at Seattle, who came alive with 15 DKFP in Week 3, but still hasn’t scored below 7.0 DKFP this season. Arizona showed improvement in Week 3, but still has just 20 points on the season.
Bears D/ST vs. TB ($2,600) — This is just too cheap for a Bears D/ST that’s averaging close to 15 DKFP per game. Sure, Tampa’s offense has been electric, but on the road in Chicago is a different story. I trust this unit to make plays, even if they surrender more points than expected.
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