NFL Yahoo DFS Lineup Advice: Week 3 (Main Slate)
Week 2 gave us a mix of offensive explosions, defensive dominance, and several late-game thrillers. Some teams continued to show their Week 1 wins weren’t flukes, like the Las Vegas Raiders, who went into Heinz Field and won decisively to start 2-0 for the second consecutive season. However, other teams like the Minnesota Vikings continued with late-game mishaps, highlighting the importance of executing a game plan for four quarters.
Another week of football means more data to understand the personnel usage that coaches and coordinators prefer calling versus their tendencies to adjust based on the opponent. This is a crucial aspect of football and dominating fantasy football leagues. Identifying opportunities for players sometimes means taking a risk on a player who many others are fading based on previous outings. Week 3 offers quite a few plus-matchups and some bad ones, creating the perfect scenario to capitalize on undervalued players. Let’s assess the best players available on Sunday’s main slate to target in your DFS lineups this weekend.
Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports uses a $200 budget to construct lineups.
Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR) $36 vs. TB
The moment Matthew Stafford’s trade to the Rams was announced in free agency, everyone predicted that the offense had leveled up. This has proven true against a pair of rugged defensive units through the first two weeks, as Stafford has the fourth-best quarterback rating (127.01) entering a huge Week 3 matchup against Tom Brady (QB – TB) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In a matchup against a vulnerable Buccaneers secondary that has surrendered the 12th-highest points to opposing quarterbacks (21.86) this season and the second-highest points to opposing wide receivers (55.1), Stafford should continue to find his favorite target, Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR), early and often in a game set at 55 points. Kupp is currently leading the league in target share (38.2%). If the Bucs focus on eliminating him with double coverage, Robert Woods (WR – LAR) and Tyler Higbee (TE – LAR) are talented enough to keep the offense rolling. As a result, Stafford is my favorite blue-chip quarterback prospect in Yahoo DFS lineups for Week 3.
Justin Fields (QB – CHI) $23 @ CLE
Justin Fields’ hype has been palpable this offseason, as Andy Dalton (QB – CHI) was named the starter over the talented rookie quarterback out of Ohio State. The knee injury Dalton sustained running out of bounds in Week 2 put Fields in a pressure-packed situation. First, win the game with a narrow lead. Then, despite a lousy interception, the rookie used his mobility to evade pressure and pick up a game-winning first down.
It’s the mobility that makes Fields so desirable. He heavily targeted second-year wide receiver Darnell Mooney (WR – CHI) in Week 2, which could transfer to a Week 3 road contest against the Cleveland Browns. Surprisingly, the Browns’ defense has allowed the third-highest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (27.88), and Fields could exploit the matchup in his first career NFL start. In addition, he’s only $23 and makes for a superb salary-saving option with high-upside in Week 3.
Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC) $29 @ KC
Week 3 is an excellent matchup for Austin Ekeler to exploit, even on the road in Arrowhead stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs have not looked themselves defensively through the first two games, allowing the fourth-highest fantasy points to opposing running backs (31.6) and the fifth-most points (65) in the league.
New Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s imprint on the offense has seen Justin Herbert (QB – LAC) funnel targets to Mike Williams (WR – LAC) with a 25 percent target share. However, Ekeler has been the second favorite target with 22.5 percent of the Chargers’ targets, outpacing Keenan Allen (WR – LAC) (20%) despite playing on only 63.4 percent of snaps. Ekeler is the RB7 in PPR leagues and could wind up with double-digit targets against a soft Chiefs defense, maximizing his value. So plug him into lineups with confidence.
Ty’Son Williams (RB – BAL) $18 @ DET
One of the cheapest running backs to roster in Week 3, Ty’Son Williams, faces a Detroit Lions defense that has given up 37.4 fantasy points through two games, ranking second-highest. The first-year running back is averaging 6.5 YPC and has caught five of six targets for 45 yards for Baltimore thus far, splitting carries with veteran Latavius Murray (RB – BAL). He was recently signed off of waivers after a multi-year stint in New Orleans.
Williams has home-run speed and is explosive finding the hole, making him a great value against a poor Detroit run defense. Inside the dry environment at Ford Field, Williams could use his burners to find the end zone using either his legs or hands. Averaging 1.09 fantasy points per opportunity (13th), he is one of the most valuable running backs to insert into lineups for Week 3.
Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) $28 @ MIN
Shane Waldron seems to have unlocked the passing game for Russell Wilson (QB – SEA) and the Seattle Seahawks as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf (WR – SEA) finished 2020 as WR1s, but Lockett is second amongst all wide receivers in receiving yards (278) and doesn’t look to be slowing down with a 30.8 percent target share. What’s most impressive is Lockett’s big-play ability after making receptions, as he’s averaging 23.2 yards per reception.
Minnesota presents a plus-matchup for Lockett and the rest of Seattle’s passing attack, as the Vikings have surrendered 53.55 points (3rd) to opposing wide receivers through two games. Lockett went for 100 yards and two touchdowns in an indoor stadium in Week 1, so expect another massive outing for the talented seventh-year wideout. However, Lockett is a bonafide WR1 available at a reduced value based on mirroring Metcalf’s target share (30.8%) entering Week 3.
Sterling Shepard (WR – NYG) $23 vs. ATL
Did anyone think that a New York Giants wide receiver not named Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG) would rank 11th in season target share (27.9%) amongst all wideouts? Doubtful. But that’s precisely what sixth-year wideout Sterling Shepard has done through two weeks with Daniel Jones (QB – NYG). No doubt, the absence of Evan Engram (TE – NYG) (calf) has helped Shepard see some of the intermediate targets. Being on the field for a whopping 93.8 percent of snaps is even more insurance that rostering Shepard is a safe move in Week 3.
Atlanta isn’t as poor against wide receivers from a total fantasy point allowed (11th) perspective. Still, they are the best matchup for opposing quarterbacks (29.05), as Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI) and Tom Brady methodically threw for multi-touchdown performances. Jones isn’t the most trustworthy passer, but he looked improved in a Week 2 road loss against Washington. Shepard has caught 16 of 19 targets for 207 yards and a touchdown, ranking as the WR9 in full-PPR leagues. Grab him as your WR2 in a favorable matchup at home against the Falcons secondary.
Mike Williams (WR – LAC) $18 @ KC
As mentioned previously, new Chargers OC Joe Lombardi has prioritized involving big-bodied fifth-year wide receiver Mike Williams. He’s tied fourth in total wide receiver targets (22) and has already snagged a pair of touchdowns against good defenses. In addition, contrary to past years, Williams is getting involved on shorter routes, averaging 7.9 yards per target compared to Keenan Allen with a 9.9 yards per target average.
Kansas City is dealing with an increasingly bad defensive unit that gave up 36 points to a short-handed Baltimore team in a Week 2 loss. True, they are a divisional opponent with home-field advantage and will be prepared after a disappointing loss. However, I cannot ignore Williams being the top target in the Chargers offense with Justin Herbert under center. It will be a mix of Austin Ekeler, Allen, and Williams throughout the Week 3 battle at Kansas City. Take the best value between the Chargers wideouts and roster Williams at $18 over Allen at $26.
Rondale Moore (WR – ARI) $14 @ JAX
The hyper-athletic, Swiss army knife Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore is one of the most intriguing fantasy prospects this season. Fortunately, his current $14 value does not reflect his increasing usage, which rose from 15.6 percent to 23.5 percent in Week 2 against the Vikings.
Moore gets another bottom-ten defense in Week 3 on the road in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have allowed 60 points in two games, eighth-most in the league under new head coach, Urban Meyer. They’ve performed best against wide receivers, allowing 40.3 fantasy points this season (14th) but faring worse against running backs (9th) and quarterbacks (10th.) So please take advantage of the $14 price tag to roster Moore and reap the rewards, as he and Kyler Murray (QB – ARI) will dissect the entire Jaguars defense for a huge Week 3 outing.
Noah Fant (TE – DEN) $17 vs. NYJ
It took a couple of years, but it appears that third-year tight end Noah Fant will experience a breakout season for Denver in 2021. Fant is fourth in tight end target share (20.3%) and benefits from playing with Teddy Bridgewater (QB – DEN), who has averaged the sixth-highest air yards per attempt (5.07) despite perceptions of him being a check-down specialist.
Fant will remain a vital piece of the Broncos passing attack in Week 3, as he has only been out-snapped by Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN). The third-year tight end has dealt with being available on the field in each of his previous seasons. Fant enters Week 3 at home against a stingy Jets defense with an ankle injury that has him listed as questionable. Unless he is downgraded to out or does not practice on Friday, keep Fant plugged into your lineup due to his top-five upside.
Cole Kmet (TE – CHI) $14 @ CLE
Cole Kmet is built like the prototypical tight end and has been used in the first two weeks of the 2021 season. The second-year tight end out of Notre Dame is tied with Darnell Mooney for target share (17.5%) and has played more meaningful snaps (73.9%) than Jimmy Graham (TE – CHI) (20.3%), making him highly safe.
The Bears get a boost with rookie Justin Fields under center on the road against Cleveland in Week 3. Fields will likely lean on his stud tight end during his first career start in Cleveland, where the Browns have allowed 14.9 points to opposing tight ends (12th), creating a plus-matchup for Kmet. Avoid paying up without sacrificing the floor and insert Kmet into Week 3 lineups.
New England Patriots: $12 vs. NO
Bill Belichick’s defense is always prepared to contain the best player on the opposing team. In Week 3, Alvin Kamara (RB – NO) will be restricted and prioritized as the top option to eliminate, forcing Jameis Winston (QB – NO) to throw under duress. It’s been a Jekyll and Hyde act for Winston and the Saints as a collective, blowing out Green Bay in Week 1 and suffering a massive defeat against Carolina in Week 2. Matt Judon (DE – NE) and Kyle Van Noy (DE – NE) were huge free-agent acquisitions and will likely create another long day for Winston, as New England has only allowed 23 total points across two games, tied first in the league.
Buffalo Bills: $11 vs. WAS
The Buffalo Bills return home to play a Washington Football Team that continues to form its identity around Taylor Heinicke (QB – WAS). The Buffalo defensive unit is coming off of a 35-0 shutout victory against Miami and will be embraced by their fans in western upstate New York in Week 3 against Washington. The Bills rank inside the top ten for the fewest points allowed to every skilled offensive position. Washington is pedestrian (18th) in points scored per game (23) and will likely try to rely on Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS), who All-Pro Tre’Davious White (CB – BUF) will defend. Buy low on a great defense and save your money on a stud wide receiver or stack an elite quarterback with their top target instead.
QB – Russell Wilson ($36 vs. MIN)
RB – Austin Ekeler ($29 @ KC)
RB – Ty’Son Williams ($18 @ DET)
WR – Tyler Lockett ($28 @ MIN)
WR – Sterling Shepard ($23 vs. ATL)
WR – Mike Williams ($18 @ KC)
TE – Noah Fant ($17 vs. NYJ)
FLEX – Rondale Moore ($18 vs. JAX)
DEF – New England Patriots ($12 vs. NO)
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