Point/Counterpoint: Week 3 Daily Fantasy Strategies for DraftKings
By Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup:
Every week of the season for daily fantasy brings new debates about core plays, fades, game stacks, and more. For fantasy purposes, it is best to read about both sides of the argument and decide which side, data, and analysis YOU agree with.
For the NFL season, our series of Point/Counterpoint will be a back-and-forth discussion between siblings Megan Shoup and Steve Shoup about the slate strategy, stacks, core plays, and fades for that week.
So let’s get to Week 3 strategy talk!
I know week 2 was decent for both of us since we were high on the Commanders/Lions and Dolphins/Ravens games.
Now let’s break down Week 3 for DraftKings’ main slate! What games are you most interested in stacking up this week?
Is all of them the correct answer this week? This is a fantastic slate at first look with most games having at least some fantasy potential on at least one side. Three games stand out from the jump:
Bills vs Dolphins- We know how good Buffalo’s offense is, can the Dolphins push back enough for this to be a 4-quarter fight? If so, you will want pieces of this game.
Eagles vs Commanders- The Eagles offense has looked dominant so far in two games and the Commanders’ defense has been flat-out atrocious. Washington’s passing game has been pretty good, and if they can overcome Philly’s tough defense this could be a shootout.
Lions vs Vikings- Detroit’s offense has put up a lot of points in each of their first two games and Minnesota’s defense has some issues. On the other side, Minnesota’s offense has plenty of firepower in their own right and the Lions’ defense could be missing some top guys.
One game that I considered mentioning was the Chargers vs Jaguars. I think there is a chance for that game shootout as well. What do you think about that game and any other top games to target?
Those are my three favorite game stacks as well. I think I’ll have interest in the Chargers vs. Jaguars if I hear QB Justin Herbert is cleared to play and good to go. I would still have a little hesitation just because even if he’s cleared, we won’t know how truly healthy/limited he will be. I have a little interest in the Rams vs. Cardinals but that comes as a distant 4th game stack to the three you mentioned.
What a different week from last week when the top fantasy options were on primetime and the main slate had fewer “pay up” spots. Now all the studs are on the main slate and the primetime games this week don’t have much fantasy firepower.
We have yet to see ceiling games from top-tier running backs through the first two weeks. I know Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffery, and other top-priced RBs can explode at any time. For this week, I think my lineup construction will be mostly paying down at RB and TE, and paying up at QB and WR. Maybe in short slates, I’ll flip the build in a couple of lineups to hedge (more on that in another article). But that’s my plan for lineup construction this week.
What is your strategy for lineup construction? And who are your core/must-have plays this week? How do you choose with so many top-end teams and players?
I do think paying up at RB to be contrarian is interesting, but the only two I like are Dalvin Cook and D’Andre Swift in the same game. Swift will also need to be fully back and playing starter snaps again. He’s such an explosive player though that in under 10 touches he had like 16 DK points last week.
Overall though I do think paying down at RB will be the play. There are some guys like David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson under $6K who might be attached to bad offenses, but they do have the talent to hit for 25-30 points. Same with the TE position. For as good as they are, I have a tough time seeing Kelce, Andrews, and Waller getting ownership. You have so many guys between $4,500 and $3,100 (Irv Smith come on down) who can get 6-10 targets. If one of those end up in the end zone, they are adding tremendous value.
So I will be with the field with my main spend up being at WR, and QB as well because I love Josh Allen this week and want exposure to the Bills. I will say I am starting to look at some cheaper QB builds and if that allows you to get that extra stud WR in your line-up. In that case, it could be worth it. I do think some cheaper QBs are in good enough spots to get to that 30-point threshold.
I’m leaning toward a few more Tua, Wentz and even Trevor Lawrence builds. You can do some fun things when you start there. How about you, are you going to pay up for Allen and company or stay more in the lower range?
The pay up options I’m considering at RB are Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Leonard Fournette, and a very projected low-owned Aaron Jones. I’ll probably have the most Mixon and Fournette (great price/high owned) when I pay up at RB.
I like Monty but he’s going to be chalk at 25% projected ownership on a team with an 18-point implied team total and a QB that can vulture TDs. And Patterson makes me nervous because he got a ton of usage in week 1 and not great usage in week 2. My favorite cheaper RBs that are coming in reasonably owned are Miles Sanders, Michael Carter, and wait on the James Conner news to see if that opens up value.
As QB, I will have plenty of Allen as I love him this week too and love that game stack. But other than Allen, I’ll probably stay in the Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, Joe Burrow, and Tua Tagovailoa range. They all offer excellent game stacks with their receivers and players from the other team and the total price of the stack allows you good flexibility with the rest of your lineup.
My core WR and TE are mainly going to be from my stacks of the Bills, Dolphins, Vikings, Bengals, and Commanders and then runbacks like AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, ASB, Garrett Wilson, etc. Outside of that other receivers in my core at this point are Davante Adams, Christian Kirk, and Marquise Brown.
I know a lot will be tied to QB/game stacks, but who are your core plays for WR and TE this week?
I do worry about some of these chalk cheaper RBs, so I will spread my ownership around with that group. I also am going to be interested in going back to Dameon Pierce. I wish he was more involved in the passing game, but the game script could go his way. He’s just $5K and if the Texans are up you have a real shot at the 100-yard bonus and maybe 1 or 2 TDs. If James Conner is out, I will probably only really consider Eno Benjamin. Benjamin could have the Chase Edmonds role from last year and be more involved in the passing game. With the Cards potentially playing from behind, that’s the option that makes sense this week.
It is so deep at receiver as we’ve been saying. Definitely focused on all those teams’ weapons as I build and I like the other options you mentioned as well. I do want Mike Williams in the mix as well. I think Herbert will play and Williams could be peppered with targets again in a sneaky shootout. I also think there are a couple of options that could fly under the radar this week that might be worth considering:
Brandin Cooks– Has 22 targets on the year so far, and faces a young Bears secondary that is exploitable. We’ve seen this last year from Cooks where he would have just some monster games given his target share and when he is in a good spot.
Saints WR Trio- One of these guys will probably hit this week, and none figure to be highly owned or are even that expensive. Thomas has 11 catches on 17 targets so far and 3 TDs. Landry has 11 catches on 14 targets and one 100-yard game so far. The rookie Chris Olave is the one that really interests me. He wasn’t used a lot in week 1, but he got 13 targets in week 2, catching only 5 for 80. He had an insane 300+ air yards and is $4,500. Thomas and Landry are probably safer and lower-owned options, but Olave could have massive upside if a couple more of Winston’s deep passes are on target.
JuJu Smith-Schuster– I know he only got 3 targets in week 2 and just 10 yards, but he’s a great price and no one wants to play him. This is the Chiefs offense, with Patrick Mahomes and you can get a cheap number 1 receiver. Sure, last week wasn’t great, but I do not believe Kansas City can keep winning without involving Smith-Schuster. This is a great way to have a lot of upside but make a chalky line-up stack unique.
For TE I’m going to keep it simple. I will do a couple of Waller line-ups, I am surprised that his ownership projection is even behind guys like Kelce and Andrews who are more expensive. Waller offers some savings from the top, with still some slate-breaking potential.
Mainly though I will be looking at Ertz, Higbee, Everett, Knox, Logan Thomas and Irv Smith. I know Smith will end up super chalky, so I will probably be underweight on him, and overweight on Logan Thomas. Thomas looks pretty healthy and saw his snap share hit almost 75% in week 2. He faces an Eagles defense that has historically struggled with TEs, and didn’t defend Hockenson or Smith too well in the first two games.
I like the Pierce call as another cheap RB to get exposure to and Eno Benjamin if Conner is ruled out. As for other receivers, I have Cooks, Olave and JuJu in my player pool. My favorite cheap tight ends are Logan Thomas and Irv Smith and I agree that I’ll probably play more Thomas to get an ownership discount when possible.
We were so close in week 2! Let’s have a great week 3!
What do you think of these strategies for Week 3 DFS on DraftKings?