Week 3 FanDuel Top Shelf and Value Plays: In Brady We Trust

Tom Brady

In week 2 we witnessed some monster fantasy performances and some big name injuries. Tom Brady was unbelievable shredding the Bills secondary for 466 yards and three touchdowns. It’s obvious that Brady is playing with a major chip on his shoulder and playing with some extra motivation. Speaking of shoulders Drew Brees hurt his throwing shoulder and is questionable at best for week 3. And then we have the Tony Romo collarbone injury that compounds the loss of Dez Bryant. It’s safe to say Jerry Jones is scrambling after losing the two most important pieces to his offense. The Cowboys panicked and traded the Bills future picks for Matt Cassel. The injuries continue to mount which is why DFS is such a great escape from seasonal leagues.  It’s a relief knowing that you can reset your lineup each and every week and start with a fresh slate of players and games to target. My goal this week and every week is to hit on my picks and help you set a lineup that will keep you under the salary cap and put you in the cash. Without further a do here are my week 3 FanDuel Top Shelf and Value Plays. Good luck this week setting your FanDuel lineups.

Top Shelf Picks

Quarterback

Tom Brady- New England Patriots $8700

vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Tom Brady has been come out guns blazing to start the 2015 NFL season. Brady has completed 63 of 91 passes for an NFL-leading 754 yards and seven touchdowns in the Patriots first two games. Last week he shredded the Bills secondary for 466 yards and made it look easy in the process. It’s full speed ahead for Brady in week 3 vs a Jaguars defense that is giving up an average of 251 passing yards a game. If Ryan Tannehill can throw for 359 yards against the Jags then the sky is the limit for Brady. I’m projecting Brady to go over 350 passing yards and toss at least three touchdowns. Be sure to get him in your lineups and enjoy the ride.

Russell Wilson- Seattle Seahawks $8400

vs Chicago Bears

The last time I recommended Russell Wilson in week 1 he fell short of my lofty expectations and laid a big egg. Wilson owes me one and this week I’m very confident he’ll pay me back with this pick. I know I’m picking on the Bears defense but rightfully so considering they’ve allowed an NFL-leading seven touchdowns through the air and an average quarterback rating of 128.0. This will be the Seahawks home opener after starting the season on the road in St. Louis and Green Bay. After two ugly losses the defending NFC champs will come out fired up and take it out on leaky Bears defense that has more holes than Swiss cheese. The Bears will have no answer for Wilson and the 12th man at CenturyLink Field. Wilson has a very high floor in this juicy matchup which should put him over 250 yards passing, two passing touchdowns, and at least 50 rushing yards.

Value Plays

Philip Rivers- San Diego Chargers $7700

at Minnesota Vikings

I’m rolling the dice on Philip Rivers in Week 3 and he’s definitely a value at his current FanDuel price tag of $7700. This week he’s priced lower than Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Ryan Tannehill, Cam Newton, and Colin Kaepernick. My reason for endorsing Rivers is that the Chargers are coming off a tough loss in Cincinnati and will need to pass a lot to keep up with AP and company. The Chargers aerial attack seems to be rejuvenated with the addition of Stevie Johnson, an emerging Ladarius Green, and a very motivated Keenan Allen who appears to be in great shape. This game could turn into a shootout and I’ll put my money on Rivers arm and bank on a bounce back performance in week 3 by the Chargers.

Marcus Mariota- Tennessee Titans $7300

vs Indianapolis Colts

While I typically shy away from recommending rookie quarterbacks Marcus Mariota hasn’t looked like a rookie early on. Mariota finally gets to play his first official home game in The Music City at LP Field. I’m expecting that he’ll be extra motivated to put on a show for the hometown Titan faithful. This divisional matchup is a big one especially for the Colts who are coming off a disappointing performance on Monday Night Football. I expect them to be hungover with a short week to prepare for the Titans. Mariota should have little trouble picking apart the depleted Colts secondary. The Colts are already without starters Greg Toler and nickelback Darius Butler. If Vontae Davis is out this matchup becomes even more appealing for Mariota and the stage will be set for a monster game.

Top Shelf Picks

Running Back

Le’Veon Bell- Pittsburgh Steelers $8800

at St. Louis Rams

Le’Veon Bell is back and you know what that means! Bell is a stud and needs to be locked in your DFS lineups. DeAngelo Williams did a superb job holding down the fort but this is Bell’s backfield and he’ll slide right back into his workhorse role.  As good as the Rams defense has been they’ve been getting gashed on the ground (153 yds./game) and only the Packers and Browns have allowed more rushing yards this season. I expect Bell to pick up where he left off last year and hit the ground running, literally speaking. You should have zero reservations about playing Bell. He’s the Gronk of the running back position so you want to be a guest at his 2015 coming out party in St. Louis.

Marshawn Lynch- Seattle Seahawks $8700

vs Chicago Bears

I was all over Marshawn Lynch last week but ate crow as he was bottled up by the Packers registering only 41 rushing yards on 14 totes (2.7 AVG.) It’s no secret that Lynch loves the home-cooking at CenturyLink Field. Last year he scored 11 of his 13 rushing touchdowns at home so I’m expecting a pissed off Lynch to run wild all over a weak Bears defense. With Jay Cutler on the shelf the Bears will struggle to move the ball therefore allowing the Seahawks to control the clock and let them do what they do best, run Beast Mode until he pukes. I expect this game to get out of hand early leading to plenty of garbage time points for Lynch. When the smoke clears we may be looking at the top-scoring fantasy running back in week 3.

Jamaal Charles- Kansas City Chiefs $8700

at Green Bay Packers

Jamaal Charles looked great on Thursday Night Football running against a stiff Broncos defense for 125 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately his stellar performance was overshadowed by two very costly fumbles, the second of which costing them the game. Charles has had plenty of time to stew about putting the pigskin on the carpet and will be sure to protect the ball at Lambeau Field. I know the Packers just shut down Marshawn Lynch but Charles has more wiggle to his game in addition to elite home run hitting ability. This Primetime Monday Night Football matchup has the highest over-under of the week at 49 points making Charles even more attractive in DFS. As I noted previously the Packers have allowed the second most rushing yards averaged per game (154) and yards per rush attempt (5.3) to opposing running backs. I wouldn’t bet against Charles under the bright lights of MNF.

Value Plays

Latavius Murray- Oakland Raiders $7000

at Cleveland Browns

Latavius Murray was tabbed by many experts as one of the top breakout candidates of 2015. He’s been relatively quiet until finally scoring a touchdown last Sunday in The Black Hole. I watched the entire Raiders-Ravens game and Murray was a player that stood out to me. He only had 15 carries but I was impressed with his ability to make something out of nothing and not get stonewalled at the point of attack. His involvement in the passing game is another feather in his cap keeping him on the field on critical third downs. The Raiders travel to the Dawg Pound this week to face a Browns team that’s allowing a NFL-worst 160 rushing yards per game. I’m expecting Murray to parlay this juicy matchup into his best game as a pro. I prefer Murray at his current salary of $7000 over more expensive options like Frank Gore, DeMarco Murray, C.J. Anderson, and Justin Forsett.

Dion Lewis- New England Patriots $6700

vs Jacksonville Jaguars

I’ll admit that I originally feared that Dion Lewis was a flash in the pan but it’s become very apparent that he’s part of the plan in New England. We all know that Bill Belichick is notorious for switching up his running backs and keeping everyone guessing on a week-to-week basis. Let’s consider the facts and they are that Shane Vereen is gone thus leaving his very important role up in the air. James White has once again fallen out of favor with coaches and Travaris Cadet was never really a legit option. Meanwhile Dion Lewis has seized his opportunity and has already accomplished more than Shane Vereen ever did in this role. Lewis played 73 of 86 snaps last week and was utilized by Belichick as the featured back over LeGarrette Blount. I see no reason why Belichick will take him off the field with the exception of ball control issues. As long as he protects the rock and doesn’t make a habit of fumbling he’s Belichick’s featured back. Looking at the the matchup it’s worth noting that Jacksonville has been stingy on the ground this year allowing less than three yards per carry. I expect another Brady-led aerial attack with Lewis once again dominating snaps and soaking up targets by the boatloads.

Top Shelf Picks

Wide Receiver

Antonio Brown- Pittsburgh Steelers $9300

at St. Louis Rams

Antonio Brown is a monster and if you don’t play him in your FanDuel lineups you might as well be donating your bankroll. Through the first two weeks of the season Brown leads the league with 328 receiving yards and is averaging 164 yards a game. On FanDuel he’s registered 23.8 points and 32 points respectively in week 1 and week 2. He’s widening the gap between himself and Julio Jones as the best wide receiver in the NFL and is basically on a tier all by himself. He’s as matchup proof as they come at the wide receiver position and this week takes on the Rams secondary. It will be hard to top last week’s performance especially with Le’Veon Bell returning from suspension but I wouldn’t recommend betting against Brown. Bell will command a lot of the defensive attention which is a good thing for his teammates.

Julio Jones- Atlanta Falcons $9000

at Dallas Cowboys

Julio Jones continues to be a target monster and only Julian Edelman has been targeted more by his quarterback. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again you should be pairing Julio with Antonio in as many FanDuel lineups as possible. You can go cheap at quarterback and running back and still manage to stay under the cap while building your lineups around these two stud wide receivers. This week the Falcons travel to Jerry’s house to take on decimated Cowboys team minus stars Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. The Falcons will be without electric rookie running back Tevin Coleman so I’m expecting their high-flying passing game to take center stage. While the Cowboys secondary has done a decent job so far they’ve faced two teams in the Giants and Eagles that have been struggling early on to get in going through the air. They’ll also be without the services of their top pass rusher Randy Gregory allowing Matt Ryan extra time in the pocket to survey the field. I’m expecting the Cowboys to struggle to move the chains allowing the Falcons to dominate the time of possession resulting in lots of targets for Julio.

Julian Edelman- New England Patriots $7700

vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Julian Edelman is tied with Julio Jones with an NFL-leading 22 receptions while also pacing the league with 31 targets. Tom Brady has his crosshairs dialed in on Edelman as his top pass catching target. The Patriots are red-hot and will stay that way this week hosting the Jaguars. As I mentioned previously the Jaguars have been stout versus the run so I’d expect Bill Belichick to attack them through the air. It also bears mentioning that this game has the second-highest over-over for the week at 47.5 points. Edelman is a safe bet for at least 20 points this week and is still relatively underpriced at $7700 on FanDuel. I’d prefer Edelman over more expensive options this week like Calvin Johnson, Randall Cobb, A.J. Green, and DeAndre Hopkins.

Value Plays

Donte Moncrief- Indianapolis Colts $6000

at Tennessee Titans

Don’t look now but we may have a changing of the guard in Indy. I know it’s early and T.Y. Hilton has been nursing a knee injury but in the meantime Donte Moncrief has looked the part of Andrew Luck’s favorite target. Through two weeks Hilton has been targeted 21 times while Moncrief has 19 targets. In terms of production Moncrief has 13 receptions to his name while Hilton has only managed to haul in 11 of his targets. While I’m not saying this trend will continue the numbers prove that Moncrief is the safer bet of the two for consistent week-to-week fantasy production. It’s obvious that Luck trusts Moncrief and with Dwayne Allen also questionable to play he becomes the Colts best red zone threat. I’m all in on Moncrief this week versus the Titans. Moncrief is a safe bet to lead the Colts in receiving yards while reaching pay dirt for the third consecutive week. You’ll be hard pressed to find a cheaper and more reliable option at wide receiver than Moncrief at his current salary of $7000.

Allen Robinson- Jacksonville Jaguars $6600

at New England Patriots

I was all over Allen Robinson week 1 but unfortunately he only managed one reception on seven targets. He was battling a minor knee issue so that might explain his week 1 dud. If you stuck with Arob week 2 you were rewarded with a monster output of 30.5 points on FanDuel. Robinson finished week 2 with six receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns. It was nice to see Blake Bortles take deep shots at Arob and as a result connected on a 46-yard bomb for a score. Allen Robinson has as much upside as any wide receiver but Bortles must improve for him to take the next step forward in his development. Arob is going to be a good option most weeks due to the fact that the Jags will be playing catchup more often than not. This week is a good example of that since they’ll be traveling to Gillette Stadium to take on the Patriots.

Top Shelf Picks

Tight End

Tyler Eifert- Cincinnati Bengals $5900

at Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Eifert continues to be Andy Dalton’s preferred option in the passing game. Through the first two weeks of the season he leads the Bengals in targets (17), receptions (13), receiving yards (153), and touchdowns (3). Eifert or “Baby Gronk” as some refer to him is legit and a great option moving forward. At the tight end position he’s tied for second in targets (17) with Jason Witten, Jordan Reed, and Greg Olsen. The targets will keep coming as long as Eifert is healthy and on the field so lock him in your DFS lineups.

Value Play

Ladarius Green- San Diego Chargers $5600

at Minnesota Vikings

Ladarius Green is quickly becoming one of Philip Rivers most trusted targets in the passing game. The Antonio Gates suspension has opened the door for Green to show what he’s capable of and if he keeps it up he’ll be more than a fill-in for Gates. It’s no secret that the Chargers coaches are high on him and have been grooming him to be the heir apparent to Antonio Gates. It helps that Gates has been very involved in helping Green work on his route running and technique getting off the ball and it’s starting to show on the field. Green has been consistently targeted by Rivers with 12 targets and most impressively to me is his catch rate (83%) having hauled in 10 passes. This week I’m expecting the Vikings to focus on taking Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson out of the game. This should open things up for Green to have a productive day and at his current salary of $5600, he’s a great value play. With the breaking news that Green suffered a concussion be sure to check game day inactives and make sure he’s active on Sunday. Assuming he’s active Go Green this week and save money at the tight end position allowing you to beef up the rest of your skill positions.

Defenses To Target

Arizona Cardinals $4700

vs San Francisco 49ers

The Arizona Cardinals are proving that they’re legit and will remain a good option even after the departure of defensive guru Todd Bowles. Patrick Peterson looks like a completely different player and is making big plays. Through two weeks the Cardinals defense has only allowed two touchdowns and the special teams play has been outstanding. David Johnson is a special player and proving that he can be a game-changer with his home run hitting ability. He was voted NFC Special Teams Player of The Week for Week 2 and it was much deserved. David Johnson became the first player in NFL history with a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown and kickoff-return touchdown in his first two games to begin NFL career. I’m banking on 49ers team playing without Carlos Hyde and struggling to establish the run. If Kaepernick is forced to win game with his arm I could easily see him throwing a couple picks.

New York Jets $4500

vs Philadelphia Eagles

The New York Jets have a nasty defense headlined by a stout d-line and outstanding secondary. Make no mistake they can stop any offense on any given day. Just go ask Andrew Luck and he’ll confirm this fact. The Jets defensive unit is the real McCoy and will only get better as the season progresses. They’ve only allowed two offensive scores but both came on big plays by wide receivers Travis Benjamin and Donte Moncrief. The Eagles are a mess right now and DeMarco Murray has more rushing attempts than rushing yards. I believe that Chip Kelly will right the ship but not this week and not against the Gang Green defense that is a force to be reckoned with.

I”ll leave you with a couple of my tournament lineups that I’m starting. They look great right now and if my picks hit I like my chances of cashing out this week.

 

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