Good morning, Patriots fans. Feeling good? Thought so. It’s Friday, so it’s time for some starts and sits as you enjoy the afterglow of a big win. As usual, I have done my best to try to find some worthwhile recommendations. And if you need some advice on players not listed in this space, check out my full lineup rankings at Rotobahn. It’s also a good idea to cross-reference these recommendations against my full lineup rankings that are up at Rotobahn and will be fully updated by Saturday evening.
Don’t forget to tune in to the Fantasy Football Hour this Sunday at 8 a.m. when Jim Hackett and I will discuss trending Week 3 topics and crucial game day information.
Matt Ryan, Falcons at Saints, $7,400
I will gladly pay that price to get him in my DraftKings lineup, but I need to know that Julio Jones is playing. Ryan, armed with a healthy Jones, is a great play against a weak Saints defense. It’s also a plus that the Saints probably will score a lot of points. Vegas has this game scoring more points (53.5 over/under) than any other Week 3 tilt.
Derek Carr, Raiders at Titans, $6,900
Carr has looked even better than he did in 2015. He’s cool in the pocket and can extend plays with his feet when necessary. This is good because he’s got quality receivers who work the various levels of the field well. He’s got Michael Crabtree working the intermediate routes, but he’s also got Amari Cooper, who can stretch the field and cause havoc for defenses. He’s also got a good young tight end and a deep backfield. Carr should give you solid numbers this weekend at the Titans. He’s startable in all leagues and very playable in tournaments on DraftKings. I’m looking to stack him with Cooper.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars vs. Ravens, $6,500
He’s struggled so far, but only in real football terms. The fantasy digits have been there because Bortles is surrounded by high-end playmakers. Garbage time is almost always productive for the Jaguars and it allows Bortles to backfill his game stats for his fantasy owners. He should end up with respectable to strong numbers this week as the Ravens are not that good on the back end. I’d be stacking Bortles with either Allen Robinson or Julius Thomas on DraftKings — depending on what my budget looks like.
Carson Wentz, Eagles vs. Steelers, $5,500
The price is nice. Wentz has not played like a rookie so far, and you throw to beat the Steelers. Pittsburgh plays the run well and has a leaky secondary. Meanwhile, Wentz has underrated playmakers and he can augment his passing numbers with his feet a la Jacoby Brissett. He’s a compelling play at such a low price. I’d stack him with Jordan Matthews in tournaments, but he is too risky for cash games at this point.
Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Broncos, $5,700
He’s priced correctly, and that’s not good. Dalton has a big weapon in A.J. Green, but Denver gets to the passer very well and has a pair of great corners. Dalton is in for a long day, and he’s battling a sore hip. None for me, thanks. I’ll wait for a better matchup before I use him.
Charles Sims, Buccaneers vs. Rams, $4,900
Doug Martin is out this week, and probably for two more. Sims will take over lead back duties and should be in for a substantial workload as he will be the early down back and the passing down back. The matchup may be tough, but game flow will not take Sims out of this game, so he should end up somewhere between solid output and a big day. That’s a good proposition on DraftKings at a sub 5K price. I’d get involved.
Theo Riddick, Lions at Packers, $4,900
Riddick, like Sims, is a passing down back who will be taking over lead back duties. He’s going to rack up receptions like always, but he should also be good for 50 yards rushing and perhaps multiple scores if they have red zone success. One thing Riddick won’t get is goal-line carries. That should be rookie Dwayne Washington’s responsibility. Still, I am loving Riddick at 4,900 units on Draftkings thanks to the full PPR scoring.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings at Panthers, $3,800
Are you seeing a pattern here? With Adrian Peterson out, potentially for the season, McKinnon’s time has come. He’s been nursing a sore foot, so his reps may be monitored this week, but he’s a tremendous buy in DraftKings tournaments — even in a very tough matchup. You don’t get that kind of upside at 3,800 units very often.
Tevin Coleman, Falcons at Saints, $4,500
He’s in a near even split with Devonta Freeman, and what’s key is that the split includes passing downs, which is surprising given Freeman’s acumen in those situations. Freeman is a great receiver and pass blocker and obviously can run it. The fact that they are wedging Coleman in there shows how much they want him to happen. They want his explosive traits on the field. This week, against the Saints on their fast track, Coleman has big upside at 4,500 units. There’s some risk to be sure, but a few long scores is definitely in play if you can stomach the risk.
Jeremy Langford, Bears at Cowboys, $5,200
I’m not paying that price, and I am not expecting anything more than flex value out of him in 12-team leagues. He’s the second-best back on the team, and the more work that rookie Jordan Howard gets, the more obvious this will become to all involved. I’m fading Langford, even in this plus matchup.
Marvin Jones, Lions at Packers, $6,200
He has looked outstanding so far and posted 118 receiving yards in Week 2. He should be the lead weapon in the passing game this weekend and he’ll see plenty of single coverage because the Lions are balanced on offense with Anquan Boldin and Eric Ebron working the inside. Jones is a good buy at 6,200 units and he’s a strong WR3 option in all formats.
Travis Benjamin, Chargers at Colts, $5,200
I hope you all started him last week. If you didn’t, you have another chance. Benjamin should see plenty of good matchups. He’ll have some tough times when he’s locked up with Vontae Davis, but Davis could have troubles with Benjamin’s speed just as easily as Benjamin could struggle with Davis’ physicality. There’s also some question as to how healthy Davis is. Lastly, I doubt Davis shadows Benjamin. He may be needed to deal with Tyrell Williams, who brings a rare size/speed combination to the field.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks vs. 49ers, $4,200
It’s not an easy matchup because the 49ers have solid cornerbacks, but the price is nice and Lockett showed off his true game in Week 2 — running outstanding routes and making the tough catches we’ve come to expect from him. He’s got plenty of ceiling in a game like this one and with Doug Baldwin nursing a sore knee. Targets should be plentiful.
Mike Wallace, Ravens at Jaguars, $5,000
He’s been great so far and his targets could rise going forward. Wallace is an imperfect player, but he’s found a friend in Joe Flacco, who has the kind of deep passing skills that Wallace’s recent quarterbacks have lacked. He could score twice this week if things break right, and he’s a nice risk to take on at DraftKings at 5,000 units.
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos at Bengals, $6,000
It’s a tough matchup and I expect Denver to run the ball early and often. Sanders looks like a weak WR3 to me and I am not inclined to meet his $6,000 price on DraftKings.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens at Jaguars, $3,400
Pitta is back, folks. He’s been reunited with his old pal, Joe Flacco, and there’s no reason to doubt him right now as long as he stays healthy. Start him this week and continue to ride the wave. He’s a good value on DraftKings and fits the full PPR format well. He’s a good option in tournaments because he gives you some upside at a low price.
Dwayne Allen, Colts vs. Chargers, $3,800
With Donte Moncrief out, there will be more targets to go around. The Chargers have a shutdown caliber corner in Jason Verrett, so Allen could see more action outside the red zone. A big week is possible here, and it’ll only cost you 3,800 units on DraftKings.
Clive Walford, Raiders at Titans, $2,800
If you can’t afford Pitta or Allen, Walford can be bought near the price floor, but you get the kind of upside you might find at the 4K level and above, so he’s a nice option in tournaments or if you want a cheap stack option for Derek Carr. Walford looked good in Week 2 and his percentage of the offensive snaps rose to over 60 percent.
Coby Fleener, Saints vs. Falcons, $3,300
Yes, I know. This one is for the masochists. Fleener’s woes go beyond being unproductive. He’s looked bad in the process. Late head turns and balls bouncing off his hands and helmet. It’s been a rough introduction to New Orleans for Andrew Luck’s old roommate. Still, things will get better and the Falcons are a get-well matchup to be sure. If you aren’t loaded with a better option, Fleener could get it done for you this week. If he flops, then it’s officially time to look elsewhere.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks vs. 49ers, $3,000
I’m not quite ready to play him, but he’s close now. He played 82 percent of the snaps last week and that number should continue to rise in the coming weeks. Graham is playable in seasonal leagues if you need him, but he’s not near his top level yet. Keep him on the pine another week and see what happens.