In the daily games each week, we see players with low salaries post difference-maker scores. The key to winning is mixing a core of studs with some undervalued options that post impact scores for their price point.
Depending on the format, the goal is to find players that will score three or four times their salary to have a shot at GPP (grand prize pool) contests.
Top Tier: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals ($8,300/$9,000)
After two games, Murray gained 740 combined yards with nine touchdowns, leading to him being the top-scoring quarterback in back-to-back weeks. The missing link from his 2021 stats is the same success that he showcased last season (8.3 rushes for 51 yards per game) on the ground. Murray does have a pair of rushing scores to offset his lower production (5/26) in the run game. The Jaguars gave up 619 passing yards and four touchdowns to Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater over the first two weeks. Quarterbacks gained 9.2 yards per pass attempt with strength in play from wide receivers (27/416/2). Murray has a high floor, and his ceiling remains high enough to play at the top end of the quarterback pool in the daily games.
More: Lamar Jackson (31.75 fantasy points), Russell Wilson (31.42 fantasy points)
Value: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings ($6,300/$7,700)
The emergence of K.J. Osborn adds depth to the Vikings' receiving corps, giving Cousins a chance to build on his 2020 ranking (11th) at quarterback. After two games, he passed for 595 yards and five scores on the road while averaging 40.5 passes per start. On opening day, Seattle's defense held their own vs. an undermanned Colts' passing attack (251/2). Tennessee beat the Seahawks for 559 combined yards in Week 2, with Ryan Tannehill passing for 347 yards (8.7 yards per pass attempt). Opposing offenses have been on the field for 78 minutes and 20 seconds over two matchups (65 percent) against Seattle. At the same time, Minnesota's defense gave up 61 points and 661 passing yards and five touchdowns over two road contests. As a result, I expect a wide-open game with Cousins falling into the value category at quarterback in Week 3.
More: Daniel Jones (24.47 fantasy points)
Top Tier: Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers ($7,200/$7,000)
Last week, Ekeler regained his lost value in the passing game (9/61), setting up a solid day at the office (20.5 fantasy points in PPR leagues). Unfortunately, his lack of a score led to him falling short in the daily games. After two matchups, he averaged 16.5 touches per game while being on the field for about 60 percent of the plays. In addition, Kansas City struggled over the first two games against running backs (352 combined yards with five touchdowns and seven catches) or 36.10 fantasy points per game. If Los Angeles trails early in this matchup, Ekeler should be active again in the passing game.
More: Dalvin Cook (28.60 fantasy points), Derrick Henry (28.36 fantasy points)
Value: Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas Raiders ($5,500/$5,700)
Over the first two games, Drake played in the passing game (5/59 and 5/46), but he has struggled to find running room on the ground (6/11 and 7/9). The Raiders had him on the field for 71 percent of their plays against the Steelers compared to Peyton Barber. Miami struggled out of the gate against running backs (337 combined yards with three touchdowns and 13 catches). Drake needs to score and find his early rhythm in the run game to reach a winning number in the daily space. I don’t expect Josh Jacobs to play this week.
More: Chase Edmonds (19.93 fantasy points)
Top Tier: Justin Jefferson Minnesota Vikings ($7,200/$7,400)
The Vikings looked Jefferson’s way 19 times over their first two games on the road, which led to two steady showings (5/71 and 6/65/1). His play was sensational at home in his rookie season (48/812/7), highlighted by four games (7/175/1, 9/166/2, 7/70/2, and 9/121/1). The Seahawks allowed 21 catches for 321 yards and two scores over the first two matchups. Their first order of business in this week’s game should be correcting their run defense (40/212/3) and stopping Dalvin Cook, setting the stage for Jefferson to be active in the deep passing game.
Top Tier: A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans ($6,500/$6,800)
The connection between Brown and Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been there over the first two weeks. He’s caught seven of his 17 targets for 92 yards and a touchdown while failing to gain over 20 yards on any play. In 2020, Brown scored 12 times over his final 14 starts while delivering three impact games (6/153/1, 7/112/1, and 10/151/1). The Colts struggled in both matchups vs. wide receivers (9/166/2 and 15/241/2), with quarterbacks gaining 10.0 yards per pass attempt. Brown should have a bounce-back game in Week 3.
More: DK Metcalf (27.54 fantasy points), DeAndre Hopkins (26.65 fantasy points)
Value: DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,300/$5,700)
The 49ers held Smith to two catches for 16 yards on seven targets in Week 2 after starting his professional career with an excellent outing vs. the Falcons (6/71/1). The Eagles had him on the field for over 85 percent of their snaps as the WR1 over their first two matchups. The Cowboys struggled vs. wide receivers over both weeks (17/250/2 and 15/233/1), with quarterback passing for 717 yards and five scores. His salary points to an excellent value in this matchup.
More: Marquise Brown (19.04 fantasy points), Robert Woods (18.60 fantasy points)
Top Tier: T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($5,200/$6,300)
The daily games have yet to close the pricing window for Hockenson despite an excellent start to the year (8/97/1 and 8/66/1). The Lions have looked his way 20 times, giving him a top-tier opportunity. Baltimore ranks last in the league defending tight ends (10/105/1 and 9/140/1) on 29 targets while facing Darren Waller and Travis Kelce.
More: Mark Andrews (16.07 fantasy points)
Value: Tyler Higbee, Las Angeles Rams ($4,000/$5,500)
After a nice start in Week 1 (5/68), Higbee disappeared against the Colts (1/8 on one target). However, the Rams have him on the field for all over their plays to start the year. Tampa sits about league average defending tight ends (9/65 and 7/94) while allowing a 94 percent catch rate. Many daily players will gravitate toward Los Angeles’s wide receivers after two disaster games (27/303/3 and 17/277/3), but Higbee may be the player most rewarded in this matchup.
More: Jared Cook (12.12 fantasy points)
The Week 3 projections are up at Sports Illustrated, with a second update coming Saturday in the morning after all practices close Friday night.
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Senior analyst Shawn Childs is a multi-sport, high-stakes fantasy legend with lifetime earnings in the high six-figures. He has been providing in-depth, analytical break downs for years all while helping his subscribers to countless titles and winnings across season-long & DFS. An inaugural inductee of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn can teach you how to prep like a champ!