Week 3 Fantasy Prescription Notes: The Joshua Kelley Silver Lining
Early MVP candidate?
In the past two games, Bills QB Josh Allen has faced two of the worst defenses in the league (Jets and Miami) and piled up huge fantasy numbers. In Week 3, he faced Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and the tough Los Angeles Rams defense. Certainly, we should have expected that Allen’s stats would come back to reality? Not so fast, my friends! Allen had another incredible day passing for 311 yards and 4 TDs while rushing for another TD. He threw to eight different receivers and led a comeback to defeat the Rams after the Bills had led 28-3 earlier in the game. With the Bills playing in the same division as two of the worst teams in the AFC, it seems like a smart bet to go to the DraftKings Sportsbook and lay a few dollars on Josh Allen as this year’s MVP.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski knew when he took the job this past offseason that to win games in Cleveland; he would have to do two critical tasks. First, instill confidence in QB Baker Mayfield, and second, establish the running game. While Mayfield is still a work in progress, the same cannot be said for the Browns' rushing attack. They ran 37 times for 158 yards and 2 TDs. Nick Chubb had 19 carries, and Kareen Hunt 16 carries. This was a similar split as Stefanski was hoping for when he talked about the team’s philosophy in the offseason. The Browns' ability to run has hurt the fantasy success of WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, not to mention TE Austin Hooper. It looks like all those players might turn out to be game dependent which was not exactly what fantasy football managers were envisioning when they drafted them.
Return of the Steel Curtain
The Pittsburgh Steelers took advantage of the Houston Texans porous offensive line by sacking QB Deshaun Watson five times and adding an interception. Even more impressive was the fact that the Steelers held the Texans to 29 yards rushing on 15 carries. The Steelers missed WR Diontae Johnson, who left the game with a concussion, but RB James Conner looks like the bell cow RB again as he had 149 total yards from scrimmage and a TD.
SI Podcast Prognostication
On Thursday's SI Fantasy Football Podcast, Michael Fabiano, Corey Parson, and I talked about RBs Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. as two sneaky plays in the 49ers vs. Giants game. San Francisco didn’t run for many yards, but they were extremely proficient on the ground, scoring three rushing TDs. As long as Mostert and Coleman are out, McKinnon and Wilson have solid fantasy value.
You can check out the latest SI Fantasy Podcast below.
When playing on DraftKings, daily fantasy players are faced with one monumental question each week: play or fade the chalk. This week, Eagles RB Miles Sanders ($6.4K) and Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake ($6K) were the week's chalky running back plays. Sanders had 14.7 DK points, and Drake had 8.9 DK points. Were they bad chalk? After the fact, you must remember that you can’t confuse the result with the decision. It was absolutely the right decision to play Sanders against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. And after Aaron Jones gashed the Lions, how could you not strongly consider playing Drake? DFS is extremely hard to win consistently. Your job is to trust your process.
Free Justin Jefferson!
In last week’s prescription notes article, I said the following:
Even worse, the Vikings seem resistant to play rookie WR Justin Jefferson when it is obvious that the team desperately needs more weapons to score. I fully expect that Jefferson will be named the WR2 this week, so if he is available in your league, pick him up on waivers.
The Vikings finally got Jefferson onto the field, and their offense took a huge step forward as Jefferson had seven receptions for 175 yards and a TD. More importantly, his presence on the field opened things up for RB Dalvin Cook and WR Adam Thielen. While it’s true that Jefferson won’t perform like this every week (the Titans secondary is a mess), he is still a potential WR4 over the coming BYE weeks.
Wally Pipp = Trubisky
I am sure that most of you know about the story of Wally Pipp. He was the New York Yankees first baseman who missed one game and then lost his job to one of the greatest players of all-time, Lou Gehrig, who filled in for him. At halftime, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy decided to take out starting QB Mitch Trubisky and put in backup QB Nick Foles. Foles then proceeded to throw for 188 yards and three TDs in the second half. This move had to be done. Trubisky has always been incredibly inconsistent, and the Bears WRs were getting frustrated. Foles knows Nagy's offense well and puts his receivers in positions to make plays. There's no turning back now for the Bears—it's Foles' time.
It’s all about game flow
At $5,000 on DraftKings, Chargers RB Joshua Kelley was a great value on this week’s slate. Most DFS players reasoned that the Carolina run defense was one of the worst in the league and that Kelley was the Chargers' new goal-line RB, which should have led to plenty of fantasy points. No one ever envisioned that Carolina would be winning the game and the Chargers playing from behind. Kelley ended up with 7.2 DK points, which was a crushing blow to those who rostered him. The one thing that is out of fantasy football managers' hands is game flow. If the Chargers had been winning the game, there is a good chance that Kelley would have had 15-18 carries and 80-90 rushing yards. The best advice I can give is to try to roster players who are not game-flow dependent. That way, points are scored no matter which way the game goes.
One of the top bets on DraftKings Sportsbook this week was the Arizona Cardinals laying the points against the visiting Detroit Lions. The Lions were coming off a terrible loss to the Packers, and the Cardinals were 2-0 playing at home. Would anyone ever guess that Cardinals QB Kyler Murray would have thrown for three interceptions against one of the worst secondaries in all of football? The Cardinals are getting better, but a simple look at their box score is very telling. WR DeAndre Hopkins is dominating the target share, and Murray needs to get more players involved. Also, RB Kenyan Drake looks less explosive this year, so the Cardinals might need to get backup RB Chase Edmonds more carries. I would hate to think that the Cardinals continue to improve rapidly but miss out on the playoffs because of a bad beat at home vs. Detroit.
Dak vs. Russ
Fantasy Football owners were given a real treat as two of the best quarterbacks in the game, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Dallas’ Dak Prescott, faced off against each other in Week 3. The two quarterbacks combined for 787 passing yards and 8 TDs in an epic game. But fantasy football managers shouldn’t think that these types of performances will stop here. Both Seattle and Dallas have poor defenses, so it is very reasonable to expect both teams to be in shootouts each week. This is great for playing in seasonal leagues and DFS slates on DraftKings.
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