- Building DFS lineups can look like an indecipherable puzzle in Week 3. These five facts will help make the picture clearer.
With only two weeks gone by in the new season, it’s easy to be swayed by small-sample data that isn’t truly meaningful. Below are five trends worth paying attention to as you set your Week 3 DFS lineups.
1. Zach Ertz has five or more catches in nine of his last 11 games
Over the 11 games in question, Ertz owns averages of 9.5 targets, 6.9 receptions, 78.7 yards, and 0.36 touchdowns per game as his chemistry with second-year quarterback Carson Wentz continues to improve. For context, only Antonio Brown averaged more than 6.9 receptions last season, and only six wide receivers averaged more than 78.7 yards per game. Ertz’s salary on FanDuel ($6,500) and DraftKings ($5,000) is nowhere near what you would pay for a top wideout, however. And if you go back only seven games, the numbers get even better. In that window, Ertz has put up 10.3 targets, 7.6 receptions, 90.4 yards, and 0.43 scores per game, with at least eight catches in four of those games. Ertz is essentially posting the kind of numbers that got Travis Kelce drafted in the second round of traditional fantasy leagues this season.
Meanwhile, the Giants tend to bleed production to tight ends because general manager Jerry Reese’s philosophy has long been to not spend premium draft capital or salary cap on the linebacker position. The Giants allowed the most receiving yards per game in the league to tight ends two seasons ago (81.4) and the fourth-most last season (65.8). None of the four Giants linebackers to play snaps this season—Jonathan Casillas, B.J. Goodson, Calvin Munson, and Devon Kennard—were drafted above the fourth round, and 60% of the team’s coverage snaps at the position have been played by players who weren’t drafted at all in Casillas and Munson. Not surprisingly, the organizational philosophy is paying dividends for enemy tight ends again, as both of the team’s games have featured at least five catches and a touchdown by the opponent’s top tight end. Jason Witten tagged the Giants for a 7-59-1 stat line to aid the Cowboys in a victory over the Giants at Jerry World on Sunday Night Football in Week 1, and Eric Ebron led the Lions in receiving with a 5-42-1 line against the Giants last Monday night.
We debuted a new DFS value metric at 4for4 this year that is superior to points per dollar, and Ertz ranks as our top value play at tight end in Week 3 on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
2. Kareem Hunt leads all running backs in total yards and touchdowns despite being 12th in touches
It seems like so long ago when Hunt put the ball in the ground in the season opener in Foxboro on his first career touch. Since then, Hunt has rattled off 355 total yards and five touchdowns on 38 touches. While Hunt’s ridiculous 9.3 yards per touch will start to come back to earth, he’s still a safe play despite a rising salary because he has accounted for all but two of Kansas City’s 40 touches by running backs this season. Opponents have fed their running backs 31 touches against Hunt’s Week 3 opponent, the Chargers, in both games so far this season.
3. Le’Veon Bell handled 31 touches in Week 2, 18 more than in Week 1
Bell has put up two lackluster performances to start the season, but touches are still the most valuable commodity for a DFS running back, and Bell got them in abundance last week. Bell will probably be doing more of his damage on the ground this season—he averages 1.4 fewer targets per game with Martavis Bryant in the lineup—but don’t fall into the trap of letting his quiet start make you forget he’s the league’s highest-upside running back. After a price drop of $1,000 on DraftKings and $600 on FanDuel since Week 1, it may be time to pounce against the Bears. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s unit is likely to play its signature two-deep-safety look to limit Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant over the top, rather than load the box to stop Bell.
4. Keenan Allen is one of three receivers with double-digit targets in both weeks this season.
The other two are Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins. Picking up right where he left off pre-ACL injury, Allen drew 10 looks from Philip Rivers in Mile High two weeks ago and 10 more in the Chargers’ home opener against the Dolphins last week. Dating back to the start of 2015, Allen has been targeted 10 or more times in seven of 11 games. Allen is $1,800 cheaper than Brown on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and has been much more efficient than Hopkins, who is averaging a laughable 4.4 yards per target as he suffers through growing pains with rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have already surrendered 88 or more receiving yards to three separate wide receivers through two weeks.
5. A.J. Green’s FanDuel salary is at its lowest point in five years
You have to go back to Week 3 of the 2012 season to find Green with a salary lower than $7,500. After a 10-day stretch in which Green complained about not getting the ball enough and the Bengals replaced offensive coordinator Ken Zampese with Bill Lazor, Green has a good shot at paying off his salary with a new boss that’s sure to want to get him involved early and often. Despite the Bengals’ tumultuous season on offense that has seen them fail to crack 10 points in two games, Green still has at least five catches for at least 67 yards in both games. The Packers have allowed 87% of the receiving yardage racked up against them to wide receivers, and Green will almost certainly help continue that trend.