Daily Fantasy Football Picks and Helper: Week 3

Brandon Gdula
Brandon Gdula@gdula13
Daily Fantasy Football Picks and Helper: Week 3

The NFL is off to a bit of a slow start in terms of offensive efficiency, and Week 3 could have more of the same. What should we know about this week of games?

Let's take a look at some of the best daily fantasy football plays at each position -- accounting for salary -- on the Week 3 FanDuel main slate.

Slate Overview

Here is a snapshot of each team's outlook, including opponent, implied team total, over/under, and spread based on FanDuel Sportsbook odds, and opponent defensive ranks for overall defense, pass defense, and rush defense, based on numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) model.

Implied Total
Opp D Rank
Opp Pass D Rank
Opp Rush D Rank
View Full Table


Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

FanDuel Salary: $8,200
Matchup: vs. Colts

Lamar Jackson has had two very different games so far this season.

In Week 1 without Mark Andrews, Jackson threw 22 times for 169 yards and -0.22 Expected Points Added (EPA) per drop back, via NextGenStats.

In Week 2, with Andrews, Jackson went for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns on 33 attempts with +0.34 EPA per drop back and 12 carries for 54 yards.

This week, Jackson faces the Colts, who rank 26th in completion rate over expectation (CPOE) and 25th in passing average depth of target (aDOT) this season.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

FanDuel Salary: $7,800
Matchup: vs. Chargers

Kirk Cousins is in the game of the week against the Chargers. It's indoors, the teams play fast, and they throw a lot. Perfection.

Additionally, the Chargers are 31st in adjusted pass defense, via numberFire's metrics, and they're 31st in aDOT and 32nd in yards per target allowed on downfield throws.

There are a lot of reasons why Cousins has a ceiling.

Cousins is averaging 352.0 yards and 3.0 touchdowns while playing well above expectation from an EPA sense once accounting for defenses faced (+0.20 per drop back better than expected, which ranks him third in the NFL).

Others to Consider

Patrick Mahomes ($9,200 vs. CHI) - Historically plays above projection as a big favorite.

Justin Herbert ($8,400 at MIN) - In the game of the week; +3.6% team pass rate over expected last week without Austin Ekeler.

Trevor Lawrence ($7,600 vs. HOU) - Averaging 23.5 rushing yards and a 30% red zone rush share; Houston is 31st in CPOE allowed.

Running Backs

Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

FanDuel Salary: $9,400
Matchup: at Cardinals

While Tony Pollard has had a pretty phenomenal role to start the 2023 NFL season, blowouts are getting in the way of his ceiling. That's possible again this week with the Cowboys sitting as double-digit road favorites against the Cardinals.

However, we can't always assume blowouts will occur to the point that a favored offense will be irrelevant.

Pollard has a 63.0% snap rate on the season -- but that number in the first half of games is 70.4%, including an 80.8% first-half snap rate in Week 1.

Arizona has decent rushing metrics so far this season, yet they have been getting demolished by backs in the pass game (8 catches on 10 targets for 46 yards and 2 touchdowns).

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions

FanDuel Salary: $7,000
Matchup: vs. Falcons

With the assumption that David Montgomery misses this game (he didn't practice Wednesday), Jahmyr Gibbs will be a pretty easy play to justify this week against the Falcons in a dome game.

Atlanta has been just an average rush defense so far this season, and Gibbs has the athleticism to make the most of his opportunities. Gibbs had a 48.4% snap rate last week with Montgomery leaving early -- plus a 56.8% route rate, which led to 7 catches and 9 targets.

Only Javonte Williams has been targeted at a higher rate on a per-route basis among backs with at least 25.0 snaps per game.

Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts

FanDuel Salary: $6,400
Matchup: at Ravens

Zack Moss had a role that's pretty hard to overstate in Week 2, his season debut.

Moss played on 98.2% of the Colts' snaps (55 total snaps) and turned 18 carries and 4 targets into 107 scrimmage yards with positive rushing efficiency.

The Ravens' rush defense ranks just 24th from a success rate basis allowed, as well.

Others to Consider

Rhamondre Stevenson ($6,500 at NYJ) - 73.2% snap rate for the season and an 83.3% red zone rush share.

James Conner ($6,400 vs. DAL) - 75.0% red zone rush share and 88.0 scrimmage yards per game; bring-back option for Dallas stacks.

Joshua Kelley ($6,100 at MIN) - If Ekeler sits, Kelley is a bounce-back candidate; 78.5% snap rate last week.

Jerome Ford ($5,600 vs. TEN) - Horrendous matchup but should be the featured back.

Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

FanDuel Salary: $7,900
Matchup: vs. Falcons

Amon-Ra St. Brown has averaged 8.0 targets (a 24.2% target share) and 86.5 yards per game, a line which could definitely be better through two games for a receiver of his caliber.

But St. Brown is likely to get a few extra plays his way while David Montgomery is out, and St. Brown himself has missed a few plays here and there with some bumps and bruises.

Atlanta has put some clamps on the downfield pass so far but have been running a lot of man coverage, and that should mean extra snaps against Dee Alford, who has a 65.0 PFF grade so far this season.

Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars

FanDuel Salary: $7,500
Matchup: vs. Texans

Calvin Ridley has earned a 26.0% target share and a 40.0% air yards share in the Jaguars offense through two games of his Jacksonville stint. That's come with 5.0 downfield targets per game and 2.5 red zone targets per game. That's an elite workload.

In fact, if you were to give extra weight to downfield and red zone targets for the fact that they lead to more FanDuel points than a lower-leverage target, that's a workload equivalent to 14.5 weighted targets per game.

That would rank him fourth among receivers on the main slate, behind Tyreek Hill (17.7), Justin Jefferson (16.5), and Chris Olave (14.6).

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

FanDuel Salary: $5,800
Matchup: at Packers

Through two games with Derek Carr under center, Michael Thomas has secured a 25.4% target share (8.5 targets per game) with a respectable aDOT of 9.5 yards. Of his 8.5 targets per contest, 2.5 are downfield, and 2.0 are red-zone looks. That's a great role (11.5 weighted targets).

Although the matchup isn't ideal, Thomas' salary is very low compared to his target value.

Others to Consider

Justin Jefferson ($9,700 vs. LAC) - Have to consider him in the game of the week but salary is tough; RB value could be key to getting there.

Tyreek Hill ($9,600 vs. DEN) - I'm not not including Hill here. He and Jefferson are priorities if we can find value to fit them.

Mike Williams ($7,200 at MIN) - 105.4 air yards per game and now in the best game of the week.

Michael Pittman Jr. ($6,700 at BAL) - 11.5 targets and 76.5 yards per game.

Amari Cooper ($6,200 vs. TEN) - Titans allowing +10.4% catch rate over expectation (CROE) to WRs; offense should be pass-heavier than usual without Chubb.

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

FanDuel Salary: $7,400
Matchup: vs. Colts

The Mark Andrews return could've gone better in Week 2, sure, but he played on 78.6% of the Ravens' snaps and ran 81.8% of the possible routes. He earned 8 targets on those 27 routes and turned them into 45 yards and a touchdown while posting a CROE of -13.8%.

That means he had a 24.2% target share and a big route participation number with 2 downfield targets and a red zone target.

This week, he's up against the Colts, who have let up a +3.5% CROE to tight ends this season on 14 targets.

There's a big three at tight end this week, and that could mean an eruption game from either Andrews, Travis Kelce, or T.J. Hockenson.

Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

FanDuel Salary: $4,800
Matchup: at Jaguars

The results for Dalton Schultz so far aren't great. He is averaging just 19.0 yards on 5.5 targets per game.

However, it's a decent enough target share (13.4%) and comes with a catch rate over expectation of -15.4%, meaning there is a lot of room to improve with his targets.

Schultz also has 3 total downfield targets out of his 11 overall looks, tying him for fifth among tight ends who were active in both games so far.

Others to Consider

Travis Kelce ($8,000 vs. CHI) - Ceiling is there, but wind is up and spread is large.

T.J. Hockenson ($7,500 vs. LAC) - Three stud TEs on the slate; have to consider them all to some degree.

Sam LaPorta ($5,200 vs. ATL) - Routes up from 62.9% in Week 1 to 78.4% in Week 2.

Zach Ertz ($5,100 vs. DAL) - Leads all TEs in target share (30.5%).


Kansas City Chiefs

FanDuel Salary: $4,800
Matchup: vs. Bears

The Bears' offense is in shambles, and Justin Fields is taking a sack on 13.2% of his drop backs, more than 6.0 percentage points worse than the NFL average (7.1%).

While the Chiefs are just 31st in pressure rate through two games, they're 6th in EPA per drop back allowed and 4th in CPOE allowed.

Miami Dolphins

FanDuel Salary: $3,900
Matchup: vs. Broncos

The Broncos' top-ranked rush offense could choose to run on the Dolphins, who are 32nd against the rush so far this season.

However, the Dolphins are favored at home, Russell Wilson has a 12.5% sack rate, and the Dolphins have a mid-range pressure rate.

Others to Consider

Cleveland Browns ($4,300 vs. TEN) - Top-five rush and pass defense; Henry is banged up.

New York Jets ($3,900 vs. NE) - Home against a weak offense.

Be sure to check out all of the Week 3 daily fantasy football contests on FanDuel, including the $2M NFL Sunday Million!

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.