Daily fantasy (DFS) brings a breath of fresh air to the industry, with an emphasis on the excitement of drafting a new team every week and the refocusing on what truly matters in the game, projecting week to week scoring. We all know that the late summer drafts and the thrill of analyzing the weekly matchups are the best part of playing fantasy football. The daily game merges those two together to form the newest wave rocking the fantasy world.
Here in the weekly daily fantasy roundup column, we'll break down everything you need to know to pick the best plays on the Week 3 slate. If any of the terminology goes over your head. Please refer to the "what you need to know" preview of the roundup.
Top quarterback plays
Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars - The Ravens defense has been much better than most expected this year through two games. Baltimore gives up a league-low 371 passing yards and registered five sacks. Yet, let's remember they've played two dysfunctional offenses in Cleveland and Buffalo. The Jaguars haven't been the most functional unit so far either, but this group is in a fine "get right" spot here. They're at home and have advantages in the individual matchups at wide receiver vs. cornerback and these two teams could easily engage in a shootout.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets- After going for over 370 passing yards at a sterling 11 yards per attempt, Fitzpatrick's value doesn't feel appropriate. The Chiefs defense has not been the shutdown unit of years past through two weeks. Kansas City has just three sacks to their name and allows 7.4 yards per attempt. With two solid offenses and underperforming defenses in tow, this contest has a chance to be sneakily high-scoring.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys - The rookie quarterback looked poised and capable in a plus-matchup on the road in Week 2 laying down 9.7 yards per attempt with a 103.7 passer rating on Washington. The Cowboys also have yet to take full advantage of Prescott's ability as a runner through two weeks, having him run just three times for 18 yards. Given that, and his lack of a passing touchdown, there is still upside to unlock here. Playing a banged-up and fast-crumbling Chicago team at home is the perfect time to bring that out.
Top running back plays
Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City Chiefs - Still valued outside the feature back range, Ware is a strong play with the Chiefs at home in what should be a tight contest. If the Chiefs can earn and hold a lead, something they've struggled with thus far, Ware comes into play as a hammer back killing the clock. It might not matter, though, as the Chiefs have been true to their word in upping his receiving work. Ware is tied for third on the team in targets but leads them in receiving yards, and averages 6.0 yards per carry and a whopping 19.7 yards per reception. The Jets rank 27th at defending receiving running backs, per Football Outsiders.
Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants- You'll likely get Jennings at a depressed ownership after he failed to take advantage of a cake matchup against the Saints in a home win. He gets another strong matchup in Week 3. Washington allowed four rushing touchdowns over the last two weeks and has Football Outsiders DVOA's 29th ranked run defense. The 2-0 Giants get the 0-2 Redskins at home this week in a favorable spot.
Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - On paper, the matchup with Los Angeles' front seven looks daunting, but we should completely ignore that. Their strong run defense numbers are vastly skewed by Thomas Rawls blundering to seven carries for -7 yards in Week 2. Christine Michael stung them for a 10-60 line and Carlos Hyde ground out 88 yards and two scores on them in Week 1. Either way, the volume of touches headed Sims' way in the wake of his ascension to the starting spot in place of an injured Doug Martin is more important to the equation than the matchup. Sims should push for 20-plus touches in a game where the Bucs match up incredibly well against the Rams. The Bucs are a funnel defense that allows 2.98 yards per carry but has weaknesses all throughout the secondary, which is essentially oil and water with what the Rams want to do on offense. Tampa Bay should smoke the cross-country Rams at home.
Top wide receiver plays
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys- After seeing 40 percent of the team targets in Week 2, we can feel a bit better about Dez Bryant's volume concerns. He topped 100 yards on 12 targets against Washington but hasn't had a signature blowup game yet. With the Bears injured secondary across the line of scrimmage and Dallas playing at home, this is the week.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The second-year receiver is now fully established as the top weapon in the Buccaneers offense. He led the NFL in targets (25) heading into Week 3 and snared two touchdowns over the last two weeks. Evans towers over all of the Rams cornerbacks, as well. Expect him to cross 100 yards for the first time this year in a bounce-back game for his quarterback at home.
Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa, WR, New York Jets- As mentioned in Fitzpatrick's section, the Chiefs defense isn't exactly what it used to be. Brandon Marshall is a game-time decision, so even if he plays, Decker is likely the favorite to lead the team in targets. Marcus Peters is the Chiefs' best corner, and even he's a gambler and not a true shutdown player, but the depth beyond him is dubious. The Chiefs lack of a pass rush should afford Ryan Fitzpatrick plenty of free time to hit Decker and even the now-established Enunwa on intermediate crossing patterns.
Travis Benjamin, WR, San Diego Chargers - Even if Vontae Davis plays Benjamin is in a prime spot. His Next Gen Stats route chart in the Week 3 column illuminates the reality that he's a legit complete wide receiver. He's hauled in 13 of his 14 targets this season and should remain the market-share leader here.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks - Purely a tournament dart-throw here, Lockett recorded 99 yards on just 27 snaps (missed time during the game with an injury). Lockett's usage hasn't been an issue through two games, as he was second on the team in targets each of the last two weeks. The 49ers gave up three passing scores in Week 2 and a long bomb to Ted Ginn. Lockett stung the division rival for 127 yards and three touchdowns last season in their two meetings.
Top tight end plays
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins - Reed leads the NFL in tight end targets (18) but just hasn't found the end zone yet, thanks to Kirk Cousins' sub-30 completion percentage in the red zone. Expect some positive regression to go Reed's way this time out. New York's defense is still weakest up the middle after making improvements to their pass rush and cornerback corps.
Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans- No surprise, but the Raiders still let tight ends roam through the heart of their defense. Through two weeks they've allowed 186 yards to the position (second-most in the NFL). Walker should get plenty of targets in a game that has a chance to be sneakily high scoring.
Arizona Cardinals DEF - Typically we aren't on road defenses in DFS, but the matchup is just so right with the Arizona defense facing the Bills offense. Sammy Watkins looks doubtful to play and Tyrod Taylor's average time to throw is 3.05 seconds this season, which is the longest in the NFL thus far. That's a bad recipe when facing an Arizona defense that blitzed on 42.2 percent of pass plays run against them thus far.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DEF - The Rams don't match-up well with the Bucs in the slightest. Tampa allows just 2.98 yards per carry but has weaknesses in the secondary. Traveling across the country for a game where they don't have much in their favor, the Rams should turn the ball over at least once in this spot.
Stack(s) of the week
Matthew Stafford/Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions - With Packers cornerback Sam Shields out, Stafford and his wide receivers should have room to attack in a game that, if the Packers offense finally shows up, could become a shoot out. Through two games Marvin Jones owns a 28 percent share of the Lions targets and is the only pass-catcher with an average depth of target higher than 10 yards in both games. Any question as to who is the top target in Detroit can now be put to rest. Marvin Jones is the engine of this passing game.
Derek Carr/Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders & Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans - Neither of the Raiders or Titans defense looks any bit improved on the product they put out last year. The Titans' secondary is leaky and their stats would look much worse if the Lions didn't have multiple touchdowns called back from penalties. Amari Cooper leads the Raiders in targets and has fully surpassed Michael Crabtree for the right to be this team's No. 1 receiver. He and Carr look like they've taken the next step in their quest to be the best young passer/receiver tandem in the game. Tajae Sharpe makes for a keen game-stack candidate with these two, as he should see the majority of his snaps (51 percent at left wideout) against Raiders corner Sean Smith, who allowed 250 yards and three touchdowns in two games thus far.
Best contrarian plays
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars- After hauling in seven of his 15 targets in Week 1, Allen Robinson lost his battle with Jason Verrett in a cross-country road trip last week. The Jags are in a get-right spot at home against the Ravens in Week 3, and Robinson will come at a depressed ownership rate with many already growing weary of his slow start. Baltimore's defense certainly looks better but is currently 28th in the NFL at defending No. 1 wide receivers, per Football Outsiders. Corey Coleman burned their outside corners for over 100 yards and two scores in the second game of his rookie year last week. Robinson is a stud and he will remind anyone who forgot about that this week.
Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals - Playing just as many snaps as Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd has not matched Fitz's production, recording just 69 yards in two games. Floyd still owns 18 percent of the team's passing targets and has a favorable matchup this week. The Bills have allowed the fourth-highest yards per reception (16.2) in the NFL through two games. They particularly struggled with the size of the Jets wideouts last Thursday night. Floyd should be able to get over on their outside corner duo, who simply aren't playing up to their billing right now.
Best obvious play
Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers - With Danny Woodhead out, Gordon is a threat for 20-plus touches every single week, unless Dexter McCluster is going to take a 50 percent snap share right off the bat. Gordon played on just five pass plays in Week 1, but that jumped to 22 last week with Woodhead out. The Colts have allowed five total touchdowns and 4.6 yards per carry to running backs through two weeks. Gordon has top-five upside but is not yet valued as such across the DFS landscape.
Player to fade
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers - Rather quietly, the Eagles defense looks much improved on the year, and they've allowed the eighth-fewest rushing yards to backs through two games. The Steelers are loading Williams up with touches and the Eagles do rank a lowly 19th at defending receiving running backs, per Football Outsiders. This isn't a bad spot for him, but those who are chasing high-end running backs will inflate Williams' ownership as this is the last week to use him as the Steelers' feature back before Le'Veon Bell returns from suspension. It might be worth pivoting up to David Johnson or down to more value running backs in tournament formats.
The near 100 percent exposure player
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs - The Jets allow a league-high 19 yards per reception to wide receivers through two weeks. Even the secondary beyond currently struggling All-Pro Darrelle Revis looks exploitable. Maclin accrued 52 percent of his yards from left wideout, 22 percent at right and 26 percent from the slot the last two games. The Jets had Revis stick at left corner rather than shadow Sammy Watkins in Week 2 after A.J. Green roasted him for 150 yards and a score in the opener. Maclin has a good chance of avoiding his coverage for the vast majority of his snaps if that repeats. If Revis shadows Maclin, nothing through the first two weeks indicates that is a matchup to avoid. Maclin had a team-high 15 targets last week and remains the engine of the passing offense. He has top-10 upside this week and comes at a fine value.
Cheat code of the week
Dwayne Washington, RB, Detroit Lions - The Packers don't profile as a team to attack on the ground as they give up just 1.8 yards per carry through two weeks. However, Washington should still see 10 to 15 carries in a game where the point total could be one of the highest of the week. Washington is an impressive athlete, running a 4.4 with a 37-inch vertical at 220 pounds, and recorded 25 catches to 47 runs in his final year at college. He also popped in a goal-line touchdown in Week 1, and will own that role completely with Ameer Abdullah on IR. He's a complete punt play at the running back position, and if he just finds the end zone at that range in a potential shootout, you're sitting pretty with the high-end players he opens up for your lineup.