When things get tough, and boy do they get tough when I have to try and give you the best fantasy advice from week to week, sometimes it takes a little encouragement. I’m never going to be perfect. Last year, it got to the point where I had so many rough weeks that I started to suggest players people shouldn’t play. At least I was good at that. But when I get comments like this, I feel like a damn superhero.
In other words, bud_dog, you gave me the strength to keep going. What I’m trying to say is that you gave me the inspiration to write this. If I were Superman, you’d be my yellow sun. You’re the blast of gamma radiation to my transformation into the Hulk. If I were Spider-Man, you’d be my... radioactive spider.
So that took a weird turn, but I have no doubt that your daily fantasy outlook isn’t nearly as bleak. Here are some studs on the cheap.
The points below reflect an ESPN standard PPR scoring league.
QB - Dak Prescott at $7,200
Matchup - Points vs. Opponent (PVO): +2.2, Opponent Ranking (OPRK): 21st.
Dak was a sleeper last week, but after a top-six performance in fantasy last week—and finally getting that first touchdown pass out of the way—he’s only $100 more expensive than he was last week, but with an even better matchup. The San Francisco defense looked like a force against Case Keenum in Week 1, but over the past two weeks, the 49ers have surrendered a lot of points to opposing quarterbacks. Those quarterbacks were Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and his backup who replaced him and threw a touchdown pass, Trevone Boykin. Mobile quarterbacks are giving the 49ers some problems, and even with the Cowboys going on the road, I see the potential for a big day for Prescott and the Cowboys offense.
RB - Melvin Gordon at $7,600
Matchup - PVO: +18.2, OPRK: 32nd.
The New Orleans Saints are very bad at stopping running backs from scoring points against them. Last week, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 194 rushing yards on only 26 attempts, and 102 receiving yards on eight catches. The Falcons backfield scored four touchdowns on Monday night. In Week 1, the Saints couldn’t stop the Oakland Raiders rushing attack either. The Chargers are at home, Melvin Gordon has a nose for the end zone and there’s nothing I see the Saints doing to fix their problem stopping any type of offense this season. I look forward to Week 13 when the Lions travel to the Big Easy and team up with the Saints to put up over 120 points in one NFL game. Until then, watch Melvin run wild in Week 4.
WR - Steve Smith Sr. at $6,100
Matchup - PVO: +13.2, OPRK: 32nd.
It’s easy to just make a few clicks, find the best matchup based on points allowed to a certain position and call it good, but with Smith, it’s a little more than that. I find it surprising that Mike Wallace is the more expensive option for the Baltimore offense when Smith leads the team in targets, receptions and yards through three weeks. Wallace did log more snaps than the veteran receiver, but was only targeted six times by Flacco. Smith, on the other hand, played on 40 snaps last week, but received 11 targets, good for better than a target every four snaps he was on the field.
TE - Coby Fleener at $5,400
Matchup - PVO: +6.7, OPRK: 28th.
After having a rough start to the season, Fleener finally had the game that a lot of fantasy owners—including myself—have been waiting for him to have. Seven catches on 11 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown was a performance that should put to rest the concern that Fleener and Drew Brees weren’t going to get on the same page. Fleener wasn’t at 100 percent coming into Saints’ camp this season after signing the type of contract that led a lot of people to believe he would be a prominent fixture in New Orleans offense, and even from watching the game on Monday night, it seems as though both him and Brees are still working to get on the same page. If Willie Snead doesn’t play again this week, Fleener almost becomes a must-buy for your DFS lineup at the price he’s at.
K - Chandler Catanzaro at $4,600
Matchup - PVO: -4.9, OPRK: 2nd.
If the Rams have done anything well so far this year, it’s keeping kickers from having productive fantasy days against them. Through three weeks, Los Angeles has given up nine total fantasy points to opposing kickers, but I’d like to think this will be a game the Rams won’t be ready for. After getting their teeth kicked in against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, something everybody saw coming, the Cardinals are not only trying to avoid a 1-3 start, but they’re hoping to prove they’re the contenders everybody thought they were at the beginning of the season. Playing in a dome, and playing with something to prove, Catanzaro is a strong candidate to outperform his price.
Defense - Arizona Cardinals at $5,300
Matchup - PVO: +2.4, OPRK: 23rd.
See above for the reason you should buy into the Cardinals as a team this week, but their defense has played rather erratically through three weeks. After giving up 23 points at home to Jimmy Garoppolo, Chris Hogan and LeGarrette Blount, the Cardinals defense picked off Jameis Winston four times, scored a touchdown and held Tampa Bay to seven points. Last week, the Buffalo Bills put 33 points on them and the Cardinals defense looked rather pedestrian outside of this play:
I expect to see more of that and less points scored against the Arizona defense on Sunday when the Rams trot out Case Keenum and Co.