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DFS Tournament Three And Out Week 13
DFS Tournament Three And Out Week 13
By Bob Harris
It's Week 13 and that's my lucky number! I feel big successes coming this weekend. That said, I'll settle for even small wins, but I need some strong centerpieces to my lineups to get there. And for me, this week's process starts with quarterbacks with favorable matchups, prices and some stackable pieces in the supporting casts. With the objective laid out, I have found my favorites. Three of them. And one that's not ... It's the DFS Three and Out people! Let's get after it.
Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers ($6,100 on DraftKings; $7,800 on FanDuel)
Let's see. ... Christian McCaffrey is the highest-priced running back in DFS this week; George Kittle the highest-priced tight end; Brandon Aiyuk is inside the top-10 highest-priced wideouts; Deebo Samuel is well inside the top-20 in pricing well. You probably can't afford them all, but you can definitely afford Purdy. In fact, Purdy is affordable enough you can stack him with one or two of those other pieces if you so desire. ... Thanks in part to those associated pieces, Purdy currently leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.2), passing yards per attempt (9.4) and passer rating (112.3). Purdy is averaging 0.99 yards more per pass attempt than the next closest player (Tua Tagovailoa, 8.4), the sixth-largest difference between first and second since 1970. So while he clearly benefits from the high-end supporting cast, the second-year quarterback has also lifted the operation above previous Kyle Shanahan units with his ability to avoid sacks and make plays when the structure breaks down. As a result of all this, the 49ers are tied with the Cowboys in 30-point games this year and San Francisco paces the NFL in games with 400 or more yards on offense. They are tied with the Dolphins and Lions at five such games. Meanwhile, as SI.com's Michael Fabiano notes, Philadelphia's defense has struggled to contain quarterbacks (as well as wide receivers and tight ends), allowing 19-plus points six times including four who have put up more than 28 points against them. Three of the past four Eagles opponents threw for at least 300 yards and multiple touchdowns. ... Finally, as NFL.com's Kevin Patra pointed out, Philly's defense is coming off a 92-play outing in their OT win over Buffalo. The Niners had extra rest days after winning on Thanksgiving night in Seattle. As you might gather, I'm pretty keen on this one.
Sam Howell, QB, Washington Commanders ($6,200 on DraftKings; $7,500 on FanDuel)
As Sloan Piva of The Sporting News framed it, "Howell continues to be the Jameis Winston of 2023, chucking the ball with reckless abandon and racking up sacks and interceptions to go with his NFL lead in passing yards. ..." NBC Sports' Denny Carter quantified that sentiment. "Third in pass rate over expected (trialing on the Bengals and Chiefs)," Carter wrote, "the Commanders have been above their expected drop back rate in six of their past seven games. It's why, as you might have guessed, Howell leads the NFL in pass attempts, completions and yards." NFL Network's Michael F. Florio chimed in by noting even in a tough matchup against the Cowboys last week, Howell was able to throw for 300 yards while running for a score, which helped saved his fantasy day. In fact, he now has a rushing touchdown in two straight games. As Florio added: "Howell just finds new ways to put up fantasy points each week and is getting the job done as a result." But what about the passing TDs? Carter notes that Howell's touchdown rate (3.7 percent) ranks 20th out of 32 qualifying signal callers. At some point, he's going to find the Promised Land. Sunday, going up against the Dolphins in a game Washington is projected to lose by nearly 10 points, expect another high-volume effort from Howell and maybe that positive touchdown regression will follow.
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers ($5,100 on DraftKings; $6,700 on FanDuel)
This is a bit of a contrarian play considering Pickett's inability to find the end zone to date. He's thrown just six touchdown passes on 314 attempts this season and has only one game with multiple (2) scoring strikes. It's fair to believe that's due to change. As Carter noted, at 1.9 percent, Pickett's 2023 TD rate is lower than every quarterback but Daniel Jones. All that said, ESPN.com's Ken Bowen was impressed with Pickett after watching the Steelers' Week 12 tape under new offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner. Pickett threw for a season-high 278 yards versus the Bengals and the Steelers offense gained more than 400 yards. Carter points out that Pickett's passing profile changed dramatically in his first Matt Canada-free game. His 8.5 air yards per attempt represented a significant jump from his season-long mark of 7.2. He set season-high marks in average depth of target and adjusted yards per attempt, setting him up for positive touchdown regression. Can he deliver? According to Carter, "An offensive scheme designed to gain yards and score points should do the trick for Pickett as he prepares to face a heinous Arizona defense giving up the league's second highest EPA per play." The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer went a step further when he wrote, "Book it: Pickett will get back to delivering multiple combined TDs this week."
Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams ($5,900 on DraftKings; $6,900 on FanDuel)
Stafford exploded last week for his best game of the season by far, throwing four touchdown passes in a win over the Cardinals. While smart fantasy players know better than to chase touchdowns, it can still be tempting. Don't be tempted here with Stafford facing a Browns defense that's been tough on quarterbacks. As ESPN.com's Tristan Cockroft acknowledges, quarterbacks have had their moments against the Browns' No. 4 (both for the season and in the past five weeks) defense against the position (Lamar Jackson dominated them in Week 4 and Gardner Minshew had some success in Week 7). That hasn't been the norm though. The Browns' 0.29 fantasy points per passing attempt afforded to the position is third-fewest in the league, which provides a sharp contrast to Stafford's Week 12 opponent, the Cardinals, whose 0.47 points per attempt are second-most. More broadly, Cleveland has allowed by far the fewest passing yards this season and the fewest passing touchdowns, as well. Beyond that, Florio points out that last Sunday was just Stafford's second game of the season with multiple TD passes and he was still held to fewer than 240 passing yards for a sixth straight game.