DFS Three And Out 2016 week 3

By Bob Harris
Bob Harris

I'm in:

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
As NFL.com put it: "The Oakland Raiders' defense has been bad through two weeks. Historically bad. ..." They weren't kidding. In Week 1, this unit gave up 507 yards to Drew Brees' New Orleans Saints. In Week 2, that D gave up 528 yards to Julio Jones' Atlanta Falcons. Those two games made Oakland just second team since 1940 to allow 500-plus yards in each of their first two games of a season (1967 Falcons were the other). It's also the first time in franchise history the Raiders have allowed consecutive games of 500-plus yards. But wait. It gets worse (or better, depending on your perspective): The Raiders' defense ranks last in points per game allowed (34.5), total YPG allowed (517.5), pass YPG allowed (404.0) and yards per play allowed (8.02). The 1,035 yards given up are the most allowed in any team's first two games since 1940. So the Raiders travel to Tennessee this weekend and Mariota, who has thrown two TDs in each of the first two games, gets to face a team that has given up 808 passing yards and seven TDs, including, according to ESPN.com, a league-high five TDs on passes thrown shorter than 15 yards this season. That seems to play to Mariota's ($5,900 on DraftKings, $7,700 on FanDuel) and the Titans' strengths. Adding to the intrigue, after being shredded by Brees and Matt Ryan, you'd think the last thing the Raiders would want is a lot of passing. Yet the Sports Xchange reports that will be the approach against the Titans and Mariota loading the box to stop the run, spying on Mariota with a linebacker or safety and forcing Tennessee to the air. The Titans won't be pass happy, because with their suspect secondary, they can't get into a shootout. But expect them to take their shots. And with Delanie Walker and Tajae Sharpe both adept at the intermediate and shorter routes, Mariota, who is also a threat with his mobility, seems to be a reasonably-priced lottery ticket this week. Speaking of Walker and Sharpe. ... Walker is a bit pricey ($5,000 on DraftKings, $7,700 on FanDuel), but could still be a worthy stack. Three Atlanta tight ends torched the Raiders for 10 catches and 180 yards last week, something that surely didn't escape Titans coach Mike Mularkey. But Sharpe ($4,700 on DraftKings, $5,800 on FanDuel) is a bargain. Remember, Sharpe got 11 targets in the team's home opener and, as ESPN's Matthew Berry pointed out, nine of his 11 catches came less than 15 yards downfield. Did I mention the Raiders are rather generous from that distance?

Coby Fleener, TE, New Orleans Saints
Yes. This would be considered a contrarian play. Fleener has certainly come up small so far this season. Last week's loss to the Giants was especially lame as the team's high-priced new tight end caught just two passes for 29 yards on eight targets. Dropped passes and missed opportunities have made it look like Drew Brees and Fleener are not quite on the same page yet (he only had one catch for 6 yards against the Oakland Raiders in Week 1). So nobody should be ready to trust that Fleener will provide consistent production week in and week out. But there is still reason for optimism -- and reasons this isn't a completely crazy play. For starters, his opportunities aren't going to evaporate. The Saints gave Fleener a five-year, $36 million contract this offseason and so far he has played about 80 percent of their snaps. Is there reason to believe this is the week Fleener breaks out? Well, Pro Football Focus' Pat Thorman noted this week that the Falcons defense has allowed tight ends to catch 15 passes on 16 targets for 138 yards and three TDs to tight ends so far. Given Fleener's reasonable price ($3,300 on DraftKings, $5,600 on FanDuel), I'd say it's worth the gamble.

Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis,
While I might prefer Melvin Gordon, and his price ($5,800 on DraftKings, $7,100 on FanDuel) isn't horrible, the problem is I'm not alone in wanting to play him. In fact, I suspect Gordon will be quite heavily owned going up against a Colts defense that's allowed close to 400 rushing yards and five touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. So I'm going to look on the other side of the ball here. Gore is cheaper ($5,000 on DraftKings, $5,700 on FanDuel) and will almost certainly be lower owned. That's due in large part to the fact he's only racked up 103 yards on 27 carries through two games. But the workload is there and, as Berry noted earlier this week, no defense has allowed more rushing yards before first contact on a per-carry basis since the beginning of last season than the Chargers, who are currently giving up 5.1 yards a carry this season. So again, the goal is contrarian, not crazy. And by the way, I will have Gordon in a lineup or two. Because the Colts aren't good.

I'm Out

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers heads into Sunday's home game against the Lions as the third and second-highest priced QB on DraftKings ($7,700) and FanDuel ($8,800), respectively. And as much as I'd like to believe this is the week Rodgers -- going up against a battered Detroit defense -- regains his high-end form, I'm not paying up to find out. Here's why: Rodgers hasn't thrown for more than 300 yards in 11 games; eight of those contests he's tossed fewer than 250 yards (including both in 2016). He's gone 14 straight contests with a passer rating below 100. Last year Rodgers threw for a career-low 6.7 yards per attempt. He's worse through two games this season, at 5.9. So yes, the Lions have allowed an opponent passer rating of 112.7 this year. But they've also yielded 5.1 yards per carry and head coach Mike McCarthy talked earlier this week about using Eddie Lacy, James Starks and the rushing attack to get his offense back on track. The Lions' linebacker corps has been gutted, with injuries to DeAndre Levy (quad) and Kyle Van Noy (calf) leaving only Tahir Whitehead among the starting trio from last week adding to the notion a strong rushing attack would be a good approach. In addition, Detroit still has star cornerback in Darius Slay, who Rodgers avoided in last year's game in Green Bay, and an excellent safety in Glover Quin. I'm not saying Rodgers can't get back on track in this one. I'm just saying I don't want to pay up to find out if this is the week it happens.