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DFS Three And Out 2018 Week 3
By Bob Harris
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears
As the Sports Xchange notes, the Bears have yet to effectively let Howard tee off on an opponent as a battering ram, except for one drive near the end of their loss to Green Bay. Arizona's is the defense to do it against. With an offensive line that matches up well with the Cardinals' defensive scheme, the Bears have to anticipate they can be effective enough run blockers to get Howard the gaps he needs to exploit -- especially if the Cardinals stunt heavily. Howard can gash a team that blitzes too much. Howard has only had 29 carries in two games, and Mitchell Trubisky will be better at getting the ball downfield out of play action, or at least with the threat of a run in the Cardinals' minds. As ESPN's Al Zeidenfeld notes, while the Cardinals have been good on a per-carry basis, they've allowed the fifth-most rushing yards through two weeks -- in large part because of their poor offense. Expecting them to get in front against the Bears defense seems like a reach -- even with all the talk about Arizona simplifying their scheme and focusing on getting David Johnson on track. As ESPN's Matthew Berry noted, when Chicago has had a lead of at least a field goal this season, Howard has had 26 of the Bears' 32 running back carries. In addition, Howard is catching the ball surprisingly well. He has eight catches on nine targets through two games this season. But as the Xchange summed up, if Adrian Peterson could almost get 100 yards at his advanced age against the Cardinals in Week 1, the reasonably priced ($6,500 on DraftKings; $7,400 on FanDuel) Howard should be able to roll behind Chicago's inside zone blocking. ... By the way, I'm also keen on Howard's teammates Trey Burton ($3,900 on DraftKings; $5,700 on FanDuel) and Taylor Gabriel ($3,800 on DraftKings; $5,000 on FanDuel). Both are matchup related and reasonable values. Tight ends have gotten the better of the Cardinals in Weeks 1 and 2, with Jordan Reed going off in the opener and Tyler Higbee catching a short touchdown last week. Burton's opportunities have been there and now the matchup might be as well. As for Gabriel, look for head coach Matt Nagy to get him matched up against Cardinals CB Jamar Taylor, who has been picked on continuously the first two weeks of the season. Not only is he surrendering receptions for some huge gains, he's also drawing plenty of penalties. He's been flagged half a dozen times, routinely getting called for defensive holding. As the Xchange suggested, that's a sign of a player getting beat in coverage and having to resort to grabbing to slow down a receiver. Gabriel could torch the Cardinals on Sunday if that trend continues.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Low-hanging fruit? Sure. I'm all for it. ... Yes, I like Michael Thomas ($8,900 on DraftKings; $9,000 on FanDuel). Yes. I like Antonio Brown ($8,800 on DraftKings; $8,800 on FanDuel). I like a lot of high-priced wideouts this week. But I also like Patrick Mahomes. I certainly wouldn't be averse to rolling Mahomes out even given the premium price ($7,000 on DraftKings; $8,900 on FanDuel). But I'm guessing he's going to be mighty popular. So I might look to differentiate there. So if I still want a piece of Mahomes, I'll take Hill. I mean, he's still expensive ($8,500 on DraftKings; $8,200 on FanDuel) but no more so than any of the other top wideouts. And he goes up against a San Francisco defense with Adrian Colbert at free safety. The Lions picked on the inexperienced Colbert all day in Week 2, completing 30- and 67-yard touchdown passes, while also just missing on four other long attempts to open receivers. Now the 49ers face arguably the NFL's best deep threat in Hill, who leads the league in receptions for 20 or more yards with seven in two games. Look for Hill to spend a lot of time lined up to Mahomes' left, away from CB Richard Sherman. As Zeidenfeld noted, the 49ers have allowed quarterbacks to exceed 310 yards or throw multiple touchdowns 15 times since the beginning of last year, and the Chiefs' "friendly" defense will keep Mahomes throwing deep into games. In fact, Berry notes that over the past 17 weeks, the 49ers rank among the bottom five defenses in passing touchdowns and passing yards allowed. So yeah. I'll take my high-end wideout shot here.
John Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
All right, so I paid up for Hill, I'll be needing a cheaper option at wideout. One with upside. ... Hello Smokey. As ESPN.com's Jim McCormick noted, the fastest man on the Ravens' roster leads the team in air yardage and end zone targets over the first two games. As USA Today suggested, Brown was initially only viewed as a deep threat but he’s managed to be a jack of all trades for Baltimore. Brown has also managed to be a much larger threat in the red zone than people expected as well, catching a touchdown each week thus far. With a favorable matchup from the slot in this game, Brown should get plenty of targets against the Broncos. With the quick trust he’s gained with quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense’s league-leading red zone percentage, Brown is a safe bet to draw scoring opportunities against the Broncos. But what about Denver's pass rush -- especially given Flacco's performance against the Bengals in Week 2. It didn't matter. Brown excelled as the go-to option. His 10 targets, four receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown last week should give you plenty of relief if you’re concerned. Better still, the Broncos defense might keep ownership percentages relatively low.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
As the Xchange noted, the Cardinals said they planned to scale things back on offense, primarily because too many players were making mistakes the past two weeks. The game plans thus far haven't been very creative, however, and that reflects as to why Arizona has only scored six points, registered a league-low 19 first downs and is averaging an NFL-worst 3.8 yards per pass attempt. Part of the problem is the Cardinals haven't been able to stick with Johnson and the running game long enough to make a difference. And as pleased as I might be as a Johnson owner in season-long leagues to hear head coach Steve Wilks talk about a renewed emphasis on getting the star halfback the football more as both a runner and receiver, DFS gives me the luxury of taking the wait-and-see approach I don't get in the traditional fantasy formats. In fact, with a price tag ($7,200 on DraftKings; $8,200 on FanDuel) that makes him RB4 on FanDuel ($8,200) and RB7 on DraftKings ($7,200), I'm pretty sure fading here is the wise course of action. Beyond Arizona's ongoing offensive ineptness, the Bears' pass rush and the presence of ferocious outside linebacker Khalil Mack, the game's best edge rusher are a concern. More worrisome, however, would be the fact that shutting down Johnson has to be priority No. 1 here, right? As long as the Cardinals can’t establish the run, then it will be a long day for them (which falls into line with the positive game script laid out for Howard above). Look, I'm a David Johnson believer. The talent is there. The Cardinals will get the offense dialed in and figure out more creative ways to use him. But I'm not paying premium prices until that process is further down the road.