DFS Three And Out 2021 week 1
Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.
Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints ($8,600 on DraftKings; $8,600 on FanDuel)
As USA today put it this week, Kamara, a four-time Pro Bowler, "tortured the Packers last season," catching 13 passes and producing 197 total yards and two touchdowns in a 37-30 loss in New Orleans in Week three last season. Equally dangerous as both a runner and receiver, and few are better in the open field -- as his 21 touchdowns in 2020 indicate. Beyond that, ESPN's Al Zeidenfeld notes that over the last two seasons, in games when Michael Thomas does not play, Kamara averages 12.74 more fantasy points per game. Zeidenfeld went on to note that while he often doesn't surpass 15 carries, Kamara's past game work takes a massive leap with Thomas out. How massive? Over the last eight games Thomas has missed, Kamara has caught two more balls on 2.5 more targets per game. In 2020, Green Bay allowed opponents to complete 81.8 percent of their passes when throwing to running backs -- the second-highest total in the league. Zeidenfeld summed up: "This is an absolute smash spot for Kamara." That would be DFS speak for "pay up and play the man."
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers ($8,300 on DraftKings; $8,600 on FanDuel)
Speaking up playing up and playing the man. ... We often talk about leverage over the field in fantasy football. It's especially important in the daily game. It's even more important when others might be backing off said leverage, whether it's due to price or matchup. Or in Adams' case this week, both. He's expensive and faces a daunting matchup against Saints' cornerback Marshon Lattimore. According to ESPN's Mike Clay, Lattimore is coming off a bit of a down year, but when he's playing his best, he's one of the top corners in the game. He also shadows most opposing No. 1 wide receivers, which makes it likely that he'll travel with Adams this weekend. Clay went on to note these two last faced off back in 2017 and Lattimore did, in fact, shadow Adams in that game. Lattimore won the battle, holding Adams to an 8-yard catch on three targets, while covering him on 18 plays. So yes, this will be a stiff test for Adams, who is the highest-priced receiver on the Sunday slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel this week. But the price is high because Adams is good. Like really, really good. The superstar caught a franchise-record 115 passes in 2020 for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns. Furthermore, he did this in just 14 games. If Adams had caught two more touchdowns, he would have joined Randy Moss and Jerry Rice as the only receivers in NFL history to score 20 TDs in a season. Remember, Aaron Rodgers completed a 72.6 percent of his pass attempts in the red zone last season, ranking first among QBs with at least 10 red-zone throws. He's nearly unstoppable in this area of the field, especially when Adams is present. Fourteen of Adams' touchdowns in 2020 came inside the red zone. If he needs a score, assume Rodgers will look Adams' way. As Clay suggested, Adams is so productive and so heavily targeted that we really don't need to move the needle, especially with Lattimore coming off a shaky 2020. Zeidenfeld agrees, advising his readers: "Adams provides us with an opportunity to pay up and be contrarian. He makes for a great 'bring-back player' opposite Kamara."
Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,400 on DraftKings; $7,600 on FanDuel)
According to SBNation.com, Sunday's game against the Falcons comes down to what Hurts can do. He's got a good offensive line in front of him and some good weapons at tight end and wide receiver. But it's his mobility that presents a challenge for the Falcons defense. He rushed for 354 yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries last season. As ESPN.com's Tristan H. Cockcroft pointed out, the 2020 Falcons were especially weak against mobile quarterbacks, surrendering the fifth-most rushing fantasy points (70.4) to the position, multi-rushing-touchdown games to Dak Prescott (Week 2) and Taysom Hill (Week 13) and an 83-rushing yard performance to Kirk Cousins (Week 13). Zeidenfeld points out that if Hurts reaches 70 percent of his rushing averages from last season, he'll only need to throw for 250 yards and two touchdowns to have access to a 25-plus point ceiling. The price and the matchup are right this week.
Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers ($6,700 on DraftKings; $7,600 on FanDuel)
As CBSSports.com reminded readers, the 2020Rookie of the Year set an NFL rookie record with 31 passing touchdowns last year. He also averaged 289.1 passing yards per game, which was another NFL rookie record and the fourth-most overall in 2020. Injuries marred the Chargers' campaign -- which is why they finished with a 7-9 record -- but Herbert wasted no time proving he's a franchise quarterback this team can lean on. Unfortunately, he has quite a test in front of him this Sunday. Washington had the league's second-ranked defense last year in terms of total yards allowed per game (304.6). Along with having perhaps the best defensive line in the NFL, it bolstered the linebacking corps and added to a capable secondary. The addition of cornerback William Jackson certainly things tougher for opposing passers, severely diminishing the matchups appeal of Herbert's favorite outside receiver, Mike Williams. As Cockroft notes, last season, the only quarterback to manage as many as 20 fantasy points on passing plays against the Washington defense was Matthew Stafford (all 23.04 of his points in Week 10), and in the unit's final seven games, it afforded the position an average of 12.96 fantasy points. So yes, Herbert has an upgraded offensive line. Yes, he has a great supporting cast. But Austin Ekeler is dealing with a hamstring injury this week and Herbert will be working in a new scheme with a change of coaching staff. On the whole, there's a lot to like about Herbert. This week? Not so much.