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DFS Three And Out 2022 week 1
DFS Tournament Three And Out Week 1
Here we go again. ... Welcome to the 2022 season and the Week 1 DFS Tournament Three and Out. We all have our favorite (and fairly obvious) high-end plays to open the season, so I'm going to dive a little deeper and offer up some mid-range wide receivers, three of whom might well be difference-making pieces in your lineups and, of course, one who seems unlikely to deliver.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,500 on DraftKings; $6,100 on FanDuel)
Are you high on Jalen Hurts? How about A.J. Brown? Me too! Love them both going up against a Detroit defense that allowed a league-worst 66 deep completions last season (while Hurts threw deep at the third-highest rate in 2021). With that thought in mind, I suspect the Lions will be paying a lot of attention to Brown. Meanwhile, as Rotoballer's Juan Carlos Blanco noted this week, Smith has a year head start on Brown in terms of working with Hurts, and the second-year speedster will obviously benefit from opposing defense's focus on Brown. Blanco went on to note that Smith brings no shortage of big-play upside and recorded 16 receptions of at least 20 yards last season, while Detroit yielded an NFL-high 12.4 yards per completion at home and gave up a 29-881-5 line in the deep left and deep middle passing windows in 2021. "With the Eagles boasting the fourth-highest projected team total of the Sunday slates as of early Tuesday (26.3) and Smith's downfield chops," Blanco argued, "he makes for an intriguing value option." I'm convinced. Not just by that argument, but it's worth remembering Smith, a Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama, is coming off an impressive rookie season in which he led the Eagles in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers ($5,200 on DraftKings; $5,600 on FanDuel)
As NBC Sports' Matthew Berry suggested, George Kittle's groin injury might not be great news for the 49ers in general, but it could be a positive for Aiyuk investors. Per Berry, Chicago allowed the most touchdowns on deep passes last season along with the fifth-highest catch rate on deep balls. Of course, they'll be playing a difference scheme this year. But that doesn't mean they'll be better suited to dealing with Aiyuk. As ESPN.com's Matt Bowen noted, Chicago coach Matt Eberflus' defense in Indianapolis last year played two-deep zone on 34.5 percent of coverage snaps in first- and second-down situations (second most in the league). We saw some of that from Aiyuk versus Lovie Smith's Cover 2 defense last season in the Week 17 game, which was the second start of Trey Lance's career. It was also one of Aiyuk's better games, one in which he posted four catches on six targets for 94 yards and averaged 23.5 yards per reception. Bowen added: "I believe Aiyuk will see favorable matchups working opposite Deebo Samuel on money downs versus a young Chicago secondary.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints ($5,700 on DraftKings; $6,200 on FanDuel)
Fair warning: Thomas is dealing with a hamstring injury this week. I expect him to play, but you'll need to verify his availability before you hit the submit button here. ... But assuming he's good to go, I'll be going with him. As NFL.com's Michael Florio acknowledged, while Thomas has more competition for targets than ever in Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry (not to mention Alvin Kamara), he should still be the top target out the gate. Florio went on to note that volume could lead to a big day as the Falcons allowed by far the most fantasy points per game to receivers last year at 38.95 per game. No other team was over 36.5 per game. Thomas has also averaged 18.4 fantasy points per game and 95 yards per game in his career against the Falcons. Again, verify availability and plug him in if he's good to go.
Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns ($5,900 on DraftKings; $6,300 on FanDuel)
I'm going to admit. This feels a bit like low-hanging fruit. In case you missed it, Cooper left the Cowboys' high-powered offense and joined one in Cleveland that offers not much help to take defensive attention away. As Florio reminded readers, Cooper became a much more consistent force with the Cowboys, but prior to that, he was one of the more boom-or-bust receivers in the league. That seems to be the Cooper we will be getting early on this season with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. But the concerns go beyond that. Berry pointed out that Cooper's target share last season -- 19 percent -- was a career low and his 57.6 yards per game was his lowest since 2017. I don't really hate Cooper as a season-long play, but given their circumstances, expecting the Browns to go run-heavy to open the season seems wise. And expecting Cooper to offer more bust than boom early on seems equally reasonable.