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DFS Three And Out 2023 week 1
All right. It's Week 1. It's a new season. There are new faces in new places. And since we all know the familiar faces and super-high end plays, I'm going to focus on some players we haven't seen in their current uniforms. Specifically quarterbacks. Four all told. All of them in the same affordable price range. Two of them with tons of upside, one that's a riskier proposition and one I have zero interest in. It's the DFS Tournament Three and Out people. That's how it works.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts ($5,600 on DraftKings; $6,700 on FanDuel)
When I get done with work on Sunday and I sit down to enjoy watching football all day (and into the night), I like to view my tournament lineups as lottery tickets tied to the festivities. So, why not stick with the lottery ticket theme and dive head first into the Richardson pool to get the ball rolling, eh? Is it risky? Sure. Is it expensive? Nah. And the upside is obvious. FantasyPros reminded readers the 6-4, 244-pound Richardson has 4.43 speed and ran for nine TDs in his final college season with the Gators. Shane Steichen, the Colts' new head coach, was the Eagles offensive coordinator for the past two years and helped develop QB Jalen Hurts. In Hurts' first season as a starter in 2021, Steichen went extremely run-heavy. From Week 6 on, that Eagles team ran the ball on 56 percent of its offensive snaps. Hurts averaged a modest 209.6 passing yards per game that year and threw 16 TD passes in 15 starts, but he also averaged 52.3 rushing yards per game and ran for 10 touchdowns. As NFL.com's Michael F. Florio noted, a big part of the appeal for Richardson is the rushing upside. With Jonathan Taylor out, Richardson could easily lead the Colts in rushing attempts and yards. Florio contends that's even more exciting when you consider that the Jags allowed the third-most rushing yards to quarterbacks last season (469). The Colts will also have to keep up with the Jags' high-powered offense, which means more dropbacks. For most QBs that means more passing attempts, but for Richardson it could mean more scrambles. Also, it's not like Richardson can't throw. He can. And he has a huge arm. So it's worth noting the Jaguars had the fourth-most deep passing TDs allowed last year and the second-highest deep passer rating allowed. As FantasyPros' Derek Brown put it: "This passing attack will be built upon play action and deep passing. ..." And I'm here to see if this lottery ticket pays off in Week 1.
Derek Carr, QB, New Orleans Saints ($5,300 on DraftKings; $7,000 on FanDuel)
Making his debut as a Saint, Carr gets a juicy matchup against what FantasyPros characterize as "a flammable" Titans pass defense that gave up 19.0 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs last year and ranked 28th in DVOA. Granted, Tennessee had major injury problems last season, but it's nevertheless hard to see this as anything but a good matchup for Carr. But this is as much about Carr's receiving assets as it is Carr (who, by the way, looked sharp in this offense in exhibition action). But in addition to Carr, I'm buying pieces of wideout Chris Olave, who ranked second among rookies in yards receiving (1,042) and tied for second in receptions (72) last season and veteran receiver Michael Thomas, who is scheduled to return from a foot injury that sidelined him for the final 14 games last season. Thomas has 526 receptions for 6,121 yards and 35 TDs in 73 games. And it also gives me a piece of tight end Juwan Johnson, a potential breakout player this year who emerged as one of Carr's most reliable targets in training camp and is coming off a career-high seven receiving TDs last season.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,900 on DraftKings; $6,300 on FanDuel)
Bear with me on this one, because I know it doesn't seem great. After all, Mayfield is set to make his debut with the fourth team he's played for in the last two years. There's probably a reason for that. In fact, we saw most of the drawbacks during a miserable seven-game stretch with the Panthers last season. Of course, he finished the season with a four decent starts with the Rams, despite a heavily-depleted supporting cast in Los Angeles. But now he's a Buccaneer heading to Minnesota to face a generous Vikings defense in Week 1. As ESPN's Mike Clay pointed out, the Vikings are in transition at cornerback. Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, Cam Dantzler and Duke Shelley were the only CBs to exceed 160 snaps played for this defense in 2022 and none remains on roster this year. Meanwhile, as Florio notes, not only is this an indoor game, which usually boosts offensive numbers, but the Vikings struggled mightily against receivers in 2022. They allowed the most yards (3,266) and the second-most fantasy PPG to the position. They also gave up the most yards to receivers who lined up wide (2,338) and the fourth-most to those who lined up in the slot (1,475), per Next Gen Stats. Both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are positioned to produce in a game in which the Bucs could be chasing points. So while I realize Mayfield hasn't thrown for 300 or more yards in a game since October 2021, and he hasn't thrown three or more TD passes in a game since December 2020, the rock-bottom pricing fully takes that into account without -- in my opinion -- appreciating the matchup and the supporting cast. If you're looking to stack Mayfield with one of his primary receiving assets, you can absolutely do that and bring it back with just about any pieces of the Vikings offense without crushing your budget.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Las Vegas Raiders ($5,300 on DraftKings; $6,600 on FanDuel)
In his first game with the Raiders, Sunday will only be the second time that 31-year-old Garoppolo will play as the starting quarterback against the Broncos. The first time was last year, when the former 49ers quarterback threw 18 completions on 29 attempts for 211 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception in a Week 3 Sunday night loss at Mile High Stadium. While this is a totally different circumstance for Jimmy G, it's still a tough matchup for his receiving assets -- or in this case, asset. As Clay noted, Denver allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to wideouts last season (and the fourth fewest to the perimeter), thanks primarily to the elite play of Pat Surtain II. The standout corner shadowed quite a bit throughout 2022, and that included showdowns with Davante Adams in Week 4 (25 of 35 routes, including 24 of 25 perimeter) and Week 11 (19 of 38 routes, including 19 of 23 perimeter). Adams had little trouble in those games, posting a 9-101-0 receiving line (13 targets) in Week 4 and 7-141-2 line (13 targets) in Week 11. While Adams is still capable, there's nonetheless some added risk here against one of the league's best defenders. And while Clay contends Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow get slight boosts against Damarri Mathis and Essang Bassey, there are plenty of options in this price range I'm more interested in than Jimmy G in this matchup (see above).