NFL

5 Daily Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in Week 3

As you're filling out your DFS lineups, it's always tempting to simply target the biggest superstars. However, player salaries don't always align with their expected production in a given matchup.

In this preview, I'll highlight a few players who might ordinarily be on your radar but are probably best to avoid this week. These aren't going to be players you absolutely must avoid due to injuries or playing-time demotions but rather players who are in a bad spot due to a matchup or a salary that has risen too high to justify rostering.

Let's take a look at five players who may not live up to expectations in Week 3. All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals

DraftKings Salary: $5,900

FanDuel Salary: $7,000

With the Philadelphia Eagles favored by 6.5 points, this figures to be a tough matchup for Joe Mixon. As talented as Mixon is, he doesn't appear to be the Cincinnati Bengals' running back of choice in the passing game this year. As a result, when the Bengals are trailing, he's had an 18 percent usage rate (compared to 50 percent when leading). Additionally, the Eagles' run defense looks strong this season, as they have held opposing running backs to three or fewer yards on 65 percent of their attempts, the third-best rate in the league.

Relative to his salary, Giovani Bernard, who has 10 receptions on 12 targets this season, may actually be the more valuable Bengals' running back this week. Although, it's probably best to just steer clear of this offense until it starts to show progress.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Giants

DraftKings Salary: $5,500

FanDuel Salary: $5,200

Last week's list of players to avoid included Saquon Barkley based on the pathetic performance of New York Giants' offensive line, and the same logic should remove Devonta Freeman (and Dion Lewis) from your consideration this week. According to Sports Info Solutions, Giants running backs are averaging 0.3 yards before contact per attempt, the worst rate in the league.

It's possible Freeman recoups some value in the passing game, but since Lewis is also going to factor into that aspect of the Giants' offense, it's hard to envision anyone in this backfield being fantasy-relevant until the offensive line demonstrates marked improvement.

Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts

DraftKings Salary: $4,800

FanDuel Salary: $5,300

After Nyheim Hines saw eight targets and seven carries in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Marlon Mack went down with an injury, it looked like Hines would emerge as a potentially undervalued fantasy weapon in the Indianapolis Colts' offense.

Unfortunately, it now looks like his production may be game-script dependent. When the Colts are winning, Hines has a 6.1 percent usage rate with only two carries and two targets. As a result, with Colts leading for nearly three full quarters against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2, Hines was a non-factor.

In Week 3, the Colts are 10.5-point favorites against the New York Jets, likely setting up another poor game script for Hines' fantasy value. If you want to roster someone on the Colts' offense, it probably makes sense to create room for Jonathan Taylor or take a shot with Jordan Wilkins, who had nine carries last week against Minnesota.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills

DraftKings Salary: $7,000

FanDuel Salary: $6,900

Stefon Diggs is off to a fantastic start to his career with the Buffalo Bills, hauling in eight receptions in each of his first two games. However, Jalen Ramsey and the Los Angeles Rams present a more difficult challenge than the previous two matchups versus the lowly Miami Dolphins and Jets.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Ramsey has allowed just 5.0 fantasy points per game in coverage (FanDuel scoring) since joining the Rams last season. With Ramsey likely to shadow Diggs for the majority of the game, it's tough to envision Diggs putting up enough points to justify his cap hit.

Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons

DraftKings Salary: $4,700

FanDuel Salary: $5,700

Hayden Hurst's stock is one of the fastest risers on the fantasy market this season, and he's coming off a breakout performance in which he snagged five receptions, including a touchdown, on eight targets in Week 2. However, we probably have to assume Hurst's fantasy value has been boosted by the Atlanta Falcons finding themselves in two shootouts to start the year. Matt Ryan is currently on pace for 720 pass attempts -- 69 more than his previous career high.

In Week 3, the Chicago Bears offense is unlikely to be able to match Atlanta's pace and generate a shootout. Since Hurst is fourth on the team with a 15 percent target share, it will be difficult for him to live up the standard he set last week in a slower-paced game.