5 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 3
In fantasy football, matchups are key to setting any lineup.
This series will take a look at a few matchups that can be exploited for success on the football field and for profit in DFS.
Seahawks Offense vs. Dallas Defense
With the highest total on FanDuel Sportsbook and the third-highest projected pace, per Football Outsiders, on this week’s slate, Seahawks-Cowboys figures to be a popular game to target this week, but it is still well worth the chalk.
Seattle currently ranks fifth in neutral-situation pass rate after finishing 23rd in it in 2019 and 31st in 2018, per rbsdm.com. As a result, the Seahawks rank second in points scored, second in yards per play and third in numberFire’s schedule-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. Meanwhile, Dallas’ defense ranks 25th in points allowed, 18th in yards per play allowed and 10th in Defensive NEP per play.
D.K. Metcalf ($6,500 on FanDuel) has started strong with back-to-back games of 90-plus yards and a touchdown. The salary is too low for Metcalf considering his hot start and nice matchup, while Tyler Lockett ($6,800) is a little more but is still a worthy investment considering his rapport with Russell Wilson ($8,700), as the two have connected on 15 of 16 passes so far this season. A classic six-catch, two-touchdown day from Lockett almost feels inevitable.
Wilson and Chris Carson ($7,700) don’t offer as much value but are still elite contributors who would be nice stacking plays, while Dak Prescott ($8,500) and the rest of Dallas’ skill-position players should be worth consideration, as well, in order to get exposure to this game.
Lions Offense vs. Cardinals Defense
Cardinals-Lions is another game that figures to attract the masses but is still worth getting a piece of the pie. Like the aforementioned matchup, this game will feature two teams with a high total and a fast pace.
Arizona’s offensive stars have surpassed their lofty preseason expectations thus far, as Kyler Murray ($8,400) and DeAndre Hopkins ($8,500) both rank top-four in FanDuel points and top-12 in Total NEP at their respective positions.
Murray, Hopkins and Kenyan Drake ($6,500) are all likely to be heavily rostered this weekend in a plus matchup against Detroit, which ranks dead last in Defensive NEP per play in 2020. But stacks involving Matthew Stafford ($7,300) and any of Kenny Golladay ($7,500), Marvin Jones ($6,100) or T.J. Hockenson ($5,400) are sneaky-good options for exposure to this game.
Stafford’s current depth of target of 9.1 should jump closer to his 2019 league-leading average of 10.7 now that Golladay is back in the lineup, which would benefit all Lions receivers, including Hockenson, who had six catches, 131 yards and a touchdown on nine targets in last year’s Week 1 matchup between these two teams. Hockenson and the rest of Detroit’s offense should benefit from a what looks to be a high-scoring affair in Arizona.
Chargers Offense vs. Panthers Defense
After the departure of Philip Rivers this past offseason, the Los Angeles Chargers seem intent on running the football. The team ranks third in neutral-situation run rate, per rbsdm.com despite ranking 23rd in Rushing NEP per play, even after facing what our numbers have as the 19th- and 24th-ranked defenses (Cincinnati and Kansas City, respectively)
On deck for the Chargers is the Carolina Panthers, a team that has surrendered the most FanDuel points to running backs. LA is likely to still rely on the run, which will especially benefit rookie running back Joshua Kelley ($5,900), who is quietly tied with teammate Austin Ekeler ($7,500) for sixth in carries this season (35) among all backs. But the emergence of Justin Herbert ($7,200) as the new starting quarterback following Tyrod Taylor's punctured lung should bode well for the rest of Los Angeles’ skill players.
It was just one game, but Herbert ranks 14th in Passing NEP per dropback after facing the Chiefs' 16th-ranked pass defense, while Taylor ranks 19th after facing the Bengals' 20th-ranked pass defense in Week 1. Keenan Allen ($7,100) was the main beneficiary of the likely quarterback upgrade, as he caught seven of 10 targets for 96 yards after securing just four of eight receptions for 37 yards in the season opener.
Despite Los Angeles’ intentions to ground and pound, this game should still produce a fine amount of plays as the Chargers and Panthers rank 4th and 15th, respectively, in neutral-position pace, per Football Outsiders. Kelley, Ekeler, Allen and Hunter Henry ($6,000) are all underrated options against a poor Carolina defense.
Eagles Offense vs. Bengals Defense
Through two weeks of action, the Philadelphia Eagles rank dead last in both passing offense and passing defense, per our schedule-adjusted numbers. Carson Wentz ($7,600) sits last in Passing NEP per drop back among quarterbacks with at least 15 dropbacks this season.
Things are clearly not going well for the Eagles. Fortunately for Philadelphia, it has a nice bounce-back opportunity against the Bengals in Week 3. Its first two opponents (the Football Team and the Rams) rank third and fourth, respectively, in Defensive NEP per play while the Bengals check in 17th.
Miles Sanders ($7,400) is a sound play against Cincinnati this week, considering his dominant role (after missing Week 1, his 77% offensive snap rate in Week 2 would rank fourth among all running backs for the whole season) and plus matchup (the Bengals have allowed the second-most FanDuel points to running backs this season).
Meanwhile, Wentz, Zach Ertz ($6,200) and DeSean Jackson ($5,500) have largely underwhelmed to begin the season, but this is as good of a buy-low opportunity as any to roster players with high fantasy ceilings.
Rams Offense vs. Bills Defense
The 2020 Rams are looking like the 2018 Rams, as they sit 2-0 with convincing wins against both the Cowboys and Eagles. By our per-play metrics, Los Angeles' offense ranks second and the defense is fourth. LA is up against the Buffalo Bills, a team that ranks 7th and 12th in offense and defense, respectively, per our numbers.
After ranking 16th in Passing NEP per drop back a season ago, Jared Goff ($7,200) currently ranks fifth after passing for more than 250 yards in each of the past two games. Robert Woods ($6,600) and Tyler Higbee ($6,100) have been the main targets so far, as Woods had a 100-yard receiving game in Week 1 followed by a three-touchdown performance by Higbee in Week 2.
Buffalo has an extraordinarily talented defense, but after successfully shutting down the hapless New York Jets in Week 1, Buffalo allowed 28 points and more than 500 total yards of offense to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. Goff and the rest of the Rams' playmakers have a solid opportunity to continue their offensive success this week, especially if Josh Allen ($8,100) -- who ranks first in Total NEP among all players through Week 2 -- and the rest of Buffalo’s offense makes this game a higher-scoring affair than the listed total of 46.5.