FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 3

Coming off a rough loss on Monday, Justin Jefferson and the Vikings are in a great spot to bounce back this weekend against the Lions. Which other matchups stand out?

Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.

As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.

Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.


Josh Allen ($9,000 on FanDuel): Fresh off back-to-back ceiling performances in island games (33.48 and 29.68 FanDuel points), Allen is looking like an elite fantasy force again this season and finally makes his first appearance on the main slate. He accounted for four touchdowns in both blowout wins (seven passing and one rushing) and that was with him sitting out the entire fourth quarter in Week 2.

This Buffalo-Miami contest has one of the slate's highest totals (52.5), giving it loads of shootout potential between two teams that have gotten off to hot starts offensively. According to numberFire's metrics, both teams rank top-three in adjusted offense after the first two weeks, and this also projects as the week's most pass-heavy matchup, per our Brandon Gdula.

You probably don't need a whole lot of convincing to click on Allen this week, and he's projected as the slate's top quarterback in numberFire's model.

Jalen Hurts ($8,100): Hurts is another quarterback who's flashed his tantalizing upside through the first two weeks, and he's projected for the second-most points at the position behind Allen. The difference is that his salary comes at a $900 discount, making him the best point-per-dollar value at quarterback, too.

Fresh off torching the Vikings for 34.02 FanDuel points on Monday night, Hurts' rushing ability has been on full display as the early leader among signal-callers in carries (28), rushing yardage (147), and rushing scores (3) through Week 2. No other quarterback has cracked 20 rushes thus far.

While this Philadelphia-Washington game doesn't have quite as lofty an over/under as some others, this 47.5 line is still pretty promising. The Commanders' first two games have resulted in totals of 50 and 63 points, so this could end up being a very fantasy-friendly game environment.

Kirk Cousins ($7,600): Coming off an ugly performance on Monday, is it likely that Cousins can keep pace with all of Allen, Hurts, Patrick Mahomes ($8,700), and Lamar Jackson ($8,600)? No, probably not.

But if ever there was a time for a spike week from Cousins, it would be this Sunday against the Lions.

Between a promising offense and a questionable defense, Detroit is showing signs of being a walking shootout after taking part in games featuring combined scores of 73 and 63 points. That's reflected by this game's over/under (52.5), and the Vikings are sitting pretty as 5.5-point home favorites.

Cousins has a more difficult path to a high ceiling due to his lack of rushing ability, but he's still tied to one of the league's top wideouts in Justin Jefferson, and Detroit ranks 22nd in adjusted pass defense thus far. The Lions have given up 28-plus FanDuel points to both quarterbacks they've faced, and while one of them was Hurts via the run, the other was Carson Wentz, who threw for 337 passing yards and 3 scores.

It's the latter that we're hoping for from Cousins this weekend. Even in a more conservative offense last year, he still logged 25-plus FanDuel points four times, including a season-best 28.52.

Running Backs

Dalvin Cook ($8,300): If Cousins doesn't have a big game, it could be due to his running back stealing the show instead.

While the Lions haven't been great against the pass, they've really struggled to stop the run, ranking 31st in adjusted run defense, per numberFire's metrics. It's led to Detroit giving up the second-most FanDuel points to opposing backfields.

Cook hasn't made a ton of noise in his first two games, but his usage has remained encouraging.

He logged 30 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) in Week 1, and while that dipped to just 18 in Week 2, we can chalk that up to a rough blowout loss. For context, Saquon Barkley has averaged 30.5 adjusted opportunities thus far, which is the league's second-highest mark.

Even with the poor second game, Cook still ranks sixth among backs in snap rate (72.5%), and his passing game role remains strong, sitting fifth in route rate (63.0%) and ninth in target share (14.5%).

According to numberFire's projections, Cook is pegged for the position's second-most FanDuel points, and at his salary, he also rates as the top point-per-dollar value.

Joe Mixon ($8,200): Remember how Barkley is second in adjusted opportunities? Well, it's Mixon who leads the way, averaging a whopping 36.0 through two weeks.

Now, it's worth noting that this number is propped up by a massive 45 adjusted opportunities in Week 1 (27 carries and 9 targets), a game that saw a boatload of plays and went to overtime, but even if he were to tally 27 adjusted opportunities as he did last week, we would happily take it.

The Bengals' game against the Jets doesn't come with as much pizzazz as some other matchups (44.5 total), but Cincinnati is a 6.0-point road favorite against a poor-performing defense. New York is down at 30th in adjusted total defense and 24th versus the run.

Mixon is projected for the fifth-most FanDuel points among running backs.

Leonard Fournette ($7,200): Fournette has been dealing with a hamstring issue, but he actually saw an increase in snaps and opportunities last week and now ranks third in adjusted opportunities per game (28.5) and third in running back snap rate (81.1%).

He's only seen six total targets to this point, but it's possible that he gets leaned on more this week, as Tampa Bay's wideout group is taking another hit due to Mike Evans' one-game suspension. Fournette was featured prominently in the passing game last season, averaging a league-high 6.0 targets per game that was only matched by D'Andre Swift.

This isn't expected to be a high-scoring affair between the Bucs and Packers (41.5 total), which could limit Fournette's scoring opportunities, but he'll be the man when the Bucs are in close. He's seen 80% of the team's carries in the red zone.

Overall, Fournette's workload is looking great all around, and that makes him particularly appealing at a mid-range salary.

David Montgomery ($7,100): Montgomery hasn't averaged quite as many adjusted opportunities as the others on this list (22.0), but he saw his snap rate leap to 80.5% last week, which is a very encouraging sign for his role moving forward. That was the fourth-highest snap rate among running backs in Week 2.

While this is another matchup with a meh over/under (39.5), this actually rates as the week's second-best game in terms of pace, trailing only the Monday night game.

The Bears also rank 32nd in pass rate over expectation, with quarterback Justin Fields attempting just 28 passes through two weeks.

That should mean plenty of touches for Montgomery, and this matchup could be one where this run-heavy approach could work out for Chicago. The Texans have allowed the league's second-most rushing yards and rank just 20th in rushing success rate allowed.

Wide Receivers

Justin Jefferson ($9,500): Unfortunately, we aren't getting any salary discount for Jefferson following his 7.8-point FanDuel score on Monday, but he should bounce back in a big way if this Detroit game goes as planned.

While Jefferson didn't dominate the targets at quite the same level in Week 2, he's still top-10 in target share among wideouts (30.3%) and first in air yards share (53.0%).

Fitting in the dynamic wide receiver will be difficult, but he's practically a must-have if you roster Cousins. According to numberFire's projections, Cooper Kupp ($9,800) and Jefferson are pretty much in their own tier as the only players at the position projected for 19 or more FanDuel points.

Stefon Diggs ($8,300): Fresh off annihilating the Titans in primetime for 38.8 FanDuel points, Diggs could end up as the most popular wideout on Sunday. Diggs has scored the most FanDuel points at the position, yet he has just the sixth-highest wide receiver salary on the slate.

Even if Gabe Davis ($7,200) returns as expected, it shouldn't hurt Diggs' upside too much, as he still enjoyed a 29.0% target share and 45.1% air yards share in Week 1.

Amon-Ra St. Brown ($7,800): St. Brown has turned heads in the early going, seeing 12 targets in each of his first two games with a 33.8% target share.

While he's still a low aDOT player with just a 24.3% air yards share, he's now caught 8 or more receptions in eight straight games dating back to last year, and that's led to over 15 FanDuel points in all but one of those weeks.

Minnesota's pass defense was embarrassed by the Eagles on Monday, and they now sit 21st in numberFire's metrics. St. Brown is a fantastic addition to any Lions-Vikings stacks.

Brandin Cooks ($6,600): As noted with Montgomery, this should be a fast-paced Texans-Bears game, and hopefully that give Cooks a much-needed boost in this struggling offense. It also can't hurt that Chicago ranks 20th in adjusted pass defense.

Cooks has now seen double-digit targets in both games with a 30.1% target share and 36.5% air yards share, but it's only led to a combined 136 receiving yards and no scores.

While this doesn't exactly inspire confidence, getting this kind of volume is pretty amazing at this salary range. Cooks projects as the best value among wideouts with salaries below $7,000.

Tight Ends

Tyler Higbee ($5,700): If you don't have the cap space to pay up for the usual suspects at tight end, then Higbee makes for a nice value at the position.

A lack of touchdowns has led to modest results in the box score for Higbee, but his role should lead to the occasional spike week. He ranks second among tight ends in target share (26.3%), first in snap rate (95.3%), and second in route rate (83.5%).

The Rams are facing a Cardinals team that's 32nd in adjusted pass defense and has struggled to cover tight ends.

T.J. Hockenson ($5,500): Hocksenson is listed as questionable but practiced on a limited basis all week. Assuming he's good to go, he's the budget way to get exposure to the Lions.

The Detroit tight end ranks fifth at the position in target share (19.7%), fifth in snap rate (89.8%), and ninth in route rate (78.7%).

Like Higbee, Hockenson hasn't found the end zone yet, but he has a golden opportunity coming in this projected shootout against Minnesota.


Cincinnati D/ST ($3,600): The Bengals' defense flopped as the chalk play in Week 2, but this is a potential bounce-back opportunity against the Jets.

New York ranks second in pass rate over expectation, with Joe Flacco chucking it 59 and 44 times in the first two games. That's precisely what we want to see for sacks and turnovers, and with Cincinnati being a road favorite, the game script should also push the Jets towards the pass.

Despite the lack of fantasy scoring, the Bengals have the ninth-best adjusted total defense.

Jacksonville D/ST ($3,200): This is contingent on whether Justin Herbert plays, but as of this writing, the line has plummeted to the Chargers being favored by just 3.5 points, which could be a sign that Herbert is more likely to sit.

If that ends up being the case, Chase Daniel would be a significant downgrade at quarterback. Now 36 years old, Daniel has only made five career starts in the NFL.

Jacksonville's defense has actually performed well, too, ranking top-three in adjusted total defense. With the third-lowest defense salary on the board, the Jags could be a great way to open up some cap space.