4 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 3
When playing daily fantasy football, we should be matchup sensitive when rostering players. One star player can go from a great play to a horrible one based on his opponents and the specific individual matchup might play a huge role in that. Since we can play any player we want on a given slate, it makes sense to pick players in the best matchups. This will raise both their floor and their ceiling, and it should lead to us having a chance at making some winning lineups.
Week 3's main slate is perhaps the best we've seen this season, and it is chock full of teams and players in good matchups. Let's take a look at four of them.
Kansas City's Passing Game vs. the Colts' Pass Defense
The Kansas City Chiefs have had one of the most vaunted passing games in the NFL since Patrick Mahomes ($8,700) became the starting quarterback. He has 158 touchdown passes since 2018, the most in the NFL in that span by some distance. His arsenal of weapons may have changed, but it shouldn't hurt him this week.
We saw Mahomes torch the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 for 360 yards and five touchdowns. Now, he'll face the Indianapolis Colts, the 30th-ranked pass defense, according to numberFire's metrics. The Colts also rank first against the run at this early part of the season, so they will funnel teams to the passing game. Kansas City has a pass/run ratio of 1.67, so they are already predetermined to favor attacking through the air.
The tricky thing with Kansas City now is how to stack them. Before this offseason, it was easy to know the pass catchers who were likely to have big games. It is a bit trickier now with Tyreek Hill off the team. We can definitely look at Travis Kelce ($7,800) as one of the stacking partners. Kelce will likely see the highest target share and will definitely get usage in the red zone.
JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,100) is second with nine receptions and tied for second in targets with 11, so he would be the next choice. Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,600) earned just 13 yards on his seven targets last week, but the fact that he got those targets makes him an option in Kansas City stacks. Using two of these three pass catchers is a good way to get your Chiefs exposure.
Kansas City's implied team total is 28.0 points, the third-highest on the main slate. If they hit that total, it's likely to come through Mahomes and friends, making them one of the best stacks on the board this week.
Cincinnati's Passing Game vs. the Jets' Pass Defense
It's safe to say the Cincinnati Bengals did not get off to the start they would have wanted to after making the Super Bowl last season. They did that last year on the back of their passing game, but Cincy's passing attack currently ranks 27thby our numbers after finishing 10th last year.
But it is still early in the season, and they have a great matchup this week.
The Bengals are on the road again to face the New York Jets. The Jets once again have been getting torched through the air, as their pass defense is 27th in the league. They also haven't been getting pressure on the quarterback, as their 18.2% pressure rate is the sixth worst in the NFL. Cincinnati has been struggling to protect Burrow, so this might be the perfect spot for them to get back on track.
This is a different situation from the Kansas City passing game. With the Bengals, we know where the ball is going the majority of the time. When we roster Joe Burrow ($7,500), we are going to want to stack him with one or both of Ja'Marr Chase ($8,500) and Tee Higgins ($7,300). These two players saw 42.8% of the Bengals targets last season, and that was with Higgins missing two games. Whenever we can get a concentrated target tree, it's great for stacking.
The Bengals have a 25.75 implied team total this week and should be able to get the passing game going. We might be able to take advantage of other DFS gamers who want to see it before they roster Bengals again after two straight disappointing weeks. This could be a spot to get Cincy at a lower draft percentage.
Miles Sanders vs. the Commanders' Rush Defense
The Philadelphia Eagles have been getting a ton of positive publicity thanks to their first two games of the season -- and rightfully so. They have looked like a much better offense. Jalen Hurts has been getting most of the hype, but other players deserve credit, as well.
Miles Sanders ($6,800) looks back to his best to start the season. He infamously didn't score a touchdown last year but got the monkey off his back in Week 1. He has 35 touches through the first two games and has averaged 88 yards on the ground.
A lot of credit has to go to Philly's offensive line. It was considered to be among the best in the league to start the season, and it hasn't disappointed. They have been able to create holes, ranking fifth in adjusted line yards. They'll go up against a Washington Commanders defense that is 30th in adjusted line yards against and 30th in rush defense overall.
Sanders might not be popular with Hurts taking a lot of the attention for fantasy managers who want to roster an Eagles player. This makes Sanders a good pivot in tournaments and also a good value as a running back for just $6,800 who is getting a lot run. With the Eagles being 6.5-point favorites, Sanders should see the ball often if things are going according to plan.
Cooper Kupp vs. the Cardinals' Secondary
Like last season, it's looking like every week is a Cooper Kupp ($9,800) week. He went off again last week for 11 catches, 108 yards and two touchdowns. We especially want to target Kupp when he's facing a weak secondary in a fast-paced game.
Kupp and the Los Angeles Rams will see the Arizona Cardinals in a road game in the division. Last time in Arizona, Kupp caught 13 balls for 123 yards and a score. Arizona's pass D looks worse so far this season, ranking dead last by our numbers. The Cardinals also are tied for last with just one sack in two games.
Last week against the Las Vegas Raiders, Arizona was able to keep Davante Adams mostly quiet. He did score a touchdown on a Kupp-like route near the goal line, though, which every team in the league has had trouble stopping against the Rams. Kupp will play more in the slot than Adams did, and Raiders slot man Hunter Renfrow caught seven passes for 59 yards last week. Renfrow is not the same level of player as Kupp, who could do a lot more damage if he sees the 10 targets Renfrow did.
This game is anticipated to be the second-fastest on the main slate this week, so we'll want pieces of it. It makes sense to play Kupp as the piece to build game stacks around. With loads of good plays at wide receiver this week, it's unlikely Kupp's popularity gets outsized. We know he is capable of breaking any slate, and his ceiling makes him an attractive play once again.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.