Every week for a video segment (shown above), I’ll have a group of cohorts sending in blind resumes for a group of three players at a different position (QB, RB, WR, and TE). My job will be to unbox the player with the best on-paper resume, removing any name-value or personal bias from the equation. The idea is to solely focus on production, volume, and matchup rather than outside noise.
Here in the article version of the piece, I’ll be unpacking some of these decisions further; deciding whether the players I picked in the segment truly make sense as plays or whether other options in the trio make more sense. Additionally, I’ll share some picks that I’m actually interested in making in my DFS lineup for the given week.
Let’s unbox some daily fantasy plays together.
QB- Matt Ryan $36
Blind resume fact: Week 2 opponent collected 38 total sacks last season
Despite a hideous collection of mistakes, Matt Ryan finished Week 2 as the eighth-highest-scoring quarterback. The Falcons defense continues to invite some opposing points even as they put some solid pressure on Carson Wentz last week. The Falcons at Colts matchup has a decently high 47-point total. Ryan could be forced to the air once again, as their ground game tries to find its footing.
The script of this game may well come down to who can control the pace of play. After being one of the fastest teams in the league last year, the Colts are outside the Top-20 in seconds per play in 2019. Atlanta resides at sixth overall.
Verdict: An option but not a core play.
QB- Tom Brady $33
Blind resume fact: Has thrown for 250-plus yards in 24 games since 2017
The Patriots are one of two teams favored by over 20 points in Week 3, which is wild. New England will welcome the Jets into their home slaughterhouse on Sunday. New York will field Luke Falk as their starting quarterback against the NFL’s pass defense.
If New England is to truly stomp the Jets by over 20 points, Brady will be the one handling much of the work. New York has a major pass-defense problem and Adam Gase has shown no hesitation in complaining about his cornerback group. The Jets are getting some big plays back on their side but they’re allowing them as well. Their 13.5 yards per completion allowed is the sixth-highest figure so far this year.
Verdict: Core play.
QB- Jameis Winston $23
Blind resume fact: Has thrown for 100-plus yards in one quarter 22 times since 2017
Long known as a boom-or-bust passer, we’ve seen more of the latter from Jameis Winston so far. He ranks as the QB26 through two weeks and the Bucs passing offense is way off from finding its groove.
However, things could be different here in Week 3. Winston flopped in a good matchup in the Bucs’ opener but this spot against the New York Giants is tantalizing. The Giants are the 31st-ranked pass defense in Football Outsiders DVOA and have ceded the third-highest passer rating (132.3). Winston has Chris Godwin playing well but could even make for a contrarian stack with the so-far disappointing Mike Evans against this defense without a pass rush.
Verdict: Definitely in play.
Guys I actually want to play
Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson; $38, $36
I mean, come on. This game has the highest total on the board and features two of the NFL’s most exciting young passers. Either of these two players can be anchors in your DFS lineup. The Chiefs defense has holes but has looked just a bit closer to passable than last year and the Ravens don’t look like they’ve lost much steam despite offseason departures. Even that’s not enough to spoil this script.
Josh Allen $30
The Yahoo pricing doesn’t account for Josh Allen’s smash spot-upside. Allen is the QB13 heading into Week 3, despite committing four turnovers in his first game. Allen is top-five in quarterback rushing yards and just cakes layers onto his upside with his legs.
The Bengals just got humiliated by the 49ers in Week 2 and showed little resistance to Russell Wilson in Week 1. If Allen even comes close to delivering the beating Jimmy Garoppolo handed Cincinnati, he could break the slate.
Saquon Barkley $36
Blind resume fact: Has gained 815 yards after the catch since last season
Saquon Barkley currently rests as the RB5 on the season despite only ranking 11th in total touches. You would have figured volume would keep him afloat but it’s actually been outrageous efficiency (7.8 yards per carry).
The change at quarterback could be a boon for Barkley’s volume. Not just because the young Daniel Jones may lean on Barkley as a pass-catcher but any improved play behind center would pump up the play count and keep the offense on the field longer. That would be a boon for Barkley and help negate what’s suddenly a tougher matchup. The Buccanneers defense looks much better this year under the guidance of Todd Bowles. The unit allows just 2.7 yards per carry, the third-lowest mark in the league.
Verdict: Would rather pay up elsewhere.
Ezekiel Elliott $33
Blind resume fact: Has touched the ball 20-plus times in a game 16 times since 2017
It was no surprise that a week after taking it easy on the running back who held out all summer, the Cowboys rode Ezekiel Elliott hard in Week 2. He handled 24 touches against Washington in a convincing 31-21 win. We should see a similar setup for Elliott here in Week 3.
A general rule in DFS is to heavily deploy running backs on heavy home favorites. Yes, even if that back’s team is favored by a whopping 21.5 points over the hideous Miami Dolphins. Don’t fall into the trap of worrying if Elliott will be pulled if the game gets out of hand. If the Cowboys beat the Dolphins down like their first two opponents did, it will be Elliott who finds his way into the end zone one or two times.
Verdict: Want to have in every lineup.
Aaron Jones $20
Blind resume note: Rushed for 70-plus yards in a half four times since 2017
The explosive Aaron Jones finally had the type of game his truthers are always looking for. Jones handled 23 carries, rushed for over 110 yards, scored, and even chipped in with 4-34 through the air. That was all while in a tough spot against the Minnesota Vikings stout defense.
Jones is still not quite an every-down back. He’s held around a 60 percent snap share and has just a narrow advantage in terms of routes run compared to Jamaal Williams (31 to 30). However, that’s more than enough to offer another strong game in this spot. The Packers are 7.5-point home favorites over a Broncos team that has a middle-of-the-road run defense allowing 4.4 yards per carry and three rushing touchdowns.
Verdict: Core play.
Mark Ingram $19
Blind resume note: Has touched the rock 29 times this season
Mark Ingram is indeed the lead back in Baltimore. After other players got some burn in Week 1, Ingram operated as the Week 2 clear-cut guy. Ingram handled 15 touches to three for Gus Edwards and two for Justice Hill.
Ingram doesn’t have the touch-ceiling of other players and that can leave you with a mere 77 total yards and no-score line like we got last week. However, that’s accounted for with his cheap price. He’s also in a strong spot heading into Week 3. The Ravens matchup with the Chiefs carries a 52-point total against a defense that allows 6.0 yards per carry. Ingram has big touchdown potential.
Verdict: Volume concerns are problematic but always in play.
Matt Breida $19
Blind resume note: Has rushed for 10+ yards on 51 of his 285 carries since 2017
Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson snagged the touchdowns last week but Matt Breida still cleared 100 yards rushing. He won’t be a bell cow (30% of snaps) but he’s a big-play threat who can make the most of limited volume in a proven run-game scheme.
The 49ers are a 6.5-point home favorite over the Mason Rudolph-led Steelers. That should lead to the type of run game script for Breida to push 15 touches.
Verdict: Option in the right roster construction, but not a core play.
Kerryon Johnson $18
Blind resume note: Has touched the rock 32 times this season
Kerryon Johnson’s workload has been one of the more disappointing happenings of the season so far. The second-year back has yet to clear a 60% snap rate and registered just 14 touches last week. Even with C.J. Anderson released, the team still seems to want to play rookie Ty Johnson in tandem with Kerryon.
He’s not a clear-cut workhorse. His Week 3 matchup against the Eagles makes taking him as a value prohibitive.
Verdict: Probably not.
Guys I actually want to play
Devonta Freeman $18
I am an idiot. For the third straight week, I’m recommending you chase a ceiling we’ve yet to see in the range of outcomes for Devonta Freeman.
He’s faced two horribly tough fronts in Minnesota and Philadelphia thus far. That will not be the case here in Week 3 as the Falcons travel to play the Colts indoors. Indy already had trouble defending the run, allowing 5.5 yards per carry. Now, they might be missing their stud second-year linebacker, Darius Leonard.
Frank Gore $15
What is dead may never die. Frank Gore looks likely to draw feature back work with rookie Devin Singletary not practicing all week. Gore scored on the ground last week and has looked as spry as ever here in Buffalo.
The Bengals were obliterated by the 49ers ground game last week and have allowed 331 yards and three touchdowns on the ground so far.
Michael Thomas $33
Blind resume note: Double-digit receptions in both games in 2019.
Teddy Bridgewater knows who his top guy is. The veteran backup threw to Michael Thomas 11 times in relief duty against the Rams, meaning 37% of Bridgewater’s throws went to Thomas. This duo will travel to Seattle to face a secondary that’s been shaky so far in 2019.
Bridgewater looked like he would be limited to a quick, short passing game that fits well with Thomas’ route strengths. Even with the QB downgrade, Thomas has a solid floor but is expensive considering the ceiling questions without Brees in the mix. It’s hard to justify paying up for Thomas when he’s sandwiched between Julio Jones and Odell Beckham in potentially slate-breaking spots.
Verdict: Considering fading this whole game for DFS.
Keenan Allen $30
Blind resume not: Eight receptions in both games this season and averaging over 12 targets a game this season.
Keenan Allen leads the NFL with 329 air yards on the year. Never known for his downfield ability, Allen leads all pass catchers with a 54% share of his team’s air yards and is second in the NFL with 25 targets. A bonafide volume monster, Allen looks like he could push for a top 5 fantasy finish here in 2019.
He gets the Texans this week who have allowed 76% of wide receiver targets to be completed. Allen looks like he’s someone you should consider as a top receiver in your DFS lineup every week.
Sammy Watkins $25
Blind resume note: Averaging 12 targets a game
A massive game followed by a slow line. That’s been the story of Sammy Watkins’ career and it’s been the same through the first two weeks of this NFL season.
However, he still drew 13 targets in Week 2 despite collecting just 49 yards. While he might not be an every-week WR1 locked-in season-long, as long as he’s attached to Patrick Mahomes, he’s someone you want to deploy in DFS at the right price. That might just be this week. The Ravens secondary gave up some production to the Cardinals in Week 2 and Patrick Mahomes can certainly find those same openings. In what could be a back-and-forth passing affair between Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, Watkins should be in your lineup.
Verdict: Want to use him in a game stack lineup with Mahomes and run it back with some Ravens.
Chris Godwin $22
Blind resume note: Passer rating of 155.8 in Week 2 when targeted.
Chris Godwin is a star. While the Bucs offense is still struggling to string together consistent play, Godwin has been the clear steadiest asset in this unit. He got open at will last Thursday night against the Panthers and found the end zone for the second straight week.
With the Giants coming to town, there’s no reason to think the emerging stud receiver can’t make it three in a row. We might need to be viewing Godwin as a WR1 going forward and he’s priced outside the Top-15 receivers in Yahoo DFS this week. Nonsense. Godwin’s 11.9 average depth of target makes him the odds-on favorite to be the most consistent receiver on the team. The Giants are the 31st ranked pass defense by Football Outsiders DVOA.
Verdict: Smash that + button.
John Ross III $18
Blind resume note: Averaging double-digit targets a game
Not a soul would have bet that the NFL leader in receiving yards and the WR1 overall in fantasy football would be John Ross after two weeks. Of course, he has been hitting on deep passes as well as piling up yards after the catch. He has a beefy 33% share of the team’s air yards and is third in the NFL with 143 yards gained after the catch. There is some flukiness to just how much he’s scoring.
Yet, Ross is still an integral threat in this Bengals offense right now. He has 20 targets on the year and has run more routes than anyone on the team. The Bills are a blisteringly tough matchup, allowing an NFL-low 4.9 yards per pass attempt. Ross is a ceiling-chasing play only but comes at a palatable price.
Verdict: Has to be the right lineup construction; the pairing with Chris Godwin makes sense.
Tyrell Williams $16
Blind resume note: Has seven targets and a touchdown in both games.
Tyrell Williams is a bit banged up with a hip injury at the moment and will draw his toughest defensive matchup to date as a member of the Raiders. Minnesota isn’t as tough as it used to be in the secondary (at least it didn’t appear to be last week) but they’re a step up from Denver and Kansas City.
Williams owns a massive 43% share of Oakland’s air yards and is the only receiver currently carrying his weight in the passing game. You are getting some volume at a discount. The concentrated nature of the opportunities in this passing game helps even out any worries about the matchup. Overall, this feels like the time to get off Williams and come back at a later week when the price goes down even further.
Verdict: Probably not his week.
Guys I actually want to play
Odell Beckham $33
If you were at all upset by OBJ’s seven-catch but admittedly unexplosive Week 1, well, you have far fewer reasons to cry now. Beckham’s massive touchdown last Monday night elevated him to a 160-plus yard outing as he ripped through the heart of Gregg Williams’ defense.
Beckham looks like he’s every bit worth the first-round pick many fantasy drafters spent on him. The Browns offense hasn’t completely jelled yet but it’s getting there. We could see his most productive outing yet in a big matchup that should have some fantasy fireworks with the LA rams. He feels too cheap for his ceiling.
Kenny Golladay $20
Kenny Golladay is too cheap. He crushed a tough matchup last week, going over 100 yards against the Chargers and hanging a touchdown on star corner Casey Hayward.
The Eagles have been flummoxed by wide receivers running wildly open through their secondary this year. Golladay could easily finish as a top-five receiver if the Eagles hit on offense.
Devin Smith $15
This is my time. I loved Devin Smith as a prospect coming out of college and am beyond thrilled he’s beat the odds after a number of brutal injuries to find his place on a contender. With Michael Gallup out, Smith should be the second outside receiver in three-receiver sets. He showed us that he hasn’t lost that gorgeous deep game prowess he brought with him from Ohio State.
Lastly, he is playing the Dolphins.
Mark Andrews $21
Blind resume note: Caught 16—of-17 targets
The true breakout tight end of the 2019 NFL season, Mark Andrews has clear 100 yards in back-to-back games. He’s been the favorite target along with Marquise Brown for Lamar Jackson through two weeks. He isn’t playing a full complement of snaps (41 and 55%) but he’s drawing volume when he’s out there. His 27% target share is more than good enough.
The Chiefs and Ravens game comes with a beefy total. Andrews is still a solid bargain at $21 dollars and the Kansas City defense has enough holes to pick on. He can be a core play at tight end.
Verdict: Foolish to not sprinkle him in.
TJ Hockenson $19
Blind resume note: One week with 20-plus fantasy points. One week under five fantasy points
T.J. Hockenson came crashing back down to earth last week after smashing the Cardinals in Week 1. His snap rate didn’t change much (up from 71 to 78%) and he was still third on the team in routes run (22). We know for sure now he has a tenuous floor that should make you think twice before clicking his name.
The matchup this week can probably go either way. The Eagles are usually a solid middle-of-the-field defense but have blown coverages routinely in the secondary, albeit more to wideouts. The total on this game has come down from 48.5 to 46 points. Philadelphia is banged up offensively and the Lions are no stranger to retreating into their offensive shell if the opponent doesn’t coax them to the air.
Verdict: Probably not his week.
Will Dissly $14
Blind resume note: Catching 85% of targets.
You have to hand it to Will Dissly; he’s got himself on the radar. He snared two touchdowns against Pittsburgh and is hauling in the majority of the looks sent his way. Any pass catcher in a Russell Wilson offense who isn’t just a net-zero as a talent is interesting to us. Dissly is proving he is not that.
However, his playing time is still an issue. Dissly has been on the field for less than 60% of the team’s snaps in both of the Seahawks games so far. Even worse, he ranks fifth on the team in routes run with 31. He’s behind both of the starting receivers, running back Chris Carson and worse yet, fellow tight end Nick Vannett.
Verdict: Still a bit too thin for me.
Guys I actually want to play
The high-priced guys
The top of the range with George Kittle ($21) and Zach Ertz ($20) feels like the right place to be this week. Kittle hasn’t had an eruption spot yet but could find it this week. The Steelers just let Will Dissly hang two touchdowns on them and have been abused in the slot. Kittle has run the most routes on the team and lined up in the slot on 28% of his snaps.
Zach Ertz caught eight passes last week as the wide receiver corps fell apart for the Eagles. We know that connection with him and Carson Wentz is real and his volume should be more concentrated going forward. Ertz led the Eagles in air yards last week.