DRAFT Week 3 NFL Picks: Round by Round AnalysisBy Mark Dankenbring | Published: September 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm
Weekly contests on playdraft.com feature a new format for DFS players. Instead of a salary-based selection process, DRAFT went back to the basics and implemented a live snake draft format for players. For weekly contests, players must draft 1 QB, 2 RBs, and 2 WRs/TEs. There is only one option with more than six players (10 players), meaning only 30 players are taken off the board in the majority of contests.
With just five rounds to draft and a 30-second pick clock, it’s important to know who you want before the clock starts ticking. Therefore, each week I’ll give you round by round advice, factoring in depth at each position to help you nail each and every pick in your draft. Let’s get started.
DRAFT Week 3 NFL Picks: Round by Round selection of 1 QB, 2 RB, and 2 WR/TE
This is a tougher week than the previous two, as there aren’t that many clear options that jump out to me as locks to perform well this weekend. With that being said, I really like the depth at quarterback. There are at least seven quarterbacks I’d be happy to roster, so I’ll wait until the last round to pick one up in six or fewer person leagues. Therefore, I’ll be targeting a skill position player in round one. My favorites at WR are Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and A.J. Green, and I’d be willing to target Le’Veon Bell, Kareem Hunt, and Jay Ajayi as running backs in the first round.
Ben Roethlisberger is notorious for performing worse on the road, but the Steelers have a solid point total of 25.5 and the passing offense runs through the sure-handed Brown. With no clearly superior option at the position, I’ll take the player with one of the most reliable floors in all of fantasy.
Jones has the ability and usually the opportunity to break out any given Sunday. We saw Matt Ryan target him early and often in Week 2, and they should be in a tight game with the Lions throughout with a spread of just three points (Atlanta favored). Atlanta sped up the offense from Week 1 to Week 2, and more plays equals more points. This game has a high total of 50.5 and one I think has sneaky shootout potential, so I’ll happily take a chance on a big week from Julio in round one.
A.J. Green is probably my favorite wide receiver play of the week. He heads to Lambeau to face a defensive unit that allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers in 2016 and has struggled against them so far this year. Cincinnati has 10 days to prepare with new OC Bill Lazor, and Green was quoted saying he needs the ball more if the offense wants to perform better in upcoming weeks. It should start this weekend in Green Bay.
Ajayi is my first running back of choice this week, but he’s low on the RB rankings (13th projected RB) in DRAFT, so you might be able to snag him in round two. However, I’ll mention him here because I think he’s worth of a round one selection. Ajayi saw 30 touches in Week 2 and faces a Jets defense that has allowed 275 yards and three touchdowns on the ground through two weeks. I think he’ll approach 30 touches once again in a game where Miami is favored by six and provide great production with those touches.
On the subject of running back usage, it’s hard to leave out Le’Veon Bell’s name. He saw 31 touches in the Steelers win over the Vikings, and while he’s yet to produce RB1 numbers, it’s only a matter of time before he busts loose. He should see plenty of work as six point favorites on the road, and had favorable road splits a season ago. He averaged 158 yards from scrimmage and totaled five touchdowns in six contests away from Heinz Field last season. I’ll happily place faith in one of the most dominant fantasy players of the last few years.
Kareem Hunt has been an absolute beast so far, tallying 71.5 fantasy points in his first two career games, the most to begin a career since 1980. He gets another solid matchup this week against a Chargers team that allowed the ninth-most points to opposing running backs in 2016 and has surrendered 251 yards on the ground through two games this year. He has the explosiveness to win you a week nearly on his own, so don’t shy away from him this weekend.
Rounds 2, 3, and 4
I would recommend filling your RB spots in round two and three, as there’s limited depth at the position this week. My next favorites at the position are Ty Montgomery, C.J. Anderson, and Devonta Freeman.
Montgomery is still undervalued in my opinion, as he is game-flow independent and plays behind one of the best quarterbacks in football. He’s seen the most snaps of any running back in the NFL, totaling 39 touches (29 rushes and 10 catches) through two weeks, although Mike McCarthy has said he may dial back Montgomery’s usage for the sake of his health. He’s produced in the red zone as well, with three touchdowns on the season. His floor is healthy as well as his upside, so Montgomery makes a great play once again this weekend.
C.J. Anderson has been the clear workhorse in the Denver backfield, yielding 71% of the snaps and seeing 49 touches through two weeks. He’s actually been involved in the passing game (always a boost), having been targeted three times in both games. He’s looked explosive on the ground, averaging 4.4 YPC (45 for 199) and faces a Bills defense that allowed the fourth most rushing yards last season.
I was a little worried about Freeman’s usage in Week 1 after he saw just two more touches than Tevin Coleman. He was clearly the featured back in Week 2, however, seeing 62% of the snaps and out-touching Coleman 21-8. He’s seen the second-most red zone touches since the beginning of last season (66), and has a good chance to reach the end zone in a game with a 50.5 total.
With the running back position locked up, let’s finish up our WR/TE position before moving onto quarterback in round five. My favorites in these mid-rounds are Odell Beckham Jr., DeVante Parker, J.J. Nelson, and Keenan Allen.
OBJ should get overlooked after playing just 34 snaps in Week 2. He practiced on Wednesday and should see closer to a full complement of snaps after another week of rehab. Beckham had great success against the Eagles last season, averaging 19.5 fantasy points per game and saw 30 targets in their two matchups. Eli Manning doesn’t have a better option on offense, and the Eagles are without newly-acquired DB Ronald Darby due to a dislocated ankle. I think OBJ is a solid buy-low this week on DRAFT, coming in at just the 17th projected WR.
Michael Crabtree exploded for three touchdowns against the Jets defense last week, and I like Parker’s chances of reaching pay dirt at least once this Sunday. Parker saw nine targets from Jay Cutler, catching four for 85 yards. People will probably target Jarvis Landry after his 13 catch, 78 yard performance, but I’m confident Parker will be the one to shine against a weak secondary.
Nelson leads the Cardinals with 43 targets, 408 receiving yards, and four touchdowns over Arizona’s last five games. He just showed his worth without John Brown, busting out for five catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. The speedy Emmanuel Sanders torched Dallas with a 6-62-2 line, and I think Nelson has some big play upside at home on Monday night.
I’m going to continue to take stock in Allen until the rest of the world catches up, as he’s the number one option in an offense that loves to air it out. He’s seen 10 targets in each of the first two weeks, hauling in nine of those for 100 yards in Week 2. He likely won’t line up too often against KC’s best corner in Marcus Peters (Allen plays mostly slot so should be matched up with slot corner Phillip Gaines). Allen is a great value as a fourth-round pick and should see a minimum of 10 targets once again.
It’s now time to select your quarterback. As I mentioned earlier, there are six quarterbacks I’m comfortable taking this week. Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and Derek Carr. Besides Stafford, these QBs feature the five highest team totals spanning from 26.3-29.5, so there isn’t a whole lot of difference between them.
Carr is probably my favorite of the bunch, as he holds the highest team total and faces a Redskins team that has allowed nine QBs to pass for 300+ yards since the beginning of 2016. I’d then go with Matt Ryan, who takes his dynamic offense on the road to face a Detroit defense that allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing QBs last season. I have no concern playing Matty Ice on the road if he’s in a dome, so have confidence playing him this weekend.
Next on my list is Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown multiple TD passes in seven of his last eight home games. He should have Jordy Nelson who practiced Wednesday, and still has familiar targets in DaVante Adams, Geronimo Allison, and Ty Montgomery if Nelson or Randall Cobb (injured shoulder) can’t suit up. Matthew Stafford falls in line after Rodgers, as he has a home matchup against a Falcons team that should have no problem putting up points. He averaged 257 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game at home in 2016, and has boosted his floor with his legs through two weeks. He’s already rushed for 37 yards through two games, and I can see him scrambling for a few more first downs in Week 3.
My last tier of QBs belongs to Cam Newton and Tom Brady. While Newton has a dream matchup against the Saints, he hasn’t looked great throwing the ball coming off of shoulder surgery in the off-season, and he’ll be without tight end Greg Olsen (broken foot). I don’t think the Saints will have much success against a stifling Carolina defense, so I don’t think Cam will be pushed to throw all that much. Brady sees the second highest team total of 28.8 points, but I don’t think he’ll need to put many points up to silence the Texans. It will be Deshaun Watson’s second NFL start, and I can’t envision him putting up much of a fight in Foxboro. I think Brady has a solid day, but has a lower ceiling than the quarterbacks above due to the matchup.
It’s impossible to predict exactly how different drafts will play out, but if you end up with a roster full of players mentioned above, you’ll be in a great spot to finish in the money.