Large field tournaments are what make DFS such an exciting attraction week after week. It takes just one lineup to hit it big and cash in for a five or six figure week (or seven if you’re “lucky” enough to win a millionaire contest). Building GPP lineups can be pretty labor-intensive with so many options throughout the league, and chasing upside can be defeating when your favorite life-changing lineup bombs and you can’t even see the cash line from the depths of your couch.
In order to speed up your lineup building process, I’ll be here weekly with some of my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL weekend. Remember, all we’re chasing is upside in our tournament lineups, but check out more details regarding GPP lineup construction here.
Tournament Plays for FanDuel and DraftKings: Week 3
Matthew Stafford (DET, FD: $7,900, DK: $6,200) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Even though he faced tough defenses in the Cardinals and Giants in the first two weeks, Stafford has racked up six touchdown passes and finds himself as the QB6. He would be even higher if he didn’t throw just four passes in the second half against New York, so I love him at this price in a home matchup with Atlanta. The Falcons are without Vic Beasley, their leading sack leader from 2016 who is out with a partially torn hamstring. This should allow Stafford a cleaner pocket to pick apart a defense that allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs last season. With a high game total (50.5) and friendly matchup, Stafford is a great option in GPPs this weekend.
Kirk Cousins (WSH, FD: $7,600, DK: $6,100) vs. Oakland Raiders
Cousins should be able to bounce back from a tough few weeks to start (QB24), as he was in a similar position last year. Through two weeks, Cousins was QB20, but finished the year strong as the QB4 for the remaining weeks. Oakland’s defense allowed Marcus Mariota to finish as the QB6 in Week 1 and surrendered two touchdowns to Josh McCown. He’s the home underdog in a game featuring the highest point total of the weekend (54), so I love his chances to break out here in Week 3.
Kareem Hunt (KC, FD: $8,300, DK: $8,000) at Los Angeles Chargers
It’s hard not go back to Hunt this weekend after he’s shown huge upside through two weeks, tallying 71.5 fantasy points. He sees another solid matchup against a Chargers defense that allowed the ninth-most points to opposing running backs in 2016 and has already surrendered 251 yards on the ground through two games this season. We can be confident in his workload heading forward, as he saw 74% of the snaps against Philly in Week 2. That along with his touchdown-breaking upside on every play makes him an exciting option once again this weekend.
Jay Ajayi (MIA, FD: $8,200, DK: $7,700) at New York Jets
This is my favorite RB matchup of the weekend, as Ajayi will head to New York as a six-point favorite and take on a Jets defense that has allowed 275 yards and three touchdowns on the ground through two weeks. The third-year back from Boise St. shouldn’t face much competition for touches, as he was on the field for 94% of the snaps in Week 2. He was able to accrue 126 yards on 30 touches against a solid Chargers defense, so I think 150+ scrimmage yards and a touchdown or two is fairly in play this weekend.
Theo Riddick (DET, FD: $5,600, DK: $5,100) vs. Atlanta Falcons
This is essentially a DraftKings’ play because of Riddick’s pass-catching ability, but I wouldn’t completely rule him out on FanDuel if the price works out. Atlanta allowed the most receiving points to opposing backfields in 2016 and don’t look much better this season with a mediocre linebacker corps. They allowed Tarik Cohen to catch 8-47-1 in Week 1 and Ty Montgomery to haul in 6-75-1 last Sunday night. I like this game to be a high-scoring affair, and think Riddick could be a top option coming out of the backfield for Matthew Stafford. He finished second among running backs with 80 catches in 2015, and averaged 5.3 catches through 10 games last season, which would’ve finished as the league high if stretched across 16 games. He possesses great upside in this offense and is facing the defense is the worst in the league against pass-catching backs. Fire him up with confidence.
DeSean Jackson (TB, FD: $6,400, DK: $4,600) at Minnesota Vikings
Number one receivers have been stifled so far this year by Minnesota, as Michael Thomas posted a line of 5-45-0 and Antonio Brown was held to 5-62-0. Therefore, my focus for the Tampa passing attack shifts to DeSean Jackson. We haven’t seen him connect yet with Jameis Winston (just one game), but it’s beneficial to be ahead of the trend in tournaments. Although he played under 50% of the snaps due to their blowout of the Bears, Jackson saw seven targets and just missed a long touchdown. He now faces CB Trae Waynes, who has allowed all 10 of his targets to be completed against him for 150 yards and a touchdown this season. Martavis Bryant broke out against Waynes with four catches for 91 yards and a score last week, and I think Jackson has equal opportunity to match or even exceed that line.
A.J. Green (CIN, FD: $7,500, DK: $8,100) at Green Bay Packers
I’m all-in on Green this weekend regardless of the format. Especially now that Tyler Eifert is out, Andy Dalton should target Green with reckless abandon. Green is facing a secondary that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing receivers last season and returns the same personnel outside of rookie Kevin King. Cincinnati heads to Lambeau as nine point underdogs, so they’ll need to air it out to try and stay close with Aaron Rodgers at home. In two fewer road games (43 to 45 at home), Green has caught 69 more passes, 1,124 more yards, and seven more touchdowns. I can’t envision him seeing fewer than 10-12 targets now with Eifert out, making him a great tournament option on the road in Green Bay.
Golden Tate (DET, FD: $7,400, DK: $6,900) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Tate will see coverage from the Falcon’s weakest full-time corner in Brian Poole. He’ll also likely see matchups with linebackers, as he’s transitioned to the primary slot receiver for Detroit with Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay on the outside. I usually wouldn’t peg Tate as a tournament option, but he actually has some big game upside. Since joining the Lions in 2014, Tate has 13 games of 20 or more DraftKings points, which is the same as Dez Bryant and A.J. Green (stat courtesy of Rich Hribar). He should have no problem getting looks from Matthew Stafford, who has targeted him an average of 8.4 times per game since the start of last season.
Devin Funchess (CAR, FD: $4,800, DK: $4,200) vs. New Orleans Saints
Cam Newton has played every game of his career with Greg Olsen (out with a broken foot), so he’ll need a new big body to target in the middle of the field. While Ed Dickson should run more routes than usual, Funchess is the guy I’m looking at to fill that role. He’s already been involved in the offense (four catches for 65 yards last week) and has caught nine touchdowns from Cam in his career. New Orleans has allowed 13 of 15 passes 15+ yards down the field to completed thus far, the highest rate in the league. I like Funchess’ chances to rack up some big gainers and land in the end zone this weekend, which are both very attractive qualities in a GPP play.
Terrelle Pryor (WSH, FD: $6,900, DK: $5,900) vs. Oakland Raiders
Pryor is off to an underwhelming start with his new team in Washington, but he’ll try to right the ship against the team that drafted him on Sunday Night Football. Pryor is the true number one option at wide receiver, as Jamison Crowder (54% of snaps), Ryan Grant (44%), and Josh Doctson (41%) are all on the field sparingly, leaving Pryor (78%) with the best opportunity to get consistent looks from Kirk Cousins. Oakland’s pass defense isn’t all that great (25th in DVOA last season), giving Pryor a better shot to convert on his targets (caught just 8 of 15 so far). I like this as a breakout matchup for Kirk Cousins at home, and think Pryor will be his top target, making him a great tournament option at his reduced price.
Jared Cook (OAK, FD: $5,200, DK: $3,100) at Washington Redskins
Cook has been frustrating to roster over the years, as he seems to squander great matchup opportunities, but I’m going back to him this weekend. He’s had solid involvement in the offense thus far, having seen the third most targets on the team (11) behind just Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. He’s caught nine of those 11 targets for 81 yards, and while that may not be super exciting, he has a great matchup. Washington has allowed the most receiving yards to tight ends through two weeks (208) and likely will pay more attention to Cooper and Crabtree. It doesn’t take much to pay off his cheap salary on both sites, so feel free to use him as cheap exposure to the game with the highest point total of the weekend.
Austin Hooper (ATL, FD: $5,400, DK: $3,800) at Detroit Lions
Lions’ linebackers have really struggled in coverage in the early going. They’ve allowed opposing TEs to collect 15 of 18 passes against them through the first two weeks, and let rookie Evan Engram catch four balls for 44 yards and a touchdown. Starting LB Tahir Whitehead allowed the most receiving yards and touchdowns to opposing tight ends among linebackers last season. People likely won’t be on Hooper as he’s caught just four balls in two weeks, which makes him a more appetizing GPP play. We saw his upside in Week 1 with his 2-128-1 performance, and he should see more involvement this Sunday against weak coverage linebackers.
Pittsburgh Steelers (FD: $5,000, DK: $3,400) at Chicago Bears
We saw what the Bucs defense did to Chicago last weekend, racking up four turnovers including a pick-six. While Pittsburgh has forced just two turnovers, they’ve sacked the opposing QB nine times through two games. They are road favorites and should hold a lead throughout, forcing Mike Glennon into obvious passing situations. He doesn’t have many weapons on offense, so I like the Steelers’ chances to rack up several sacks and hopefully force some turnovers here in Week 3.