Building cash game lineups can offer some tough decisions week after week, but I’m here to help narrow your player pool and land on the right players. Remember our cash game vs. GPP lineup rules, and use the players listed below to help build a solid foundation for your cash game lineups.
DraftKings and FanDuel: Top Cash Game Plays for NFL Week 3
Derek Carr (OAK, FD: $8,400, DK: $6,800) at Washington Redskins
The Raiders head into their Sunday night matchup with the second-highest point total on the slate (28.8). Carr has put up QB7 and QB5 performances in two victories against the Titans and Jets. The Raiders will depend on the talented fourth-year pro even more this week in what be a shootout (54-point total), giving him one of the best floors of any QB. The Redskins have allowed 279.5 passing yards per game in the first two weeks, and I expect Carr to approach 300 yards with ease on Sunday night.
Matt Ryan (ATL, FD: $8,500, DK: $7,100) at Detroit Lions
People might be wary to pull the trigger on Ryan in cash games this week, but he’s facing the defense ranked dead last in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) against the pass last season in a high scoring environment in Ford Field. He has an offense full of weapons and sees a point total of 26.8 entering Friday morning. I have confidence in Matthew Stafford’s ability to put up points against the Vic Beasley-less (partially torn hamstring) Falcons defense, which will help keep Matt Ryan throwing throughout the game. Don’t be scared off by the Lions D, as they allowed the highest completion percentage in NFL history to opposing QBs last season and are without leading 2016 sack getter Kerry Hyder (torn achilles in preseason) and linebacker Jarrad Davis (concussion). Ryan should have no problems producing this Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers (GB, FD: $9,300, DK: $7,300) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Green Bay has the third-highest team total of 27.5 heading into their home matchup against the 0-2 Bengals. Cincinnati hasn’t allowed much production to opposing quarterbacks through two weeks (faced Joe Flacco and Deshaun Watson), but they’ll square off against a different animal in Aaron Rodgers at home. He’s averaged 2.7 TDs per game at home over the last three years (1.9 on the road) and should have Jordy Nelson back after he left last week’s game with a quad injury. Randall Cobb is still questionable, but even without him Rodgers has plenty of weapons to do damage against the Bengals. With a high team total in a game at Lambeau field, I have no issues firing up Rodgers in cash. One caveat: monitor the statuses of the starting tackles; LT David Bakhtiari has not practiced this week (hamstring) but RT Brian Bulaga did on Thursday (ankle). If both are out on Sunday, downgrade Rodgers a bit.
Le’Veon Bell (PIT, FD: $8,700, DK: $8,800) at Chicago Bears
It’s extremely rare to see Bell limited to 3.1 yards per touch through two games (44 for 138), but there’s no reason to jump off the bandwagon just yet. Bell averaged 5.6 yards per touch in 2016, so he’s in line for some serious positive regression here soon. Also, the Steelers’ workhorse has fared better outside of Heinz Field. He’s score eight more touchdowns (17-9) and averages 15.5 more yards rushing on the road. Pitt sees a healthy total (25.5) and should see a game flow that features Bell as seven-point favorites. He’s very affordable on both sites for what we’ve seen in the past, so I’ll happily fire up Bell in cash games this weekend.
Jay Ajayi (MIA, FD: $8,200, DK: $7,700) at New York Jets
Ajayi could be the only back to approach Bell’s workload this weekend, as he takes on the Jets in MetLife Stadium. Miami’s bell-cow back saw 30 touches last week (28 rush, 2 receptions) and was on the field for 94% of the snaps. He has a dream matchup against a Jets defense that has allowed 275 yards and three touchdowns to opposing backs through two weeks. It won’t be any easier for their run defense, as Ajayi was difficult to bring down in Week 2, breaking 10 tackles according to Pro Football Focus. I love this matchup for Ajayi, and think he’ll approach 150 total yards on at least 30 touches this Sunday.
Ty Montgomery (GB, FD: $7,200, DK: $6,900) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
It’s still hard to ignore Montgomery at this price point in cash games. He’s the lead back in a home game where his team is favored by nine points. Montgomery has also led all NFL running backs in snaps, as he’s been on the field for 88% of his teams plays. He should have his usual involvement in the pass game as well, as Cincinnati allowed the sixth most receptions to running backs in 2016 and will be without Vontaze Burfict as he finishes up his 3-game suspension. The opportunity and skillset are just too hard to ignore in this matchup, so I love Montgomery as cheaper option in cash games to help you pay up at the wide receiver and quarterback position.
A.J. Green (CIN, FD: $7,500, DK: $8,100) at Green Bay Packers
Cincinnati’s number one wide out sees a ridiculously-low salary of $7,500 on FanDuel (never below $8,200 last season), making him a great option for cash games. Not to mention, the Bengals next best option in the passing game (Tyler Eifert) will likely miss Week 3 with back and knee issues. Green is facing a secondary that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last season and have the same personnel outside of rookie corner Kevin King. The Bengals will need to air it out as nine-point road underdogs, a situation Green has excelled in over his career. 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 targets, making him a great cash game play against a porous Green Bay secondary.
Amari Cooper (OAK, FD: $7,700, DK: $7,100) at Washington Redskins
Cooper is my favorite target to match up with Derek Carr, as he shouldn’t see too much coverage from Josh Norman. Norman has lined up on the left side of the defense 95% of snaps, where Michael Crabtree sees the majority of his snaps. Cooper has out-targeted Crabtree 18 to 13 through two weeks, providing him a better floor heading into this matchup. There aren’t too many targets outside these two and Jared Cook in the offense, so Carr should look towards Cooper plenty in a high-scoring affair on Sunday night.
Antonio Brown (PIT, FD: $9,000, DK: $9,000) at Chicago Bears
Brown will always be a WR1 candidate for cash games with Big Ben at quarterback. He’s finished as a top-three season long fantasy receiver in each of the last three seasons and remains the top option in a dangerous Pittsburgh passing attack. He’s seen 11 targets in each of the first two games, turning in a masterful 11 catch, 182-yard performance against Cleveland but a tough five catch, 62-yard performance while being shadowed by Xavier Rhodes in Week 2. I have faith he’ll bounce back against a defense that allowed 7-93-1 to Mike Evans last week.
Keenan Allen (LAC, FD: $7,200, DK: $7,200) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Allen is still cheap on DFS sites after coming off his ACL-ruined 2016 season. He sees legit WR1 workloads every game (10 targets in each of first two games) and has a decent matchup against a relatively weak slot corner in Phillip Gaines. Allen provides us with that solid floor we’re looking for in cash games, as he’s seen more than seven targets in 17 of his previous 21 games, including 12 of 10 or more targets. Despite getting the reputation of a defense that’s tough against wide receivers, KC has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position through two games (and now without star safety Eric Berry for the season). He’s more appealing in DraftKings’ PPR format, but should still see enough volume to be cash game viable on FanDuel.
Zach Ertz (PHI, FD: $6,500, DK: $5,000) vs. New York Giants
The fifth-year pro out of Stanford should see plenty of usage once again in Week 3 against the Giants. New York has struggled with tight ends out of the gate, allowing 13 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns in two weeks. Ertz has been an awfully reliable target for Carson Wentz, hauling in 13 of 18 passes for 190 yards in just two games. The Giants just don’t matchup well against tight ends, and this should be another week where Ertz catches 7-10 balls and approaches 100 yards. I’ll happily take that from my tight end in cash games.
Jack Doyle (IND, FD: $5,300, DK: $3,600) vs. Cleveland Browns
This is an ideal matchup for Doyle as he starts to get in rhythm with QB Jacoby Brissett. Doyle caught all nine targets from Brissett in last week’s matchup with the Cardinals, and now faces a Browns defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends since the beginning of last season. It hasn’t been against elite options, either, as Jesse James caught 6-41-2 in Week 1 for the Steelers and Arizona’s tight ends (without starter Jermaine Gresham) combined for 62 yards last week. Doyle should have no problem finding success against the Browns.
Philadelphia Eagles (FD: $4,500, DK: $3,000) vs. New York Giants
Philly already has eight sacks and 18 QB hits through two weeks, and now get to face a Giants O-line that has allowed eight sacks to Eli Manning and find themselves in hostile territory. Manning hasn’t thrown for over 300 yards in Philly since 2012, and the Giants offense has scored fewer than 20 points in eight straight games. With reasonable pricing on both sites, the Eagles should be a very popular play, rightfully so.
New England Patriots (FD: $4,900, DK: $3,800) vs. Houston Texans
Look out Deshaun Watson: No rookie QB has gone into NE & beaten Belichick since he took over in 2000. 0-8, 5 TD, 16 INT, 50.7 passer rating
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 20, 2017
This tweet pretty much makes my entire argument. I just don’t see how Deshaun Watson can have any success against the Patriots on the road. His only legitimate receiving option is DeAndre Hopkins, who has been held to 3.8 catches and 47.6 yards per game against New England with zero touchdowns in four career matchups. Load up on New England if you can fit in their elevated price point.