Week 3 in the NFL delivered some action-packed play. We took the time to go through all the games this past week and pull out the fantasy content you need to dominate the waiver wire and your league in Week 4.
TNF was the first time the national stage got a chance to see Gardner Minshew III for the Jaguars. The Jags' offense mostly sputtered without DJ Chark Jr playing. James Robinson was the lone bright spot, scoring both of Jacksonville's TDs on the night. Ryan Fitzpatrick had the Dolphins offense humming, completing 90% of his passes for 160 yards and 2 TDs. The Dolphins got out to an early lead and fed Myles Gaskin the ball. He had 22 carries for 66 yards and has a stranglehold on the Dolphins backfield job.
The injury bug bit the 49ers again this week against the Giants, but it didn't slow them down on the scoreboard. Nick Mullens, starting for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, threw for 346 yards, while Jerick McKinnon and Jeffrey Wilson each had rushing TDs for the 49ers. Daniel Jones struggled against a depleted 49ers defense, throwing for 179 yards and an INT. Devonta Freeman made his Giants debut, but only had 10 yards rushing on 5 carries.
Nick Mullens going back to fix the pylon is so pure 😂 @NickMullens @49ers https://t.co/pXg85vDIJg— The Checkdown (@The Checkdown)1600630132.0
Washington 20 - Browns 34
Cleveland ran the ball 35 times in their victory this week over Washington with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Chubb had 108 yards and 2 TDs while Hunt tacked on another 46 yards with a TD reception from Baker Mayfield. Mayfield managed Cleveland's offense well, going 16/23 for 156 yards. Dwayne Haskins struggled against the Browns' defense, throwing 3 INTs to go along with 2 TDs through the air. Antonio Gibson had a rushing TD for Washington while Dontrelle Inman secured both TDs threw the air from Haskins.
Stop me if you've heard this before: The Eagles and Bengals tied this week in what was probably the ugliest game of the week. Carson Wentz threw for 225 yards and 2 INTs while the calls for Jalen Hurts to replace him have grown from a whisper to more of a murmur. Miles Sanders had 95 yards on 18 carries, while Greg Ward Jr led the eagles receivers with 92 yards and a TD. Joe Burrow threw 41 times this week, completing 31 of those passes for 312 yards. He threw 2 TDs as well, both going to rookie Tee Higgins. Joe Mixon was unspectacular on the ground, gaining 49 yards on 17 carries.
I can’t speak for any @Eagles players. But you have to go for that 4th and 12. I can’t live with accepting the tie. Frank Reich 2018.— Dan Orlovsky (@Dan Orlovsky)1601239891.0
The Patriots bounced back after a tough loss to Seattle in Week 2 with a convincing win over the Raiders at home this week. Cam Newton took a backseat this week on offense to Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. Michel had 140 all purpose yards this week while Burkhead had 3 total TDs. Newton threw for 162 yards with a TD and an INT. The Raiders offense struggled against the Patriots defense. Josh Jacobs had 71 yards on 16 carries, while Hunter Renfrow secured one of the 2 Derek Carr TD passes of the day.
Chicago, somewhat predictably given Atlanta's track record. stormed back to beat the Falcons in the third quarter to drop Atlanta to 0-3 on the year. The Bears made the switch to Nick Foles in the 3rd quarter and promptly scored 3 TDs to secure the win. Foles looks to be the starter from here on, while Mitchel Trubisky's career in Chicago is most likely over. Atlanta was down Julio Jones this week, leaving Calvin Ridley as the top WR, securing 5 catches for 110 yards. Russell Gage stepped in to the #2 role this week, but he left the game early with an injury. Matt Ryan had 238 yards and threw a game sealing INT to secure the Bears win.
What a wild game in Buffalo this week. Josh Allen led the Bills to a 28-3 lead midway through the 3rd quarter on 4 total TDs. The Rams then scored 29 unanswered points to take a 32-28 lead. With 15 second left on the clock, Allen hit Tyler Kroft for his second TD of the day to seal the win for the Bills. Allen had 311 yards passing and 5 total TDs this week, cementing himself as a must start QB as the season goes on. Devin Singletary had over 120 all purpose yards while Cole Beasley had 100 yards on 8 catches for the Bills. The Rams' Darrell Henderson had 114 yards and a TD on the round while Cooper Kupp had over 100 yards and a TD through the air.
Pittsburgh squeaked out a victory this week against the Texans, dropping them to 0-3 while the Steelers remain unbeaten. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 200+ yards with 2 TDs, while James Conner had over 100 yards again on the ground this week with a TD. Deshaun Watson had 2 TDs and 264 yards through the air with a TD and an INT. David Johnson couldn't find much room to run, but did snag a rushing TD to save his fantasy day. Diontae Johnson left the game for the Steelers with a concussion and his status is in doubt for Week 4.
Tennessee snuck by the Vikings this week, but the real story to come out of this game was the emergence of Justin Jefferson in the Vikings offense. Jefferson had 175 yards and a TD this week on 7 catches. Adam Thielen had 3 catches for 29 yards and a TD, while Kirk Cousins bounced back slightly this week with 251 yards while also throwing two more INTs. Derrick Henry finally broke out this week with 2 TDs on the ground to go along with 119 yards. Ryan Tannehill had over 300 yards passing with an INT.
Justin Jefferson breakout party 🚀 7 catches 🚀 175 yards 🚀 1 TD https://t.co/RlfETiZZ5Q— PFF (@PFF)1601237741.0
Carolina got in the win column this week against the Chargers on a solid showing from fill in RB Mike Davis. Davis had 91 all purpose yards and a TD this week to push the Panthers past a sputtering Chargers offense. Justin Herbert had another 300 yard passing performance, throwing a TD to to Keenan Allen. Allen had 132 yards on 13 catches while Austin Ekeler had 84 yards through the air as well. Ekeler also had 59 yards and a TD on the ground.
The Colts cruised to a win over the Jets with 217 yards passing from Philip Rivers. Jonathan Taylor had 59 yards on the ground with a rushing TD, but didn't see much action in the 4th quarter after the game was out of reach for the Jets. Sam Darnold threw 3 INTs while Frank Gore had 57 yards on 15 carries for the Jets. TY Hilton had his best receiving day of the year, gaining 52 yards on 3 catches.
Seattle and Dallas battled it out in a high scoring affair this week. The #LetRussCook movement is in full force in Seattle. Wilson threw for 5 TDs this week and could've had 6 if DK Metcalf hadn't started showboating before he reached the end zone. Chris Carson had a minor injury scare late in the game but was diagnosed with a mild knee sprain and shouldn't miss much time. Dak Prescott threw for 450+ yards this week with 3 TDs. He also served up 2 INTs to an opportunistic Seattle defense. Ezekiel Elliot ran for 34 yards and a TD as well.
LET. RUSS. COOK. 5 TD passes for Russell Wilson in the Seahawks' win over the Cowboys. https://t.co/TeQo1uyH5j— ESPN (@ESPN)1601251124.0
Detroit squeaked out a win this week against the Cardinals behind 270 yards passing from Matthew Stafford. The Lions DeAndre Swift only had 4 snaps in the backfield this week, which is worth watching the next few weeks. Adrian Peterson had 75 yards on 22 carries as he dominated Detroit's RB snaps. Kenny Golladay returned from a hamstring strain, gaining 65 yards on 4 catches along with 1 TD. Kyler Murray was dynamic again this week, throwing for 273 yards and 2 TDs while adding a rushing TD. He also threw 3 INTs. DeAndre Hopkins had 137 yards on 10 catches and continues to be an elite WR1 in that offense.
Buccaneers 28 - Broncos 10
Tampa Bay comfortably beat an ailing Broncos team this week behind Tom Brady's 3 TDs and 297 yards through the air. The Tampa backfield conundrum continues this week as Ronald Jones had more snaps than Leonard Fournette. Jones also had a TD on the ground. Mike Evans had 2 catches for 2 yards and 2 TDs. Yes, you read that correctly! Denver struggled on offense with backup Jeff Driskel. Jerry Jeudy was the leading receiver with 55 yards.
Sunday night's game between the Packers and the Saints did not disappoint offensively. Allan Lazard had 146 yards and a TD while Aaron Rodgers continues to show why he's elite, throwing for 283 yards and 3 TDs. The Saints looked better offensively this week, but their defense couldn't stop the Packers. Drew Brees had 288 yards and 3 TDs while Alvin Kamara had 58 yards rushing and 139 yards receiving to go along with 2 TDs.
Baltimore's offense abandoned its run mentality early against the Chiefs and were never able to play catch up after half time. Lamar Jackson looked out of sorts this week, throwing for only 97 yards while rushing for 83 yards. JK Dobbins led the Ravens backfield in snaps this week while each back's usage continues to fluctuate on a weekly basis. Patrick Mahomes was elite, throwing for 385 yards and 4 TDs while adding another TD on the ground against one of the leagues best defenses. Travis Kelce lead all Chiefs receivers with 87 yards.
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It's another eventful week in the NFL.
Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.
Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?
All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.
PICK: Chargers +3.5
It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.
PICK: Chiefs -6.5
Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.
PICK: Texans +9
Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.
PICK: Steelers -5
Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.
The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.
PICK: OVER 49.5
Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.
We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks
*Prices are from DraftKings
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)
I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.
Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)
Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.
Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)
I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..
Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)
This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?
Monday Night Football Best Bets
Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.
Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points
Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:
D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard
Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.
T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD
I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.
AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts
I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.
Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.
If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.
Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54
The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears
Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.
- Cowboys ML (+160)
- Titans +6.5 (-105)
- Steelers ML (-225)
- Rams -3.5 (-110)
Five Props To Consider
- Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
- Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
- Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
- Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
- James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)
All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.