RotoWire & FanDuel Football Championship – Week 3

Week 3 is an interesting point of the fantasy football campaign; we have received just enough of a sample size to begin forming new opinions on players and matchups, but we aren’t deep enough into the season to completely abandon last year’s evaluations. “Is Carson Wentz actually breaking out, or did he luck out from Eric Berry’s absence last week?” or “is Carolina’s D a must-avoid again, or did they simply benefit from facing the Bills and 49ers?” are questions that run through my — and many fantasy owners’ minds as we set our weekly lineups. The beauty of FanDuel is that you can build your lineup around players you feel strongly about that given week, avoiding the aforementioned tough decisions that sometimes come with yearly leagues. So let’s take a look at some players that I am personally targeting in this week’s RotoWire & FanDuel Football Championship.

If you are unfamiliar with the competition, here are the basics:

– 10-week competition hosted on FanDuel
– $10 entry
– Compete against other users and three FanDuel experts (Jeff Erickson, Derek VanRiper, Kevin Payne)
– Finish above the experts and win an entry in the Week 11 Freeroll with over $4,000 in prizes and RotoWire subscriptions up for grabs
– Each qualifying week acts as a double-up with the top 150 doubling up their cash
– This is not a continuous competition, so you can enter every week, and you don’t have to have participated in Weeks 1 or 2 to enter this week’s competition
– You can sign up for this week’s competition here:

There is a separate expert tournament that runs in conjunction with the public one so that we don’t miss out on all the fun. I went big on the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Packers and the Falcons (Matt Ryan, Ty Montgomery, Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones and Davante Adams) to finish with a solid 123.98-point showing. The true star of Week 2 was Mario Puig (rotowireyasiel) who finished in first with 157.28 points, due in large part to his successful Patriots stack against the lowly Saints (Tom Brady, James White, Kevin Hogan and Rob Gronkowski).

Here is how the top-10 shakes out through two weeks (full standings can be viewed here):

  1. Chris Smith (smithca28) 271.46
  2. Mario Puig (rotowireyasiel) 266.02
  3. Jason Brown (modano9) 248.42
  4. Shawn Cwalinski (cwalinski) 244.48
  5. Ken Crites (kencrw) 240.08
  6. Chris Bennett (k30kittles) 237.68
  7. Erik Jastrowski (schigidyschwa) 234.68
  8. Juan Carlos Blanco (jc_blanco22) 234.16
  9. Tyler Markel (tfmarkel) 234.10
  10. Tate McIntyre (tamc10) 232.94

Value Plays

Excluded teams: SF, LAR, BAL, JAX, DAL, ARZ

QB Kirk Cousins, Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins

FanDuel price: $7,600

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Cousins has gotten off to a slow start this season (419 yards with two touchdowns and one interception), resulting in a bargain price for a quarterback who finished third in passing yards last season. This has the makings of a potential shootout with two offenses who like to air the ball out facing inconsistent defenses. Las Vegas agrees, placing a 54.5 over/under for the matchup. The Raiders’ defense is ranked in the middle of the pack through two games, but they have faced Josh McCown and Marcus Mariota, neither of which can challenge secondaries the same way Washington’s signal caller has in the past. Derek Carr has the slight advantage in terms of matchup, but Cousins is $800 cheaper, providing the best bang for your buck.

RB C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

FanDuel Price: $6,900

Anderson feels like a lock at this price considering his strong production through two weeks (242 total yards and two touchdowns). Buffalo’s defense has been surprisingly stout against the run so far (57.5 rushing yards/game), but this is roughly the same unit that allowed 133.1 rushing yards/game last year. Anderson isn’t heavily involved in the passing game the way other top-end running backs are, but that shouldn’t be much of a concern in FanDuel’s format which awards just 0.5 points per reception. It is tough to pass on potential RB1 production at a discounted price, even if he ends up being heavily owned.

RB Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

FanDuel Price: $6,600

I will be the first to admit that I have never been a believer in Crowell as a reliable fantasy running back. Whether it is the overall ineptitude of the Browns’ offense, or simply the back’s lack of explosiveness, I couldn’t get behind his rising stock this preseason. That said, I will be tuning in to the Crow Show this week against a Colts team that appears to be in worse shape than the Browns themselves. Cleveland running backs have received just 36 carries through two weeks — due in large part to playing catch up in the second half — but Crowell has received 27 of those carries, confirming his role as the team’s leading rushing option. Assuming the Browns can keep things close against the Andrew Luck-less Colts on Sunday, Crowell should produce his best fantasy showing to date.

WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers

FanDuel Price: $7,500

Seeing Green’s price this low tells us exactly how bad the Bengals’ offense has been this season. Cincinnati’s lack of an offensive touchdown has limited the superstar’s value, but he is still receiving the lion’s share of targets from Andy Dalton (18 through two weeks) while averaging 70.5 receiving yards/game. Green matches up against the 5-foot-11 Damarious Randall, who was eaten alive by another big receiver, Julio Jones, last week. This could be the week that the Bengals finally hit paydirt, and Green has the best chance of any offensive player to cash in. If my recommendation isn’t enough to persuade you, the always-useful RotoWire Lineup Optimizer lists Green as the best value play at WR this week.

WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins

FanDuel Price: $6,900

A common practice when constructing DFS lineups is the pairing of your quarterback with the receiver you expect to garner most of his attention. That’s where Pryor comes in. The converted quarterback had a solid debut with six catches for 66 yards before disappointing last week with a two-catch, 31-yard performance. While the stat line was nothing to write home about, it is worth noting that he led all Washington wideouts with 52 snaps against the Rams. Cousins’ usual top receiving target, Jordan Reed, may not be able to suit up Sunday with a chest injury, which would result in more red-zone looks for the 6-foot-4 receiver. Could this be the week that Cousins and Pryor finally put it all together in a potential shootout with the Raiders? My money says, “yes.”

High Risk/High Reward

RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears

FanDuel Price: $8,700

My esteemed colleague, Edward Kensik, listed Bell as a player to “steer clear” of in last week’s blog. Mr. Kensik was 100 percent correct looking back at the pricey running back’s pedestrian 11.1-point output, but I am going to flip the script this week and make Bell my pick for High Risk/High Reward. The 25-year-old’s lack of a preseason was well-documented, but he appears to be ready to handle a full workload after touching the ball a whopping 31 times last week. Sure, he was bottled up for the most part by a ferocious Minnesota defense, but expect him to find more running lanes against a Bears D that ranks in the bottom-third of the league in yards allowed per game (341.5). The risk here is his lofty price tag, but there is a strong chance that Bell finishes as the No. 1 RB in Week 3.

Steer Clear

RB Dalvin Cook, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

FanDuel Price: $6,500

It pains me to name a running back that I own in a couple of season-long leagues and who I believe in long-term, but I will be avoiding Cook this week. The explosive rookie broke out to the tune of 137 total yards against the Saints in Week 1, but his production took a hit last week (64 total yards) with Sam Bradford on the shelf. It doesn’t help that the Bucs’ D is coming off of a game where they limited the Bears to just 20 rushing yards, the lowest output of any team so far this season. Tampa Bay may not actually be that good on defense, but they did add Chris Baker this offseason to compliment Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers on the defensive line. They also possess a couple of athletic linebackers in Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David who could help chase down the speedy Cook. This “avoid” suggestion hinges greatly on the status of Bradford’s knee, but even if he does suit up, there seem to be better options to roll with at running back this week.

You can tweet your hate mail to Josh @JashFath in the event he leads you down the wrong path.