This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Football series.
Before jumping in headfirst into the whirlwind of fun that is Yahoo! DFS football, be sure to differentiate from the variety of games offered. Since Head-to-Heads, 50/50s and Double Ups pay nearly half of entrants, your best bet to cashing is to target players with higher floors. Think heavily-targeted number one WRs, RBs who get the bulk of a team's carries and upper echelon QBs in match-ups with a tight Vegas point spread and a high total.
Tournaments / Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs) require a bit more of your inner contrarian – target offensive players with higher ceilings in advantageous matchups. Huge point totals can come from the most unpredictable of places – the most obvious plays are not always the right ones. Though previous week's performances should be noted, each new week of action should be considered its own season. Don't chase last week's stats!
CASH GAMES (H2H, 50/50s and DOUBLE UPS)
Aaron Rodgers (GB, $43) - The league's top quarterback in a Monday night matchup is the spot to build your cash game lineups around. Rodgers threw for at least three TDs or 250 yards in 11 of 16 games last year and is the definition of consistency at the QB position. The Packers are favored by a touchdown, and without Jordy Nelson to take the top off defenses, Rodgers' efforts may be required for all four quarters. This game also boasts the highest Vegas point total (48) of Week 3. Additionally, Eddie Lacy still nursing his ankle injury could put additional emphasis on the pass game (not to take anything away from Big Game James Starks). Save your fliers like Ryan Mallett ($24, vs TB) and Tyrod Taylor ($24, at MIA) for the mammoth NFL Million Dollar Baller, and spend up for the man, the myth, the legend on the Monday Night Football stage.
Marshawn Lynch (SEA, $36) - Lynch graces us with his presence once again this week. He is still a beast among backs in this dreamy matchup against a reeling Bears defense that has allowed 79 points over the first two weeks. Lynch has averaged 85 yards and 0.75 touchdowns per game over the last four seasons but has not been his typical self so far in 2015, most recently scuffling for 41 yards on 15 carries against the Packers. The Seahawks offensive line isn't as strong as in recent years and notably misses veteran center, Max Unger, who was the glue that kept that line together. Nevertheless, the 'Hawks will look to re-establish their running game and the hungry Lynch will look to feast on more than colored little candies. While most cash gamers will lean towards Arian Foster ($36, vs TB) if he's back, Le'Veon Bell ($35, at STL) or Adrian Peterson ($34, vs SD) among the pricier options, take the guy who won't be denied in the end zone on his home turf.
Latavius Murray (OAK, $24) - Take a gander at the mid-tier options and you'll notice a silver and black gem glistening. Change-of-pace back Taiwan Jones will get a carry here and there, but veteran Roy Helu has yet to receive one. Murray is clearly the go-to back and should be the focal point of Sunday's game plan against a Browns squad that was gashed by the Jets' Chris Ivory (91 yds, 2 TD) and allowed 98 yards on 10 carries to Titans also-ran, Dexter McCluster. The Browns typically play good defense at home, but that's mostly against the opposing team's signal-caller. Murray caught all 10 of his targets over the first two games and will continue to contribute on pass plays. We may be forced to use our o-faces if he breaks a long one in this contest. Slot Latavius in and fuggetaboutit.
Randall Cobb (GB, $31) - Captain Obvious has Antonio Brown ($39, at STL), Julio Jones ($37, at DAL) and Julian Edelman ($36, vs JAX) listed among his top plays this week, so you don't need to hear it from me. We want to play it safe in cash games, so why not save a few bucks and pair Aaron Rodgers with his favorite receiver? Cobb's preseason shoulder injury seems like old news now. He caught a touchdown pass and all five targets in Week 1, and followed it up with 116 yards (8-of-11 targets) against the Seahawks on Sunday night. With Jordy Nelson out of the picture and possibly no Eddie Lacy or Davante Adams this week, is there really a much safer bet among wideouts than Cobb? Hammer home your cash game matchups with the Rodgers/Cobb combo on Monday Night Football.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU, $27) - Enjoy an underpriced Nuk for just one more week. Hopkins is venturing to the land of top-tier receivers before our very eyes. After the first two weeks, Hopkins is tied for fifth among wideouts with 24 targets. In the season opener, he abused Chiefs' corners for two touchdowns and 98 yards on nine receptions. Last week, Panthers' budding stud CB Josh Norman held Hopkins to just 53 yards (5-of-11 targets). This Sunday, don't expect Tampa's corners to keep up with him. Bump Hopkins up into must-start territory if Arian Foster returns. That would help keep the Bucs' D honest on a whole new level.
Donte Moncrief (IND, $19) - There's no shame in my game showcasing Moncrief in this spot for the second week in a row. Moncrief was 18.5 percent owned in the Million Dollar Baller last week and came through for his owners posting 21.7 FP (7 Rec, 122 Yds, 1 TD). The season is still young, but our new GPP darling is quickly gaining cash game status while the salary is still bargain basement level and T.Y. Hilton works his way back from decoy to full strength. Expect QB Andrew Luck to bounce back in a big way and take out last week's frustrating loss out on the Titans' secondary. For at least one more week, Moncrief should be the primary beneficiary in the Colts' passing game.
Greg Olsen (CAR, $21) - The tight end position in DFS is usually Gronk or bust. Fading Rob Gronkowski ($36, vs JAX) on any given week is usually a recipe for disaster, especially in cash games. Building a lineup with Gronk and trustworthy options at other positions though will be a tough task this week. Olsen has disappointed over his last two games, but was targeted a whopping 14 times in Week 2 and should rebound against the struggling Saints. Quarterback Cam Newton ($36, vs NO) has fared well against the Saints in recent years, particularly at home. Despite the extra attention he's been getting with Kelvin Benjamin out, expect Olsen to capitalize on a higher percentage of targets and finally cross the goal line this week.
Seattle Seahawks ($16) - The number-shufflers spread defenses out a bit for Week 3, so we now have a few options above the $14 price point to consider. Last week, three of the so-called 'safe' and most highly-owned defenses for cash games and tourneys were all busts (Rams, Ravens, Dolphins). What did they all have in common? They were on the road. It's just one week and three data points, but there's something to be said about being careful playing defenses on the road. As for why you play the Seahawks this week and don't second-guess yourself? Two words: Jimmy Clausen.
QB: Carson Palmer (ARI, $40)
RB: Adrian Peterson (MIN, $34), Jamaal Charles (KC, $32)
WR: Antonio Brown (PIT, $39), Brandon Marshall (NYJ, $25), Michael Crabtree (OAK, $14)
TE: Ladarius Green (SD, $14)
DEF: Arizona Cardinals ($12)
TOURNAMENTS (GPP – GUARANTEED PRIZE POOL)
Nick Foles (STL, $33) - With the bevy of options well above and below his price point, it's safe to assume Foles won't be at the top of your competitors wish lists this weekend. It's not a play for the faint of heart, but Foles has a few things going for him. The matchup with the Steelers should be a competitive one. The Rams play better at home and they are just one point underdogs in one of the highest projected point totals (48) of Week 3. Foles' weapons are underwhelming at best, but if Brian Quick ($16, vs PIT) returns to the field, he gives Foles a big downfield threat. The Steelers have been playing solid run defense (3.5 YPC against, no touchdowns to RBs) but have allowed nearly 290 passing yards over the first two games. Foles has a big arm and will be forced to use it Sunday.
LeGarrette Blount (NE, $22) - Some may relate this pick to emptying your wallet into a trash can and setting it on fire. But playing with fire is one of the roads to tournament success. How many of you won hundreds of thousands with Travis Benjamin last week? Point taken, I assume. One would expect any sane organization to continue to deploy what's been effective – a la, the blistering quick and dynamic Dion Lewis (17.4 FPPG). I'll wager that there's a 70 percent chance Blount gets more carries than Lewis this week. Blount's lack of game action against the Bills was Belichick's continued punishment on Blount for his offseason suspension. The big Blount-man can still smoke defenders and barrel past defenders to the red zone with the best of them. With the Patriots likely looking past this home matchup against the lowly Jags, expect Lewis now to be punished for his fumbles and Blount to find the end zone this Sunday – once, maybe even twice.
Allen Robinson (JAX, $22) - Sticking within the same matchup, we look to the man dubbed 'Dez Jr' (not to be confused with Desi Arnaz Jr.) After a quiet Week 1 (one rec on seven targets, 27 Yds), Robinson blew the Dolphins secondary out of Sea World to the tune of six rec, 155 yds and two TDs. Last week he was under the radar DFS-wise after a poor Week 1. This week, expect relatively high ownership for ARob in the Million Dollar Baller. This is a boat you may not want to miss. Belichick's defenses have historically game-planned to take their opponent's top offensive threat out of the game. But executing is easier said than done with a guy like ARob who's so big, fast and able to create separation, especially against below-average cornerbacks. If the Pats pour it on as expected, that should provide Bortles and Robinson with plenty of garbage time and stat-padding. It also will be the last time you get the deal of the week here for just $22. Truly, Bob Barker stuff.
QB: Brandon Weeden (DAL, $20)
RB: Justin Forsett (BAL, $29), Isaiah Crowell (CLE, $19)
WR: Demaryius Thomas (DEN, $33), Markus Wheaton (PIT, $17), Dorial Green-Beckham (TEN, $11)
TE: Gavin Escobar (DAL, $12)