NFL Fantasy Football: Our week three lineup


This is an article about football. Daily Fantasy Football, to be exact. It’s the virtual game that ties results to players’ performances in real-life National Football League games. And you’d be surprised how much fun it can be.

If you’re looking to place your own bets, my DraftKings cash game lineup for this week will help you stack your hand. Do note that this lineup may change slightly, as injuries are often reported on Saturdays and Sundays. Keep an eye on injury reports on ESPN and Twitter!

This week’s lineup contains some mainstream stars, an injury replacement, a few relatively unknown players, and an elite defense in a great matchup. This week’s core players are Le’Veon BellJames Starks and Brandon MarshallLet’s take a look:

  • Bell is coming off a two-game suspension, and while he may not be on the NFL’s good side, we don’t have a problem with that; we’re rolling with him on the first game back. Last year, Bell averaged 25 touches a game, including 6.6 catches, heavily valuable in the DraftKings’ points-per-reception format. With the best eyes and hands of any running back in the league, Bell should easily carve up a St. Louis defense that gave up massive yardage to Matt Jones and Alfred Morris last week against Washington. Bell is decidedly big back who plays all three downs; he doesn’t need any occasional spell unlike other top RB’s like Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, or Jamaal Charles. Last year, Bell’s worth climbed up way over his fellow RB’s, frequently costing over $9,000 to roster him. Now that he’s at $7,500, we want to take advantage of Bell before his price goes back up. Yes, even in his first game back, he’s a top play.

When Eddie Lacy, starting running back for the Packers, went down with an injury last week, many Fantasy Football contestants were devastated that they wasted a high, first round pick on a constantly-hurt player. Well, here at DFS, we’re opportunists. When one guy goes out, another comes in. Enter James Starks.

  • Starks was effective last week against a tough Seahawks defense. He should see fifteen or more touches with multiple chances at a touchdown this week. At the minimum price, his upside is too hard to ignore, even if Lacy does end up playing. Starks also functions as the third down back that catches passes, so he’s definitely able to provide production in terms of receptions At $3,000, all we need is for Starks to get 7.5 points. If the situation follows through, he should end up with something closer to 17.5 points.

Our last core play is a wide receiver, in fact, one of the best in the NFL the past few seasons.

  • Brandon Marshall is matching up against a weak Eagles secondary missing its starting cornerback and safeties.  Number one wide receivers are giving up tons of points to Philadelphia, as Julio Jones and Terrance Williams, two players with widely different skill sets, both ended up being great plays. Marshall is affordable at $6,400, compared to elite guys such as Jones and DeMaryius Thomas at over $9,000 each. The talent level is similar, but an older Marshall leads to a deflated price. Plug him right in.

Let’s target a quarterback and see whether we’ll want to ‘stack’ him with a pass catcher. Tom Brady is the easiest pick, not just because I’m a New England Patriots fan; he’s a pick because we’ve seen him turn on a switch that wasn’t there before. After a tumultuous offseason, Brady has delivered two huge games, clearly he has a chip on his shoulder.

Ultimately, I decided not to stack. Patriots coach Bill Belichick tends to stick with the matchup when choosing his game plan, and it’s too early in the season to see whether their opponent, Jacksonville, will defend heavy against the run. But playing at home? Against the third-worst scoring defense in the league? Please. With quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, and Drew Brees disappointing from either real-life production or Fantasy production, Brady is the safest high-price QB for the week.

Normally, I don’t like to play a running back and wide receiver from the same team; I feel that limits both players’ upside. But after consulting with a friend, I’ve decided to play Antonio Brown – at $8,900, he’s one of the highest-priced players on the site. Fortunately, Brown and Bell don’t take too many touches away from each other: Bell doesn’t run many outside routes like Brown, so the two can mutually co-exist. Brown has been too consistent to pass up: five catches and 50 yards once every game for the past two years. This guy is projected for 23.8 Fantasy points this week after getting 31.5 and 39.8 points in weeks one and two. Good players will get their points. Antonio Brown is the most consistent. So, just pick him. 

For the next pick, we’ll be more logical. Allen Robinson is the highest-targeted wide receiver in Jacksonville. Last week, he caught five out of his 10 targets with two touchdowns against the New England pass defense that struggled defensively against the Colts and the Bills. A heavily targeted receiver playing against a heavily offensive team means cash money, baby.

Donte Moncrief is in a similar spot, with a similar price tag of $4,800 compared to Robinson’s $5,200. With the other Indianapolis wide receivers out with injury, Moncrief, catching passes from one of the best quarterbacks in the league (Andrew Luck), has a chance to break out in this game. At such a low price, it’s worth taking a flyer on a player that scored 26.8 points last week but stayed under $5,000. I’ll take that any day of the week! (Or, I guess, just Sunday.)

Finally, we get to the two high-variance picks: Tight End and Defense. And I don’t have too much money left over.

Since I traditionally like to play either Rob Gronkowski or a punt at Tight End (to punt is to sacrifice a low-priced player at a position in order to gain advantage in other positions), let’s go for cheaper options. I looked for guys with touchdown potential. Eric Ebron has caught a touchdown in each of his last two games, and if he keeps that up, he’ll be a stable addition to our team. Just one touchdown will likely bring value on Ebron’s $3,300 salary. And with that, I’ve got $3,400 left to spend on a defense and immediately plug in the Seahawks DST. They’ll be playing against Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen. Clausen has been a backup all of his career and is now just joining us in the mainstream football landscape because of an injury to starting QB Jay Cutler. He’s not a good quarterback. Seriously. In his career, he has thrown five touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He is not mobile, either. The Seahawks will get sacks, interceptions, fumbles, and fumble returns, making the Clausen-led Bears look like a laughingstock for the Hawks’ first win of the season. HA. 

There you have it! A quick breakdown of our choice players for week three of the NFL. I’ll be playing this bad-boy lineup in my cash games, and you should too.

Check back in on Tuesday for my Fantasy recap.

Email Kevin Kim at [email protected]or follow him on Twitter @StatisticalLens.

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