Week 3 Visionary Plays: Bold Fantasy and DFS Predictions
Every week, I will mention several players at each position who fantasy owners should absolutely lock and load in their fantasy starting lineups. Whether you are playing a season-long league or participating in daily fantasy sports, these are the players to target in Week 3.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
With each passing week, Allen becomes more secure in himself and his abilities. Adding WRs John Brown and Cole Beasley in the offseason has been a revelation, as Brown has provided the deep threat the Bills were lacking, and Beasley is the slot receiver who always finds a way to ger open in critical situations. What makes Allen especially appealing is his running ability. In the first two games of the season, Allen has 59 yards rushing and two rushing TDs. The Bengals' generous defense should give Allen room to make plays with both his arm and his legs on Sunday.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Let me give you a potential game script here: The Eagles offense is decimated by the injuries to WRs Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, as well as TE Dallas Goedert. Due to this, the Eagles go three-and-out more often than in games past, and their defense is on the field longer than they have been in weeks. The Lions want to run, but the Eagles defense is solid at stopping the run so Lions QB Matthew Stafford needs to challenge the Eagles secondary in order to score. Does this sound possible to you? It sure does to me. If this game script goes as I imagine, I think Stafford ends up with 270 yards passing and at least two TDs.
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
I don’t want to call Ekeler a fantasy superstar just yet, but he is thisclose to getting that moniker. In Week 1, Ekeler had 154 total yards from scrimmage and in Week 2 he had 133. Add in the fact that he has four TDs to start the season, and you can see why I am so excited about his chances to dominate in Week 3. Las Vegas has this game currently at an over/under of 49, which tells me that they think it is going to be high scoring. If so, Ekeler will be in the center of it all and a visionary start.
David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
Before you criticize this pick, think about the fact that the Panthers let up 100 yards rushing to Peyton Barber and the Tampa Bay Bucs. Then you need to recall that in Week 1 the Carolina defense let up 166 yards rushing to Rams' RBs Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown. The Cardinals have struggled to get the ball in the end zone, but this should be a week where their ground game can set up QB Kyler Murray to take some chances downfield. Johnson was a first-round pick in most Fantasy drafts, and this week is his chance to show why he was worth it.
Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills
The Bengals run defense let up a tremendous number of rushing yards to the 49ers last weekend. And although Devin Singletary is very close to establishing himself as the starter for the Bills, Singletary is dealing with a hamstring injury and the Bills might be reticent to use him unless he is fully healthy. The Bengals have the worst rushing defense in the NFL thus far, so it is somewhat certain that the Bills will want to take advantage of this. Look for Gore to get about 20 carries this week for 80 yards and a TD. It’s hard to call Gore a visionary play, but this one makes too much sense (especially with Singletary most likely out) to leave him off the list.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans
For those fantasy owners who are looking for a surprising play, I think Fuller is your man in Week 3. Here’s the vision: The Chargers are without their starting safety Derwin James, who is on IR, as well as backup Adrian Phillips, who also went onto the IR with an injured forearm. Now, third-stringer Jaylen Watkins rejoins the team just in time to play the Texans. Assuming star CB Casey Heyward is going to be covering Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, this should leave Fuller open downfield for Deshaun Watson to make some big plays. Something tells me that this vision is going to be a reality, and I am using Fuller liberally in all my seasonal and DFS lineups.
James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers
There are two things I know to be true: The first is that Steelers WR Donte Moncrief is a terrible player who should be benched, and the second is that the Steelers will do their best to make their new starting QB Mason Rudolph as comfortable as possible in his first start. One of the things that will help do this is for Rudolph to reconnect with his college teammate, James Washington. The Steelers have desperately lacked the big-play ability that Antonio Brown provided for them. Washington is the only receiver whose skill set fits that of a downfield threat. Look for Rudolph to challenge the 49ers secondary with some deep passes. Also look for Washington to make at least one big catch in this game.
Devin Smith, Dallas Cowboys
I am a huge fan of Cowboys WR Michael Gallup, but sadly he is going to miss about a month with an injured knee. Taking his place in the lineup is going to be former Ohio State star Devin Smith. Smith is in the perfect spot to score this week, mainly because the Cowboys are playing the Dolphins who have zero interest in winning. Everyone on the Cowboys has a great chance to score this week, but what makes Smith highly interesting is that he is the least owned Cowboy in seasonal leagues and DFS.
The tight end position has turned into a nightmare for fantasy owners. It is a commandment to start Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, Eagles TE Zach Ertz, and 49ers TE George Kittle each week. I am adding the following two players as visionary starts as well.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Bucs
As many of you know, I use recency bias as one of my hallmark ways to figure out which player is due for a big performance. If any one player is “due” to breakout in Week 3, it’s Howard. I can tell you that FullTime Fantasy’s own Shawn Childs has Howard ranked as his No. 2 tight end play this week. The Giants are notoriously bad against the tight end (they are the sixth-worst team against opposing tight ends this season), so I fully expect that Bucs head coach Bruce Arians will do what he can to make sure that Howard busts out of his mini-slump.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Olsen was the Panthers’ leading receiver against Tampa Bay in Week 2. While it is likely that Cam Newton will be out this week, I still am planning on starting Olsen for one very good reason: The Cardinals have been the worst team in the NFL against the tight end thus far this season. Look for likely QB Kyle Allen (assuming he starts) to use Olsen as his security blanket, which should certainly be a boost to his fantasy success.