The first two weeks of the 2021 NFL season has come to a close — mercifully, for any Lions defenders trying to defend Aaron Jones — and it’s time to turn the page to Week 3. For NFL DFS players, it’s never too early to start pinpointing sleepers and value plays. Often, the best DraftKings and FanDuel bargains can be found four to five days before Sunday’s first kickoffs, so let’s see what the daily fantasy football overseers are giving us to work with this week.
If you’re a fan of DFS or you just like to find an edge or angle with all your football-related bets, this column will be up your alley all season. Each week, I scour the player pools on DraftKings and FanDuel and compile a list of sleepers and/or value picks to help you win some cold, hard cash. The more value players you add, the more money you will have to spend on proven weekly studs at other position spots.
If you read this column ahead of Week 2, you would have benefited from our advice to plug a plethora of low-cost, high-value players into your DFS lineups. Here’s a short list of some of our hits from last week, including each player’s cost and final PPR output:
- Baker Mayfield (DK: $6,000 | FD: $7,100): 19.52 fantasy points
- Courtland Sutton (DK: $5,200 | FD: $6,200): 24.9
- Rob Gronkowski (DK: $4,700 | FD: $5,800): 19.9
- Noah Fant (DK: $4.200 | FD: $5.700): 13.3
If you selected any of these cost-efficient yet productive players, you would have been afforded the ability to plug in other more high-profile names elsewhere. Getting the most bang for your buck has always been the name of the game in classic DFS formats, so it’s important to do your due diligence before constructing lineups. Leave the deep-diving to us — we are here for you from the first kickoff through the last play of the 2021 NFL season.
All player values are from DraftKings and FanDuel. All stats are from NFL.com and Pro Football Reference.
NFL DFS Picks Week 3: QB sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos vs. Jets (DK price: $5,800 | FD: $7,300)
Don’t look now, but Teddy B has started the 2021 season with a 2-0 record on the road. Even better, his stats are absolutely bananas! Bridgewater has 592 passing yards, four touchdowns, zero picks, a 120.7 quarterback rating, and a 77.1 completion percentage. Now, he gets the lowly Jets at Mile High, where the scoring opportunities should be plentiful. New York has made dink-and-dunking rookie Mac Jones and former Jet Sam Darnold look like Pro Bowlers, so Bridgewater might come away looking like an All-Pro on Sunday. Bonus points if you stack him with the aforementioned Sutton, who absolutely exploded for nine catches and 159 yards last week in Jacksonville. Throw on some Blackstreet this weekend, and say “No Diggity” to Teddy (’90s R&B fans, where you at?).
Daniel Jones, Giants vs. Falcons (DK: $5,800 | FD: $7,400)
The wildest part of DFS is that sometimes players are priced based on their real-life perception rather than their fantasy production. Case in point: Jones has averaged 25.9 points through two games this season, yet he’s priced below six QBs with lower average PPG on DraftKings. Now, that’s mostly because the industry fully expects Jones to regress closer to his career mean, but right now feels like a good time to capitalize on his upside. The Falcons have not exactly been synonymous with high-quality pass defense the past few years, and they rank 18th against QBs in fantasy scoring so far this season. Favored by three at home with an over/under of 48.5, the Giants have an implied point total of 26. Between his rapport with Sterling Shephard, his expensive security blanket called Saquon Barkley, and his tried-and-true Dukie scrambles, Jones should be able to post another line in the mid-20s.
Jared Goff, Lions vs. Ravens (DK: $5,200 | FD: $7,100)
Apparently, Hell hath no fury like a Jared Goff traded because this dude has been putting up decent numbers with a bunch of no-name receivers since he came to Motor City. Why take a dart-throw with Bears rookie Justin Fields at $5,200 when at the same price you can get a trusty veteran averaging 28.7 FPPG? The Ravens defense may sound like a scary proposition, but let’s remember that it has given up 62 points and 746 passing yards in two games. If you need a cheap miracle, go with Goff (Jesus pun, for the win).
NFL DFS Picks Week 3: RB sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel
Ty’Son Williams, Ravens at Lions (DK: $5,800 | FD: $6,400)
We’ve been waiting for Williams to experience a full breakout and honestly, this might be the game in which it happens. The undrafted rookie shot up the Ravens’ depth chart after JK Dobbins (knee), Justice Hill (Achilles’), and Gus Edwards (knee) all suffered season-ending injuries (as if Beatrix Kiddo was hunting down Baltimore running backs). Williams has been good when given the opportunity, and you can tell he’s maturing with each game. I don’t suspect super-athlete QB Lamar Jackson will need to run quite as much against the Lions as he did in the Ravens’ Sunday Night Football win over the Chiefs. Let’s see what Williams can do against a Lions defense that allowed Aaron Jones to score four times Monday and made everyone believe Elijah Mitchell was worth a damn in Week 1. I’ll get a Mike Tyson face tattoo if Williams scores fewer than 15 points.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals at Jaguars (DK: $5,700 | FD: $6,600)
The Cardinals are surprising the football universe thanks mostly to stud QB Kyler Murray’s continued brilliance, but the effectiveness of Edmonds seems to get lost in the mix. He’s a very capable runner and pass-catcher, averaging a hair under 14 FPPG this season. Against the Jaguars, there should be plenty of opportunities for Edmonds and fellow back James Conner. Chase the points here.
Mike Davis, Falcons at Giants (DK: $5,200 | FD: $5,700)
If ever the Mike Davis Atlanta Experiment is going to prove worthwhile, it’s now. The Giants rank as the second-most generous fantasy defense to running backs, and they are susceptible to pass-catching backs like Davis. Game scripts have limited his workload so far, as Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been brutal, but this should be a closer game. I think Davis at $5,200 in a PPR format is a great use of your flex spot.
NFL DFS Picks Week 3: WR sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel
Sterling Shepard, Giants vs. Falcons (DK: $5,900 | FD: $6,400)
Shepard has been incredible for Daniel Jones and the Giants this season, catching 16-of-19 targets for 207 yards and a touchdown. With his target share and level of efficiency, it’s only a matter of time before he sees some positive regression in the red zone. If you can get a wideout averaging over 22 fantasy points per game for under $6,000, sign me up. The Falcons remain one of the more mediocre secondaries in the NFL.
Robert Woods, Rams vs. Buccaneers (DK: $5,700 | FD: $6,100)
Cooper Kupp has been an absolute legend for LA ever since Matthew Stafford rolled into town and became his breakfast buddy. But Woods remains a very capable fantasy stud, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a little extra separation should the Bucs give Kupp some extra attention this weekend. Stafford looked Woods’ way nine times last weekend, and Tampa Bay surprisingly ranks 30th in PPR points allowed to wide receivers. Expect a solid day for Bobby Trees.
Rondale Moore, Cardinals at Jaguars (DK: $5,000 | FD: $5,600)
I guess DraftKings and FanDuel deem the blazing rookie a one-hit wonder, but I’m in on him. Moore caught seven of his eight targets for 114 yards and a score in Arizona’s thrilling one-point win over Minnesota on Sunday. Honestly, he looked like Tyreek Hill lite out there. I get the long-term concerns about fit and physicality, but for right now, against a shoddy Jaguars pass defense, the upside seems well worth the risk.
NFL DFS Picks Week 3: TE sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel
Kyle Pitts, Falcons at Giants (DK: $4,900 | FD: $6,200)
Pitts does not and will never count as a sleeper, as everybody and their mother was in on the first-round pick prior to season-long fantasy drafts this year. However, he sure looks like a value at $4,900. This kid certainly has all the tools needed to be a very successful tight end — size, strength, vision, hands, route-running, quickness, blocking — and he’s already demonstrated a clear rapport with veteran QB Matt Ryan. This may be one of your last chances to grab Pitts for under $6,000, never mind $5,000. The Giants have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Noah Fant, Denver Broncos vs. Jets (DK: $4,800 | FD: $6,100)
I bought Fant at $4,200 last week, and I’m buying him at $4,800 this week against the Jets. With Denver’s wide receiver corps banged up, Fant has essentially catapulted up to No. 2 on Teddy Bridgewater’s target share list. That’s great news considering the tight end has good size, great hands, and playmaking ability. So far, he’s been the recipient of mostly short-yardage work in between the 20s, but the yards-after-catch plays will come, as will the touchdowns. What better time than against the Jets?
NFL DFS Picks Week 3: D/ST sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK: $3,000 | FD: $4,600)
The Cardinals don’t have the greatest defense in the land, but they do have a formidable pass rush with Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt. As we have seen, Trevor Lawrence under pressure in an Urban Meyer NFL offense can be an ugly sight. All you need is a pick-six or a scoop-and-score to make this $3,000 investment pay off, so this seems like a pretty decent lottery ticket to me.