DRAFT Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 3

Jimmy Garoppolo and Dalvin Cook headlines this week's players to target in plus matchups. Who joins them?

After two weeks of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Mahomes taking the league by storm, it is safe to say the NFL season hasn't exactly started as predicted. However, this creates an opportunity for fantasy owners to create an edge in their leagues. DRAFT provides another way for people to take advantage of the action through weekly snake drafts.

With teams selecting one QB, two RBs, and two WRs, roster construction hold the upmost importance in weekly snake drafts. This is particularly important in ten team leagues where 20 wide receivers and running backs get drafted, but only ten quarterbacks come off the board. A great way to create an edge these ten team leagues is to focus on running back early.

Through two weeks 12 running backs recorded an opportunity share north of 70-percent and only four saw more than 80-percent. While this number will fluctuate week-to-week due to injuries and game script, locking up these workhorse backs and then targeting high volume receivers late in drafts can create an advantage for your team. Last week, for example, drafting Melvin Gordon and JuJu Smith-Schuster over Antonio Brown and Adrian Peterson was the difference between cashing and going home empty-handed.

Let's see what we can do this week to gain an advantage over the rest of your drafts.


Ben Roethlisberger - Fresh off a game with 452 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, Ben Roethlisberger heads to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a projected shootout in Week 3. This contest currently has the second-highest over/under on the slate, at 53.5, and bookmakers think it will be close with the Pittsburgh Steelers favorites by just 1.5 points.

Tampa Bay has been absolutely dismantled by opposing quarterbacks to start the season. They have allowed the second-most passing yards (773) to date, and they currently rank 28th against the pass in our schedule-adjusted metrics. Tampa Bay's secondary will also be without starting corner Vernon Hargreaves III, who landed on injured reserve ahead of Week 2.

Roethlisberger often comes off the board in rounds three-to-four of weekly snake drafts, making him an ideal target for those who want to target quarterback in the middle rounds.

Jimmy Garoppolo - After disappointing to start the year, with 467 passing yards as well as three touchdowns and three interceptions a piece, Jimmy Garoppolo often goes undrafted in weekly snake drafts. Left for dead, the San Francisco 49ers' signal caller enters a prime bounce-back spot against a sieve of a Kansas City defense.

Through two games, the Chiefs allowed the most passing yards in the NFL, at 876 -- over 100 yards more than the second-worst Bucs. Predictably, the Chiefs rank dead last in our pass defense ratings and could be without stud safety Eric Berry for the third consecutive game.

While Garoppolo has yet to impress in 2017, he makes an ideal late-round quarterback target in a smash spot against a struggling Kansas City secondary.

Running Back

Ezekiel Elliott - While Alvin Kamara and Todd Gurley look like the top two plays on the slate, the rest of the first round remains up for discussion. Playing a more scarce position for surefire bellcow backs, Ezekiel Elliott warrants third overall consideration.

Zeke began the season with a modest 147 rushing yards and a pair of scores, but his usage has truly set him apart. Elliott is the only running back in the NFL to receive over 90-percent of his team's running back touches. At 95-percent Zeke's opportunity is truly in a category of its own.

This week, Elliott draws a Seattle defense that has allowed 189 rushing yards and an additional 92 receiving yards to backs through its first 2 games.

With little other options in the Dallas Cowboys offense, Zeke's massive opportunity will lead to big games in the near future. Often slipping to the late first or early second round, Elliott makes a solid first round running back pick given the workload and matchup.

Dalvin Cook - Favored by 16.5-points and playing at home against the Buffalo Bills, Dalvin Cook offers RB1 potential in a projected blowout. While Cook left last week's game with a hamstring ailment, he chalked the injury up to cramps and should play despite being held out of Wednesday's practice.

The Bills have allowed 78 points through 2 games, including 6 touchdowns on the ground alone. Last week, Buffalo allowed Melvin Gordon to rack up 3 total scores on a mere 15 touches. As for Cook, he leads the Vikings' backfield in snaps, carries, and targets to start the year.

Cook generally lasts into the late second-early third round and remains a solid target at that price. With only the Bills' inability to keep games close working against him, Cook should remain a target through the end of the week.

Giovani Bernard - Also frequently lasting into the third round of snake draft, Giovani Bernard makes another solid late-round running back target. Missing Joe Mixon for the next few weeks, Bernard projects to step in and fill Cincinnati's feature back role.

This week, Gio draws a Carolina Panthers defense allowing the fourth-most (227) rushing yards to backs in the first 2 games. Last week, they allowed Tevin Coleman to trot his way to 107 yards rushing. Last year, in three games where Mixon was inactive or left due to injury, Bernard averaged 109.3 yards and 19.8 touches, per Rotoworld's Rich Hribar.

Giovani Bernard usually falls to the third round and provides a three-down work-horse role at a big discount.

Wide Receiver

Julio Jones - Looking at early-round wide receivers, Julio Jones slots in right at the top alongside Michael Thomas and Antonio Brown.

Jones shows down against a New Orleans Saints secondary allowing the most yards to receivers so far this season (558). Jones sits tied for 4th with 28 targets and 1st in the NFL with 477 air yards. Right now, Austin Hooper holds the second-most targets on the team with nine(!).

Clearly a focal point of the Atlanta Falcons' offense, Julio is deserving of a first round pick in weekly snake drafts.

JuJu Smith-Schuster - While Antonio Brown leads the league with 34 targets, JuJu Smith-Schuster is right behind him, tied with Jones at 28.

As noted above, the Steelers battle a dreadful Tampa Bay secondary this weekend -- one allowing the seventh-most yards to receivers. Smith-Schuster also benefits from opportunities in scoring position. Through two weeks, he leads the NFL with eight red zone targets.

As Brown flies off the board in the first round, Smith-Schuster lasts until the middle rounds. With the second-highest over/under of the week, both receivers could theoretically pay off, JuJu doing so at a nice discount.

T.Y. Hilton - Available way until the final rounds, and sometimes going undrafted, T.Y. Hilton provides the perfect late-round wide receiver option for Week 3.

Hilton's statline of 12 catches, 129 receiving yards, and a pair of scores looks solid through 2 weeks. The explosive receiver is quietly tied for 10th in the NFL in targets (22), but his reception total (12) ranks just 25th in that same span. With some production left on the field, a buying opportunity has presented itself for Hilton.

The Colts face off against the Philadelphia Eagles this week, who have allowed 463 yards to receivers (third in the NFL) so far this season. Last week, the Eagles allowed 3 receivers to clear 80 yards in DeSean Jackson (129), O.J. Howard (96), and Mike Evans (83). Julio Jones also rocked this team for 169 yards receiving in Week 1.

Treated as a late-round dart throw, Hilton should more than pay off his cost and allow owners to focus their attention on running back in the early rounds.

Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.