Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.
Lineup building blocks
Stefon Diggs ($31) @ Miami Dolphins
Diggs’ DFS salary this week was locked in before he blew up Monday night, which makes him look like a bargain having recorded the most PPR fantasy points through two games by any WR over the last 20 years. Gabriel Davis could return this week, but Diggs looks like a weekly top-three fantasy WR regardless in the pass-heaviest offense in football. Facing a Miami team that also ranks top-three in pass rate over expectation in a matchup with this week’s highest total (54.0 points), Diggs is a strong DFS building block, as we aren’t even paying for last week’s stats here.
Leonard Fournette ($27) vs. Green Bay Packers
Fournette has barely been a top-20 PPR back through two games, but his usage has been truly elite. Only Christian McCaffrey has seen a higher snap percentage among all running backs, and Fournette rested during Tampa Bay’s easy Week 1 win. The receptions haven’t been there, but Fournette was second in RB route involvement last week, and Tom Brady has the highest RB target% among all QBs over the last five seasons. Mike Evans is suspended this week, while Julio Jones is likely to be limited if he returns. Fournette has the second-most carries (45) in the NFL, has faced a tough schedule (@Dal, @NO) and now returns home to face a Packers run defense that’s allowed 5.6 YPC and ranks bottom-three in DVOA. Fournette has also promised fantasy managers touchdowns are coming soon.
Jaylen Waddle ($25) vs. Buffalo Bills
Waddle would be even more valuable in full PPR, but he’s still worth using with a salary outside the top-10 wide receivers. Any concerns about Tua Tagovailoa or target competition have been completely erased, as Tua has looked terrific in the league’s most concentrated WR target tree. In fact, both Tyreek Hill and Waddle’s target per route rates are higher than any single-season leader over the past five years! Waddle saw the second-most air yards last week, and the Dolphins should have to pass a ton again Sunday facing a potent Bills offense and run defense. In a matchup featuring two offenses ranking top-three in pass rate over expectation with this week’s highest over/under, fire up all wideouts involved.
Star to fade
Travis Kelce ($33) @ Indianapolis Colts
Kelce is off to a solid start this season, but he’s a DFS fade at this salary. Mark Andrews had a 40% air yardage share in Week 2 compared to 26% for Kelce, who’s five years older and getting targeted at a far lower rate yet has a 21% higher salary in DFS. An upset by a desperate 0-2 Colts team wouldn’t be shocking, but a true shootout with this version of Matt Ryan would be surprising.
Jared Goff ($20) @ Minnesota Vikings
Goff was fantasy’s QB7 in Week 2 yet somehow dropped 10% in salary down to the QB DFS minimum in a Week 3 matchup facing a Vikings defense allowing 7.9 YPA and ranks bottom-three in DVOA. Goff played much better in Detroit than on the road last season and has benefitted from opening the year with two home games, but he’s playing in a dome Sunday. Helped by a dominant offensive line (and the Sun God), Goff should be forced to pass frequently this week with Minnesota likely to score a bunch of points. This matchup also has the second-highest total (53.5 points) of the week.
David Montgomery ($18) vs. Houston Texans
Montgomery was fourth in snap% and target% among all backs last week, when only Nick Chubb saw more red-zone carries (four). Now he gets a Houston defense that’s allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs since the beginning of last season and 4.7 YPC this year. Bad weather contributed in Week 1, but Chicago is still by far the run heaviest team in football, and this week the Bears are home favorites. Montgomery has looked terrific while holding off Khalil Herbert, ranking top-10 in rush yards over expectation. He’s undervalued in DFS in a favorable matchup this week.
Drake London ($17) @ Seattle Seahawks
London has been extremely impressive given his offensive environment and having missed so many practices right up until the season started, as the rookie wideout somehow ranks top-five in target share among all WRs this season. London is getting an eye-opening 2.76 yards per route run that ranks top-10 in the NFL, and he led the league in first-down target% last week (first down targets are worth 20% more PPR points). It’s also possible Seattle opens it up and lets Geno Smith cook more Sunday.
There’s risk of a Kyle Pitts breakout game in an Atlanta passing offense unlikely to have two pass-catchers blow up at once, but it’s hard to ignore just how dominant London has been through two games. This week he gets a Seattle pass-funnel defense allowing 7.8 YPA that ranks 30th versus the pass and top-10 against the run in DVOA.
Irv Smith Jr. ($10) vs. Detroit Lions
Smith Jr. dropped a would-be 65-yard touchdown Monday night yet still finished as a top-five fantasy tight end in Week 2 anyway. He remains the DFS minimum here — with salaries released before Monday night’s performance — even though Smith finished among the tight end league leaders in air yardage share and targets per route run. Smith Jr. is also one of the season leaders in average depth of target at an extremely weak tight end position, so he’s a bargain in a matchup with this week’s second-highest total (53.5 points).