We’re going to build a team on DraftKings for the Early Only slate, and in doing so we’ll need to pick 9 players while staying under the $50,000 salary cap. Positions to be filled are QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, FLEX, and DST.
It could be tempting to go with Tua Tagovailoa here after the offensive outburst Week 1 and throwing for another 250 yards (249 actually, sorry to those of you who bet 250) in Week 2 with another pitch-and-catch TD to Tyreek Hill, but I’m passing. Denver’s pass D isn’t terrible, and Patrick Surtain II can be downright dominant at Corner. There are other more expensive options on the board too such as Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Herbert, but we’re going with the QB who leads the league in TD passes through 2 weeks and is $600 cheaper than Herbert — Kirk Cousins. The Chargers @ Vikings game has the highest O/U on the slate by far (54) and has a spread of just 1 point, indicating it should be a high-scoring close game, so both teams should score points. That crazy Week 1 Tua-Tyreek game that sticks in our minds was against these Chargers, and I expect Cousins to do something similar with his talented receiver corps.
Running Back 1
There are a few options more expensive than my first pick here that I like (Bijan Robinson, Etienne, Mostert, et al) but after seeing so many RBs drop due to injury in the first couple weeks it seems like a crapshoot as to who will make through another week fully healthy, so I’m going to spend up at other positions, namely WR. When I saw this RBs price it seemed like a no-brainer, although maybe that means it’s a trap, but it seems he’s being improperly priced due to his lack of production last week. That RB is Breece Hall. He got 4 measly touches last week, but how soon we forget that he was getting chunks of yards left and right in Week 1, even after the Aaron Rodgers injury. Granted 83 of his 127 rush yards came on one play, but he looked much more explosive than I would have expected after coming back from his knee injury. He also had a 20-yard reception to boot. This game should be closer than last week’s Cowboys matchup, and Zach Wilson should look to Hall to chew up some clock while also helping to move the ball down the field on the Patriots D, who gave up 145 yards on the ground to the Dolphins last week and 2 TDs to Raheem Mostert.
Running Back 2
Again, I think there’s some other more enticing options at RB, but Javonte Williams at his price is hard to ignore. He’s a bellcow back for the Broncos (he received 12 rushes in Week 2 to Samaje Perine’s 1) who handles the rushing and receiving duties. He’ll go against the Dolphins who’ve allowed the 5th-most rushing yards through two weeks; 208 yds and 2 TDs to Ekeler/Kelley in Week 1 and another 50 yards and a TD last week to Rhamondre Stevenson. This game has the second-highest O/U on the slate at 48, although the Broncos are 6.5 point dogs, but that could mean Williams will be more of a factor in the passing game this week.
Wide Receiver 1
Our first WR is a veteran with a high floor in a game we’ve already mentioned, the game with the highest O/U on the slate, Chargers @ Vikings. There’s a superstar in this game, but you’ll have to pay up for him, and that is Justin Jefferson. However, he’s not our first WR, it is Keenan Allen. Allen has been a steady contributor for the Chargers and Herbert — when healthy — and going into Week 3 he’s doing just fine. Through 2 weeks he’s got 14 catches on 19 targets, which is good for 8th most receptions in the NFL thus far. If this game proves to be a shootout as the O/U implies, Allen should be a huge benefactor.
Wide Receiver 2
We’re really banking on the Chargers @ Vikings game being a point-scoring bonanza, and many other are likely doing the same so if you want to differentiate you’ll probably have to take a peek at some other games and matchups. But we aren’t, we’re going on the opposite side of Keenan Allen and selecting his counterpart, Mike Williams. Allen is more of the quick-pass type receiver, while Williams is more of the big-play threat. For illustration, Allen’s longest reception between 2021-2023 was 46 yards, and he’s only been in the 40’s 5 times during that span; Williams on the other hand had a long of 72 yards during that time and was in the 40+ range 9 times. So far this year Williams has only a slight edge in average depth of target (aDOT), but has 9 more yards after catch (YAC) than Williams and I think that’s where his big play ability comes from. Williams also has a 2″ height advantage over the Vikings’ tallest DB, so he should be able to win jump ball opportunities, particularly in and around the endzone.
Wide Receiver 3
We’ve taken two Chargers already, and while neither has been arguably the best WR in the entire NFL in Justin Jefferson, our third comes from that offense. Rookie WR Jordan Addison has already made a mark for himself with some big-time plays and touchdown receptions in his young career, and he’ll round out our WR trio. If Justin Jefferson has a big game, we’re still covered with Kirk Cousins, but now we have the QB-WR stack that will double up our points if they’re able to hook up for a TD just like they have in each of the first two weeks of the season.
Sure, of course we love T.J. Hockenson but we won’t be able to afford him, so we’re going to go with another TE that has a chance for some big plays this week and that is the Jaguars’ Evan Engram. After last season’s late-season surge, the Jags were expected to take a step forward this season, but after two games they’ve scored a total of 30 points. Sunday should be an opportunity for them to put up some points against the Houston Texans. The Texans allowed 25 points in Week 1 and another 31 in Week 2. Mark Andrews was absent in the Texans’ Week 1 matchup, and although there weren’t big TE numbers for any one particular tight end in Week 2 against the Texans, there were three TE’s for the Colts catching passes that totaled 6 receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. We’re hoping Engram’s line can look somewhat similar, maybe 5 for 60 and a TD. Engram has had at least 5 grabs in each of the first two games, so that shouldn’t be a stretch.
Talk about explosive player, the next one is the definition of that. Rashid Shaheed burst onto the scene last season with catches of 30-35-40-53-58-68 yards. He’s back at it again this season with catches of 41 and 45 yards in his first two games, plus a touchdown. He’s got 9 catches on 10 targets so far, so being in the same offense as Chris Olave and Michael Thomas has not limited his opportunities. Justin Fields threw for 213 against the Packers in Week 1 and Desmond Ridder was able to put up 237 in Week 2; Derek Carr should be an upgrade, albeit a small one, over both of those QBs so the Saints should have success through the air on Sunday too.
We’re looking to the squad that stymied the Chiefs’ offense in Week 2 and is going against a young QB in C.J. Stroud here in Week 3. The Jaguars are going to look to get after the rookie and hope that they can force some turnovers. Stroud has yet to throw an interception this season, but this will be his first road game against a divisional opponent, so the stadium in Jacksonville will be extra loud. And while the youngster has yet to throw and interception, he’s already been sacked a total of 11 times in just two games – yikes.
- QB – Kirk Cousins ($6900)
- RB – Breece Hall ($5600)
- RB – Javonte Williams ($5500)
- WR – Keenan Allen ($7600)
- WR – Mike Williams ($6000)
- WR – Jordan Addison ($5500)
- TE – Evan Engram ($4800)
- FLEX – Rashid Shaheed ($4200)
- DST – Jaguars ($3800)