Safe Bets: Week 3

Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft also pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.

Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, heading into Week 3:

Marcus Mariota, Titans, $11,000 – For the second consecutive week, Marcus Mariota highlights the safe quarterback (QB) plays but literally any QB is worth using against the Raiders right now. Through two games, the Raiders have allowed 808 yards passing (404 per game), seven passing TDs and an opposing QB rating of 131.4. Mariota took a while to get cooking in Week 2 but he finished as QB17 (17.62 fantasy points) despite a miniscule $11,300 price tag…and his cost went down. Sure Drew Brees was a difficult matchup for the Raiders in Week 1 but getting torched by Matt Ryan last week should set off the alarms signifying there is something up with this defense. At home against what’s shaping up to be the worst defense in the league, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Mariota didn’t at least hit value at this cost. It’s more likely Mariota follows the lead of Brees/Ryan and drops a positive outlier performance on this defense and competes for the lead in fantasy-points-per-dollar at the QB position in Week 3.

DeAngelo Williams, Steelers, $14,100 – Without Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams is a true RB1. Period, end of story. Amazingly, Williams leads all backs in rushing attempts (ATTs) through two weeks and ranks fourth in receptions (RECs) at the position. Obviously, that combination has led to him handily leading the league in touches, with nine more than Lamar Miller/Matt Forte (59 each). Williams is the epitome of a workhorse back as he receives the bulk of carries in between the 20s and inside the red zone plus he is incredibly involved in the passing game…all on a potent offense. The team doesn’t care if they run him into the ground because he is not their long term solution at the position; the suspended Le’Veon Bell is. For his third and seemingly final start of the 2016 season (barring another injury to Bell), look for Williams to push 30 touches once again. Even with the heavy workload, Williams has averaged more than 4.0 yards per carry (YPC) and consistently has looked explosive and made yards for himself. As long as Bell remains out, Williams will continue to produce borderline number-one-overall-player-in-fantasy-type numbers.

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, $10,900 – Due to the loss of Danny Woodhead, Melvin Gordon has now been catapulted into the RB1 conversation and he is not priced as such. After only playing 23 snaps to Woodhead’s 50 in the opener, Gordon’s touch tally catapulted to 51 in Week 2 with 13 for Kenneth Farrow and five for Woodhead (who left with a torn ACL). With Woodhead out of the picture, the sky is the ceiling for Gordon who will be receiving all the carries similarly to DeAngelo Williams moving forward. The offense is potent but balanced and Gordon started to get involved in the passing game Week 2 (three catches) after not catching a single pass in the opener. He touched the ball 27 times last week and should be in for similar workload against a porous Colts defense in Week 3. With a 52 point projected over/under, it’s difficult to imagine Gordon wouldn’t be amongst the most highly owned players, but who cares? Values like these are tough to come by and he should be locked and loaded into all cash game lineups.

Allen Robinson, Jaguars, $14,100 – This is my favorite play of the week as he’s incredibly safe but most are going to be turned off by his brutal two week start to the season. He has probably dealt with the most difficult individual two week schedule of any receiver in football after being shadowed by both Sam Shields and Jason Verrett over the course of the first two games. Now, he’ll square off against a beatable Ravens secondary and I project him to go back to last year’s production. Hell, it’s not like he hasn’t been targeted as he’s racked up 20 of them in the first two games combined. Allen Robinson’s talent didn’t just fall off the face of the Earth and the Jaguars are getting limited production from their running game. Expect Robinson to be the focus of Blake Bortles’ ire early and often and for him to get back to his elite ways of last year in this contest despite a discouraging start to the season (at a near $4,000 discount from the other elites no less).

Jarvis Landry, Dolphins, $12,300 – If anyone had any doubt last year’s 110 catch performance by Jarvis Landry wasn’t a fluke, he should have silenced all the critics after 23 targets and 17 RECs through the first two games of the 2016 season. He is the personification of safety because the receptions create such a high floor. In 2015, Landry failed to catch at least four passes in a game just twice all season and he played 14 games. In fact, the only week he failed to reach double-digit fantasy points last year was in Week 13 against the Ravens. Otherwise, it was all 10.60 fantasy points or greater. In Week 3, Landry and the Dolphins will square off against a Browns team whose secondary is highlighted by an over-the-hill cornerback (Joe Haden) so the individual matchup is going to be a huge plus for Landry as well. Look for a vintage Landry game where he is targeted in the double-digits and hauls in at least enough passes to justify using him in cash games.

Delanie Walker, Titans, $9,300 – Remember in the Mariota tidbit where I mentioned this Raiders defense is off to an all-time terrible start? Included in their misery has been their ineptitude to cover opposing tight ends (TEs) as they’ve allowed the fourth most fantasy points to the position. Only the Browns have allowed more yardage to TEs and Walker nearly racked up 1,100 (1,088) yards in just 15 games last year. Although he was last week’s chalk, there is a strong case to immediately go back to the well with arguably the position’s most consistent producer. Hell, he only failed to catch four passes on three occasions 15 games last season and he even managed a solid six REC, 91 yard performance against the Raiders. Fading Walker is a risky proposition in any format but especially in cash games due to his incredibly high floor for a usually very variant position.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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