Players to Avoid: Week 3

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the third week of the NFL season.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals, $13,600 – Spending up at quarterback (QB) is the preferred play in nearly all formats this week…but not for Carson Palmer. With Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in absolutely elite spots, they are the expensive QBs worthy of rostering. On the other hand, Palmer will square off against a Bills defense featuring two of the better corners in the league. Stephen Gilmore has started the season with two brutal games but the past two seasons worth of data suggest he is an upper-echelon corner in this league and Ronald Darby is as well. Look, Rob Ryan continues to prove he is an absolutely brutal defensive coordinator but the main beneficiary last week was Matt Forte (three TDs) after the Bills played a Ravens’ running-back-by-committee in Week 1. The way to beat this defense is on the ground and this looks more like a monster game from David Johnson as opposed to a Palmer dominant game. Oh and the Bills allowed the 12th most fantasy points to opposing backs last season so this isn’t an anomaly. At this price point, Palmer must be great and not just good, and this is only a good matchup for him. For that reason, and because the alternatives are so strong at a similar price point, Palmer is an easy pass this week.

LeSean McCoy, Bills, $12,300 – On the other side of the ball in the same game, LeSean McCoy has only averaged 3.8 yards per carry (YPC) through two games this season. Workhorse backs are always enticing due to the sheer number of opportunities they will have to succeed but the volume doesn’t matter if running directly into a brick wall. In 2015, only eight teams allowed fewer yards per carry than the Cardinals and only five teams allowed fewer rushing yards. Those trends have continued into this season so far as Arizona is only allowing 3.7 YPC (11th best) and only 191 total rushing yards (11th best as well). With Sammy Watkins hurting and the Cardinals corners grading as two of the absolute best, the focus of the defense is going to be shutting down the running game. If Tyrod Taylor is forced to beat them, the only weapon in his repertoire last week was the deep ball…and good luck beating these incredibly talented corners. In a game featuring a stout defense facing a struggling back, there is no reason to force McCoy into lineups of any format.

Jeremy Langford, Bears, $10,200 – Ring the alarm: Jordan Howard looks like the best back in this backfield. The case for rostering Jeremy Langford in previous weeks was because he was projected to handle the bulk of the workload. Last week, the other backs began to eat into his workload as Langford played 31 snaps, Jordan Howard 11 and Ka’Deem Carey 10. Down the stretch, Coach John Fox just let Howard play and a report surfaced on Wednesday suggesting “his role is about to expand.” Langford is nothing more than a mediocre talent who got the first shot because he was the guy at the end of last season. If Coach Fox wants to keep his job, he’s going to need the team to establish a reliable running game because the passing attack is a mess (Jay Cutler is out 2-3 weeks with a thumb injury). Playing the best player is certainly the way to get the most out of the running attack and that shift began last week. I’m worried Langford’s role continues to shrink in this game and will in the future as well until Howard takes over as “the guy.” Since Langford is just a decent back with an unclear role, there really isn’t much of a reason to use him.

Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, $17,300 – The last time Odell Beckham Jr. squared off against Josh Norman he produced mixed results. He did manage to catch 6-9 targets for 76 yards and a TD but he kept losing his focus and tussling with Norman in-between (and even during) plays. ESPN later wrote an article entitled “Odell Beckham Jr. should have been tossed” after receiving three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and throwing Norman to the ground during the middle of a play. These two competitors hate each other so Beckham will be looking to exact his revenge. With that being said, Norman is still the same strong personality who is no doubt going to do his best to rile up Beckham all game long…and he’s one of the best corners in the game. While Beckham will be battling hard for each ball throw his way, guys like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Allen Robinson will draw beatable matchups against pushovers. Beckham is a poor bet in terms of expected fantasy-points-per-dollar so use one of the aforementioned trio instead if looking to spend up for a stud wide receiver (WR).

Alshon Jeffery, Bears, $15,000 – Really all the Bears are worth fading with Brian Hoyer under center. The team’s offense looked as horrendous as any team in football when Cutler left last week. In the starter’s absence, Hoyer completed 9-12 passes (just 6.50 yards per completion) for 78 yards. Relying on a short, safe passing game is the opposite of Alshon Jeffery’s strength because he’s at his best when the ball is lobbed up to him in single coverage (so he can go up and make a play). Furthermore, Cowboys’ cornerback Brandon Carr has graded as a top 22 player at the position to this point as he has kept Odell Beckham Jr. and DeSean Jackson reasonably quiet in back-to-back games. With the Bears’ defense missing at minimum three of their best pieces, an offensive line whose best player is playing through a torn labrum and sans their starting QB, the team is just a dumpster fire. Think Case Keenum in Week 1 levels of bad when projecting how the 0-2 Bears’ offense should fare this week. Like Antonio Brown without Ben Roethlisberger last season, the number one WR’s efficiency should be expected to tumble in the starting QB’s absence…yet his price hasn’t changed. When a situation surrounding a player deteriorates and the price tag doesn’t change, there’s no reason to even consider that player until the pricing algorithm adjusts. For what it’s worth, Hoyer connected on 2-3 targets to Jeffery last week for 23 yards in slightly more than a quarter.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs, $8,700 – Only Travis Kelce’s own team, the Chiefs, allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing TEs last season than his upcoming opponent: the Jets. In 16 games last year, the Jets only allowed two receiving TDs to opposing TEs and only six teams allowed fewer receptions (RECs) to the position. Through two games this year, the Jets still rank in the bottom eight of fantasy points allowed to the position so it doesn’t appear like they positioned to regress much in this aspect. Amazingly, the way to beat the Jets right now is by targeting receivers lined up against Darrelle Revis as he has been burned in five consecutive games dating back to the end of last season. Kelce is priced slightly more expensive as Antonio Gates and I would much rather roster Gates this weekend against an opponent extremely susceptible to the position (Colts). UPDATE: Antonio Gates is questionable this weekend but there are still plenty of alternatives at the position…such as Delanie Walker.

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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