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From the Slot: Week 3 NFL DFS DraftKings Picks Based on Awesemo’s Grades

Geoff Ulrich



Week 6 DraftKings Tiers NFL DFS Picks stacks optimal lineup optimizer Joe BUrrow Ja'Marr Chase free expert rankings projections ownership leverage tournament strategy tips advice

Week 2 included numerous big injuries, mainly to quarterbacks. Carson Wentz, Andy Dalton and Tua Tagovailoa could all miss Week 3 and open up some deep value at their respective positions. Additionally, Jarvis Landry (IR) and Darrell Henderson (ribs, questionable) whose absences could also open some cheap options at the skill positions. The slate has four games with totals over 50 points, with the Chiefs – Chargers (55.5) and Rams – Buccaneers (55.5) the two largest. The Cardinals have the highest implied team total at 29.75, and they are -7.5 favorites over the 0-2 Jaguars. This article will highlight some of the week’s highest-projected NFL DFS picks at each position on the main slate for DraftKings and FanDuel, all based off Awesemo’s now NFL DFS projections and models.

We will also provide insight into ownership projections and matchup information. Be sure to subscribe to Awesemo for NFL DFS advice though if you want access to the full DFS site projections, ownership projections and other great tools each week.

Week 3 NFL DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel

QB Lamar Jackson | Grades: A, Values: A

Coming off one of the biggest wins of career, Lamar Jackson is in a great spot to post another monster fantasy day. The Lions defense has been exposed two weeks running, and their secondary got banged up late in the game against Green Bay last week. Jackson completed 69% of passes in Week 2, and that same kind of play against Detroit could lead to a historic output.

Jackson has attempted 14 rushes per game in 2021, which is about three more per game than he attempted in 2020. While game flow may be influencing those early numbers, the Ravens’ banged-up backfield is likely also contributing to the added carries, and that issue is not resolving itself anytime soon. Baltimore has a 29.25 implied team total (second highest on the slate), putting Jackson in a spot to put up monster numbers. Awesemo ranks him third among quarterbacks in point projection, and he has the best value score of the top three, making him a great pay-up target.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 6.0%

RB Austin Ekeler | Grades: B, Values: C

Austin Ekeler comes into this week’s game against the Chiefs averaging 4.62 yards per carry and in a great matchup against the Chiefs. Through two weeks Kansas City has allowed 6 yards per carry to opposing running backs, which is the worst mark in the league. Ekeler has ceded a few touches to his backups through two games but played a higher number of snaps in Week 2 (68%) than he did in Week 1 (54%). The Chargers were down for a large portion of the second half against Dallas, and that is when Ekeler saw most of his nine targets from Week 2. Even without scoring a touchdown, he was able to post 22.5 DraftKings points, which makes his upside against the Chiefs this week look even more tantalizing.

Los Angeles head into this game as 6.5-point underdogs and any game flow where they get behind would surely mean a bigger snap share for Ekeler. Even if they get ahead somehow late, he has taken eight of the 11 red-zone touches by Chargers running backs this year, so his chances of scoring in that situation is extremely high. He grades strongly in the projections this week but also comes with just a 5% ownership projection, which truly makes him an excellent upside pivot in large fields given the matchup.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 5.0%

WR Cooper Kupp | Grades: A, Values: A

Kupp has dominated from a fantasy perspective over the first two weeks. He not only leads the Rams in targets (21) and catches (16), but his efficiency with this usage has been through the roof. He is averaging 16.9 yards per catch, nearly 3 yards more than his career high, and converted three touchdowns. It is clear that Kupp’s true efficiency is being unleashed with Matthew Stafford at quarterback, who has been happy to target him at nearly double the rate of Robert Woods. Despite all this, Kupp’s salary in Week 3 remains extremely palatable at under $7,000 on DraftKings, especially given the matchup here.

The Rams have a 26.75 implied team total and take on the Buccaneers, whose opponents have averaged 53 pass attempts against through two weeks. The Tampa secondary is also banged up, which has led to opposing wide receivers catching 43 passes against them (most in the NFL). Kupp’s projections are off the charts, as he has the highest points projection of any wide receiver for Week 3 and third-best value score in the Awesemo model. Even if pivoting to Woods for ownership purposes, stacking the two might be the best play, as everything points to another great outing here.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 24.4%

TE T.J. Hockenson | Grades: C, Values: D

Through two weeks T.J. Hockenson has acted more like the de facto WR1 for the Lions than a true tight end. He has seen 20 targets through two games, while the Lions’ most targeted wide receiver (Quintez Cephus) has seen just 14. Given Detroit’s lack of talent on the outside, this trend seems like unlikely to reverse anytime soon. Hockenson is only averaging 10.2 yards per catch but has also averaged two red-zone targets through two games, which gives him an extra bump. The Lions offense may ultimately hold him back from challenging for top tight end in fantasy, but his volume through two games puts him up with the elites at the position.

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The matchup in Week 3 against Baltimore also looks good for another big PPR day from Hockenson. Baltimore has allowed the most receptions to the tight end position through two games, and opponents have thrown the ball 43.5 per game against them (fourth most in the league). Hockenson has the fifth-best points projection on the slate but also comes with lower-than-expected ownership projections (under 7%), which drives home his potential as a great tournament target for Week 3.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: DraftKings: 6.2%

Top NFL DFS Stack: Kansas City Chiefs

Again the Chiefs are the clear favorite to be the highest-scoring stack in the Awesemo Top Stacks Tool. The Chiefs stack is at 19.1% to be the highest scorer of week (9 percentage points higher than the next stack), and with their implied team total having now crept up to 31, it is clear why. Patrick Mahomes is set to be one of the higher-owned quarterbacks of Week 3, but he still could come in under 10% owned in many GPPs and has the second-highest points projection among quarterbacks. Tyreek Hill again looks like a great tournament play, as he is coming off a slow week and projects to be outside the five highest-owned wide receivers. Paying up for the Chiefs worked out well in Week 1, even against a perceived tough opponent in Cleveland, and it feels like that same scenario will play out here for Week 3.

Projected NFL DFS ownership: Quarterback Ownership DraftKings: 8.1%

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If you’re interested in other NFL DFS strategy for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL rankings, and DFS NFL stacking. Take a look at our NFL starting line-ups, depth charts for NFL games and inactives.
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