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NFL Prime Time – Week 3 Sunday Night Football (FREE)

Eric MacPherson



NFL Prime Time Sunday Night Football – Week 3

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New England Patriots at Detroit Lions +7.0 / 54.0

Now we are getting a game that should have fireworks with a couple of offenses that will provide multiple fantasy relevant options.

Reach out to me in Premium Slack or on Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

New England Patriots

Quarterback – Tom Brady has not quite been Tom Terrific, but we have to keep in mind that he is 41 years-old (nearly double rookie Sam Darnold’s age) which makes the 50 for 74 and 511/5/1 more palatable considering it was against formidable defenses versus Houston in Foxboro and on the road in Sacksonville against the Jaguars.  While this is not a cakewalk matchup and it is on the road, the indoor environment is a boost and we can consider Brady as someone who should be a fringe QB4-7 this week.

Since we are not always certain where the Patriots production will come from, rolling with Brady in a bunch of lineups is a solid strategy to capture the New England fantasy goodness.

Running Back – Welp, we are back to a true Bill Belichick running back by committee with Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and James White all in the mix.  Unless something is whittled down, I have not interesting in this group except for some single game action where you are just guessing and if I had to recommend one guy it will be James White who is at least the most active in the passing game and we know that the Patriots are not afraid to pass in the redzone.

Wide Receiver – There is a very good chance that CB Darius Slay (concussion protocol) will be out on Sunday night which bodes well for the New England receivers. Josh Gordon has begun practicing with the team, but he is listed as questionable heading into the weekend.  Even if he is active, who knows how much he will see the field – but all it takes is one big play to make his backers happy.  It is my hope that he is active, which should make him somewhat popular and this is a spot I am willing to let others assume the risk of the unknown.

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Phillip Dorsett has seen back to back weeks with seven targets culminating in a dozen catches for 110 yards and a Week 1 score.  I like him as the “overlooked” option on the Patriots squad for the one game slate and this is one of the spots I am willing to plant my flag.  Chris Hogan has been disappointing thus far on the season with five targets in each of the first two games.  Week 1 was a complete bust as he had a single reception for 11 yards and Week 2 was only salvaged when he took two of this three catches into the paint.  He is a VERY talented receiver and it would seem like this is a good spot for him to “get right” and I will likely roll with him if he fits into my lineups as opposed to his counterpart in Dorsett who I will be actively building around on Sunday night.

Tight End – Rob Gronkowski is someone who possesses multi-TD upside every time he steps between the lines.  The Lions are a bottom five team against TEs and in the overall passing game according to Football Outsiders DVOA metrics.  There is not much else to say about this future Hall of Famer other than we want to get him in our lineups wherever possible on the single game slate.

Defense/Special Teams – the Pats are not on my radar as Matthew Stafford does an excellent job taking care of the ball with 122 career interceptions across 127 games.  Yes, he has four already this season (all in Week 1 against the Jets), but that is more of an outlier than anything else given his track record.  Additionally, Stafford does a relatively solid job of avoiding sacks getting taken down just 2.5 times per game over his last 34 appearances.  The only reason to look to the New England D/ST is for some salary savings, differentiation and the hope of a defensive score.


Detroit Lions

Quarterback – Matthew Stafford had a nice bounceback game in the Week 2 loss to the 49ers with 347 yards and three scores on 53 attempts and in this highly projected scorefest, he should have ample opportunity to rack up the fantasy points.  With the many offensive options, we can roll out a variety of “stacking” strategies and I think Stafford will be highly overlooked on the full game slates as well.

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Running Back – With a crowded backfield, my preference is definitely Theo Riddick (snap count Week 1 41, Week 2 28) if I choose anyone at all among the Lions trio of options.  LeGarrette Blount (REVENGE!) is far too dependent on goal line work and he has been on field for just 30 plays this season and Kerryon Johnson has showing glimpses of talent, is still a rookie and definitively taking a backseat to Riddick in passing situations and there is a fair chance that Detroit will be playing from behind all night.  Johnson did see his snaps increase from 16 to 36 over the first two games, so there is merit to rolling with him.

Wide Receiver – Kenny Golladay continues to see his price increasing, but it most certainly warranted as the second year man has seen 21 targets for 13/203/2 in the first two tilts and with all of the other Detroit offensive options, it is hard for opposing defenses to focus on him.  Golden Tate is a fine option in his own right and he is getting ample opportunity to rack up the receptions with 15 and 13 targets in the first two games turning into 14/188/1 and we know in the event the Patriots are able to pressure Stafford he will look to get the ball out quickly to Tate on hot routes in the slot.

Marvin Jones Jr. has twin four reception / fifty-four yard games with a score on 17 targets.  He is still the downfield threat as well as in the red zone where he leads the team with five targets (Tate 2, Golladay 1, T.J. Jones 1).  He will be an afterthought for most gamers and of course we know that he has game breaking ability, so do not forget about him on Sunday in the gigantic field tournaments where we are going to need to be more than a little different if we don’t want to share the top prize with a couple hundred of our closest friends.

Tight End – the four tight ends on the Lions roster have a combined six targets.  We are better off grabbing a couple lottery tickets.

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Defense/Special Teams – Coach Matt Patricia is NOT going to do well against his mentor and former team.


Summary – this game has A TON of different options and looks to be a fun one where we can drop down a couple buy-in levels and try our hand at MME (mass-multi entry) with some mixing and matching of the many available option.


Single Game Ranking (taking into account projected production, pricing and popularity)

  1. Matthew Stafford (excellent pivot from Tom Brady and we can combined him with a pair of his targets for a synergy strategy)
  2. Tom Brady (Dude, it is Tom Brady and even at 41 years old it was hard NOT to list him as the top play)
  3. Golden Tate (love the volume potential)
  4. Phillip Dorsett (a fine differentiation option for both the game as well as from Gronk/Hogan)
  5. James White (DK only, but gamers are not going to like this price and will likely try to get up to Hogan or go an entirely different path. FD I would rank him a few spots lower)
  6. Rob Gronkowski (the Brady/Gronk pairing will be popular, putting Gronkowski as the Captain/MVP will be a way to differentiate)
  7. Kenny Golladay (DFS darling is at a great price point among the more “established” options and The Masses may not be ready to pay this new price tag on either site)
  8. Marvin Jones Jr (the red “Q” will keep gamers away – he was limited in practice on Friday and Saturday, so there is risk of a zero – but we want to be a hero and see our name in lights so everything has to break perfectly anyway in the single game format, so why not assume a little risk here)
  9. Matt Prater and Stephen Gotkowski (if these squads don’t find the end zone on drives, they should almost assuredly be in field goal range)
  10. Theo Riddick (DK) and Kerryon Johnson (FD)
  11. Chris Hogan (I am going to plant my flag here – he is a fine options and a more conservative ranking would have him right next to Gronkowski)
  12. Sony Michel (please be aware that he was on the field for just 13 plays last week)
  13. Lions D/ST
  14. Patriots D/ST
  15. Rex Burkhead (37 plays Week 1, 15 Week 2 – though he did get six carries and ran routes on most of the other plays, though he did not get a target)
  16. Cordarrelle Patterson (YOLO)
  17. LeGarrette Blount (we are in the dart throw portion of the rankings)
  18. James Develin (he is on the Patriots if you didn’t know with 7 career carries and 19 receptions over 65 games – he is a 30 year-old career special teamer, but I will still play him over the next guy)
  19. Josh Gordon (YMMV)
  20. Any Tight End not related to Rob Gronkowski

Reach out to me in Premium Slack or on Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

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Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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