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NFL Week 3 Yahoo! $500K Baller (FREE)

Eric MacPherson

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Matt Savoca breaks down every single fantasy football matchup for Week 3 fantasy football and NFL DFS | Eagles vs Browns incl. Miles Sanders.

Greetings Gamers! We have an outstanding opportunity on Yahoo! for Week 3 as they are running a $500,000 contest, with a $10 entry fee and 55,555 entries. This flagship tournament has not filled in either of the first two weeks which has provided “extra value” for gamers. Let’s get into some NFL DFS Picks for Week 3, including Lamar Jackson.

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Don’t forget to check out the Yahoo Fantasy Show with Alex ‘Awesemo’ Baker and Nolan Kelly Friday at 1pm on the Awesemo YouTube Channel


If you haven’t signed up for Yahoo Fantasy DFS, click this link and use the promo code Awesemo when making your first deposit and you will be eligible for $30 of “free play” which Yahoo! will match through the first $30 of your deposit (this bonus will be received in Yahoo Sports Rewards Points aka YSRP which can be used to enter any paid contest immediately).

Yahoo! DFS Football General Strategy

As with most sites, there are many viable strategies that can be successful in large field tournaments and of course we do need the same amount of favor from Lady Luck as we do elsewhere.

Key things to remember are that this is a “half-PPR” site meaning receptions are worth 0.5 points and the minimum salary is $10, with an average salary per player of $22 and this week, Christian McCaffrey is at the top of the pricing list at $40. The full scoring parameters can be found here.

If you are using an optimizer, it is important to remember that you will still need to input the lineups by hand (this lack of automation also helps keep away some of the “mega shark” players). You will also want to closely look at the lineups because the automation will look to use the cheaper quarterbacks and it will also home in on players that may not be “good plays” on other sites and they will not be highlighted in the mainstream analysis that is available to The Masses each week.

Awesemo NFL Rankings

One of the most useful features of the Awesemo.com premium content is the personal player rankings from Alex Baker aka Awesemo for all of the main sports. The players grade out separately for each DFS site with ratings for both “projected points” and “value” receiving an A through E report card style grade.

As a sneak preview, for this article I will be sharing the grades with my thoughts as well. Full Rankings (Premium Content)

Quarterback

If you have played football this season on Yahoo or if you played daily fantasy baseball, you know that the strategy is to look for the cheapest quarterback or pitcher that is tolerable so you can look for more secure points and upside elsewhere. In the recommendations below, I will be highlighting several discount options at the other positions so you can build a framework that will allow lineup construction for a top-shelf quarterback along with his favorite target and still have enough salary cap to “run it back” with the top option on the opposing team.

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Over the last two seasons of playing Yahoo! DFS for NFL and MLB, I have noticed that while “stacking” does have its place, the unique pricing structure and 10-entry max tournaments also lend to lineup construction that focuses more on the “best individual plays” and often times those will be the squads with their names in lights.

Lamar Jackson – BAL at KC – $36 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C 

Back to the well for a third straight week in this format. Yes, the price keeps climbing, but Jackson has earned it with a 324 passing yard-performance with five touchdowns. The Week 2 encore included 272 passing yards, two scores and 120 rushing yards. Week 3 is a matchup in Kansas City against a defense that is not exactly imposing their will on anyone. Fingers-crossed that we get an amazing game on par with the epic LA Ram 54 – KC 51 game from last year.

Jameis Winston – TB vs. NYG – $23 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B 

While disappointment abounds for the early fantasy results for the revamped Buccaneers, this is a tasty matchup. Even with the makeover from high flying offense and porous defense to ground and pound with a suddenly ferocious defense, there is room for Winston in our plans this week. First off, we have a very favorable price point. Then there is the matchup with the G-men who have the second worst passing DVOA and fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks this season.

Finally, for as much as they would like to run – the Tampa Bay production is going to have to come through the air. This price is also favorable for pairing Winston with some of his receivers in tournaments for a lowish average. Chris Godwin – $22 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C and Mike Evans – $20 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value A are the first two we should look at for this synergistic strategy. Is Jameis really as bad as he has been the last two weeks and is this enough of a discount… I say yes.

Dak Prescott – DAL vs. MIA – $39 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B

Though he is not cheap, this is an excellent matchup against the worst passing DVOA in the league. With Michael Gallup (knee) out for the next couple of weeks we know that the Dallas offense should be consolidated with Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott – $33 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C and Amari Cooper Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B. 

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While the Cowboys will probably be able to take their foot off the gas by the final frame, it would be no surprise if they have four or even five touchdowns by then. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has done a phenomenal job thus far and this matchup is a pure gimme. The only real question is how long will this game be competitive.

Running Back

We want to keep in mind that while running backs are very important, Yahoo! is a “half-PPR” site which will not penalize running backs that are not as active in the passing game.

Ezekiel Elliott – DAL vs. MIA – $33 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C

As mentioned in the Dak Prescott section, this is a cakewalk matchup and Elliott is all but assured of 100 yards and a score. The real question is will there be a need for him to do more than that? He could always “get his” early, but there is risk of him seeing just 15 touches in a rout. The only real question is how long will this game be competitive.

Chris Carson – SEA vs. NO – $24 Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value C

Once more, we can look to Carson as the Seahawks have what is now a winnable game against the New Orleans Saints who will be without Drew Brees. You are going to hear analysts say that Carson has been fumbling a lot. While that is true as he has two fumbles in two games. He now has five total in his career with four being recovered by the other team. So four turnovers across 326 carries and 36 receptions is a turnover on about 1% of his touches.

On the other hand, last season just Doug Martin and Alex Collins lost more fumbles with three each. I choose to side with Carson and am not worried about a quick hook from head coach Pete Carroll against the worst rushing DVOA this season. It all comes down to how you think Pete Carroll views the two fumbles lost this season versus counting on Rashaad Penny in high leverage situations.

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Christian McCaffrey – CAR at ARZ – $40 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value D

It sounds like Cam Newton is going to miss this game with a myriad of injuries, so that means all of the Panthers’ hopes are pinned to Christian McCaffrey to avoid an 0-3 start. Arizona’s defense is shaky at best and this is a prime matchup, albeit for the for the highest price tag of the week. Top-shelf option, but he certainly is not cheap. He really needs two touchdowns to make us happy at this price point.

Wide Receiver

Keep in mind that Yahoo scoring is half-PPR and that more often than not we should be able to find several nice options in the mid-tier of the pricing list. The top-shelf options are typically priced in the mid-$30 range and often best paired with their quarterbacks for tournament upside, rather than risking downside as “solo” plays.

Amari Cooper – DAL vs. MIA – $29 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B

By rolling with the Cowboys “triplets” with Cooper, Elliott and Prescott against the historically abysmal Miami Dolphins defense – we would still have $16 per remaining roster slot. A discounted defense and WR3 would have us in business with a great projected fantasy point foundation. With Michael Gallup (knee) out for the next few weeks, we can give Randall Cobb – $15 Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value B consideration in all formats as a discounted option. The only real question is how long will this game be competitive.

Deebo Samuel – SF vs. PIT – $14 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C

San Francisco has averaged just 26 pass attempts per game, but that is giving us a representative sample size as to where the volume is going. It is no surprise that George Kittle – $21 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value C is leading the way with 14 targets, but Samuel is a surprise second with 11. Last year’s darling Dante Pettis has only one. There is definitely added risk here, but I am willing to assume it – particularly as it looks like he will be in the sub-10% popularity range.

Nelson Agholor – PHI vs. DET – $14 Awesemo Grade: Points C, Value A

Depending on who is healthy and who is out for the Eagles could provide some nice value receiving options. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – $10 Awesemo Grade: Points D, Value A is also in the mix as an extreme punt option if we can gain a sense of his role. It looks like DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffrey will be out until Week 5 at the earliest and TE Dallas Goedert is going to miss this game as well. Remember that this is half-PPR so they are not quite as enticing as they are in full-PPR systems.

Tight Ends

Once again we have some enticing options as twenty-eight teams are taking the field on Sunday, so let’s parse through the possibilities.

Zach Ertz – PHI vs. DET – $20 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value B

It was only last year when we saw Ertz producing consistent stat lines that would have half the WR1s in the league jealous. He is back in a position where he should see a heavy volume with fellow tight end Goedert (calf) likely to miss Sunday’s game and Jackson and Jeffrey out for the next couple of weeks. In the NFL, volume and opportunity are key and we will not be alone in identifying Ertz as a sublime option this week. We could see Ertz approach 50% in the non-100+ entry contests.

Travis Kelce – KC vs. BAL – $28 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value D

Speaking of WR1 production from a tight end, we have the guy that broke the mold right here. Last season, Kelce was top 5-10 in most receiving categories of note and he is in a similar position to see a heavy workload again with Tyreek Hill on the shelf. This is a tough matchup, but when you have an actual Wizard as your quarterback, it is not so much of a deterrent. Just reiterating that we should compare his projections and price with the other WR1s.

Defense/Special Teams

This week there are options up and down the pricing sheet and we should have no trouble finding a unit within our budget.

New England Patriots vs. NYJ – $20 Awesemo Grade: Points A, Value D 

If you have the extra salary cap, this is the place to go for the bucks deluxe option. The Pats are not going to get two return touchdowns every week, but this defense is looking special – at least for what we have seen from New England for the last few years. Bill Belichick has this unit humming and gamers will be flocking to it despite the appropriate price point.

San Francisco 49ers vs. PIT – $13 Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value C 

The 49ers have been much improved on defense this season and now they get a home matchup against a relatively inexperienced quarterback. We know that the Steelers team is reeling with the loss of Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner is dinged up and of course no more Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell. We will want to calibrate our expectations of Pittsburgh appropriately going forward. This will probably be the most popular “value” option on Yahoo this week, but still in the 20-25% popularity range which is fine.

Arizona Cardinals vs. CAR – $12 Awesemo Grade: Points B, Value B 

If Cam Newton is out… and it looks like he is, we can look to the Cardinals. This is not a play for the faint of heart as they are without Patrick Peterson and a host of other defenders are dinged up. It feels like most gamers will find the dollar to get to the 49ers so with risk does come potential reward here.

Hopefully this helps get your lineup construction process jump started and on your way to a big showing in the Yahoo! $500k Dollar Baller contest!

As always, you can reach out to me in Awesemo.com Premium Slack or on Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.

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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