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NFL Prime Time Games: Showdown Week 3 Sunday Night Football (FREE)

Eric MacPherson

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The Awesemo NFL Week 17 Injury Report Provides NFL DFS injuries updates for fantasy football Lineups on Draftkings + FanDuel | Jared Goff

Greetings Gamers! Welcome to the Awesemo NFL DFS Single Game Prime Time series for FanDuel and DraftKings showdown slates. For each of the featured games, typically Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights, we will be providing a free analysis for the single-slate action. This will include team capsules as well as player rankings and comments for all your daily fantasy needs.

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Week 2 saw the chalk wash away like tears in the rain. Some was a result of poor play and some was due to rampant injuries affecting key players. Let’s turn our focus to Week 3 and see what the single game prime time matchups have to offer.

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Tune into NFL Live Before Lock on Sunday at 7:30pm ET as Nolan Kelly and Dan Strafford break down tonight’s game for Showdown formats.

Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns +3.5 / 47.0

Fortunately this game looks like it will have a little more fantasy goodness than the Thursday Night Football debacle.  Let’s see what we can find.

Check out the FREE Week 3 NFL main slate game by game breakdown from Adam Pfeifer here 

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Notable Inactives: CLE WR Rashard Higgins, DBs Morgan Burnett, Damarious Randall, Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams – in other words their entire starting secondary.  LAR: Tyler Higbee

Los Angeles Rams 25.25 implied points

Quarterback

Jared Goff is checking in as the QB10-15 in most projection systems so this is a favorable matchup. We know that he has plenty of options in the passing game and coach Sean McVay will put him in a position to succeed. The Browns are third in the league with eight sacks and a top ten DVOA against the pass. The bonus with rolling out Goff is that you can “capture” all of his receivers production.

Running Back

The real question of course is who will be getting the goal line carries.  At this point all we really know is that Todd Gurley is not going to be shouldering the volume that he did in prior seasons.  It looks like a two-to-one share with Gurley getting the edge over Malcolm Brown from a snap and touch perspective. Darrell Henderson has been a non-factor barely seeing the field after some preseason rookie hype.  So far this season, the Browns have been below average against the run.

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Wide Receiver

We know that the Rams will heavily employ a three-wide receiver formation and that Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods will all be on the field for nearly every play of consequence. It is hard to read into the tea leaves which receiver has “the advantage” based on the first two games.  Cooks is the logical deep threat, Kupp looks great losing last season to a knee injury. Then in the middle we have Woods who can do a little bit of everything.  Let price and/or personal preference dictate your pecking order for the single game contests.

Player

Snaps Snap% Tgts Recpt Rec Yds TDs
Cooper Kupp WR 135 92% 19 12 166 0
Brandin Cooks WR 139 95% 10 5 113 1
Robert Woods WR 142 97% 15 10 103 0
Tyler Higbee TE 64 44% 8 6 41 1
Gerald Everett TE 80 54% 5 4 28 0
Malcolm Brown RB 46 31% 1 1 10 0
Todd Gurley II RB 99 67% 5 4 8 0
Total 147 Team 67 42 469 2

Tight End

Tyler Higbee has been ruled out so Gerald Everett should see a boost in on-field opportunity.  Though Higbee’s targets could very easily end up with the wide receivers or running backs.  Johnny Mundt is the TE3 who has yet to see the field for meaningful action.

Defense/Special Teams

The Rams unit is certainly in play as they should be able to take advantage of the weak Cleveland offensive line.  Aaron Darnold sounds like he should be active for the nightcap, but watch for confirmation.

Cleveland Browns 21.75 implied points

Quarterback

For the full slate, Baker Mayfield is coming in as a QB20-25 in most projection systems.  I like to include this information for some of the players so we can get an overall perspective.  Particularly since Mayfield has not had the amazing results that the fantasy world was expecting from the jump.  A lot of the issue has been that the Cleveland offensive line has been porous.  Through two games, Mayfield has already been sacked eight times which is the third most in the league.  Over his final nine games last season he was sacked only seven times.

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The Los Angeles defense has a top five passing DVOA though two games so this is not going to be an easy matchup for the Browns.  The Rams have fives sacks though two games which is middle of the pack which was about where they were last year.  Their offense will also be putting pressure on Cleveland to keep up which will help the defense.

Running Back

This is not the easiest of matchups for Nick Chubb as the Rams rushing defense has improved in the early going this season.  Last year they had a bottom five DVOA per Football Outsiders for a good portion of the year.  Early returns this season have them just above the pack and knocking on the door of the top ten.

Through the first two games, Chubb has been on the field for 70% and 61% of the snaps.  He has had 35 of the 40 running back carries and 7 of the 13 targets.  Dontrell Hilliard was out on Monday night football with a concussion and D’Ernest Johnson performed reasonably well in his stead. Chubb is the clear lead back and arguably the best fantasy running back option in this game.

Wide Receiver

It is clear that there are the haves and the have nots in the Browns passing game. It should be no surprise that Odell Beckham Jr is leading the way and he was magnificent on Monday Night Football.  His 89 yard touchdown was a highlight and a reminder that he can score from anywhere on the field. Jarvis Landry checks in next with 14 targets nearly doubling the non-Beckham wide receivers.

Player

Snaps Snap% Tgts Recpt Rec Yds TDs
Odell Beckham Jr. WR 136 96% 21 13 232 1
Jarvis Landry WR 141 99% 14 7 99 0
Damion Ratley WR 77 54% 5 4 67 0
D’Ernest Johnson RB 36 25% 6 5 65 0
Nick Chubb RB 93 65% 8 7 46 0
Rashard Higgins WR 33 23% 3 2 46 0
David Njoku TE 76 54% 7 4 37 1
Dontrell Hilliard RB 13 9% 2 1 14 0
Demetrius Harris TE 67 47% 2 1 4 0
Total 142 Team 68 44 610 2

If Rashard Higgins is able to return from the knee injury that sidelined him in Week 2, he is a fine option. Damian Ratley is a differentiation play at best, though there could be a few more targets to this group with the loss of David Njoku.

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Tight End

David Njoku not only suffered a concussion on Monday, he also broke his wrist and will be out for at least a month.  hat leaves a pretty barren cupboard with Demetrius Harris, Pharoh Brown and former Arizonal Cardinal Ricky Seals-Jones as the lucky lottery tickets.

Defense/Special Teams

The Browns have tallied only one takeaway, but they did have four sacks in each of the first two games.  Jerad Goff is decent at avoiding the rush, but with the Dawg Pound rocking, we can consider the Cleveland D/ST for some differentiation and at a discount.

Strategy: this game has more fantasy viable options than what we saw on Thursday night.  Of course that does not make things easy for our decision making process.  We will need some savings, so do not be shy about using a kicker, defense and/or one of the discounted Browns receivers.  My guess is more gamers are going to look to the tight end value from both teams rather than Damian Ratley or Rashard Higgins.

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

Notable Inactives: CLE WR Rashard Higgins, DBs Morgan Burnett, Damarious Randall, Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams – in other words their entire starting secondary.  LAR: Tyler Higbee

Top 10

  1. Jared Goff: it is not too much of a stretch to have Goff as the top play as well as the Captain/MVP.  He will enable his backers to have a hand in most of the Los Angeles passing attack.
  2. Odell Beckham Jr: Prime Time Game: check. Opportunity to out Diva Antonio Brown: check.
  3. Nick Chubb: while he is going to be popular, it is for good reason as we just don’t know how to “trust” Todd Gurley’s workload.
  4. Rashard Higgins: assuming he is healthy, this is one of those planting my flag spots if he is active.  Drop him into the next section if you have a low risk tolerance. Rashard Higgins is inactive.
  5. Brandin Cooks: best opportunity for a long touchdown which could be a single game back breakers.
  6. Cooper Kupp: damn if he actually isn’t faster and stronger than before the knee injury.  Solid red zone option.
  7. Robert Woods: we are really splitting hairs with the Rams trio, but at least that will keep their respective popularity in check.
  8. Baker Mayfield: he has pressure in the pocket on nearly every passing play with the disaster that is the Cleveland offensive line.
  9. Todd Gurley II: would it shock anyone if he had 100 combined yards and two touchdowns?  How about if he had 60 total yards?  Yeah, that is the new world he is living in with those arthritic knees.
  10. Demetrius Harris: look at the chart above for the Cleveland receivers.  Now plan on him getting a zero… is that still worth the salary relief?  For me the answer is yes, though not in “conservative” lineups.

Secondary Options

  1. Los Angeles D/ST: there is a VERY good chance they see 5+ combined turnovers and sacks even on the road.
  2. Malcolm Brown: if the Rams are in the red zone on his drives, he should get the opportunities over Gurley.
  3. Jarvis Landry: the clear WR2, but he is just as likely to see some of the opportunity vacated by David Njoku.
  4. Austin Seibert: the rookie has been solid and we can use the discount.
  5. Greg Zuerlein: he has been dealing with a sore left foot, but expected to be a full go.
  6. Gerald Everett: will be the main option with Tyler Higbee ruled out.  Maybe we get lucky with a Sean McVay TE-Special (aka one yard end around touchdown).
  7. Damian Ratley: we need him to haul in a 30 yarder, which is definitely possible.  It will be a shock to see him get more than 3-4 targets if Rashard Higgins is a full go. Higgins is inactive, this gives me confidence that Ratley gets 3-5 targets, production still dicey.
  8. Browns D/ST: we can only lose -4 on DraftKings for points allowed.

Lottery Tickets

  1. D’Ernest Johnson: if Dontrell Hilliard is out again, move him above the kickers.
  2. Dontrell Hilliard: missed last week with a concussion, may have to share duties with D’Ernest Johnson who looked good.
  3. Taywan Taylor: returns kickoffs, unlikely to see more than half a dozen offensive snaps assuming Higgins is back.
  4. Darrell Henderson: barely seeing the field, the rookie only has value in a rout or with an in-game injury to Gurley.
  5. Josh Reynolds: similar to Henderson, he needs opportunity to be created via injury or blowout.
  6. Jo-Jo Natson: returning punts for the Rams.
  7. Ricky Seals-Jones: make sure he is active, he was a late preseason add after being cut by Arizona.

As always, you can reach out to me in Awesemo.com Premium Slack or 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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