Exposed: FanDuel Matchup Considerations for Week 3

Aaron Rudnicki and Alessandro Miglio take a look at good and bad matchups for receivers and tight ends in FanDuel contests for Week 3.

What a weird Week 2 that was. We get those a few times per season. Bizzarro Sunday was rough on a lot of us, including this column. But we all brush it off and march on to a new week, with redemption on the horizon.

Good Matchups

Allen Hurns, WR, JAX @ NE ($5,100)

Miglio: Allen Robinson exploded onto the fantasy scene last week, validating all the hype he got in the preseason. One guy who hasn’t quite gotten there after some huge games as a rookie, though, is Allen Hurns. He hasn’t been terrible, but you get the feeling Robinson will draw New England’s best coverage, which doesn’t amount to too much to begin with.

Rudnicki: The Patriots passing attack is good enough to outscore just about anyone they face, but their secondary is also giving up points in bunches. Malcolm Butler has flashed some big play potential, but he’s struggling in coverage and has allowed a touchdown in each of the first two games. With Allen Robinson coming off a huge game, Hurns also figures to see less safety help on his side of the field.

Tyler Lockett, WR, SEA vs. CHI ($5,000)

Miglio: Jimmy Graham is the squeaky wheel likely to get the grease after a Week 2 dud, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other pass-catchers in the Seattle offense against a soft Chicago defense. The easy money on ownership percentage will be Doug Baldwin at $6,000 coming off a nice Week 2 output. If differentiation and upside are what you are looking for, though, Tyler Lockett is your Huckleberry at $1,000 less.

Rudnicki: You can’t really go wrong picking WRs who face the Bears this year. In Week 1, it was James Jones who torched them for a pair of touchdowns and last week it was Larry Fitzgerald. Kyle Fuller was benched for his poor play, but Terrance Mitchell wasn’t any better. My main concern with Lockett, however, is that this game could get ugly early so Seattle may not need to use three-receiver sets or throw very often in the second half. 

Travis Benjamin, WR, CLE vs. OAK ($5,600)

Miglio: How in the world is Travis Benjamin so cheap? Who would have thought in a million years the previous sentence would exist this week? He’s either going to be a chalk play or a “no way he does it three weeks in a row” fade -- more thoughts on that in this week’s roundtable later this week -- but there is no denying Benjamin has a fantastic matchup against that Oakland secondary.

Rudnicki: The Raiders secondary looks like they can’t stop anybody right now, as the Bengals and Ravens both had their way with them in the first two weeks. The Browns may not have much talent in the passing game, but Benjamin appears to be clicking very well with Johnny Manziel and the Raiders are very susceptible to giving up big plays. Update: Josh McCown was apparently named the starter this week, so that could hurt Benjamin’s big play potential.

James Jones, WR, GB vs KC ($5,700)

Miglio: When should we stop trusting James Jones? He’s not going to score every game, is he? Probably not. But that doesn’t necessarily need to stop this week.

Rudnicki: Peyton Manning went after Jamell Fleming on Thursday night and I’d imagine Aaron Rodgers will do the same here. Rookie Marcus Peters is playing very well, but is also still a rookie who has given up some big plays. Also, injuries to Eddie Lacy and Davante Adams may not keep them out, but could limit them enough to make Jones more of a focal point this week. 

Kendall Wright, WR, TEN vs IND ($5,900)

Miglio: There will be an ebb and flow to fantasy output for Tennessee players this season. The Titans exploded against a hapless Tampa Bay defense in Week 1, but a road game against a much tougher Cleveland defense. To wit, Kendall Wright had just two receptions for 17 yards against Joe Haden and Co. A similar fate could befall him against Vontae Davis, but the latter is nicked up and the rest of the Colts secondary has a soft cheese quality to it.

Rudnicki: The Colts secondary has been decimated by injuries as they were missing Darius Butler and Greg Toler, and then lost #1 corner Vontae Davis to an injury during Monday Night Football. Wright had a quiet outing in Week 2 as he appeared to injure his leg somewhat, but if he’s healthy this is a matchup that he should be able to take full advantage of.

John Brown, WR, ARI vs SF ($6,000)

Miglio: An ever-present big-play threat, John Brown couldn’t quite capitalize on a nice matchup last week. Not with Larry Fitzgerald hogging all the glory. All that does is depress his price for Week 3 in a matchup against a defense that was torched by similarly sized Antonio Brown last week.

Rudnicki: Fitzgerald got the touchdowns last week, but that should result in more safety help to his side of the field. Brown figures to see plenty of Kenneth Acker, who had no chance against Antonio Brown. Carson Palmer has this offense playing really well, and Brown is catching almost everything thrown his way so I like his chances for a breakout game here.

Cecil Shorts, WR, HOU vs. TB ($5,200)

Miglio: It seemed like a nice matchup last week for Cecil Shorts, but he couldn’t capitalize despite 12 targets. This week’s matchup is even better. Try, try again?

Rudnicki: I’ve had some high hopes for Shorts this year, but have been disappointed in the results so far. I think he’s been hindered by some poor QB play but at least he is getting consistent snaps and targets each week, so chances are he will produce eventually. Although Tampa held up surprisingly well against the Saints last week, I still feel like this is a secondary that can be beaten through the air so the matchup is certainly favorable again for Shorts.

Jordan Reed, TE, WAS @ NYG ($5,300)

Miglio: Jordan Reed managed to make it through Week 2 without incident. He didn’t get into the end zone, but Reed caught all six of his targets for 82 yards. Perhaps a trip to the end zone is in order against the New York Giants this week.

Rudnicki: Landon Collins is a very promising safety, but he is off to a rough start in coverage and the Giants linebackers don’t provide much help either. Jason Witten and Jacob Tamme have both had success with this matchup, and Reed has produced against tougher defenses so he could be in for a huge day.

Owen Daniels, TE, DEN @ DET ($4,700)

Miglio: It hasn’t exactly been a Peyton Manning offense like we’ve become accustomed to over the years in Denver. That goes especially for tight ends, who have been huge beneficiaries of Manning’s powers in the past. At near-minimum salary, Owen Daniels makes for a nice GPP dart against a Detroit Lions defense that has given up a ton of fantasy points to the position thus far in 2015.

Rudnicki: Not sure I love this matchup. Lions have good safeties but are weak at linebacker so it’s tough to know who will match up with Daniels here. Rudolph scored but only picked up 30 yards on five catches last week. We also saw Virgil Green outproduce Daniels despite getting a third of the snaps.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN vs SD ($5, 300)

Miglio: After Week 1 it seemed the Minnesota Vikings offense was stuck in the mud. The Detroit Lions defense did a nice job of pulling them out, though, and Kyle Rudolph washed the bad taste of Week 1 out of his mouth with a touchdown last week. 

Rudnicki: Te’o has not impressed with his cover skills so far this year, and I expect the corners to lock down the Vikings receivers. Chargers gave up a touchdown to the opposing tight end in first two games (Ebron, Eifert), and there is a good chance that Rudolph will keep that trend going. Looks like he is quickly becoming a favorite target for Teddy Bridgewater. 

Bad Matchups

Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI @ NYJ ($7,100)

Miglio: For about 90 percent of last week’s fantastic matchup, Jordan Matthews was putting up a big fat goose egg. It was a bitter disappointment for the swath of DFS players using him at a great price in a fantastic matchup. If you weren’t paying attention to the game, though, you might see his 17 points and say he was worth it. Fortunately, Matthews got some garbage time heroism as he scored all of those points on Philly’s final drive. All is well?

Rudnicki: Matthews primarily lines up out of the slot so he may be able to avoid Revis island, but the Jets proved on Sunday night they can make things tough on all receivers. Buster Skrine is also one of the best slot corners in the league. The Eagles offense is not clicking at all right now so it’s probably best to steer clear until they start to figure things out. 

Brandin Cooks, WR, NO @ CAR ($7,000)

Miglio: Not that you needed much reason to stay off Brandin Cooks, but he doesn’t even look like a  decent contrarian play for GPP leagues.

Rudnicki: Josh Norman may no longer be shadowing the opposing No. 1 WR, but he figures to see plenty of Brandin Cooks in this matchup. With Drew Brees status in question and a passing game that can’t get on track, this has the look of a low scoring matchup that is best to avoid. 

Torrey Smith, WR, SF @ ARI ($6,400)

Miglio: One week up, another down. Torrey Smith was a boom pick last week, and he delivered. His big performance shouldn’t sway you to put him in Week 3 lineups, though -- Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals loom.

Rudnicki: Patrick Peterson is not a player you want to throw at very often, and he figures to be matched up primarily with Torrey Smith this week. With the Cardinals strength in the secondary, I think he’ll have a hard time getting deep and that will force the 49ers to rely more heavily on the run game. Don’t overreact to his big game a week ago as that came against the very generous Steelers defense.

Calvin Johnson, WR, DET vs DEN ($8,200)

Miglio: Last week Megatron booted up after being put on standby in Week 1. It’ll be easy to assume he’s fully online for 2015, but the Denver Broncos pose a much tougher challenge this week. This would have been a no-brainer had Dan Orlovsky started, but a banged up Matthew Stafford against this defense might not be much better.

Rudnicki: The Broncos have the best pair of starting cornerbacks in the league in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, and a potent pass rush that figures to beat up Matthew Stafford. Calvin Johnson did just post a huge game on 17 targets a week ago, but this looks like a clear matchup to avoid.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI @ SEA ($7,500)

Miglio: Going to Seattle is never good for fantasy business. The Seahawks haven’t exactly looked like their championship selves, though, so you might be tempted to throw Alshon Jeffery into a lineup or 10 if he’s healthy this week.  

Rudnicki: Banged up receiver playing in a hostile environment against an angry defense with a backup QB throwing him the ball? Yeah, this is not a matchup I’d want any part of. Only thing that might save him is some garbage time catches after the game gets out of reach.

Tyler Eifert, TE, CIN vs. BAL ($5,900)

Miglio: Is Tyler Eifert the next great fantasy tight end? Or is he the product of two great matchups to start the year? Is the Baltimore defense going to bring the Week 1 heat or meltdown like last week? As bad as it looked last week, the Ravens gave up just five catches for 25 yards to Raiders tight ends.

Rudnicki: Will Hill is a pretty good cover safety, and the strength of the Ravens defense could be their ILB tandem. Eifert is off to a great start, but this looks like a matchup that could definitely slow him down.

Zach Ertz, TE, PHI @ NYJ ($5,200)

Miglio: Spectacular cannot describe the vaunted Philadelphia offense. Spectacular failure? At least for one week, yes. But we shouldn’t expect a huge bounce back against a tough New York Jets defense. That is unless the topsy turvy NFL league doesn’t reverse all expectations like it did last week.

Rudnicki: The Jets made the Colts tight ends disappear as neither player even had a target on Monday night. Marcus Gilchrist has upgraded the coverage at free safety, and the strength at corner is allowing the Jets to keep more defenders in the middle of the field. Ertz has been a bust so far despite 15 targets, so it’s tough to count on much from him here.