Week 3 of the NFL season is upon us and with it comes another opportunity to beat your friends and strangers alike in daily fantasy football. The Fanball format calls for a QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, FLEX WR/TE, FLEX RB/WR/TE, D/ST lineup with a $55,000 salary cap. The players below can fit into lineups regardless of strategy, as they all offer strong value relative to price.
Derek Carr, OAK at WAS ($8,000): Carr is the only quarterback priced in the top eight who's facing a defense ranked outside the top 18 at defending the position. Washington falls far below that mark at 25th as highly regarded cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland have looked pedestrian while running backs have hauled in receiving scores against the Redskins in each of the first two weeks. Carr has one of the best receiving duos in the league at his disposal with Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, so he has the clearest path to a strong performance out of the top options with some others battling elite defenses.
Jared Goff, LAR at SF ($5,700): Even in throwing for only 219 yards in Week 2, Goff proved that he's a much-improved quarterback after flailing as a rookie last year. While he took a step back after averaging a career-high 10.6 yards per attempt and topping 300 yards in the opener, his 9.1 yards per attempt last week blew the first overall pick's 2016 high of 6.7 out of the water. With running back Todd Gurley averaging only 3.7 yards per carry, Goff should get plenty of chances to continue connecting with new additions Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett while also hitting Gurley out of the backfield. Washington limited the quarterback's stat totals by dominating time of possession with more than 36 minutes, but San Francisco's pathetic offense is unlikely to hold the ball for long Thursday.
Le'Veon Bell, PIT at CHI ($8,900): Bell looked rusty in the opener at Cleveland after holding out through training camp, but corrected course with 91 total yards on 31 touches last week against Minnesota. Chicago's run defense isn't nearly as stingy as the stout Vikings front, as lead backs Devonta Freeman and Jacquizz Rodgers both scored against this unit. Bell's expected to see hefty volume once again with Pittsburgh likely to be playing from ahead, and this should be the week he finally looks like a consensus top three pick.
Shane Vereen, NYG at PHI ($4,100): Vereen's unlikely to carry the mail for lineups, but he's a great low-cost choice for owners looking to spend big at other positions. With Odell Beckham (ankle) playing at well below 100 percent and the rest of New York's offense a shambles, Eli Manning has been forced to check down often. Vereen has taken advantage of that inconvenient truth, hauling in a team-high 12 catches in two weeks. Philadelphia gave up a receiving touchdown to Redskins pass-catching back Chris Thompson in Week 1 and was burned for two rushing scores by Kareem Hunt last week, so precedent is on Vereen's side. Even if he doesn't find paydirt, Vereen can be counted upon to hit double-digit fantasy points after averaging 11.3 so far.
Chris Thompson, WAS vs. OAK ($5,200): Viewed as just a third-down back heading into this campaign, Thompson has proven to be so much more with 81 rushing yards, 81 receiving yards and three total touchdowns through two weeks. With thumper Rob Kelley battling a rib injury and rookie Samaje Perine looking overwhelmed at the highest level, Thompson should see some extra volume on the ground. Thompson's receiving ability likely will have him on the field often in the second half even if Kelley suits up and plays his usual role, as Washington's expected to be playing catch-up against an elite Raiders team.
Rashard Higgins, CLE at IND ($3,600): Higgins made an immediate impact after being elevated from the practice squad for last week's game in Baltimore, corralling seven of 11 targets for 95 yards. With Corey Coleman (hand) on IR and Kenny Britt looking disinterested in contributing through two weeks, Higgins is suddenly the best receiving option on the roster. His price could skyrocket if he delivers in this favorable matchup against a Colts defense that's allowed more than 300 passing yards per game, so this is the time to plug in the unproven wide receiver.
Davante Adams, GB vs. CIN ($7,300): With Jordy Nelson (quad) questionable to suit up and Randall Cobb (shoulder) operating at less than full strength, Adams should be Aaron Rodgers' primary target on the outside. He flourished in that role with 99 yards and a touchdown in last week's loss to Atlanta and offers strong bang for the buck at home given his nose for the end zone and middling price.
Jarvis Landry, MIA at NYJ ($6,900): All the preseason talk of Landry's lack of chemistry with quarterback Jay Cutler was proven to be nothing but hot air last week, as the two hooked up 13 times for 78 yards in Miami's first game of the season. Landry's sheer volume gives him a high floor in Fanball's PPR format, and he's capable of making big plays with the ball in his hands against a mistake-prone Jets defense. You won't find a better combination of safety and upside at this price.
Ed Dickson, CAR vs. NO ($3,700): Dickson is unlikely to completely fill Greg Olsen's (foot) shoes, but the tight end position should continue to feature heavily in a Panthers offense that lacks playmakers on the outside and employs a quarterback with accuracy issues. The veteran tight end also couldn't have hand-picked a better opponent to face in his first week as the starter, as the Saints have allowed 65 points in two weeks. At just $3,700, Dickson's the epitome of a low-risk, high-reward play.
Zach Ertz, PHI vs. NYG ($6,300): Ertz has been as reliable a target as any tight end in the league with 190 yards already. He hasn't found the end zone thus far, but that could change Sunday against a New York defense that's allowed touchdowns to tight ends in each of its first two games. Ertz also has history of stepping up against these NFC East division rivals with 19 catches for 282 yards in their past three meetings.
Tennessee Titans, TEN vs. SEA ($3,200): Tennessee rebounded last week after allowing 26 points to the powerhouse Oakland offense in the opener, holding the Jaguars to three points before garbage time. Meanwhile, Seattle has scored just one touchdown despite facing a pair of shaky defensive units in the Packers and 49ers. While cornerback play has been an issue for the Titans, a potent pass rush led by outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan won't give struggling quarterback Russell Wilson the time to exploit that weakness by overwhelming one of the league's worst offensive lines.
Indianapolis Colts, IND vs. CLE ($2,800): Cleveland's offense is a mess. The rookie quarterback is at risk of coming out at any time due to migraines, the top receiving threat was on the practice squad two weeks ago and the running game is churning out a mere 3.3 yards per carry. Indianapolis held Arizona to three points through more than three quarters before collapsing late in a 16-13 overtime loss last week. That performance was good enough to make the Colts this week's obvious low-cost, matchup-based pick.