NFL Picks, Plays, and Daily Fantasy: Sept. 27, 2020 (Week Three)

The theme of this week’s column is one of the oldest standby tactics in improv comedy. They’re two very simple words with unlimited possibilities when used correctly, and in the right hands, they can be used with deadly efficiency.

I’m referring, of course, to “yes, and…,” which is often used to keep routines going and open the door for more hilarious antics. In this case, though, the reasoning behind my picks and plays for week three can be easily summed up with those two words (and, of course, the analysis that comes with them).

We moved to 7-1 last week, with our lone loss coming when the Chiefs prevailed in overtime but did not cover the spread (due in no small part to the play of Justin Herbert, who was not supposed to start but did an admirable job taking the defending champs to the limit). As always, spreads are courtesy of America’s Line, and DFS costs are courtesy of DraftKings.

Here’s hoping we can keep the good mojo going!

PICKS/PLAYS

Titans -3 over Vikings

The Titans aren’t the flashiest team in the league.

Yes, and they’re still 2-0.

I said in week one that I felt the Titans would be a team to watch early in the season. They play in a small market, their quarterback was sent packing from Miami a few years ago, none of their receivers are household names, and the defense is the ultimate “whole is more than the sum of its parts” unit. They’ve won ugly twice this year…but have you seen the Vikings?

Minnesota, a team that many thought would be a legitimate contender at a deep run in the playoffs, has looked woefully overmatched in both of its games this season. Kirk Cousins no longer has a legitimate #1 receiver, and the defense has been unable to keep up with the Packers and Colts. I think they get overpowered again here, and that the Titans move to the most underreported 3-0 start in the league.

49ers -3.5 over Giants

Jimmy Garappolo, George Kittle, and Nick Bosa will not play.

Yes, and the Giants are still the Giants.

New York has lost Saquon Barkley for the season due to a torn ACL (rest in peace, Andrew’s hopes of a fantasy football repeat). They’ve gone out and signed Devonta Freeman, but he will almost certainly not have an active role in this contest.

San Francisco, meanwhile, still has enough weapons on both sides of the ball to be formidable. This is another East Coast game, but they stayed in that time zone after last week’s throttling of the Jets, so that won’t be an issue at all. Give me every bit of San Francisco this week, even without some of their biggest playmakers in the huddle.

Carolina/LA Chargers: OVER 43.5

Carolina will be without Christian McCaffery, and their offense was held in check by Tampa Bay last week.

Yes, and the Panther defense is still terrible.

Tom Brady could’ve had an even bigger day last week had his receivers not committed several drops on longer passes. This week, Carolina faces a rejuvenated Charger offense led by Justin Herbert, who at this point is playing for a shot at the long-term starting job.

Add in that I’m not concerned about Carolina backup running back Mike Davis or other parts of the Panther offense, and this total looks way too low. 24-21 puts us over the total, and I think we’ll soar past it here.

Chiefs +3.5 over Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens may be the most complete team in the league.

Yes, and Patrick Mahomes should not be getting more than a field goal from any opponent.

The Ravens are fun to watch. Lamar Jackson is electrifying, and their backfield-by-committee is a nightmare to prepare for. They’re sharp defensively as well, having held the Browns and Texas to just 22 combined points this season.

Still, the Chiefs offense played as poorly as we’ve seen them play in a long time last week, and they found a way to win in overtime. Mahomes will likely have many opportunities to work his magic, and I think we’ll see a true shootout on Monday night.

In this case, the half-point is crucial. The Ravens may very well win, but the Chiefs are the reigning champs for a reason, and if last week is any indication, they’ve learned how to win ugly. For that reason, I’ll take the points as my fourth and final play of the week.

DAILY FANTASY PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Cam Newton, NE ($6,700)

I’m obviously not going out on a limb here, as Newton has been in the midst of an epic career revival in New England. However, I’m shocked he’s not more expensive in a tremendous matchup with the Raiders.

Newton has completed more than 71% of his passes this season while averaging nearly five yards per carry. We’re seeing a premier dual-threat performance right now, and when I saw him at $6,700, I jumped on it. I think he’ll have every opportunity to make plays against a Las Vegas defense that has given up 54 points in its first two games.

RB Mike Davis, CAR ($5,100)

Carolina’s offense is built around its starting running back. That focal point, of course, is Christian McCaffery, but Davis reeled in all eight receiving targets he saw last week and should see a heavy workload against the Chargers.

This is a case where the asking price just seems way too low. The Charger defense isn’t bad, but based on the likely workload and game script, I think Davis is a steal.

WR Michael Gallup, DAL ($5,500)
WR CeeDee Lamb, DAL ($5,400)

The Dallas Cowboys once again get a prime matchup, as they’ll take on the Seahawks. Seattle’s offense has been flying high to start the year, but their defense has gotten shredded by both Atlanta and New England. This makes Gallup and Lamb, key pieces in Dallas’s passing attack, very intriguing.

Gallup has been a bit of a disappointment so far, while Lamb is still getting up to speed as a rookie (though he’s shown there’s plenty to be excited about). I’ll happily give both guys shots in a terrific matchup. I have one team with these two, Dak Prescott, and Amari Cooper, and I won’t complain if this is a 45-42 game with lots of deep balls.

TE Jordan Reed, SF ($4,000)

Reed is an unbelievable story. He’s been hampered by injuries throughout his career and considered retiring before signing with San Francisco. George Kittle got hurt last week, and Reed responded by reeling in two touchdown passes as the Niners steamrolled the Jets.

The quarterback situation is a bit of a problem, and that’s baked into this cost. However, San Francisco doesn’t have many weapons on the outside, so I’m expecting Reed to get plenty of targets. His asking price is 17th among tight ends, and that’s just too low given his high ceiling.

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