In the fantasy football world week, 2 was a devastating one for a lot of people. Injuries to Barkley, McCaffrey, Adams, Mostert, and for those of us who play IDP Nick Bosa all put a damper on the weekend. In the world of survivor pools, most of us went unscathed. Unlike the bloody mess of week 2 was kind on those who picked the favorites. Only the Saints, picked by 1.39% in Yahoo pools, were losers in the top 12.

What are we going to do in week 3? There’s an obvious choice, but that team was responsible for knocking out about ¼ of all pool participants in week one. Do we follow the herd or do we pick someone else and hope for the upset? 

This week we have three home favorites of 7 points or more. The first is Cleveland over Washington by 7. Cleveland took care of the Bengals which was my off the beaten path pick. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt ran all over the Bengals and Baker limited his mistakes. The Browns defense bottled up Joe Mixon and forced Joe Burrow to throw it 61 times. Washington came back to earth against the Cardinals last week as I predicted and made Arizona my best bet of the week. This should be a victory for the Browns, but they’re the Browns.

We move to LA where the Chargers are 7 point favorites over the Panthers. What can we expect from the Panthers without Christian McCaffrey ? Not much I’d guess as CMC has been half of Carolina’s offense over the last two years. The Chargers played the Chiefs tough last week losing in overtime as Patrick Mahomes reminded us how good he is. I’m surprised the line here isn’t higher. The biggest question going into the game and one that has to be followed is who is going to be the quarterback for the Chargers. Justin Herbert looked good in his surprise, last-minute start but Head Coach Anthony Lynn said that TyRod Taylor gives the Chargers the “best chance” at winning. Not sure what game he was watching. It will be Herbert this week as Taylor recovers from a punctured lung caused by an intercostal nerve injection. (In real life I’m an anesthesiologist and thought that was what happened after hearing he “couldn’t breathe” after a pain injection for his ribs. It’s a known complication and doesn’t mean the person/doctor who did the injection did anything wrong.)

The Colts are not welcomed in many homes this year after they lost to the Jaguars in week one. Now we have seen that the Jaguars are not as bad as we thought they were going to be so it makes it a little more understandable. The Colts are the week’s biggest favorites as they get the second half of back to back games against what is now seen as the NFL doormats. They are 11 point favorites over the Adam Gase led Jets, which is something Jets fans were hoping wasn’t true anymore. This is a slam dunk folks. The Colts are giving up a league-leading 205 total yards per game. It’s hard enough for the Jets offense to do anything against their scout team defense, imagine going up against the likes of Darius Leonard , DeForest Buckner , and the rest of the gang. 

The rest of the games that are in play this week are the following. The Eagles “should” beat the Bengals at home and favored by 5. Pittsburgh is playing well and opened a 6 point favorite at home over the Texans but the line had dropped to 3 ½ and is now 4.  The 49ers go back to MetLife minus Bosa, Solomon, Garappolo, and Mostert and are 4 point favorites over the Saquan-less Giants. The Patriots are 6 ½ point favorites at home over the surging Raiders. 

Pick of the Week: Los Angeles Chargers

In a week where it’s easy to just take the Colts, we also have the Browns at their highest win probability of the rest of the season. The Colts are going to be highly owned (40-50% in most pools) and taking them you will most likely move on to week 4 but gain no equity over the rest of your pool. The Browns are not expected to have a greater than a 60% win probability the rest of the season so if you don’t take them this week, they are probably out of play. By taking them this week you gain an advantage over the rest of your pool who don’t take them.  The Chargers do have some value the rest of the season but taking them this week you will again gain equity over the pool. The Chargers are my pick due to the fact that Carolina will struggle against a good Chargers defense without McCaffrey and I just don’t trust Cleveland. Cleveland gives you the best combination of winning and future equity but they are hard to pick.

The way to play this week is this: If you are in a very large pool you should go with the Browns or Chargers, but if you are in a small pool or have a strike against you in a multi-strike pool I’d take the Colts. Split decision here but it’s how you have to play if you want to win your pool. Even though the Colts have an 80% win probability, that’s a 20% chance HALF of your pool could be eliminated and why you shouldn’t take the Colts. If you’re not comfortable taking L.A. or Cleveland, pivot to the Steelers/Patriots/Eagles, but they all have future value. 

Good luck this week and hope to see you back for week 4!