Winning in daily fantasy football isn't always about finding contrarian picks to outsmart everyone else. Yes, you want to differentiate your lineup to increase your odds at winning in tournaments, but you can't ignore the studs that are still worth their high price tags.
Here are the Week 3 NFL DFS stud plays (DraftKings price/FanDuel price).
MATT RYAN, QB, Atlanta ($7,100/$8,500)
The Falcons and Lions game should be one of the more entertaining matchups of the week and should involve plenty of passing. The Lions defense is playing better than anyone thought they could, but they're still susceptible to the pass, and no one the league can stop Julio Jones -- even Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs combined. What makes this even more appealing for Ryan is that the Falcons defense will struggle to stop Matthew Stafford and company, which means more points and more opportunities to be aggressive. In addition, the last time Ryan failed to throw a touchdown was Week 14 of 2015. Ryan is the cheapest of the big four on DraftKings and just $100 more than Drew Brees on FanDuel.
JAY AJAYI, RB, Miami ($7,700/$8,200)
This is contingent on Ajayi being ready to roll, so we'll mention a pivot option at the end. For Ajayi though, he dominates the touches in the Dolphins backfield, and he faces the future 0-16 Jets this week. The Jets have given up the second most points to running backs with three rushing touchdowns allowed already (Mike Tolbert, Marshawn Lynch and Jalen Richard). Ajayi came out of the Dolphins Week 1 "bye" an immediately made an impression with 122 rushing yards on 28 carries. The only thing stopping Ajayi this week would be his knee. As for a pivot option, Melvin Gordon is $100 cheaper on DraftKings and $600 less on FanDuel. Like Ajayi, Gordon dominates the touches for his team.
MICHAEL THOMAS, WR, New Orleans ($7,000/$7,500)
Thomas hasn't had a big game yet, but this is a good opportunity for him. Daryl Worley and James Bradberry won't be able to stop Thomas, and Pierre Garcon managed six catches and 81 yards against these Panthers in Week 1. Many are just going to see the points allowed by the Pathers defense and stay away, but the 49ers and Bills aren't the Saints and don't have a receiver of Thomas' caliber. You should actually be excited about this price and opportunity for low ownership on Thomas; it may never come again.
ZACH ERTZ, TE, PHI ($5,000/$6,500)
The Giants simply can't stop the tight end. Jason Witten had a 7/59/1 line in Week 1 and then Eric Ebron put up 5/42/1 last week. In addition, Zach Ertz has games of nine catches for 152 yards in 2015 and eight catches for 97 yards last year against the Giants. The other two games were quiet, but Ertz has terrific upside against this defense and already has 13 catches and 190 yards through the first two games. Even at $5,000 and $6,500, Ertz is a near lock for 2X value with the potential for much more against a struggling Giants team.
DOLPHINS DST ($3,700/$5,100)
Sometimes, the obvious play is still a great option in DFS. The Dolphins face the Jets this week; it's as simple as that. Okay, I'm sure you want more, so here it is. The Jets have just 485 yards of offense and 32 points on the year. They also have a -3 differential for take-aways and give-aways and five sacks allowed. The Dolphins just limited the Buccaneers to just 311 yards and should have no problem containing the Jets and forcing a turnover or two. The opportunity for defensive touchdowns and/or a high number of sacks make the Dolphins one of the most appealing Week 3 options. If you want a high ceiling with a bit more risk, the Eagles DST is intriguing too given the Giants struggles, especially on the offensive line. Just know that the Giants and Eli Manning could always surprise and put up 30 points any given week.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com