Contrarian plays for FanDuel
You always hear that you have to be contrarian to win tournaments. What’s it mean? And how do you do it? Well, it means that you have to use players that aren’t obvious. You avoid using all of the players with the most talent in the best matchups and look for guys that are going to be owned by a smaller percentage of the field. That way, if they do well, not everyone benefits and you move past the field toward the top of the leaderboard.
There is a fine line between contrarian and stupid. We want good plays that are under the radar, exploitable situations that not everyone believes are exploitable. A couple of guidelines that I adhere to, and I’m a conservative player for the most part, are as follows: 1) talent trumps matchup and 2) go against the narratives. Who’s too old, who’s in a ‘revenge’ game, who sucks in his (three) primetime games? Use the old player (especially early in the season), fade the revenge game, and ignore small samples.
Now that we’re in bye weeks, a guy could be contrarian just because we are more focused on players that we watched last week. It sounds hard to believe, but it’s true…recency bias is strong. Also, Andy Dalton, whose price is ridiculous and whose ownership remains under 2% every single week, despite his being the best fantasy QB so far, is on bye this week. I’m at a loss…
Drew Brees $8400: Brees comes in as the third highest priced QB on a week lacking some of my favorite contrarian QB plays. He hasn’t yet had that really high upside game, whether due to matchups, his shoulder injury, or his reconfigured Jimmy Graham-less offense, but has still demonstrated the remarkable fantasy consistency that he’s known for. Though you don’t get a bonus for it on FanDuel, Brees is averaging over 300 yards per game. Playing in what Vegas has as the highest scoring game of the weekend against the Colts average defense, I like Brees to have that first really elite week.
Ryan Tannehill $7700: The focus is clearly on Lamar Miller and the resurgent Miami run game under the new leadership regime, which should allow Tannehill to fly under the radar a bit. I like him only for tournaments given that he still turns the ball over too much, but against a Texans defense that has been fairly lax against opposing QBs, allowing 12 TDs and the sixth most fantasy points to them, Tannehill should continue to benefit from a stronger contribution from Miller’s ground game.
Latavius Murray $7000: Murray is coming off weak Week 4 and 5 performances followed by a Week 6 bye, so it’s possible that he’s either off peoples’ radar or on their do not use list. We’ve seen much better from him so I see this as the perfect time to go back to the second year back. Oakland travels to rival San Diego this weekend. The Chargers have a fairly formidable pass defense, but have allowed more fantasy points to running backs than any other team so far including six rushing TDs and three receiving TDs. Murray’s usage in all phases of the game bodes well for him, as this is predicted to be a high scoring, close game.
Adrian Peterson $8900: What a feeling to have avoided the Eddie Lacy tilt of Week 6 only to fall headfirst into the AP tilt…yeah, that wasn’t fun. Peterson had every opportunity—26 of them in fact—to produce and just couldn’t get it done. Brutal. He lost a lot of people money and going back to a well that has just been empty is one of the hardest things in DFS to do. In the absence of any sound reason for his poor performance, we have to believe AP gets back on track this week in Detroit, who has allowed the 7th most fantasy points and 9 rushing TDs to opposing RBs. Peterson is still the workhorse of this offense and should have a bounce-back week while being far lower owned than he was last week.
Antonio Brown $8300: The Steelers get the great matchup with the Chiefs hapless secondary this week and everyone else is going to use Martavis Bryant (whom I also love with my whole heart). Brown has now gone three weeks without Ben Roethlisberger…that’s three weeks that he’s failed to score 7 fantasy points. Yes, it’s been Michael Vick’s fault. Two things change this week that put him back in contention. First, he’s had a nice price drop and is now the sixth most expensive WR on FanDuel. Second, he’s likely to be catching passes from Landry Jones or even Big Ben in Week 7. It’s risky, yes, but this is a time to rely on talent and matchup over recent history.
Vincent Jackson $6800: I’m okay with using either Bucs receiver here as I think both will be lower owned but Jackson is considerably cheaper so he gets the nod from me. The Tampa Bay passing game under Jameis Winston has been a roller coaster. I expect that they’ll come out of the bye attempting to run a more balanced offense now that we’ve seen both the big Doug Martin and Winston/Jackson games. The Redskins secondary has been consistently beatable this season, but surprisingly the stout run D they started out with was just demolished by Devonta Freeman and Chris Ivory in back to back weeks. So I don’t think this will be all passing, but I do think VJax gets the volume and red zone looks he needs to exceed value.
Jason Witten $5600: Coming off a bye week that the Cowboys desperately needed after an ugly loss to the Patriots, I expect Witten to be overlooked in favor of hotter names like Antonio Gates (see below) or Rob Gronkowski. Witten has performed better against the Giants by a pretty wide margin, averaging about four more fantasy points and three times more touchdowns (0.78 TD/game vs. 0.28 vs. other opponents) over the past four seasons. Remember his 2 TD performance against them in Week 1. Of course he’s dealing with Brandon Weeden now, but still remains a leader in this offense that should see the majority of passing targets in a theoretically close, high scoring game.
Ladarius Green $5100: Just like we play the RB facing the Falcons, we look for the TE facing the Raiders. They’ve allowed six TE receiving TDs so far, and despite the Broncos’ TE doing nothing against them in Week 5 still average the most fantasy points allowed to the position. The heavy usage will be on Gates but Green showed that he may maintain more relevance than I thought this year with Gates back. He was targeted-and caught the touchdown-in the end zone and overall caught three of four targets. San Diego is relying heavily on the pass game right now with Melvin Gordon still struggling and because of the injuries in the receiving corps, it looks like Green should be able to stay involved. This is the time-against the Oakland defense-to take a shot with him if at all.
Atlanta $4700: No offense has fed the opposing defense more fantasy points so far this season than the Titans. With Mariota now potentially out and Zach Mettenberger starting, I don’t see that changing. Atlanta has 10 takeaways so far this season. They haven’t done much to prevent opponents from scoring, allowing well over 20 points per game, which will turn some DFSers off as will their being on the road. But a contrarian defense is an opportunistic defense, and we’re using the Falcons with the expectation of Mettenberger making some mistakes.