If you have been following Rotoworld Daily’s MLB or NBA Pivot columns over the past season, then you already know the drill. If not, I recommend you do so. Also, please read the following description to gain a sense of what this article strives to provide.
The purpose of this column is to pinpoint widely held selections at every position. I will then outline some sneaky pivot plays (with lower ownership rates) for large-field tournament consideration. Essentially, it’s your traditional “GPP/Tournament Picks” article with an emphasis on getting away from those groupthink selections of the week.
In other words, I’m playing devil’s advocate in going against the grain. Hopefully, this will help find some lower-owned pivot plays to accompany the popular, well-aligned picks in your FanDuel lineups. You don’t necessarily have to be “different” across the board to field a high-upside team. However, mixing in a few sneaky picks with a low ownership rate could be the difference between a good and great result.
Just so we are on the same page, this article will focus on Sunday only plays (nothing from Thursday or Monday).
Pivot 1: Marcus Mariota – Tennessee (FanDuel Price: $7,600)
Mariota is coming off his best week of the season, as four total touchdowns propelled him to a 31 fantasy point outing. Mariota has been an extremely volatile daily fantasy option throughout his young career, but he’s playing with a ton of confidence heading into a promising draw vs Cleveland. The second-year QB earned 13 fantasy points on the ground last week, something that we can’t count on, but it helps his upside in a tournament setting … Mariota has a wide range of outcomes this weekend, but a generous matchup with Cleveland has me believing he’ll be towards the upper range of that scale.
Pivot 2: Derek Carr – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $7,900)
I already mention Carr in the FanDuel NFL GPP Stacks column, but he certainly categorizes as a “pivot play” as well. He has proven himself as a consistent fantasy commodity this season, averaging a steady 21.4 FPPG. The Raiders passing attack tends to perform better at home, and the matchup against Kansas City corresponds nicely with that trend. The last time we saw this Chiefs secondary, they were embarrassed through the air at Pittsburgh in primetime. Carr, Cooper, and Crabtree could expose those weaknesses in a similar fashion.
Pivot 1: Jamal Charles – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $7,100)
Charles said the training wheels are coming off, following a bye week of extra preparation. We should expect him to assume a much larger role within the Kansas City offense. That’s good news, as the Raiders rank dead last in both rushing and passing yardage allowed, repeatedly succumbing to the type of big plays that has defined Charles’ career. Most people will take a wait-and-see approach with Charles, meaning he’ll likely have a low ownership rate despite moderate volume and a dream matchup … On the flip side, I’m not going to downplay the risk, as KC’s coaching staff may continue to be careful with JC depending on how he responds.
Pivot 2: Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $6,500)
The Eagles running back situation is a mess right now. Mathews and Sproles are the main features, with Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner occasionally popping in for the random vulture of carries. However, Barner and Smallwood didn’t record a carry in last week’s game at Detroit, yielding a quality performance to Ryan Mathews (75 total yards, TD). Washington ranks 30th overall in rushing defense, so there’s an opportunity to be had for Mathews, who appears to be atop the Eagles’ pecking order. There’s risk that the coaching staff could roll with Barner or Smallwood, but their failure to record a carry in last week’s matchup is a signal that Mathews is the guy moving forward.
Pivot 1: Odell Beckham – NY Giants (FanDuel Price: $8,300)
Beckham was in this spot for last week’s article, and he did okay with a 5-56-1 line. A late touchdown helped salvage his fantasy performance. However, his 12 targets are a good sign moving forward, especially considering a friendly matchup with the Ravens. While Baltimore ranks fifth against the pass this season, Beckham’s individual draw against outside cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright plays in his favor. Both defenders have a below-average player grade according to Pro Football Focus, and this is a prime bounce-back spot for ODB. His reduced salary serves as the proverbial cherry on top.
Pivot 2: Will Fuller – Houston (FanDuel Price: $6,900)
This is one of my favorite pivot plays within the column, but we need to do some monitoring before taking advantage. Fuller has been limited by a hamstring issue at practice this week, listed as questionable. I’m expecting him to play, but definitely keep an eye on the situation. Most people will avoid Fuller’s inconsistency, especially coming off a brutal one catch, four yard performance at Minnesota. The draw against Indianapolis’ 28th ranked pass defense is much better. The Colts haven’t gotten much pressure on opposing QBs lately, which could leave more time for Osweiler to find Fuller on the deep routes. On top of that, DeAndre Hopkins will likely be hounded by All-Pro cornerback Vontae Davis, which could possibly funnel more targets towards Fuller in a better individual draw.
Pivot 3: Jeremy Kerley – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $5,800)
We aren’t exactly sure what to expect from Kerley this week, especially given that a new QB will be throwing to him (Kaepernick). However, Kerley has been a target monster, seeing 22 looks for 14 receptions, 190 yards, and two touchdowns over the past two weeks. A similar game script should align favorably for the Niners passing game, as they’ll likely be trailing at Buffalo. That’s advantageous for Kerley, who has been seeing nearly 30% of the team’s targets.
Pivot 4: Jamison Crowder – Washington (FanDuel Price: $6,000)
While editing this article, I decided to throw Crowder in at the last second. With Jordan Reed looking “very iffy” this week, Crowder would be in line to pick up more targets on underneath routes. While the matchup isn’t great against a pretty solid Eagles’ defense, a potential uptick in volume (if Reed doesn’t play) outweighs that negative.
Pivot: Dennis Pitta – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $5,400)
Everybody was gushing over Pitta following his 9-102 week two performance at Cleveland (12 targets). The enthusiasm has since worn off, as the daily fantasy community has accepted him as nothing more than a mediocre tight end. However, Pitta is still seeing some steady volume, fresh off a 7-59 outing with eight targets. Steve Smith is very questionable to play on Sunday, and Mike Wallace could be limited while playing through an injury. Pitta appears to be the only constant in Baltimore’s passing game, and Flacco could target him accordingly.