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: Cam Newton – Carolina (FanDuel Price: $7,800)
The last time we had an “above average” Cam Newton performance was Week 5 at New Orleans (28 fantasy points). Since then, we have gone through a bye week and a pair of tough matchups vs Arizona and at Los Angeles. In other words, I’m assuming DFS players have forgotten about Newton’s upside. He’s at home this weekend (where he typically performs better) against a Chiefs defense that beats up on subpar quarterbacks (Bortles, Fitzpatrick) but is fairly generous to elite QBs (Roethlisberger, Brees). Cam certainly falls into the latter category, and I believe he can return to 25-30 fantasy points on Sunday.
Pivot 2: Carson Palmer – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $7,900)
I mentioned Palmer in the FanDuel NFL GPP Stacks column this week, and he fits the mold for this article as well. Arizona RB David Johnson will be an extremely popular pick, and most people will probably overlook the Cardinals’ passing game. Palmer and his receivers hold some upside as well, given Arizona should have no trouble moving the ball consistently. There’s a chance Palmer and Johnson could both have massive outings, similar what Brees and Ingram did against the 49ers last week.
Pivot 1: Lamar Miller – Houston (FanDuel Price: $7,500)
Miller is listed as questionable with a shoulder issue, but early reports suggest he should be ready for a full workload on Sunday. After exploding vs Indianapolis in Week Six (178 total yards, 2 TDs), Miller has been pretty mediocre followed with a bye last week. Similar to what I explained in Cam Newton’s write-up, Miller could have a lower-than-deserved ownership rate as a result. The matchup and game flow against a Jaguars team that ranks 24th against the run sets up favorably for a nice outing.
Pivot 2: Jordan Howard – Chicago (FanDuel Price: $6,900)
After a pair of brutal performances, Howard surprisingly bounced-back for 28 fantasy points against a tough Minnesota defense last game. Following the bye week, I’m expecting the Bears’ offense to inflict some damage on Sunday. The matchup against Tampa is a great one for running backs, as the Bucs rank 25th against the run. Howard should see plenty of looks, and he’ll likely go underrated behind the likes David Johnson and Melvin Gordon.
Pivot 1: Alshon Jeffery – Chicago (FanDuel Price: $7,200)
Some may think of Jeffery as a popular pick this week, but I believe he’ll slip through the cracks with others favoring Larry Fitzgerald, Davante Adams, Mike Evans, or Jordy Nelson at a similar salary. The matchup is prime against a struggling Tampa secondary that ranks 27th against the pass. More targets have been coming Jeffery’s way with Cutler under center, seeing 32 looks over the past three games. That hasn’t translated to fantasy success yet, but that type of volume in an excellent matchup could spark a breakout game.
Pivot 2: Stefon Diggs – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
The matchup doesn’t look great against Washington, but this is an instance where volume and role overrides the draw. The Vikings are struggling on offense, and they don’t have much of a running game. Due to this, they are finding creative ways to get Diggs involved other than his patented deep routes. He is running the ball and seeing work in the short passing game as well. Over the past two weeks, Diggs has hauled in 21 receptions on 27 targets for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Pivot 3: J.J. Nelson – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $5,600)
Michael Floyd has been demoted and John Brown has struggled while playing through injury. That has led to an uptick for J.J. Nelson, who can be viewed as Arizona’s WR2 behind Larry Fitzgerald. He has seen 19 targets over the past two weeks, recording 11 receptions for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns. This San Francisco defense has given up huge plays in the passing game (and running game) throughout the season, and Nelson could keep rolling in this matchup. The lack of name recognition and plethora of solid wide receiving options this season will leave him underrated.
Pivot: Lance Kendricks – Los Angeles (FanDuel Price: $4,500)
Admittedly, I have been skeptical of Kendricks over the past few weeks, but the guy keeps producing. The volume has been steady, seeing 29 targets over the past three games, translating to 19 receptions, 177 yards, and a touchdown. The Jets’ pass defense is more than susceptible, while it appears the Keenum/Kendricks combination is alive and ready to thrive on any given week.