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: Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $7,300)
Kaepernick was terrible in a snowy game at Chicago last week. Erase that from your memory, as it plays little bearing on an upcoming home matchup vs a Jets’ defense that was just torched on Monday Night Football. New York will now travel across country on a short week, providing an excellent bounce-back situation for Kaepernick in much more favorable playing conditions. Kaep was averaging 25 FPPG in the previous four games before slipping in Chicago, and I’m expecting him to be back within that range this weekend.
Pivot 2: Carson Palmer – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $7,400)
Palmer may slip through the cracks on Sunday with a low ownership rate. He’s not the most exciting QB play, but the matchup is decent enough and his price is inexplicably cheap. Miami’s defense ranks 25th overall, and Arizona should be able to move the ball with regularity. That sets up numerous red-zone trips and upside opportunities for Palmer. He has been inconsistent this season, and that’s where the risk comes in. Still, the matchup and price combination is very intriguing … Another small concern comes with the weather situation. It’s expected to be drizzling in Miami with 20 mph winds. Pay attention to the forecast heading into game time before making a decision on Palmer.
Pivot 1: Lamar Miller – Houston (FanDuel Price: $7,200)
Lamar Miller is listed as questionable, but all signs point to him playing this Sunday. He has been very inconsistent this season, suffering at the hands of a Houston offense that has had trouble sustaining drives. That could change against a Colts team that ranks 28th in overall defense. In their previous meeting, Miller ran wild for 178 total yards and two scores. There’s a chance he could punish Indianapolis once again.
Pivot 2: Frank Gore – Indianapolis (FanDuel Price: $6,000)
Frank Gore is not an exciting pick. For that reason, he’ll likely have a very low ownership rate. Indianapolis’ offensive line is subpar and Gore is an aged runner who can’t make it happen on his own. So what’s the appeal here? The Colts are one of the highest projected scoring teams of the week, facing a reeling Texans defense. They should move the ball regularly in this divisional contest. That sets up red-zone opportunities for Gore to capitalize on. Remember the Green Bay game last month? Luck drove Indianapolis down the field and Gore snuck in for two rushing touchdowns. A similar situation could play out this Sunday … Andrew Luck will be very popular throughout all FanDuel contests, so taking Gore, hoping he can steal red-zone looks is a great leverage play against the field.
Pivot 1: Stefon Diggs – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $6,600)
It has been a rough-go for Diggs as of late. He faced tough matchups against Arizona and Dallas, also sitting out Thanksgiving at Detroit. I’m hoping most people have forgotten about his playmaking ability, leaving a low ownership rate on Sunday. Jacksonville ranks second against the pass, but that’s more due to game flow (teams build a lead against the Jags, then run the ball) than overall talent. This could be a nice bounce-back situation for Diggs, who tallied 42 targets, 34 receptions, and 320 yards combined in three weeks before falling victim to tough matchups and an injury.
Pivot 2: DeSean Jackson – Washington (FanDuel Price: $5,800)
Philadelphia’s pass defense ranks in the middle-of-the-pack. However, they have been slipping as of late, as displayed at Cincinnati last Sunday. They are giving up big plays deep, and that’s exactly DeSean Jackson’s specialty. Following a tough matchup at Arizona, this is a nice bounce-back spot, and you know D-Jax will have added motivation going back to his old stomping grounds.
Pivot 3: Brandon LaFell – Cincinnati (FanDuel Price: $5,800)
We have now had a couple weeks to observe the Bengals passing game sans A.J. Green. As expected, Tyler Boyd has seen a boost in targets, but he seems to be more of an intermediate route-runner. LaFell has seen an uptick as well, and he carries more big play potential. LaFell is averaging eight targets over the past three games, and he finally made good with a sweet 5-95-1 line vs Philly last week. An excellent matchup against a bad Browns’ defense could set up more of the same.
Pivot: Vance McDonald – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $4,700)
I’m basically taking the same approach to McDonald as his QB Colin Kaepernick. Hopefully people have written him off following last week’s blunder. As mentioned above, the 49ers are in a much better situation against a generous defense with good weather. I’m expecting McDonald to get back to his 11 FPPG average over the previous four before Chicago. That would represent solid value for a near-minimum salary.