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.
Pivot 1: Andrew Luck – Indianapolis (FanDuel Price: $8,700)
I rationalized this pick in my FanDuel NFL GPP Stacks column earlier. Essentially, I’m banking on a combination of game flow, opportunity, and matchup. The absence of Donte Moncrief doesn’t exactly help the Colts’ QB, but I’m hoping people overlook him for that reason. In fact, most of the daily fantasy articles and rankings I’ve been reading have Luck consistently behind the aforementioned popular picks. While holding a similar price on FanDuel, I’m hoping he slips through the proverbial cracks … To address the point on Moncrief, while the situation is not ideal, I’m not going to downgrade Luck too heavily. He’ll have enough opportunities to put fantasy production, throwing to any blue jersey with a pulse. If you recall, backup tight end Jack Doyle had two touchdowns in the season opener, which is a testament to Luck spreading the ball to all of his skill position weapons … It’s obvious the Colts don’t have any semblance of a running game with a subpar offensive line and the aged-likes of Frank Gore not inspiring much in that category. That leaves Luck with more opportunities to rack up fantasy points, especially in the red-zone … The injury-riddled Indianapolis defense could help Luck’s cause as well. They’ll likely give up yardage and points, forcing Luck and company to keep their foot on the accelerator in this potential shootout.
Pivot 2: Ryan Tannehill – Miami (FanDuel Price: $7,400)
Tannehill isn’t as cheap as we’d like him to be, but that should help keep him at a lower ownership rate. The Miami QB found his groove in the second half of last week’s game, and that momentum could easily carry over to a home draw against the Browns. According to Pro Football Focus, Cleveland’s secondary ranked within the bottom ten in the league from a talent standpoint. So far, they have held true to that theme, allowing unassuming QBs like Joe Flacco and Carson Wentz to post solid fantasy performances against them. Insert Tannehill, who will likely be forced to throw the ball regularly with running back Arian Foster looking highly questionable to play. Miami knows their best chance to move the ball is through the air, and they should play to that strength on Sunday.
Pivot 1: DeMarco Murray – Tennessee (FanDuel Price: $7,700)
My expectations weren’t very high for Murray to begin the season. Over the first two weeks, he has altered my stance, and I’m becoming more of a believer. The most pleasant surprise comes from Murray’s role in the passing game, seeing 14 targets for 12 receptions, 91 yards, and two touchdowns in as many games. Throw in some solid rushing numbers, and Murray is suddenly a safe bet for 100+ total yards and (potentially) multiple scores. The Raiders defense has looked terrible over the first two weeks, meaning Murray and the Titans could take advantage with steady drives and a good number of scoring opportunities … Looking from an ownership perspective, Murray’s salary is wedged between the top plays (Williams, Johsnon) and value picks (Gordon, Sims, Riddick), leaving him with an opportunity to slip through the cracks.
Pivot 2: LeSean McCoy – Buffalo (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
McCoy has had two decent, but not great statlines to begin the season. Also, he played on Thursday last week, so many people may have pushed him to the back of their minds. That could certainly be used to your advantage. Let’s not forget that McCoy is pretty much the only legitimate running back for Buffalo, having a stranglehold on the carries. The matchup against Arizona isn’t fantastic, but McCoy should see enough volume to have a chance at making fantasy noise. He’s very involved in the passing game as well, presenting more “outs” to his fantasy game (even if Buffalo falls behind early).
Pivot 1: Jeremy Maclin – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $7,000)
Maclin has been a target monster to being the season, seeing 22 looks in two games. The conversion rate leaves some room for improvement, translating to an 11 reception, 131 yard, one TD total. Still, the volume is very promising to say the least. Maclin will have a chance to make good on that workload against a Jets’ defense that has gotten burned by the deep-ball through the first two weeks … Most people will be looking towards Jarvis Landry, Travis Benjamin, and Stefon Diggs at a similar salary. That presents a very good, low-ownership situation for a receiver with a welcoming volume/matchup combination.
Pivot 2: Phillip Dorsett – Indianapolis (FanDuel Price: $6,000)
Dorsett posted a dud last week, hauling in just one reception for 30 yards at Denver. Don’t pay attention to that. Denver’s secondary is one of the best in the league, plus Andrew Luck was having all sorts of problems with the pass rush. The matchup is much better in a potential shootout with San Diego (referencing Luck’s write-up earlier). Donte Moncrief will be out for a while, and T.Y. Hilton may be locked down by Jason Verrett. That could leave Dorsett as Luck’s primary target in a game with no shortage of pass attempts … I should note that Dorsett could also draw Verrett at times, which adds some risk to this situation. Either way, the snap count and targets should see a boost with Moncrief out.
Pivot 3: Mike Wallace – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $6,500)
Over the first two games Wallace has posted FanDuel points of 17.7 and 18.1 respectively, yet I still believe he’ll be underrated. From looking across the fantasy landscape, it seems that people are higher on Landry, Diggs, and T.Benjamin at similar price points. That presents a low-owned, high-upside situation for this deep-threat receiver who has developed a great rapport with QB Joe Flacco. The matchup is pretty good against a Jacksonville secondary that was torched by big plays at San Diego last Sunday.
Pivot 1: Clive Walford – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $5,000)
Walford doesn’t have the same name recognition as some of those popular picks, and his ownership rate will likely stay low as a result. Most people contemplate Cooper and Crabtree in the Oakland passing game, and Walford is usually an afterthought. He’s cheap, seeing six targets per game, and looking like a viable red-zone threat in a game that could turn into a shootout. Walford is a solid pivot away from the popular cheap plays like Jesse James and Dennis Pitta.
Pivot 2: Trey Burton – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $4,500)
We’ll need to do some housekeeping with this pick. Zach Ertz is considered questionable for Philadelphia. If he’s ruled out, Burton would be in fantasy consideration this week. While Brent Celek started for Ertz last week, Burton was the standout with five receptions (seven targets), 49 yards, and a TD. He would likely see a steady stream of targets as Philly tries to keep pace with Pittsburgh’s electric offense. UPDATE: Zach Ertz is considered doubtful.