Note: All FanDuel ownership percentages in this article are publicly available. FanDuel currently displays the ownership percentages of any players in a user's lineup once a contest begins. This allows users to enter a variety of lineups in Thursday contests to record ownership percentages for the players that they selected in those contests. The percentages come from the big $2 Thursday NFL Snap. It’s a large-field tournament with thousands of entries. These numbers don’t have much meaning for cash games, but are a great tool for GPPs. Below, I noted a handful of players whose ownership stood out to me. You can access the full list in our Season Pass.
QB Cam Newton vs. Falcons (8.9 percent) — Now that Newton isn’t facing the historically-bad Saints defense, his ownership is back down to normal levels, again making him an elite tournament option like he is every week. The difference this week is that not everybody and their mother will be using him. A Newton-Greg Olsen stack is always a good starting point if making multiple tournament lineups. No player in the game has a higher ceiling than Newton. At $9,200, Newton has more than 3X’ed that salary (27.6 FanDuel points) five times already this season. He’s still underpriced in DFS. The Falcons have play strong on-paper pass defense but have allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns in the league behind only the Lions.
QB Tyrod Taylor at Eagles (6.6 percent) — Taylor is one of the top tournament plays on the board when we factor in price and ownership. At $7,500, Taylor is the 14th-most expensive quarterback. But his ceiling is probably higher than all quarterbacks not named Cam Newton. Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger are also in that conversation. But Big Ben and Wilson are $800 and $1,000 more expensive than Taylor, respectively. Bills-Eagles has a healthy 47-point over-under, and the Bills will be way up in pace since the Eagles play at the fastest pace in the league. Philadelphia’s defense has faced the most plays against them at over 70 per game. More plays means more opportunities to score, which means more chances for fantasy points. The chalk play everyone is on is LeSean McCoy (17.4 percent) in his return to Philly, but Taylor makes for an outstanding contrarian option to stack with Sammy Watkins. Taylor is coming off back-to-back 26.24 and 29.24 fantasy points days on FanDuel. He’s more than capable of 3X’ing or even 4X’ing his salary.
RB T.J. Yeldon vs. Colts (7.4 percent) — Personally, Yeldon might be my favorite running back play on the board this week. His price hasn’t risen after putting up 21.6 FanDuel points last week and the matchup against the Colts is a juicy one. Indianapolis is going to be without top run defenders DE Henry Anderson (torn ACL, I.R.), ILB Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), and OLB Erik Walden (foot), and the Colts just allowed DeAngelo Williams to average over 5.15 YPC last Sunday night without Anderson and Freeman in the lineup. The Jaguars made a concerted effort to get Yeldon the ball in scoring position last week, and he registered four carries inside the 20-yard line and scored a one-yard rushing touchdown, his first red-zone TD of the year. Yeldon already gets a big workload; he averages 19.4 touches per game. When he’s getting red-zone and goal-line carries, that makes him immensely more valuable. At $6,400, Yeldon is just too cheap.
RB LeGarrette Blount at Texans (1.1 percent) — Blount is always one of my favorite tournament plays. He plays in one of the league’s better offenses and more often than not gets several carries in scoring position. Blount isn’t the most successful short-yardage runner, but the opportunities are there for him. He’s had a really bad past three weeks, failing to top 56 yards on the ground with no touchdowns, but Blount ran well when he was in there last week against the Eagles. He averaged 4.15 YPC on 13 totes and was more a victim of game flow with the Patriots trailing on the scoreboard. New England is three-point favorites at Houston on Sunday night. Due to Blount’s lackluster Weeks 11-13, his price has tumbled to $6,300. He’s scored over 18.9 FanDuel points three times this season and multi-touchdown upside.
WR Sammy Watkins at Eagles (19.9 percent) — The Eagles don’t have a No. 1 cornerback to shadow opposing No. 1 receivers, so look for Watkins to see both of CBs Eric Rowe and Byron Maxwell. Both have been thoroughly below-average in coverage all season, as the Eagles have surrendered the most catches, touchdowns, and fantasy points to opposing receivers. As mentioned above, this game has a healthy 47-point over-under. Since the Bills’ Week 8 bye, Watkins has averaged 6.8 targets per game with a low point of four last week. But he’s had three 100-yard games in that span with three touchdowns. Watkins is making the most of his targets and should see an uptick in them Sunday simply based on the Bills running more offensive plays. The second-year receiver has immense upside. Even at high ownership, it’ll be hard not to use him. Watkins is going to eat, and the Eagles will have no answer for him.
WR Allen Hurns vs. Colts (5.3 percent) — Hurns missed Week 13 after suffering a rather serious concussion at the end of the Week 12 loss to the Chargers. It left him hospitalized and out of practice last week. Hurns was cleared to return on Monday this week and will be active Sunday against the Colts. Indianapolis has been terrible against the pass all season. Only four teams have allowed more yards to opposing receivers, and only five have surrendered more touchdowns. It’s unclear if No. 1 CB Vontae Davis will shadow Allen Robinson, but either way, Hurns should run the bulk of his routes at LCB Greg Toler and slot CB Darius Butler. Toler missed the Week 4 matchup between these two teams, but has long been abused by opposing quarterbacks. In that previous matchup with the Colts, Hurns saw a season-high 14 targets, catching 11 for 116 yards and one touchdown. While everyone is chasing Allen Robinson (20.8 percent), Hurns makes for a fine contrarian option at a far lesser price. All the Jaguars are in play on Sunday.
WR Emmanuel Sanders vs. Raiders (2 percent) — Credit Rotoworld’s Rich Hribar on getting my eye on Sanders. In Reebs’ Week 14 Worksheet, he noted that the Raiders struggle with smaller, faster, solid route runners at receiver like Sanders. His Average Depth of Target (aDOT) is up to 20.5 with Brock Osweiler under center, compared to 13.5 with Peyton Manning. And the targets have been there with eight in each of Osweiler’s two starts. Coming off a 3-19 dud, Sanders is still very affordable on FanDuel at $7,100. He’s 2-3X’ed that salary several times already in 2015.
WR Julio Jones at Panthers (1 percent) — This is the lowest ownership Jones has been at all season. It might make sense to have some exposure to Jones at such low ownership, but the problem is his price remains extremely high at $8,800. In a showdown with lockdown CB Josh Norman on Sunday, Jones is likely to at least get a few catches, but he’d have to make a number of big plays with a touchdown or two to really pay off that expensive salary. He’s a safe avoid.
TE Travis Kelce at Chargers (6.7 percent) — Since Jeremy Maclin busted out of his funk two weeks ago, Kelce’s catch numbers have been down with just six total the past two games. He’s still a strong play with his touchdown and after-the-catch upside, but Kelce has rarely visited that elite tier. This is a week to get back on Kelce. The Chargers are dreadful against tight ends, allowing the fifth-most touchdowns, 10th-most catches, ninth-most yards, and sixth-most fantasy points to the position. With Maclin expected to be shadowed by Jason Verrett, who is Pro Football Focus’ No. 5 cover corner on the season, it should lead to more looks for Kelce. In the Week 11 matchup between these two rivals, Kelce caught 5-of-7 targets for 46 yards. If he can find the end zone, he’ll pay off.
TE Will Tye at Dolphins (1.3 percent) — If looking for a cheap tight end outside of the Greg Olsen-Tyler Eifert-Travis Kelce tier, Tye might be a good option to eye. At $4,900, his price hasn’t caught up with his production, as Tye has had no issues really reaching 2X value since taking over as the Giants’ starting tight end with Larry Donnell (neck) done for the season. He’s seen 23 targets the past four games and is averaging 13.69 YPR. Tye has taken over as the No. 2 option in the pass game behind Odell Beckham. Rueben Randle continues to make mistakes and cause turnovers.