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 Andrew Luck vs. Saints (4.1 percent) — Carson Palmer (17.2 percent) and Philip Rivers (16.7 percent) are the chalk plays as the two highest-owned passers. Luck returned from his shoulder injury last week to throw for 312 yards and three touchdowns on 50 pass attempts against the Patriots. Letting him uncork 50 throws shows the Colts have no concerns about lingering issues in the shoulder, even if Luck sailed a few passes. The Colts remain at home and get a Saints defense that gives up the most yards per play and second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. LCB Keenan Lewis (hip) isn’t healthy, and RCB Brandon Browner has been Pro Football Focus’ worst cover corner through six weeks. Fill-in LCB Delvin Breaux has played well, but this is a pristine matchup for Luck and the entire Colts’ passing offense. A Luck-T.Y. Hilton-Donte Moncrief stack looks sweet.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick at Patriots (2.1 percent) — My favorite cheap quarterback of the week. Not that Fitzpatrick is all that good or anything, but with the Jets as 10-point dogs on the road, game script points to Fitzpatrick having to throw the ball quite a bit. And the Patriots’ secondary isn’t scary. They’ve given up the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are undersized at cornerback. Brandon Marshall (6’3/222) and Eric Decker (6’3/215) have size and skill advantages over Malcolm Butler (5’11/190) and Logan Ryan (5’11/191), respectively. You can make a lot of things happen around Fitzpatrick in your lineups at running back and receiver.
RB Todd Gurley vs. Browns (35 percent) — Gurley was the second-highest owned player on Thursday behind Devonta Freeman (49.4 percent). Both running backs are the chalk of the week. It’ll be tough to fade either one in prime matchups, but when a player is so highly-owned, there’s plenty of merit to fading them in tournaments. That’s not to say highly-owned players are bad for tournaments, but if they fail, and you don’t use them, then you’re eliminating a large portion of the field. In higher-priced tournaments on Thursday, Gurley was between 45-60 percent owned.
RB Adrian Peterson at Lions (4 percent) — Peterson hurt me and many others last week, managing 60 scoreless rushing yards on 26 carries at home against the Chiefs. This is a sure case of recency bias combined with Devonta Freeman and Todd Gurley being in better matchups. The Vikings’ offensive line is a serious concern, but Peterson managed 192 total yards on 31 touches against this same Lions defense in Week 2. He was vultured at the goal line by both Matt Asiata and Teddy Bridgewater for one-yard touchdowns. Detroit has allowed the second-most rushing scores.
RB Christine Michael at Giants (2.8 percent) — Michael is the ultimate boom-or-bust tournament play. He’s extremely cheap and figures to be in line for an increased role coming out of the Cowboys’ bye week. How increased that role will be is the No. 1 question. Michael was taking the majority of the first-team reps in practice earlier this week, but we haven’t heard anything on the topic the last couple days. Most expect Joseph Randle to lead the backfield, but there’s no denying Michael is the more talented runner. If he starts off with the hot hand, the Cowboys may not be able to turn away from him. Dallas has the league’s top run-blocking offensive line, and Matt Cassel isn’t going to be asked to throw the ball more than 22-28 times on Sunday.
WR Martavis Bryant at Chiefs (28.8 percent) — A bit surprisingly, Bryant was the highest-owned receiver on Thursday, ahead of chalkier plays like DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald. Bryant is the ultimate tournament player because his ceiling is as high as anyone’s, while his floor can be extremely low. He’s the definition of boom-or-bust, but has shown the ability to “boom” more often than not. Ben Roethlisberger (knee) returning to the lineup would be welcome news for the entire Steelers passing game. Landry Jones showed a chemistry with Bryant last week, but Jones was pitiful in the preseason. This could be a big letdown spot on the road if Jones starts, even in a great matchup against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to receivers.
WR Julio Jones at Titans (9.7 percent) — While everyone is chasing DeAndre Hopkins, Jones is getting kicked to the wayside after three-straight down weeks as he battles a hamstring issue. With 10 days to rest up and a burnable Titans secondary that will be without RCB Perrish Cox on deck, Jones might be the way to go if paying up at receiver in tournaments.
WR Antonio Brown at Chiefs (5.5 percent) — Brown’s price has come down considerably with multiple bad statistical games in the absence of Ben Roethlisberger. Most are ignoring him because Michael Vick was unable to get him the ball on the outside. That won’t be the case on Sunday, as Landry Jones at least has the ability to challenge on the outside unlike Vick. Brown should see every bit of at least eight targets, and as mentioned above, the Chiefs can’t stop receivers.
WR Michael Floyd vs. Ravens (2.2 percent) — Chasing the Cardinals’ passing game is the “soupe du jour” of Week 7. All three of Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and John Brown are going to be up there in terms of ownership, but a nice way to get a piece of the attack on the cheap is to trot out Floyd. He’s coming off his best game of the season last week where he saw eight targets, scored a touchdown, and could have one or two other scores. The Ravens can’t stop receivers, as they’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position and most 40-plus-yard pass plays. Floyd is a big-play specialist, and this secondary is certainly burnable.
TE Rob Gronkowski vs. Jets (4.4 percent) — It’s not very often that Gronkowski isn’t at or near the top of the ownership rates at tight end. And on Thursday, his 4.4-percent ownership was seventh-highest at the position, behind even Ben Watson. Some seem to believe Gronkowski is injured, contributing to back-to-back down weeks. That paired with his sky-high price has made Gronkowski an easy avoid in cash games with other strong options at the position this week. But in tournaments, at such low ownership with an insanely-high ceiling and floor, Gronkowski is worth firing out there. He has week-winning talent and might be the go-to option on Sunday with Julian Edelman suffering a dislocated finger last week and likely to be locked in Darrelle Revis’ coverage this week.