DFS Pivot Plays week 11 2018

By Armando Marsal
Armando Marsal
Week 11: Pivot Plays
By: Armando Marsal

Determining ownership on a weekly basis can be challenging for the most part, but it is an important thing to consider when creating your lineups in tournaments. That said, in cash games, ownership does not play a big role in your decision making.

Popular plays are referred to as the chalk, which can be defined as a popular player that will be highly owned. Generally these players are considered must starts by the general consensus. A pivot play are players that will be less owned than the chalk, in a similar price range, and offering similar upside. These pivots are used to be contrarian and built unique lineups with differentiation. When you pivot to a player who is far less owned, the chances of leap frogging in tournament standings are higher, which increases your chances for potentially higher scores.

Each and every week, I will be identifying potential chalk and providing readers with a pivot play on the main slate. With that in mind, let’s not waste any more time and jump right into it.



Drew Brees $6,500 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Brees is good chalk this week, chalk I intend to play. Although he did not attempt a ton of passes last week, he managed to throw three touchdown passes. At home, where this game takes place, Brees is averaging nearly five more pass attempts and eight more DKFP per game. He draws a favorable matchup against the Eagles who funnel to the pass. Philadelphia ranks 14th in DVOA against the pass, but they are yielding 285.3 passing yards and over 20 DKFP per game. They have done a solid job limiting touchdowns in the red zone, but a well-oiled machine like the Saints offense will be tough to keep from scoring. Brees should have no issue picking this defense apart on Sunday.


Andrew Luck $5,900 vs. Tennessee Titans

Luck has tournament appeal this week for me and could go completely overlooked considering some of the other options on the board this week in good spots. Luck has been very good recently, throwing for three or more touchdowns in six consecutive games. This week he faces off against the Titans who rank 18th in DVOA against the pass. Tennessee has done a good job limiting the damage through the air for most of the season, so this is not a great matchup by any means. That said, they have also been good against the run, so I expect Luck to take matters into his own hands this weekend and sling it, after all, they are attempting the third most passes per game. Luck has been productive in subpar matchups, so this week should be no different.

Running Backs


David Johnson $7,500 vs. Oakland Raiders

Johnson looked like the Johnson of old last week, catching 7-of-9 targets for 85 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing 21 times for 98 yards, scoring 37.9 DKFP. This week he draws a phenomenal matchup against the Raiders who rank 29th in DVOA against opposing running backs and are yielding the seventh most DKFP per game to the position. Running backs have rushed for 1,156 yards (2nd most), have scored eight rushing touchdowns (tied 5th most), and are averaging 5.1 yards per carry against the Oakland defense. The Cardinals are heavy favorites here, so this is a game script that should favor Johnson. Considering his last performance and the matchup at hand, there is no surprise that he is expected to be very popular this weekend, and rightfully so.


James Conner $7,200 at Jacksonville Jaguars

Conner is on track to play this week after suffering a concussion last week. He draws a tough matchup against the Jaguars who rank sixth in DVOA against running backs and a defense that is giving up the sixth fewest DKFP per game to the position. That said, Conner’s usage is through the roof and he racked up the yardage and fantasy points a couple of weeks back against the Ravens, the top defense as far as DVOA against running backs is concerned. Therefore, he certainly has the talent and sees the volume to overcome a tough matchup. Prior to his last game that was cut short due to an injury and was a blowout, Conner had 20+ touches in four consecutive games and had topped 30 DKFP in each of those contests. Keep in mind, two of those performances came against top 12 DVOA run defenses. This kid is talented and he has a strong offensive line making holes for him. I expect another heavy volume week out of him, and think he can turn that into a productive outing. He will likely be very low-owned as well.

Wide Receivers


Michael Thomas $8,800 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Thomas is the most expensive receiver this week and is expected to be among the higher owned, rightfully so. He continues to be a model of consistency and is on a nice run in recent weeks, scoring four touchdowns in his last four games and over 25 DKFP in back-to-back games. This sets up to be a great matchup for him. The Eagles have been generous to opposing receivers, allowing the fourth most DKFP per game (43.3), while also surrendering 137 receptions (4th most), 1,720 receiving yards (6th most), and nine touchdowns. Not to mention, the one-on-one matchup is also a good one against Rasul Douglas, a matchup that Thomas has a 26 percent advantage rating in, according to PFF. Thomas has score more than half of his touchdowns at home this season, despite playing one less game in New Orleans, so I fully expect him to take full advantage of the matchup in an environment he strives in. For what it’s worth, this is chalk I will eat this weekend.


DeAndre Hopkins $7,900 at Washington Redskins

Nobody is really talking about Hopkins and on a slate like the one at hand that is completely understandable. That said, he makes for a very interesting tournament play this week. His target count has taken a dip as of late for the exception of last game, but he has had some tough matchups, and even though the matchups have not been pleasant, he has found the end zone at least one time in each of his last four games. This week’s matchup is much more exploitable, as the Redskins rank 19th in DVOA against opposing WR1. He has the highest advantage ratings (39 percent) of the week according to PFF, in his one-on-one matchup against Josh Norman. Hopkins has slate breaking upside and will likely garner very little ownership making him a strong tournament pivot off of some of the higher owned guys. Like I stated above, I am playing Thomas this week, but Hopkins can be considered is a strong tournament play.

Tight Ends


Zach Ertz $6,600 at New Orleans Saints

Without a question, the best tight end on the main slate is Ertz, in fact, it could be argued that he is the best tight end in football. After all, he leads all tight ends with 75 receptions for a league high 789 yards. Ertz is averaging an eye-popping 11.1 targets per game and has 17 red zone targets, good for 31.5 percent of the Eagles market share in the red zone. His ceiling is enormous and after last week, there is no doubt that he will be popular. Plus, he has displayed his 20+ DKFP upside multiple times this season and offers a safe floor. All the being said, this is not the greatest of matchups for him, as the Saints do defend well against tight ends. The rank fifth in DVOA against the position and have minimized the damage, allowing the fifth fewest DKFP per game, with just one touchdown (2nd lowest). Matchup does not really matter for a tight end like Ertz, as he could get it done against just about anyone, and the game environment is a favorable one, however, I am tempering my expectations this week with him.


Austin Hooper $4,500 vs. Dallas Cowboys

Hooper is coming off of a big game, catching 10-of-11 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, scoring 21.6 DKFP. It was his second double-digit target game and 20+ DKFP game in the last four games, and this week’s matchup is a favorable one for him. Dallas ranks 24th in DVOA against opposing tight ends and they are yielding over 13 DKFP per game to the position. In addition, they have surrendered four touchdowns, which is tied for fifth most in the league. I am also taking the fact that Julio Jones has a very tough matchup this week into consideration, which could lead to some extra looks for Hooper this week. Hooper’s volume has not been consistent, making him a somewhat volatile play, but he is $2,100 cheaper the Ertz and makes for a strong point per dollar upside play.

Good luck to all this week. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on the Twitter machine: @Armando_Marsal