DFS Pivot Plays week 12 2018

By Armando Marsal
Armando Marsal
Week 12: 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.



Lamar Jackson $5,700 vs. Oakland Raiders

Jackson is expected to draw the start again this week for the injured Joe Flacco, and gets a very nice matchup. In his first NFL start last week, Jackson completed 13-of-19 passes for 150 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception, while also rushing for 119 yards and 26 attempts. I do not anticipate that he will rush 26 times this week, but he should sling it a bit more and this is the perfect matchup to do so, as the Raiders rank dead last in DVOA against the pass. Oakland has surrendered 23 passing touchdowns (3rd most) and are yielding 8.8 yards per pass attempt. Jackson is a talented, but still raw a quarterback, so mistakes will happen. That said, this is a matchup that he should be able to strive in.


Nick Mullens $5,400 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I was expecting a little more love for Mullens this weekend, but according to the projection system I use for ownership – FantasyLabs – he is expected to be 5-8 percent owned, which appears to be too low considering his matchup. He faces off against the Bucs who rank 30th in DVOA against the pass. Tampa Bay has allowed 2,986 passing yards (8th most) and 25 passing touchdowns (tied for most in the NFL) to opposing signal callers, while surrendering this third most DKFP per game to the position. Mullens has done a solid job as the starter for the 49ers, completing 70.5 percent of his passes, while throwing for 512 yards and four touchdowns in two games, so there is no reason to think he cannot find success in this matchup against one of the worst defenses in the league. He may not offer the rushing upside that Jackson does, but he has multiple touchdown and 300+ yards upside in this spot. If he does come in this low owned, he makes for a strong pivot off of Jackson in tournaments.

Running Backs


Marlon Mack $5,500 vs. Miami Dolphins

This week Mack finds himself in a marvelous situation against a pretty bad Miami run defense. The Dolphins are giving up 122 rushing yards per game, 4.8 yards per carry, nine rushing touchdowns, and have allowed the fourth most DKFP (31) to opposing running backs. Over the last four games, Mack is averaging 19.8 touches per game and has scored five total touchdowns. He displayed immense upside during that stretch, scoring over 30 DKFP twice. Considering that Vegas numbers, the Colts are expected to play with a lead here, making this a great game script for Mack. He is someone I have been talking about all week and a running back I intend to be overweight on this weekend. At this price tag and in this situation, it is tough to pass up on him, especially when you consider his role on this offense.


Joe Mixon $6,800 vs. Cleveland Browns

I will be eating the Mack chalk this week as I stated above, but if you want to move away from him because of the ownership, paying up for Mixon is something to consider. Mixon will likely be 10-15 percent owned this weekend, which is not completely under the radar, but he will be far less owned than Mack. When you look at this matchup for Mixon, it is a great one. The Browns have surrendered 1,105 rushing yards (8th most) – 4.6 YPC—, 12 rushing touchdowns (2nd most), and 538 receiving yards (6th most) to opposing backs, while yielding 30.5 DKFP per game, which is the sixth most. Mixon has struggled in the last two games, but game script and matchups have dictated that. This is a situation where the Bengals should be playing with a lead and that matchup is favorable. He should be able to get back on track this week and has a good shot to post up solid numbers.

Wide Receivers


Keenan Allen $7,100 vs. Arizona Cardinals

Allen is someone I am keen on this week and apparently so are many other people, as he is expected to be among the most popular receivers this week. He is a perfect combination of a high floor and high upside receiver, yet he comes at a fair price. This week he draws a great one-on-one matchup against Bene' Benwikere who grades out as an average corner, where Allen has a 28 percent advantage rating. Allen remains a high volume receiver for the Chargers, accounting for 28 percent of the market share on this offense, as well as, 19.6 percent of the red zone targets. He is averaging double-digit targets for the last three games and has now scored in two consecutive games. This is good chalk in my book this week and chalk I am willing to eat.


Julian Edelman $7,000 at New York Jets

Edelman has been peppered with at least 10 targets in each of his last three games and has topped 100 receiving yards in two of those contests. Coming off of a bye week, he draws a nice matchup against a Jets defense that has been generous to opposing wide outs this season, allowing 43 DKFP per game (5th most). New York has allowed 150 receptions (5th most), 1,859 receiving yards (7th most), and 11 receiving touchdowns to the position. Buster Skrine, who grades out as average on PFF, is expected to cover Edelman, a matchup the Edelman has a 25 percent advantage rating in. The Patriots offense is not one I am hearing a ton of buzz about this week, yet they have one of the highest implied team totals of the week. I like Allen a ton this week, but Edelman makes for a strong pivot, as he too offers a steady floor and plenty of upside.

Tight Ends


Cameron Brate $3,600 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Brate might come in as the highest owned tight end this weekend and understandably so. O.J. Howard was placed on the injured reserve so Brate will now operate as the primary tight end for the Bucs offense. This week he draws a favorable matchup against the 49ers who rank 22nd in DVOA against tight ends. San Francisco has surrendered 478 receiving yards and four touchdowns to the position, while giving up nearly 12 DKFP per game. Brate is affordable this week and he offers plenty of upside, in a positive game environment. There are multiple things to like about him this week.


Chris Herndon $2,900 vs. New England Patriots

Chances are I might be paying up at tight end this week, but if you are looking for a pivot off of the chalky Brate, Herndon is someone to consider. This is not a high-upside play by any means, but I do think there is somewhat of a safe floor considering his price. The matchup against the Patriots is a good one, as they yielding 16 DKFP per game the position (5th most) and have surrendered seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends (tied 2nd most). While Herndon is not a high volume tight end, he has been involved in the offense in recent weeks, averaging 4.3 targets, 38.5 yards, 3.0 receptions, and 9.9 DKFP, while scoring two touchdowns in the last four games. When you take into account that the Jets will be chasing points and have a limited Robby Anderson, Herndon could be a little busier than normal in a plus matchup, making him an intriguing cheap option at tight end.

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