DFS Pivot Plays week 13 2017

By Armando Marsal
Armando Marsal Focusing on ownership percentages is critical and finding players that have potential to produce similar numbers (or even better) than higher owned players will put you in a good position to leap frog in tournament standings and give you a better chance to have a unique lineup. Ultimately, that increases your chances for potentially higher finishes in tournaments. In cash games, focusing on ownership is not important. With that said, let’s jump right into some of this week’s pivot plays. Please note: I am only using players from the Sunday main slate.



Drew Brees $6,500 vs. Carolina Panthers

There are a couple of factors that could lead into Brees being one of the highest owned, if not the highest owned quarterback this week. It starts with this price tag, which it is the lowest it has been all season. Secondly, he has a good recent history against the Panthers, throwing 12 touchdowns passes in their last four meetings, including a three-touchdown game earlier this season. Brees has not had to sling it as we have seen in the past because of how efficient the run game has been, but he has shown that he can still do it if necessary a couple of times this season. This week’s matchup against the Panthers could call upon that, as they are one of the better run defenses in the league, however, they have allowed seven passing touchdowns in their last three games. It is tough to pass up on Brees at this price and I will have some exposure, but he has let us down on several occasions this season so there is merit in being underweight on him in larger field tournaments.


Jared Goff $6,700 at Arizona Cardinals

Goff draws a very nice matchup against the Cardinals who are giving up the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, while allowing 248 passing yards per game and have surrendered 18 passing touchdowns. He has topped 23 fantasy points in three of his four last games and has played very well for the majority of the season, so he should not have trouble taking advantage of this matchup. He had success against this defense in Week 7 as he scored 19.7 fantasy points against them. There is some downside to Goff as he will be without his top receiver Robert Woods, but that was the case last week and he still managed to throw for 354 yards and two touchdowns, scoring 23.9 fantasy points. Despite the absence of Woods, Goff still offers plenty of upside and is in a favorable situation. Chances are he will go completely overlooked this week, making him an enticing tournament pivot off of Brees.

Running Backs


Jamaal Williams $4,700 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Williams after he erupted for 135 total yards, two touchdowns, and 29.5 fantasy points in Week 12. It was his third consecutive week with more than 20 touches and he has clearly become the workhorse in Green Bay. This week he faces off against the Bucs who are yielding 93.8 rushing yards, 43.9 receiving yards, and 5.2 receptions per game to running backs, while allowing 4.03 yards per carry and 11 total touchdowns. Williams has produced big numbers, but has not been an efficient runner, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry over his last three games. He had a big 54-yard touchdown reception, which was a big part of the reason that he had such a productive game last week. Not taking that away from him, because the big play ability is clearly part of his arsenal, but it is something worth noting. That said, he still makes a ton of sense because he is way too cheap for a player that is receiving 20+ touches. Plus, this is a favorable matchup.


Alex Collins $4,500 vs. Detroit Lions

Collins might be my favorite point per dollar running back this week and with all the attention on Jamaal Williams, I think Collins will go overlooked. He has played solid in recent weeks, scoring 13+ fantasy points in three of his last four games, including two 17+ fantasy point outings and he has scored a touchdown in two straight weeks. He has 18 or more touches in three of his last four games, averaging 19 touches per game during that span and continues to work as the top running back for the Ravens. Collins also gets a nice matchup against the Lions defense that has struggled against running backs in recent weeks, allowing at least one rushing touchdown in six straight games and an average of 122 rushing yards per game during that stretch. He is dealing with a calf injury, but was able to practice towards the end of the week and is expected to play, so there should be nothing to worry about, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on.

Wide Receivers


Keenan Allen $8,300 vs. Cleveland Browns

Allen has played lights out in his last two games, scoring a combined 80.4 fantasy points, while catching 23-of-27 targets for 331 yards and two touchdowns. While keeping up this type of production on weekly basis is unrealistic, he does draw a very good matchup this week against the Browns who rank last in DVOA against opposing WR1. He is projected to see coverage from Briean Boddy-Calhoun who grades pretty good on Pro Football Focus, but this is a matchup that Allen still has a 22 percent advantage rating in. At the end of the day, the Browns give it up to receivers. They are yielding 9.8 receptions, 129.5 receiving yards, and over 27 fantasy points per game to receivers, with a 62 percent catch rate and 10 receiving touchdowns. Allen continues to be a high-volume receiver, averaging 9.7 targets per game and he has seen double-digit targets in over 50 percent of the games this season, including in two consecutive weeks. The price tag is a bit steep for him, but he has the ability to exceed expectations even at this price as we have seen in his last two games.


Michael Thomas $6,900 vs. Carolina Panthers

The first thing that caught my attention about Thomas is how cheap he is, as this is the lowest price tag he has had all season. This is just way too cheap for a receiver that has been consistent for most of the year and is averaging 9.3 targets per game. In addition, he draws a very favorable matchup against James Bradberry who grades out below average on Pro Football Focus and a matchup that Thomas has a 55 percent advantage rating in, this highest of all wide outs. While the Panthers have been solid defensively against receivers this season, they are allowing an average of 216.3 receiving yards and 46.1 fantasy points over their last three games, while yielding five receiving touchdowns. One of Thomas’ better game this season came against Carolina. In Week 3, he caught 7-of-8 targets for 87 yards and a touchdown, scoring 21.7 fantasy points against them. I do not think that you are not going to get Thomas at a super low ownership, but I do expect him to be far less owned than Allen and offers similar upside for $1,400 cheaper.

Tight Ends


Jared Cook $5,400 vs. New York Giants

The trend for most of the season has been to take a tight end against the Giants defense and although it has not worked in the last two games, it is still something that makes sense to do. The Giants have allowed the most touchdowns (10), fourth most receptions (62), third most yards (768), most targets (99), and are allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Amari Cooper has been ruled out for this week with a concussion and Michael Crabtree will serve his one game suspension, which leaves plenty of targets to be distributed on this offense and Cook should be the main beneficiary of those targets. As it is, he is averaging 5.9 targets per game and also accounts for 22.5 percent of the red zone targets, which is a good thing because the Giants have allowed a touchdown in all but two games to tight ends. There is just too much to like about Cook this week and even at this high price, he will be popular and rightfully so.


Delanie Walker $5,600 vs. Houston Texans

Walker continues to be a model of consistency, scoring at least 15 fantasy points in back-to-back games, while not scoring fewer than 12 fantasy points in his last four games. He averages seven targets per game and accounts for 22.9 percent of the red zone targets for the Titans, so the opportunity is there. This week’s matchup against the Texans is one that favors him as they are giving up 5.4 receptions and 58.1 receiving yards per game to tight ends, with a 69 percent catch rate. They have also allowed six receiving touchdowns to the position, which is tied for fifth most in the league. For $200 less, most will be playing Cook this week, but Walker offers as much upside as Cook and quite possibly a higher floor. In tournaments he will virtually go unowned and makes for a very good pivot off of Cook.

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