DFS Pivot Plays week 14 2018

By Armando Marsal
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 $6,600 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There are a couple of quarterbacks that could see some ownership this weekend, but I do anticipate that Brees will be one of the more popular ones. He faces off against the Bucs who rank 29th in DVOA against the pass and a defense that is giving up the third most DKFP per game (23.7). Tampa Bay has also surrendered 3,507 passing yards (3rd most) and 28 passing touchdowns (tied for most in the NFL). In Week 1, these two teams met in New Orleans and in that game, Brees threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns, scoring 34.56 DKFP. Although this game is outdoors and away from home – where Brees plays his best football – it is against a very weak defense that has been unable to limit the damage through the air. He makes for a great option this week, hence why he will likely be very popular.






Deshaun Watson $5,900 vs. Indianapolis Colts

Watson is not slinging it like he did last season, but this is a game that he may have to throw it a bit more. The Colts offense could put up points in a hurry and Vegas tends to agree, as this game has a healthy total of 50 points and just a 4.5 point spread. Indianapolis ranks 21st in DVOA against the pass, making this a nice matchup for Watson. This unit has also allowed three rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks, which is tied for second most, and bodes well for Watson who can run. These two teams met in Week 4 and Watson went off for 375 passing yards and two touchdowns, adding 41 rushing yards and a rushing touchdowns, which was good for 35.1 DKFP. While expecting him to repeat that again this time out is unrealistic, it does give us an idea of the type of game he could have against this defense. I like the idea of rostering Watson this weekend in tournaments where he could go overlooked.





Running Backs






Christian McCaffrey $9,300 at Cleveland Browns

This is chalk I am eating this week, case closed. McCaffrey is in a great spot here against the Browns who have just been absolutely terrible against opposing running backs. They have allowed 1,361 rushing yards (5th most), 12 rushing touchdowns (tied 3rd most), and 628 receiving yards (8th most) to the position, while yielding 29.3 DKFP per game, which is tied for sixth most. Running backs are also averaging 4.8 yards per carry and 165.8 total yards against this defense. McCaffrey continues to be a usage monster and his work in the red zone is significant. He offers an extremely high floor, as well as a nice ceiling, making him a fine option in every format. The game script should also play in his favor since the Panthers are road favorites. Even with this price increase, it is tough to get away from McCaffrey this week.

Note: Jaylen Samuels and Jeff Wilson are expected to be the chalk value at this position, I feel better about Wilson only because we can project him to see the bulk of the work out of the San Francisco 49ers backfield.






Saquon Barkley $8,900 at Washington Redskins

If you look at the Redskins defense over the course of the season, this may not appear to be a great matchup for Barkley, but that is not the case. In their last five games, Washington has allowed over 120 rushing yards and over 25 fantasy points four times, while yielding three rushing touchdowns. Barkley did not play particularly well against Washington in Week 8, but still managed to score 20 DKFP. Whether it has been a bad matchup or not, he tends to be efficient just about every week. Since he is coming off of a solid game (for his standards) and some of the other high priced running backs are in better spots, he may be under owned, making him a strong pivot in tournaments. Just like McCaffrey, Barkley’s role in the passing game and his overall usage are difficult to ignore. I like the idea of having exposure to Barkley in tournaments this weekend.





Wide Receivers






Keenan Allen $7,400 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Allen continues to be a model of consistency, yet he remains reasonably priced each week. He is coming off of a nice performance in Week 13, catching 14-of-19 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown, scoring 39.8 DKFP. This was the fourth straight game that he found the pay dirt in and the third straight game he has topped 20 DKFP. The volume should once again be there for him, as Melvin Gordon is expected to sit out this week. Allen draws a nice one-on-one matchup against Darqueze Dennard who grades out below average on PFF and a matchup that Allen has a 32 percent advantage rating in. The only concern I have in this one, is the potential blowout, but I still think Allen is a great play this week and is chalk I would like exposure to.






JuJu Smith-Schuster $8,200 at Oakland Raiders

Smith-Schuster has been very hit or miss in recent weeks with three games of over 19 DKFP and three games scoring fewer than 15 DKFP, but there is no denying his upside. This week he draws a great matchup against a Raiders defense that is allowing 33 DKFP per game and has surrendered 17 receiving touchdowns, which is tied for third most. Pro Football Focus has him one-on-one against Daryl Worley, who grades out well below average and a matchup the Smith Schuster has a 37 percent advantage rating in. I also think he will see plenty of Nick Nelson since Nelson lines up in the slot 98 percent of the time, where Smith-Schuster lines up 68 percent of the time. This would be great news for Smith-Schuster, as Nelson grades out even worse. I would only consider Smith-Schuster in tournaments because of his volatility and the potential of a blowout, but the upside is tremendous and so is this matchup.





Tight Ends






Travis Kelce $6,700 vs. Baltimore Ravens

The best way to attack the Ravens defense is with a tight. They rank 25th in DVOA against the position. In addition, they have allowed 63 receptions (tied 7th most), 753 receiving yards (9th most), and five receiving touchdowns (tied 5th most) to opposing tight ends. Kelce is coming off of a monster game, catching 12-of-13 targets for 168 yards and two touchdowns, scoring 42.8 DKFP. It was his third multiple touchdown game of the season and it marked the third time in four weeks that he topped 28 DKFP. In the last two games, Kelce has been peppered with 28 targets and has caught 22 passes. Considering his recent results and the matchup at hand, I fully expect him to be one of the more popular tight ends this week, and rightfully so.






Jared Cook $5,200 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Cook at this price is not something that I get excited about, but when you look at how beat up this offense is and the lack of pass catchers, he is almost forced to see a ton of targets. He has now seen at least five targets in four straight games and has scored a touchdown in three straight. The matchup and game environment bode well for him also. The Steelers rank 28th in DVOA against opposing tight ends. This unit has allowed 63 receptions for 705 yards and five touchdowns to the position, while surrendering 11.2 DKFP per game. The Raiders will almost certainly be chasing points here, so they will be forced to pass. Considering all of this, I do not hate the idea of plugging in Cook at tight end if you are trying to get away from the chalky Kelce.

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