DFS Pivot Plays week 15 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.



Ben Roethlisberger $6,700 vs. New England Patriots

Big Ben is coming off of huge game against the Ravens, where he threw for over 500 passing yards for the third time in his career. He faces off against the Patriots who allowed 263 passing yards and three touchdowns to Jay Cutler on Monday night and are on their second straight game on the road, as well as a short week. That said, this is still a defense that has played better as of late, but not one to steer away from. Roethlisberger has attempted at least 40 passes in each of his last four games and has topped 28 fantasy points in each of his last three home games. He is also averaging nearly eight more fantasy points per game at home than versus on the road and in recent years he has some serious home/road splits, so being that this game is in Pittsburgh really helps Big Ben. With the first seed in the AFC up for grabs, I expect this offense to come out and play well. He is likely going to be the most popular quarterback of the slate, but I will still have exposure because it is a good spot and he is reasonably priced.


Tom Brady $7,600 at Pittsburgh Steelers

Brady struggled for the second straight week, but I fully expect him to bounce back this week and put up big numbers against the Steelers defense who has allowed two or more passing touchdowns in three consecutive games and since coming off of their bye week, they have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in all but one game. Since 2007, in seven games (including the post season), Brady has averaged 324 passing yards per game against the Steelers and has thrown 22 passing touchdowns, including three or more passing touchdowns in all but two games during that stretch. These are the type of contests where Brady elevates his game and plays at an entirely different level. I am not one to believe in narratives, but if you do, I expect angry Brady to come out and play this week. This is a good opportunity to pay up for a quarterback who offers plenty of upside and will likely be less owned than several other quarterbacks. Keep in mind the Patriots have one of the higher implied team totals of the slate.

Running Backs


Kenyan Drake $5,800 at Buffalo Bills

Drake continues to be the workhorse for the Dolphins and draws a phenomenal matchup against a Bills defense that has really struggled against the run. Buffalo is yielding the most fantasy points per game to running backs and have given up the most rushing touchdowns to the position. They are also allowing 144.6 rushing touchdowns per game over their last seven, while surrendering 12 rushing touchdowns during that stretch. Lastly, they are yielding 5.4 receptions and 41.6 receiving yards per game to running backs this season. This is a defense that is unable to contain running backs and when you look at Drake’s recent production, you have to absolutely love this spot. He has combined for334 yards in his last two games on 56 touches and has scored a touchdown. In addition, he has been targeted 11 times during that stretch and with Damien Williams doubtful for this game, Drake should once again see a heavy workload. This is chalk I am willing to eat.


Carlos Hyde $5,500 vs. Tennessee Titans

Hyde continues to be a consistent back and one that game flow does not necessarily impact as much, as he both runs effectively and catches passes out of the backfield. He faces off against the Titans who have been tough against the run, allowing 73.8 rushing yards per game and just 3.4 yards per carry, but a defense that has surrendered the third most receptions and most receiving yards to opposing backs. In addition, they have given up three receiving touchdowns to the position. This bodes well for Hyde who averages 6.1 targets per game and accounts for 16 percent of the 49ers targets share. He typically goes overlooked most weeks and this week should be no different. I really like Drake this week, but if you want a back that has somewhat the same upside and will have a fraction of the ownership, Hyde is your guy.

Wide Receivers


Antonio Brown $9,100 vs. New England Patriots

Brown leads the league in just about every receiving category. He has the most targets, receptions, and receiving yards, while being tied for second with nine receiving touchdowns. He also has the most receptions of 20+ yards and has an aDOT of 15.6 yards. In his last four games, he has caught 39-of-59 targets for 627 yards and six touchdowns, while averaging 37.9 fantasy points per game. He has a good history against the Patriots, scoring a touchdown in three of his four career regular season games against them and has topped 100 yards twice. He is expected to see plenty of Malcolm Butler, who Brown has a 46 percent advantage rating against according to Pro Football Focus. Brown is the most expensive receiver on the slate and rightfully so, as he is the best at his position. This game has the potential to be a shootout, so Brown should see plenty of targets as he usually does. It should come to no surprise that he will be one of the more popular wide receivers this week.


Michael Thomas $7,400 vs. New York Jets

If you do not want to roster Antonio Brown this weekend and are looking to pivot to another receiver with plenty of upside, Thomas fits the bill. He draws a nice matchup against the Jets who are yielding the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing wide outs. They are giving up 11.5 receptions and 149 receiving yards per game, while allowing 14 receiving touchdowns and a 58 percent catch rate. Of the 14 touchdowns, nine have come in the Jets last seven games. Thomas averages 9.6 targets per game, but has 10 or more targets in four of his last six games and has now scored in back-to-back weeks. He continues to be Drew Brees’ go-to receiver and draws a nice matchup against Morris Claiborne who has an average grade on Pro Football Focus and a matchup that Thomas has a 42 percent advantage rating against, one of the highest this week. Thomas is also $1,700 cheaper than Brown, which allows you to pay up for other positions.

Tight Ends


Jimmy Graham $4,900 vs. Los Angeles Rams

Jimmy Graham is the cheapest he has been since Week 8 and faces off against the Los Angeles Rams who have been generous to tight ends in recent games. Since their bye week, they have allowed 60+ yards in four game and have allowed four touchdowns to the position. They were exposed last week by the Eagles tight ends as they surrendered three touchdowns to them. Graham already faced the Rams once this season and caught 6-of-8 targets for 37 yards and a touchdown. This is just too cheap of a price for a tight end who has been as consistent as Graham and one that offers the upside he does, which is why he will likely be the highest owned at his position and rightfully so.


Zach Ertz $6,000 at New York Giants

Ertz practiced this week and is fully expected to play after missing last game with a concussion. This is a great spot for him against the Giants who are yielding the most fantasy points per game to tight end. The Giants have also allowed the most receiving touchdowns and receiving yards to tight ends this season, while being tied with the fourth most receptions surrendered. Ertz will not have Carson Wentz throwing him the ball this week, which is somewhat concerning, but that should also keep his ownership lower than it should be. The volume should still be there for him and the matchup cannot get any better. He has a 13 percent advantage rating in this matchup according to Pro Football Focus. The last time he faced the Giants, he caught 8-of-10 targets for 55 yards and a touchdown.

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