DFS Pivot Plays week 17 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. 






Patrick Mahomes $7,100 vs. Oakland Raiders

Mahomes is projected to be one of the higher owned quarterbacks this week and understandably so. The Chiefs still have something to play for, as they have not clinched the top seed in the AFC just yet, and with a win they would. In addition, this is a great matchup against an Oakland defense that ranks 31st in DVOA against the pass. Mahomes torched this unit in Week 13 for 295 passing yards and four passing touchdowns, adding 52 rushing yards, which was good for 33 DKFP. Another performance like this one is very possible. The Raiders have given up the most passing touchdowns this season and are yielding a little over 20 DKFP per game to opposing signal callers.  Mahomes has been as consistent as they come all season long and in a matchup like the one at hand, a ceiling game is quite possible. The only red flag is the potential blowout, as the Chiefs are 14.5 point favorites in this contest. 





Matt Ryan $6,300 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I prefer playing Matt Ryan at home instead of on the road, but this is a great matchup for him against the Bucs who rank 30th in DVOA against the pass. Tampa Bay has surrendered 4,000 passing yards (10th most) and 31 passing touchdowns (tied 2nd most) to opposing signal callers, while giving up 22.3 DKFP per game, which is fourth most in the league. Ryan torched this unit earlier in the season for 355 passing yards and three touchdowns, scoring 30.5 DKFP. The Falcons do not have anything to play for, which is concerning, but at this time there is nothing that suggests that Ryan will not play a full game. He comes at a cheaper price and is expected to be far less owned than Mahomes, making him an enticing pivot in tournaments.      



Running Backs






C.J. Anderson $5,400 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Todd Gurley has already been ruled out for the final game of the Rams season against the 49ers and Anderson will get the start in his place. Last week, Anderson got the start and received 20 carries, while also seeing three targets. He turned that into 167 rushing yards and a touchdown, scoring 26.2 DKFP. He should be in for another heavy workload against a 49ers defense that is yielding 4.1 yards per carry and has surrendered 12 rushing touchdowns (tied 5th most). In addition, this unit has surrendered 95 receptions (tied 4th most) for 758 yards (eighth most) and three receiving touchdowns to opposing backs. This unit is also giving up 26.6 DKFP per game to the position, which is good for 11th most. San Francisco has now allowed opposing backs to rush for a touchdown in five consecutive games. This game script should favor Anderson, as the Rams are favored. He is good chalk this week and chalk I am willing to eat. 





Chris Carson $6,500 vs. Arizona Cardinals

Carson is expected to go overlooked this week and it is surprising to me. He has 20+ touches in three consecutive game, scoring at least one touchdown in each of those matchups. He draws a phenomenal matchup this week against Arizona who is yielding the fourth most DKFP per game to opposing backs. In addition, this unit has allowed 2,011 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns to the position, both of which are an NFL high, while also giving up a healthy 4.9 yards per carry. Carson has been very efficient with his workload in recent games, averaging over four yards per carry and rushing for at least 90 yards in each of his last three contest, with two 100+ rushing yard games. While the Seahawks have already locked up a playoff spot, they are still playing for seeding, which makes me think they will give their players the regular run on Sunday. 



Wide Receivers






Tyreek Hill $8,400 vs. Oakland Raiders

Hill is projected to be one of the more popular receivers this weekend, if not the most popular. The matchup at hand against the Raiders is a great one. This unit has not allowed a ton of receptions or yardage, but they have allowed 22 receiving touchdowns to wide outs, which is second most in the NFL and they are giving up over 30 DKFP per game to the position. His one-on-one matchup against Daryl Worley is a favorable one, as Worley ranks well below average on Pro Football Focus, and Hill has a 36 percent advantage rating, which is the second highest of any receiver this week. Hill did not do much against the Raiders in Week 13, but I would not place much emphasize on that game, as it can be considered an outlier. He is in a great spot and with something to play for, I expect the Chiefs to come out and play well. The upside is through the roof for Hill this week and there is plenty to like about him in this matchup. 





Julian Edelman $7,600 vs. New York Jets

Edelman is projected to be somewhat popular this weekend, but not as popular a Hill and is in as good as spot with something to play for as well. He is expected to draw coverage from Buster Skrine who grades out below average on Pro Football Focus, a matchup that Edelman has a 21 percent advantage rating in. The Jets as a unit have allowed 231 receptions (3rd most) for 3,052 yards (2nd most) and 17 touchdowns (tied 7th most). Edelman has been pepper with double-digit targets in each of his last three games and continues to be Tom Brady’s go-to receiver in the passing game. In Week 12 when these two teams met, Edelman caught 4-of-5 targets for 84 yards and a touchdown scoring 18.4 DKFP. He actually offers a stronger floor than Hill and as much upside in this matchup. I do not hate the idea of pivoting from Hill to Edelman in any format this week to save some salary and take on less ownership. 




Tight Ends






Travis Kelce $7,200 vs. Oakland Raiders

Here is another Chiefs player who is expected to be popular this week and rightfully so. The Raiders rank dead last in DVOA against opposing tight ends and are yielding the fifth most DKFP per game to the position. This unit has surrendered 998 receiving yards (4th most) and nine receiving touchdowns (tied 3rd most) to the position. Kelce absolutely torched this defense the last time they faced each other. In that contest, he caught 12-of-13 targets for 168 yards and two touchdowns, which was good for 42.8 DKFP. He is expensive, but he has also been the most consistent tight end this season and offers enough upside to pay this salary off, and some, especially in this matchup. Although I typically do not pay up for tight end, this is a week that I may be considering it. 






Evan Engram $5,300 vs. Dallas Cowboys

Odell Beckham has already been ruled out for the final game of the season and in each of the last three games that he has missed, Engram has scored double-digit fantasy points. In his last three games, Engram has at least 75 receiving yards in each game and has been peppered with 18 targets the last two weeks. This week he faces off against the Cowboys who rank 16th in DVOA against opposing tight ends and are yielding 13 DKFP per game to the position. Since Week 9, Dallas has allowed five touchdowns to opposing tight ends and two 140+ receiving yard games. Earlier in the year, Engram has a nice performance against this unit, catching all seven of his targets for 67 yards and a touchdown, finishing with 19.7 DKFP. In tournaments, pivoting to Engram makes sense, as he is expected to be less owned and offers nice upside in comparison to his price tag. 

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