DFS Pivot Plays week 2 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 slate.


Tom Brady $7,900 at New Orleans Saints
For what it is worth, I think that Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are all going to be popular this weekend and rightfully so. Therefore it is really tough to determine which of the three would be the biggest chalk, but it is all but guaranteed they will be the top three owned quarterbacks this week. There is the narrative of “angry Brady” where he bounces back strong after a performance like the one he had in Week 1 and this matchup is also one that favors him. Sam Bradford made this defense look silly in the season opener as he threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns against them. New Orleans gave up the second most passing yards (273.8) and 1.7 passing touchdowns per game. Their secondary came into the season ranked 31st by Pro Football Focus. There is no reason whatsoever to think that Brady does not pick this unit apart and finishes Sunday with an impressive stat line.

Derek Carr $7,200 vs. New York Jets
With a lot of the attention going to the four highest priced quarterbacks this week, I could see Derek Carr go overlooked, but I will not be making that mistake as he is my top pivot play at this position and is someone I anticipate to be overweight on in comparison to the field. The Jets defense is bad and heading into the season their secondary was ranked 28th by Pro Football Focus. They yielded two touchdowns to Tyrod Taylor in Week 1 and last season allowed 243.6 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Carr started off the season with a solid stat line, completing 22-of-32 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders have an implied team total of 28.25 points which is one of the highest of the slate, so I expect them to score points. They passed in nearly 54 percent of their plays in Week 1, which means we could see Carr have a field day against the Jets and be a fraction of the ownership as some of the other quarterbacks in this price range, while offering similar upside.

Running Backs

Ty Montgomery $5,800 at Atlanta Falcons
Montgomery had a nice game to kick off the season, rushing for 54 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, while also catching all four of his targets for 39 yards. He also played in 90 percent of the snaps. The matchup is one that favors him as the Falcons are bad against the run. They allowed 81.1 rushing yards per game, 4.3 rushing yards per carry and 13 rushing touchdowns to opposing backs last season. In addition, they surrendered the most receptions (109) for 870 yards and six receiving touchdowns to the position, while yielding over 20 fantasy points per game. Montgomery finished with the fifth highest elusive rating compared to all backs in Week 1. This game has the highest over/under and both teams are expected to score plenty of points. The only knock on Montgomery this week is his ownership. At times you have to eat some chalk and this is one of those weeks you may have to because this is setting up to be as close to perfect of a situation as can be.

Melvin Gordon $7,000 vs. Miami Dolphins
If there is a running back that I believe will outscore Ty Montgomery this week, it is Gordon. He gets a very favorable matchup against a Dolphins defense that surrendered 109 rushing yards per game, 4.6 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdown to opposing backs. They also gave up 5.6 receptions and 36.1 receiving yards per game to the position, while yielding two receiving touchdowns. Gordon played in 76 percent of the snaps for the Chargers in the season opener, receiving 18 rush attempts and being peppered with six targets. He finished the day with 79 total yards, five receptions and one touchdown. While I do expect Gordon to carry some ownership this week, I anticipate it will be lower than Montgomery’s and I have Gordon projected for more points. He is involved in both the run game and the passing game, making him a major threat on offense. Sometimes it pays off to pay up and be slightly contrarian.

Wide Receivers

Julio Jones $9,200 vs. Green Bay Packers
I was on Jones last week and he let me down along with everyone else who rostered him and even though that was the case, I highly doubt recency bias will keep his ownership down in this matchup. In fact, I have him projected as one of the highest, if not the highest owned receiver of the week. He faces off against the Packers who surrendered over 28 fantasy points per game to receivers last season which was the most allowed by a defense, while also yielding 13.2 receptions and 189.1 receiving yards per game to the positon, and 26 touchdowns (most allowed). In addition, he has a 100 percent advantage rating against Damarious Randall who is projected to be his primary defender according to Pro Football Focus. Jones offers one of the higher ceilings of anyone at his position and is in one of the better matchups a receiver can ask for, so without a doubt he will be popular.

Amari Cooper $8,100 vs. New York Jets
I was bullish on Cooper during the preseason and had him ranked higher than most, so it was nice to see him start off the season with five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown, while being peppered with 13 targets. It was also pleasant to see that he led the Raiders in red zone targets with four, which has always been his biggest issue in his young career. He get a favorable matchup against a Jets secondary that ranked 28th heading into the season by Pro Football Focus and is expected to be covered by Justin Burris who Cooper has a 31 percent advantage rating over. The volume is there, the red zone targets were there in the season opener, and the matchup is in his favor. He should also be far less owned than Jones and while the ceilings are not equivalent, the upside is this week.

Tight Ends

Coby Fleener $3,100 vs. New England Patriots
The only negative thing about Fleener’s season opener is that fact that he played in just 51 percent of the snaps. However, he did receive six targets and accounted for 38 percent of the red zone targets. He also found the pay dirt, catching five passes for 54 yards. The Patriots defense is one I respect, but in Week 1 they surrendered five receptions for 40 yards to Travis Kelce. This is expected to be a shootout and I anticipate that the Saints will be chasing points, so there is certainly a potential easy path for targets for Fleener. While I will have him sprinkled in some of my lineups, I certainly think there is plenty of merit in fading him in large field tournaments as I project him to be over 20 percent owned.

Charles Clay $3,000 at Carolina Panthers
There are several tight ends in this price range with some appeal this week, but Clay really has my attention after his Week 1. He played in 84 percent of the snaps, led the team in targets with nine, and received 50 percent of the red zone targets. He caught four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. The matchup is also surprisingly good as the Panthers allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends last season, as well as the second most touchdowns. Clay should continue to see the volume and in this favorable matchup, he offers some upside and should be far less owned.

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