DFS Pivot Plays week 3 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.


Derek Carr $6,800 at Washington
Considering that the Raiders/Redskins game has the highest total of the slate and how well Carr has played to start the season, I am expecting him to be popular this weekend. Typically at the quarterback position, the ownership is a tad more spread out, so do not expect him to be upwards of 20 percent owned, but he will be one of the highest owned at his position if not the highest. Through the first two games, the Redskins defense has surrendered 526 passing yards which is the ninth most and are giving up nearly 15 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Last season, this was a defense that allowed the seventh most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Carr has thrown for 492 yards and five touchdowns in the first two games, and has yet to throw an interception. He looks sharp and should be able to put together another productive outing on Sunday night as this matchup is far from imposing. I like him a lot this week, but so will most and rightfully so.

Matt Ryan $7,100 at Detroit Lions
There has not been a ton of buzz surrounding Ryan this week, which is surprising. This game between the Falcons and Lions could very much turn into a shootout. In fact, Vegas has this matchup with a 51 point over/under a 2.5 point increase from where it opened and only a three point spread. Ryan’s numbers in the first two games are far from eye-popping, but he has been efficient and due to the fact that they have played with a decent lead in these games, he has not been forced to do much. This week however, they will be without one of their top defenders in Vic Beasley, which should create an easier path for the Lions to move the ball and potentially score some points. So I do expect the Falcons to lean on Ryan a tad more in this contest. In 2016, the Lions gave up the third most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. While this season they appear to be much better, they have played against Carson Palmer who appears to be washed up and Eli Manning who has one of the worst offensive lines and has struggled to start the season. This secondary came into the season ranked 17th by PFF, so they can be considered a middle of the road unit and they will be put to the test this weekend. With some of the options at his price range, Ryan could go overlooked this week and that can be a big mistake. He makes a ton of sense in tournaments due to the upside he brings to the table, along with possible low ownership.

Running Backs

Jay Ajayi $7,700 at New York Jets
Ajayi picked up right where he left off last season, rushing for 122 yards in his first game and receiving 30 touches. All things are setting up for a big game out of him this week as he has a very good matchup, his team is a road favorite, and he is a high-volume back. The Jets have surrendered 275 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, 13 receptions, and 136 receiving yards to opposing backs in the first two games, while yielding over 29 fantasy points per game. Running backs are averaging 4.7 YPC and have a catch rate of 87 percent against this defense. LeSean McCoy scored 23.9 fantasy points in Week 1 against New York, while Marshawn Lynch scored 11.1 fantasy points against them, but only received 12 carries as this game got out of control quickly. However, Jalen Richard did scored 18.9 fantasy points as he filled in for Lynch. Ajayi should see 20+ touches in this matchup and there is no reason to believe that he will not run wild against them. He is a phenomenal cash game option and could be rostered in tournaments as well, but keep in mind he will be popular.

Christian McCaffrey $6,100 vs. New Orleans Saints
There has not been a lot of buzz this week surrounding McCaffrey which seems odd because the matchup does not get any better than this. The Saints are giving up 117.5 rushing yards and 92.5 receiving yards per game to opposing backs through the first two weeks, while yielding two total touchdowns to the position. Last season, they were also amongst the league’s worst, allowing the third most fantasy points per game, 1,426 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns, 86 receptions, 873 receiving yards (most in NFL), and five receiving touchdowns to running backs. McCaffrey is second behind Kelvin Benjamin in Carolina with 12 targets. He has played in 66 percent of the offensive snaps, accounts for 16.7 percent of the red zone targets, and 25 percent of the red zone rush attempts. Clearly he is a big part of this offense and now with Greg Olsen out, he could be in for some extra looks from Cam Newton. McCaffrey is priced reasonably and should have no trouble paying his salary off, while also providing enough upside to exceed expectations.

Wide Receivers

A.J. Green $8,100 at Green Bay Packers
Green has not had a great start to the season, but a matchup against the Packers secondary could be just what the doctor ordered. According to PFF, he has the best WR/CB matchup with a 52 percent advantage rating over Damarious Randall who is projected to be his primary defender. Despite subpar outings in his first two games, the volume is still there for Green as he has been peppered with 18 targets. The Packers defense allowed the most fantasy points per game to receivers in 2016, while yielding 211 receptions for 3,025 yards and 26 touchdowns to the position. Julio Jones was about to go off last week, but the game got out of control so they did not need him much. He finished with five catches for 108 yards, despite barely doing anything in the second half. Being that the Bengals are on the road, I do not expect that to be the case for this offense, so Green should be fully involved and should take complete advantage of his matchup. The general consensus is that will be the case as well, because he is certainly being talked about across the industry. He is arguably this week’s top receiving option and should have a big game, but that is no secret and his ownership will be high because of it.

Odell Beckham Jr. $8,600 at Philadelphia Eagles
This is certainly a high-variance play and comes with a lot of risk, but can also come with big rewards. The Eagles front seven is one of the best in the league, however, their secondary is one of the worst, essentially making this a funnel defense. Coming into the season, their secondary was ranked dead last by PFF. Many are focusing on how good this pass rush is and are overlooking how good of a situation this truly is for Beckham. Last season, the Eagles surrendered the third most fantasy points per game to receivers, while giving up 198 receptions for 2,989 yards and 18 touchdowns to the position. Beckham has four touchdowns in six career games against the Eagles and has two 150 or more receiving yards games. He is not 100 percent which is certainly concerning, but he will come in at a very low ownership because of it. If you are trying to win a large field tournament, he is the type of player that can make it happen for you due to the upside he possesses and the low ownership he will likely have.

Tight Ends

Zach Ertz $5,000 vs. New York Giants
Ertz is having a good start to the season, catching 13-of-18 targets for 190 yards in his first two games, while averaging 16 fantasy points per game. He has also received 21 percent of the Eagles target share to start the year. He faces a Giants defense who allowed the seventh most receiving yards to tight ends last season and a team he has had some nice games against in recent history. In his last three games against the Giants, Ertz has caught all 19 of his targets for 282 yards. The Giants defend receivers well, so Carson Wentz may have to lean on Ertz even more this week. Ertz has been consistent and also offers nice upside, so people are steering his way this weekend because of that and the matchup, making him the top projected owned tight end of the week.

Martellus Bennett $4,000 at Carolina Panthers
Bennett was very frustrating last week as he dropped several passes. The good news, however, is that he has received 17 targets in his first two games. The Bengals defense struggled against tight ends last season, allowing the fifth most fantasy points per game and the eighth most touchdowns. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are both dealing with injuries and if they miss or are even limited, Bennett could be even more involved in the offense this week. The Packers have a 27 point implied team total which is one of the highest of the slate. He should come in with some very low ownership, but offers some decent upside in a relatively good matchup.

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