DFS Pivot Plays week 8 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.



Ben Roethlisberger $6,300 vs. Cleveland Browns

The Steelers are coming off of a bye, so this offense should be well rested. This game is in Pittsburgh where Roethlisberger plays better. He is projected to be one of the more, if not the most popular quarterback this week. The matchup is not the greatest one, as the Browns rank first overall in DVOA against the pass. In addition, this defense has done a decent job at limiting the damage by opposing quarterbacks, allowing fewer than 19 DKFP per game and just nine passing touchdowns, which is tied for fourth fewest. Big Ben has plenty of weapons on this offense and is talented enough to overcome a below average matchup, but if he is going to be chalk this week, I rather look in a different direction.


Mitchell Trubisky $6,100 vs. New York Jets

Trubisky has played well recently, throwing for over 300 yards and scoring over 30 DKFP in each of the last three contests. This week he draws a nice matchup against a Jets defense dealing with injuries to the secondary, and a unit that has now allowed two or more passing touchdowns in each of their last four games, while yielding over 300 passing yards per game during that stretch. Trubisky does offer a low floor, but this is a situation where he should continue to strive in. Considering a lot of the quarterbacks in this price range are in solid spots, he could go overlooked this week. I like the idea of pivoting to Trubisky from some of the more popular quarterbacks, such as Big Ben.

Running Backs


James Conner $7,500 vs. Cleveland Browns

As you can see, the Steelers offense is expected to be popular this week. Unlike Roethlisberger, I actually think Conner is good chalk. He faces off against a Browns defense that ranks 25th in run DVOA and is yielding 28.4 DKFP per game. Cleveland has also allowed 784 rushing yards (5th most), eight rushing touchdowns (2nd most), and 33 receptions for 306 yards to opposing backs, while giving up 4.4 yards per carry. Conner is heavily involved in the Steelers offense, playing in 85 percent of the offensive snaps and accounting for 13 percent of the target share with 35 targets. In addition, he is averaging 17.2 rush attempts per game and is among the league leaders with 17 rush attempts in the red zone this season (85 percent of teams red zone rush attempts). Conner lit up the scoreboard in Week 1 against the Browns, rushing for 135 yards and two touchdowns, while adding five receptions for 57 yards, which was good for38.2 DKFP. He should eat in this contest and exploit the favorable matchup once again. This is chalk I am willing to eat this week, which is why I plan on having exposure.


Saquon Barkley $8,800 vs. Washington Redskins

I am not suggesting to pivot of off Conner this week, but if you do, I expect Barkley to virtually go unowned this weekend. He faces off against the Redskins who have been solid against the run this season, yielding the second fewest rushing yards (380), only four touchdowns, and just 220 receiving yards to opposing backs. That said, Barkley’s usage is insane and his ability to make big plays, makes him a tournament option just about every week. He is also heavily involved in the offense, averaging 21 touches per game, playing in 82 percent of the offensive snaps, and accounting for 23 percent of the team’s target share. Moreover, he accounts for 65.2 percent of the red zone rush attempts and 16.3 percent of the red zone targets for the Giants. Barkley has not scored fewer than 22 DKFP once this season, having a very nice floor, and has displayed his 40+ DKFP upside. This is not an ideal matchup, but at times, the talent can overcome a below average situation and Barkley has the talent to do so.

Wide Receivers


Robert Woods $6,900 vs. Green Bay Packers

Woods let many people down last week, including myself, but does get the opportunity to make it up this week. He faces off against a Packers defense that is giving up 39 DKFP per game to wide outs this season and has allowed 10 receiving touchdowns to the position, which is tied for second most. He also draws a nice one-on-one matchup against Josh Jackson, who Woods has an 18 percent advantage rating against, per PFF. Woods leads the team in snaps (448), targets (58), and air yards (653), so the opportunity is certainly there for him. This also sets up as a nice game environment for him. There is really a lot to like about him this week, including the fair price tag, making him a popular option. This is chalk I would be willing to eat.


Jarvis Landry $7,200 at Pittsburgh Steelers

Landry makes a nice pivot off of Woods, as well as a leverage play from the Steelers defense that is projected to be highly owned this week. Pittsburgh has actually struggled against the pass, ranking 21st in DVOA against the pass and allowing 47.1 DKFP (4th most) per game to opposing wide receivers. In addition, this defense has allowed 85 receptions for 1,236 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns to the position, the 10 touchdowns being tied for second most in the league. Landry continues to be highly targeted, averaging 11.71 targets per game, which is good for 30 percent of the target share. He is also a big red zone target for the Browns, as he has 13 targets in the red zone, good for 50 percent of the team’s red zone targets. This will be the second time this year that he faces off against the Steelers defense, in the first meeting he caught seven passes for 106 yards, scoring 20.6 DKFP. Another performance like that is not out of the realm of possibilities this week, especially since the Browns are expected to be chasing points here, making this a potentially favorable game script.

Tight Ends


C.J. Uzomah vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Uzomah found the end zone in his last game and in the game prior was very efficient. This week he draws the best matchup a tight end can ask for against Tampa Bay. The Bucs are allowing the most DKFP per game to tight ends (20.1), while also having surrendered 40 receptions (4th most), 538 receiving yards (2nd most), and four touchdowns (2nd most) to the position. The Bengals will continue to rely on Uzomah as their tight end due to all of the injuries on their offense, so the opportunity should continue to be there for him. This is also a potential good game environment, as neither defense has been stout this season and both offenses can score points. This price is just too low for someone in this situation, making him a fan favorite this week.


Trey Burton $4,800 vs. New England Patriots

I really like David Njoku this week, and will probably have a lot of exposure to him, but I also expect him to be somewhat popular, therefore I will not be recommending him as a pivot play this week. Burton on the other hand, is not expected to have a ton of ownership and has quietly been very productive recently, scoring a touchdown in each of the last three games and scoring a touchdown in all but two games this year. He faces off against a Jets defense that has allowed three receiving touchdowns to opposing tight ends, tied for third most in the league. Burton accounts for 17 percent of the target share for Chicago and 16.7 percent of the red zone targets. He should continue to be efficient this week in a favorable situation.

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