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WC DFS Pivot Plays week 18 2017
By Armando Marsal
The NFL playoffs have begun and while season-long leagues are now behind us for the most part, DFS is still going. If you have read my Pivot Plays series all year long, first of all thank you, and secondly you will notice this week’s edition being a little different. Being that there are only four games, ownership tends to be a bit tricky this week and there can be multiple chalky players at each position. That said, there are still players who tend to go overlooked on these short slates and while they will not be sub 10 percent owned in most cases, they will have a lower ownership than they should be on a slate like this. These are the players I will be focusing on in this article and while they may come with risk, they also provide you with a chance to move up the rankings at a much quicker pace if they produce quality numbers. Let’s jump right into it and go over some pivot plays for this week.
Alex Smith $6,300 vs. Tennessee TitansThe ownership at the quarterback position is typically spread out and that will likely be the case this weekend, but Smith could get lost in the shuffle and draws a very nice matchup. The Titans rank ninth worst in DVOA against the pass. They also allowed 27 passing touchdowns this season, while giving up the seventh most passing yards. Smith finished out the season nicely, with two 300+ passing yard games in his last four and scoring at least 18 DK points in three of those games. The Titans did a nice job stopping the run this season, so this could be a game where the Chiefs have to rely on Smith’s arm a tad more than they normally do, increasing his upside. I would not be surprised if he was 10-15 percent owned which would be very low considering the situation, making him a nice tournament option this weekend.
Devonta Freeman $6,300 at Los Angeles RamsConsidering the options at running back this week and the fact that Freeman was dealing with a knee issue, I expect him to go overlooked. That can be a mistake as he gets a very favorable matchup against the Rams who allowed the fourth most fantasy points per game to running backs this season (tied with the Bucs). The Rams surrendered 107.1 rushing yards per game and 4.6 YPC, as well as 80 receptions for 707 yards and three receiving touchdowns, with a 69 percent catch rate. Freeman is a well versed back who can both run and catch passes out of the backfield efficiently, which increases upside on a site like DraftKings that is PPR. Even if the Falcons fall behind in this one like they are expected to, Freeman will have a role in the offense. As a matter of fact he had 11 targets in the final game of the season, catching nine of those for 85 yards and a touchdown. While he will not be less than 10 percent owned this weekend, I could see him being below 20 percent and that is appealing enough for me to have exposure to him in tournaments. After all, he does offer nice upside.
Rishard Matthews $4,900 at Kansas City ChiefsMatthews had a streaky ending to the season, scoring fewer than seven DK points in three of his last five games, but he also scored 20+ DK points in two of those games. This is a solid matchup for him as he faces off against a Chiefs defense that allowed the second most fantasy points per game to receivers. They gave up 13 receptions and 177.3 receiving yards per game, while surrendering 18 touchdowns to the position, which was third most in the league. The one on one matchup against Marcus Peters is not the most appealing one, but Matthews does have a nine percent advantage rating against Peters, which is the seventh highest of the slate. I am also attracted by the price for Matthews this week because it allows me to fit in some of the higher priced players I am interested in. In addition, the potential game script favors Matthews as the Titans are 8.5 point underdogs, so they should be chasing points in this one. Lastly, this is a spot where I think Matthews goes completely overlooked, making him an enticing tournament option.
Charles Clay $4,000 at Jacksonville JaguarsClay has the big red Q on the side of his name as he is dealing with a knee injury that has him limited in practice, but he is fully expected to give it a go this weekend. The matchup is far from enticing, but this is a position where the options are limited and differentiating yourself at tight end might be wise. Clay closed out the season getting pepper with 27 targets in the last three games, so the volume is high enough to take him in a subpar matchup like the one at hand. Aside from that, his price is reasonable considering his upside. Lastly, the Bills are expecting to be chasing points in this contest, which would force them to pass the ball and potentially create more target opportunities for Clay. Between the red Q next to his name and a matchup against the Jaguars, not many people will be looking to roster Clay, but in large field tournaments I do not mind taking a shot on him.
Good luck to all this week. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on the Twitter machine: @Armando_Marsal