4 NFL FanDuel Tournament Pivots for Week 2
If you've played daily fantasy sports for a while, you realize by now the importance of being contrarian, especially in large-field tournaments. Being able to recognize which players are going to be owned by the majority of the field -- and to find players who you think have a similar point projection but will come at much lower ownership -- can help separate you from your opponents.
The purpose of this article will be to identify some players who will be the chalk at each position and how you can pivot off of them with high-upside options who could go overlooked.
Let's take a look at pivot options for Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season.
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
FanDuel Price: $7,700
A loaded 13-game slate brings us plenty of options at every position, and getting off of the chalkier options can be a game-changer in tournaments.
Every week of the NFL season, there are players who stand out at their position for any number of reasons -- game script, cheaper salary and role change in the offense to name a few. They tend to be the most popular options each slate -- also known as the chalk. Sometimes you need exposure to those players. Other times it can be beneficial to get away from them and look elsewhere.
There are six quarterbacks priced ahead of Rivers -- Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady -- and except for maybe Rodgers, they are all in a great spot to score fantasy points. Right below Rivers, we have Dak Prescott facing a weak Washington defense, Ben Roethlisberger, set to bounce-back at home, or even Josh Allen ready to light up the New York Giants.
We have a pile of legitimately great fantasy options at quarterback in Week 2, so the question becomes: why Rivers?
Well, there is no one reason -- rather, it's a combination of everything for Rivers. He is in a game with a spread of only 2.5, meaning it should be very close, which could give him the edge over someone like Tom Brady, who is set for a blowout. Next, this game has an over/under of 47.5 -- the third-highest on the slate but not as high as Mahomes' or Brees' and tied with Brady's, which should help push ownership away from Rivers. Next, we saw in Week 1 that this Lions D isn't great as they allowed 22.6 FanDuel points to Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Kyler Murray, a level of production Rivers can certainly match.
In his opener, Rivers had 33 passing attempts for 333 yards and three touchdowns, something which is within his range of outcomes this week given the close spread and higher over/under. We have Rivers projected for 17.9 FanDuel points (12th among quarterbacks) and 1.88 touchdowns (tied for fifth among quarterbacks). While it might not seem obvious, there are plenty of factors going in Rivers' favor this week, making him a worthy pivot off of the chalkier options.
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
FanDuel Price: $6,900
Paying up for running backs is normally the way to do things in NFL DFS, but what if you zig when everyone zags?
By no means would I call Leonard Fournette a cash-game option, but we are here for tournament pivots, and he makes a great one this week. I'm not here to say don't play Saquon Barkley and go to Fournette since they $2,300 apart and not natural pivots away from each other. But in the case of Fournette, the players around him -- Todd Gurley ($7,000), Kerryon Johnson ($6,600), Damien Williams ($6,600), and Josh Jacobs ($6,500) -- all offer plenty of upside given their own circumstances.
So just like with Rivers, what makes Fournette special this week?
The matchup and his potential usage are why you should be looking toward Fournette this week. We know that Nick Foles is out with an injury, which means Gardner Minshew will be under center for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Week 1, Minshew looked good, going 22-for-25 with 275 yards and two touchdowns. Expecting that level of production again is a bit much to ask for a backup in his first-ever start (on the road no less), and the Jags would probably like to lean on Fournette if possible.
We have Fournette projected for 18.75 rushing attempts this week, which is the fourth-highest among running backs, along with a modest four targets, which could be on the rise. During training camp, there were reports that the Jaguars planned to use Fournette more in the passing game this season, and he logged a whopping 86% snap share in Week 1, a game in which the Jags trailed for much of the action. The Jaguars are 8.5-point road underdogs, so the passing game should very well be in play this week.
Lastly, the matchup versus the Houston Texans is one we want to exploit. In Week 1, the Texans allowed 32.1 FanDuel points to running backs, the third-most in the league. With a solid volume of carries, increased role in the passing game, and affordable price tag, Fournette makes a great pivot off of chalkier players.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
FanDuel Price: $6,300
Last week Bengals wide receiver John Ross darn near went super saiyan against the Seattle Seahawks, posting 158 yards and two touchdowns. Holy fantasy points right there, but lost in all the lights was Tyler Boyd, who racked up 11 targets (one fewer than Ross), and eight receptions for 60 yards. He could be ready to go off in Week 2. Right around Boyd in terms of pricing, we have his teammate Ross ($6,400), John Brown at ($6,300) going up against a bad Giants defense, Josh Gordon ($6,300) ready to blow out the Miami Dolphins, and Will Fuller ($6,100), who is always a threat for a long touchdown.
Boyd simply might get lost in the mix this week and be a lower-owned receiver who can see 10-plus targets.
It also helps that the matchup doesn't look amazing on paper with Cincy is up against the San Francisco 49ers, who allowed only 18.6 FanDuel points to receivers in Week 1, the sixth-fewest in the league. In Week 1, the 49ers played an out-of-sorts Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense, which helped boost the numbers of their D.
I'm fully on board with Boyd this week against a secondary that probably isn't as good as they showed in Week 1.
Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
FanDuel Price: $6,000
We all know that tight end can be a bit of a wasteland, but if you get it right, it can pay off big time in DFS.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Travis Kelce and George Kittle are atop the tight end position this week in terms of salary, but coming in as the sixth-most expensive option is Jared Cook. He is your tournament pivot at tight end this week, and it's similar to the other positions we've covered so far. Mark Andrews ($6,000) playing for the now explosive Baltimore Ravens' offense makes sense this week, along with T.J. Hockenson ($6,000), who coming off a record-setting rookie debut. One of the chalkier options should also be Darren Waller ($5,400), who is in a game with the highest over/under on the slate at 52.5 points.
With a 24.50 implied team total, the New Orleans Saints are set for a shootout with the Los Angeles Rams as the game's total is way up at 51.5 points. In Week 1, the Rams allowed 10 targets to the tight end position, but it ended in just 5.6 FanDuel points. The game script in this one -- only a 2.5 spread -- and a higher over/under should allow Cook to exceed that mark, and he'll likely carry lower ownership compared to the other tight ends mentioned. It might also help that Cook had success against this Rams' defense last season when he was a member of the Oakland Raiders, posting 9 receptions on 10 targets for 180 yards.