4 NFL FanDuel Tournament Pivots for Week 3
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 3 of the 2019 NFL season.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
FanDuel Price: $7,200
The San Francisco 49ers come in as 6.5-point home favorites against the Pittsburgh Steelers in what should be a game largely overlooked by most DFS players. The over/under is set at 43.5, tied for the lowest on the slate, but we could be seeing most of those points come from the 49ers.
Jimmy Garoppolo had a very slow start to the season but turned things up to 11, as they say, against the Cincinnati Bengals last week. He ended with three touchdowns and 296 yards on 25 passing attempts -- good for 23.64 FanDuel points. The matchup for him this week is a legitimately great one as the Steelers are allowing the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks.
The issue most DFS players would have with this situation would be the overall game script, which lacks the potential upside. By that I mean, the 49ers should be in control of this game, and since the Steelers have a backup quarterback at the helm, they might not be able to keep things close.
If that were the case, then Garoppolo wouldn't have to push the ball downfield and the 49ers would opt to run the ball and keep the game under control. That is a situation which limits his potential upside.
The 49ers' defense is allowing 14.9 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks this season but has faced a lackluster Jameis Winston in Week 1 and an equally average Andy Dalton in Week 2. The Steelers have strong options on offense, and it's just a matter of getting them involved to keep the game close enough for Jimmy G to have to keep going to the air.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
FanDuel Price: $6,200
A total of 10.5. That's the total amount of FanDuel points Devonta Freeman has posted this season.
That's not good, but I'm on board with him to match and exceed that this week against the Indianapolis Colts.
An away game for the Atlanta Falcons might have people afraid to roster them, but not so fast. This game is in a dome, exactly where we want to see the Matt Ryan-led offense. This is a part of the reason why I like Freeman this week, so let's first take a look at what players are around him and why he is a strong tournament pivot.
At $6,200 we have James White, who is at home, a massive favorite, and plays a consistent role within the New England Patriots' offense. Then we have Peyton Barber at $6,100, and he is shaping up to be fairly popular against the lowly New York Giants. Finally, we have Frank Gore, at $5,700, who should see the majority of the work for the Buffalo Bills since Devin Singletary is out.
All of those players have plenty going for them and are good options in their own right, which is why the underperforming Freeman shouldn't be too popular. Finding a gem like this at lower ownership can be a game-changer in tournaments, and Freeman can be that player this week.
The Colts are allowing 30.9 FanDuel points per game to running backs this season, which is the third-most in the league. Regardless of Freeman's woes to start the season, this is a great spot for him in a game with the fifth-highest over/under on the slate.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
FanDuel Price: $5,700
Emmanuel Sanders is the 36th-most expensive wide receiver on the slate, and he averages the fourth-most FanDuel points per game among the available wideouts.
Both of those are true statements.
Manny Sanders is three-dozen receivers deep when it comes to pricing, but he's near the top of the list in terms of production. Something doesn't add up.
The Denver Broncos are on the road to take on the Green Bay Packers, and the team from the Mile High City comes in with an 18.25 implied team total, the fourth-lowest on the slate. Now, that might seem like an issue for some DFS players, but have no fear, Sanders will still reach value. Over the first two games of the season, the Broncos has scored a total of 30 real-world points, but Sanders is somehow a top fantasy receiver.
How is that possible?
The answer is simple: they are peppering him with targets -- 20 in total -- and most importantly, red zone targets. Sanders is tied for the league lead in red zone targets, sitting at six, per NFLSavant.com. While the Broncos' offense might lack overall upside, when they do get to the red zone, the ball is headed Sanders way.
If we really want to dig into the data, we see that Joe Flacco has an average depth of target (aDOT) sitting at 6.0 yards this season. Sanders has an aDOT of 8.0 yards and a target share of 25%, the latter being the highest on the team, according to airyards.com.
This all lines up nicely against the Packers, who struggle with shorter passes, allowing a high catch rate, and the overall volume of targets are at a sub-10-yard aDOT, also according to airyards.com. This a good matchup for Sanders, who should be able to continue to produce like a top receiver in the league.
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
FanDuel Price: $5,500
Hockenson had 22.1 FanDuel points in that Week 1 performance but only 1.2 in Week 2. It was night and day for the rookie, but he's in a spot to find a middle ground this week. The top-tier of tight ends is what we are accustomed to now, but if you are looking to pay down, the options can get dicey. We have O.J. Howard against a flowchart Giants team that struggles versus tight ends. Then Will Dissly, who always makes an interesting tournament play due to his upside, and Jason Witten, a massive home favorite against the Dolphins.
Cheap tight ends are actually decent this week, but the road 'dog Detroit Lions and Hockenson shouldn't see much ownership.
That is why we want to have him as the pivot this week against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are allowing 10.8 FanDuel points per game to tight ends, which is right around the league average. After getting torched in the passing game last week, the Eagles' defense is one we can pick on, and thus there is a path to fantasy points for Hockenson. A 46.0 over/under for this game is strong spot to target, and if Vernon Davis can score a touchdown against the Eagles, rookie tight end Hockenson could, as well.