4 NFL FanDuel Tournament Pivots for Week 17

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 17 of the 2019 NFL season.


Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

FanDuel Price: $6,900

In what could be the final game for Andy Dalton in a Bengals uniform, we are to looking him in tournaments.

This isn't some narrative-based tournament play, though. The Red Rifle is a legitimately good play this week against the Cleveland Browns, and he shouldn't be highly owned at all. First off, both teams are out of the playoffs, and thus, have "nothing to play for." That is a common theme we see at this point in the season -- what teams need to be winning games and what teams don't. We should see decent ownership on the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, or Tennessee Titans this week, since those teams have to win for playoff scenarios. The Bengals, on the other hand, have been out of the playoffs since seemingly October and are a great tournament option this week.

The Browns are allowing 19.0 FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, the 13th-most in the league. Dalton is coming off a massive game against the Miami Dolphins, where he went for 396 yards and 4 touchdowns. With the Bengals playing from behind in most games this season, we see Dalton coming in averaging 41 passing attempts per game, the third-most in the league. His volume of passing attempts gives him a nice ceiling of potential points against a middle of the road defense.

Running Back

Duke Johnson, Houston Texans

FanDuel Price: $5,200

The Houston Texans can only move up in playoff seeding if the Kansas City Chiefs lose at home.

Houston is at home and taking on their division rivals, the Tennessee Titans, who need to win to secure the final wild card spot in the AFC. Nothing like beating a rival and keeping them out of the playoffs, right?

What do we make of all this? The Texans would need the Los Angeles Chargers to go on the road and beat the Chiefs and then beat the Titans in order to jump up in the playoff seeding. It's a good amount to ask for, and with the Chiefs playing at 1 pm, the Texans will know the outcome prior to kickoff. This could leave an opening for some of their backups to see extended playing time.

One of those backups is Duke Johnson, who has played on 49.5% of the snaps this season but averages only 7.9 total touches per game. He has a consistent role within the offense in terms of snaps, but his production truly isn't there. Most of his workload comes in the passing game, which is the spot the Titans' defense is very weak. This season, the Titans have allowed the 3rd-most receptions and the 10th-most receiving yards to running backs this season. The Texans might not have anything to play for once kickoff rolls around, and they could very well ease the volume off their starters, opening up some production for Johnson.

Wide Receiver

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

FanDuel Price: $6,500

The Cowboys need to win this week to have a chance at making the playoffs, simple as that.

Dallas is at home to host the Washington Redskins, which has the Cowboys as an 11-point favorite with an implied team total sitting at 28.25. This is a very winnable matchup for the Cowboys, and with Washington allowing 27.8 FanDuel points per game to wide receivers, we should see them turn to the passing game. There was plenty of talk surrounding Amari Cooper and his role in the offense late in the game last week, giving us a bit of 'squeaky wheel' narrative. If DFS players are going to be looking towards Cooper, you want to pivot to Michael Gallup.

Over the past six weeks, Gallup has actually played on more snaps than Cooper in every single game, along with having more targets in four of the six. Gallup is their de facto number one wide receiver, even if no one is willing to say it. He has a higher aDOT, a higher target share, and a higher market share of air yards compared to Cooper.

Tight End

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

FanDuel Price: $5,600

The Denver Broncos have a modest 22.25 implied team total but have a very soft matchup.

Denver has won three of their last four games and can end their season on a high note if they are able to beat the Oakland Raiders at home this week. This recent stretch of success started once Drew Lock became the starting quarterback and has led them to score 23 points or more in three of their last four games. The offense is looking good right now, and they can certainly continue that this week against the Raiders, who are allowing 21.3 FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks and 11.6 FanDuel points per game to opposing tight ends.

Those 11.6 points allowed are the fifth-most in the league and should give a nice opening to Noah Fant, who has the second-most receiving yards on the team since Lock became the quarterback, along with the fifth-most targets. The former first-round pick is carving out a nice role for himself in the new-look Broncos offense, and we should see that in full effect this week against the Raiders.