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 2 of the 2020 NFL season.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
FanDuel Salaries: $8,200
The logical game to target for a shootout this week is Falcons-Cowboys and its slate-high 54.0 total, so Dak Prescott ($8,300) and Matt Ryan ($7,700) figure to be popular quarterback choices along with high-upside signal-callers like Lamar Jackson ($9,500), Patrick Mahomes ($9,000), and Kyler Murray ($8,000).
But one guy in that same salary range who may go overlooked is Josh Allen.
Allen posted a fantastic 28.18 FanDuel points in Week 1 and draws what should be a favorable matchup against a Miami D that just got torched on the ground by Cam Newton. However, he and the Bills have a 23.50 implied total that falls short of all the above quarterbacks, and the Buffalo-Miami over/under (41.0) is one of the lowest on the entire slate.
That probably doesn't have anyone running to roster Allen, but he was in a near identical scenario last week against the Jets, and things certainly worked out just fine.
That's because not only did he show his typical rushing upside (14 carries for 57 yards and a score), but Allen threw the ball 46 times -- a mark he's only hit one other time in his career -- helping him to his first ever 300-yard passing day. Even if it was game-plan specific, the passing volume is noteworthy because it wasn't like this was a particularly close game with the Jets sputtering on offense.
But the rushing ability is what really keeps Allen in play regardless of the game environment, and much like Newton, he doesn't need to air it out as much against Miami to put up a tournament-worthy score. This is further reflected in Brandon Gdula's simulations this week, where Allen's upside shines through as a top play.
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
FanDuel Salaries: $9,000
As home favorites with high implied totals, Ezekiel Elliott ($8,600) and Derrick Henry ($8,300) ought to be the chalk at running back, and Christian McCaffrey ($10,500) should garner his fair share because he's, you know, Christian McCaffrey. Value backs like Kenyan Drake ($6,600) and especially Jonathan Taylor ($5,800) figure to also find their way on many rosters.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($8,000) probably won't fly completely under the radar, but I'm not sure he sees the same popularity as the above backs, which makes him a fantastic play, as well.
Not only is last week's performance fresh on everybody's mind, but Barkley has an undesirable matchup on the road against Chicago in a game that projects to be low scoring. The Giants have the fourth-worst implied total on the slate (18.25), and the over/under is also the fourth-worst (42.0).
That's a whole lot working agains Barkley, but here's the good news.
Even in that rotten Week 1, Barkley's workload remained intact, as he accumulated 15 rushes and 9 targets and rarely left the field with an 86.76% snap rate. No other running back saw that many targets last week, and only McCaffrey and Elliott logged a higher snap rate. Barkley's market share of team opportunities (targets plus carries) also ranked fourth overall among running backs.
And while the matchup against Chicago isn't great, it should still be a step up from Pittsburgh. In 2019, the Bears ranked seventh in schedule-adjusted run defense, per numberFire's metrics, but their numbers were nowhere near the dominance of the Steelers (ranked second), and they placed middle-of-the-pack in FanDuel points allowed per game to opposing backs.
Plus, we might have all the evidence we need from Week 1, when Adrian Peterson of all people rumbled for 93 yards on 14 carries against them and even caught 3-of-3 targets for another.
Does Barkely have an easy path to a big game? Probably not. But we shouldn't underestimate his role and big-play ability after one garbage game, and few will be rostering him this weekend.
Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans
FanDuel Salaries: $6,100
There are plenty of appealing mid-range wideouts to choose from this week between guys like Calvin Ridley ($7,100), Amari Cooper ($7,000), Terry McLaurin ($6,500), Marvin Jones ($6,400), T.Y. Hilton ($6,300), and Michael Gallup ($6,000).
But I'm not sure Will Fuller will get the same level of attention despite tallying 10 targets (32.3% share) and nearly half of the air yards (49.6%) last week.
It will be some tough sledding for Fuller and the Texans, but we all know Deshaun Watson will have to chuck it in order to have even a slim chance of keeping up with Lamar Jackson and friends. That's pretty much how things ultimately played out late in the opener against the Chiefs, and Fuller finished with 8 receptions for 112 yards.
And even if Baltimore is able to more or less clamp down on the Texans, Fuller is still the type of player who's always one play away from turning an empty box score into a highlight reel deep touchdown. If you're stacking up Jackson and the Ravens, Fuller is the perfect compliment to complete it.
Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
FanDuel Salaries: $6,100
While he didn't have a particularly notable day at the office (9.8 FanDuel points), what is notable is that he had a 27.6% target share (eight targets), which just so happens to be the top mark among all tight ends on the slate. Although he didn't score, he was also targeted on two-of-three looks inside the 10-yard line.
But all that isn't likely to move the needle this week because Henry once again has an awkward salary in between the elites and values.
Those with extra cash will happily scoop up Travis Kelce ($7,800) or Mark Andrews ($7,500), while those looking to punt can hop all the way down to Jonnu Smith ($4,900) or hot name Logan Thomas ($4,700). Oh, and if you're right around $6k, Zach Ertz ($6,300) is right there at just $200 more.
Much like the Texans, the Chargers ought to be forced to pass against the Chiefs, and Henry should again be a big part of that passing attack, making him a worthwhile addition in Chiefs stacks.