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 2020 NFL season.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
FanDuel Salary: $8,100
I mentioned Josh Allen in this space last week, but we once again have a scenario where he may go overlooked despite scoring 34.50 and 28.18 FanDuel points the last two weeks.
That's because Russell Wilson ($8,700), Dak Prescott ($8,500), and Kyler Murray ($8,400) are all involved in projected shootouts with high implied totals, while Cam Newton ($7,700) isn't about to fly under the radar following an eye-popping performance against the Seattle on a new-look Patriots offense.
Los Angeles could prove to be a tougher test -- they're numberFire's fourth-ranked schedule-adjusted pass defense so far -- but we also shouldn't discount just how well Allen has played. In back-to-back weeks, he's achieved career-highs in passing yards and leads the league in that department through two weeks. He's even uncharacteristically completed 70.4% of his passes, which is well above last year's 58.8% rate.
But perhaps most telling is that he's tied with Aaron Rodgers in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, trailing only Russell Wilson. While it's obviously early. Allen was well below the league average in the metric last season, let alone anywhere near the top of the leaderboard.
And to top it all off, he's still doing plenty of running, with the fourth-most rushing attempts and rushing yards at the position. Don't forget about Allen when filling out your tournament lineups this weekend.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
FanDuel Salary: $8,600
With so much value at running back this week, a popular build will likely be to pay down for mid-to-low range guys like Jonathan Taylor ($6,700), Miles Sanders ($7,500), and Kenyan Drake ($6,500), who all project well at their respective salaries. And when paying up, Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000) and Derrick Henry ($8,200) figure to once again be popular as they were last week.
At a glance, Cook's opportunities have looked sparse compared to other top backs, as he's averaged just 13 carries and 2 targets over the first two games. However, much of that has been the result of Minnesota just not having the ball much in poor performances against Indianapolis and Green Bay -- the Vikings rank dead last in time of possession.
In fact, Cook has actually earned the fourth-best market share of opportunities this season, behind only Josh Jacobs, Henry, and Elliott. He also saw his snap rate improve to a hefty 80% in Week 2, which ranked fourth among running backs.
This week's game against the Titans projects as a tight battle, with the Vikings being just a three-point home underdog, so it wouldn't be unrealistic to see Cook's raw output jump up in a better game environment. The other positive? This game also has a 49.5 total, which ranks as the third-best of the whole slate.
Tennessee's defense has rated poor against the run in the early going, too, placing 29th in numberFire's rankings. Despite Minnesota's struggles, there's definitely a path to a strong performance from Cook.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
FanDuel Salary: $5,500
The masses are going to flock to Dallas-Seattle and Detroit-Arizona for their game stacks, with both contests seeing tantalizing totals that are now hovering about 55 points apiece. In addition to the wideouts from those spots, volume-based plays like Adam Thielen ($7,200), Allen Robinson ($6,900), and D.J. Moore ($6,700) could also draw their share of attention.
Really, there's a lot of solid mid-range value to go around, and once you throw the budget running backs, it won't be hard to fit them all in.
There's no question Carson Wentz and the Eagles have been awful to begin the year, but Washington and the aforementioned Rams have both been top pass defenses thus far, so the matchups haven't been in their favor.
This week's tilt versus the Bengals should be different, as Cincinnati is just 20th in adjusted pass defense, and Philadelphia has a healthy 26.00 implied total that actually exceeds that of the Cowboys and Lions.
As for Jackson himself, he ranks just behind teammate Dallas Goedert in target share (19.3%) but has far and away the largest chunk of air yards (33.8%). In terms of raw air yards, he's behind only Cincinnati's A.J. Green on the season.
We haven't seen Jackson have one of those massive spike weeks yet, and what better time to shoot for one than when everyone else has moved on.
Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys
FanDuel Salary: $4,900
Tight end feels difficult to gauge this week with Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews off the main slate, George Kittle ruled out, and Darren Waller ($6,600) in a tougher matchup. Waller should still be fairly popular after a monster Week 2, but otherwise we could see most people punting the position.
Guys in the sub-$6k range include Jonnu Smith ($5,600), Dallas Goedert ($5,200), and Logan Thomas ($4,900), which should keep roster percentages fairly spread out. T.J. Hockenson ($5,400) should get some looks as a cheap way to gain exposure to a shootout.
But Dalton Schultz doesn't seem to be getting talked about much despite his low salary in what should be the most popular game stack. Part of that is presumably because Amari Cooper ($7,000), CeeDee Lamb ($5,600), and Michael Gallup ($5,700) already give us plenty of ways to access the Cowboys' passing game, and none of them will break the bank.
And yet, Schultz outscored all of them in Week 2 -- his first full game without Blake Jarwin -- by catching 9 of 10 targets for 88 yards and a score. While we can't expect that type of production every week, it goes to show how much upside you can get from rostering any of the key pieces of this offense in a positive game environment.
On paper, Seattle is expected to be a tougher matchup for tight ends this season, but they were one of the worst defenses against the position in 2019, and it's not like their pass defense as a whole has been an impervious force so far.
Any opportunity to get a less popular piece of this game should be welcomed -- especially at this salary point -- and Schultz could provide us that.