NFL

4 NFL FanDuel Tournament Pivots for Week 5

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 5 of the 2020 NFL season.

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

FanDuel Salary: $7,700

When spending up at quarterback, you could argue there's a big four between Patrick Mahomes ($9,000), Lamar Jackson ($8,900), Dak Prescott ($8,700), and Deshaun Watson ($7,900) -- all quarterbacks with implied team totals hitting 30 points or higher.

But Matt Ryan and the Falcons aren't far behind at 27.50 implied points, and their game against the Panthers has a chance to turn into a full-fledged shootout.

Particularly in the cases of the Chiefs, Ravens, and Cowboys, they're massive home favorites who could easily find themselves nursing a multi-score lead late in the game, possibly hurting the upside of their respective quarterbacks.

On the other hand, Atlanta is favored by a mere 1.5 points over Carolina, and the over/under is right up there with those other games (53.5). The Falcons have struggled mightily on defense, leading to high-scoring shootouts just about every week. Atlanta's games have reached combined point totals of 63, 79, 56, and 46 thus far.

As a result, Ryan enters Week 5 with the third-most pass attempts in the league behind only Prescott and Joe Burrow, leading to the fourth-most passing yards. All those yards have translated to only seven passing scores, but the touchdowns will come as long as he continues to air it out every week. Ryan demonstrated some of that upside in Weeks 1 and 2, when he threw for 450 yards against Seattle and tallied 4 passing scores against Dallas.

Although the Panthers haven't been total slouches on defense, ranking 12th against the pass by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics, they're also one of the worst defenses in adjusted sack rate, so Ryan should have a clean pocket to work with.

Julio Jones' ailing hamstring remains an issue, as Jones' absence/early removal has hurt Ryan's output the last two games. That will certainly be a concern entering Sunday, but on a slate with a few obvious shootouts, this Panthers-Falcons game could shine through, and Ryan would be one of the top beneficiaries.

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

FanDuel Salary: $7,000

Similar to quarterback, there's a fairly clear top tier at running back, with Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000), Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($7,900), Kareem Hunt ($7,000), and Mike Davis ($6,800) all likely to see high roster percentages.

But if you're looking for an under-the-radar alternative to Hunt or Davis in the same salary range, James Conner could be the way to go.

This Eagles-Steelers game probably won't be at the forefront of many people's minds, as it has a ho-hum 44.5 total that's bottom of the barrel on the slate. Still, Pittsburgh is a 7.0-point home favorite with a solid 25.75 implied team total, so there's scoring potential for Conner in an otherwise uninspiring spot.

Conner has quietly posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing days, but more importantly, the volume has been there, with an average of 17.0 rushes and 3.5 targets over those two games. While the matchup against Philadelphia's defense isn't anything special, volume is volume, and the game script should be a favorable one for Conner.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans

FanDuel Salary: $5,200

After getting blanked against Minnesota on just three targets, no one is going to feel great about rostering Brandin Cooks despite the Texans and Jaguars combining for a tantalizing 54.5 total in Week 5. Watson and Will Fuller figure to be a fairly popular pairing in tournaments and rightfully so.

But If you want to go against the grain, giving Cooks another shot isn't the craziest strategy. He's still second on the team in air yards and targets, with a respectable 22.6% air yards share and 17.1% target share, and the matchup doesn't get much better than Jacksonville, which ranks dead last in pass defense and is dealing with multiple injuries.

And while Houston's coaching change doesn't necessarily mean Cooks will see an uptick in looks, if it improves the team's efficiency as a whole, it could be a rising tide that lifts all boats.

Considering Cooks' only notable game came in Week 2 when Fuller saw zero targets (likely due to injury), there's always the chance Cooks gives us another dud. But his roster percentage will almost certainly be low, so it's a risk worth taking on this slate.

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys

FanDuel Salary: $5,300

Last week's recommendation, Dalton Schultz, performed well, even earning a spot on Week 4's perfect FanDuel lineup. Despite that, I'm not getting the impression he'll be wildly popular on Sunday, particularly with Evan Engram ($5,500) attracting attention as a solid value at nearly the same salary.

So we're going back to the well with Schultz, who's now seen 8, 6, and 10 targets over the last three games following Blake Jarwin's Week 1 injury. While the Cowboys' matchup against the Giants isn't as guaranteed to go bananas as prior weeks, getting inexpensive exposure to this offense is always welcome, and Schultz leads the team in red-zone targets (five).