4 NFL FanDuel Tournament Pivots for Week 7
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 7 of the 2020 NFL season.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel Salary: $9,000
Patrick Mahomes has the highest quarterback salary on the slate, may have to contend with snow and cold temperatures, and isn't in a game with an exciting over/under (45.5). But any time we can roster Mahomes at a lower roster percentage in tournaments, it's hard to not be intrigued.
The Broncos rank ninth in schedule-adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics, but the Chiefs are still showing a pretty hefty 27.50 implied total. It's not an ideal matchup and there are blowout concerns, but considering we saw Mahomes whoop the vaunted Ravens for an absurd 385 passing yards and 5 total touchdowns earlier this season (40.0 FanDuel points), we shouldn't underestimate his ability to rise to the challenge.
As for the snow, we coincidentally saw these same two teams play in wintery conditions last year. The result? Mahomes throwing for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns. While it's worth noting that it was a home game, it's still a positive sign that Mahomes won't necessarily be adversely affected by the conditions.
Another positive for Mahomes' fantasy value is how he's bumped his rushing attempts to 5.7 per game, up from just 3.1 last season. As a result, he's actually sixth among quarterbacks in rushing yards (165) and has a pair of rushing scores, further adding to his weekly potential.
On a slate with three different games exceeding 54-point totals, Mahomes will have a tougher path to a ceiling game compared to guys like Russell Wilson ($8,700), Kyler Murray ($8,400), or Deshaun Watson ($8,000). But if you're multi-entering tournaments, Mahomes deserves to be on your radar as a rare contrarian choice.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
FanDuel Salary: $9,500
Between the aforementioned highly-anticipated shootouts and just how bad Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys looked without Dak Prescott last week, Elliott may actually be flying a bit under the radar this week. Dallas' implied total is in the bottom half of the slate (23.50) as mere 1.0-point road favorites over Washington, and the game's 46.0 over/under is the third-worst on the board.
None of that screams upside, but let's not forget that volume is king for running backs, and we shouldn't expect that to change for Elliott despite two lost fumbles against Arizona. Even in that debacle, Elliott saw 12 carries and 10 targets, and Washington isn't exactly a strong candidate to blow the doors off the Cowboys like the Cardinals did. And while his 60.7% snap rate in that blowout loss was easily his worst mark of the year, he still leads all backs on the season with an 82.5% rate.
This doesn't project as a particularly lucrative game for fantasy purposes, and the Cowboys no longer look like they'll be a high-flying offense under Andy Dalton. But it's not very often we can roster a bell-cow running back at a potentially lower roster percentage, and that's what we could have with Elliott this weekend.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Tyreek Hill isn't going to sneak by anyone, but it's also difficult to see him being that popular when so many guys in his salary range are simply in better spots.
DeAndre Hopkins ($9,000), Davante Adams ($8,900), Calvin Ridley ($8,400), and Julio Jones ($8,300) will all be in exciting game environments, and if you dip into the $7k grouping, you'll find guys like Kenny Golladay ($7,600), Tyler Lockett ($7,400), and D.K. Metcalf ($7,300), too.
Hill is also coming off a dud against Buffalo (4.0 points) and hasn't had a true blowup game yet, falling short of 20 FanDuel points in every game thus far. In fact, outside of the 99 yards he earned in Week 2, he hasn't really flirted with 100 receiving yards in any other game. That contest was his only game with double-digit targets (11), as well.
All of that may not sound great, but the ceiling should still be intact for a guy who leads the team with a 36.4% air yards share and has Mahomes as his quarterback. Last year's snow game against Denver didn't slow him down much, either, as he caught both of Mahomes' touchdowns that day. A 17.8% target share lowers Hill's floor, but he's a viable way to go against the grain this week.
Hayden Hurst, TE, Atlanta Falcons
FanDuel Salary: $5,600
Hayden Hurst occupied this space last week in the hopes that Julio Jones would help jumpstart a stagnant Atlanta offense. Sure enough, Matt Ryan and Julio both went bananas, and Hurst got in on the fun by cashing in on one of Ryan's four touchdowns, helping him to a respectable 13.7 FanDuel points.
The Falcons are one of those teams expected to be in a shootout with a 54.5 total against Detroit. Tight end gets pretty bleak after the top few guys, so you could do worse than try and get cheap exposure to a high-total games with Hurst and hope he finds the end zone again. He's averaging just over five targets per game and still ranks highly in routes run at the position.