Week 6 NFL DraftKings Tournament Pivots

You can't be all chalk in tournaments. Let's take a look at some players to use instead of the popular weekly picks.

In daily fantasy football tournaments, you don't want to use the same guys everyone else is playing. You need to be different. You need to be contrarian.

Throwing chalk plays into a tournament lineup can sometimes work, but it's also important to know which players to pivot to, or use instead of the popular, chalky option. Let's take a look at the Week 6 slate with a list of pivot options.


Chalk: Carson Palmer at Pittsburgh Steelers $6,300

This season, Carson Palmer has thrown for multiple touchdowns or 300 passing yards in every game. This week, Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals travel east for an early game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's perceived that the Steelers are an easy matchup for any quarterback after allowing big games to the likes of Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick early on in the season, however, our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric shows us that the Steelers are actually middle of the pack when it comes stopping the pass in sum (15th) and per passing play (16th). Palmer's a good play, but don't go overboard.

Pivot: Peyton Manning at Cleveland Browns $6,600

$6,600? $6,600?! Is this really what Peyton Manning has become? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Manning’s salary this low. And I know I've never seen it less than his brother’s before (Eli Manning $6,800). Since the start of the season, Manning's salary has decreased $1,600 (tied for fourth most in the NFL). Typically, targeting players that have seen a significant drop in salary despite no significant role change is a profitable endeavor in daily fantasy sports.

Regardless of potential arm issues, the elder Manning still knows how to direct an offense downfield. Many will be off him because of the “start your running backs vs the Cleveland Browns” mentality. But, we’ve seen little from C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman for me to believe this happens this weekend. Meanwhile, Peyton faces the Browns which have allowed the 12th most Passing NEP on the season as well as the 10th most NEP per passing play.

Running Back

Chalk: Le'Veon Bell vs Arizona Cardinals $8,500

Whether it be cash games or tournaments, Le’Veon Bell is always going to be highly owned. Last week, he was 36.8% owned in DraftKings Millionaire Maker tournament. He rewarded his owners with his typical 100-plus total yards and a touchdown stat line. This week, things could be a little different.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing on a short week against one of the most ferocious run defenses in the NFL. This season, the Arizona Cardinals have been a top 10 team against the run, per NEP. Bell also has a negative game script, as Vegas has his Steelers projected to lose by three points. Now, I’ll admit, in Le’Veon’s case, game script may not be much of an issue as he's heavily involved in the passing game; fifth in NFL in targets and fourth in receptions by running backs since coming off suspension.

Given the tough matchup and likely high ownership, though, I would look to fade Bell this weekend to help gain that edge over the field in tournaments.

Pivot: Arian Foster at Jacksonville Jaguars $7,000

After being slowly worked back into the lineup in Week 4, Arian Foster touched the ball a whopping 28 times last week against the Indianapolis Colts. What you really liked seeing was his large involvement in the passing game -- those nine receptions really help on a full point per reception (PPR) site like DraftKings. The Houston Texans have made it pretty obvious early on that their offense will funnel through Foster and third-year phenom DeAndre Hopkins.

While the Jacksonville Jaguars do present a tougher matchup than most expect -- ranking 12th best against the run, per our numbers  – they have been susceptible to allowing big games. In Week 3, they allowed a combined 171 total yards and 4 touchdowns to the Patriots running backs, and 158 total yards and 3 touchdowns just last week to Doug Martin. The Texans are also playing at the fastest pace in the league, providing Foster with a safe floor and what will surely be plenty of opportunities to touch the ball.

Wide Receiver

Chalk: Julian Edelman at Indianapolis Colts $7,600

Last week, Julian Edelman broke his streak of 10 straight games with 7 or more receptions. A combination of this consistency, low pricing, and the high upside of the New England Patriots offense had him 28.9% owned in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker tournament.

This week, the Patriots set to take their revenge on the team that blew the whistle on deflategate. The stars are once again aligning, as the Patriots 31.5 implied point total is the highest of the week and face an Indianapolis Colts secondary that has allowing the third-most Passing NEP on the season.

Now, obviously the narrative this time is much different given the deflategate scandal, however over the past two seasons, the Patriots have elected to heavily run the ball versus the Colts in order to win. In the 2014 AFC Championship, LeGarrette Blount ran 30 times for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns. In Week 11 of last year, Jonas Gray rushed 37 times for 201 yards and 4 scores. In a 2013 Divisional Round game, Blount went for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns, too.

This game may have another run-heavy focus, and while Edelman still did perform well in these games in terms of receptions and yards, the touchdowns obviously were not there to make him an elite tournament play.

Pivot: Brandon Marshall vs Washington Redskins $7,100

Brandon Marshall is the only receiver in the NFL with at least six receptions in every game this season. His NEP is higher than more expensive receivers like Demaryius Thomas, Randall Cobb and Calvin Johnson, and his 31.2% team target share is one of the highest in the league. Heading into Week 5, their bye week, Marshall ranked ninth in the NFL in targets, receiving at least 10 every game.

The Washington Redskins are ninth best in Defensive Rushing NEP per play. Simply put, aside from Devonta Freeman, it's tough to run on the Redskins. Coming off a bye, Marshall could fly under everyone’s radar and be relatively low owned this week.

Tight End

Chalk: Antonio Gates at Green Bay Packers $4,600

When you blow up in an island game like Gates did this past Monday night, you get a lot of attention from the DFS world. And, in his case, rightfully so. Gates led the San Diego Chargers in targets, receptions, receiving yards, red zone targets and touchdowns last week. Quite the statement coming back from his PED suspension.

However, the Packers have only allowed one touchdown this season to a tight end (Martellus Bennett in Week 1) and were able to hold Jimmy Graham to just 1 catch for 11 yards in Week 2. With the third-lowest Vegas implied point total of the week, I’m looking elsewhere at tight end.

Pivot: Tyler Eifert at Buffalo Bills $4,900

Eifert is the quintessential tight end tournament play, as he's been very boom or bust this season. His five touchdowns top all tight ends, and is tied among all NFL receivers. Despite the Bills having the “appearance” of a tough defense, they've been very soft against the tight end, having allowed the 10th most fantasy points to the position.

Eifert is the only tight end with more than one multiple touchdown performances this season. And, while Gronk could easily tie this mark this week, I’d rather roll the dice on Eifert who has similar upside at a lower cost and lower percentage of ownership.