Week 7 DraftKings Tournament Pivots

Todd Gurley is the chalky play this week, but LeSean McCoy could be the perfect pivot in tournaments.

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 5 slate with a list of pivot options.


Chalk: Carson Palmer vs Baltimore Ravens $6,700

Carson Palmer will easily be the highest owned quarterback on DraftKings this week. At home, favored by nine, with one of the highest implied Vegas point totals of the week against a defense that ranks sixth in passing yards allowed and passing touchdowns allowed, he makes for a great play. Oh yeah, and did I mention Palmer has hit that elusive 300 passing yard bonus mark in every home game this season? What’s not to like? 

Well…that ownership percentage…

Pivot: Philip Rivers vs Oakland Raiders $6,500

What do Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Josh McCown and Jay Cutler all have in common? All four have thrown for multiple touchdowns against the Raiders this season. Not exactly a who’s who list of quarterbacks.

Philip Rivers has now thrown for at least 350 passing yards in each of his last three games. In three games at home this season, he has thrown for an average of 375 passing yards, 2.3 passing touchdowns and 1 interception. He’s currently averaging 26.2 DraftKings points per home game, which is a little over four times value.

So Rivers has been killing it at home, but what about the matchup? Well, the Raiders are currently third worst in the league against the pass, per our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric.. And, as we all know, you can attack the Raiders from the tight end position; a position where the Chargers have two excellent pass-catching options in Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green.

Running Back

Chalk: Todd Gurley vs Cleveland Browns $5,000

How is Gurley only $5,000? Is this some sort of mistake? Why do I feel like I’m being punk’d here? Do people still know what getting punk’d means? Or who Ashton Kutcher is? Why am I asking so many questions?

After back-to-back 140 yard rushing games – on the road, mind you – Gurley gets the opportunity to play at home, with game script in his favor (Rams are favored by 5.5 points) against a Cleveland Browns team that ranks dead last against the run according to our numbers. Get your popcorn ready!

Pivot: LeSean McCoy at Jacksonville Jaguars $5,500

Someone on this offense has to produce, right? Tyrod Taylor, Percy Harvin, Sammy Watkins, and Karlos Williams have all been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and with a hodgepodge of backup receivers and E.J. Manuel under center, we should expect to see the Bills try to run the ball heavily in this game. It’s Rex Ryan, after all. It’s what he does. Run the ball and play good defense. McCoy had 19 touches last week in his return, and we should expect that to only increase against a Jaguars team allowing the fourth most fantasy points to opposing running backs on the season.

Wide Receiver

Chalk: John Brown vs Baltimore Ravens $5,500

Over the last three weeks, John Brown has quietly lead the Cardinals in catches, yards, targets and red zone targets. Not too shabby for someone priced almost $2,000 lower than his counterpart, Larry Fitzgerald.

Brown faces a hapless Baltimore Ravens secondary that's allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. And, specifically, we should expect Brown to be lined up across from Kyle Arrington. This season, Arrington is allowing the third highest catch in the NFL (82.6%) and a quarterback rating of 113.8. Combine this with John Brown’s big play potential – 14.5 average depth of target, 12th highest in the NFL of wide receivers playing at least 50% of snaps – and you have another opportunity for a big day.

Pivot: Donte Moncrief vs New Orleans Saints $5,200

Moncrief is a bit of a forgotten man. In most people’s eyes, he’s stuck as the WR2 on the depth chart behind T.Y. Hilton, and is the second option in what has been an underwhelming passing attack so far this season. What many don’t realize is that, on the season, Moncrief has scored more DraftKings points than his teammate. And it hasn’t been boom-or-bust games like many may be thinking -- Moncrief has finished either ahead of, or within one fantasy point of, Hilton in five out of six games this season.

Additionally, Moncrief has been exceptional when Andrew Luck has played. In their four games together, Moncrief has a 23 catches for 269 yards and 4 scores on 37 targets, including a touchdown in each game. Over these four games, he leads the Colts in targets, receptions and touchdowns. He has also caught at least 6 balls for at least 69 yards in every home game this season.

Now let’s talk about the matchup. The Saints rank fourth worst in schedule-adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Vegas has this game as the highest over/under of the week, with the Colts scoring the third most implied points. And Moncrief should be lined up against Brandon Browner -- Browner currently ranks dead last in Pro Football Focus’ cornerback rankings (107th). All of this has him in line for a big game.

Tight End

Chalk: Antonio Gates vs Oakland Raiders $5,000

This is probably one of the more obvious plays of the week. If Gates isn't in your cash lineups, I feel bad for you -- the Raiders have allowed all but one tight end to score top-two tight end points against them each week this year. 

Tournament-wise, though, the play is to pivot off of Gates. Again, there are some very obvious reasons to roster him, but you could gain a huge advantage over the field by fading him in a game where game script will not be in his favor like the past two weeks.

Pivot: Travis Kelce vs Pittsburgh Steelers $4,900

The Pittsburgh Steelers currently allow the third most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. This is large in part because of two games, Week 1 against the New England Patriots and Rob Gronkowski and Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers and Antonio Gates. In those two games, the Steelers allowed 20 receptions for 237 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns to tight ends. 

With no Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Maclin still dealing with concussion issues, we could end up seeing Kelce as the centerpiece of the offense, making him a good play.