Week 9 FanDuel Tournament Pivots

Is Philip Rivers the right tournament quarterback on FanDuel this weekend?

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 9 slate with a list of pivot options.


Chalk: Philip Rivers $8,600 vs Chicago Bears

Philip Rivers has been nothing short of remarkable this season. He steps into this Week 9 matchup having thrown for 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in each of the past five games. Despite losing Keenan Allen for the season to a kidney injury, we should see Rivers continue to build upon his career year facing a Bears defense that ranks ninth worst against the pass, according to Net Expected Points (NEP).

Pivot: Peyton Manning $7,700 at Indianapolis Colts

Is Manning past his prime? Sure. But he still has something left in the tank. He looked like a whole other man coming out of their bye week, and he looked poised as he was connecting on his deep balls to Demaryius for most of the game in a tough matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

This week we see the revenge narrative, as Peyton faces his old team the Indianapolis Colts. He has an excellent matchup (Colts are ranked 27th versus the pass according to NEP), and also gets ideal throwing conditions (inside in a dome). With two elite receivers (Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders), a new weapon in Vernon Davis, and a resurgence in the running attack, we should expect to see this Broncos offense firing on all cylinders on Sunday afternoon.

Running Back

Chalk: Mark Ingram $7,700 vs Tennessee Titans

The New Orleans Saints have the second highest implied point total of the week, and appear to have a positive game script for Ingram, who has the benefit of playing at home in a game where the Saints are favored by nine. And while the Titans have allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, we have them ranked as a bottom 10 defensive unit against the run when it comes to NEP.

Much of Mark Ingram’s value comes from his red zone usage -- only once this season has he surpassed 80 rushing yards. Drew Brees has absolutely insane home/road splits this season, averaging twice as many touchdowns (2.75) and 45 more passing yards at home than on the road. Given Brees history at home, we should expect the touchdowns will come through the air. That may hinder Ingram's upside.

Pivot: Chris Ivory $5,900 vs Jacksonville Jaguars

After consecutive duds (just 58 rushing yards the last two games), we should expect Chris Ivory to have a nice bounce back game here against the Jaguars. Since returning from injury, Ivory is averaging over 22 touches per game. With Ryan Fitzpatrick dealing with torn ligaments in his thumb, the Jets could opt to run even more this week against a Jaguars defense which is allowing the seventh most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Also, as an added bonus, we’ve seen Ivory catch 8 passes in their three games following their bye. As a reference point, Ivory had just five receptions in his first three years in the league.

Wide Receiver

Chalk: Stefon Diggs $7,400 vs St Louis Rams

Since bursting on to the scene in Week 4, only DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Allen Robinson and Tavon Austin have more fantasy points per game in PPR leagues than Diggs. I haven’t been a big Diggs believer over the last couple weeks, but at his modest price tag, I had been riding the wave. This week, not so much.

Diggs has seen his salary rise almost $3,000 ($2,900 to be exact) since playing his first NFL game. He's now literally priced between Randall Cobb and Amari Cooper (two wide receiver options I like better this week). Since their bye, Diggs has faced pass defenses ranked 23rd on average, according to NEP. This week is a much tougher matchup against the third-ranked Rams pass defense, per NEP. Also, according to Pro Football Focus, Diggs should be lined up Janoris Jenkins, who ranks as the 10th best cornerback in the NFL. Just how good has Jenkins been? Well, over the last three games, he’s held opposing wide receivers to just 28 receiving yards. Combined.

I’m staying far away from Diggs this weekend.

Pivot: Brandin Cooks $7,100 vs Tennessee Titans

As I pointed out earlier, Brees has amazing numbers at home. The Saints' 28.5 implied point total indicates that Vegas expects the Saints and, in turn, Brees, to score touchdowns. Cooks seems to be getting back into the groove of things with back-to-back 6-reception, 80-yard games, and has lead all Saints wide receivers in targets in all but one game.

Tight End

Chalk: Antonio Gates $6,000 vs Chicago Bears

Ever since bursting on to the scene in Week 5 following a four game suspension, Antonio Gates has been a staple in both cash and tournament lineups. Despite missing those first four games and another due to an injury, he's tied for the team lead in red zone targets (7) with Keenan Allen, who was recently placed on season ending injury reserve.

However, this week seems to be the perfect week to pivot off Gates. With Allen gone, we should see an increase in volume, but the Bears are currently fifth best against opposing tight ends in fantasy points against. Aside from Jimmy Graham’s 7-reception, 83-yard and 1-touchdown stat line in Week 3, no other tight end has caught more than three balls or had more than 35 receiving yards against them.

Pivot: Charles Clay $5,700 vs Miami Dolphins

Charles Clay has long been awaiting the return of Tyrod Taylor. In the first five games of the season, Clay was fantasy’s sixth overall tight end, posting 22 catches for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns on a team-leading 33 targets. Since Taylor’s been gone, he's only had 12 receptions for 88 yards and no scores on 21 targets. Clay also has the advantage of being the only game in town, as Percy Harvin is doubtful and Sammy Watkins is questionable.

What puts this even more into tournament consideration is the roller coaster ride that is the Dolphins defense against tight ends. In three games this season, they've completely shut out team’s opposing tight ends; literally no catches. Yet, in the other four games, they’ve allowed an average of 7.75 receptions for 93 yards and 0.75 touchdowns. I’ll let you guess on which side I think Clay will be on this weekend.