Week 11 FanDuel Tournament Pivots

Derek Carr is a popular choice on FanDuel this week, but Matt Ryan could make for a better option 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: Derek Carr $7,700 at Detroit Lions (15.3% owned in FanDuel’s Thursday Night Mini Dive)

Derek Carr has been red hot since the Raiders Week 6 bye, averaging over 300 passing yards and 3 touchdowns per game. The matchup against the Lions' 30th-ranked pass defense, according to Net Expected Points (NEP), is also exploitable.

Vegas projects this game to be high scoring (48.5 over/under) and close (line currently at even). While I find no qualms with rostering Carr, history has shown that highly-owned quarterbacks rarely win larger tournaments -- you'll want to pivot.

Pivot: Matt Ryan $7,800 vs Indianapolis Colts (4.3% owned in FanDuel’s Thursday Night Mini Dive)

Lost in the Devonta Freeman hype has been Matt Ryan and this Falcons' passing attack. Much like Carr, Ryan gets the advantages of playing a poor secondary (Colts rank 28th against the pass, according to NEP) and playing in ideal passing conditions (in a dome). The Falcons are also tied for the highest implied Vegas point total and have the luxury of playing at home as opposed to on the road.

Running Back

Chalk: Charcandrick West $7,100 at San Diego Chargers (36.0% owned in FanDuel’s Thursday Night Mini Dive)

West was left for dead in tournaments last week (just 1.6% owned in the Thursday night Mini Dive), but this week, he's the highest owned running back on the slate.

Much of last week's skepticism came from a perceived tough matchup against the Denver Broncos, whom he annihilated for 161 total yards and 2 touchdowns. This week, he gets a much softer matchup against a Chargers team that ranks 29th against the run, according to NEP. West will be a staple in cash game lineups this week because of the matchup and huge workload (24 or more touches in every game as the starter), but you may want to shy away from using him in tournaments.

Pivot: Jonathan Stewart $7,000 vs Washington Redskins (6.5% owned in FanDuel’s Thursday Night Mini Dive)

Much like West, Stewart has seen a large workload (20 carries or more in every game since their Week 5 bye). While the matchup looks average (Redskins 19th against the run, according to NEP), Washington has been a little shaky as of late. Over the last five games, the Redskins are allowing 166 rushing yards per game and an unbelievable 5.4 yards per carry. Additionally, teams are averaging a little over 30 running back carries per game against them over this span. This is largely because teams have built large leads and have been grinding out the clock via the run in the second half. This type of game script shouldn't differ for Stewart and the Panthers, as they are currently listed as 8.5-point favorites according to Vegas.

With Stewart’s red-zone usage (25 red-zone looks over the last 5 weeks) and game script (heavily favored at home), he's got a shot to find the end zone this weekend.

Wide Receiver

Chalk: Michael Crabtree $6,500 at Detroit Lions (19.8% owned in FanDuel’s Thursday Night Mini Dive)

Much of my thoughts on Derek Carr could be placed in this section on Michael Crabtree. It's not that he’s a bad play, just one to avoid thanks to ownership, as seen by his 19.8% ownership rate in FanDuel's Thursday Night Mini Drive.

Pivot: Sammy Watkins $6,600 at New England Patriots (6.2% owned in FanDuel’s Thursday Night Mini Dive)

Watkins is your prototypical tournament play -- boom or bust with little to no consistency and you never know when the big game is coming.

Or do you?

This season, Watkins has a touchdown in three out of four games where he’s played at least 50% of the snaps. Obviously predicting when Watkins injuries will flare up is no easy task, but assuming Watkins can stay healthy, he’s played well.

In Week 2, when Watkins was coming back from an injury and playing the Patriots, he finished with 6 receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown. Not a gigantic stat line, but still serviceable. As he was in Week 2, he should be lined up on Malcolm Butler, who's among the lead leaders in receiving yards allowed by a cornerback. Buffalo is a full touchdown dog which should put game script in Watkins favor.

Tight End

Chalk: Greg Olsen $6,400 vs Washington Redskins (18.9% owned in FanDuel’s Thursday Night Mini Dive)

I don’t fully understand the attraction to Greg Olsen this week. Has he been consistent? Sure. But even in a majority of his “big” games, he isn’t reaching tournament value given his pricing (tied for the highest it has been all season). In a tough matchup (Redskins fifth best against opposing tight ends) and a game script that indicates the potential for a heavy running game, Olsen should make for an easy fade at tight end.

Pivot: Tyler Eifert $6,200 at Arizona Cardinals (4.9% owned in FanDuel’s Thursday Night Mini Dive)

Sometimes recency bias amazes me. By now, we all know what Tyler Eifert is -- he’s a high variance tight end with multi-touchdown upside. However, when those touchdowns don’t come, the populous go right back to hating him.

Well, after being the highest owned tight end on last Thursday’s Mini Dive, Eifert sees himself as one of his lowest owned percentages of the season (4.9%). Just like Olsen, the matchup is not great, but with Eifert (and most tight ends), you're looking for that touchdown upside.