Week 13 FanDuel Tournament Pivots

Is Demaryius Thomas a worthwhile tournament play this week on FanDuel?

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 13 slate with a list of pivot options.


Chalk: Russell Wilson, $7,800, vs Minnesota Vikings

After two great outings in a row and a price tag that still has not caught up to recent production, we should expect to find Russell Wilson highly owned this weekend. However, it doesn't appear his recent production is indicative of his normal performance.

In the seven games prior, Wilson had just one passing touchdown in each game. Despite his six rushing touchdowns last season, he has yet to scamper for a score this year. Finally, in addition to the tough matchup -- the Vikings rank 11th best versus the pass according to Net Expected Points (NEP) -- Wilson finds himself without his best, while under-utilized, receiver, Jimmy Graham. Plus he's on the road, where he has seen a 15% dip in passing touchdowns and a 40% increase in interceptions over his career.

Pivot: Ryan Fitzpatrick, $7,500, at New York Giants

While the Jets are “at” the Giants this week, they're essentially gaining an extra home game, as the Jets and Giants share MetLife Stadium. 

Fitzpatrick has seen a 20% increase in passing yards and a 51% increase in passing touchdowns in New Jersey. In fact, he's thrown for at least two touchdown passes in every game in MetLife stadium this season. With the Giants ranked 24th against the pass, per NEP, we should expect Fitzpatrick to have a very safe floor with a high ceiling at relatively low ownership.

Running Back

Chalk: Thomas Rawls, $7,000, at Minnesota Vikings

Man! I just really want to pick on the Seahawks this week, huh?

The Vikings are a bend, but not break, run defense. Since Week 1, they've only allowed two rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs. Furthermore, the Seahawks have just two rushing touchdowns on the season outside of CenturyLink Field. Last week, Rawls salvaged his bad fantasy day with a touchdown, but this week, he may not be as lucky.

Pivot: Darren McFadden, $7,300, at Washington Redskins

Sure, the Redskins “stymied” the formidable Giants four-headed backfield to just 2.7 yards per carry last week, but over the previous six games, they had allowed an average of 157.6 yards per game to opposing backs. With Tony Romo on the shelf for the rest of the season, the ‘Boys know what’s best for them, and it’s not letting Matt Cassel throw the ball more than 30 times in a game (a feat he’s done only once this season). Expect them to ride McFadden.

Wide Receiver

Chalk: Larry Fitzgerald, $7,300, at St Louis Rams

Fitz has been great this season, especially of late, having reeled in eight or more balls in each of his past four games. He has routinely been rostered in 20% or more in major DFS tournaments week after week. And even with a less-than-ideal matchup, he'll more than likely still have high ownership this weekend.

The Rams rank as our third best pass defense, when adjusted for strength of opponent, according to NEP. The Rams secondary of Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner all grade out as some of the best cornerbacks in the league according to Pro Football Focus. Regardless of who covers Fitzgerald, he will have his hands full.

Pivot: Demaryius Thomas, $7,600, at San Diego Chargers

Dare I say it, but Brock Osweiler is the quarterback Demaryius and the Broncos have been needing all season. While it’s been clear that Thomas and Osweiler don't have the same kind of chemistry that Thomas and Peyton Manning have -- did you see his catch rate last week? -- it should come with time, perhaps as soon as this weekend when the Broncos face the 25th-ranked Chargers secondary.

Tight End

Chalk: Scott Chandler, $5,300, vs Philadelphia Eagles

May I remind you all that Chandler's five receptions last week match his total receptions for the four games prior? His 58 receiving yards? That total was more than his last five games combined. Sure, positionally he will fill in for Rob Gronkowski. But stat-wise, we can't assume someone like Chandler will produce like Gronk, especially against a defense that ranks second best against tight ends in terms of fantasy points against this season.

Pivot: Vance McDonald, $4,900, at Chicago Bears

If you’re looking to punt tight end, I’m looking far down the list to Vance McDonald. With so many people gravitating towards Chandler, we may find McDonald at under 3% owned this weekend.

A combination of Vernon Davis getting shipped off to Denver prior to Week 9, Garrett Celek getting injured (still not practicing as of Wednesday), and a nice rapport with new starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert has thrust McDonald into fantasy relevancy. Granted, this tight end play is not for the faint of heart. After all, we are talking about the 49ers here. But McDonald does have at least 4 receptions, 65 receiving yards and a touchdown in each of the last two games. He’s easily paying off his current price tag, and should continue to do well as long as King Checkdown himself (Gabbert) remains in at quarterback for the 49ers.