Week 8 DraftKings NFL DFS Pivot, Sleeper, and Contrarian Plays
Week 8 of NFL DFS is upon us, and everyone is looking to cash in on the big money DFS NFL contests at DraftKings. Every week, we’ll take a look at the top pivot plays off the chalk, as well as identify contrarian options and sleepers. And to keep up with all things PlayPicks, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
As with any daily fantasy sport, the advice below is relevant for fantasy purposes. A player, stack, or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, gameflow, and more. This is important when constructing a roster. And if you’re looking for a new way to play DFS, be sure and give DRAFT a try.
Now, let’s dive into our Week 8 pivot, sleeper, and contrarian plays.
CHALK: Keenan Allen ($7.3k) @ NE
PIVOT: Doug Baldwin ($6.9K) vs. HOU
I already wrote about how much I like Keenan Allen this week, but he’ll be very chalky, and with good reason given his matchup against the New England Patriots. But winning at Foxborough isn’t going to be an easy task for the Los Angeles Chargers. They’re expected to lose by more than a touchdown (plus extra point). The Pats are just about as good as any team in any sport at running teams out of their home stadium, and there’s significant probability the Patriots absolutely tear through this Chargers team, even if they are riding high on a three-game winning streak (against the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and New York Giants).
As such, Allen is in a good spot for players to pivot, considering blowout potential and chalkiness. In his stead, I’m looking toward Doug Baldwin, who has a similar floor and ceiling but also a tougher matchup. The Texans are dealing with myriad injuries (including losing J.J. Watt), however, and they let the Chiefs and Pats score 36 and 42 points, respectively, earlier this month.
The Seahawks’ offensive line is a big challenge, but it seems to be hindering the run more than anything else. I expect Baldwin to see plenty of action as I don’t think this is the week Seattle gets the run going. Houston is allowing less than 100 yards a game to opposing backs and just one rushing touchdown. Baldwin, meanwhile, had 12 targets last week against the New York Giants and found his way into the end zone on one of his nine catches. With 20 targets in the last two weeks, his usage seems to be in a very stable place, especially with no fix to the Seattle running game in sight.
CHALK: Julio Jones ($8.4K) @ NYJ
PIVOT: Mike Evans ($7.9K) vs. CAR
The more chalky play is likely A.J. Green, a guy I absolutely love this week (especially in a specific stack I mentioned yesterday). Many will look Julio Jones‘ way as well. While Julio gets a matchup against the lowly Jets, I worry about gameflow issues and just don’t see the Falcons needing to force-feed their elite option to win this game. As for Green, a matchup with the Indianapolis Colts doesn’t scream “shootout.” The Bengals will look to control this one on the defensive end and through a consistent run game (they are -10 over Indy, after all).
That gives us Mike Evans, who is actually in the opposite scenario: tough matchup in what should be a close game. This is a great pivot play, as Evans may actually be in a more favorable situation than Jones or Green. The Panthers are great at stopping the run (fifth in DVOA), and that should lead to more work through the air. And it’s certainly worth noting Carolina ranks 26th in DVOA against WR1.
He’ll probably see ownership in the low-teens, but he’ll be in far fewer lineups than Jones and Green. Pivot from the chalk into Evans for big upside at a much more reasonable price than Julio’s $8.4K.
CHALK: Josh Doctson ($3.9K) vs. DAL)
PIVOT/CONTRARIAN/LEVERAGE: Jamison Crowder ($4.3K) vs. DAL
Listen, I like Josh Doctson. I’ll have exposure to Doctson. I’ll have stacks with Doctson (which I wrote about yesterday). But this week, everyone will be on the Washington wideout, and I’ll differentiate in some of my lineups by fading Washington WRs or pivoting to Jamison Crowder. Yeah, it feels like a troll play but also like the kind of week where Doctson is in one in five lineups and busts, while all the air yardage and scores go elsewhere.
Washington will likely be throwing a lot in what is expected to be a high-scoring contest. Crowder has done next to nothing this season, but I don’t think he’s a bad football player. He’ll get back on track at some point this season, and I expect it to happen for Crowder before Terrelle Pryor. Facing a Dallas Cowboys defense ranked 26th in DVOA, Crowder is in an appealing spot, especially considering low ownership and the leverage you’ll gain by rostering him and fading Doctson.
CHALK: LeSean McCoy ($8.7K) vs. OAK
PIVOT/LEVERAGE/CONTRARIAN: Melvin Gordon ($8.1K) @ NE
Given the matchup, Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen are the clear-cut chalk on the Chargers’ side of the ball. And considering Melvin Gordon’s 5.4 DK-point performance against Denver last week, he’ll see depressed ownership. Considering his $8.1K price tag, he’ll see even more drop in ownership. Oh, and he is carrying a questionable tag.
The Pats are 26th in DVOA against the run and 29th in DVOA against RBs catching passes out of the backfield. In a fast-paced, high-scoring contest, I expect Gordon to get back into the passing game mix. And if the Chargers fall behind, I really like Gordon in the passing game. He did have 12 targets just two weeks ago and has developed into a strong receiving presence.
While I don’t recommend this for Cash at all (LeSean McCoy is a much better play in Cash), Gordon is a very appealing GPP option. He’ll likely be severely under-owned in a week where he has 25-touch upside and could get a piece of the game’s 48.5 over/under.
CONTRARIAN: Jameis Winston ($6.1k) vs. CAR
The Carolina Panthers are excellent at stopping opposing running backs so far in 2017. But they’re just average against the pass (15th in DVOA), and Jameis Winston is coming off a 384-yard performance against a Buffalo Bills defense ranked 11th in DVOA against the pass.
I think many are ignoring the potential gameflow benefits this matchup may provide, as neither team has a great ground game, which does increase the probability of a shootout. Still, Winston likely won’t see high ownership at all; the matchup carries the fifth-lowest over/under, and many will gravitate toward all the value at quarterback.
He has definitive upside with his team favored at home but still stands as a good contrarian play since most will just end up on guys like Carson Wentz and Tyrod Taylor. I’m firing away on Winston in GPP, thanks a lot to the leverage against the field but mostly because I think this is a sneaky good matchup for the second-year quarterback.
SLEEPER: C.J. Beathard ($5.1K) @ PHI
Let me give a caveat here: this play is GPP-only. The Philadelphia Eagles are an average defense (16th DVOA against pass), and the 49ers have an implied total of just over 16 points in what Vegas thinks will be a lopsided contest.
But C.J. Beathard disappointed so many players the past two weeks that he now has value; he won’t be chalky in the least. But, honestly, the play makes some sense: the Eagles can score, and Beathard is the only way the Niners will be able to stay in this game. I’m not saying he’ll succeed at that, but he’ll have opportunities.
And again, the Eagles are middle-of-the-pack against quarterbacks. Plus, they lost leader Jordan Hicks last week (he’s since been ruled out for the season), so I expect we’ll see a different (read: worse) version of this defense.
Beathard is very hard to trust, so stay away in Cash. Beathard did manage to put up back-to-back 14+ point weeks while also getting going in the rushing game with five carries for 30 yards last week. With the Philly offense taking a pass-heavy approach due to running struggles, this might be the week Beathard makes a leap. Or not. But he’ll have plenty of chances.
SLEEPER: Tevin Coleman ($5.0K) @ NYJ
I wasn’t initially on this play, but Tevin Coleman just burned fantasy owners last week against an exploitable New England defense. He’ll see very low ownership this weekend in a matchup against another exploitable defense in the Jets.
The Jets rank 26th in DVOA against running backs catching out of the backfield and are just slightly better at stopping running backs from actually running the ball (22nd in DVOA vs. RB). Coleman has been consistent this year (often scoring right around 10 DK points) but hasn’t had a breakout performance. The Falcons will look to get him going in what should be an easy game. Considering they still have one more game on this three-game trek, I expect they may want to ease up on the workload of Devonta Freeman and other starters.
For what it’s worth, the Falcons are -4.5 on the road to win this game, and I expect they’ll look much different than last week.