This week we will be using the $1 NFL Dive #2 to check FanDuel ownership rates for week 12. Last night’s game was not a very high used one for fantasy, so the bump this week is much lower, except for RB where Charles was higher owned and the decent amount of people using either Travis Kelce or Michael Rivera at tight end. If you are looking for a primer on how to use this information please check out my breakdown on how to accurately use and gauge ownership percentages.
High Owned Guys
I looked over the numbers a few times for things that jumped out at me as being way off base and frankly there were not many surprises this week. The main thing I noticed first is the Indianapolis Colts representation here. Luck is not too highly owned at under 10%. The QBs from Thursday were not as highly used as we usually see, so Luck may get a light bump up, but should remain near his levels here. He gets a bad Jacksonville defense on his home field, so I can see it and will probably have a few shares of him myself this week. What really struck me as sticking out is the massive amount of Coby Fleener love. Now he did have 18 Fantasy points last week which if repeated would make him clearly a good play at over 3 times value, but with decent usage on the Thursday TEs I think he is going to be on over a third of rosters come Sunday. No Dwayne Allen and no Ahmad Bradshaw does mean those passes and red zone looks need to go somewhere else, so believe me I get it, but that’s a really high number. I cannot confidently say fade him, cause he could be the best value at TE (although not as likely the highest scorer), so you need to at least have some shares.
We never start here, but TE is the one place I really want to discuss this week. Fleener is dominating the pool, which I do not love, but can see the merit. That also means that Gronk and Jimmy are a mere 8.8% and 6.7% respectively. I am a firm believer in paying up at TE. I think you need a guy who can get you 6+ catches, 100+ yards, or 2 TDs in order to dominate the spot on your roster. To me the only two consistent options to do that are the top 2 guys. Those two combined are currently being given a 15% ownership or a 1 in 6 chance of being the top TE. Fleener is twice as owned as those two combined. My rationale for this being the week to pay up at TE is that our brethren across the daily fantasy industry are saying Fleener is twice as likely to be a better play at TE then Gronk and Jimmy combined. COMBINED. If you play 17 games over a season with no Dwayne Allen, do you think Fleener outproduces those two guys 2 out of 3 weeks? The idea of this ownership article is to find spots were you can zig when everyone else zags. When the masses are gifting you low ownership percentages on the two most talented and consistent TEs in the game, I think you have to take it. I don’t know which I prefer, but at 30%+ on Fleener I know which two of those three I think I am getting the best sneaky value on. It’s especially nice when getting good odds on probably the two best TEs in the game, because it’s much nicer to be contrarian with guys who actually have track records then try to be different by finding a low owned punt to differentiate yourself. I will be paying up at TE and if Fleener beats me then I will tip my hat to half the field. Half the field that will still need a lot of work to do just to help those Fleener rosters cash. If he has a bad game, then I’m going to be sitting pretty with 40% of a field trailing me and the top two TEs in the game on my roster.
Now, here is where a lot of this ownership stuff is going to get a little bit hairy this week. I’m going to give you guys a nice little bonus to your roster here. It’s no secret that weather is going to be an issue in places this weekend if you follow any Fantasy football stuff. People are all mentioning stuff in almost half of the games. The best DFS weatherman in the business is my man Kevin Roth. His early look for this weekend throws up a few red flags that I think we should all take heed to when roster building and let me show you why it matters. For starters, he is predicting heavy rain and 20 MPH winds for the TB @ Chi game. A lite drizzle is of little concern to me, but heavy rains definitely affects the passing game. What statistics have shown even more is high winds affecting the aerial attack and we got both of those in Chicago this weekend. To me that ticks down Mike Evans and also any of the other WR in that game people are thinking of using as well as both QBs who are being used a bit much for my tastes. This includes all four WRs on both combined teams as they are guys who all get 5%+ ownership weekly at a minimum. He is also predicting a lot of rain on MNF this week in NJ. The Giants and Cowboys kick off about the same time the storms are supposed to be moving in. I live five minutes from the Meadowlands and Giants stadium and I can tell you all week it has been cold as balls here. We are way south of Buffalo, so we have avoided the snow, but it is bone shilling kind of cold at the moment. Heavy rains moving in around 9 PM Sunday night with a chance of snow is going to really affect the passing game in that one. To me that ticks down Dez, Odell, Randle, and anyone else people are expecting to have good numbers. The reason I mention this is two fold as the tick down to those passing games should mean a tick up for those rushing attacks. The highest owned RB this week is DeMarco Murray and if the weather is a factor I think he becomes an absolute stand out even at high ownership. I always say you have to pick and choose where you fade high owned guys and I’m flat out telling you DeMarco is not in that category. He is pricey and well used, but he should be a great play. I will not have him on all my rosters, but he should see a good deal of representation and rightfully so.
Isaiah Crowell and Trent Richardson are highly owned because of price in my opinion. Well that is actually unfair, price and opportunity is actually more like it. Both had their path to increased workloads cleared this week as Bradshaw was injured and Ben Tate was cut. They are both priced in the salary relief area of the RB curve and I would not be surprised to see either paired with a higher priced guy on a top 10 roster this weekend. The one guy I really like and was hoping would fly under the radar is Shady McCoy. Lev Bell went HAM against this defense last week and racked up almost 30 FD points and 200 real yards. Shady is as talented as any back in the league and that rush defense is BADDDDDDDD. This is actually a two pronged argument from me, because if you think Shady can do something like Bell did last week, then why are people still playing a much more expensive QB/WR duo of Sanchez and Matthews this week. When these guys are $5K range, I get it. At $7500 and $7700 though I do not. There’s a chance of showers during this game as well, although K. Roth thinks it clears by game time. I just see the eagles going heavy on the run since the Titans stop nobody on the ground. If that happens then I do not see Sanchez slinging it 20-25 times and that means Matthews becomes very TD dependent to make value. Hell he might even need two this week to make value as he is no a longer cheap punt option. I will have McCoy and think you can limit and or fade the passing game of Philly this week without much concern.
So at WR the weather and game flow concerns have already halved the list of guys we can consider. That leaves us Josh Gordon as the highest owned WR this week. I realize he was a beast last year, but 18% without playing a game yet and he’s not cheap? Come on DFS we are better than that. In the few season long leagues I still play I have Gordon everywhere, had him last year, and he is one of the most explosive and overlooked stud WR in the league. BUT he has Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball, he hasn’t played a game in close to a year, and his team loves to run the football. There’s certainly merit to him, but there’s also a ton of questions. If he was lower owned I would be all over him, but at 20% once you factor out the guys who played Thursday I think I can limit his exposure well below that level in my plays and not feel uneasy about it. Notice I said limit and not fade, because when he goes off, he goes OFF. He had 10+ catch, 200+ yard, and Multi TD games last year, so this is not a guy you just discard, but I am hoping for other chances in the future were I would use him more at a lower ownership percentage.
To finish off the list, Stills steps in for Cooks and he should see a few targets. I think he is usable and not too highly owned for the value proposition he offers. T Y Hilton should see more looks with no Allen or Bradshaw. I think people just assume that means Fleener gets all those extra red zone looks, but maybe a few go T Y’s way. Jags secondary has been beat this year so I like his match up as well. Jordy is just a flat out stud, so no more explanation needed. It’s just a matter of who sees the most looks with Packer WRs each week is the only knock I can throw out on him. The last guy is Torrey Smith who I think has an OK match up with a bad pass D. My thoughts here is that is a price point reason for his high ownership, because I used him too in a Thursday game and I remember it was because of his price fitting in. I like his match up, but he is not a 10% WR so far this year by any stretch, so be careful as he is a limit or fade to me this week at that level.
Low Owned Guys
While the high owned guys this week really do not provide much for me, I can’t say the same about the low owned guys. There is a lot here to discuss, so let’s get right into it. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones make up a very interesting low owned pair for me. Ryan is at home in the dome where he had his best game this season (vs. NO opening weekend). He has no running game and a cheap price tag this week. Throw in a discounted Julio Jones being largely ignored due to his lack of TDs and you have an explosive combo with upside at a discounted price playing at home in one of the larger O/U games on the slate. That’s a very loaded sentence full of positives for the fantasy value and I think they are the sneaky stack of the week that can push you high up in your GPPs. Peyton and Demaryius are also low owned this week and you guys know I always mention them anytime I see them down at these ownership levels, but this week I am not going to endorse it heavily. There is no denial of the talent factor of either and the ownership is very low relative to that, but here is the negative case. For starters they are down two of the top 3 weapons which means that Demaryius should get more looks. More looks from Peyton and more double team looks from the defense. Add to that the banged up and troubled Denver O-Line and the stingy talented Dolphins defense on the other side and I cannot in good conscience give the Peyton/DT combo my blessing. Can you use them as a flyer? Maybe, as I said the talent is undeniable, but the match up makes this a game where you would be crazy to put all your eggs into the basket. The last QB I will mention is Tom Brady. They are calling for 15-20 MPH winds in his game so that is a big red flag normally, but Brady has put up numbers in conditions like this before and at 2.3% you are getting over 40-1 odds on him and that can happen. Maybe everyone thinks Jonas Gray is going to get 30+ carries again in this game, but are you really sure that Belicheck will ever do anything you think he will? Even with bad weather, Brady can still find Gronk and Gronk can still find the end zone. His TD catch last week was a beast of a catch and run, so wind will not affect the short pass game when the pass catcher is a freak of nature and a physical specimen. In fact it hurts deep balls down the field if the wind is a factor which only ticks up the Gronk and low owned Vereen’s of the world. If those guys have decent games it stands to reason the guy feeding them the ball should too.
One or more of the five RBs listed will win someone a GPP this weekend. If the weather is as bad as predicted in Chicago then give me all the Matt Forte. If people are going to pay up for Demarco and neglect Forte I will be doing the opposite. It’s not that I do not like Demarco, but I like them equal and the masses like Murray at almost 3-1. Therefore if I rank and project two guys the same and one is being overlooked, he is the guy I will use most. Add in the uptick I think he gets from the weather situation and it’s all the Forte I can fit in on Sunday. Ingram did not have a good last game, but he did still have a ton of touches. Add those touches and catches and throw in a TD run this week with his discounted salary and you have to think he is worthy of another chance here. I think people really like Brees to throw at home, so he is being overlooked and you should take a second look at him based on his production and low ownership. Mckinnon is a little riskier with his injury concerns, but he is another guy I think is lower owned then he should be. He is priced down by Trent and Crowell, so maybe at 1% he is the swerve off those who are getting more publicity in that price range. His explosiveness is undeniable and he is going to get volume, so both of those things are positive. The last two guys I think can be very sneaky plays. I like and will use both Marshawn Lynch and Andre Ellington this week and you guys will all hate me for it when I win with them. At under 1% both are being ignored. Both are being given better then 100-1 odds of being the top RB and I can make a case for both. It starts with the weather again as everything has this week. I know the game is in Seattle and this could be said everyday, but the report is calling for a rainy and breezy day. Rainy and Breezy are two drawbacks to a passing game. Marshawn is still the LYNCHPIN to that offense (see what I did there) and they really struggle to throw the ball. He will be fed as he always is and a TD is almost a guarantee for me this week even in a low scoring game. Low scoring games like Vegas expects this to be are usually chalk full of running plays on both sides as the teams battle for position. If you are telling me the weather and the game flow both favor two of the top 8 RBs in the league getting a tick up in value while being owned under 1% I will take them both without asking any more questions. If you are wondering why I include Ellington on this list against the vaunted Seahawks D, just remember they lost guys on the D-Line and in their LB core in the past few weeks. Jamal Charles just threw up a 29 FD point day against them last week and had a TD vulture by Knile Davis or it would have been 35. Ellington is no Jamal Charles, but he was being touted as Charles Lite before the season, for what that is worth. Both these guys have a much larger chance of success then the community as a whole is giving them and it is a place we should be taking advantage.
WR and TE are a little less robust with good plays for me, but I will quickly mention a few guys. Cecil Shorts with no Allen Robinson should see even more looks. Add in the probable garbage time in this one, which is really where Cecil shines for some reason and I like his chances to have a better day then he is getting credit for at a lower price then he should be. Jacob Tamme is not going to set the world on fire, but he is now the second best and most targeted Denver pass catcher in the Red Zone. Monitor the injury situations but if you are down to DT with Andre Caldwell, Welker, and CJ Anderson as the other options, I could see Tamme getting a TD or two with 4-6 catches for 50 yards. At his price the low end of those estimates gets him over 3 times value and makes him worthy of inclusion. Fleener and Tamme have the same narrative and one is 30% less owned, so you know where I will go to be different there.
****Editors Note**** It does look like both Emmanual Sanders and Julius Thomas are playing this week. That would make Tamme a much less appealing option at Tight End. Continue to monitor these injury situations up to game time.****
The last thing I want to mention is my love for Dallas D this weekend. Eli looks horrible and that offense is a mess. If Dallas goes up early and Eli has to throw them back into the game while the weather gets worse, then I can see a repeat of last week’s interception explosion. Of course Eli is tough to gauge as he may also come out and throw for 500 yards and 5 TDs tomorrow cause he is that maddeningly inconsistent, but I would bet against his turnaround this time as it would just not be something that is warranted.