This week we will be using the $1 Dive #2 to check on ownership rates from our Thursday start contests on Fan Duel. Arizona and St. Louis was not exactly a barn burner. The 41 point over/under was one of the lowest on the week and thus the usage rates were a tad below what we usually see on a normal Thursday evening. If you are looking for a beginner article on how to utilize and think about these ownership percentages please check out my Implied Odds article. Let’s check out the numbers and see what trends and plays we can figure out from them.
High Owned Guys
Cheap QBs are en vogue on FanDuel. There’s two guys I was wondering about ownership rates for this week and as expected they are both pretty high on the list. Derek Anderson is minimum value at $5K and Johnny Football is not much more expensive at $6700. Considering that the two of them are about 30% of the player usage, we obviously need to dig deeper into them.
Derek Anderson is getting the start because of the accident with Cam Newton this week. His last start was opening weekend against this exact same Tampa Bay team. If you are wondering how he did, it was a pretty damn good performance on the road. He was 24-34 for 230 yards and 2 TDs with 10 yards rushing. That was good for 18.2 Fan Duel points. 18.2 points divided by a price of $5000 means he gets you 3.64 times value if he can repeat that performance. a 3.64 pace from every dollar spent on your roster would equal a 182 final score which would be good enough for a top 10 finish many weeks in the Sunday Millions. It would most likely cash in all double ups and 99% of the GPPs weekly as well. There is a very strong case that he is a must use. Tampa Bay gives up an average of just over 18 FD points per game to QBs. The O/U is kind of low at 41 with the Panthers favored by 3. Multiple projection systems I checked all have him with around 15 points with a +/- of 3. I can not see not using him at all despite the high ownership percentages. I’m still on the fence about how much I will be using him. There’s guys I respect a lot who are telling me they will have him everywhere and other guys I respect telling me he is not someone they will have heavy. If you are wondering which camp you should fall in there is a very simple test. If you play multiple line ups and you feel he’s a great play then make sure you have him on more rosters than the 1 in 6 rosters his ownership implies others will use him. If you are not as high on him, then make sure you use him on less than that.
As for Johnny F#$%ing Football, that is a much tougher question to answer. We have less data to go on with him, so it’s tougher to gauge what to expect. I think the best way to look at him is on a one to one basis with Derek Anderson. Projection peg Anderson at 15 FD points for $5K. We would need to see JFF get about 20.1 points to match him. When I look at those same projection systems, we see manziel in the 19 point range with a +/- of 3. In limited regular season action and using his preseason stats as a guide, I can see how they get there. Cincy is much tougher against opposing QBs giving up an average of less than 17. With an O/U of 44 and the Browns favored by 1, they are expecting about 3 TDs or more. Based on numbers alone I would say it still favors Anderson, but here’s the tough part. Manziel does his thing with his legs. Rushing yards are one point per 10 yards while the passing yards are one point per 25. While each is expected to be responsible for about 250 yards, how they get there is the difference. Rushing TDs are also worth 2 points more than passing ones, so if Manziel’s legs can get him in the end zone than the two TDs each is expected to score can again be worth different points. I was originally expecting Manziel to be the higher owned as his name recognition would draw the moths to the flame, but my fellow DFSers seem to be a pretty shrewd bunch and I will have to go with them on this one. My Bold call of the week is that fading Johnny Manziel for Derek Anderson is the way to go. I’m not saying Manzil will have a completely trash game, but I like Derek Anderson for the higher point per $ performance. I guess if you wanted to use both then you can. If you roll out multiple line ups though I think you need to take a stand on one or the other.
Well now that you have my two cents on the big QB question of the week, let’s take a look at the rest of the high owned list. There’s three other guys that are on the high owned QB list and two of the three are guys I think are not usable. The one I do not like much is Big Ben. LeVeon Bell is a legit thing and I can not believe that Coach Tomlin is going to go back to his earlier season ways of being throw happy and losing games to my New York Jets. Atlanta has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs so I have no reason to think the game plan should not be heavy on the run. The problem I have with this is that it is one of the highest O/U games of the week. Run Heavy game plans tend to be lower scoring and that is why I said there’s two QBs I am not really high on. I like Ryan more than I like Big Ben because I think Atlanta is going to be playing from behind and despite the recent ground success they have had I still think the aerial attack is the best bet the Falcons have to win. I want to point out that Julio Jones is questionable and was limited at practice. Without Julio at 100% and with Roddy White already banged up, I can not see Ryan having a huge game. He may surprise me and I could be dead wrong on both as many projections have them higher than I do, but I put a bet on the under already in this one, so you know where my convictions stand.
That leaves Eli Manning. The O/U on this one has jumped from 42 to 47 and that is usually a big red flag. The way Eli and ODB have played lately I can see why they are expecting it to be high scoring. Washington has allowed the third most points to opposing QBs this year, so it sets up nice for Eli. Especially considering they give up the second least amount of points to RBs. If you want to attack that Redskins defense than the way to do it seems to be through the air. Eli’s projections are higher than Ben and lower than the one’s for Matty ICE. I would have to say if I am using any of these guys it would probably be Eli. On top of Derek Anderson he will probably be the guy I roster most.
At RB this week there is a pretty large list of potential players to use. We already discussed Lev Bell and despite his sky high ownership I’m still going to be using him. I think I will be using him less than the DFS community is, but I would not recommend fading him completely. His ownership is high enough that it might be a good move to fade somewhat in GPPs, but there is no need to fade the best RB on the board in a matchup against the worst run defense for cash games. If you multi roster GPPs somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15% exposure to Le’veon could be considered a decent play. The other guy I like the most is probably Latavius Murray. He exploded on the scene for 2 Tds on four carries and over 100 yards before leaving with a concussion. The real reason I love him is because of his 9.5 point outing last time. You might be wondering why a sub 10 point FD performance has me so excited but if you read this article you know that I am a huge fan of opportunity. Murray had 23 carries last week and that is what I like to see. Give a guy with explosive upside enough chances and he will eventually take one to the house. While he failed to do it last week, that only means he was on the wrong side of variance. My biggest concern is that the O/U on this game is really low and KC is in the bottom half of the league for points allowed to opposing RBs. Like I always say, you got to be able to accept some warts to be contrarian and I think that Murray is worth a gamble. Forsett, Joique, and CJ are all guys I will be sprinkling in on my rosters. The one guy who makes absolutely no sense to me is Chris Johnson. I am a huge Jets fan, so ignore me if you want, but I don’t see CJ2K riding into Tennessee and going off. I believe the Jets will run 30+ times on Sunday. I believe they will be successful doing it, but I also believe it will be a joint effort between him and Ivory. Ivory is the bigger back and I think he will get the red zone carries, so there’s really no reason to think CJ is the play. For CJ to score he will need to break a few long ones in my opinion and if he still had that kind of explosiveness do you really think Tenn would have let him go? I watched this clown play all year and he is not a thing. Go ahead and roster him if you think I am kidding, but as a guy who watched every single Jets game this season and every one for the last 30 years that I can remember I think I know what I am talking about.
My thoughts on the WR list go hand in hand with my thoughts on QB. I like Eli so I like Beckham. I faded this guy a few too many times already and he has made a believer out of me. He’s expensive and will need a big game to reach value, but does anyone think he is not capable of doing so? I mean so far this guy has many believing he is on his way to being one of the best WR in NFL history and he keeps proving his doubters wrong. I won’t be using him on 1 in 4 like the ownership numbers say, but I will definitely not be fading him. Antonio Brown is another guy I like, but I don’t think he reaches value. Fading Brown is a fool’s errand as he has only 2 games below 15 FD points all year. A 5 catch effort early in the year and a game against my Jets mid season were the only two times he failed to be a decent cash game play. He has had some big games that would be useful for GPPs, but really only reached 3 times value in 3 games this season. He can help you double up in a 50/50 but at his price it will be tough to recommend him in a GPP. While we are on the subject of Steelers WRs, I think Bryant is also in the same boat. You guys know I always talk about too many mouths to feed and there is no way Lev Bell, Ben, Brown, and Bryant all make value. I’m choosing the run game due to the worst run defense and the hot streak Lev Bell is on, so if you agree with me then fading the passing game is an easy decision.
My compatriot Alex at the DFS report reported about Kenny Stills in his DFS listening piece yesterday and I was really hoping he was going to be right. Despite Stills being under talked about this week people are still rolling him out there. I really like this guy and I know what you are saying “but you said to fade him last week.” Your right and I did, but he was also 33% owned last week. For GPPs fading him was the right move and it paid off. As an Economics major in college I was a big fan of John Maynard Keynes. He once famously said, “When the facts change I change my mind, what do you do sir?” Well this week his ownership is more than halved and they are playing a Bears defense that is in the top third of the league for points given up to WRs in a high O/U game at 54 points. See, the facts have changed and I reserve my right to change my mind too. Stills is explosive and a big part of that offense. Throw in the discounted price and my mind was not hard to change. The last guy I want to point out is one that many of you already know about. Marquess Wilson is taking over the spot left by Brandon Marshall and his rib injury. I have not been able to do this all season, but the opportunity here is too good. A true starting WR at Min price. The key here is that this guy is no ordinary WR. Marquess Wilson has legit upside. I could give you the run down on it, but if you really want to hear how good he is, I suggest you go over to @fantasyinsiders and give a listen to Davis Mattek talk about him on the podcast yesterday. I was on the fence about him until I heard the case and now I can’t see not using him. The only hold up I have is that the targets may go heavy to Alshon Jeffrey who is also on this list. I think it could go either way, but it’s still worth considering using one of these guys. I would not recommend using both on the same roster, but I will use both somewhere on my rosters.
TE also presents an interesting Bears problem. Too many mouths to feed again here with Forte, Wilson, Alshon, and Bennett. Bennett has seen an obscene amount of targets recently and should continue on this path with Marshall out. I like him but again there’s too many people to truly know who gets fed and who goes hungry. Speaking of people that always eat, Gronk is on my radar again this week, which may not surprise those of you who know he is always on my radar. You need two TDs or a TD and a 100 yard gain from the position to keep pace in a GPP and there is absolutely no TE I like more to do that then him.
Of the high owned defenses if you need a good one I choose the Ravens. They play Jacksonville and should have a lead which means the Jags will be forced to pass which has not really worked out well for them in past weeks. Bortles started off his career looking good, but has since had a problem with turnovers and poor play. They are expensicve and chalky but I would pay up when and if I have the cash to.
LOW OWNED GUYS
Low owned QBs this week are also pretty expensive QBs this week. Brees, Peyton, Rodgers are three guys who have GPP winning upside at low ownership. None really have amazing match ups but of these guys I will be using three. The first is Drew Brees. I like Graham as do many of our brethren in the DFS community and Stills is a guy I think is a good play this week. It might sound like circular reasoning, but someone has to throw these guys the ball right. I guess on that same line of reasoning Jay Cutler is also a guy who is usable at those low ownership rates with some upside receivers. The last guy that leaves is good old Peyton Manning. I recommended him last week and it really bit me in the backside, but he is still Peyton Manning. Pair him with his top WR in Demaryius Thomas and you got yourself a hall of fame pair that has won people a few Million this season. I realize that CJ has been taking a bigger role and everyone is scared off after last week’s stinker, but is that not the recipe for the time to be contrarian? Everyone is off Peyton cause every pass catcher in his arsenal is banged up from DT to JT to Manny to Welker. I’m not saying this is a mortgage the house opportunity, but if you are looking for a low owned flyer on a couple of your lineups here it is no better option then the best QB we have seen in a dozen years.
Moving on to RB, I like this entire list on the low owned side. There’s two guys I really want to point out and they are James Starks and Fred Jackson. Fred Jackson is old, boring and yet so consistent. For cash games he is a thing and if you want to have a real flyer in a GPP then he is the guy. What I love about him is he gets his work no matter the game script. Most people think they will get blown out and be playing from behind. He had 10 catches last week if that is the case again Sunday. He is also the guy who gets the carries if somehow Buffalo is ahead. I like the upside of a guy like Latavius Murrray at the same price and so will many many other players, so Fred is going to fly under the radar and could be a sneaky upside play. The other guy and the reason I think Fred could be in play as well is Green Bay RB James Stark.
Editors Note: Eddie Lacy has moved from Questionable to Probable. If he goes James Starks is not a DFS option for week 15.
This one is going to come down to the wire as Eddie Lacy is on the wrong side of questionable at the moment and will be a true game time decision. Starks looked good getting a few more carries last week and if the game script plays out then he will be the guy running out the clock and pounding in the short yardage TDs. His price is low and a square deal. If news comes early than I think his ownership skyrockets, but if it’s still up in the air nearing game time than this could be a very sneaky high upside play.
I already talked about Demaryius and although I do not love Cobb he could be a very low owned play matched with Aaron Rodgers who could get a little more work without Eddie Lacy. The guy I really want to talk about is Andre Johnson. I did not really have him on my radar but his name keeps popping up highly on projections from people I trust. At 0.2% he will be on 2 roster out of a thousand and I think he has more than a 1 in 500 chance of making value. How much more I do not really know but for a GPP he is the upside play I think you might want to attempt to use to differentiate yourself.
If you want to take a flyer at TE I got two guys at each end of the spectrum that you might want to consider. The first one is a guy who is as consistent as they come. Greg Olsen has been under owned every single week of the season so far and with Derek Anderson at QB and a weak running game I think a security blanket makes sense to use here. The guy I like more is someone I use off and on that paid off big last week and is still flying under the radar. While everyone loves Travis Kelce he is not the only young TE bursting on the scene in the AFC west this year. Mychal Rivera might be the best pass catcher on the Raiders. He’s gone over 20 points twice and over ten four times in 7 weeks. That’s legit numbers for any player, but especially nice for one who is only $5600 and owned under 1.5%. KC is a tough defense so this is no slam dunk, but you could to do worse than using him as the guy that differentiates your roster.
If you want some sneaky defenses, then there’s two I like. For starters I am a huge fan of the Detroit defensive line and will use them anytime I like the matchup. Minnesota might have looked good against the Jets last weekend, but honestly the Jets defense is not the Lions D. I will be using them all over for a low owned big upside play. The sacks alone give me reason to think the floor is there and with the crazy way defenses pay off, it’s not out of the question a pick six or strip sack fumble TD could happen. If you want a cheaper upside play then I would look for the Panthers against the Bucs. I’m not a huge fan of the defense, but I am less of a fan of TB offense. It’s risky and not for the faint of heart, but so has been rostering some of the defenses that won people GPPs recently. You could do worse if you are trying to hit a home run than using them and taking that shot with Carolina.
I apologize if the article ran a little long this week, but given that there is a few million on the line I figured it was only right I gave it everything I could. If you want to know who my money is on in the FFFC this weekend I’ll give you the dark horse candidate I like. James “Heybaby33” Estep is gonna be a millionaire on Sunday, or at the very least I’ll be rooting for him. He’s my wife’s cousin and if I can’t be the one to win the money I’d like to see it stay in the family. Good luck J. Win or lose we will be bringing you an interview with Heybaby after the weekend to get his take on the event and what it is like to play for that kind of life changing money. Check out PlayPicks next week for that exclusive interview. I pull my hair out sweating $25-$500 buy in gamess with $5-$15K first prizes, so I can’t imagine what sweating a few million dollars would feel like, but I hope to have the chance to find out one day. Good luck to all the finalist. Win lose or draw I’m sure FanDuel is going to put on one hell of a show.