Who wants to be a millionaire? Everyone, of course. And, obviously, the best way to achieve the American Dream overnight is by winning the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million.
But you’re not going to take home $600,000 in post-tax earnings by throwing a bunch of chalk on the board and hoping it sticks. That doesn’t make you different. And you can’t finish anywhere close to the top of this tournament by playing it safe. That’s why we’re bringing you the Week 1 FanDuel NFL tournament pivots.
The most successful GPP players will tell you that you have to find outliers if you’re going to win tournaments. It’s never easy to predict, but figuring out who the chalk will be is the most important place to start.
If a player’s value seems too good to be true, it probably is. If Vegas is projecting an over/under above 50 with a close spread, you’re not the only one who noticed it. And everyone uses their entire $60,000 FanDuel salary – why not put out a lineup that’s $500 under the cap?
Every week this year, I’ll be explaining my favorite pivot plays for the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million. And if you’re thinking about joining FanDuel – now is the time. Visit www.fanduel.com/fst and you’ll get a free entry into the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million with your first deposit.
After this week, we’ll take a quick look at winning lineups and ownership trends from the previous tournament before getting into the picks. Unless I win. Then I’m out forever. Pc.
Chalk: Marcus Mariota ($7,800), Derek Carr ($7,700)
Why: Mariota and Carr are both reasonably priced and face off in Sunday’s projected highest scoring game.
Ryan comes in as Sunday’s highest priced quarterback. But with a ton of other good options, I think most people will look in other directions at the position.
Chicago gave up the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs last year – mainly because teams never needed to pass against them – but that will scare away some. So will the fact that Atlanta is favored by about a touchdown on the road. Regardless, I’m betting the Bears will keep this one close through three quarters – enough time for Ryan to hit value at $8,300. And I can’t see him losing this one in the fourth quarter…
Two or three years ago, Palmer would have been a chalk play against Detroit’s defense in a game that Vegas thinks will be close. But he’s 37 now and the passing game in Arizona isn’t what it used to be. That should keep ownership low enough to make use of Palmer this weekend.
CHALK: David Johnson ($9,400), Jacquizz Rodgers ($6,700)
Why: Johnson has a great matchup in Detroit, and if anyone is worth paying up for in the FanDuel Sunday Million it’s an elite level running back like him. Rodgers faces a below average Miami run defense and is reasonably priced as the fill-in for suspended back Doug Martin.
This is a little bit of a gamble, but I’m betting Bell’s prolonged holdout will suppress his ownership just enough to make him attractive in the Sunday Million. I still don’t trust him to stay healthy for the entire season – thanks in part to said holdout – but he can be a huge asset in Week 1 GPPs if enough people are scared away.
And if I’m right, you’re looking at a guy who will be hungry to prove he made the right decision to Pittsburgh, a nine-point favorite in Cleveland. Bell’s price tag is just a tick lower than Johnson’s, but he still has the potential to return huge value here.
San Francisco is a considerable underdog at home against Carolina, one of the league’s best defenses against the run last year. But Hyde has flashed his potential this preseason with Kyle Shanahan now at the helm of the 49ers. This is a dice roll, but one that could really pay off.
CHALK: Antonio Brown ($9,100), Julio Jones ($9,000)
Why: With values to be had at virtually every position, most people will be paying up for either Brown or Jones. With matchups against the Browns and Bears, respectively, it’s hard to argue against that.
Janoris Jenkins and Dez Bryant have a long history, but most people are only going to remember that Jenkins absolutely shut down Bryant in two matchups last year. I’m counting on that Recency Bias to make Dez a great GPP play this weekend.
New York was one of the few teams to give Dallas problems last year. And Dez’s lack of production was a significant part of that. But Bryant is healthy and eager to prove he can still do this to Janoris Jenkis, making him one of my favorite contrarian plays in Week 1.
Green has taken a back seat to Brown, Julio, and OBJ in season-long drafts all summer. But before getting hurt last year, Green was on pace to have a better season than any of those guys. Against a good Ravens defense, Green won’t be nearly as popular as the most expensive receivers, but he’s shown the ability to be completely matchup proof in the past.
CHALK: Jordan Reed ($7,100), Jimmy Graham ($6,200)
Why: No one seems scared away by Reed’s preseason injuries. He’s almost a lock to be in the lineup Week 1, and he has the potential to find the end zone a couple times every time he suits up. Graham has the best matchup of the weekend and is finally healthy after battling knee issues for the past two years. He’s probably the best play of the weekend, regardless of ownership.
Ertz is a great play this week, and would probably be considerably higher owned if it wasn’t for Graham’s matchup with Green Bay. His ownership probably won’t be in the single digits, but it’ll be lower than Reed, Graham and Olsen, too.
Ertz closed out the year in impressive fashion last year, including a 10 catch, 112 yard performance against these Redskins. I still like Graham more in Week 1, but if you’re trying to separate yourself from the pack, Ertz has a high floor and is a great option at tight end.
Anything past the top 3-4 tight ends is essentially a dart throw this Sunday. But Witten is as good a throw as any, especially if Jenkins is able to shut down Dez again in Week 1. His ownership likely won’t be higher than 7 or 8%.