Lacking an abundance of good value plays in Week 1, ownership rates in the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million correlated almost exactly with salaries. But even with a handful of useful players succumbing to injuries last Sunday, the best pivot plays for Week 2 of the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million tournament are not entirely obvious.
It all leaves us with another pretty predictable week in DFS, so you’ll have to find a handful of low-dollar players and hit on few elite level guys. Here are some players who should be relatively low owned this week, but still have the potential to be difference makers. But before the Week 2 FanDuel NFL Tournament Pivots, first a recap of the winning $1 million lineup and my picks from Week 1.
Week 1 Winning Lineup
Total Points: 173.18
Matt Stafford: $7,600 salary; 28.08 points; 2.3% owned
LeSean McCoy: $8,500 salary; 18.4 points; 19.1% owned
Todd Gurley: $7,300 salary; 18.1 points; 22.4% owned
Antonio Brown: $9,100 salary; 23.7 points; 20.8% owned
Jordy Nelson: $7,700 salary; 17.4 points; 14.2 owned
Larry Fitzgerald: $6,400 salary; 10.4 points; 17.0% owned
Jesse James: $4,700 salary; 19.1 points; 0.7% owned
Jacksonville: $4,100; 28 points; 6.6% owned
Week 1 Picks
Matt Ryan: 17.94 points; 9.3% owned
LeVeon Bell: 6.2 points; 30.2% owned
Dez Bryant: 5 points; 7% owned
Zack Ertz: 13.3 points; 17.8 owned
Chalk: Tom Brady ($7,800), Aaron Rodgers ($9,100)
Why: The best quarterbacks in the game in great matchups with high O/Us. Book it.
Kirk Cousin’s ownership should be suppressed by his uninspiring season debut against Philadelphia. His Week 2 chances don’t look that much better, heading to Los Angeles to face a formidable Rams defense. His ownership should remain below 8%.
But Los Angeles’ impressive Week 1 showing is inflated by its abysmal opponent – the Colts. And if Cousins hopes to get the long-term, 9-figure deal he thinks he deserves, he better capitalize on the 40+ throws Washington should give him every game. Take away a few drops and a questionable fumble call, and it could have been a much different season opener for Cousins.
Back to the well with Palmer here, but the Colts are even worse than Arizona’s Week 1 opponent, and Palmer will have to be effective for the Cardinals to score on Sunday. The 5% ownership rate could really pay off.
CHALK: LeSean McCoy ($8,600), Kareem Hunt (7,800)
Why: As long as McCoy remains the NFL’s premier workhorse, he deserves to be the highest owned back. And the hype surrounding Hunt should be sky high after his Week 1 performance against New England.
I’m banking on Dallas’ opponent scaring people away here, with Denver still one of the league’s premier defenses. But Zeke is about as close to matchup proof as they come, and the Broncos aren’t as good against the run as they are as an overall defensive unit.
Zeke will still be highly owned, but not on the level of guys like McCoy, Hunt and even LeVeon Bell and Devonta Freeman. If he can stay under 17% owned and score 17+ points, he’ll be on a lot of winning lineups this weekend.
I’m thinking some will overlook Ajayi after Miami’s Irma-forced “bye” in Week 1. But the Dolphins should lean on Ajayi, one of the ten best backs in the league, especially with the situation at quarterback less than ideal in Miami.
CHALK: Antonio Brown ($9,100), Julio Jones ($8,800)
Why: Same as last week here, with Brown and Julio both owned in the 20% range. But the investments paid off in Week 1, and they should again on Sunday, especially as the Falcons host Green Bay in a game tied with New England’s for the highest O/U of the week (53.5).
Until Cooks and Brady show the on-the-field chemistry that many hoped for in New England this year, Cooks’ ownership levels will remain depressed. But his breakout with the Patriots could come as early as Week 2, with a shootout likely in New Orleans on Sunday.
Tom Brady and the Patriots will be eager to prove last Thursday’s loss to Kansas City was an anomaly. And as injuries have decimated New England’s receiving corps, Cooks is one of the few mouths left remaining to feed in Foxboro. With expected ownership in the 13-16% range, Cooks could be a real difference maker in Week 2.
Cooper could legitimately establish himself as a top 5 receiver in the NFL this year. But as long as his ownership remains at around 15%, which is where it was in Week 1, Cooper has the potential to bring real value to your DFS lineups. His price has climbed to $7,900, but he’ll still be overlooked in favor of Brown, Jones and Jordy Nelson.
CHALK: Rob Gronkowski ($8,100), Travis Kelce ($6,700)
Why: The best two fantasy tight ends in the game, eager to prove their duds against each other on Opening Night were flukes. Aside from the steep price tags, few will be scared away from Gronk and Kelce in Week 2.
Graham was one of my favorite plays last week, but he really hurt the 9.4% of players who owned him in the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million. He’s too good to throw up another dud like that though, and Russell Wilson showed no signs of shying away from Graham in the red zone. He is clearly Seattle’s top target inside the 20, and it almost paid off if not for a terrible missed PI call in the third quarter.
Seattle is a different team at home, and the 49ers are a bad team everywhere. So if enough people are scared away by Graham’s Week 1 performance, he will be a valuable asset on Sunday.
New England focused on shutting down Travis Kelce is Week 1, but the Patriots will have more than a tight end to worry about against the Saints passing offense. As long as Drew Brees is behind center and spreading the ball around for New Orleans, Fleener will remain a low-cost, low-owned option with the potential to find pay dirt every week.