In Week 7, I cashed in one NFL FanDuel Sunday Million lineup, and was not close in the other. BUT, if I would have mixed and matched my Week 7 pivot picks and honorable mentions, I would have had a really nice week.
In hindsight, I can cherry pick the performances of honorable mentions Tyrod Taylor (20.02), Alvin Kamara (13.2) and Jimmy Graham (12.6), with top WR pivot pick Brandin Cooks (14.5) and look smart. My week wasn’t as good as that, obviously, but that happens when you avoid chalk entirely. Hopefully you fared better than me..
A recap of last week’s lineups, then onto my top pivot picks for Week 8 in the NFL FanDuel Sunday million.
Week 7 FanDuel Sunday Million Winning Lineup
Total Points: 196.22
Tyrod Taylor: $7,000 salary; 20.02 points; 4.6% owned
LeSean McCoy: $7,900 salary; 24.7 points; 17.2% owned
Ezekiel Elliot: $8,700 salary; 40.4 points; 21% owned
Adam Thielen: $6,900 salary; 6.6 points; 12.4% owned
Mike Evans: $8,100 salary; 18.3 points; 7.1% owned
Jarvis Landry: $7,000 salary; 18.8 points; 12% owned
Jason Witten: $5,300 salary; 13.4 points; 4.5% owned
Kai Forbath: $4,700 salary; 24 points; 2.4% owned
Chicago: $4,300 salary; 30 points; 0.9% owned
Week 6 Picks
Marcus Mariota: 8.92 points; 7.8% owned
C.J. Anderson: 6.6 points; 4.3% owned
Brandin Cooks: 14.5 points; 11.2% owned
Kyle Rudolph: 6.8 points; 5% owned
Chalk: Dak Prescott ($8,600), Carson Wentz ($7,900)
Why: Prescott is coming off a string of four straight excellent performances. That should continue against Washington’s mediocre secondary, especially if Josh Norman is still not fully healthy. Wentz remains the favorite for NFL MVP, and he’ll host a 49er team that just allowed 40 points to the Cowboys. Each are playing in games with projected point totals over 48.
Philip Rivers from 2015 would be a chalk play against the league’s worst passing defense, as New England has given up the most passing yards, touchdowns and FanDuel points to opposing quarterbacks in 2017. But Rivers has exceeded 20 points on FanDuel just once this year, and he doesn’t have the same shine he did a few years ago.
But after the Chargers started the season 0-4, Rivers has led LA to three straight wins, posting a 6-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio over that span. This month, Rivers has eight touchdowns and just that one interception while averaging 265 passing yards a game. Factor in the matchup against Denver last week, and those numbers look pretty shiny to me.
His ownership won’t be too far under 10%, but Rivers still makes a great pivot and value option this week in Foxboro.
Watson and the Texans will get their toughest test of the season on Sunday, traveling to Seattle to face a team that’s won three in a row. The rookie signal caller benefited from a string of favorable early-season matchups to become a fantasy superstar in the span of just a few weeks.
Most will be scared off by the road matchup in one of the league’s most hostile environments. And while the Seahawks have stifled almost every opposing quarterback in 2017, the best performance came from a guy who – like Watson – can create with his legs. Marcus Mariota threw for two touchdowns against Seattle in in Week 3. I expect similar results from Watson on Sunday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Texans come off a bye to upset the Seahawks in Seattle.
CHALK: Devonta Freeman ($8,000); LeSean McCoy ($8,400)
Why: Freeman has the best matchup of any running back this week, facing a Jets team that’s allowing almost 130 rushing yards per game. McCoy had his most efficient game of 2017 last week, and Buffalo hosts Oakland for a 1PM Eastern matchup this Sunday.
Ingram has had the revival that many expected with Adrian Peterson’s departure from New Orleans. In two games without AP, he’s rushed for 229 yards and scored three times. And even with Alvin Kamara there to handle passing down duties, Ingram has caught nine of 10 targets over that same span. That’s nothing to disregard in a half-point PPR setting like FanDuel.
Chicago’s run defense is legit, ranking 11th in the league in rush yards allowed and 12th overall against running backs on FanDuel. That will suppress ownership, but don’t let it scare you away from Ingram in on Sunday. Chicago has not faced a ton of good backs, but the best ones have had success, with Jerick McKinnon (23.6) and LeVeon Bell (18.1) each posting excellent FanDuel performances against the Bears.
With Devonta Freeman a projected chalk play this week, I don’t think everyone will overlook Coleman in the Sunday Million.
In a game the Falcons need to win, however, Coleman should get enough touches to make him attractive in GPP formats. And with the Jets allowing 4.3 yards per carry and 126 rushing yards per game, 12-13 total touches should be all he needs to be valuable in Week 8.
CHALK: A.J. Green ($8,500), Julio Jones ($8,700)
Why: Green will probably be the highest owned player at any position this week, drawing a terrible Colts secondary. He’ll also be the best receiver the Colts have seen all year. He’ll be in my lineup – chalk or not. Julio has a great matchup in New York too, and he’s coming off his best game of 2017 on Sunday in New England.
In three games this October, Fuller is averaging 16.8 FanDuel points per contest. It’s not a coincidence that those 3 games were also Deshaun Watson’s best.
Fuller’s numbers aren’t at all sustainable, though, as he’s turned 14 targets into five touchdowns. This is obviously a dice roll, but that’s kind of the point of a differentiation play. He’ll only be about 4-6% owned against Seattle, and if Fuller can hold on as Watson’s favorite red zone target for one more week he’ll be a huge asset in this tournament.
Seattle is giving up the eighth fewest FanDuel points to opposing receivers, but that comes after getting some ‘high-flying’ passing offenses like the 49ers, Colts and, most recently, the Giants. The Texans will be the toughest opponent Seattle has faced since the Packers in Week 1. Look for Watson, Fuller and even DeAndre Hopkins to get a boost from the perception that Houston is overmatched in Seattle. They’re not.
I’m obviously not the only one to notice this, but Nelson Agholor has quietly emerged as Philadelphia’s top fantasy receiver. He’s scored in three straight games, turning 17 targets into 12 catches, and he’s gone over 12 FanDuel points in each of the past three weeks.
On Sunday, Philadelphia hosts a San Francisco team allowing the sixth most passing yards in the NFL – and the seventh most FanDuel points to opposing receivers. This game has an over/under at 48.5 and the Eagles are a double digit favorite, so while Agholor certainly won’t be below 5% owned, he still makes a nice option at 10% with that salary.
CHALK: Zach Ertz ($7,300), Rob Gronkowski ($6,200)
Why: At this point it’s almost not worth paying the extra $1,100 for Gronk when you can just settle for Zach Ertz. Both have great matchups on Sunday though, and both are clearly the top two tight end options this and every week. Ownership will reflect that on Sunday.
With Ertz and Gronkowski such attractive options this week, Henry can qualify as a differentiation play. But the argument can be made that he’s the best tight end play on Sunday.
Henry has exceeded eight FanDuel points in each of the past five weeks, reaching double digits in three of LA’s last five games. He doesn’t have to score to be valuable either, as Henry has just two touchdowns on 21 catches over that span.
Still, New England has allowed five tight ends to score touchdowns this year. It makes Henry a really appealing option this week, especially at that price point, even if he’s 12-13% owned.
Washington’s passing attack has not lived up to preseason expectations, and Jordan Reed’s ineffectiveness has been a big part of that. The Skins desperately need a win against Dallas on Sunday in what will be one of the most meaningful games of 2017 so far.
Reed scored twice against the Eagles on Monday night, but one essentially came in garbage time, and I don’t think that many in the industry are quite ready to trust him in DFS lineups. If the Redskins are going to beat the Cowboys, they’ll probably need to score over 30. Reed will have to be a huge part of that.