The winner of Week 13’s NFL Fan Duel Sunday Million had one of the highest point totals of the year, while I had my worst week of 2017. That came despite the fact that my picks for this column we’re, I’d say, pretty good. Pretty good.
Really surprising performances from guys like Kenyan Drake and Tyreek Hill, and unsurprising performances from guys like Todd Gurley, Kennan Allen and Greg Zuerlein, all hurt, considering I rostered none of them,
But that’s okay, because even though I’m totally focused on my 100% season-long playoff participation rate in Week 14, I’m still assuming I’ll win this tournament in at least one of my last four opportunities of 2017.
A recap of last week’s picks and the winning lineup, then onto the top pivot picks for Week 14 in the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million
Week 13 Winning Lineup
Total Points: 219.54
Alex Smith: $7,500 salary; 37.64 points; 1.5% owned
Todd Gurley: $8,800 salary; 18.8 points; 22.2% owned
Kenyan Drake: $5,800 salary; 21.6 points; 5.4% owned
Keenan Allen: $8,100 salary; 21.5 points; 21.5% owned
Tyreek Hill: $6,900 salary; 33.5 points; 5.1% owned
Marqise Lee: $6,000 salary; 18.1 points; 4.5% owned
Travis Kelce: $7,000 salary; 23.4 points; 10% owned
Greg Zuerlein: $5,300 salary; 17 points; 17% owned
Miami Dolphins: $4,500; 28 points; 1.2% owned
Week 13 Picks
Carson Wentz: 17.92 points; 9.9% owned
Christian McCaffrey: 13.4 points; 2.7% owned
Devin Funchess: 14 points; 6.5% owned
Jimmy Graham: 10.1 points; 2.9% owned
Chalk: Alex Smith ($8,200), Phillip Rivers ($8,100)
Why: Not a ton of obvious chalk at the position. Matt Stafford – who has one of the best matchups of the week – seems unlikely to play in Tampa Bay, while Carson Wentz and Russell Wilson each have really tough matchups on Sunday. Smith and Rivers both have favorable opponents and are coming off strong performances in Week 13.
Lingering concerns over Winston’s injured shoulder will keep his ownership low on Sunday, but even if it’s around 10% I’m comfortable with that. Tampa Bay’s franchise quarterback performed admirably in his return last week, throwing for two scores and 270 yards in Green Bay.
Detroit is ranked towards the bottom in the NFL in both overall defense and pass defense, according to FanDuel’s metrics. And they’ve allowed the 3rd most passing yards in the NFC this year.
Vegas has yet to set an over/under on this game, thanks to Matt Stafford’s status being in significant doubt as of Wednesday. But even without Stafford, I don’t expect this to be a low scoring game. With Winston finally healthy, I look for him to have one of his best games this year.
Dak has a questionable tag as of Wednesday afternoon, thanks to a bruised hand he suffered against Washington last Thursday. He’s also had four straight underwhelming performances since Ezekiel Elliot began serving his suspension. All in all, I think these factors will be enough to keep Prescott’s ownership appealing despite having one of the best matchups of the week.
The Giants’ defense ranks at or near the bottom of the NFL in virtually every major statistical category. Dak is coming off his best fantasy game since Elliot’s suspension began, and even though he’s thrown for less than 200 yards in five of his last six games he should be good for two scores and 200 total yards against the G-Men. That’ll be more than enough to make him valuable with single-digit ownership on Sunday.
CHALK: Alfred Morris ($6,800), Melvin Gordon ($8,600)
Why: Dallas’ running game seems to have adapted to Elliot’s absence, as Morris has rushed for 90+ yards in two of his last three games. Against the Giants and at only $6,800 on FanDuel, he has tremendous value. The Redskins should be a favorable opponent for Gordon, while McCoy and Gurley will be popular options as well.
Houston isn’t necessarily a soft draw for opposing offenses – and that’s especially true for running backs. The Texans are in the very bottom (top?) of the league in fantasy points allowed to the position. That should be enough to keep Hyde 6-8% owned, at most, in Week 14.
Hyde has been a huge part of San Francisco’s passing offense, drawing the fifth most targets among NFL running backs this season. He’s averaging eight targets a game over the past four weeks, and he’s registered at least eight FanDuel points in each of those games despite not scoring a rushing touchdown since mid-October.
That’s what I like most about Hyde. Because of FanDuel’s half-point PPR setting, he doesn’t need to score to be effective. He’ll be in all of my lineups this week.
Lamar Miller is a lot like Hyde in that he’s reliable week to week despite lacking huge upside. Regardless, I think most people will look elsewhere at running back on Sunday, and that will give Miller some differentiation appeal.
San Francisco has one of the NFL’s worst rush defenses, even though they’re allowing just 3.9 yards per carry. They problem is that their opponents usually begin looking to run out the clock at some point in the third quarter.
The 49ers also haven’t faced more than a handful of elite-level backs this year. Miller will be one of the best, and I look for him to register his fourth straight 10+ point FanDuel performance in Week 12.
CHALK: DeAndre Hopkins ($8,600), Keenan Allen ($8,400), A.J. Green ($8,300)
Why: The three highest priced receivers should also be the three highest owned, as Hopkins, Allen and Green each have great home matchups on Sunday.
Anderson and Josh McCown have quietly been one of fantasy football’s absolute best quarterback-receiver combos over the last few months. Everyone saw that coming.
Anderson has 22 targets and 14 catches over NYJ’s past two games, and a string of tough matchups has not prevented him from exceeding 10 FanDuel points in every contest since Week 8.
Denver is a top defense according to just about every metric on FanDuel, but A.J. Green, Kenny Stills and Alshon Jeffery each had huge games against the Broncos. Anderson is my favorite “pivot” play of the week, although I still think there will be about 13% of owners who aren’t scared away by that matchup, either. Doesn’t matter to me. It shouldn’t to you either.
Dez has an awful track record against the Giants over the past two years, but that’s because he’s usually shadowed by an ultra-motivated Janoris Jenkins
Jenkins is out for the season after having ankle surgery last month, though, and without him the Giants’ pass defense is in the conversation for the league’s worst.
Dez caught his first touchdown since October 22 last Thursday Night against Washington, but he’s still getting targets and has the chance to be a difference maker on any given day. Not many will be buying Dez in Week 14, but he’ll be on a lot of winning lineups if he can find the endzone twice on Sunday. It’s a long-shot, but could be worth a dice roll in this tournament.
CHALK: Travis Kelce ($8,000), Stephen Anderson ($4,500)
Why: With Gronk suspended, Jimmy Graham drawing the Jaguars, and Ertz questionable to play Sunday, Kelce is only top-tier tight end left standing in Week 14. Anderson will be hugely popular at that price as the likely replacement for C.J. Fiedorowicz in Houston.
Olsen was held out of Carolina’s Week 13 matchup against the Saints because of alleged concerns over how his injured foot would react to the turf in New Orleans. Olsen was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, though, and he will suit up against the Vikings barring a late-week setback.
Minnesota’s defense has been one of the NFL’s best in 2017 – but it has shown some cracks at times throughout this season. More important to me is the fact that the Vikings’ have not faced one elite tight end this year. All of their “success” against the position is entirely skewed by that fact.
Still, Minnesota’s top-level defense will depress ownership, as will Olsen’s injury flare-up in his Week 12 return. But no one at this price point or at under 7% owned will have the upside that Olsen does. Worth the gamble.
Graham will be downgraded by the matchup with Jacksonville, and he shold be. I’m just not sure how much.
We’re talking about a guy who has now found the endzone in four straight games, and seven of his last eight. He’s Russel Wilson’s top red zone target, and there’s not a particularly close competition for the role.
Jacksonville’s defense is elite, yes, but Graham will be the best tight end they’ve seen all year. And Graham will be under 5% owned. If he can score for the fifth straight game, he’ll be hugely valuable in this tournament.