Fade the DFS crowd with Le'Veon Bell in Week 8
“The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd, but to think for yourself.” – Peter Theil
Last Saturday night, while I was in the kitchen perfecting my newest chili recipe, my father walked into the room and asked me who I liked more, “Chris Johnson or Andre Ellington?” I said, “Johnson, but everyone expects the Cardinals to throw the ball.” He thanks me, leaves, and comes back 20 minutes later, grinning from ear-to-ear. “I set my first DFS lineup.” I was really excited for him, until I actually took a look at the lineup when he pleaded, “Okay, now you’ve got to help me out.”
I asked him what made him want to play one of the Cardinals’ running backs so badly. He said “Because those were the only guys cheap enough to fit my lineup.” I told him he was going to need to find a better reason to play Johnson than that. I also pointed out that, because he had both Donte Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton, without Andrew Luck, it decreased his overall ceiling (not good for a GPP). I was flattered he drafted Darren McFadden because I mentioned him in last week’s article, but I told him that it’s typically unwise to pair your running back with the opposing team’s defense (which he did, in this case, with the Giants). He ended up switching the lineup around to something that made more sense. Tuesday morning he sends me an e-mail. His original lineup, with Johnson in it, would have finished in first and he would have won $5,000. With my help, he only won $7.
In retrospect, he actually had a pretty decent contrarian lineup. Not too many people were on Chris Johnson, while almost a majority of the field had either Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, or John Brown in their lineups. T.Y. Hilton was underowned in what everyone thought was going to be a tough matchup against Delvin Breaux. The Giants defense too should have been higher-owned considering they were against turnover-prone Matt Cassel in his first start of the season. My father isn’t too upset about losing out on the $5,000. He knows that if he won, it would have been primarily due to luck, and besides, now he gets to go around telling me how much better he is at DFS.
I also got fairly lucky in last week’s article when I recommended you to play Darren McFadden. While I thought he would have a big day, I didn’t expect Joseph Randle to leave with an injury and for McFadden to then touch the ball a whopping 31 times and finish as fantasy’s RB4. In a bad week for chalk plays (outside of Todd Gurley and the Rams defense), hopefully you too went contrarian and profited. This week, we’ll be looking at the following contrarian plays for Week 8:
Ryan Fitzpatrick (4.7%) – As one of the cheapest options on each site, Fitzpatrick makes for a compelling play in one of the softest matchups he’s faced thus far. The Raiders are currently giving up the most passing yardage per game (312.8) to opposing quarterbacks. Oakland has surrendered multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in five of their six games, while Fitzpatrick has also thrown for multiple touchdowns in five of his six games. While the Raiders have a bottom-15 grade on PFF in pass coverage, they rank top-15 against the run. Opposing teams seam conscious of this as well, as the Raiders’ opponents are passing on 66.6 percent of their plays (which ranks highest in the league). With Chris Ivory banged up, I expect the Jets to stick to the pass against a Raiders defense that has been giving up the 11th fewest rushing yards per carry (3.8).
This bodes well for Fitzpatrick, who ranks in the top-10 in fantasy points per drop back and is fantasy’s QB5 over the last two weeks. Fitzpatrick should have plenty of time in the pocket this week, as Oakland has only recorded 11 sacks to date (fifth lowest in the league). The passing game typically runs through Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, who are averaging 44.5 percent of the team’s overall target share. While Decker is listed as questionable, he is expected to play. With both receivers not exceeding seven percent ownership on Thursday, I feel great stacking Fitzpatrick with either option (or potentially both).
Drew Brees (2.4%) – Brees is in a great spot this week at home against the Giants. Over the past three seasons, Brees is averaging 28.4 fantasy points per game at home, or almost six points better than his 22.5 points per game average when away. Over his last four games, Brees is averaging 315 yards per game. The Giants, meanwhile, are giving up the third most passing yards per game (288.3) and will again be without stud corner, Prince Amukumara (our 15th highest graded corner in coverage).
The Giants are our eighth lowest graded team in pass coverage and our lowest graded team in pass rush. Some extra time in the pocket will go a long way for Brees, who has the seventh highest sack percentage (22.1 percent) when pressured. New Orleans has the fourth highest implied point total for the week (26), and, as they’re only three point favorites at home, we could be in for a shootout. One of the most attractive aspects in rostering Brees is that all of his primary stacking options are considerably low owned — Willie Snead (3.3%), Brandin Cooks (3.0%), Benjamin Watson (3.8%). While, running back, Mark Ingram, might be the true beneficiary this Sunday, the passing game’s expected ownership is too low not to add shares.
Marshawn Lynch (2.7%) – After struggling early in the season and then missing two games with a hamstring injury, Lynch has returned to total 176 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries in his two games back. Over that same time frame, he’s tied with Devonta Freeman as our fourth highest graded runner, he’s leading all rushers in goal-line carries (five), and is second in total attempts. The Seahawks are currently six point favorites against the Cassel-led Cowboys.