8 contrarian DFS picks for Week 13
“Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong.” – Oscar Wilde
Last week was another great week to go contrarian. The chalk plays (Carson Palmer, Brian Hoyer, Tevin Coleman, T.J. Yeldon, DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, and Julio Jones) all crashed and burned in a most-glorious and spectacular fashion. The contrarian DFS player typically puts themselves into something of an antifragile position in that they benefit from disorder and chaos. Most weeks they may be less likely to cash in tournaments than their chalk-heavy counterparts, but on weeks when the chalk bombs, they’ve put themselves in a position to do a lot more than just cash.
Last week, we had a great example of this from one of our very own readers, Luis, who goes by ‘mialights’ on DraftKings. He hit me up on Twitter after the Sunday night game. He was in 17th place in DraftKings’ Millionaire Maker, set to haul in $12,500, but was sweating the Monday night game. Unfortunately, due to a big performance from Cleveland’s defense, Luis slipped 20 spots, but still walked away with a cool $4,000. Rather than lead in with the typical inanities I’ve been known to employ for this section of the article, I figured it might actually be a better use of our time to review his lineup construction to see if there’s anything we can learn from Luis’ success.
Last week we mentioned that we thought the Seattle vs. Pittsburgh game had sneaky shootout potential, and apparently, so did Luis. Russell Wilson was only 3.3 percent owned in the Millionaire Maker. This seems shockingly-low considering he was A) up against a bad “funnel defense” in the Steelers, B) he had contrarian appeal as a way of fading the chalky Thomas Rawls, and C) he was just coming off of his most productive fantasy game of the season. Luis paired him up with Wilson’s favorite target, Doug Baldwin (2.7%), which combined to make up over a third of his lineup’s total points.
Luis also made another nice in-game correlation play with the Martavis Bryant (12.7%). If Wilson was going to have a big game, chances are so would Ben Roethlisberger. There’s a strong correlation between the fantasy success of one quarterback and the opposing team’s quarterback. (On both DraftKings and FanDuel, if a quarterback has scored at least 25 fantasy points, the opposing team’s quarterback has scored at least 20 points 60 percent of the time.) So, if Roethlisberger were to have a good game, chances are so would one of his top receivers. We knew Richard Sherman would be shadowing Antonio Brown and Marcus Wheaton hadn’t done much prior to last week, so Bryant was a strong play although he didn’t put up massive numbers.
Jarvis Landry (2.5%) might have been the most hindsight-obvious pick of the week. We knew that the Jets’ Darrelle Revis typically shadows Landry when the two teams play, we knew Revis would not be playing last week, we knew the Jets’ secondary (outside of Revis) was bad, and we’ve already seen Landry flash elite-upside. He didn’t go contrarian everywhere, however, rostering Odell Beckham Jr. (39.3%), but outside of Beckham Jr., he faded the chalk and profited while highly-owned studs like Hopkins and Jones sunk the majority of lineups.
This week, we can expect the chalk to be Cam Newton, David Johnson, Adrian Peterson, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Alshon Jeffery, Greg Olsen, and Scott Chandler. As typical, we’ll be looking to fade or pivot off the large majority of this list.
Some of our favorite contrarian plays for Week 13 are: