The top contrarian plays for Week 12 in DFS
“The noble title of ‘dissident’ must be earned rather than claimed; it connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian
Ladies and gentlemen, we are on a roll! This article killed it again last week. In Week 11, I wrote up Aaron Rodgers (3.6 percent owned, QB1), David Johnson (7.65 percent, RB1), Mike Evans (13.2 percent, WR11), Julian Edelman (17.0 percent, WR4), and Eric Ebron (4.8 percent, TE3). (All scoring and ownership taken from DraftKings’ $4M Fantasy Football Millionaire tournament.)
He wasn’t the best point-per-dollar value, but Rodgers did finish the week as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback. Johnson finished as fantasy’s top-scoring running back, but the superior play was rostering both him and Le’Veon Bell — which I had mentioned as well. Evans was a little higher-owned than I anticipated, and, disappointingly, his day could have been even bigger considering he had two end-zone targets and one 31-yard-catch that brought him just shy of the end zone. As we expected, Edelman’s ownership pushed him out of contrarian range over the weekend, but he was still far more successful and low-owned than Martellus Bennett (40 percent) – who we wanted leverage off of. We got lucky with a goal-line carry for Ebron, but you won’t hear me complaining there. Our small misses were Tyler Eifert, Darren Sproles (who got hurt early in the game), and Colin Kaepernick (who was still the sixth-highest dollar-per-value quarterback on DraftKings).
It was a rough week for the chalk, however. Bennett was the highest-owned tight end of the week, and scored just 2.4 DraftKings fantasy points. Both highly owned Chiefs players, Spencer Ware and Tyreek Hill, were both rostered on over 20 percent of lineups and neither hit even 11 DraftKings fantasy points.
In Week 12, we hope to keep the momentum going. It is a weird week for us, though. Due to the Thanksgiving games, we’ll have to project ownership without the usual benefit of FantasyAces’ Thursday tournaments. So, we’ll sort of mix things up a bit this week. I’ll cover a number of players I like that I suspect will be below 10 percent owned this week and write briefly about all of them, rather than the typical 2,000 words covering my two favorites at every position.
In my estimation, the highest-owned players will be: Drew Brees, Derek Carr, Russell Wilson (FanDuel especially), David Johnson, Demarco Murray, Thomas Rawls, Rashad Jennings, Brandin Cooks, Amari Cooper, Julian Edelman, Doug Baldwin and Greg Olsen.
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
With Mariota’s price finally catching up to his production, in a game with a low Vegas total, I think Mariota’s ownership will dip low enough to make him a strong contrarian value. Since Week 5, Mariota is averaging 263.9 passing yards and 27.4 rushing yards per game. Across those seven games, he also has 19 passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and only three interceptions. Over that same stretch, he’s averaging 25.4 fantasy points per game, which ranks most among quarterbacks. The Bears rank bottom-12 in both PFF pass rush and pass coverage grades. The narrative suggests Tennessee blows out Chicago and Mariota won’t have to go pass-heavy, and it’s hard to argue against that. Still, teams like San Francisco and Cleveland have been getting blown out all season and rank bottom-six in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Mariota also has the added benefit of being a leverage play off of the likely highly owned DeMarco Murray.