The top contrarian plays for Week 16 in DFS
“You can go your own way. Go your own way. You can call it another lonely day.”
So maybe a Fleetwood Mac quote isn’t the sort of thing you’ve come to expect from Scott Barrett in his weekly intro to this piece. And that’s ok. Because marching to the beat of your own drum is pretty much the whole premise of being the contrarian from the crowd in a DFS tournament. Perhaps that also describes how Lindsey Buckingham came to see Stevie Nicks, the subject in the above referenced breakup song.
For some background on how the contrarian strategy works in daily fantasy tournaments, you should read Scott’s primer here. The Cliffs Notes version is that we want to avoid the most popularly owned players and field a lineup with one or two (or three) of the most lightly owned players who could go off. After all, you’re not going to win a DFS tourney without differentiating yourself from the field.
What do I mean by “going off?” To borrow an example from the contrarian primer: in order for a player to meet value in a tournament on DraftKings, they need to reach about 4x value; “x” being their salary divided by $1,000. So, a $5,000 tight end would need to score 20 points in order to reach value.
Mike Tagliere offered up some pretty solid contrarian plays in his Week 15 piece. Drew Brees was the top fantasy quarterback in Week 15, while Cam Newton was fourth. Brandin Cooks topped all wideouts in fantasy scoring.
Looking ahead to Week 16, we’ll once again reference the Fantasy Aces ownership percentages for the $3 Quick Slant Thursday-Monday GPP contest, provided by TwoQBs.com. Right off the bat, we’ll fade the chalk (most highly owned) from consideration: Tom Savage, Matt Barkley (if you were surprised to read those two names, I’m with you), Jordan Howard, LeSean McCoy, Todd Gurley, Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, DeAndre Hopkins and Greg Olsen.
Instead, we’ll look at the contrarian plays (less than 10-percent owned) and leverage plays (players who stand to benefit most if the chalk disappoints).
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (8% owned)
Roethlisberger is the highest-scoring fantasy QB at home this season, and he’s No. 2 going back to the start of last season. Guess where the Steelers are playing on Sunday after hitting the road for four of their last five games? Better yet, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith is out with an ankle injury. That’s an important development because Antonio Brown has averaged 130 receiving yards in the two games Smith has missed since becoming a starter in Baltimore, compared to 64.5 YPG in the six games Smith has played.