4 NFL FanDuel Tournament Pivots for Week 11
If you've played daily fantasy sports for a while, you realize by now the importance of being contrarian, especially in large-field tournaments. Being able to recognize which players are going to be owned by the majority of the field -- and to find players who you think have a similar point projection but will come at much lower ownership -- can help separate you from your opponents.
The purpose of this article will be to identify some players who will be the chalk at each position and how you can pivot off of them with high-upside options who could go overlooked.
Let's take a look at pivot options for Week 11.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
FanDuel Salary: $9,000
When excluding roster percentages, there are much better plays at quarterback this week than Aaron Rodgers, who's the most expensive quarterback on the slate and has a not-so-great matchup versus Indianapolis. Lamar Jackson ($8,400), Deshaun Watson ($7,700), Justin Herbert ($8,500), and Cam Newton ($7,600) all project well this week, and you can certainly make a case for someone like Ben Roethlisberger ($8,000), too.
But it really feels like Rodgers is going to be largely ignored this week despite the elite ceiling he's shown. Only Patrick Mahomes is averaging more Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back in 2020 than Rodgers, and no other signal-caller is anywhere close.
That just shows how incredibly efficient Rodgers has been this season, and it's reflected in his results, as Rodgers has averaged just under 24 FanDuel points per game -- only Herbert has averaged more on this slate -- and his top-three scores have hit 30.76, 29.58, and 28.90 FanDuel points.
Admittedly, the Colts are eighth in schedule-adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics, and have allowed the fewest FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks. Not great. And yet, this is the game with the highest total (51.0) on the entire slate, and as of this writing, 94% of the money is on the over compared to just 75% of the bets, per oddsFire. A shootout is a real possibility.
Mike Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers
FanDuel Salary: $7,400
After Mike Davis burned quite a few FanDuel users in Week 10 -- he was rostered in 30.9% of Sunday Million lineups and a whopping 77.8% of head-to-heads -- it's hard to see him getting much love this week, especially with his salary getting a $2,000 bump.
But, man, he couldn't ask for a much better bounce-back spot than against Detroit. The Lions not only rank 32nd in schedule-adjusted rush defense, but they're coughing up the most FanDuel points per game to running backs by a wide margin. That should be a breath of fresh air for Davis after facing Tampa Bay, the second-best adjusted rush defense and sixth-best in FanDuel points allowed to the position.
Davis' usage was disappointing last week, but he missed snaps due to an in-game thumb injury, and the Panthers may have simply decided it wasn't in their best interest to run at a stout Bucs defense. Let's remember that in Davis' previous six starts, he averaged 13.8 rushes and 5.8 targets per game, and he exceeded 19 FanDuel points three times early in the season.
Now, there are certainly some caveats, though. Curtis Samuel is getting red-zone carries here and there -- eight on the season -- which makes him a threat to vulture touchdowns. Additionally, this whole offense could take a hit if Teddy Bridgewater is unable to suit up this week.
Still, despite the potential risks, we've seen Davis come through for us before, and this is the perfect opportunity to give him another shot.
Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
FanDuel Salary: $6,400
The Steelers have the highest implied team total on the board (28.25) in what could be an easy victory over the Jaguars. There's clear blowout risk here, but on a slate with lower totals overall, there isn't as much of a concern of missing out on a massive shootout.
Jacksonville ranks 27th in adjusted pass defense, giving us a fantastic matchup for Pittsburgh's wideouts. FanDuel has JuJu Smith-Schuster ($6,500), Diontae Johnson ($6,400), and Chase Claypool all at pretty much the same salary, so it's really just a matter of us picking our favorite(s) of the bunch.
Objectively, Johnson looks like the safest bet, as he's been a lock for double-digit targets in his healthy games. Excluding his Week 8 contest against Baltimore -- where he was a non-factor following an early hamstring injury -- he's posted 10, 13, 15, 10, and 11 targets in the other five games in which he played the majority of snaps. Following his first 100-yard game of his career, he figures to be the most popular of the three wideouts.
Claypool's usage has been up and down for most of the season, but he's settled into some steady volume lately, with 9, 13, and 10 targets over his last three. With all three wideouts fully healthy the past two weeks, it's actually Claypool who leads the way in targets while also possessing a huge 40% air yards share, compared to 24% for Johnson and 18% for Smith-Schuster.
On top of all that, Claypool also gets carries here and there, with two rushing scores on his ledger. We've already seen Claypool tally multiple touchdowns on two occasions this season, so don't be afraid to give him a go as a likely less popular Steelers wideout this weekend.
Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
FanDuel Salary: $6,500
With Friday's surprising news out of New Orleans, it's Taysom Hill ($4,500) week on FanDuel, and there's little question where the vast majority of lineups are going to end up at tight end. Particularly with guys like Travis Kelce and Darren Waller off the slate, there's little chance a tight end will be able to match the fantasy output of a starting quarterback, let alone at such a minimal salary.
The lone exception to this is Mark Andrews, who drops from being one of the most popular options to what should be a severely reduced roster percentage. And, yes, chances are Hill will outscore Andrews at a $2,000 discount, making the Baltimore tight end a tough sell.
But weird things happen in fantasy football, and if Hill busts at what could be astronomically high popularity, you'll have a leg up on the field if you pivot elsewhere. After all, it's not like we never see quarterbacks held to single-digit FanDuel points. Perhaps Hill isn't up to the task as a starting quarterback -- he has all of 18 career pass attempts -- or maybe Sean Payton pulls the rug out from under us and gives Jameis Winston some snaps after all.
Andrews, like just about any tight end, has a low floor, but his nine red-zone targets are nearly double that of anyone else on the team, and he has two games with multiple touchdowns, helping him to 20.3 and 19.2 FanDuel points in those outings. The Titans aren't anything special on defense, ranking 24th against the pass in our metrics.
Make no mistake -- Hill is the top play at the position by a mile. But if you're looking for an easy way to differentiate, Andrews isn't a crazy way to go.