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Week 13 Cheap DFS Pivot Plays: Stacking Alex Smith and Travis Kelce for under $14k

Searching through Week 13 ownership percentages on FanDuel to avoid the widely owned players for contrarian plays.

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FanDuel: Week 13 Fantasy Football League

Many of you play in season-long fantasy football leagues, while more and more of you are playing one day fantasy leagues. If you like the action of the one day leagues, make sure you join the FanDuel/SB Nation one day fantasy football leagues. All you need to do is click on the link below and join a league.

Enter the Week 13 Fantasy Football League

  • Starts Sunday 1pm ET, ends Monday
  • First place wins $100,000 on Monday
  • $5 entry, top 57,500 teams win cash
  • Salary cap format - pick who you want

The data from Thursday night guaranteed prize pool tournaments on FanDuel are great previews to the range of ownership rates we will see on Sunday. The data is crowdsourced on Reddit and we will take a look at it to find contrarian pivot plays for Week 13 of the NFL season. FanDuel is standard 0.5 points per reception.

On FanDuel, there is no late player swap, so remember that players who are gametime decisions or who did not practice on Thursday may have the more drastic lowered ownership rates. Also, note that players owned who played on Thursday night will have those ownership rates dispersed at unknown proportions. But the order at which players are highly owned generally stay the same for Sunday-Monday contests.

Quarterbacks

TNF players: Matthew Stafford (15.30%) and Aaron Rodgers (9.40%)

Highest-owned

Player Opponent % Owned Salary
Cam Newton, Panthers at Saints 19.00% $9,000
Tom Brady, Patriots vs Eagles 6.20% $9,400
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Browns 7.55% $8,000
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs Colts 6.64% $8,100
Jay Cutler, Bears vs 49ers 4.50% $7,000


Newton is the expected chalk against the terrible Saints. With a quarter of the Thursday owners in the TNF QBs, Newton's ownership is more likely to be in the 25-32% range. A third of the field in a player has to make us think twice, but Newton is also a great naked option. Without an obvious stacking option at WR, there is plenty of variety to be had with the consensus #1 QB of the week. That said, 100% exposure is not good, especially at 15% of the cap.

All five of the following QBs are worthy of at least 10% exposure against the grain:

Ryan Fitzpatrick at Giants, 3.40%, $7,500

Fitzpatrick has a great matchup that is in his home stadium against the Giants who are 25th in DVOA against the pass and the Jets are struggling to run as of late. This game has the fourth-highest over-under at 46.5 on Bovada, but the three games Vegas has scoring higher have point spreads of seven or more while this game has the Jets only favored by two. Implying three TDs for the Jets is great for a Fitzpatrick-Brandon Marshall stack.

Ryan Tannehill vs Ravens, 2.30%, $7,300

Tannehill is probably being faded because the team is a mess, but in this mess, Tannehill has thrown seven TDs in the last three weeks and the Ravens are giving up the second-most points per week to QBs this season. Add that Jarvis Landry's 112 targets is so overwhelming higher than the next active Dolphin (Jordan Cameron, 55) and this can be a great volume stack. It's not like Miami has much interest in running Lamar Miller, as Miller has not had double digit touches in either of the last two weeks and has had fewer than ten carries in three of their last five games.

Alex Smith at Raiders, 1.40%, $6,600

Smith is namely interesting because nine of his 41 TD passes in 2013 and 2014 were against the Raiders and he has thrown for over 276 yards per game on the road this season. The Raiders have been bad against TEs, making Travis Kelce a super-pivot to stack with Smith.

Smith is historically unspectacular, but is throwing for a career-highs in yards per game and at a career-low INT rate. The offense is working for him and the Chiefs have scored 29 or more in their last four. The Raiders are ad below average pass defense and this should be a close game that totals over 50 points, by my projections.

Brock Osweiler at Chargers, 1.40%, $6,900

Osweiler is underlooked because a lot of people are scared of Denver's offense, but the Chargers have the fourth-worst DVOA against the pass. The reason you are fading Broncos RBs is an argument for Osweiler.

Carson Palmer at Rams, 2.70%, $7,900

Palmer has a terrible matchup on paper, but Jay Cutler went into St. Louis and threw three TDs. Why can't Palmer with David Johnson and Stepfon Taylor the alternative in the running game? Palmer is third in the NFL in passing yards and second in TDs, had no problem throwing for 363 yards and three TDs in Seattle, so--again--why not this week in St. Louis?

Running Backs

TNF players: Eddie Lacy (14.33%) and Ameer Abdullah (0.80%)

Highest-owned

Player Opponent % Owned Salary
Deangelo Williams, Steelers vs Colts 26.20% $7,200
David Johnson, Cardinals at Rams 11.53% $5,900
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers at Saints 17.56% $7,200
Doug Martin, Buccaneers vs Falcons 14.10% $7,600
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks at Vikings 7.45% $7,000
C.J. Anderson, Broncos at Chargers 9.55% $6,800
LeSean McCoy, Bills vs Texans 9.25% $7,800
Chris Ivory, Jets at Giants 7.75% $7,100
Javorius Allen, Ravens at Dolphins 6.10% $6,800
LeGarrette Blount, Patriots vs Eagles 5.80% $6,900

The chalk here is also obvious until you get to C.J. Anderson and that just feels like a lot of people chasing points, despite the great matchup. McCoy feels too expensive for a matchup that is getting worse every week at near $8k and Ivory has looked terrible in recent weeks. The ceiling also feels too low for Stewart who is not active enough in the receiving game for my liking at over $7k if I'm matching so many other people's picks.

Three players to consider, but the last two are much riskier than the QB picks:

Demarco Murray at Patriots, 0.90% owned, $7,400

Ouch, that's a lot of money for a guy facing a team that does not allow rushing TDs, I know, but New England is average (16th) in DVOA against the run. I like Murray's floor in the neighborhood of 18 touches with Sam Bradford. Also, Murray is second on the team in receptions (39), so even if you want to fade Murray for a blowout, he may benefit the most from garbage time for the second half.

Jeremy Langford vs 49ers, 2.20%, $6,400

Even in a timeshare, this should be a blowout for the Bears favored by 7.5 on Bovada, so Langford should still get his 15 touches. Langford has 81 FanDuel points in 77 touches in his last four games and we only need 15 points fro Langford not to bust. The 49ers are 27th in DVOA against the run, so we can get there. If we are stacking Cutler with Alshon Jeffery to build that lead, Langford in a super stack to close the game with a little extra will be a rare pivot.

Shaun Draughn at Bears, 2.70%, $5,900

Draughn has actually been one of the most dependable RBs for volume during his three starts. He as had 20 touches in each of those games, including 17 receptions. He has not found the end zone, but is averaging almost 87 yards per game. When the 49ers are throwing during garbage time, Draughn will be the secondary option behind Anquan Boldin and the Bears are 31st in DVOA against the run.

Wide Receivers

TNF players: Calvin Johnson (20.20%) and Randall Cobb (14.80%)

Highest-owned

Player Opponent % Owned Salary
Alshon Jeffery, Bears vs 49ers 23.75% $7,700
A.J. Green, Bengals at Browns 14.75% $8,400
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals at Rams 6.54% $7,300
Jarvis Landry, Dolphins vs Ravens 9.40% $7,400
Odell Beckham Jr., Giants vs Jets 10.80% $9,400
Julio Jones, Falcons vs Falcons 10.80% $9,200
Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs at Raiders 10.57% $6,500
Brandon LaFell, Patriots vs Eagles 9.75% $6,600
Martavis Bryant, Steelers vs Colts 10.00% $6,900
Allen Robinson, Jaguars at Titans 9.22% $8,000
Brandon Marshall, Jets at Giants 8.90% $8,100
T.Y. Hilton, Colts vs Colts 8.17% $7,300
Eric Decker, Jets at Giants 7.30% $7,200
Danny Amendola, Patriots vs Eagles 4.20% $6,700
Desean Jackson, Washington vs Cowboys 6.30% $6,500

Expect the chalk for Danny Amendola to go up, as he is probable to play on Sunday in a great matchup against the Eagles for great chalk. There is not great confidence in RB this, so the expensive WRs are easier to stack, but there are three players tragically ignored by many for us to pivot:

Donte Moncrief at Steelers, 2.70%, $6,400

The price is not great here at all for as inconsistent as Moncrief has been, but the Steelers are allowing the most yards per game to #2 WRs (71.5) in the NFL. The Steelers are favored 7 on Bovada, but this game is tied with the Patriots-Eagles game for the second-highest over-under on the week at 49, so a couple of TDs for the Colts should still be found.

Moncrief has 17 targets over the last two weeks and is coming off of an 8/114/0 slash in Week 12. Expect at least eight targets for Moncrief here, as I have his floor around the 5/75/0 range for over ten FanDuel points. An extra catch or two can easily up him to the 15-point range without a TD. A TD can make him a cheap 20-point play. It would be weird for a #2 to not torch the Steelers. Just ask Michael Crabtree, Jermaine Kearse, et al.

Devin Funchess at Saints, no data, $5,600

The natural stack for Cam is Greg Olsen, but lest we forget that New Orleans is 29th in DVOA against #1 WRs (28th against #2s, if we want to consider Ted Ginn, Jr. the #1). Funchess only saw four targets on a short week Thanksgiving Day. With the extra rest and his eight Week 11 targets, there has been time and the will to get him going, if the Panthers want to have a WR threat in the playoffs and what better time than against the Saints.

DeVante Parker vs Ravens, 2.50%, $5,200

For the price of a tight end, you can have the #2 WR against the Ravens, who are 25th in DVOA against #2 WRs. Tannehill should throw for multiple TDs in this one. Parker will take on Rishard Matthews' juicy role as bumslayer against a terrible defense with a great shot to breakout. This coaching staff has a prayer to keep a job here and there and developing Parker could be seen as an asset to sell.

Tight Ends

TNF players: No data

Highest-owned

Player Opponent % Owned Salary
Greg Olsen, Panthers at Saints 33.39% $6,600
Scott Chandler, Patriots vs Eagles 19.60% $5,300
Delanie Walker, Titans vs Jaguars 11.84% $6,000
Jordan Reed, Redskins vs Cowboys 9.05% $5,900
Julius Thomas, Jaguars at Titans 6.60% $5,800

The obvious names here are obvious and Chandler's value is not empty "next man up Zach Sudfield" love, as he did get 11 targets in Week 12 on the field for 81.8% of the snaps. His nine red zone targets are third on the team to Rob Gronkowski (17) and Julian Edelman (16), who are both inactive for Week 13, and Tom Brady is his QB.

The biggest omission here is a bit mind-boggling, but the Panthers in New Orleans and Chandler's projected volume for the price usurping over half of TE slots shows that players were just plugging in the best value or player in a vacuum:

Travis Kelce at Raiders, 6.10%, $6,200

Kelce's numbers have been all that much better than James Jones over the season. For the reasons we should like Smith, we should love Kelce against a Raiders defense tied for giving up the most TDs to TEs (10). Kelce is second to Jeremy Maclin (84) on the Chiefs in targets (78) and has at least seven targets in four straight weeks. Bovada has this game as a virtual pick 'em with the Raiders -3 at home, so Kelce should get leaned on at some point here with his best shot at 20 FanDuel points all season to this point.

He is getting faded because he hasn't reached double digits on FD in over half of his games this season, but had 14.9 last week with his fourth TD of the season. He should get #5 in Week 13.

Defense/Special Teams

The huge chalk is the Panthers (18.15%, $4,900), Bengals (13.93%, $5,100), Patriots (10.90, $4,800) where people are chasing the highest favored team, Austin Davis, and Sam Bradford, respectively. Can't really argue with that. Where we need to save a couple hundred bucks to grab a player elsewhere, the Bears against Blaine Gabbert at $4,400 (5.70%) or the Buccaneers against Matt Ryan at $4,200 (no data) are good bargains for equal value with multiple INT-upside.

Stats via Pro-Football-Reference.com and FootballOutsiders.com.