2017 Week 1 DFS: TFA Contrary-Ten
NFL DFS is back baby – which means the TFA Contrary-Ten is back for a second year, just in time for Week 1 DFS. The point of this article is two-fold. First, this highlights 10 players I’ve been thinking about all week that I have exposure to across my own DFS lineups. No player in this article is a player I have zero exposure to. Two, I try to find leverage plays for us (I do mean us) to get a leg up on the competition. Week 1 will provide some of the most chalky plays/similar lineups we will see all season long. Content for Week 1 DFS has been out for weeks and weeks now. Players like Zach Ertz and Larry Fitzgerald (though in great spots) have been talked up to death at this point. My goal here is to find players in good spots who will be contrarian and warrant consideration for GPP and large tournament fields on Draftkings and Fanduel. With that being said, let’s dive into the Week 1 DFS plays for the TFA Contrary-Ten!
Cam Newton (Price: $7100 on Draftkings; 7900 on Fanduel)
I have a feeling no one wants to play Cam Newton so, of course, I’m going to write him up. Cam Newton has been in the news due to the injury to his shoulder. This will significantly lower his ownership. He (low-key) has a favorable matchup against the 49ers for two reasons: 1. The 49ers offense will be at a much faster pace now that Kyle Shanahan is there. That could lead to more plays/opportunities for Cam to score points. 2. The 49ers defense went out and upgraded their front-seven significantly to make up for their bottom-ranked run defense. Paying up for the Quarterback position is contrarian in it of itself. Most will try to jam in Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson or both. With Cam playing during the afternoon slate, he could be a nice leverage play off the noon game chalky quarterbacks, and a good pivot down from Aaron Rodgers.
Projected ownership: 4.7 percent on Draftkings; 5.7 percent on Fanduel
Carson Palmer (Price: $6000 on Draftkings; 7300 on Fanduel)
Carson Palmer is Kevin Steele’s (@fantasywrath13) boy should be the cash game quarterback play over Carson Wentz to me. The one knock my fellow co-host Eliot Crist (@eliotcrist) brought up on the DegeNation Pod this week was the travel to the East Coast for Palmer on how that historically leads to bad things. This is Week 1 though and I think he should be well rested for this matchup. The thing here is do we get the “eat-the-clock” Detroit passing game or can Palmer and co. put up points to force Detroit to play at a faster pace. I’m leaning toward the latter and when you think about this game having a 48 over/under I expect Palmer to well return value on his price tag. Detroit allowed the second most fantasy points to Quarterbacks in 2016. David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and John “Smokey” Brown all have favorable matchups. I’ll have exposure to all and Palmer being their QB should allow him to put up respectable numbers on Sunday.
Projected ownership: 11.1 percent on Draftkings; 8 percent on Fanduel
Honorable Mention(s): Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Deshone Kizer
LeSean McCoy (Price: $8500 on Draftkings and Fanduel)
When prices/games were first released on Draftkings and Fanduel alike, I immediately started playing around with players salaries to see what I could build for Week 1 DFS. The first player I started using in lineups was LeSean McCoy. It was just after the Sammy Watkins trade had gone down and I promised myself to not forget that note because the closer it gets to Week 1 the lower his ownership might become. The Sammy Watkins trade is old news so I think people are not embracing the situation McCoy really has here.
Tyrod Taylor has no one to throw to this year. McCoy’s usage in the passing should increase dramatically. On Draftkings where it’s one-point ppr, McCoy can arguably turn in a top-3 performance. The DegeNation Pod talked to Buffalo Bills sportscaster Jonah Javad during their preseason mini-series and he made mention that McCoy looked like he did in his Philly days. The Jets have been a stingy run defense but they traded away defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson and tied for second allowing five receiving touchdowns to RBs in 2016. Not to mention, the Jets offense will be putrid, so I imagine the Bills defense can give McCoy a short field to work with a time or two. He makes for an excellent pivot on Draftkings due to his low projected ownership and on Fanduel where you can save $800-$900 by not playing Johnson or Bell.
Projected ownership: 10 percent on Draftkings; 21 percent on Fanduel
Lamar Miller (Price: $5100 on Draftkings; $7300 on Fanduel)
I mentioned on the DFS DegeNation Pod this week that Lamar Miller was one of my favorite contrarian plays for Week 1 DFS – especially on Draftkings. Miller is the 20th highest priced RB there – that’s egregious. Tevin Coleman, Joe Mixon, and Leonard Fournette all have a higher price tag. Miller checks the boxes for me when I look for an RB in tournaments: he’s underpriced, a home favorite, and he will get a lions-share of the touches with Alfred Blue banged up. The only game that Lamar Miller has played with him and Tom Savage both starting he saw 24 touches, 89 total yards, and a touchdown.
Many people are buying into the Jacksonville defense hype, but I think the Texans win this game easily. *Narrative alert* this team will be hyped to take the field in front of their home fans with the hurricane drama.
Projected ownership: 5.5 percent on Draftkings; 2.4 percent on Fanduel
Isaiah Crowell (Price: $5300 on Draftkings; $6500 on Fanduel)
This play doesn’t make me feel comfortable at all, however, I think there’s supreme value to be had here. Let me be clear – this is strictly a tournament play. I was on him to start the week because my gut tells me that this game can be closer than many expect. Big Ben has head-scratching home/road splits and Deshone Kizer is a massive upgrade at QB for this Browns offense. Crowell has seen some success versus the Steelers the past three years. He has three scores in six games and torched them for 152 yards on the ground on Jan 1st of this year. When you dive into the numbers, you learn that Pro Football Focus has the Cleveland offensive line ranked second this year. Furthermore, the Browns were 12th in rush DVOA last year and the Steelers rush defense was 19th. TFA DFS writer Matt Dickason had a lot more to say about Crowell in The Gauntlet article that released earlier this week. Don’t be afraid to play Crowell in tournaments on Draftkings or Fanduel especially in Steelers stacked lineups.
Projected ownership: 9.1 percent on Draftkings; 13.1 percent on Fanduel
Carlos Hyde (Price: $4600 on Draftkings; $6800 on Fanduel)
Remember when people thought Carlos Hyde was going to be cut this offseason? LOL – that was fun. Kudos if you picked him in your Redraft leagues. Let’s talk about this from a DFS perspective…firstly, Hyde is always the play for Week 1 DFS. It can’t be ignored that he had back-to-back two touchdown games in the 49ers past two Week 1 games leading him to be a top-five scorer for Week 1 DFS. Yet, Draftkings has taken it upon themselves to price him to be the 31st highest-priced RB on Draftkings. Thirty. First. Guys like Terrance West, Matt Forte, and a suspended Doug Martin (before the TB vs. MIA game was canceled) are all priced above him. It makes no sense to me. The team has invested in him and he has little-to-no competition on his team on the position.
Projected ownership: 5.8 percent on Draftkings; 3 percent on Fanduel
Honorable Mention(s): Ezekiel Elliott; Jonathan Stewart/Christian McCaffery
Julio Jones (Price: $8500 on Draftkings; $9000 on Fanduel)
I can guarantee you no one wants to pay up for Julio Jones on Sunday and when the field is low on Julio I want to be high. This is arguably the best Wide Receiver in football going up against the Chicago Bears. Yes, Matt Ryan does has favorable splits at home versus on the road but the Bears secondary is where you can attack this team. They allowed Jordy Nelson to go for 7 receptions and 124 yards in 2016 and T.Y. Hilton had 10 receptions for 171 yards and 1 touchdown against them last year. The one thing I will say that worries me in the Chicago field is one of the worst to play on and with Julio’s foot injury history that cannot go unlooked. But I realistically see him getting 100 yards which counts for a bonus three points on DK and if he gets loose for a touchdown or two people could be kicking themselves to not having exposure to him. With the soft pricing on FD that’s where I like Julio the most because you can still pay up for a stud RB.
Projected ownership: 25.3 percent on Draftkings; 15.5 percent on Fanduel
Michael Crabtree (Price: $6000 on Draftkings; $6900)
For those of you who follow me Twitter or on the TFA Pod, you know Michael Crabtree was “my guy” this offseason. That is carrying over to Week 1 DFS for me. The Titans vs. Raiders game is projected to be the highest scoring game of the week with an over/under currently at 50. You will want exposure to this game and for me, I’m leaning toward the WR2 for both teams in this matchup to be contrarian. Crabtree is a favorite target of Derek Carr. He’s garnered more targets, receptions, and touchdowns than Amari Cooper since 2015. He’s also the favorite red zone target on the Oakland Raiders seeing 21 targets in the 20, eight of those 21 targets inside the 10 in 2016. Amari Cooper may be in for a big 2017, but I think the year starts off with a bang for Michael Crabtree on Sunday.
Projected ownership: 9.6 percent on Draftkings; 14 percent on Fanduel
Torrey Smith (Price: $3700 on Draftkings; $5100 on Fanduel)
Looking for a cheap guy with upside at the Wide Receiver position, but you want to avoid the chalk of Kendall Wright or the potential land mine of Robby Anderson? Look no further than Torrey Smith. Zach Ertz is the pass catcher that everyone wants this week leading me to believe his ownership is going to be around 25-30 percent minimum in GPPs and around 65-70 percent in Cash. Yes, he’s had a good run versus Washington historically averaging around seven targets, 5.75 receptions and 54.75 yards over eight games. He has not scored, however, scored a touchdown in this matchup. That might seem like something dismal, but if that trend continues some other guys i.e. Torrey Smith could be in a good spot. Alshon Jeffery is already expected to be shadowed by Josh Norman so he’s unplayable to me. At his price tag, Torrey Smith needs just 50 yards and a score to return 4x value.
Projected ownership: 0.8 percent on Draftkings; 1.4 percent on Fanduel
Honorable Mention(s): Antonio Brown, AJ Green, Randall Cobb
Delanie Walker (Price: 4300 on Draftkings; 6100 on Fanduel)
Delanie Walker is another one of my favorite plays who I think is viable in cash and tournaments alike. I think many people are going to lock in Zach Ertz due to his matchup with the Redskins and his flagrant price tag on Draftkings. Walker is one of two guys (the other being Rishad Matthews) that have an established rapport with Quarterback Marcus Mariota. Walker gets a favorable matchup here versus the Oakland Raiders who allowed the fifth-most yards to Tight Ends a year ago, and the 9th most Draftkings points to Tight Ends. This Raiders defense let that carry over into the preseason this year by allowing Jason Witten torch them for seven receptions on seven targets for 70 yards in a touchdown. Walker has been top-6 in red-zone targets with Mariota as the Quarterback as well. I don’t see myself having less than 50 percent exposure to Walker across all of my teams on both Draftkings and Fanduel.
Honorable Mention(s): Greg Olsen, Jermaine Gresham
Projected ownership: 21.4 percent on Draftkings; 12.3 percent on Fanduel
*Projected ownership percentages found on Fantasy Pros*