TFA Contrary-Ten – Week 1 DFS
Welcome back, beautiful. The 2018 NFL season is just hours away! The suspense is killing me…if you’re still struggling to set your lineups, or want plays for your lineups to be different from the field, I got you covered. The TFA Contrary-Ten is back with 10 plays I’m looking to get across my Cash and GPP lineups in DFS that I feel give a contrarian edge to the slate. Some of the plays will make you feel uncomfortable. Some of these plays I feel are locks to excel on Sunday. Hopefully, some will earn you a nice bankroll on Sunday. Let’s get to it…
$6,100 on Draftkings; $7,300 on Fanduel
It’s been a long time since Luck has played and probably just as long for him being featured in the TFA Contary-Ten. The Bengals defense is revamped under new Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin, mainly in regards to their front seven. That does worry me some with Luck playing in his first game since the 2016 season. But he’s now joined with a new offensive scheme with Head Coach Frank Reich who made Wentz an MVP candidate and Nick Foles a Super Bowl MVP winner. Anthony Castonzo has been banged up and missed the entire preseason, but is expected to play, and the Colts drafted LG Quenten Nelson with the No. 6 pick to give Luck some protection. If Luck is healthy, the sky’s the limit on what he can do.
Projected Ownership: 6.78 percent on Draftkings and 5.55 percent on Fanduel
$5,500 on Draftkings; $7,000 Fanduel
Dak Prescott may not have the most upside on the slate, but if we’re talking cash game plays I want all the Dak I can get. I brought it up on the DFS DegeNation podcast earlier this week – Dak and Ezekiel Elliott are that offense. Now some may look at that, see that they have no one else on offense worth a damn, and stray away from the Cowboys altogether. Don’t overthink it. The Cowboys are 22-10 with Dak at QB. The Panthers were the worst at defending the pass in their last nine games of the season, allowing 303.6 passing yards per game per LineStar.
What’s enticing about playing Dak is that he can always get you yards on the ground. Last year, the Panthers allowed Tyrod Taylor to rush for 55 yards in Week 2 – the only QB with rushing upside they faced. The spread of the game has decreased in half a point (CAR opened -3, and are now at 2.5) and the game O/U increased by 2 points. I think this game has sneaky offensive upside and I’ll go with a QB in cash who can safely get me around 15-16 fantasy points.
Projected ownership: 3.89 percent on Draftkings and .33 percent on Fanduel
$6,100 on Draftkings; $6,900 on Draftkings
The Colts defense is atrocious, the implied point total for Cincinnati screams multiple touchdowns, and Joe Mixon will soon be a top-10 RB in fantasy. His talent is off the charts, just go back to the 2017 combine and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The Joe Mixon era will start on Sunday and I want exposure to him in most of my GPP lineups. I can’t trust Dalton, I cannot. But if I’m going to believe in what Vegas is telling us than I have to believe the points will come from somewhere.
We saw in preseason Mixon can do it all. Don’t read too much into the pedestrian stats on the ground, and watch what this guy can do catching the ball. When you factor his incredible hands and speed in space to a porous Colts pass defense that ranked dead last in 2017 and gave up the 7th most fantasy points to running backs (over 20) then I think we see a home run outing from Mixon. Most will try to jam in Dalton and Green and will be afraid of a Bengals onslaught leaving Mixon’s ownership to be even lower than projected. Mixon is my favorite running back play of the week.
Projected ownership: 3.88 percent on Draftkings and 5.17 percent on Fanduel
$4,000 on Draftkings; $5,500 Fanduel
I, by no means, will tout James White as a play on non-PPR fantasy sites until we see how this backfield for New England shapes up for the season. I do, however, believe this Patriots receiving corps is a joke while Edelman is suspended. Guys like Phillip Dorsett and Cordarelle Patterson are going to be asked to fill in, while Hogan and Gronk are asked to do most of the heavy lifting. I’m not a mind reader, but I think Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels will have to find creative ways to get James White involved early in the season.
We have seen over and over again how dynamic he is with the ball in his hands – whether it was in the 2016 Playoffs during the Pats Super Bowl run or this year in the preseason when he went bananas as the lead back, White is #goodatfootball. You add in the fact that Brady fawns over this guy any chance he gets, and I believe White will see a high snap count on Sunday versus Houston. Houston is stout against pass-catching backs, but James White averages 5-6 targets per game and has averaged just around 10 DK points over the past year due to the catches he accumulates. I love White in both cash and single entry GPPs for Week 1.
Projected Ownership: 14.06 percent on Draftkings; 8.12 percent on Fanduel
Odell Beckham, Jr.
$7,000 on Draftkings; $7,800 on Fanduel
Many will be worried about the Jacksonville secondary and that will lead to a remarkably low ownership for OBJ. The Giants star wide receiver got PAID in the offseason…and I expect him to want to show out in front of his home crowd. The point of this article is not to make outlandish calls. It’s to give you plays that give you an edge against the competition. Beckham, Jr. is on average an $8,500-$9,000 receiver on Draftkings. You’re getting him well below the price point he should be, yet he should still garner 10-12 targets in this game and he is capable of breaking the slate with one or two plays. I will play the cover boy of this week’s TFA Contrary-Ten in numerous large field GPPs on Sunday.
Projected ownership: 5.01 percent on Draftkings and 6.09 percent on Fanduel
$5,700 on Draftkings; $7,000 on Fanduel
Demaryius is not a sexy play at all, but neither is the Seattle secondary anymore. I expect this week for most people to want to pay down or pay up for WR (at least on Draftkings) and if there will be exposure to the Denver passing offense I think many will flock to Emmanuel Sanders who comes at a couple hundred dollar discount on both sites. Thomas was one of my favorites in Redraft leagues to target as this guy was once a shoo-in WR1 year-in and year-out. With Keenum now at the helm, I think he will be re-energized to get back to form and take-on more of the Thielen role.
On Saturday, Seahawks CB Dontae Johnson was placed on IR. That leaves most of the work for Shaq Griffin and Justin Coleman. This also makes me want to jam in Thomas on GPP teams for Sunday as I expect him to be relatively un-owned.
Projected ownership: 6.66 percent on Draftkings and 7.76 percent on Fanduel
$5,400 on Draftkings; $6,600 on Fanduel
I wasn’t on King Crab when I originally started diving into to research on the slate. I’m really starting to like him now. The Buffalo Bills secondary is decent, but there is one newcomer who we should be picking on this year: Vontae Davis. He is now a shell of himself, coming into 2018 with a PFF grade of 53.4 among cornerbacks. If you watched the Preseason game with Cincinnati and Buffalo you saw John Ross break Davis’ ankles…not once, but twice. Crabtree doesn’t have the speed of Ross, but he’s got a ton of talent to be priced higher than he is. He comes in as WR18 on DK and WR19 on FD respectively.
The Baltimore WR situation is up in the air and their TE situation is worse. Crabtree has been one of the best in the Red Zone over the years, and if you play ReDraft, you remember him consistently being a WR1 with Oakland. When looking for a player in the mid-tier on Sunday to fill out your lineup, don’t shy away from Crabtree in tournaments as a pivot off of Alex Collins.
Projected ownership: 5.87 percent on Draftkings and 4.61 percent on Fanduel
$3,500 on Draftkings; $4,500 on Fanduel
The Saints are 10 points favorites over Tampa Bay on Sunday. They also love to run 11-personnel. The Saints drafted Tre’Quan Smith in the third round earlier this year. Tre’Quan balled out in the preseason leading the team in receptions and yards. What does this all mean? To me, it means Tre’Quan may have a defined role in this offense and finds himself in this week’s TFA Contrary-Ten article. Smith costs you next to nothing to play in a game projected for the second-highest total on Sunday.
One thing to monitor will be Tampa Bay CB Brent Grimes’ health. He is currently listed as doubtful. The next men up are Vernon Hargreaves and rookie Carlton Davis to stop Brees and co. Yeah…that’s not good and the onslaught may be in full effect. If you are looking for a flyer to take a chance on in large-field GPPs, play Smith and feel smarter than your opponents when others are asking “Who is Tre’Quan Smith?”
Projected ownership: .32 percent on Draftkings and <1 percent on Fanduel
$4,900 on Draftkings; $6,100 on Fanduel
Walker is my Tight End play of the week. Once I mentioned him on the podcast I knew I would have to write him up in the TFA Contrary-Ten.
In 2017, Miami allowed the most receptions, second-most yards, and second-most TDs to the Tight End position. They also allowed the most Draftkings and Fanduel Points to the position. Delanie Walker is the No. 1 target for Mariota. He led the team in targets (by nearly 30), receptions and yards. He saw a decrease in TDs and his number of Red Zone targets decrease as well from 2016, but he’s always been a favorite of Mariota’s to target inside the 20. In two of his three past matchups vs Miami, Walker had 17 Draftkings points. At 23 implied points for Tennessee, Walker should see ample opportunities all over the field on Sunday. Don’t get cute with your play at TE, Walker is an incredible play in all formats.
Projected ownership: 5.25 percent on Draftkings and 7.40 percent on Fanduel
$3,700 on Draftkings; $5,600 on Fanduel
I’m really excited to play Jack Doyle on Sunday. Doyle wasn’t originally in my player pool and I don’t know why. Let’s start with this: only Cleveland and Denver were worse statistically speaking in 2018 at defending the Tight End position. Then you factor in the receivers for the Colts are no-names after T.Y. Hilton. With the signing of Eric Ebron, I expect Doyle to run more routes for Indianapolis on Sunday. Doyle is the best way to get exposure to the Colts/Bengals game without blowing your salary. Doyle is an ideal pairing with my aforementioned play of Luck.
Projected ownership: 12.67 on Draftkings; 12.9 percent on Fanduel
*All projected ownership numbers for the TFA Contrary-Ten are from Pro Football Focus DFS tools.
**Main Lineup for Cash and Milli entries are available by 9 AM CT (subject to change leading up to lock barring injury news, etc.)