Welcome to the first Contrary-Ten article! The appeal of daily fantasy sports is simple: test your fantasy knowledge and win money. It seems easy enough. Pick a number of guys in your lineup (usually 9-10 depending what site you play on) of a particular salary cap in order to win prizes, up to the tune of $1,000,000 on Draftkings. Sure it seems easy enough, but I assure you it is far from that. That’s why there is a plethora of content out there to “Beat the experts” or give advice on the players to play in your daily lineups. Articles, podcasts, numerous statistics and analytical data all to help you win. Well, guess what? With all that data out there, players are sure to overlap. In fact, players always overlap. And that’s where being contrarian comes in.
Contrarian plays are plays that can help boost your lineup when everyone else chose to be “chalky” with their plays. Let’s take Spencer Ware for example. His price is at $4400 on Draftkings (prices came out weeks ago, before the news of Jamaal Charles being doubtful). With only a $50,000 budget on DK to make a roster, Ware seems like a great play to help get big name studs in your lineup you’ll want. Ha! EVERYONE thinks that way. While Ware may be a great play given the circumstances, you have to believe at least 40-50 percent of the field will play him. If he does great, congrats! You benefit along with half of the field. But if Ware does poorly…
I think you get the picture. This weekly article is designed to help get you thinking a little outside the box when putting together your lineups for Sunday. Some of the plays I mention might be the most expensive. Some plays will help you save some of your salary caps. Yet all of these plays are designed for one purpose and one purpose only – to help you diversify from the masses. All players listed will be priced from Draftkings as that is where I play a majority of daily fantasy for the NFL season and all of these plays will be in at least one of the lineups I make for Sunday. I can’t sit here and talk about ten players I’m not even going to play. That makes zero sense at all to me. Well, without further ado, let’s get started on the very first Contrary-Ten daily fantasy article:
Draftkings Price: $8100
Playing Drew Brees at home is something I look to target every time I play DFS. Playing Drew Brees at home in a game where the O/U is 51.5 is gold. Now spoiler alert: I will be targeting Drew Brees and probably Drew Brees only on the Saints. Many people will try to stack him with a receiver (or two) and/or Fleener. Playing Drew Brees without any Saints’ pass-catching options is referred to as a “Naked” play. This is one of my favorite plays in daily because it doesn’t confine you to the whole offense. Especially in the case of Drew Brees. Brees gets everyone in the offense involved and rarely targets just one receiver. Drew Brees has a hefty price tag, but in a game that is supposed to be an offensive explosion, I’m willing to take this chance. Most will look to pay down in the 5-6k range on a quarterback to load up elsewhere which will lead Brees to under 10% ownership.
Draftkings price: $6700
I really am having a hard time with this play. Flacco hasn’t taken a snap in a regular season game since November of last year. He’s definitely going to want to go out and show that he’s still got it. The Ravens running game is up in the air, but one thing is for certain, they will get opportunities to perform in the passing game under OC Marc Trestman. Oh wait, that, too, bodes well for Flacco. It’s a very small sample size, but in two career games versus Buffalo Flacco has 81 pass attempts. Combine all that with the fact that the Ravens led the NFL in pass attempts last season and it just makes sense to have some exposure to Flacco. Targeting quarterbacks with high volume is great. Flacco is the 16th highest-priced QB on Draftkings. Sign me up!
Draftkings Price: $5600
I have been on the RGIII bandwagon all offseason. I like what the Browns are doing with their offense. RGIII returns to NFL action this weekend in a game that counts! What’s not to like? Griffin will most certainly be low-owned seeing as you can pay $600 less for Dak Prescott. I mentioned on the TFA roundtable podcast earlier this week that the Browns could be playing from behind a lot, but that only makes me like RGIII’s upside more. He throws a great deep ball and while the Philly defense forces turnovers I think their secondary can be exposed. Mobile quarterbacks are nice because they get 6 points for rushing TDs. Those six points can be an extreme boost to your lineup. There will be no Josh Gordon in this game but Pryor and Coleman will be running deep routes all day. Gary Barnidge and Terrelle Pryor are both taller than 6’5″ giving them a distinct advantage in the red zone. Plus, on the other side, there’s a rookie quarterback for the Eagles starting. The Browns defense could have chances to give RGIII a short field to work with. He’s a deep flier, no doubt, but a flier that could get you nearly 20 points.
Draftkings Price: $4000
When you get to the $4000 range on Draftkings I think people will see Spencer Ware, see that Ware is probably going to start on Sunday, and play him. The industry has been talking about Ware as a lock in his matchup. To diversify yourself, try out Riddick. He doesn’t have much of a ceiling, but he could be a safe play. Despite the Lions brass saying that Ameer Abdullah is their no. 1 back, let’s not ignore the 99 targets Riddick saw in the passing game last year. Riddick gets to go against an abominable Colts defense and the game is projected at a 51 O/U. To me Riddick is safe. I could see him getting 5 catches for 60 yards and if he somehow gets a TD, he could get you somewhere close to 20 fantasy points on DK. Everyone will be on Golden Tate and Marvin Jones in the passing game and Riddick allows you to be the contrarian of all contrarians.
Draftkings Price: $8400
I’m seeing people talk about fade AJ Green…why? Didn’t we talk about all offseason how this guy should be a first round pick because of the volume he’s going to see? Eifert’s banged up. Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu play for different teams. That means AJ Green or bust for Andy Dalton. Newsflash: The Bengals are road favorites by 2.5 points according to Vegas. That spells well for the Bengals passing game that has an implied team total of 22.5 points. The Bengals are not going to be able to run much (if at all) against the Jets so I expect AJ Green to see 12-16 targets. As for the defender who will be guarding him, you may have heard of him. 31-year old multi-Pro Bowl corner Darrelle Revis gets the gig. It’s a name recognition bias. WR1s burned Revis quite a few times in 2015; see Allen Robinson in week 9 and Hopkins in week 11.
Draftkings Price: $7900
This price is guaranteed to scare people off of Alshon Jeffery in what is believed to be an emBEARassment for the Bears on Sunday. But let’s look a little closely at the situation…Bears will be playing from behind a lot in this game. Cutler is going to revert back to his gunslinging mentality. Houston’s front seven is stout and will contain Jeremy Langford as a rusher. Kevin White might not play. This is one of those scenarios to target as a “Who else is there?” Alshon has the capability to score over 20 DK points every time he steps on the field. I expect Alshon’s ownership to be in the single digits in big tournaments when you consider he is the eighth highest priced receiver on the slate, and can pay up just over $1000 more for Julio or OBJ.
Draftkings price: $6000
The masses are off the Dolphins plays this week. It’s clear a lot of reason is because the Dolphins are traveling East to West to play at one of toughest stadiums to get a win. But not so fast. Devante Parker is set to miss this game and Jay Ajayi didn’t travel with the team. That leaves Ryan Tannehill with few familiar options. Enter Jarvis Landry. In case you have forgotten, Landry is a target hog. He had only five games last season with fewer than 5 targets. Landry had one game on Draftkings with single-digit fantasy points and only four games without five or more receptions. Those are phenomenal numbers when targeting pass catchers on Draftkings which awards a point per reception. The Seahawks struggle mightily on defense guarding the middle of the field and tight ends, but Jordan Cameron can’t be trusted. Go with the sure volume in Landry at his discounted price.
Draftkings price: $4400
At first glance, this does not look like a slam dunk play, but remember, we’re trying to be contrarian. I’ve heard a lot of talk this week about Jameis and Mike Evans, but little about Vincent Jackson and that made me wonder…here’s a guy last year that scored all of his touchdowns in the red zone. This year in the preseason we saw Vincent Jackson blow up in game 3 where he saw 9 targets from Winston in what seemed like a clear rapport the two have formed. Jackson battled most of 2015 with a nagging knee injury so I think people forget how consistent of a fantasy stud he can be at times (see week 4 vs Carolina in 2015 where he went for 10 catches and 147 yards). Jackson has huge upside and with this game O/U at 47.5 – the fourth highest on Sunday – I will be playing Jackson on a few teams. Oh, by the way, in 8 career games versus Atlanta, Jackson has scored four times.
Draftkings Price: $4200
Antonio Gates get’s no love and I don’t understand why. Last season Gates was suspended the first four games and came back week 5 to put up a stat line of 9-92-2. I could see the same thing happening in week 1 where no one is playing Gates and he goes for a big line. Philip Rivers loves targeting Gates in divisional matchups and he especially loves targeting versus the Chiefs. Fellow TFA senior writer Anthony Pinzone listed Gates as one of his fantasy “duds” this week in his weekly Studs and Duds article due to his lack of production versus Kansas City in 2015. However, in 22 career games versus KC, Gates has 104 catches on 159 targets to go along with 15 touchdowns – all top numbers versus any team. The Chiefs are missing Justin Houston which greatly affects their defense, and with the Chiefs still favored by 6.5 points, I expect the Chargers to have to throw a lot in this game. Get Gates in a few of your lineups for a decent price while others are chasing points from cheap options like Jared Cook and Clive Walford.
Draftkings Price: $2900
Cameron Brate, have you heard of him? I knew very little about the 6’5″ third-year Tight End until much emerged about Austin Sefarian-Jenkins blow up during the 2016 offseason. The two tight ends are now listed as co-starters on the Buccaneers depth chart. What intrigues me about Brate is his possible red zone opportunity. Remember, Draftkings only gives you a $50,o00 budget to work with and if you want to be able to fit in pricey receivers and running backs, Tight End is a prime spot to go cheap. Brate is the fliers of all fliers. It’s not always good to buy in to “coach speak” but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said back in June that Brate had an “uncanny ability to show up in the redzone.” Reports also came out that Winston named Brate as one of his favorites. Again, maybe there’s nothing here, but for his price, if he ends up scoring a TD and getting 2-3 catches he’ll return over 3x value.