TFA Contrary-Ten – Week 1 DFS
The TFA Contrary-Ten returns in 2019 with a vengeance, for the main slate of week 1 DFS action! This series was designed to give weekly plays that are viable contrarian/pivot plays in large-field GPP tournaments. This is not to say that some of the below “plays” I write up won’t be usable in any double-ups or low-entry field tournaments. For example, I’m sure there’s a greater than 45 percent chance you can use someone like Russell Wilson in cash/double-up games. I cannot say the same for his fellow member of this week’s Contrary-Ten, Marvin Jones, Jr. I do hope, however, that these pivots allow you to get creative with tournament teams and will set you apart from the pack. This article has had some great “hits” over the past couple of years with Calvin Ridley’s three-touchdown performance last year and Melvin Gordon bouncing back after complaining about touches in 2017, week 5.
Russell Wilson (Price: $6300 on Draftkings, $8200 on Fanduel)
I have been banging the drum for Russell Wilson all offseason. So much so that I have placed $$$ on him winning the 2019 MVP award. So this should be no surprise I have Wilson listed here in the Contrary-Ten. In 2018, Wilson wasn’t as much of a slam-dunk fantasy option we have seen in years past with only one game approaching 30-point territory for fantasy. So why play him this year with a stronger run game, no Doug Baldwin, and Seattle being 9.5-point home favorites? This is exactly why this article is written – Wilson makes for a great pivot off of Chris Carson, who has become the chalkiest RB for the slate within days. Carson has a great match-up, no doubt, but a year ago this Cincinnati defense was routinely gashed by Quarterbacks. They allowed the fourth-most passing yards and fifth-most touchdowns to opposing QBs. They also quietly allowed the second-most rushing attempts to opposing Quarterbacks. For those reasons, it’s safe to say there’s a scenario where Wilson has put Seattle well enough ahead on his own and that’s why I love him as an option this week.
Projected Ownership: 2.4 percent on DK, 2 percent on FD
Eli Manning (Price: $5000 on Draftkings, $6400 on Fanduel)
This play makes me uneasy. It really does. But sometimes the best tournament plays are the ones you feel uncomfortable making. People have won a million dollars on Draftkings and Fanduel by playing QBs like Josh McCown and Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s NFL Week 1 DFS — everyone is in play. Last season, Manning in two games versus the Cowboys put up 580 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception on a whopping 85 pass attempts! Regardless of how you feel about the “lesser” Manning, he likes to air it out. From the QB position, we’re looking for 300 yards and three touchdowns in tournaments and Manning came close to that in the final game of 2018 versus this very same team. My love for Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram (who I’ll discuss later), have led me to a few Giants stacks in large-field tournaments to separate myself from the crowd.
Projected Ownership: 0.1 percent on DK, 0.1 percent on FD
Joe Mixon (Price: $6700 on Draftkings, $7800 on Fanduel)
Joe Mixon is no stranger to the TFA Contrary-Ten article. He finds himself in here again for the week 1 DFS main slate in a less than ideal match-up (on paper). My interest in Mixon has to do with a couple of factors. One being, I like targeting good talent in tougher match-ups in tournaments when I expect their ownership to go overlooked. Mixon (at this time) is the fourteenth projected RB on Draftkings according to ownership. That’s just way too low for an RB that finished in the top-1o among his peers at the position a year ago. Secondly, this offense as injured as it can get. AJ Green is out; preseason breakout Auden Tate is on the injury report; the offensive line is banged up. The Bengals are going to need to rely on Mixon’s catching ability to keep them in this game versus Seattle.
Projected Ownership: 4.6 percent on DK, 1.5 percent on Fanduel
Kerryon Johnson (Price: $5800 on Draftkings, $7000 on Fanduel)
The Detroit-Arizona game is jumping off of the page for fantasy goodness and Kerryon Johnson is a great way to get exposure to this match-up. On Fanduel Johnson’s ownership is projected as the third-highest RB so he may not be the “contrarian” play we’re looking for there…but on Draftkings he drops down to the seventh-highest priced RB. Why I chose to put Kerryon Johnson in here is for Draftkings formats where I believe many may be sleeping on the fact that Johnson caught 32 passes as a rookie, and was working on his pass-catching in OTA’s this year. That’s just an added bonus for him on Draftkings considering he should get anywhere from 22-25 rushes versus a team that was the worst-ranked team defending the run. They allowed a league-high 20 touchdowns and over 2100 rushing yards to opposing backfields. You should feel confident placing Johnson in tournament lineups on Sunday as an excellent pivot to Carson.
Projected Ownership: 13.9 percent on DK, 21.5 percent on FD
Mike Evans (Price: $7900 on Draftkings and Fanduel)
I want Mike Evans everywhere this Sunday. I’m going to say again in hopes of willing a good game from him into existence – I want Mike Evans everywhere this Sunday for the week 1 DFS main slate. Both K’Waun Williams and Jason Verrett are dealing with injuries and currently listed as questionable on the injury report for San Francisco. Points to Evans. Then we have Jameis here at quarterback with a lot to prove after the benching merry-go-round that happened with him and Ryan Fitzpatrick just a year ago. Winston was named the full-time starter in week 11 and in three of those weeks, Evans led all Tampa Bay WRs in target share. In the remaining four weeks, he only saw less than seven targets once. Another point to Evans. But I think the last two points go hand-in-hand.
One is that he’s the third highest-priced WR on both Draftkings and Fanduel. The other is that he’s been questionable all week, first with a quad injury and now with an illness. The quad injury didn’t seem severe at all and the illness is being downplayed as well. Most have crossed him off their list and taken him off their radars. If Evans plays, don’t overlook him in arguably the best offensive match-up on Sunday’s main slate.
Projected Ownership: 12.2 percent on DK, 29.5 percent on FD
Marvin Jones Jr. (Price: $4800 on Draftkings, $6100 on Fanduel)
Marvin Jones is one of the most frustrating players in DFS for me. Every week seems like a roller coaster ride. That’s why he’s a perfect tournament and pivot play (especially off of fellow teammate Kenny Golladay). Golladay’s ownership will be 2x what Jones is expected to come in at for Sunday and he is $1500 cheaper on DK and $800 cheaper on FD. The Arizona Cardinals secondary won’t be at full strength as my co-host Kevin Steele has mentioned numerous times on the DegeNation Podcast with Patrick Peterson being suspended and Robert Alford now on IR (leg). The Cardinals are forced to roll out nine-year veteran Tramaine Brock and rookies Byron Murphy and Chris Jones at cornerback…Yikes. Marvin Jones was third on the team in total target share a year ago, but second when it came to red zone target share. I’ll pencil him in for eight targets, with hopefully one or two going for big plays and/or scores.
Projected Ownership: 9.3 percent on DK, 6.8 percent on FD
Dante Pettis (Price: $5400, $6500 on Fanduel)
So much discussion was made in the offseason on Dante Pettis’s usage and if he was going to even be a starter in this offense because he wasn’t playing Preseason football. Well, the joke’s on those people, because here we are hours from being locked in, and guess what?Pettis is your WR1 for the San Francisco 49ers. Still, Pettis has a lot to prove and I’m excited to see him do it in this match-up versus a secondary that frankly isn’t that good. Pettis will most likely see Carlton Davis in coverage – a guy I targeted WRs against last year for DFS. Now it’s still fairly early for Sunday ownership projections, but my goodness…0.8 projected ownership for the WR1 on a team that has an implied point total of 25 is outlandish. Jam Pettis into all lineups this week if the projections hold and thank me later. (Disclaimer: my DM’s are NOT open if he lays a dud).
Projected Ownership: 0.8 percent on DK, 2.2 percent on FD
Cole Beasley (Price: $3600 on Draftkings, $4800 on Fanduel)
This is a “homer play” and I’ll own it. There’s not too much data for me to back up why I’m playing Cole Beasley in large-field tournaments this weekend. I just like the guy and did even when he was on the Cowboys. I think the best thing about this situation for Beasley goes back to earlier in the summer. Beasley had made mention that he is having more fun in this Buffalo offense than in Dallas. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has made mention of packages and plays designed specifically for Beasley as well. Well, let’s see them! Beasley gets a pretty good match-up versus the Jets that allowed the most receptions and the second-most yards to wide receivers in 2018. This is only a play I can condone for large field GPPs or if mutli-entering for a 20-max contest on Draftkings with the 1-point PPR format.
Projected Ownership: 0.4 percent on DK, 0.3 on FD
Travis Kelce (Price: $7100 on Draftkings, $7800 on Fanduel)
Kelce’s projected ownership is a joke. I feel forced to jam him in for the week 1 DFS main slate. It’s tough to pay the price tag on Kelce, I get it. Paying down for TE is very popular week-in and week-out. But for tournaments, it’s all about upside with your score. I like Hunter Henry a lot, but his floor is potentially around 8-10 points in the match-up. Jacksonville’s defense is middle of the road versus the TE, but their division (AFC South) allows for the numbers to be skewed. Jalen Ramsey is expected to shadow Tyreek Hill, and A.J. Bouye and D.J. Hayden I don’t foresee being able to contain Kelce. If I’m getting any exposure to the Chiefs-Jags game, it starts (and sometimes ends) with Kelce.
Projected Ownership: 2.6 percent on DK, 5.5 percent on FD
Evan Engram (Price: 4800 on Draftkings, 6400 on Fanduel)
I alluded to Engram as a play when discussing Eli Manning. The more the week has progressed, the more I’m starting to consider Engram on more lineups. It started by looking at Engram’s history versus Dallas. He’s seen at least seven targets in three of the four games he’s played in against Dallas, with scores in both games last year. Engram and Barkley have accounted for 30 receptions, nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns versus Dallas in their past two match-ups.
With over a 22 percent target share now gone (from Odell leaving), I see an increased uptick coming in Engram’s targets. This game could be the start of that. Pro Football Focus has the tight end match-up for the Giants as the best match-up for the team. If I’m willing to take Eli Manning in tournaments, there’s no way I can roll him out with one of his best weapons on the team.
Projected Ownership: 11 percent on DK, 10.9 percent on FD
*All projected ownership numbers for the Week 1 DFS TFA Contrary-Ten are from Fantasy Pros DFS tools.
**Week 1 DFS Draftkings Milli-Maker Lineup Below:
QB: Philip Rivers
RB1: Dalvin Cook
RB2: Kerryon Johnson
WR1: Dante Pettis
WR2: Keenan Allen
WR3: Mike Evans
TE: Hunter Henry
FLEX: Chris Carson
Follow Ryan Williams on Twitter – @RyanAlexander_W and listen to him and Kevin Steele on the DFS DegeNation Pod released every week that covers a positional breakdown for every DFS main slate of the 2019 season!