Usually, if you want to take down a GPP, you need to have a bit of a contrarian mindset. From a simplified macro game-theory perspective, if you have the same players as everyone, it’s a lot harder to win a larger tournament.
Most tournament winning teams have a mix of “the chalk” or higher owned players, as well as contrarian, lower owned players. I’ll be bringing you my preferred lower-owned players each week on DraftKings, but sometimes will also mix in what I perceive to be “good chalk.”
*Note: This year I have made a conscious effort to tighten my player pool, play fewer lineups, and zero in on what is the most optimal lineup possible. (I owe a great deal of that to watching Joe Holka review high stakes lineups on Twitch). From there, I might make one or two alterations based on the type of tournament structure I plan on using it for. Being contrarian really isn’t all that hard, especially when you game stack and are aware of how particular players correlate with one another.
Jared Goff – Goff was the only quarterback that I wrote up last week and it worked out well, as he threw for 295 yards (just missing the 300 yard DK bonus) and three touchdowns.
It’s simple: Goff is only 6k and is playing for one of the elite offenses in the NFL (Rams), for the best offensive mind in the NFL (McVay), and in the highest total on the slate (60). The way to attack the Saints defense is through the air, as they are allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (PFF). Also working in Goff’s favor is one of the Saints best pass rushers, first-round pick Marcus Davenport, will be on the sideline, giving Goff more time to throw.
Although Goff isn’t expected to see Cam ownership levels, he should still be one of the most popular QB’s on the main slate. While DFS players will likely look to stack Goff with one or two of his receivers (I prefer Cooper Kupp this week), I recommend stacking Gurley with Goff again, who make for a strong correlation play and give you a shot at locking up most if not all the Rams touchdowns. Goff-Gurley stacks had only three percent ownership in the milly maker, according to Joe Holka.
Game stack pool: Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, or Robert Woods – run it back with Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, or Tre’Quan Smith.
Cam Newton – Should easily be the highest owned quarterback on the main slate – and for good reason – as the Buccaneers are giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Stacking Cam with D.J. Moore or Christian McCaffrey will be popular this week, but I think I prefer naked Cam, who is far more likely to score a touchdown on the ground (four) than CMC (one).
Others: Ryan Fitzmagik
Last week, my main core lineup was Goff, Gurley, Conner, Hunt, Jordan Reed/David Njoku/O.J. Howard, and value WR’s in the 4-5k range. This week I expect my lineup construction to be similar.
Todd Gurley – see Jared Goff. Somehow, Gurley’s price dropped after putting up 36.5 DK points heading into a showdown with the Saints. Doesn’t make sense, but I’m playing Gurley in cash and tournaments again. Last week, I urged TQE subscribers to stack Jared Goff and Todd Gurley in your core lineups, and it worked out beautifully – despite Gurley costing fantasy owners another touchdown by purposely falling down before the end zone to (smartly) wind down the clock. While the Saints are stout against the run, Sean McVay and the Rams run 11 personnel so much that it’s going to be very difficult to stack the box against Gurley and with the game total of 60, Gurley should have plenty of opportunity to for fantasy points, whether on the ground, or through the air.
Alvin Kamara – The Saints-Rams game has by far the highest total (60) and I think it sets up best for Kamara, especially in the passing game. I’m expecting 18-20 touches and 8-10 targets this week from Kamara and is a strong bet to find the end zone at least once. He is one of my core plays.
James Conner – You would think James Conner would get some respect after dropping 41.2 DK points and exploding for over 200 yards and two touchdowns last week. Conner is tied for 35th in FanShare tags and nearly half of them are negative – primarily due to the Steelers facing a Ravens defense that locked down Conner in their Week 4 matchup for a measly 44 yards on only 12 touches. The Steelers made some costly mistakes and turnovers early in that game, though that likely played a factor in limiting Conner’s touches.
The Ravens are statistically the No. 1 overall defense in the NFL and have been terrific against the pass (second) and the run (11th), the last five quarters they have given up over 500 yards and 53 points. More good news for Conner (and Big Ben): three of the Ravens best defensive players, middle linebacker, C.J. Mosley, safety Tony Jefferson, and cornerback Marlon Humphrey, are questionable after getting in limited practice sessions. Additionally, both Ravens starting offensive tackles are out, which might be even more important for Conner. If the Steelers can pressure Flacco, Conner could be the beneficiary of a much more favorable game script this time around. Last week Conner was a lock button for me and it paid off huge dividends despite extremely heavy ownership. This week, it will not take much to be overweight compared to the field in a matchup that is less intimidating than what you might think.
Adrian Peterson – If the Redskins have their way this week, Adrian Peterson will see 25+ touches and over 100 yards rushing. While that could very well end up being the case, he is still game script dependent and doesn’t catch many passes, so don’t go crazy. However, I like his chances at hitting the three-point rushing bonus on DK – Peterson has at least 96 yards in 5 of 7 games this season and playing the high scoring Falcons, should help boost the total plays in this game. Over the last two games, Peterson has logged 52 touches and two touchdowns. Although losing elite tackle, Trent Williams, for a month isn’t ideal – the 6-foot-8 325-pound Ty Nsekhe has proven to be an above average replacement starter on either side of the line. Peterson-Redskins defense stacks have sneaky upside against Matt Ryan, who will on the road and away from his comfy dome. He is also facing an underrated Redskins pass rush that is starting to peak at the right time.
Note: With Chris Thompson out with a rib injury, Kapri Bibbs makes for a cheap sneaky play, especially if the Falcons were to take an early lead. Bibbs and/or Jordan Reed would make for a nice game stack with Julio Jones. If Bibbs ends up not being able to play, then Adrian Peterson would be an elite tournament play in my eyes. Those extra couple of targets are huge for his floor and would help elevate him to a 30+ ceiling.
Others: Kareem Hunt (I like the idea of Hunt with Chiefs defense in one lineup – similar to last week), Christian McCaffrey, Melvin Gordon, Nick Chubb, Theo Riddick, Kapri Bibbs
Emmanuel Sanders – Don’t overlook Manny Sanders this week. While the community flocks to the substantially cheaper Courtland Sutton, don’t make the mistake of omitting Sanders from your tournament lineups. Sutton should be extremely highly owned, making Sanders a strong leverage play on the field in a game where he should command
Cooper Kupp – My favorite receiver to stack with Goff this week, as he has a major advantage over replacement level corner, P.J. Williams. Despite missing two games, Kupp still leads the Rams receivers in touchdowns (five) and is a good bet at finding the end zone this week in a shootout with the Saints.
Courtland Sutton – Sutton is good chalk and I plan on being overweight. I would caution you from completely fading Sutton in tournaments, because with Demaryius Thomas now in Houston, Sutton should essentially take over DT’s role, but at a fraction of the cost. This season there has only been one instance where he was priced below 5k (last week – 4.9k) and was frequently priced in the mid 5k range. Sutton is not your typically mispriced 3.9k receiver – he has the talent and rare size-speed combination to be a true WR1. Even as a rookie, he has legitimate 25+ point upside and if he blows up in this spot, you’re pretty much dead in tournaments at his expected ownership. That is within his range of outcomes as he was seeing a hefty 42 percent end zone target-share (fifth-most in the NFL) before DT was traded.
Others: Adam Thielen (especially if Diggs is out), Julio Jones (great spot, but game flow could be a concern), Brandin Cooks (revenge game in the dome), Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, Willie Snead (42 targets since in last five games – same price range as Moore, Smith, and Godwin), Laquon Treadwell (if Diggs is out).
Jordan Reed –Zach Ertz. Travis Kelce. George Kittle. Those are the only tight ends that have more of a target share than Jordan Reed (tied w/ David Njoku).
I don’t blame you for not wanting to play Jordan Reed, especially after I have recommended him two weeks in a row. Although the results haven’t been there, Reed drew 12 targets last week, so I’m sticking with #theprocess. Over the last three weeks, Jordan Reed has seen 22 targets – tied for second among all TE’s and sixth in air yards. The Falcons are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, which bodes well for a spike week from Reed.
David Njoku – Njoku was even worse than Reed last week. Despite being in a smash spot and being extremely chalky, Njoku put up a big dud. This week, he should see a fraction of last week’s ownership levels and is in just as good of a situation. Look for Njoku to bounce back against the Chiefs, who are giving up nearly 75 yards per game to opposing tight ends. The Browns should be throwing a lot from behind against Mahomes, which bodes well for Njoku.
Note: Close to the same price as Reed, so I’ll likely end up splitting lineups between the two.
Kyle Rudolph – If Stefon Diggs is out, Rudolph should see a little bump, especially in the red zone. Rudolph is cheap on DraftKings, but he remains touchdown dependent and has a lower ceiling than you would prefer for tournaments. While he is 10th among all tight ends in targets (32), he is 23rd in target share (12 percent), 17th in air yards, and an ADOT of only six yards – Kyle Rudolph is the plodder of tight ends, but on a week where many of the better tight end options are on bye, Rudolph remains in play and a decent shot at finding the end zone this week. He’s probably better suited for cash games or single entries, though.
Others: Travis Kelce (By far the best tight end play on the main slate, but I don’t see myself paying up for him this week). Jeff Heuerman and Ryan Griffin are options if you’re looking to punt the position, which is a weekly viable strategy.
Joe Paeno is a contrarian with a growth mindset. During the “offseason” he spends all of his free time grinding film, pouring over statistics, and looking for edges for the upcoming season. From March to August he leverages those edges for best ball leagues – which he has been profitable three years in a row and has averaged a 64.5% ROI over the last two.
Once the season begins, he uses his naturally contrarian mindset to find low owned DFS tournament plays. In 2018, he broke down the primetime slates for TQE subscribers with his podcast “Prime Time Process” and brought in a 38.57% ROI.