PIVOT PLAY – LeGARRETTE BLOUNT
This is a weekly series where I break down my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high-upside plays and pairings that could really pay off big for you in tournaments.
Russell Wilson ($6,900) and Jimmy Graham ($4,900) = Combined $11,800 total
Despite being one of the best teams in the league, the Falcons still gave up the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs this year. In fact, opposing QBs averaged 40.87 passing attempts against Atlanta this season, causing inflated passing stats and fantasy points almost every week. Russell Wilson had a slow first playoff game against Detroit, but that was mainly due to the success they had on the ground and on defense. The Falcons averaged 35 points per game on offense at home this year, and it’s very likely game flow will force Wilson into having to create more on offense himself this week. He’s been extremely efficient of late and has an average passer rating of 113.7 over his last four games – a huge day is possible here.
While Wilson has been producing some massive games down the stretch with Doug Baldwin, the matchup this week suggests Jimmy Graham may be in for a big day. Atlanta ranked fourth in TDs allowed and ninth in yards allowed to the TE position in 2016. While Graham is only averaging four targets over his last four games, the upside in this matchup is immense. His poor recent production should also help keep his ownership down.
Bonus: Tom Brady and Julian Edelman
Dak Prescott ($6,000): The Cowboys have one of the biggest implied team totals on the slate at 28.5 points, a projection which bodes extremely well for Dak’s fantasy prospects. The rookie can sometimes be limited by the Cowboys offensive prowess on the ground, but he has averaged six DK points more per game this year at home (21.8) than on the road (15.9). Additionally, while we often think of Dak as a lower passing volume quarterback, that could easily flip this week as QBs taking on Green Bay have had to throw a ton of late. In the last four games, opposing QBs have averaged 44.5 passing attempts against the Packers, while their defense has also now only allowed two rushing TDs to running backs since Week 12. Dak is primed for a big game this week in what is likely to be a shootout between two very good offenses taking on shaky defenses.
Bonus: Tom Brady ($7,600)
WATCH: HOT READ – SPENCER WARE
Spencer Ware ($5,200): The forecast for the Chiefs-Steelers game is ugly, with ice-snow-rain expected; basically a blizzard. This should mean good conditions for the run game on both sides. Le’Veon Bell is a sure thing for a massive workload, but don’t discount how the weather may help Spencer Ware. Ware is healthy after missing a game with a rib issue, and of the two K.C. backs, he’s better suited for the power run game that teams tend to rely on in bad weather like this. While Bell and Pittsburgh are the sexier pick, don’t discount the Chiefs and Ware, who are home favorites this week. An early lead could lead to a monster workload here. Pittsburgh improved late in the season against the run but still allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs this year.
Bonus: Tevin Coleman ($4,500)
Taylor Gabriel ($4,400): Gabriel practiced in full this week and is fully expected to play against the Seahawks. The matchup may seem intimidating, but the Seahawks have struggled against fast secondary receivers this year. Davante Adams (4-104-1), J.J. Nelson (3-132-1) and Ted Ginn Jr. (5-80-1) all put up massive games against Seattle recently, and last week Marvin Jones — Detroit’s best downfield option — led the Lions in receiving as well. Gabriel is one of the fastest players in the NFL and scored five TDs on passes of 25 yards or longer this year. He’s going to be a matchup nightmare for Seattle’s secondary and makes for a very high upside target for tournaments.
Cole Beasley ($5,000): Beasley really cooled off in the second half of the year and hasn’t topped double-digit DK points since Week 12. The good news is he has the best possible matchup on paper this week. Green Bay’s secondary has been especially bad against slot receivers this year, and Beasley himself had a career day against them back in Week 6, going for 6-58-2 line. With part-time corner and special teamer Micah Hyde likely manning the slot for Green Bay this week, don’t be shocked if Beasley ends up leading Dallas in receptions.
Bonus: Julian Edelman ($6,800)
Jason Witten ($3,500): While I still believe Jimmy Graham carries the most upside at this position on this short slate (see write-up under stacks), Jason Witten might represent some of the best value. While the production from Witten can be streaky, he did post six games this year with 10 or more DK points and also saw eight or more targets in a game on six separate occasions. As mentioned above, Green Bay-Dallas is most likely going to shake-out as a shootout between two highly efficient offenses, and Witten’s role shouldn’t be understated. He’s an excellent way to get cheap exposure to Dallas’s passing game and will be taking on the 31st-ranked passing defense this week.
Bonus: Jimmy Graham ($4,900)
Steelers ($2,900): While the Steelers will be on the road this week, not a lot of dynamics will change for their defense. Alex Smith is shifty, but is limited in his ability to stretch the field, much like Matt Moore, who the Steelers sacked five times last weekend. With bad weather forecasted for this game, the pressure Pittsburgh has been able to get on the quarterback of late should come into play here and make it very difficult for the smaller-framed Alex Smith to hold onto the ball. As an added bonus, don’t forget that Antonio Brown has been returning punts for Pittsburgh of late and really ups their shot at a special team’s TD; in a bad weather game, one slip could spring him. Either way, I’d look for Pittsburgh’s defense to possibly be the difference in this game and also to put up another big fantasy total.
Bonus: Kansas City Chiefs ($3,400)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.