WATCH: PIVOT PLAY – EZEKIEL ELLIOTT
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, low-owned plays and pairings that could really pay off big for you in a large tournament.
Ryan Tannehill ($5,600) and Jarvis Landry ($7,000) = Combined $12,600
The Dolphins have been riding the hot hand/feet of RB Jay Ajayi lately, and I expect that’s who most people will be looking to, Miami-wise, when making Week 9 lineups. The matchup, however, dictates that this could be the week for Tannehill-Landry to breakout. Outside of a huge effort by David Johnson, the Jets have bottled up opposing RBs, only allowing 68 yards rushing in their last two games. Meanwhile, QBs and their top wideouts have thrived against the Jets. In the past five weeks the Jets secondary has given up three games of at least 300 yards passing and two TDs to opposing QBs, while also giving up back-to-back 100-yard receiving games to WRs Mike Wallace and Terrelle Pryor. While the recent low output for Tannehill is concerning, the matchup should dictate a return to a passing-based attack here for Miami. Don’t forget that in the two games where Tannehill threw 35 times or more this season this duo averaged more than 54 fantasy points combined.
Bonus: Josh McCown/Cody Kessler ($5,400/$5,000) and Terrelle Pryor ($6,100)
Marcus Mariota ($5,900): Mariota has now thrown for 10 TDs versus just two INTs in his last four starts and has also added 149 yards rushing to his fantasy resume in that span as well. The Chargers defense has played well of late but have still allowed four 300-yard passing games on the year thus far. What they haven’t done is allow huge games to RBs lately as no single RB has rushed for more than 64 yards against San Diego since Week 2. This should force Mariota into throwing more and perhaps create more with his feet, all of which leads me to believe he will be an excellent and low-owned play for tournaments. With most players focusing on higher-priced studs at QB, Mariota makes for perhaps my favorite cheap GPP option at QB.
Bonus: Nick Foles ($5,200)
Le’Veon Bell ($7,700): Bell should be lower-owned this week due to several other top backs having good matchups or cheaper prices and his own matchup with the Ravens appearing to be sub-optimal. I’m not so sure Bell’s matchup is a poor one, however. Baltimore’s done well at shutting down weaker running attacks like Detroit and Washington, but struggled in its last matchup with the Jets and Matt Forte, allowing Forte to compile 100 yards on the ground, 54 through the air and two TDs. With Ben Roethlisberger likely to play at less than 100 percent this week, I expect Le’Veon to get a similar workload to what Forte saw against Baltimore two weeks ago and post numbers similar or better.
Jonathan Stewart ($5,200): Stewart has played great recently, scoring four times in his last two starts and taking advantage of both good and perceived bad matchups with similar efficiency. With Cam Newton appearing less willing to take the ball himself near the goal line due to recent concussion issues, Stewart should continue to monopolize the red-zone carries. The Rams have had issues against other heavy run offenses, like the Bills, and I won’t be shocked if they have issues containing an apparently rejuvenated Stewart either. At $5,200, Stewart has played on more than 67 percent of snaps the past two games and also taken 10 carries in the red zone in that span (four more than Cam). He’ll again carry multiple-TD upside this week.
Bonus: Tim Hightower ($4,000)
Brandin Cooks ($7,500): Cooks can be hard to pin down for DFS but in games where he hasn’t faced an elite corner he’s generally gone off. Against Oakland and Carolina, two teams with weak secondaries and who have struggled against the pass all year, Cooks had 13 receptions, 315 yards and three TDs. This week he faces the 49ers who have an equally bad secondary and who have given up the most TDs to the wide receiver position in the entire league. While San Fran’s run defense is shockingly bad, the Saints have had issues running the ball on the road, and I expect them to rely more on the arm of Drew Brees once again for most of their yards. Don’t be shocked if Cooks posts his third monster game of the season here.
Quincy Enunwa ($5,100): Enunwa had a big game last week, but it could have easily been bigger as he was targeted 11 times (a season high) but only converted four of those into catches. However, one of those catches was an amazing catch-and-run play where he scored from 30 yards out. Enunwa has shown flashes of greatness this year, and the added targets from last week could spill over here against Miami, which has been solid against the run of late but lack any type of shutdown corner. With Brandon Marshall still drawing top coverage anyways, Enunwa is in a definite breakout spot here. The talent is there and the opportunities seem to be increasing.
Bonus: Cordarrelle Patterson ($3,300)
Virgil Green ($2,600): Green was one of my preseason TEs to watch. An early injury sort of derailed his part in Denver’s offense, but with C.J. Anderson now out and Green now healthy he became a bit of a factor again last week with four receptions and 55 yards on six targets. The talent Green possesses is undeniable as he has some of the best speed and vertical measurements of anyone at his position. With Denver’s offense struggling of late and facing a sub-par Oakland linebacker crew, this week feels like a possible breakout spot for Green, who showed flashes of brilliance in the preseason with Trevor Siemian. With TE being so limited due to byes and injuries, I think Green’s salary makes him viable and an intriguing tournament play this week.
Bonus: Gary Barnidge ($3,900)
Pittsburgh Steelers ($2,900): Baltimore has now lost four games in a row after winning three straight to start the season, and all of those losses have been against mediocre opponents. The Steelers have had issues of their own this year, but they’re still the more quality team in every phase of the ball and actually played New England fairly tight, even with Landry Jones at QB. Meanwhile, Ravens QB Joe Flacco has thrown for two TDs and four INTs in his last five games, and while injuries may be to blame, it doesn’t make him any worse of a fantasy matchup for the Steelers D. I expect Pittsburgh to be up multiple scores at some point in this game at which point the Ravens will have no choice but to air it out, and at that point a pick-6 might be around the corner. Pittsburgh has solid upside for tournaments this week.
Bonus: New Orleans Saints ($2,300)
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.