The Contrarian: FanDuel Week 12

Identifying underexposed players to create roster uniqueness in tournaments.

Week 12 marks the week of low-cost running backs and high-priced wide receivers dominating the ownership rates. The Vegas team totals are tepid, the Patriots offense is running of fumes form a health standpoint, and running back injury dominoes continue to fall as we close out November. Filling in for Justin Bonnema this week, Chad Parsons will mirror the format in previous weeks, adding Footballguys H-Value to the typical charts of matchup, salary, and ownership data.

Just like with fades, we’ll never advocate going contrarian for the sake contrarianism. That said, we’ll have to leave our comfort zones a little bit. So be sure to protect your bankrolls and limit how much you invest as a contrarian.

The numbers presented in the tables below are taken from a $2 Thursday night GPP. We can use these exposure percentages to assist our ownership projections for Sunday/Monday GPPs. Doing so increases our accuracy and provides a clearer picture of groupthink—something we’ll almost always try to avoid.

QUARTERBACKS

Player Salary H-Value Matchup Own%
Carson Palmer 8100 45.8 ARI@SF 19.0
Brian Hoyer 7100 44.5 NO@HOU 12.2
Eli Manning 7700 40.7 NYG@WAS 10.0
Drew Brees 8200 37.1 NO@HOU 5.7
Jameis Winston 7300 35.9 TB@IND 5.6
Josh McCown 6300 46.1 BAL@CLE 5.4
Blake Bortles 7300 42.5 SD@JAX 5.2
Kirk Cousins 6700 34.0 NYG@WAS 4.1
Derek Carr 7400 39.2 OAK@TEN 3.2
Ben Roethlisberger 7800 34.7 PIT@SEA 3.1
Marcus Mariota 7000 38.3 OAK@TEN 3.0
Tom Brady 9000 36.1 NE@DEN 2.3
Philip Rivers 8000 34.9 SD@JAX 2.2
Andy Dalton 7900 37.8 STL@CIN 2.1
Matt Ryan 7900 33.9 MIN@ATL 1.0
Russell Wilson 7600 47.2 PIT@SEA 1.0
Matt Hasselbeck 6400 40.6 TB@IND 0.6
Alex Smith 6600 34.5 BUF@KC 0.4
Teddy Bridgewater 6500 35.5 MIN@ATL 0.4
Ryan Fitzpatrick 7200 37.2 MIA@NYJ 0.3

Russell Wilson sticks out like a sore thumb of the bottom rung of ownership. As a top Footballguys projection in terms of H-Value, his 1% ownership is anemic. The Steelers pass defense has been average on the season, but struggled mightily of late, surrendering 372 yards to Johnny Manziel, and 301 yards and four touchdowns to Derek Carr in successive weeks. Colin Kaepernick, the most mobile quarterback to-date on the Pittsburgh schedule, shredded the Steelers for 335 yards and two scores through the air plus by-far a season-high on the ground of 51 yards against Pittsburgh. Russell Wilson, while pinning down his best stack mate for tournments between Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Jimmy Graham is a challenge, deserves a sizeable market share of lineup usage for Week 12.

RUNNING BACKS

Player Salary H-Value Matchup Own%
Thomas Rawls 6300 35.4 PIT@SEA 31.3
Doug Martin 7500 27.1 TB@IND 27.6
Javorius Allen 6300 22.8 BAL@CLE 15.3
T.J. Yeldon 6500 29.7 SD@JAX 13.2
Chris Johnson 6800 18.7 ARI@SF 12.2
Adrian Peterson 9000 27.9 MIN@ATL 12.0
LeSean McCoy 7600 24.8 BUF@KC 11.3
Chris Ivory 7000 19.1 MIA@NYJ 10.3
Todd Gurley 8800 25.9 STL@CIN 7.1
DeAngelo Williams 7100 30.0 PIT@SEA 5.7
Latavius Murray 6600 25.4 OAK@TEN 5.2
Lamar Miller 7200 27.8 MIA@NYJ 4.6
Alfred Blue 5900 22.6 NO@HOU 4.3
Danny Woodhead 6100 26.8 SD@JAX 4.1
Giovani Bernard 6300 18.3 STL@CIN 3.7
LeGarrette Blount 7300 19.4 NE@DEN 2.9
Spencer Ware 6100 27.1 BUF@KC 2.8
Mark Ingram 7400 25.8 NO@HOU 1.9
Ronnie Hillman 6300 16.5 NE@DEN 1.4
Antonio Andrews 5700 18.3 OAK@TEN 1.1
Tevin Coleman 6200 18.9 MIN@ATL 1.0
Jeremy Hill 6500 17.2 STL@CIN 0.9
Matt Jones 5900 17.0 NYG@WAS 0.9
Shane Vereen 5600 12.3 NYG@WAS 0.7
Duke Johnson 6000 10.7 BAL@CLE 0.6
Shaun Draughn 5600 24.9 ARI@SF 0.4
Charles Sims 5400 15.4 TB@IND 0.3
Frank Gore 6400 21.2 TB@IND 0.3
Melvin Gordon 5900 12.7 SD@JAX 0.2
C.J. Anderson 5800 9.1 NE@DEN 0.1

The running back position is littered with affordable and low-cost options heading into the weekend. Monitor Devonta Freeman's status, but signs as of Friday are Atlanta is preparing to be without Freeman against Minnesota. Tevin Coleman has been pulled on passing downs consistently and is not as much of a power runner, but at $6,200 will deserve some tournament love if Freeman is inactive. Spencer Ware is another 'wait and see' option at $6,100. Charcandrick West is dealing with a balky hamstring and not a high liklihood to play. Ware flashes late in Week 11 in relief of West and has quality lateral agility for a big-bodied back. Buffalo is a slightly positive matchup for running backs on the season, but have struggled of late against Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon in recent weeks. Ware would be a quality RB2 for tournaments to mix into lineup creation without West. Finally, Mark Ingram has low ownership considering his stranglehold on the backfield. Tim Hightower soaked up late-game work in the blowout loss last week. Despite their horrid defense, the Saints are just 3.5 point underdogs on the road. Expect a closer game and Mark Ingram's work to bounce back from his abberation of eight touches last week. Ingram had at least 16 touches in each of the previous four games and had at least 14 touches in every game this season.

*November 27, 2:40pm Update* Charcandrick West has been downgraded to Doubtful, triggering the optimism for Spencer Ware outlined above.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Player Salary H-Value Matchup Own%
DeAndre Hopkins 9400 35.5 NO@HOU 47.9
Odell Beckham Jr 9100 27.3 NYG@WAS 27.3
Larry Fitzgerald 7400 28.1 ARI@SF 26.3
Allen Robinson 7900 24.2 SD@JAX 16.1
Julio Jones 9300 30.3 MIN@ATL 12.4
Martavis Bryant 6700 22.7 PIT@SEA 11.6
Antonio Brown 9000 31.3 PIT@SEA 11.1
Brandin Cooks 7300 21.8 NO@HOU 10.9
Mike Evans 8100 14.5 TB@IND 9.0
Amari Cooper 6800 24.0 OAK@TEN 7.8
Michael Crabtree 6500 26.2 OAK@TEN 7.7
Travis Benjamin 5900 20.2 BAL@CLE 7.4
DeSean Jackson 6300 22.8 NYG@WAS 6.8
Eric Decker 7100 27.6 MIA@NYJ 6.1
Steve Johnson 5500 26.5 SD@JAX 5.4
Demaryius Thomas 7700 24.8 NE@DEN 5.2
Brandon Marshall 7800 22.1 MIA@NYJ 4.9
A.J. Green 8200 21.3 STL@CIN 4.5
Stefon Diggs 6600 21.8 MIN@ATL 4.2
Vincent Jackson 6400 15.4 TB@IND 4.0
Brandon LaFell 6900 14.6 NE@DEN 3.5
Jarvis Landry 7000 23.3 MIA@NYJ 2.7
T.Y. Hilton 6900 16.5 TB@IND 2.1
Danny Amendola 6100 9.3 NE@DEN 1.7
Willie Snead 6300 16.2 NO@HOU 1.7
John Brown 5700 18.6 ARI@SF 1.6
Kamar Aiken 6100 21.2 BAL@CLE 1.6
Sammy Watkins 6800 16.7 BUF@KC 1.6
Cecil Shorts 5600 13.4 NO@HOU 1.4
Tyler Lockett 5600 16.1 PIT@SEA 1.4
Nate Washington 5300 14.4 NO@HOU 1.1
Jeremy Maclin 6200 17.7 BUF@KC 0.9
Rueben Randle 5600 16.1 NYG@WAS 0.9
Donte Moncrief 5900 15.5 TB@IND 0.8
Marvin Jones 5400 18.6 STL@CIN 0.7
Rishard Matthews 6200 17.7 MIA@NYJ 0.7
Doug Baldwin 5300 17.0 PIT@SEA 0.5
Pierre Garcon 5700 10.7 NYG@WAS 0.5
Tavon Austin 5800 10.3 STL@CIN 0.4
Kendall Wright 5300 18.0 OAK@TEN 0.3
Emmanuel Sanders 7500 16.7 NE@DEN 0.2
Chris Givens 4500 14.9 BAL@CLE 0.1

The Giants struggle across the board against the pass, yet DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are both minimally-owned at home this week. Julian Edelman, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, and Marques Colston have all exceled against the Giants in recent weeks. Washington is one of the stronger home-road splits, with Kirk Cousins completing 76% of his passes, two scores per game, and 8.2 yards-per-attempt at home this season. Both Jackson and Garcon are affordable WR3 plays with WR2+ upside. The weapons for Russell Wilson are another attractive tournament pair this week. Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin are both sub-1.5% owned and Wilson is a much better quarterback at home with seven touchdowns and a single interception in five home games this season and 9.2 yards-per-attempt. As mentioned in the quarterback section, Wilson himself is minimally-owned and constructing a Wilson-Baldwin, Wilson-Lockett, or Wilson-Graham stack or two for Week 12 is quality diversification. Baldwin has been the more active target throughout the season with more targets than Lockett in 7-of-10 games (22 the last three contests). 

TIGHT ENDS

Player Salary H-Value Matchup Own%
Delanie Walker 6100 21.9 OAK@TEN 21.4
Gary Barnidge 6500 21.8 BAL@CLE 15.4
Tyler Eifert 6200 19.9 STL@CIN 14.7
Antonio Gates 5700 15.8 SD@JAX 6.3
Ben Watson 5400 14.5 NO@HOU 5.5
Jordan Reed 5800 18.3 NYG@WAS 5.0
Rob Gronkowski 8400 25.3 NE@DEN 4.0
Jimmy Graham 5500 17.0 PIT@SEA 3.7
Travis Kelce 5800 19.6 BUF@KC 3.6
Kyle Rudolph 5000 9.7 MIN@ATL 2.3
Crockett Gillmore 5600 12.5 BAL@CLE 2.2
Julius Thomas 5300 10.2 SD@JAX 2.0
Heath Miller 5300 11.0 PIT@SEA 1.8
Coby Fleener 5100 10.8 TB@IND 0.6
Jacob Tamme 5100 10.8 MIN@ATL 0.5
Charles Clay 5300 9.9 BUF@KC 0.3
Will Tye 4900 9.6 NYG@WAS 0.1

Crockett Gillmore and Heath Miller stand out of the low-ownership group as quality tournament options. While Matt Schaub is shaky-at-best as an innate DFS play, he has produced for tight ends in his career with Joel Dreessen, Garrett Graham, and Owen Daniels of note. Gillmore leads Baltimore in red zone targets and by a large margin since Steve Smith's season ended with injury. While the Browns have allowed a low 39 receptions to tight ends on the season, eight touchdowns to tight ends is near the top of the NFL, including five touchdowns between oversized options Tyler Eifert and Troy Niklas in recent weeks. Seattle is stingy against wide receivers, but not so much versus tight ends. Vance McDonald had a career day of 4-65-1 against Seattle last week, Jermaine Gresham found the end zone in Week 10, and off-the-radar options Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers found paydirt earlier in the season. Miller is minimally-priced at $5,300 and Ben Roethlisberger back under center aids the entire passing game outlook.

KICKERS

POS Player Salary H-Value Matchup Own%
K Stephen Gostkowski 5200 16.6 NE@DEN 10.7
K Chandler Catanzaro 4700 22.2 ARI@SF 9.5
K Cairo Santos 4900 17.6 BUF@KC 7.7
K Chris Boswell 4500 14.2 PIT@SEA 7.1
K Connor Barth 4800 14.6 TB@IND 6.2
K Josh Brown 5100 17.0 NYG@WAS 5.9
K Nick Novak 4500 19.6 NO@HOU 4.4
K Brandon McManus 4800 14.0 NE@DEN 3.9
K Sebastian Janikowski 4600 16.6 OAK@TEN 3.8
K Dustin Hopkins 4500 15.2 NYG@WAS 3.5
K Justin Tucker 4900 12.5 BAL@CLE 3.4
K Blair Walsh 4700 15.9 MIN@ATL 2.8
K Mike Nugent 4600 19.2 STL@CIN 2.7
K Adam Vinatieri 4700 18.4 TB@IND 2.2
K Josh Lambo 4700 14.6 SD@JAX 1.6
K Jason Myers 4700 17.7 SD@JAX 1.3
K Kai Forbath 4600 15.3 NO@HOU 0.9
K Randy Bullock 4500 13.6 MIA@NYJ 0.9
K Andrew Franks 4700 14.3 MIA@NYJ 0.2

The San Diego defense has struggled mightily this season and Jacksonville has the uncommon perch at No.6 in Vegas point total. The Jaguars are near the bottom of the league in red zone efficiency and touchdowns scored, making Jason Myers a good bet for at least two field goals, if not more. Myers has been hot of late, going 10-for-11 over the past three weeks. 

DEFENSE

Unit Salary H-Value Matchup Own%
Arizona Cardinals 5300 26.3 ARI@SF 21.9
Kansas City Chiefs 4500 26.5 BUF@KC 15.5
Cincinnati Bengals 4800 29.1 STL@CIN 7.0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4300 17.8 TB@IND 5.5
NY Jets 4500 22.7 MIA@NYJ 4.7
Cleveland Browns 4600 27.7 BAL@CLE 4.3
New England Patriots 4600 24.3 NE@DEN 4.0
Houston Texans 4700 19.1 NO@HOU 2.9
Denver Broncos 4700 15.6 NE@DEN 2.7
Washington Redskins 4000 16.8 NYG@WAS 2.7
NY Giants 4600 21.9 NYG@WAS 2.5
Seattle Seahawks 5200 18.6 PIT@SEA 2.1
Baltimore Ravens 4600 19.5 BAL@CLE 1.9
Minnesota Vikings 4400 18.9 MIN@ATL 1.7
Jacksonville Jaguars 4300 23.4 SD@JAX 1.6
St. Louis Rams 4900 11.3 STL@CIN 1.4
Indianapolis Colts 4200 19.0 TB@IND 1.2
Oakland Raiders 4600 19.5 OAK@TEN 0.7
Atlanta Falcons 4500 18.1 MIN@ATL 0.5
Miami Dolphins 4600 21.9 MIA@NYJ 0.4

Baltimore is a sneaky tournament defense this week. The Browns are the worst running team in the NFL by ProFootballReference's Expected Points. Turning Josh McCown into a one-dimensional option is a good formula as the Browns have allowed an NFL-high 36 sacks, 14 fumbles (three more than any other team) and again, are anemic on the ground. On the flip side, Baltimore's defense has been much better against the run than through air. Getting a high volume of McCown attempts, even with Baltimore's struggles on the back end, is a good recipe for value from their $4,600 salary in some tournament lineups for Week 12.