Week 7 is upon us and The Contrarian returns to help you on your journey to finding some uniqueness for your lineups. We’ve spent some time looking at ownership percentages for the Top 10 finishers in the Millionaire Maker over the past few weeks, which helps to give us a solid understanding of just how much uniqueness we need to truly stand out on the leaderboards. Last week, we told you that there was no magic number for how many contrarian plays you should have in your lineup. That holds true again this week as we see several different combinations in last week’s results.
Six of the top ten lineups included either three or four players that were under 10% owned. The remainder of the Top 10 lineups ranged from a low of two players at less than 10% owned to a high of seven. Each week should be judged on its own merits, but based on the past few weeks, three looks like a pretty good baseline for the number of contrarian selections to shoot for. There will be weeks where there’s a large number of chalk plays to choose from. For those weeks, you may want to consider only two or three contrarian selections. For other weeks, there may be a tighter window of chalk plays that will lead to higher ownership percentages for those players. Those are the weeks you may want to consider kicking it up a notch and looking for at least three contrarian plays and increasing that number based on your comfort level.
Another week brings us another puzzle to figure out and we have some pretty good indicators for which players will attract some interest. There are some games with high projected totals and some matchups that jump out as waiting to be exploited. Chances are, players from those games will be pretty popular. Our quest for uniqueness requires us to dig a little deeper and that’s where The Contrarian comes in to help. We not only provide you with some unique targets to consider, but help you to understand the reasoning behind those selections so maybe you can find a few hidden gems on your own. We’ll start digging for this week’s diamonds at the quarterback position.
Derek Carr, $5,300
Derek Carr and the Raiders face off against the Chargers in a late afternoon tilt, a game in which we can expect Philip Rivers to attract a ton of interest. Rivers has been producing at a high level and all signs point to the Chargers continuing to air it out. While we can easily be talked into rostering Rivers based on his productivity and potential output, we might be better served by looking at the opposite sideline for our quarterback selection.
The Raiders are a 4-point underdog in a game with a projected total of 47 points, calling for a relatively close game in which the Raiders should be trying to come from behind. Carr has thrown for eight touchdowns so far and thrown for at least two in three of his five games. The Chargers have allowed 10 passing touchdowns and have had four opponents throw for multiple touchdowns against them. This game could be pretty fast-paced and sets up for Carr to do some second half damage. He has the weapons at his disposal to make some noise in the form of the emerging Amari Cooper and a rejuvenated Michael Crabtree. Add it all up and we have a great candidate for a contrarian selection at a fantastic price.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, $5,200
Ryan Fitzpatrick represents another low-cost quarterback who could be in a good position for some second half productivity. The Patriots are an 8-point favorite and we have a projected total of 48 points. If the game goes according to script, we’re looking at the Jets being in full comeback mode against their division rivals. The Jets found themselves trailing at the half last week against the Redskins due to some poor play, both from the team as a whole and from Fitzpatrick, who had a rough first half. Fitzpatrick and the Jets came to life after halftime as he ran for an 18-yard touchdown and connected for two touchdowns, one each to the dynamic duo of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
The Redskins are certainly a different level of opponent than the Patriots, but three total touchdowns in one half is nothing to sneeze at. The Patriots are coming in off of a game in which they were victorious against the Colts, but still allowed three passing touchdowns. Fitzpatrick is averaging 18.1 points per game this season and has a real shot at matching last week’s total of 26.22 points this this week. Keep Fitzpatrick in mind this week and don’t shy away due to the opponent, he looks to be in firm command of an underrated Jets offense.
Mark Ingram II, $6,300
Sunday’s matchup between the Colts and Saints has the highest projected total on the board at 52 points. The game will capture plenty of interest from a DFS perspective, but while the masses zig over to the respective team’s passing attacks, we’ll zag over to the running game for some exposure to the projected fantasy goodness. Mark Ingram II is averaging 17.3 points per game and is coming off of a two touchdown effort against the Falcons. The Colts are allowing 112.7 rushing yards per game but have allowed only five rushing touchdowns in 2015. Ingram is a good candidate to break 100 yards rushing and receive the three-point bonus for accomplishing that on DraftKings. An extra touchdown or two – either on the ground or through the air – could provide a nice return for a reasonable salary.
Frank Gore, $4,900
After an unproductive first two weeks as a member of the Colts, Frank Gore has performed pretty well over the past four weeks. The team itself struggled out of the gate and also had the privilege of facing two top defenses to start the season, a fired-up Buffalo Bills squad in Week 1 and a pretty strong New York Jets team in Week 2. Although the Colts lost to the Patriots on Sunday Night, the offense showed signs of improvement and scored 27 points. The Saints have allowed four rushing touchdowns over the past three weeks and some big performances from opposing running backs to go along with it. As with Ingram, we’ll look to gain some exposure to a high-scoring game through the running game and look for Gore to be a good candidate for a solid day.
Jarvis Landry, $6,200
What a difference a bye week coaching change made for the Miami Dolphins. The team put forth its best effort of the season and looked like a new team on both sides of the ball. Jarvis Landry contributed three receptions, 66 combined yards and a rushing touchdown. Are the Dolphins we saw last week an indication of how the rest of the season shapes for them or simply a case of strong emotion leading to a great performance? It’s too early to tell on that, but this week sets up pretty well both for the team and for Landry. The Texans have allowed two passing touchdowns in each of the last two games. Ryan Tannehill has thrown for two touchdowns in each of his last four and completed a season-high 75.9% of his passes last week. Landry is another contender for a 100-yard day and we’ll look for him to be on the other end of a Tannehill touchdown toss.
Pierre Garcon, $5,000
Pierre Garcon leads the Redskins in targets with 51 and has received eight targets per game for each of the last three weeks. He will remain the focal point of the Redskins passing attack until DeSean Jackson returns and has to be considered on a weekly basis due to opportunity. The Redskins offense will not strike fear into anyone, but when we have a wideout that is first on the team in targets by a wide margin, our attention perks up. The Buccaneers have allowed some big games to opposing wide receivers, including Week 5’s three receiving touchdowns allowed against the Jaguars. Garcon has yet to pass the 100-yard plateau this season and we can’t promise that he will this week either, but six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown will provide 18.0 points – a 3.6x return on his $5,000 salary.
Crocket Gillmore, $2,500
In Crockett Gillmore, we have a contrarian play, a value play and a risky play all rolled into one. The Ravens are an 8 ½-point underdog against the Cardinals on Monday Night, pointing to the Ravens coming from behind through the air. Gillmore is averaging 10.8 points, a 4.32x return on his bargain basement salary. While teammate Steve Smith Sr. rightfully captures the attention when thinking about the Ravens passing attack, Gillmore offers a low-cost and less popular way to gain some exposure to it. For the risky part, the Cardinals have been tough against opposing tight ends and have not allowed any big performances to the position. For $2,500, Gillmore could be a risk worth taking and has the potential to provide a 4x return on investment.
Travis Kelce, $4,900
A promising start for the Chiefs has certainly unraveled in a hurry. Through the first seven quarters of the season, the Chiefs looked like serious AFC West contenders. In week two, they held a 24-17 over the Broncos with a little over two minutes remaining. The team unraveled and fell to the Broncos 31-24 and apparently, their chances for a good season unraveled along with the game. The Chiefs are struggling and have lost their best offensive player, Jamaal Charles, to a season-ending injury. They are having a hard time putting points on the board, scoring only 27 over the past two games. So why consider Travis Kelce this week? Opportunity and opponent. Jeremy Maclin, the focal point of the Chiefs passing attack, is in the concussion protocol and may be limited even if he does in fact suit up. The Steelers have allowed two monster performances to opposing tight ends – Week 1 against the Patriots and Week 5 against the Chargers, coincidentally to two of the top tight ends in the game. Despite the Chiefs offensive limitations, Kelce can still be regarded as a member of that group. Kelce could be an under the radar play that pays some nice dividends.
Pittsburgh Steelers, $2,600
If you’re looking to play Kelce this week, you’ll obviously want to avoid rostering the Steelers defense. If you’re more intrigued by the limitations of the Chiefs offense and believe that that Kelce will be contained, the Steelers may be for you. The Steelers defense has scored double digit points in each of the team’s past two games and have registered 17 sacks in 2015. Part of the Chiefs struggles on offense are the pressure they are allowing on Alex Smith, who has been sacked 24 times this season. Pressure and sacks equals opportunity for opposing defenses. The Steelers are a very low-cost defense that has a chance to extend their double-digit point scoring streak to three games.
Washington Redskins, $2,500
It’s no secret that rookie quarterbacks make mistakes and Jameis Winston has certainly been guilty of that. Winston has thrown seven picks this season and could definitely be pressured into more on Sunday against the Redskins. The Buccaneers have allowed two big games to opposing defenses this season, Week 1 against the Titans and Week 4 against the Panthers. Perhaps the bye week helped Winston get his feet under him a bit more, but for $2,500 we have another under the radar defense with nice upside.
That concludes our quest for uniqueness for Week 7. We have ten players to keep on our radar while we analyze and dissect this week’s matchups. As we’ve learned by looking back at the leaderboards for the Millionaire Maker over the past few weeks, a little uniqueness can go a long way to improving your chances at a big week. Best of luck this weekend!