Knowing the expected ownership rates heading into a weekend of FanDuel contests is a powerful tool. Knowledge is power. There will be heavily used players and underrated options from which to pick and choose quality lineups. Cash games are the perfect place for using a bevy of highly owned options and playing it safe. The cash line is simply finishing above the average score (typically in 110-120 point range). In a tournament field (GPP), finishing in the money takes more risk and variance to achieve a high mark worthy of cashing. There is no prize difference between finishing middle of the pack or dead last in GPP contests. Here are the strategies centered around player ownership for FanDuel this week:
*Collected ownership data from Thursday Night locking contests*
CONSENSUS PLAYS OF WEEK
Blake Bortles and Ben Roethlisberger are the highest owned quarterbacks of the week at more than 15% each. Both are preferred plays by Footballguys value projections and have positive passing matchups against New Orleans and Baltimore respectively. When in doubt, target the Saints pass defense who has allowed by far the most passing touchdowns on the season with 39. Bortles gets them this week. The Ravens are not far behind with a 28-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the season with the Steelers passing game up in Week 16.
Once again David Johnson is a top play. At 34%, Johnson is still a strong play despite edging up $800 from last week. Johnson has been the No. 1 back in production since taking over the lead role in Arizona with a Devonta Freeman-like run of volume and touchdowns. DeAngelo Williams and Charcandrick West are the other running backs above 20% ownership in Thursday contests. Both are double-digit Vegas favorites to have positive game scripts. West has the best matchup of the three as the Browns have allowed the most rushing yards to opposing backs in the NFL on the season, including big games to Jeremy Hill (who has struggled all season), Ronnie Hillman, Justin Forsett, and Dexter McCluster.
Despite the $9.300 price tag, Antonio Brown is lapping the field at 43%. Brown is one of the best floor and ceiling plays and the Ravens struggle to cover as sizeable underdogs. Allen Robinson and Martavis Bryant round out the top-3 at 21% and 18% early ownership. The Steelers combo gets a Ravens defense who has allowed an NFL-high 25 touchdowns to wide receivers and big games to lower-tier options like Travis Benjamin, Malcom Floyd, Torrey Smith, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and DeVante Parker this season.
After 18% ownership last week to top the position, Jordan Reed is at it again with 22% in Week 16. Unfortunately, the Eagles are a stingy matchup for tight ends, yet to give up more than 65 yards in a game all season and three total touchdowns to the position.
For the third straight week, Kansas City's defense is in the top-2 of ownership, this time leading the pack at 22%, at home, against Cleveland. The Steelers are the only other team above 10% as hearty favorites in Baltimore. Graham Gano and Chris Boswell are the only kickers above 10% from Thursday contests.
AGAINST THE GRAIN
Johnny Manziel is the top combination of low ownership (0.1% on Thursday) and bargain salary at $6,000. Stacking with Travis Benjamin or Gary Barnidge is a tournament option. The Chiefs two worst defensive games against quarterbacks have been mobile ones (Aaron Rodgers, Tyrod Taylor). Manziel offers the same acumen in Week 16.
Devonta Freeman at $8,500 is the top projected back with low ownership (2.3%). The matchup is not ideal for Freeman against Carolina, but his volume floor is high and Atlanta has few other viable options on offense. Ryan Mathews and Antonio Andrews are the best combinations of low salary, low ownership, and quality Footballguys projections this week. Both are below $5,500 and their projections are above the 2x cash baseline.
There is a handful of quality projections among the sparsely-owned receivers this week. Julio Jones is the premium name of note. The matchup against Josh Norman and Carolina has Jones' ownership below 3%, but the Atlanta offense rarely goes away from Jones or Devonta Freeman. Jones had 7-88-0 against Norman in Week 14 and Odell Beckham Jr Jr. had a solid second half in New York's comeback a week ago. Willie Snead IV has been a high-floor option and at $6,000, with a good Jacksonville matchup, logged 2.9% on Thursday. Finally Jarvis Landry and Travis Benjamin highlight a blend of low ownership and Footballguys projections.
The Titans are the clear best option of the low-owned defenses at 2.6% and only $4,000. Kai Forbath stands out at kicker (3%) with a strong value mark by Footballguys projections. The Saints are at home against a beatable Jacksonville defense. New Orleans has the second-highest team total of the week.
EXAMPLE GPP ROSTER 1
Stacking against the Saints is a high-probability play. Randle is projected for an uptick with no Odell Beckham Jr Jr. this week and Mike Evans is one of the highest volume floors at the position. Going Karlos Williams allows for Rob Gronkowski.
EXAMPLE GPP ROSTER 2
|DST||Kansas City Chiefs||5400||21.5|
The Arizona stack is an underrated and underowned one. Plus the low salary of Brown and Floyd make room for Antonio Brown and a top kicker and defense.
CASH GAMES: GO WITH THE HERD
More articles from Chad ParsonsSee all
Cutting the Cord: Week 13
New Reality No.158: Stack and Stash Running Backs
New Reality No.157: 2021 Tier 1 NFL Free Agents
More articles on: Daily FFSee all
Daily Fantasy Sports Coverage: Week 13 - Staff
Vegas Value Chart: Week 13 - Lee
Cracking FanDuel Week 12 - Knotts