DFS Roundtable: Looking for the Under 10 Percent GPP Hero

Discussing potential GPP fliers who will be under 10 percent owned, who have the best shot at scoring a touchdown.

Playing small slates brings with it tough choices to dig deep and find a lower owned player that can find the end zone and vault you up the leaderboard. Give me a running back and wide receiver (or tight end) that you think will be under 10% owned that has the best shot at finding the end zone (Please explain your reasoning)?

Phil Alexander: To find a viable running back at less than 10% owned on this slate you'll need to put on a pair of waist-high hip waders and get ready to dig real deep. We can rule out each team's starting running back -- even Ameer Abdullah, who is priced below $4K (DraftKings) despite scoring a touchdown in three consecutive games. Receiving specialists out of the backfield like Theo Riddick, Shane Vereen, and Rod Smith are likely to be sub-10%. Out of those three, the one with the best odds of a touchdown is Riddick, who is second on the Lions in total red zone opportunities (rushes + targets). He also ran the ball more effectively than Abdullah last week on a season-high nine carries, so maybe we'll see his usage continue to hover in the 12-15 touch neighborhood.

The wildcard at running back is 2016 undrafted free agent Byron Marshall, who was signed off the Eagles practice squad last week by Washington. Chris Thompson's season-ending injury leaves a huge void in the passing game for Kirk Cousins and company. Entering Week 11, Thompson's 17% target market share tied him with Jamison Crowder for the team lead. The most likely scenario is the majority of Thompson's targets being spread out amongst the team's receivers and tight ends, particularly Crowder on high percentage slot routes. But Marshall is an intriguing athlete with an unknown ceiling. He can certainly catch passes out of the backfield, having played some wide receiver at Oregon, and he can get to top speed quickly, so we can't rule out a splash play or two. I wouldn't recommend heavy exposure to Marshall, but I would co-sign up to 10% ownership if you're making multiple GPP lineups.

At wide receiver, I'll be taking some shots on Kenny Golladay. The rookie's snap count increased from 21% to 56% in his second game back from injury, which suggests he's back to where he began the season -- as a starting receiver in three-wide sets. Golladay has hauled in a pass of 40+ yards in both games since his return, which doesn't seem fluky given his sensational preseason and multi-touchdown NFL debut. At low ownership on a short slate, you're looking for a wide receiver who can pay off with one big play and Golladay fits the bill as long as he's healthy and receiving playing time. 

John Mamula: Personally, I don't think RB is where you want to differentiate from the field on this three-game slate. The most popular choices (Melvin Gordon III, Samaje Perine, Latavius Murray, Orleans Darkwa, Alfred Morris) are the most likely to produce for your lineups. 

If I had to choose, Rod Smith is a running back that should be less than 10% owned and could find the end zone. Darren McFadden was a surprise inactive last week and only received one offensive snap the week prior. With Ezekiel Elliott suspended, Morris and Smith are left to pick up the scraps. If the Cowboys find themselves playing from behind, Smith will be in-line for some pass-catching duty. Against the Falcons, Smith had four receptions for 15 yards. 

At wide receiver, Cole Beasley has my interest with a short slate. Chargers cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams should lock down the outside and Beasley will have an opportunity to produce in the slot. Beasley has shown multiple-touchdown upside as he seems to get his touchdowns in bunches. The wide receiver has four touchdowns this season and they came in two separate games. Week 5 against the Packers, Beasley finished with 4 receptions for 23 yards and 2 touchdowns. Week 9 versus the Chiefs, Beasley had 4 receptions for 24 yards and 2 touchdowns. Last season in Week 6 versus the Packers, Beasley had 6 receptions for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

Justin Bonnema: I’ll side with Phil on Marshall. He’s a total wild card but the crowd won’t touch him, and he has a good shot of filling the Thompson role this week. Marshall was expected to be the next Darren Sproles for the Eagles, but he never climbed out ahead in that crowded backfield. He’s a longshot; results may vary. 

I also like Jerick McKinnon. I doubt his ownership will be as low as 10%, but he will be one of the lowest owned running backs and still gets a 50% chunk of carries, while also serving as the primary receiving back for the Vikings. The Lions have allowed the 10th most receiving yards to running backs this season. If they build a lead, McKinnon—who can create monster plays any time he touches the ball—will see an uptick in volume.   

As for receivers, I’m actually going with a tight end. After a promising start, Hunter Henry has become somewhat of an afterthought in the Chargers’ offense. The only good news of late is he had five targets last week. He might find room against the Cowboys who will be without their best defensive player in Sean Lee. Like Marshall, Hunter is a longshot to redeem fantasy goodness given his recent play, but he makes for a nice GPP swing. He has the talent. He just needs more opportunities.
 
Jason Wood: I'll go with Tyrell Williams, one of the biggest disappointments of the season based on my preseason rankings and projections. Williams simply hasn't played the key role he did in 2016, and while that's inexplicable, it's also reality. That said, he's healthy and I don't see why he can't get healthy -- at least for a week -- against the Cowboys secondary.

If we assume the Chargers' Austin Ekeler is ineligible (more than 10% owned), I'll opt for Byron Marshall. Washington declared Marshall the team's new 3rd down/receiving back in place of Chris Thompson, and that mean's he'll have opportunities to make plays.
 
Chris Feery: At running back, I’ll be looking towards Rod Smith for some sneaky upside potential. We’ve all heard the rave reviews that have been making the rounds about him - what better way for him to prove it’s not just hot air than with a performance for the ages in front of a massive audience? While that’s more than likely a little too optimistic of a forecast, a case can be made for him to come in and make some noise. Even better, you’ll get to tell your family that you called it if he happens to go off. 
 
For receivers, I’m also looking towards Kenny Golladay. As Phil noted, he’s back and healthy - and seeing some volume to boot. He’s already demonstrated that he has multi-touchdown upside, as well as the ability to stretch the field. For an added benefit, his salary is affordable across the industry, and that will help immensely on a short slate with tight pricing. There’s definitely room for Golladay in my lineup, and I’ll be looking towards him to help provide me with both upside and lineup differentiation. 
 
James Brimacombe: At running back I would take some shots with the Lions backfield of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick as I think they will both come in under 10 percent as DFSers often like to bypass these two even on smaller slates like this one. The problem with Abdullah and Riddick is that you never know who to start so the ownership is always going to be down as the common DFS player will just skip putting them into their lineup and opt for situations where they can plug in a volume running back such as Gordon, Morris, Perine, Darkwa, or McKinnon on this particular slate. I also think Latavius Murray's ownership will be down and he offers some touchdown upside.
 
At wide receiver I like Ryan Grant as a potential touchdown scorer for Washington. He has caught at least 3 passes in each of his last six games and has 3 touchdowns on the year. It is hard to predict if Grant will by over 10 percent owned but I think he will roughly be in that range and he is a player that is often overlooked when building lineups.

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