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DFS Contrarian: Week 14 Lineup Review, Week 15 Plays

The DFS Contrarian is back with Week 15 GPP picks. As a reminder, here are the rules for the DFS Contrarian series.

  1. I will give at least one pick for QB, RB, WR, and TE.
  2. I can also include a D/ST when I believe they will be a good contrarian play.
  3. I will use scoring from last year’s Play of the Week contest. It goes like this: When I take the average score of all DraftKings Millionaire Maker lineups that include my pick, if he ends up in the top 25 percent when doing this for all players that were at least 0.01 percent owned (this eliminates players that should never have been in a lineup in the first place, and dummy lineups), then my pick counts as a hit. Otherwise it counts as a miss.
  4. A pick is also scored as a miss if it is above 10 percent owned. We’re really trying to be contrarian here.
  5. The goal is to have above a 20 percent hit ratio at the end of the year.

Week 14 Recap

Last week was a good week. I used my cash game lineup in several of the 3-max and single entry tournaments and had a shot to take a couple of them down had things gone my way on Sunday Night Football. Alas, Eli Manning ended up below his 15th percentile projection, which sucked, dooming me to “only” 23rd in the $150 entry 3-max and 19th in the $100 single entry. Let’s take a look, and I’ll talk about the two contrarian elements of my lineup.


The first contrarian aspect was fading David Johnson in favor of leveraging with the Dolphins DST. Two main factors went into play here. First, I projected Johnson’s ownership level to be the highest on the week, and it was at nearly 40 percent. Combine that with the Cardinals traveling east — something that Carson Palmer has really struggled with over the last two years — and I felt there was enough probability for the Dolphins DST to do enough damage to limit the Cardinals offense. The main stats I was looking at were:

  1. Carson Palmer throws one full interception more in east coast road games over the last two years
  2. David Johnson averages only 24.7 DK points in these games where he’s been the full-time back
Fortunately it played out that way. Palmer had four turnovers and DJ put up a dud relative to his price.

My other contrarian play was using Carlos Hyde against the Jets, and this one was maybe a bit more subjective. The Jets have gotten stomped on the ground a couple times this year, mainly through big plays from David Johnson and Jay Ajayi. I thought maybe a big play running back could but off a few long runs, and Hyde certainly did that, rushing for 193 yards on 17 carries.

My only regret is not pivoting to a Trevor Siemian – Demaryius Thomas – DeSean Jackson trio instead of Eli Maninng – Tyrell Williams – Todd Gurley. I did have a few Siemian – Thomas – Emmanuel Sanders stacks, but I ran them all back with DeMarco Murray and/or Delanie Walker.

Overall Record: 15-44 (25.4 percent)

For the season, I’m at 25.4 percent which is halfway between my goal of 20 percent and my stretch goal of 30 percent.

Week 15 DFS Contrarian Picks

Before we dive into this week’s picks, make sure to check out my appearance on the Week 15 episode of The Daily Fantasy Flex with Matthew Freedman, Adam Levitan, and Peter Jennings (CSURAM88) over at FantasyLabs. Also, be sure to check out myself and Ben Gretch on our usual weekly edition of On the Daily DFS. Between those and the DFS articles here at RotoViz, that’s a lot of great content to digest. Let’s dive into the picks.


My favorite contrarian QB this week is Joe Flacco. I really want to say someone like Philip Rivers or Derek Carr, but I think they could push near my 10 percent threshold for this article. Flacco has thrown for over 23 DK points in three of his last five games and this Ravens team is in contention for a playoff spot, and even a division title. There are juicy matchups to take advantage of, with Eagles’ Leodis McKelvin and Malcolm Jenkins often struggling in deep coverage, and we know Flacco has a cannon plus a deep weapon in Mike Wallace. This game could turn into a shootout; Baltimore is much better against the run than the pass, Philadelphia has allowed QBs to throw for 2.3 points over their individual seasonal average over the past five weeks, and both Flacco and Carson Wentz are in the top three in pass attempts over the last five games.

Running Back

As usual, I’ll probably go pretty chalky at the running back position, but I do have one name I like. Latavius Murray could benefit from another Philip Rivers turnover and sack-prone game. If Rivers again struggles under pressure, that could lead to some solid field position for the Raiders, and potentially a couple Murray scores. The Chargers allow the sixth highest percentage of points scored on the ground. Look for Murray to add to his already lofty total of 12 rushing TDs in 11 games.

Wide Receiver

I have a long list of contrarian WRs this week, so let me just rattle them off with a single fact about why I like each.

  • Jordan Matthews — This could turn into a shootout and the Ravens worst defensive coverage comes against the slot.
  • Steve Smith — Use him as a stack with Flacco, and even in a superstack with Flacco and Wallace, and run it back with Jordan Matthews.
  • Rishard Matthews — I love him as leverage off Delanie Walker who should be popular this week at a reduced price tag on DK. Rishard Matthews gets Marcus Peters who, while still a quality defensive back, is the most beatable in the Chiefs secondary in terms of fantasy points per route.
  • Brandin Cooks — This is contingent on Michael Thomas playing, but if he does Cooks could get Marcus Cooper island, which is a great island to be on.
  • Terrelle Pryor — I see a YOLO ball or two from Robert Griffin III to Pryor. It’s not impossible one of them connects against Ronald Darby who has allowed 0.34 fantasy points per route run, well below league average.

I like Stefon Diggs as well, but think he’ll be too close to the 10 percent threshold to make him an official pick.

Tight End

Normally being contrarian at the TE position is easy for me, but for whatever reason I’m having a hard time getting away from Jermaine Gresham, Ladarius Green, and Kyle Rudolph, all of whom should break or be very near the 10 percent mark. Along with Travis Kelce and Tyler Eifert I’ll probably be pretty narrow at TE this week. As such, I don’t think it’s fair of me to offer a pick that I won’t be playing. Some names I considered but ultimately settled against using are:

  • Clive Walford
  • Jack Doyle (I will be using him if Dwayne Allen is out)
  • Dwayne Allen
  • Charles Clay
  • Garrett Celek
  • Jason Witten
  • Antonio Gates
  • Cameron Brate

Finally, I will give a pick that doesn’t count for scoring purposes because it’s not part of the rules. I think Delanie Walker finishes outside the top 12 at the TE position this week.

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