NFL DFS

Week 10 NFL DFS Sleepers, Fades, Contrarian, and Pivot Plays on FanDuel

Week 10 of NFL DFS is upon us, and everyone is looking to cash in on the big daily fantasy football money at FanDuel. Every week, we’ll bring you our top DFS NFL picks for each position and recommend them as Cash Game and/or GPP plays. To keep up with all things DFSReport, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

As with any daily fantasy sport, the advice below is relevant for fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, gameflow, and more. This is important when constructing a roster.

In this article, we highlight the plays that aren’t necessarily obvious and, therefore, may help distinguish you in a contest featuring thousands of lineups.

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Quarterbacks

CHALK: Dak Prescott @ ATL ($8.8k FanDuel, Matthew Stafford vs. CLE (8.2k)
PIVOT(S): Tom Brady @ DEN ($8.5k FanDuel), Matt Ryan vs. DAL ($7.7k)
Dak Prescott bounced back with a huge game against the Chiefs on Sunday. Matthew Stafford has been hot over the last three weeks in some plus matchups. Both QBs draw good matchups in Week 10, with Stafford likely seeing more exposure in Cash Games in a home tilt against the lowly Browns.

It’s hard to believe Tom Brady won’t be a popular play, but such is the nature of perception in DFS. The Broncos’ defense should be fired up to play in front of a home crowd on Sunday night. That’s not always enough though, as their struggling offense is making it tough to play solid football. Josh McDaniels and the Patriots have historically avoided running right into a strong interior defensive line. That could lead to a very pass-heavy game plan.

Matt Ryan is an intriguing contrarian play and should be lightly owned because of how the Falcons’ offense has struggled this year. However, he showed signs of life in a loss to Carolina last week and could round the corner in a home tilt against Dallas. He torched the Cowboys for 627 yards and a 68 percent completion rate over his last two meetings. 

VALUE SLEEPER: Jimmy Garoppolo vs. NYG ($6.0k FanDuel)
Word came out from Kyle Shanahan that Jimmy Garoppolo could make his team debut this Sunday in a winnable home game against the Giants. If he does, the former Patriots signal caller would be an intriguing value and a potential pivot off the current best value in Ryan Fitzpatrick ($6.1k). The G-Men rank 26th in DVOA pass defense and give up 398 total YPG on the road this year. They appeared to quit early in a blowout home loss to the Rams last week.

Running Backs

CHALK: Le’Veon Bell @ IND ($9.4k FanDuel), Alfred Morris @ ATL ($5.4k)
PIVOT: LeSean McCoy vs. NO ($9.0k FanDuel), Orleans Darkwa @ SF ($5.3k)
Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, and Leonard Fournette should comprise the chalk plays at the top of the board this week with Ezekiel Elliott finally forced to serve his suspension. Right below those top three backs, LeSean McCoy has a chance to match their upside in a plus spot at home against the Saints. The Bills have been a much better team at home, and the Saints’ offense historically struggles outdoors in harsh conditions. The 30-degree weather and raucous crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium could help Buffalo get ahead and ride “Shady” to victory.

Alfred Morris will become a very popular value as the probable starter with Elliott suspended. A straight-line runner, who basically just gets what’s blocked, Morris is a good bet to score a TD if the situation arises inside the five-yard line. But he’s a somewhat risky play with rookie Rod Smith and passing-down back Darren McFadden threatening his workload.

Orleans Darkwa remains quite cheap and actually has some upside in a Week 10 matchup against the 49ers. San Francisco coughs up the most RuYPG (135.7) in the NFL this season and continues to lose starting defenders to injury. Darkwa played 47 percent of offensive snaps last week despite the decidedly negative gameflow. He is even starting to see some work in the passing game as the Giants look to expand their playbook and search for anything that might work.

CONTRARIAN SLEEPER: Devonta Freeman vs. DAL ($6.5k FanDuel)
Devonta Freeman should be a contrarian play because he’s been limited by a knee injury in practice and hasn’t performed to his lofty standards this year. He’s also sharing time with Tevin Coleman but still has multi-touchdown upside in a plus matchup against the Cowboys 30th-ranked run defense. Freeman notably scored 10 of his 11 rushing touchdowns at home last year and remains a superior option to Coleman if the Falcons’ offense can make consistent trips into the red zone this week.

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Wide Receivers

CHALK: Antonio Brown @ IND ($9.3k FanDuel),
PIVOT(S): A.J. Green @ TEN ($7.7k FanDuel), JuJu Smith-Schuster @ IND ($6.5k)
Antonio Brown should be heavily owned in Cash Games as he faces a struggling Colts pass defense. But if Indy sells out to stop him or gameflow gets out of hand, he could come up short as a worthwhile tournament option this week.

One way to pivot off Brown is to use a value Steelers receiver, such as breakout star JuJu Smith-Schuster, or to go for broke by using Martavis Bryant as he returns to Pittsburgh’s active roster this Sunday.

There are no other WRs in Brown’s price tier, but A.J. Green makes for a worthwhile contrarian play after he barely met value in the same juicy matchup against the Colts two weeks ago and was shut down by the Jags before getting ejected last week. Tennessee is a mediocre pass defense without a top CB. Green has posted incredible splits on the road throughout his career and is primed for a big game.

TEAM PIVOT: Marvin Jones Jr. > Golden Tate vs. CLE ($6.4k, $7.4k FanDuel)
Cleveland has been particularly awful against opposing top receivers, and based on salary and production, Golden Tate might appear to fit that mold as the Lions’ top target. He is their most productive receiver but plays in the slot over 60 percent of the time. Marvin Jones Jr. is operating as more of a typical No. 1 receiver at the “X” position for Detroit. He’s piled up an impressive 331 receiving yards with three touchdowns over his last three appearances. Jones Jr. could easily win on a couple of deep throws with below average DBs Jamar Taylor and Jason McCourty guarding him this Sunday.

VALUE SLEEPER: Adam Humphries vs. NYJ ($4.8k FanDuel)
The public will look toward DeSean Jackson ($6.3k) with Mike Evans suspended this week, but Jackson’s individual matchup is a little tough against physical CB Morris Claiborne. Meanwhile, Adam Humphries should see increased volume out of the slot. Ryan Fitzpatrick should be quicker at getting the ball out of his hands than Jameis Winston, and the Jets have been burned out of the slot in recent weeks. They rank 25th in DVOA pass defense against throws down the middle of the field.

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Tight Ends

CHALK: Austin Seferian-Jenkins @ TB ($6.0k FanDuel)
PIVOT(S): Jack Doyle vs. PIT ($6.1k FanDuel)

The chalk plays at this position might be the ultra-expensive Rob Gronkowski or the new de facto top receiver for the Giants, Evan Engram. But in the mid-tier price range, Austin Seferian-Jenkins should be a popular target due to the revenge narrative against his former team. He’s been a beast in the red zone, but Tampa is far more vulnerable to opposing receivers. They post average defensive numbers against opposing TEs this year.

Jack Doyle might seem like a fade against a staunch Steelers defense, but he’s seeing such high volume — a whopping 41 targets over his last four appearances. He’s clearly a favorite option for Jacoby Brissett and could pay off as the Colts likely chase points in an effort to keep up with the Steelers.

SLEEPER: Charles Clay vs. NO ($5.4k FanDuel)
Off the radar over the past few weeks while he dealt with a knee injury, Charles Clay is worth a dart throw in GPP formats. He was rolling with 20 catches for 258 yards and two touchdowns through four-and-a-half games and will immediately slot back in as a preferred target for Tyrod Taylor. The Saints’ young CBs are playing very well on the outside, but their linebackers are less skilled in coverage. Clay could make a splash play or two by beating those defenders deep.

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Nate Weitzer
Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He's been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA advice while continuing to build his bankroll on several sites. When he's not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe, or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.