This is a weekly series where I break down the best contrarian plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high upside, low owned plays and pairings that could really pay off big for you in a large tournament. Major outside the box thinking, cheap pricing and upside is the goal…
Last Week: Well we hit on Ginn/Carolina big time which is good because the rest were 100% complete whiffs… but that’s contrarian lifestyle for you folks, this article is all about boom or bust and I’ll never feel bad about a bunch of busts as long as we hit some booms along the way too, let’s get to the picks…
Kirk Cousins/Jamison Crowder:
Cousins is in a great spot this week in a potential high scoring game vs. Atlanta where he and the Redskins are projected to be behind big at some point. Cousins threw 40+ times last week and I expect him to replicate that feat again vs ATL. Meanwhile, rookie WR Jamison Crowder has been upgraded to the WR2 position with Desean Jackson hurting, and saw another boost in targets when Jordan Reed went down last week too. Crowder’s looked very decent in his first few games and has been working a variety of short and long routes, giving him ppr and big play upside. This pair is priced so cheaply across the industry that it allows you to play a lot of big names while still giving you a decent QB/WR stack with upside. It’s possibly the best value duo for week 5.
Russell Wilson/Tyler Lockett:
With no Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle O-line in rough shape you could see Wilson running a lot vs the Bengals and attempt to “put the game on his back” so to speak. Wilson got killed in the pocket vs the Lions and I think you might see more read option plays from Seattle week 5 to counteract the Bengals pass rush. 100+ yards rushing from Wilson is very possible in this game. Pairing Wilson with Lockett also makes sense as the Bengals have been burned in multiple games by other teams top WR. Lockett led the Hawks last week in targets and his time to inherit the #1 WR label in Seattle might be coming. This is a risky pairing given the troubles on offense so far for Seattle but it’s got massive upside.
Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson:
What has the world come to? Calvin Johnson, one time cash game must play, is now being featured in an uber-contrarian article. Well check out DFS Reports Thursday ownership percentage tools folks… Matt Stafford is below 1% owned from Thursday and Calvin Johnson looks like he didn’t even get to that. This pairing is going to be almost non-existent in gpps this weekend and still offers lots of upside. Johnson has been the most targeted WRs for the Lions the past two games and should not be solely blamed for his slow start as he’s already faced the best two secondary’s in the league. The Cards have a good secondary of their own but Calvin Johnson has torched Patrick Peterson a couple times already in his career and should come into this game pretty grumpy/motivated. Don’t be shocked to see this duo turn back the clock week 5.
Floyd’s targets have gone up every game in 2015 and he received a team high 10 last week. Floyd’s conversion rate on his targeting has been pitiful (50%) but the low conversion has been mainly due to the fact all his looks are deep throws. Eventually Floyd is going to start catching a few of these long passes and when he does a multiple TD game might quickly follow. The Lions pass D is not great and Floyd is slated to go up against one of their worst defenders. He’s my favorite min priced tournament play at WR this week and I’m hoping for an explosion.
I love targeting athletic but cheap TE’s as they can often produce big games at discount prices. Delanie Walker has been one of Marcus Mariota’s favorite targets to start his career and in general Mariota has really favoured throwing his TE’s. Walker is one of the better after the catch TEs in he league, and while the Bills defense is tough it has given up multiple TDs to TE’s already this season. With the Bills corners playing well don’t be shocked to see Mariota use Walker more and put Delanie in line for a big fantasy day.
I’m surprised Lions RB Ameer Abdullah hasn’t gotten a little more buzz this week. Joique Bell is still out and Abdullah will again be the feature back in week 5 for Detroit. While he didn’t play all the snaps week 4 (or produce many fantasy points) he didn’t look intimidated by a tough Seattle front. This week Abdullah will be at home on the fast Detroit turf and against a Cards team who just allowed Todd Gurley to burn them for massive yardage. I think Ameer could replicate Gurley’s big day and possibly be one of the sneakiest upside plays of week 5.
This is part of a two-pronged Jacksonville play (see below). The Jags ran the ball a lot last week and just about squeaked out an ugly win. I think they continue that trend this week and might even have more success against a bad Tampa team. Yeldon is not a great RB in my estimation but if he’s getting 20+ carries and seeing 90% of the snaps (which he did last week) multiple TDs are possible against Tampa. I love this spot and the fact he’s still going somewhat unnoticed. Feel free to pair him with my defensive pick below too.
I’ve professed my thoughts on Jameis Winston many times in columns on this site before and I’ll do it again… he is not an NFL level quarterback and has so many flaws in his style/delivery/play that multiple pick 6’s and turnovers are possible every game he is under centre. The Jags are not a great defensive unit but they’re actually not that bad either and have some talent in the secondary. I expect them to keep this game close and force Winston into passing at some point. When he does, expect bad (or good if you play the Jags) things to happen. I love the near min price on the Jags across the industry and the fact playing them gives you so much roster flexibility.