Joey Ricotta | November 10th, 2019
Welcome into the GPP/Tournament plays article for Week 10. Let’s start by saying, any picks used or mentioned for cash games can be played in tournaments. I think that’s an important thing to know and can sometimes get confused whenever the two are mentioned separately. For that reason, I’ve tried to avoid mentioning my cash game plays for this article. There’s merit to using or fading certain players in tournaments, whether it be ownership expectations, bust potential, etc. But, as I said earlier, just about all of the cash game plays are viable for tournaments. If you’d like to see who I like for those types of contests, you can check that out here. With that said, let’s get to some other picks I like for tournaments.
Patrick Mahomes ($7,000 DK, $8,400 FD)
Viewing it now, ownership looks to be down on the returning superstar QB. If that’s the case as we get closer to kickoff, I definitely want some shares. Yes, he’s coming back from a gruesome-looking knee injury. But it looks like the Chiefs played it safe and Mahomes could’ve returned earlier than this week. As talented as this guy is, he could probably throw for 400 yards and three TDs on one knee. I’ll be mixing in different stacks, pairing him with Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins.
Sam Darnold ($5,800 DK, $7,200 FD)
What? How could you? Darnold has been terrible! I get it. Fine. Let’s get the negative reactions out of the way first. By no means do I trust him, but he’s playing in a game at home (I know it’s the home field for both teams) against the New York Giants who are allowing the second-most DraftKings points per game to opposing wide receivers. If you like the receivers, you might as well pair one or two of them with their quarterback. Jamison Crowder had a big game last week and is the safer option, but Robby Anderson would be my preferred choice to pair him with because of his home run hitter ability. A three-man stack of Darnold, Le’Veon Bell, and Anderson is another possible strategy to maximize points.
Saquon Barkley ($8,800 DK, $8,600 FD)
Barkley’s price being cheaper than Christian McCaffrey‘s by almost $2,000 is appealing. If any running back offers close to the same upside as McCaffrey, it’s Barkley. Spending up for both in cash games is possible, but will severely limit what you can put around them. Playing both in tournaments or pivoting away from the highly owned McCaffrey completely is also plausible. At some point, Barkley’s going to have a big game. With Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram both out for this game, he’ll get the lion’s share of the work, in both the running and passing game. The Jets are tied with the Raiders and Packers, allowing the sixth-most receptions to opposing running backs this season. Out of the teams that have allowed more receptions, four of them have played at least one more game than the Jets. Barkley could have a field day.
Aaron Jones ($7,400 DK, $7,600 FD)
Along with the rest of the Green Bay Packers offense, Jones struggled last week, carrying the ball eight times for 30 yards. That said, I think we need to wipe the slate clean and forget about that. The return of Davante Adams could be looked at as a negative as well, but I think last week was an adjustment period as the Packers tried to get used to life with Adams again. The Carolina Panthers are giving up the sixth-most DK points per game to running backs (29.1) and are the worst rated in DVOA against the run (11.8%). Also, we’ve seen Jones have huge games in the past (44.6 pts @ KC, 52.2 pts @ DAL). The upside is there.
Derrick Henry ($6,400 DK, $7,000 FD)
How do you beat the Kansas City Chiefs? Run the ball effectively and take up a lot of clock. In the three games, the Chiefs have lost, they’ve allowed 180, 192, and 118 yards rushing. In the game against the Packers where they allowed 118 yards on the ground, Aaron Jones caught seven passes for 159 yards and two TDs. Needless to say, they are very susceptible to the running back position, ranking fifth-worst in rush DVOA. If the Titans are smart, they’ll feed Henry early and often.
Allen Robinson ($6,300 DK, $7,100 FD)
A-Rob is unquestionably Mitchell Trubisky’s favorite target. He’s been the one true consistent piece the Bears have had on offense this season. I suspect, and ownership projections I’m seeing show, many people will be off of Robinson this week, after a one catch for six yards performance in Week Nine. The focus for the Lions should be stopping the run if they can, and that should open things up for Robinson. Also, the Lions are yielding the second-most passing yards per game (288.4).
Odell Beckham ($6,100 DK, $6,900 FD)
The price is way too cheap. I don’t care how bad the matchup is or how awful Baker Mayfield has been. All he has to do is bomb it up to Odell for a big play and he’ll pay off his salary. Freddie Kitchens could very well be out of a job after this week if he doesn’t get Beckham the ball. A monster game from OBJ at low ownership and you’re likely swimming in green.
Jared Cook ($4,100 DK, $5,800 FD)
Cook returns this week after missing the Saints’ last two games with an ankle injury. Stacking receiving weapons with Drew Brees in tournaments is an absolute must, for any lineup that you use Brees in. Cook is a nice pivot away from the extremely popular Michael Thomas or could be a good add-on used as a double stack with him. The Tight End position is always scarce, but this week even more so than others. Darren Waller and Hunter Henry played Thursday night. Evan Engram is out. George Kittle isn’t on the main slate. Noah Fant and Zach Ertz have bye weeks. The most common strategy and one that I’ll be deploying in cash games, is spending all the down. If you’re not spending down, you’re likely spending up for Travis Kelce. I don’t think many people will be getting to the in-between range where Jared Cook lives.
O.J. Howard ($3,300 DK, $5,000 FD)
The fantasy world might blow up Twitter if O.J. Howard has a big game this week. Howard has disappointed many owners in season-long and best-ball leagues. Like Cook, Howard is also returning from an injury that kept him out of the last two games. The flow chart doesn’t lie. The Arizona Cardinals have been the worst at defending Tight Ends this season. They’ve allowed the most receptions, yards, touchdowns, and fantasy points to TEs. There should be a lot of points in this game between the Bucs and Cardinals. Howard also lines up to be a nice leverage play against the highly owned Ronald Jones, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans. Stacking Jameis Winston with one of those and Howard also makes sense.
For the most part, the defenses I’m targeting in tournaments are the exact same as the ones I’ll be using in cash games. Generally, for tournaments, I’ll build lineups using players and stacks I like and use whatever remaining salary I have on defense. This is always the last position I fill out, although I may use mixtures of the same lineup with different defenses to have a better shot at striking gold, given the unpredictability of it.
- Pittsburgh Steelers ($2,600 DK, $4,100 FD)
- Cleveland Browns ($2,500 DK, $3,500 FD)
- Indianapolis Colts ($3,500 DK, $4,900 FD)
- Baltimore Ravens ($4,000 DK, $5,000 FD)
For further defense analysis and picks, you can check out my cash game article here.
Game by Game – Stacks and Options
Arizona Cardinals @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As of writing this, this game is the highest total on the board. Both of the defenses suck, and both teams like to throw the ball. It’ll be chalky, but you’ll need to get some sort of exposure to it. Larry Fitzgerald is a nice pivot away from the Christian Kirk chalk. And Chris Godwin seems like a better play than Mike Evans this week, with Patrick Peterson expected to guard Evans. As of now, I’ll be overweight on Godwin and fading Ronald Jones (in tournaments only).
New York Giants @ New York Jets
Another game where both of the teams aren’t very good, especially defensively. I’ve had a hunch all week, the game will go over its projected total. For the Giants, I like Daniel Jones, Golden Tate, Rhett Ellison, and Barkley. On the Jets side, Darnold, Bell, Anderson, and Crowder.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans
We already talked about Mahomes and who to stack him with. Another option for the Chiefs is Damien Williams, even though the matchup against the Titans isn’t great for running backs. I’ll most likely be bringing back a lot of Mahomes stacks with one or two Titans. Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown, Derrick Henry, and Jonnu Smith are my favorite targets.
Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
It’s always a shootout when these two teams meet. However, the Saints D is much improved from years past. I fear the Saints will get up by a decent amount and not need to do much the rest of the way. However, they could get all of the points you need early on, and playing a Matt Ryan/Julio Jones come from behind stack could be money. I’ll be running a few game stacks interchanging Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Ted Ginn, and Jared Cook*.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
I don’t need to stack anything on the Bengals side. If you want to get cute in a large field tournament or use a salary saver like Tyler Boyd, that’s fine. I love Lamar Jackson this week. Stack him with Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown, or play him naked (without a receiver). Mark Ingram is interesting as a leverage play. I wouldn’t play Ingram and Jackson in the same lineup. Ingram doesn’t do much in the receiving game, but he could be given the rock a ton to grind out the clock and score touchdowns.
Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Matthew Stafford is now questionable, and that makes me want to fade the entire Lions offense. If you must play someone, maybe T.J. Hockenson, as the Bears have struggled at times covering Tight Ends this season. We mentioned Allen Robinson for the Bears. I also love David Montgomery and, brace yourself, Mitchell Trubisky might be a good tournament dart throw at very low ownership.
Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts
Who knows what’s going on with the Miami Dolphins backfield, now that Mark Walton is out. Kalen Ballage? Maybe. Myles Gaskin? Maybe. Both seem like dart throws, but nothing we should have a ton of exposure to. However, the passing game piques my interest a lot. DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki should be the main targets. Gesicki, will most likely be the higher owned of the two, but Parker is the deep ball threat. The Colts will have Brian Hoyer starting. He’s a serviceable backup and could find pay dirt with Zach Pascal, Jack Doyle, or Eric Ebron. Marlon Mack seems poised for a heavy dosage of carries in a prime spot as well.
L.A. Rams @ Pittsburgh Steelers
I can’t trust Jared Goff under pressure. I can’t trust Jared Goff on the road. The Steelers apply pressure and have a great home-field advantage, playing at Heinz Field. With that said, Cooper Kupp is amazing and Gerald Everett could be useful, given the lack of options at TE this week. Brandin Cooks is out and he should see an uptick in usage. Jaylen Samuels was great in PPR formats last week and should be fine again. Other than that, I’m off the Steelers, other than their defense.
Don’t be afraid to get creative in large-field tournaments. And don’t be afraid to stack your defense with a running back from the same team, and bring it back with a receiver from the other team. The defense creates points off turnovers, and the running back will get more points grinding the clock out. Also, the receiver on the other side will be used more as the trailing team tries to make up for previous mistakes in a hurry. EXAMPLE: Marlon Mack paired with the Colts D/ST. Run it back with DeVante Parker. That’s all for this week. Good luck and let’s make some money!
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