DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports)

DFS Contrarian: Reviewing My Main Event Lineup, Week 17 Picks

This week I’ll recap of my Week 16 DraftKings $1500 buy-in Main Event lineup that took 19th for $15,000, then give my top Week 17 DFS contrarian 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 16 Recap

I didn’t play cash games at all, and only played my five entries into the DraftKings Millionaire Maker, which this time was a $1500 buy-in tournament with 2962 players. I won three seats, and allotted myself two more seats with my bankroll, for five total entries. Luckily, I hit one of my entries big for a nice payday. Here’s my top roster from the Main Event:


This roster had two of my players from my Week 16 DFS Contrarian articleMatt Barkley and Mark Ingram.1 I thought LeSean McCoy would be highly owned, but it turns out he wasn’t and became a great contrarian play for me.

The lynchpin, however, was my selection of Doug Baldwin and David Johnson from the Seattle/Arizona tilt. In the case of Baldwin, I wanted him in one of my five lineups, where I figured that would put me overweight on him. He figured to avoid Patrick Peterson on a large chunk of his snaps because he routinely plays in the slot, and with Tyrann Mathieu out, Baldwin’s matchup situation proved too good to pass up at such a low ownership. In hindsight, I wish I rostered him in two teams. I also got a bit lucky with Johnson punching in three short touchdowns, but at a low ownership level (for him) as a correlation play with Baldwin, it was too good to pass up.

My biggest regret is, had I played the Patriots DST and Cameron Brate instead of the Bills DST and Delanie Walker, I would have had 12 extra points for a third place finish, and $150,000. I had the Patriots/Brate combination in one of my other lineups, but chose to go with the Bills and Walker because of the DST/RB correlation with McCoy, especially with the Bills facing Matt Moore. It was a good process, but man I wish I stuck to the Patriots/Brate combo.

As for the rest of my Week 16 picks, Dion Lewis and Chris Hogan ceded way to LeGarrette Blount, and Corey Coleman nearly had a long TD. Thankfully Antonio Gates was a successful pick.

Overall Record: 21-52 (28.8 percent)

For the season, I’m at 28.8 percent which is close to my stretch goal of 30 percent.

Week 17 DFS Contrarian Picks


My super contrarian play for Week 17 is E.J. Manuel for the Buffalo Bills. With Manuel, you get a player who gives you a reasonable facsimile of Tyrod Taylor in that Manuel probably won’t throw for a monster game, but can also use his legs. Add in a fantastic matchup against the Jets, and a more offensive-minded head coach taking over for the fired Rex Ryan and there is some upside appeal. Manuel put up exactly 21.72 DraftKings points in both games he started last year. Anything over that total makes him a nice low-exposure play at the minimum salary.

Running Back

In a week when most of the usable RB options will also be chalky, it makes sense to use a weapon who projects for double-digit touches in a high-powered offense that has a good matchup. That, of coure, is Tevin Coleman. Atlanta is projected for 31.25 points, so Coleman is a decent bet to bag at least one of those touchdowns to go along with a handful of receptions.

If you want to go with a deeper sleeper, I like rookie Derrick Henry to possibly sneak in a two-TD performance. Call this a hunch, but I think now that Tennessee is eliminated Henry could see an uptick in usage. The Houston Texans are supposedly playing to win, but I think it makes more sense on the offensive side of the ball for the Texans to get Tom Savage some first-team reps. However, with nothing on the line, it could be prudent for the Texans to sit some of their best defensive players for a half.

Two names I like that aren’t official picks because they could be just over the 10 percent threshold: Chris Ivory (if healthy) and Bilal Powell.

Wide Receiver

Larry Fitzgerald is at his lowest price point of the season at $6000 and sits only 20 yards away from his eighth career 1000-yard season. You can damn well bet Arizona will be trying to get him the ball early on. J.J. Nelson has been garnering much of the DFS industry’s attention at $1400 cheaper while coming off three solid weeks in a row, but that should keep Fitzgerald’s ownership percentage depressed. The Rams have been worse against the pass over the last five weeks, allowing QBs and WRs to each surpass their season long average by 4+ points over the past five games. Fitzgerald will play approximately 80 percent of his snaps away from Rams’ defensive standout Trumaine Johnson.

Tight End

I think Jimmy Graham might end up being a contrarian play with the whole industry on Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. Anytime you can get a player with Graham’s upside, against a bad team like San Francisco, you want some decent exposure. The team total of 26.75 points is mouth-watering, and his $4500 price tag is tied for his lowest since Week 4. Finally, there’s the possibility of increased targets due to the Tyler Lockett injury.

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  1. Ingram technically was a miss because he was over 10 percent owned, however if you played him in any of the $27 or less tournaments, he was under 10 percent there. That implies he was a pretty sharp contrarian play since he was much higher owned in the $1500 contest where there generally are sharper players.  (back)
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