Welcome to the Contrarian DFS Plays of the Week. This piece highlights high-upside guaranteed prize pool (GPP) options with low projected ownership percentages for fantasy football DFS players seeking higher variance week 1 lineups.
Quarterback – Ben Roethlisberger vs. Washington
Want to get away from Dak Prescott this week? Ben Roethlisberger is more expensive, but he also finished No. 1 in the NFL with 327.8 yards per game last season. In week 1, Pittsburgh faces a Washington defense that added Josh Norman to their secondary this offseason, but also allowed +1.29 fantasy points per game above the mean to opposing quarterbacks in 2015. Roethisberger is ranked outside the top-5 fantasy quarterbacks on FantasyPros for Week 1 suggesting he will get very little action in any tournaments featuring Monday games in week 1.
Running Back – LeSean McCoy vs. Baltimore
LeSean McCoy finished top-5 in Opportunity Share on a Buffalo offense that called more than 500 run plays in 2015. McCoy’s backfield mate from 2015, Karlos Williams, was released. McCoy’s backfield mate this season, Jonathan Williams, is questionable with a rib injury.
LeSean McCoy projects to lead all NFL running backs in touches in week 1, but his match-up against the once-stout Baltimore Ravens will likely drive down his DFS ownership percentage. However, in the final three games of the 2015 season, the Ravens run defense deteriorated allowing 120-plus rushing yards per game to opposing running backs. On FanDuel for example, starting LeSean McCoy over David Johnson saves $1900 in salary while starting McCoy over Todd Gurley saves $2000 in salary. Check out the PlayerProfiler Lineup Optimizer to see the DFS rosters where McCoy fits in best.
Wide Receiver – A.J. Green vs. New York Jets
A.J. Green must be a stayaway play facing off against Darrelle Revis and the New York Jets secondary, right? Not necessarily. Assuming Revis will shadow is Green is a mistake, and assuming Revis is still an elite shutdown corner is also a mistake.
From NYJ’s 1st meeting w/ BUF in Wk 10 through Wk 17, Revis’ coverage grade (-5.3) ranked 95th out of 105 CBs. It was 7th-best before Wk 10.
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) January 4, 2016
After losing Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu this offseason, the Bengals replaced them with a washed up Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd, a rookie possession receiver. Tyler Eifert is also OUT for week 1 following summer ankle surgery. A.J. Green will dominate the target share against a Jets defense that was more effective stopping the run than the pass in 2015.
High weekly volatility players are ideal plays in large field tournaments. Last season, A.J. Green‘s Weekly Volatility on PlayerProfiler.com was 10.0, top-10 among fantasy football wide receivers in 2015, leading Mike Randle to call Green a best ball receiver in disguise. Given the confluence of high volatility, a match-up uncertainty, and low projected ownership, A.J. Green looks like the perfect contrarian DFS play to increase variance in week 1 GPPs. Green is PlayerProfiler’s No. 5 ranked wide receiver for week 1.