Week 2 Breakout Player Model: Top Contrarian NFL DFS Plays

Sep 16, 2022
Week 2 Breakout Player Model: Top Contrarian NFL DFS Plays

One of the biggest advantages you can deploy in daily fantasy is buying low on a player who has fallen out of favor with the rest of the field but is set up for a smash week. The 4for4 Player Stat Explorer is home to a model created by Sam Hoppen that compares a fantasy player's actual fantasy output with their expected fantasy output, based on their usage and historical data. The goal is to highlight players that have had the requisite usage (snaps, targets, air yards, etc) to produce big fantasy outcomes, but due to the natural variance of the sport have yet to do so. Many times, those underperforming players will be low-owned in DFS and make for fantastic contrarian plays, which this article will highlight.

More Week 2 DFS Strategy: Cash Game Breakdown | GPP Breakdown | Daigle’s Top Values and Picks | WR/CB Matchups

Most Fantasy Points Below Expectation, Week 1
Player Team Position PPR Points/G x-Fpts/G FPOE/G
Joe Burrow CIN QB 22.2 39.1 -16.9
CeeDee Lamb DAL WR 4.9 18.7 -13.8
Joe Flacco NYJ QB 15.3 27.9 -12.6
Mike Thomas CIN WR 1.5 13.4 -11.9
Aaron Rodgers GB QB 6.8 16.2 -9.4
Trevor Lawrence JAX QB 14.4 23.6 -9.2
Kyle Pitts ATL TE 3.9 12.4 -8.5
Garrett Wilson NYJ WR 9.2 17.7 -8.5
Diontae Johnson PIT WR 11.4 18.9 -7.5
Deebo Samuel SF WR 13.6 20.9 -7.3
Matt Ryan IND QB 18.3 25.5 -7.2
Tyler Higbee LA TE 8.9 15.9 -7.0
Breshad Perriman TB WR -0.7 6.1 -6.8
Chase Claypool PIT WR 9.4 15.9 -6.5
Dennis Houston DAL WR 3.6 9.9 -6.3
Isaiah Likely BAL TE 0.0 6.3 -6.3
Ashton Dulin IND WR 7.6 13.8 -6.2
Alec Pierce IND WR 0.0 6.2 -6.2
Melvin Gordon DEN RB 8.2 14.2 -6.0
Joe Mixon CIN RB 21.5 27.4 -5.9
Donovan Peoples-Jones CLE WR 12.0 17.9 -5.9
Matthew Stafford LA QB 10.8 16.7 -5.9

* PPR Points/G: PPR fantasy points per game, x-Fpts/G: expected PPR fantasy points per game, FPOE/G: fantasy points over expectation per game

QB Joe Burrow, Bengals ($7,900/$6,600 DK)

Burrow checks in with an eye-popping 16.9 fantasy points below expectation. The Bengals moved the ball well in their Week 1 matchup with the Steelers, however, Burrow turned the ball over five times. You can imagine why his expected fantasy points were much higher than his actual output, having five drives end in turnovers. On the road this week against the Cowboys, he’ll still face Micah Parsons and a solid pass rush. However, it’s extremely unlikely that he turns the ball over as often as he did in Week 1. The rough start for the Bengals coupled with the prevailing thought that the Cowboys with a backup quarterback may not push them in terms of pace and scoring should keep Burrow’s popularity at bay. It’s a nice spot to pounce hoping Burrow and the Bengals come out motivated to play mistake-free and convert on their red zone opportunities.

WR Deebo Samuel, 49ers ($8,000 FD/$7,800 DK)

Deebo's usage surprised me a little bit as he ran a route on 97% of dropbacks and saw a 30% target share. Despite this usage, he didn't capitalize on his opportunity. With Elijah Mitchell out, Samuel should see an increase in work out of the backfield to go along with his passing game usage. Week 1 created a perfect storm to go back to Deebo at low ownership. Many preseason articles dubbed Deebo as a bust and not worth a high pick. In Week 1 he goes to Chicago in putrid weather and confirms some biases for the Deebo haters. Week 2 should bring more usage, better playing conditions, and an excellent buy-low spot for Deebo to hit a ceiling outcome.

WR Diontae Johnson, Steelers ($7,100 FD/$5,800 DK)

It's evident Diontae Johnson will remain the top target in the Steelers' offense even with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback. He accumulated 12 targets that earned him a top-10 weighted opportunity score for Week 1. The weighted opportunity is a result of 115 air yards which accounted for nearly 40% of Pittsburgh's total air yards. He accounted for 30% of targets and half of the end zone targets. Johnson converted mostly on his short targets in Week 1, but he was targeted downfield quite a bit as well. evidenced by his 10.5-yard average target depth. We're banking on him hauling in one or two of those deep targets to hit his ceiling.

TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons ($5,900 FD/$5,400 DK)

Pitts racked up seven targets in Week 1 and only produced a 2-19 stat line. Pitts accounted for 33% of the Falcons’ air yards and had an average depth of target of 13.3 yards. Those are really solid numbers that will most definitely result in usable fantasy outputs throughout the season. The game script against the Saints was a surprisingly favorable one as the Falcons took the lead and weren’t pressed into throwing over expectation for much of the game. In a matchup with the Rams offense, Atlanta should have to throw to keep pace. Pitts' price, coupled with the red number of the Rams’ tight end defense will keep Pitts' popularity at bay. I like buying low on him in Week 2.

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