Note: All FanDuel ownership percentages in this article are publicly available. FanDuel currently displays the ownership percentages of any players in a user's lineup once a contest begins. This allows users to enter a variety of lineups in Thursday contests to record ownership percentages for the players that they selected in those contests. The percentages come from the big $2 Thursday NFL Snap. It’s a large-field tournament with thousands of entries. These numbers don’t have much meaning for cash games, but are a great tool for GPPs. Below, I noted a handful of players whose ownership stood out to me. You can access the full list in our Season Pass.
Tom Brady vs. Jaguars (22 percent) — Brady was the highest-owned quarterback on the slate and should see an increase from 22 percent on Sunday. He’s a full-on fade for me in tournaments. The thinking here is that even if he lights it up, your’e still not gaining much ground for the top prize by having him. You and 22-plus percent of the field are getting the same points. The same goes for pretty much the rest of the key cogs in the Patriots’ offense, as Julian Edelman was the highest-owned weekend player on the slate at 33 percent. He does you no good in tournaments. Rob Gronkowski is the ultimate cash-game player, but a fade in tournaments this week at 25.2 percent. We play these tournaments to win them. (Or come close to winning them.) Not to just cash.
Andrew Luck at Titans (1.9 percent) — Luck at 1.9 percent is absurd. Just because the guy has had two bad games against great defenses doesn’t all of the sudden mean he’s not good. Things will soften up for him quite a bit Sunday in Tennessee. This Titans defense scares nobody, especially on the back end with CBs Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Coty Sensabaugh logging heavy snaps. Luck is a borderline cash-game quarterback this week who nobody will be on. And he’s someone to build tournament lineups around. The best young passer in the game is a candidate to go bonkers.
Le’Veon Bell at Rams (18.7 percent) — Bell was the highest-owned running back not named Matt Jones, which is insane to say. (Ding-dongs play these Thursday tournaments and load up on the Thursday Night Football game, guaranteeing they’ll never ever win. There were lineups with all Redskins and Giants players. This is the plus to playing on Thursday.) Anyway, back to Bell. He’s a great DFS player thanks to his high floor and should be penciled in for 20-plus touches his first game back. The thinking here, as DFS guru Al Zeidenfeld said on the DFS Edge podcast this week, is that people playing Bell just want to say they were first to use him. I pulled Bell out of all tourney lineups for Sunday’s slate. I had visions of him being around 8 percent owned at first.
Latavius Murray at Browns (15.5 percent) — Another highly-owned running back from the Thursday slate was Murray. He was behind just Jones, Bell, and Dion Lewis in terms of ownership. Murray has a great matchup, as I wrote in my Start/Sit column Thursday. I don’t like that everyone is on him, however, and I’ll likely only use him in cash games. Melvin Gordon (3.1 percent) makes for a strong pivot option in the same price range in a similarly-enticing matchup against the Vikings.
Marshawn Lynch vs. Bears (8.8 percent) — Lynch burned a number of people in Week 2 with his putrid outing against the Packers on Sunday Night Football. That’s got to be a factor here. The Seahawks are 14.5-point favorites in a home game where Lynch historically performs much better scoring-wise. The Seahawks are going to be able to do whatever they want to the Bears, and Lynch should be the engine that makes it go. I’ll be all over Lynch in both cash and tournaments.
Larry Fitzgerald vs. 49ers (20.5 percent) — This is a strong case of recency bias after Fitzgerald went HAM on the Bears in Week 2 with three touchdowns. He was the third-highest owned receiver on Thursday behind Edelman and Antonio Brown. Fitzgerald has a strong matchup against the 49ers, but it’s not nearly as great as his Week 2 matchup. This is points-chasing at its finest. Fitzgerald is a player to avoid in Week 3 tournaments. Take the gamble that he flops, and you’re ahead of a fifth of the field. There are plenty of other receiver options in Fitzgerald’s price range.
Demaryius Thomas at Lions (7 percent) — Thomas is one of my favorite sneaky top receiver plays of the week. He’s off to a bit of a slow start as he watches Emannuel Sanders score the touchdowns for Denver, but Thomas has a primo matchup against Lions RCB Rashean Mathis. He’s allowed 13-of-15 balls thrown at him to be caught, and I expect Peyton Manning to make a strong effort to get Thomas going in the pass game while Sanders works against up-and-coming LCB Darius Slay. This game will be played in a dome, and hopefully coach Gary Kubiak allows Manning to play more out of shotgun.
Ted Ginn vs. Saints (1.6 percent) — Ginn is a total dart throw for me, but one of my favorite cheapie options at receiver for Week 3. He’s been targeted a ton by Cam Newton through two games and scored a long touchdown last week, even if he did drop a couple balls. The matchup is even better Sunday. The Saints are still minus top CB Keenan Lewis (hip), and Ginn should run a lot of routes against No. 2 CB Brandon Browner. Browner really struggles against small, speed demons like Ginn. And with Newton as one of my favorite quarterbacks of the week, Ginn is an interesting stack option.
Mike Evans at Texans (1.1 percent) — If I had the guts to put Evans in 100 percent of my tournament lineups, I would. Instead, he’s only in about 80 percent of them. His price keeps coming down, and I don’t think it will ever be lower. (I’ve said that each of the past two weeks now, but this time I believe it.) Evans was on a snap count in Week 2, his first game back from a hamstring injury. He said earlier this week that the snap count will be lifted against Houston. I love targeting monster 6-foot-5 receivers like Evans against itty-bitty outside corners like Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph for the Texans. Evans will win any jump ball, and with Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) out, even more targets should come Evans’ way. He’ll also be the preferred option in the red zone. Nobody has a higher ceiling. If I were to guess one player that’ll be in the $1 million lineup, I’d take Evans.
Jimmy Graham vs. Bears (6.8 percent) — We’re going to take a stroll down #NarrativeStreet with this one. A report has run rampant this week that Graham is unhappy with his role his first two weeks in Seattle. With the Seahawks as heavy favorites and ability to do pretty much whatever against the Bears, I expect them to make a concerted effort to involve Graham in the pass game. The Bears have performed well against tight ends through two weeks, but have faced only Darren Fells and Richard Rodgers. Graham is a candidate for two touchdowns and a handful of catches.