One of my favorite activities to take part in at bars, other than drinking, of course, is playing darts. With the current state of everything, maybe your dartboard is set up in your man cave at home. At any rate, throwing darts takes precision aim. If you hit the bullseye or triple-20, you’re sitting pretty.
The same concept applies to taking down large-field tournaments, otherwise known as GPPs. Sometimes you have to get a little weird and go off the radar. You don’t need to put all of these guys in your lineup, but one or two could be incredibly beneficial, and it could also fail miserably. But if you’re playing a tournament like the Milly Maker on DraftKings, you’re going need to get creative and use at least one low-owned player, and most of the time, two. Without further ado, let’s get to the Dart Throws and Pivots that might help us take home (or bring up from the basement) a ton of money.
Dart Throw: Ben Roethlisberger ($5,200 DK, $6,400 FD)
Unsurprisingly, Big Ben projects to be the lowest-owned quarterback on the slate. In what many expect to be his final game, Big Ben seems content just making the playoffs. It’s no secret, he’s lost arm strength, and retirement looks inevitable. Currently, the Kansas City Chiefs are favored by 12.5 points, and they are the largest favorite of the weekend. Many are expecting the Chiefs to win this in a runaway. However, we’ve seen crazier things happen in the NFL than the Pittsburgh Steelers pulling off an upset in this spot.
Things didn’t go well when the Steelers faced the Chiefs in Week 16. Kansas City won the game 36-10, and Big Ben threw for only 159 yards with one touchdown and one interception, scoring only 8.4 DK points. Despite Big Ben’s lack of arm strength and overall talent at this stage of his career, he leads the league in comebacks and game-winning drives. I’m not exactly advocating to play him, but that’s what makes him a Dart Throw. Based on the projected ownership percentages at quarterback, he’s the only one that technically fits the definition of a Dart Throw. If we believe the Chiefs win this game handily, Big Ben could rack up the completions in a come-from-behind effort. We need a couple of touchdowns and some late garbage time yardage.
Pivot: Jalen Hurts ($6,100 DK, $7,700 FD)
I might even consider using Hurts based on his rushing floor if I’m playing cash games. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers give opposing quarterbacks the fourth-most rushing yards per game. Josh Allen dusted them for 109 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 14. The Eagles are 7.5-point road underdogs in a game with 15-20 MPH sustained winds and rain potential. Most likely, that will limit the deep downfield passing attack, but it could increase Hurts’ willingness to run the ball and make safe short throws. I’m not sold on him having a massive game against a top ten defense, but if he runs for a ton of yards and adds a couple of touchdowns, we are in business.
Dart Throw: Ke’Shawn Vaughn ($4,500 DK, $5,400 FD)
Vaughn is anything but safe. Bruce Arians has shown an unwillingness to use him in the past. However, both Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones will not play. Giovani Bernard was activated, but he’ll most likely be used as a receiving back. Vaughn should get the bulk of the snaps and work in a game where I don’t expect Tampa Bay to be playing from behind. Le’Veon Bell is also in the mix and caught a receiving touchdown last week. But it was Vaughn who played more snaps and received 10 carries to Bell’s three. Vaughn also added a rushing touchdown and has caught two passes each of the last two games. I’ll take a shot on him.
Pivot: Tony Pollard ($5,300 DK, $5,700 FD)
Pollard took Week 18 off to rest an ailing foot injury. “Tony looks great. I think definitely the time off helped him, too. Tony looks like he’s back to 100 percent,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. Ezekiel Elliott should get most of the running back usage, but it’s been more of a timeshare than years past due to Pollard’s excellent play. Pollard ranks second in the NFL among running backs with 5.5 yards per carry. He’s also outplayed Zeke in terms of DYAR and DVOA. Pollard ranks fourth among running backs in DVOA compared to Zeke’s 23rd. We know how much of a home run hitter he can be with the ball in his hands. In a game where I expect there to be some points in the dome at AT&T Stadium, Pollard fits the criteria for a great GPP/Tournament target.
Dart Throw: Cedrick Wilson ($4,300 DK, $6,000 FD)
Wilson has stepped in as the de facto third receiving option since Michael Gallup suffered a torn ACL against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17. In the game against the Cardinals, Wilson caught six of six passes for 35 yards and a touchdown. Then last week against the Eagles, Wilson had a monster five-catch game for 119 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers sit second in DVOA against the run, but they are average against the pass, ranking 16th pass DVOA ranking. With CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper garnering a ton of ownership on this slate, Wilson becomes a rock-solid GPP play.
Pivot: Deebo Samuel ($7,900 DK, $8,700 FD)
Deebo isn’t going unowned, but maybe a little overlooked. It seems as if many people want to play Tyreek Hill or spend down for cheaper wide receiver options, leaving Samuel lower-owned than he should be. The Dallas Cowboys ranks second in the NFL in DVOA against the pass. Usually, that would make this a less-than-ideal situation for Deebo, especially going against the NFL’s league leader in interceptions, Trevon Diggs.
As good as Diggs has been this year, he’s susceptible to big plays because of his aggressiveness. According to pro-football-reference, Diggs has allowed the most total receiving yards in coverage this year, and he’s allowed the ninth-most yards per completion. Additionally, he’s yielded the third-most yards after the catch and the seventh-most total air yards on completions. Deebo excels in these areas. He ranks first among wide receivers in yards after the catch per reception.
Furthermore, Kyle Shanahan is utilizing him as a running back. Over his last eight games of the season, Deebo averaged 6.6 rushing attempts and 42.9 rushing yards per game with seven touchdowns. While many people will avoid the matchup against Diggs, I’ll be attacking it.
Bonus Pick: JuJu Smith-Schuster ($3,000 DK, $4,500 FD)
Dart Throw: Pat Freiermuth ($4,200 DK, $5,400 FD)
Freiermuth missed the last game between these two teams, so he presents a different look to this Chiefs defense. The masses will flock to Dallas Goedert at nearly the same price because he provides a much higher floor. Freiermuth costs less and gets more red zone opportunities. He ranks fifth among tight ends in red zone target share and tied for third in red zone touchdowns. If the Steelers get down there, he’s probably getting a chance to cash in.
Pivot: Rob Gronkowski ($6,400 DK, $7,400 FD)
Since Antonio Brown decided to undress and leave the field during the middle of a game, Gronk has been playing out of his mind. The Bucs are without two of their top weapons between Brown and Chris Godwin, which has boosted Gronk’s usage. In the final two games of the year, Gronk caught seven of ten targets in each game and had at least 115 receiving yards in each as well. The Philadelphia Eagles struggle mightily against opposing tight ends. They have allowed the most receptions among all teams against that position, the sixth-most receiving yards, and the most touchdowns. I expect Gronk to have a big day. He’s priced between Travis Kelce and George Kittle and considerably more expensive than Goedert, likely keeping ownership to a minimum.
Best of luck. Enjoy the games, and let’s win some cash!
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