Week 2 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots
Saints Implied Team Total: 24.00
Patriots Implied Team Total: 30.50
If the Vegas odds are any indication, this slate should be much more exciting than last week's, as there are two games with an over/under above 50 points.
This Superdome showdown between the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints projects as the highest-scoring game on the entire slate, with New England's 30.50-point implied team being the highest. This should be a fast-paced game, as both teams ranked inside the top seven in offensive plays per game last year, while New Orleans games featured more total plays per contest than any team in the NFL.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
FanDuel Price: $9,200
Tom Brady was bad last week. There's no way around it. Hopefully that recency bias is enough to keep people off him this week, though, because he ain't taking on the Kansas City Chiefs this time around.
Instead, Brady will do battle with the sieve-like New Orleans pass defense that ranked fourth-worst against the pass last year according to our opponent-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. They somehow looked even worse in Week 1, making streamer's delight Sam Bradford look like well, Tom Brady. Bradford completed 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns against New Orleans.
Not that it should come as much surprise, but Brady has performed significantly better in projected shootouts over the years. The Rotoviz Game Splits App makes that crystal clear, as you can see displayed in the graphic below.
In 21 games the Pats have won by at least seven points (what they're favored by against New Orleans), Brady has averaged 306 passing yards and 2.5 touchdowns, as opposed to 270 yards and 1.4 scores in eight other games. When the Pats play in high-scoring games, especially ones in which they come out on top, Brady crushes.
Yes, he is expensive. Yes, last week was brutal. But it is Tom freaking Brady against the Saints! Don't make this harder than it needs to be. On a slate with few top plays appearing worth paying up for at other positions, paying all the way up at quarterback makes a lot of sense.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
FanDuel Price: $8,100
Rob Gronkowski most certainly did not smash last week. Eric Berry made life very tough for the big fella in his 2017 debut, holding him to just 2 catches for 33 yards on 6 targets. The good news is Gronk should have things much easier in Week 2 against a Saints defense that allowed Kyle Rudolph to catch all 3 of his targets for 26 yards and a touchdown.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering what we just talked about with Brady, but in game scripts similar to the one New England is looking at this week, there has been lots of Gronk smashing going on. In games New England has won by seven or more points since 2015, Gronk has averaged 15.3 FanDuel points, which is nearly double his output (8.0 FanDuel points) in games they didn't. With at least a 50-point over/under during that time, his average has jumped to 17.8 FanDuel points, and he has been a near-lock for a touchdown, averaging 1.2 scores.
As mentioned with Brady, with top options in tough matchups at other positions, particularly running back, a Brady-Gronk bounce-back stack is firmly in play.
Others to Consider
We can't talk about this game without mentioning Brandin Cooks ($7,900). If you're into narratives, the Cooks revenge game is in full effect, as he takes on the porous defense of his former team, on the astro-turf that has served the speedster so well over the years. If Danny Amendola indeed misses this game, it would open up a 19.4% target market share from last week, which could further boost Cooks' value. Speaking of market shares, no player played more snaps than Chris Hogan ($6,200) last week, who was in on 90.1% of the team's offensive snaps. He saw five targets and could be a sneaky value tournament play in a much better matchup.
As far as the running backs go, Mike Gillislee's $6,700 price tag and three touchdowns may lead him to be a trendy play with New England boasting such a large implied team total. However, there are some warning signs with him. First off, he was in on just 29.6% of offensive snaps last week. Second, while his red-zone touchdown potential is clearly there, it is worth noting that he didn't receive all of New England's red zone looks -- not even close, actually. As our own Jim Sannes pointed out, Gillislee actually handled just half of the team's red zone carries in Week 1, with James White ($5,700) handling nearly as many. The upside is there, but we probably shouldn't treat him as anything more than a tournament dart-throw just yet.
There is plenty of potential fantasy goodness for New Orleans, but it isn't clear exactly how the looks will be spread yet in a somewhat new-look offense. As a result, most of their players are better left as high-upside tournament options. In Week 1, it was actually Alvin Kamara ($4,700) leading the backs in snaps (31), as Mark Ingram ($6,200) saw 26 and Adrian Peterson ($5,900) saw just 9. Kamara also led the backfield in carries (seven) and targets (six). If you're dead set on taking one of these dudes, a discounted Kamara is likely the play, but the best move would appear to be avoid the situation altogether, even against a Pats defense that was just shredded by Kareem Hunt.
If looking for somewhere to target on the New Orleans side for game-stack purposes, it is most definitely the passing attack. Alex Smith led all passers with 31 FanDuel points against New England last week, so Drew Brees ($8,700) and company should fare much better than they did against a tough Minnesota Vikings pass defense. Brees has played much better at home since 2015, averaging 55 more passing yards and a full touchdown more than when he has done on the road. In nine home games during that time in which there has been an over/under above 50 points, Brees has averaged 360 passing yards.
While he's certainly in play, it's tough to justify not just paying $500 more for Brady. The really exciting pairing options for game stacks are the likes of Michael Thomas ($8,000), Ted Ginn Jr. ($6,100), and even Coby Fleener ($5,300). That trio accounted for 48.6% of Brees' pass attempts in Week 1, highlighted by Thomas' eight targets. All three are viable tournament plays with Willie Snead suspended for this high-scoring affair.