Week 2 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Game script should be a huge part of your process when building lineups in NFL Daily Fantasy. How will the game play out? Will it be high paced with lots of potential for fantasy points to be scored? Does it set up well for one team, both teams, or neither? A running back could go from a lock one week as a home favorite to a complete avoid the next week as a double-digit road underdog, because the game scripts in these games are completely different.
Projecting these outcomes can be extremely difficult for one person. We can use the lines and totals to see what oddsmakers think and go from there. A great resource is numberFire's Daily Fantasy Matchup Heat Map, which provides those numbers that are used for sports betting, as well as custom metrics that show how the teams will match up against each other. This will give us a much better handle on how games are likely to play out, and how we can take advantage of that in our lineups.
Here are some game scripts to target this week in DFS.
Kansas City Chiefs Vs Oakland Raiders
Over/Under : 52.5
Chiefs Implied Team Total: 30
Raiders Implied Team Total : 22.5
Kansas City Chiefs games are ones to target nearly every week because of their explosive offense and shaky defense. This played out in Week 1 against the Jackson Vroman with 66 total points scored. Patrick Mahomes ($9,000 on FanDuel) did his thing, finishing with the fourth most Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back in the league through the first week. On the other side of the ball, things went similar to what we saw last season. Even after Nick Foles went down for the Jaguars in the first half, rookie Gardner Minshew took over and averaged 0.24 Passing NEP per drop back and had a 57.7% Success Rate, both well above the 2018 league averages.
Perhaps more surprising was how well the Oakland Raiders performed in their season opener. Derek Carr ($6,600) had 19.21 Passing NEP, nearly two-thirds of his total in the whole 2018 season (30.44). This was against a solid Denver Broncos defense, as well, which is, in theory, a much tougher matchup than facing Kansas City.
So how does this bode for the Week 2 game?
Both teams will be without who they figured would be their top wide receiver heading into the season in Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown. This leaves opportunity for other receivers to step up, and two guys did in Week 1. Sammy Watkins ($7,400) was the highest-scoring wide receiver in the league after one game, posting nine catches for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns in the opener. He also saw a 32% market share of targets.
Tyrell Williams ($5,900) had a big game in his Raiders debut, catching six of his seven targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. Williams saw a whopping 58% of the air yards market share, the second-most in the league in Week 1. He gets the benefit of playing on Monday night and not having his price adjusted for his big game. Both of these players are in play if you are trying to stack this game.
Other pass catchers in this game who are intriguing are both tight ends. Travis Kelce ($8,000) had lots of opportunity in the opening game. He saw eight targets, including three in the end zone, but hauled in only three passes for 88 yards and did not score a touchdown. Kelce is always in play given how high his ceiling is at a position that lacks players who tend to have high upside.
The tight end opposing him will be Darren Waller ($5,400), who built off hype in the preseason for a solid performance in the opening game. Waller led the team with eight targets and was able to catch seven of them for 70 yards. Like Williams, Waller's price came out before we saw what he could do on Monday Night Football, so he's way too cheap.
Others to consider
Mahomes is always in play given his consistent high fantasy point total and a ceiling that most quarterbacks don't possess.
Mecole Hardman ($4,700) played 77% of the snaps, according to Football Outsiders, but saw only one target. Hardman is a rookie who possesses great speed, and if he is going to play most of the snaps, should eventually see more balls thrown his way.
Josh Jacobs ($6,500) was great in his debut on Monday, running it 23 times for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns. He saw 88% of the running back carries for Oakland and played on 74% of the snaps. The concern in this game would be that the Raiders will be trailing and Jacobs won't get as many carries, but Kansas City did allow the most Rushing NEP per attempt last season so he could thrive on the attempts he does get.
New Orleans Saints vs Los Angeles Rams
Saints Implied Team Total: 25.25
Rams Implied Team Total: 27.75
The rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game has the highest total of any game this week. That game was played in the Superdome, which is usually a high-scoring environment, but this one should still provide some points in good weather in Southern California. The regular season meeting between these two teams had 80 points, so if we get anything close to that, this will be a game we will want pieces of this week.
The Los Angeles Rams scored 30 points in their first game of the season, but none of their players really had big fantasy games besides Malcolm Brown ($5,500), who ran for two touchdowns. He got fewer carries than Todd Gurley ($7,000) did but saw the red zone touches for his two scores. Overall, this situation seems so up in the air that it's not something we can confidently predict in the short term.
There are reasons to be more positive about the Rams' passing game. Jared Goff ($7,600) is going back home, where he threw 22 touchdowns in 2018, compared to just 10 on the road. The Rams had the second-fastest situation neutral pace in Week 1, via Football Outsiders, after finishing third in the same metric last season. This led to 40 drop backs for Goff, even in a game in which LA was ahead for nearly the entire contest. If this game is more of a back-and-forth affair, Goff could attempt even more passes.
The pass catchers saw the target distribution that we have come to expect. Robert Woods ($7,300) lead the team with 13 targets and saw an average depth of target of 7.5 yards. Brandin Cooks ($7,000) caught just two of his six targets, but he did have two deep targets, which are defined as targets that come more than 16 yards down the field. He had big games in the two meetings last year against the New Orleans Saints, with six catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in the regular season and seven catches for 107 yards in the playoff game. Cooper Kupp ($6,800) had 10 targets but turned that into just 46 yards on seven catches, with an average depth of target of just 5.0 yards. His price being only $200 less than Cooks seems slightly high, and his upside would be more capped than his fellow receivers if he is continued to be used like that.
Drew Brees ($8,000) and the Saints come off a short week after playing on Monday Night Football. The Saints have become more run heavy in games that they can control, but as we saw on Monday, when they are in high-scoring games, they can still throw it and be effective and useful for fantasy. Brees dropped back 44 times in Week 1 while the team attempted 21 rushes in the comeback victory over the Houston Texans. This game could set up similarly, with the total being high and the Saints being 2.5-point underdogs.
The Saints players you want to roster in potentially high-scoring games are fairly obvious. Michael Thomas ($8,500) had 10 catches for 123 yards in the season opener and saw 44% of the team's air yards. Alvin Kamara ($8,700) was second on the team with eight targets and had 13 carries for 97 yards. Kamara benefits from these games where the Saints may need to keep up with the other team's offense due to him getting so much work in the passing game. A target for a running back actually leads to more fantasy points than a carry does.
Others to consider
Ted Ginn Jr. ($5,000) is a way to get cheap exposure to this game, and he has more upside than most receivers in his price range. He caught all seven of his targets in Week 1 and had an aDOT of 12.7 yards. He did miss Wednesday's practice with an illness, so keep tabs there.
Arizona Cardinals vs Baltimore Ravens
Cardinals implied team total: 17.0
Ravens implied team total: 30.0
This is one game where clearly we would like to target one side instead of the other. The Baltimore Ravens impressed a lot of people in their Week 1 demolishing of the Miami Dolphins, and now they are 13.0-point favorites at home. The opening schedule could not set up much better for them.
After Lamar Jackson ($8,200) torched the Dolphins for 324 yards and 5 touchdowns, the Ravens became the run-heavy team that we saw last season and expected them to be going into this season. Mark Ingram ($7,500) didn't dominate the carries, getting only 14 of the teams 46 rushing attempts. However, like Jackson, Ingram was not disappointing in fantasy due to his efficiency, averaging 0.62 Rushing NEP per rush. Jackson had just three carries himself, something that seems low and just a matter of the ease of which he was completing deep passes and the score being so out of hand.
This matchup against the Arizona Cardinals is a great one for the Ravens. The pace of play that Kliff Kingsbury had promised came to fruition in their season opener, as the Cardinals led the NFL in seconds per play -- over two full seconds faster than the second-fastest team. If the Cardinals continue to play this fast in Week 2, it's good news for the Baltimore offense, as they will be able to get the ball back quicker. Baltimore already ran the third-most plays last week, behind only Arizona and the Cards' opponent, Detroit, in a game that went to overtime.
This could set up Baltimore to be in a similar situation as they were last week, and their players were fantasy gold. Another place to attack would be with Baltimore D/ST ($5,000). We saw Kyler Murray take five sacks and throw an interception, and he was under constant pressure behind a shaky offensive line. If Baltimore is way ahead and Arizona is running quick tempo and dropping back for a ton of passes, Baltimore's defense will be set up with a lot of opportunity to create sacks and turnovers.
There are a few ways this game could go, but it's hard to imagine a scenario where Lamar Jackson doesn't do well. He faces Arizona's weak secondary and will get many chances to use his arm and/or legs to score fantasy points. If he scores early and often as he did last week, that's great, and if he's needed to keep his foot on the gas into the second half, that's fine too. The same could apply to Mark Ingram.
Others to consider:
Marquise Brown ($5,700) wowed the masses in his debut, and he did so on only 14 snaps. He saw two deep targets on those snaps and showed his big-play potential, which was evident in college. The 14 snaps is concerning, but Brown was only announced to be active on Saturday night before the game after dealing with a foot injury all of preseason. If healthier, he could see more snaps and therefore more deep targets.
Mark Andrews ($6,100) had a big day, as well, at tight end for the Ravens. He caught all of his team-leading eight targets and scored a touchdown. Arizona got lit up by Detroit's rookie tight end, T.J. Hockenson, in their first game of the year and could have trouble again with the athletic Andrews.
David Johnson ($7,300) is the only player I would consider on Arizona, because of his usage in the passing game. When the Cardinals got way behind last week, Johnson saw seven targets, converting six for 55 yards a touchdown.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.