Week 3 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.
Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Dolphins Implied Team Total: 13.0
Cowboys Implied Team Total: 34.5
Facing the Miami Dolphins has been a fantasy gold mine for their first two opponents, and there is little reason to believe that will change, especially after the team traded cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick on Monday. Looking at our Matchup Heat Map, Miami ranks last on this slate in virtually every category. They’ve allowed the most Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) on a per play basis and also the most raw fantasy points.
This sets up well for nearly every Cowboys skill position player. Dak Prescott ($8,400 on FanDuel) has been lighting it up this season, leading all quarterbacks in Passing NEP per drop back with 0.73. He also added 69 yards on the ground last game. The Dolphins have allowed a shocking 0.96 Passing NEP per drop back, significantly worse than the next -lowest team, the New York Giants (0.62).
Dallas' pass-catchers have really thrived under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Amari Cooper ($7,700) and Jason Witten ($5,000) each have a touchdown in both games this season. Devin Smith ($5,200) also had a touchdown last week and could be in line for a bigger role given the injury to Michael Gallup. With Fitzpatrick gone, the Dolphins' secondary will be overmatched against all of Dallas' weapons.
Perhaps the most obvious play when a team is a home favorite by 21.5 points is their starting running back. Ezekiel Elliott ($8,800) was back to getting the volume we are used to seeing last week at Washington, seeing 23 carries and two catches. Miami hasn't been as bad against the run as they are against the pass, but they still rank 28th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per carry.
Zeke should be in a position to score touchdowns if and when Dallas marches down the field, and he also will be in for mop-up duty as he played 76% of the snaps last week when the Cowboys were winning heavily for most of the latter part of game.
Some fantasy players get scared off rostering guys from teams that are such huge favorites, especially passing weapons. While the team may not get as many pass attempts overall, their efficiency is likely to be better than normal. That is certainly true for teams that get to face this Dolphins squad.
Others to Consider
The Dallas D/ST ($5,000) has to be on our radar. We saw what the New England D/ST did last week against the Dolphins, scoring a massive 37 fantasy points. That may be the highest defense score we see this season, but Dallas will have upside in this spot at home. There will be a significant mismatch between the Cowboys' stellar defensive line and a shaky (at best) Miami offensive line. Combine that with Josh Rosen, who is starting, and you have a perfect spot to pay up for a defense.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Ravens Implied Team Total: 23.0
Chiefs Implied Team Total: 30.0
The game with the highest total on the slate is always going to be one we want to target. This matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs is no exception, and it comes with some interesting plays on both sides. The Ravens don't typically fit the style of a team who will get into shootouts, but with how well their offense has performed and the way the Chiefs play dictates that this could be different.
The opposing defense doesn't seem to matter for Patrick Mahomes ($9,200). Week 1 against Jacksonville was supposed to be a tough spot, and he torched them for 27.32 FanDuel points. Last year, against this vaunted Baltimore defense, he threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns in an overtime win. The Ravens are likely to be without top cornerback Jimmy Smith again because of a knee injury. Without Smith in the lineup, Baltimore allowed Kyler Murray to throw for 349 yards and 8.7 yards per attempt last week.
In their first game without Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs spread the ball around to different targets. Eight players saw the ball thrown their way at least once. The most surprising was Demarcus Robinson ($6,700), catching all six of his targets for 172 yards and two touchdowns. It was his only career game with over 100 yards or two touchdowns, but leading the team with 152 air yards in Week 2 shouldn't be ignored. Sammy Watkins ($7,100) lead the team in targets for the second straight week, but he had a disappointing fantasy output. The kind of volume that he has seen in the first two games of the season makes him a good target, especially if the Chiefs are passing at a high rate.
Lamar Jackson ($8,500) ranks second behind Dak Prescott in Passing NEP per drop back. He has taken advantage of juicy matchups against the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, but he faces a tougher test going into Arrowhead. The good news is that Kansas City has allowed the third-most Rushing NEP thus far. Jackson is a rare quarterback who is practically game-script proof because of his ability on the ground and through the air.
Marquise Brown ($6,100) didn't have as good of a game in Week 2 as he did in his debut against the Dolphins, but his usage was perhaps more encouraging.
Marquise Brown (foot) was fully unleashed yesterday. 50-of-77 snaps, ran a route on 38 of Lamar's 44 dropbacks (86%), and had massive 35% target share.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 16, 2019
Brown is also receiving 38% of the air yards in Baltimore's offense. He is a deep threat who could be utilized if Baltimore is trying to throw to keep up with Mahomes and company.
Others to Consider
Both tight ends -- Travis Kelce ($8,000) and Mark Andrews ($6,800) -- are in play given how many targets they get, and their upside at a position that's usually lacking target security and potential to have slate-breaking games.
Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Texans Implied Team Total: 22.50
Chargers Implied Team Total 25.75
This game is tied for the second-highest over/under on the slate, although it's significantly lower than the Ravens-Chiefs game. The theme for this game is concentrated offenses, as both teams have really narrowed down who will get the ball. These teams also have defensive talent, but they haven't performed to what you might expect.
Deshaun Watson ($8,200) is likely to go under the radar a bit considering the quarterbacks in the aforementioned games as well as some decent cheaper options. The Chargers gave up multiple touchdowns to considerably less talented quarterbacks in Jacoby Brissett and Matthew Stafford. They also have been the seventh-worst defense on this slate, per our numbers. Watson could need to play catch-up like he did in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints, when he went off for 31.72 FanDuel points.
DeAndre Hopkins ($8,900) also went nuts in that game, going for 8 catches, 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. The matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers -- and specifically cornerbacks Desmond King and/or Casey Hayward -- is a tough one, but Hopkins has been known to overcome tough matchups through sheer volume and insane talent. A similarly sized receiver in Kenny Golladay did have a great game last week in the same matchup, putting up 8 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown.
On the Chargers' side, the offense is really condensed. Austin Ekeler ($7,600) has been great in Melvin Gordon's absence, ranking second among running backs in PFF's expected fantasy points. He is a great play every week because of his all-around involvement. He is seeing the second-most targets on the team with 13, and he also ranks second in carries inside the five-yard line.
Keenan Allen ($7,800) ranks first overall in the same expected fantasy points metric. He has actually under performed in fantasy points given the massive opportunity he has received. Allen leads the league in air yards with 321, which is not something you would expect given his past history of being a low-average depth target player.
Others to Consider
The Los Angeles Chargers D/ST ($3,800) have a mismatch in their favor on the defensive line. Watson has taken 10 sacks in the first two games of the season behind a suspect offensive line. The Bolts should be able to generate pressure, which could lead to sacks and/or turnovers.
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.