Week 4 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Considering game scripts 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.
Carolina Panthers vs Houston Texans
Panthers Implied Team Total: 20.5
Texans Implied Team Total: 25.5
This is a matchup that has the potential to play up in pace as these two teams have been playing quick to start the season. The Carolina Panthers rank first in seconds per play and sixth in situation-neutral pace, according to Football Outsiders. The Houston Texans haven't playing quite as fast, as they are down in ninth in situation neutral pace.
The Panthers didn't miss a beat in terms of pace with Kyle Allen ($6,800 on FanDuel) playing quarterback last week, and they gained a lot in terms of efficiency. Allen recorded 16.33 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) in his start against the Arizona Cardinals, while Cam Newton posted a negative number in that stat in both of his starts. Allen not only had a good game for himself but aided some players on Carolina that the fantasy community had high hopes for coming into the season.
Curtis Samuel ($5,800) caught his first touchdown of the season with Allen under center. His target volume went down from 13 to seven, but he caught the same five passes due to better accuracy from his quarterback. The matchup here is tougher than it was against Arizona, but Houston has allowed big games to wide receivers like Michael Thomas and Keenan Allen so far this season.
Obviously for Carolina, Christian McCaffrey ($9,000) is in play no matter who he takes the field against. In this game in particular, though, McCaffrey stands out. The Texans are the third worst team by Adjusted Rushing Defensive NEP per play. They also gave up seven catches apiece to Alvin Kamara and Austin Ekeler, so McCaffrey should be able to get his normal share in the passing game, as well.
On Houston's side, Deshaun Watson ($8,200) was able to get the job done against the Los Angeles Chargers last week. His 0.62 Passing NEP per drop back was the second highest total in Week 3. Facing off against Carolina's pass defense will not be easy, but the attempts will be there if the pace in the game is up.
DeAndre Hopkins ($8,700) hasn't had a truly big game since Week 1 at New Orleans. In that game, Houston desperately needed to throw the ball in order to come back, and they targeted Hopkins heavily. The last two games, the Texans have been leading for the majority of the game and didn't need to take shots at their playmaking receiver. As the most expensive wideout on the slate, Hopkins might go a bit overlooked in this spot.
Others to Consider
Greg Olsen ($6,000) has had something of a renaissance to start this year. His targets have been consistent, with nine in the first two games and seven in Week 3, which he was able to convert into two touchdowns.
Jordan Akins ($5,100) is another tight end who had a big game last week. He turned five targets into three catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns, but his involvement in the offense going forward is still a question mark.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Los Angeles Rams
Buccaneers Implied Team Total: 20.25
Rams Implied Team Total: 30.25
This is also a game that could be played at a fast pace. The Los Angeles Rams rank second in situation-neutral pace and seventh in seconds per play. As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 10.0-point underdogs, the sportsbooks are expecting them to be trailing. The good news for the game script is that Tampa is seventh in pace when trailing by seven or more points.
Jared Goff ($7,700) comes back home, where he has performed much better in his career. His best game in this young season came against the New Orleans Saints at home in Week 2. Now he gets a matchup against the Buccaneers pass defense that has actually been decent this season, ranking 11th in Adjusted Passing Defensive NEP per play. Last year they were 28th in the same metric, and they just allowed Daniel Jones to throw for 336 yards and two touchdowns in their last game.
Cooper Kupp ($7,000) has emerged as Goff's favorite target. He's seeing a 30% target share and has the most receiving touchdowns on the team with two. He is still priced as the cheapest wide receiver of the Rams' top three, despite going over 100 yards in two straight games.
Jameis Winston ($7,500) had a bounce-back game last week against the New York Giants after struggling the first two games. After a long layoff from playing on Thursday night in Week 2, the coaching staff allowed Winston to throw down the field more in Week 3. Winston attempted 14 passes of at least 16 yards in Week 3, while only attempting 13 such passes in the first two weeks. We should see him throw deep more often this week, especially if the Bucs get behind early.
Another player who had his breakout game against the Giants was Mike Evans ($7,700). Evans was on the end of seven of those deep targets, hauling in five for 158 yards and two of his three touchdowns in the game. He ranks second in the league in air yards and will likely see big volume again in this game.
Others to Consider
Robert Woods ($7,100) has been the most underwhelming member of the Rams' pass catchers. He is still seeing the second most air yards and targets on the team, so the opportunity is still there, and he likely will see less ownership than Kupp does.
Chris Godwin ($7,100) would be another receiver who will probably be lower owned than his teammate after Evans' performance last week. Godwin outperformed Evans in the first two games, and that could repeat while most people will be chasing Evans' Week 3 fantasy points.
Seattle Seahawks vs Arizona Cardinals
Seahawks Implied Team Total: 26.5
Cardinals Implied Team Total: 20.5
Since I've been talking about pace of play, I had to include an Arizona Cardinals' game in this piece. The Cardinals are the fastest in terms of seconds per play and are first in situation-neutral pace. This combined with how bad their defense has been this season makes their games ones we want to target. This clash against the Seattle Seahawks is no different. The sports bettors seems to like think this game will be a shootout, as well, with 98% of the money bet on the over, according to oddsFire.
Russell Wilson ($7,800) is the main player who is in position to benefit from this up-tempo game. Arizona is the 25th-ranked pass defense and 30th-ranked in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. The game script likely won't go the way of last week's Seattle game, in which Wilson had to throw 50 times, but Wilson shouldn't need that many attempts to have a big outing against the Cardinals.
Tyler Lockett ($6,600) had fantasy owners concerned after a lack of volume in Week 1. Well, it's safe to say those concerns did not last.
#Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett is No. 2 in the NFL in targets & No. 7 in Air Yards over the last two weeks.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 25, 2019
Lockett has the potential for more volume in an uptempo game against a weak pass defense, and that should be all you need to know to want to play one of the league's best big-play wide receivers.
Christian Kirk ($5,900) has seen a lot of volume thrown his way. Last week against Carolina, Kirk got 12 targets. He was able to catch 10 of them, but most of them were short as his average depth of target was just five yards. This week, Arizona would be smart to give him more targets down the field, as he has a nice cornerback matchup against Seattle's Shaquill Griffin.
Will Dissly ($5,400) has developed into a viable tight end in fantasy football. He has three touchdowns and 12 targets across the past two games. With Seattle trading Nick Vannett to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dissly could be in line for even more opportunity.
Nick Vannett was playing pretty decent snaps in Seattle's offense (https://t.co/U9L4nf0tje). Would seemingly indicate that they think Will Dissly can handle a bump in his workload. pic.twitter.com/lNS10fSq74
— Jim Sannes (@JimSannes) September 25, 2019
Arizona has been roasted by tight ends this season, allowing at least 75 yards and a touchdown in all three games to the position.
Others to Consider
Kyler Murray ($7,600), showed the rushing upside last week that people were expecting. These seemed to be on designed runs, and he gained 69 yards on the ground. We've seen quarterbacks sustain fantasy value from their legs, even if their passing output leaves something to be desired.
D.K. Metcalf ($6,100) has impressed in the first three games of his career. He is being used as a home-run hitter down the field with his blazing speed, sporting a 17.8 average depth of target this season.
Larry Fitzgerald ($5,900) actually has an even better cornerback matchup than his teammate Kirk does. Fitz was also being used as a short target in Week 3 but didn't quite get the same volume as Kirk did, though he catch a touchdown. Arizona's top two receivers are in similar spots and are the exact same price on FanDuel this week.
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.