Week 9 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.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Buccaneers Implied Team Total: 23.0
Seahawks Implied Team Total: 28.5
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to the northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks in the game with Week 9's highest total. The total reflects that both teams will likely have to pass a lot, and how successful they could be when doing so.
Both teams rank in the top half of numberFire's Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) metric and in the lower half of Defensive Passing NEP. These teams also may struggle to run the ball, given that Tampa Bay has the number-one defense against the run, per our metrics, but have struggled to run the ball themselves with the 19th-best rushing offense. More pass attempts would, in theory, lead to a higher-scoring game with more plays for each team.
Russell Wilson ($8,600 on FanDuel) sits atop the salaries of all quarterbacks this week. He had another great matchup last week but had to throw the ball only 20 times as the Seahawks were blowing out the Atlanta Falcons in the first half. Wilson needs the game to stay close or be trailing for his fantasy points to spike, given how run heavy Seattle's play calling tends to be. Going up against defense that is elite against the run, it may require Wilson to throw regardless because running probably will not be effective. Among quarterbacks who have played at least five games, Wilson is fifth in Passing NEP per dropback and is also dangerous when scrambling. His upside in this game isn't necessarily dependent on game script, but it would be enhanced if the game was competitive.
Jameis Winston ($7,500) is a roller-coaster ride every week. He had a good fantasy game last week, with 301 yards passing and 2 touchdowns to go with 51 rushing yards of his own. However, his two interceptions were backbreaking for his team's chances to win. Luckily for fantasy players, we don't need to worry about whether his team will win or not, just if he will get us fantasy points. In Week 8, the Seahawks allowed 460 yards to 38-year-old Matt Schaub after he had to throw the ball 52 times. If Winston is forced to throw close to that many times, a big game for him is certainly in the range of outcomes.
Mike Evans ($8,100) was Winston's first option last week, and he delivered. He caught 11 of his 12 targets for 198 yards and scored twice. Evans leads the league in air yards and is sixth in the league in weighted opportunity ranking. Him seeing a 25% target share for the Bucs would go a long way to fantasy points if Tampa needs to play catch up to stay in the game.
Tyler Lockett ($7,500) has been consistent but not showing the high ceiling we'd like when rostering a receiver at this price. He has been efficient, though, catching all but two of his targets in the last five games. If Wilson needs to throw a lot, he can rely on Lockett to come down with the ball. Lockett has a good matchup in this game, according to Pro Football Focus' matchup chart, lining up in the slot against Tampa Bay's Vernon Hargreaves III.
Others to Consider
Chris Godwin ($8,200) is actually more expensive than Evans. Game log watchers will probably go back to Evans, making Godwin a nice pivot play. You could even play both in the same lineup with Winston, as they combined get 49% of Tampa's targets in the pass game.
D.K. Metcalf ($6,700) found the end zone twice last week after being overdue for some positive touchdown regression. He has 12 red zone targets on the year, and those touchdowns were the first two catches he's made on those targets. He's Seattle's new deep threat this season, seeing more air yards than Lockett.
Detroit Lions vs. Oakland Raiders
Lions Implied Team Total: 24.25
Raiders Implied Team Total: 26.25
This game holds the second-highest total behind the Tampa Bay-Seattle clash. Both the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders have become increasingly more friendly for good game scripts in fantasy football throughout the season. Detroit is the third-fastest team in situation-neutral pace, per Football Outsiders. They also are a heavier passing team than most people anticipated, and it was even more true with Kerryon Johnson missing their Week 8 game. The Lions attempted 32 passes against the New York Giants and handed it off only 23 times, despite leading for most of the game.
This sets up the game well for Matthew Stafford ($7,900), who has had big games in back-to-back weeks. He continued to be an effective deep ball thrower in Week 8, completing five of his eight attempts over 16 yards downfield for 158 yards and two touchdowns. This week, he'll face a Raiders passing defense that is 29th against the pass, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. Stafford could be in line for another 300-yard, multiple-touchdown game in this spot.
Last week in this column, I mentioned that Derek Carr ($7,300) was not a fun option to roster in fantasy. He made me look a bit silly, throwing for 285 yards and three touchdowns. His play has been pretty solid all year, with his Passing NEP per drop back above league average, at 0.27. Detroit's passing defense is ranked 26th in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position and struggled against Daniel Jones in their first game after trading Quandre Diggs. Carr could continue to impress in this game, and he has some weapons who could do some damage.
One of those weapons is Darren Waller ($6,800). Waller did find the end zone last week, but he didn't see his normal allocation of catches. He still saw eight targets, though, which led the team. The Lions are 23rd against the tight end this season, so Waller should have a nice bounce-back opportunity.
Kenny Golladay ($7,600) would be an option to stack with Stafford. Golladay was the one to have a big game in Week 8, after teammate Marvin Jones ($5,700) had his in Week 7. Golladay is the team leader in target share, air yards and touchdowns. He's the top receiver in the Detroit offense and should have ample opportunities against a Raiders secondary that has struggled in 2019.
Others to Consider
A week ago, Tyrell Williams ($6,300) returned from injury and picked up right where he left off. He scored his fifth touchdown, one in every game he's played in this season. Ideally, he would be seeing more targets, but he has still provided value on the six targets per game he has seen.
We've established that Marvin Jones is second in the pecking order behind Golladay, but he does come in at a much cheaper price tag. Jones is firmly in play as a secondary option for this game, as he has more catches than Golladay and is still seeing a number of targets down the field, with an average depth of target at 13.2 yards.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Vikings Implied Team Total: 25.25
Chiefs Implied Team Total: 22.75
The Kansas City Chiefs proved last week that they can still hang with top teams even without Patrick Mahomes. Matt Moore ($6,500) had a solid game, with a Passing NEP per drop back of 0.25. This matchup on paper may seem scary, but the same would have been said before that game last week against the Green Bay Packers. This week against the Minnesota Vikings could require Moore to throw a lot more in order to keep in the game.
While the Vikings have become more pass happy in recent weeks, they still would prefer to run the ball. Their pass-to-run ratio is the second-lowest in the league, at 0.87. This bodes well for Dalvin Cook ($9,000), as his volume has turned him into one the best backs in fantasy football this season. His 19.5 carries and 4.25 targets per game could go a long way against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Travis Kelce ($6,700) scored a touchdown last week for the first time since Week 2. He has been unlucky this season when it comes to scoring touchdowns, as zero of his 12 targets inside the 20 have turned into scores. He is second overall on the Chiefs in market share of targets and saw eight looks from Moore last week. If the positive regression hits for Kelce, he could have the blow-up game that we have seen from him in the past.
Kirk Cousins ($7,800) has silenced a lot of critics with a red-hot run. The doubters will say he has faced weak passing defenses, but this week, that is still the case. The Chiefs are in the bottom 10 of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Cousins' issue in fantasy this season has been lack of pass attempts, but with the Vikings favored by just two points, it's unlikely to get to the point where they can just sit on the ball the whole game.
Kansas City's top option for Matt Moore in Week 8 was Tyreek Hill ($7,700). Hill saw nine targets to lead the team in the last game and scored a touchdown from Moore in the previous game when Moore came in to relieve an injured Mahomes. According to PFF, Hill's matchup against cornerback Xavier Rhodes is not one to fear but is actually an exploitable avenue for the Chiefs. We know that Hill is elite with the ball in his hands, and Andy Reid is more than capable of scheming new ways to get it to him.
Others to Consider
Sammy Watkins' ($6,000) salary has dropped a ton since the return of Hill. Watkins saw eight targets to tie for second on the team last game, and he still leads the team in target share at 24%. His price is low enough to consider him for cheap exposure to one of the highest total games on the slate.
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.