Week 12 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 at Atlanta Falcons
Buccaneers Implied Team Total: 23.5
Falcons Implied Team Total: 27.5
The highest total on the board in Week 12 is an NFC South division game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons. These teams are frequently involved in games we like to target in fantasy due to poor defenses and offenses that are capable of playing fast. According to Football Outsiders, Tampa Bay is sixth in seconds per play while Atlanta is eighth. The defenses have been one to attack all season, especially through the air. Atlanta's defense is 29th in passing defense Net Expected Points per play, while the Bucs are 24th. These teams are also two of the pass-happiest in the league, with Atlanta having the highest pass-run ratio at 2.09 and Tampa fifth at 1.80. All of these pass attempts against weak pass defenses could lead to lots of yards and points in this game.
Matt Ryan ($7,900 on FanDuel) got back to throwing for 300 yards last week after doing so for each of the first six weeks of the season and then having his injury slow him down. He is fifth among starters in FanDuel points per game at the quarterback position. Facing the Bucs, who are ranked first against the run according to numberFire's metrics, should lead to lots of passing opportunities for Ryan. Matty Ice also benefits from having some dangerous weapons, who can make plays in the passing game.
The most obvious weapon for Ryan is Julio Jones ($8,400). Julio is third in the league in air yards, getting the volume we like to see out of a receiver for that price. Tampa Bay has allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Jones has historically crushed Tampa Bay, with 102 catches, 1695 yards, and 11 touchdowns in 14 career games against them. Given how bad they have been this season, there is no reason to expect that to change this week.
One thing you are nearly guaranteed when rostering Jameis Winston ($7,600) is lots of pass attempts. Winston has thrown over 40 passes for five straight games, including 51 last week. He was able to put up over 300 yards in each of those five games. While the Falcons defense has been good over the past two games, Kyle Allen was able to put up a season-high 325 yards. Winston should be able to get his throws in and at least put up a reasonable game, with the chance for much more if things break his way.
Mike Evans ($8,000) has had back-to-back duds after posting some monster games earlier in the season. His target volume was down to 14 in the last two games after seeing double-digit targets in the previous three outings. The good news here is that he is in a matchup he should be able to dominate. Pro Football Focus gives him a significant matchup edge over Atlanta cornerback Isaiah Oliver. Evans is seeing an average depth of target of 15.6 yards, so he is always a threat downfield.
Others to Consider
Calvin Ridley ($6,700) finally had a breakout game in Week 11, with 143 yards and a touchdown. He's a downfield target for Matt Ryan with an average depth of target at 13.6 and has more touchdowns (five) than Julio Jones (four).
Chris Godwin ($7,800) got bailed out with a touchdown last week in an otherwise unspectacular game. It was his first game under eight targets since Week 3, so his volume should return to normal in this matchup against a weak Atlanta secondary.
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Seahawks Implied Team Total: 23.0
Eagles Implied Team Total: 24.5
This game has the second-highest total and is projected to be very close with the Philadelphia Eagles favored by 1.5 points. It features two teams with above-average offenses against defenses that are rated around the middle of the pack for this season. Both teams have several different options we can look towards to score fantasy points for us.
There are a few different ways this game could play out. The Seattle Seahawks have shown they prefer to run the ball, owning the league's fifth-highest run rate. However, the Eagles will make that difficult with the ninth-best defense against the run. It would be helpful from a game script perspective if the Seahawks got behind, forcing more passing attempts and a faster pace of play.
Whenever Seattle needs to throw a lot, Russell Wilson ($8,200) can have a big game. In the two games in which he attempted the most passes this season, he also had his two best fantasy games. The hope when rostering Wilson is that the run game will not be effective and Wilson will get a chance to throw. Philly is only average against the pass, coming in at 15th in Defensive Passing NEP.
Zach Ertz ($6,100) has seen the target volume that is hard to come by from a tight end. He has 11 targets in back to back games. Both Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor are questionable for this game, which would leave Ertz as the de-facto number one option in the passing game if they were to sit out. The Seahawks are 27th in fantasy points allowed to the tight end this season.
Tyler Lockett ($7,400) has been trending in the right direction after being listed as questionable with a lower leg injury. Lockett being active would be a big boost to both the Seattle passing game and the game script overall. A player who can score quickly on a long touchdown won't take up too much time on the clock and allows the other team to have a chance to respond quickly. Lockett is the clear number one receiver in the offense, receiving 23% of the targets.
With Jordan Howard still limited, Miles Sanders ($5,600) could be the lead back again for the Eagles. Sanders played 85% of the snaps last week. He only scored 5.7 fantasy points, but that was against the number one ranked New England Patriots defense. If he can exceed the 13 touches he has seen in the past two games, he can definitely pay off his$5,600 price tag.
Others to Consider
D.K. Metcalf ($6,700) actually leads the Seahawks in air yards. He was a huge regression candidate with the red zone targets he was getting, and then scored three touchdowns in a two-week span. He still has only 2 catches on 13 red zone targets per NFL Savant, so could be in line for more touchdowns in the coming weeks.
It's not often we can look at two tight ends on the same team, but Dallas Goedert ($5,200) is in play along with Zach Ertz. Goedert has four touchdowns to Ertz's two and could see more targets come his way if Agholor and Jeffery miss this game.
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets
Raiders Implied Team Total: 24.75
Jets Implied Team Total: 21.75
This game may say more about the overall Week 12 slate than anything else. The Oakland Raiders facing the New York Jets doesn't sound like the most exciting game, but there are some reasons to believe that this game could have some fantasy goodness. These teams should force action to the pass game, with the Jets as the fourth-best team against the run this season. The Jets already have preferred passing the ball, with a pass to run ratio of 1.6. The quarterbacks should have time to throw as well. The Jets are below average in adjusted sack rate, whereas the Raiders are just about at the league average. With these quarterbacks -- who are not elite -- a clean pocket makes a big difference.
Derek Carr ($7,400) could feast against this New York defense that is 22nd in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position. Carr has been surprisingly efficient this season, ranking sixth in Passing NEP per drop back among quarterbacks that have at least 100 drop backs. If the Jets are able to shut down the run and the Raiders choose to pass a decent amount, Carr could exploit a bad Jets passing defense.
An option to pair with Carr would be Tyrell Williams ($6,400). Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 8, but had scored in every game he had appeared in up until that point. Now facing a weak Jets secondary, Williams could use his above-average speed to hit a big play. He has seen 20 targets of 15 or more yards this season.
There are a few players on the Jets you could use to "bring it back" if you are hoping this game goes over the total. Jamison Crowder ($6,500) has scored a touchdown in three straight games and appears to be Sam Darnold's favorite target. In games that Darnold has started, Crowder has a 25% target share.
Ryan Griffin ($5,600) has been a revelation for the Jets at tight end. In the last three games without Chris Herndon in the lineup, Griffin has caught 15 of 17 targets for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Raiders have allowed the third-most points to opposing tight ends this season, making Griffin a sneaky play in a good matchup.
Others to Consider
Darren Waller ($6,200) has slowed down since the early weeks where he was dominating targets, but he is still worth a look. He got somewhat back on track last week with 5 catches for 78 yards and still is the team leader with a 25% target share.
Robby Anderson ($5,600) is a dart throw you can make in this game. He hasn't hit on many big plays this year, but he has an average depth of target of 14.3. If Darnold can be kept clean in the pocket and the Jets are behind and looking to throw, a bomb or two to Anderson isn't out of the question.
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.