Week 14 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.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots
Chiefs Implied Team Total: 22.75
Patriots Implied Team Total: 25.75
Last season saw these two teams play two memorable, high-scoring games that saw 151 total points scored. The teams and circumstances have changed a bit, but the 48.5 total in this game is still the highest on the main slate this week. There are a few angles that make this game enticing from a fantasy standpoint. People may not think of the New England Patriots as a fast-paced team, but they are first in Football Outsiders' situation-neutral pace statistic. The Kansas City Chiefs are by no means slow, ranking fifth in the same metric. The Patriots have run the most plays in the league, so in theory, that should lead to some fantasy goodness in this game.
The most exploitable unit in this game is the Chiefs' run defense. They have the 30th-ranked defense by our schedule-adjusted metrics. The other units in this game have been good, especially on the Patriots' side. The hope for the Chiefs' offense is that the amount of plays and the overall efficiency of their own offense (ranked third by numberFire's metrics) can overcome a stellar Patriots defense.
Patrick Mahomes ($8,400 on FanDuel) would be the first player most people would want in a possible shootout involving the Chiefs. Mahomes is second in the NFL in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back. We've seen the Patriots' defense get exploited by elite quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson in recent weeks, and Mahomes could join them. He might go overlooked with a matchup against a top defense, but the Chiefs' high team total suggests he's not someone to ignore this week.
Travis Kelce ($7,100) could be the one to pair with Mahomes as a stack. He is a tight end with consistent volume, seeing at least seven targets in each of his last six games. He has a 23% target share, according to AirYards.com. Kelce is also fifth in the league and first for tight ends in red zone targets.
For New England, lack of reliable wide receivers has filtered targets to Julian Edelman ($7,600). He has seen double-digit targets in each of the last seven games, and he dominates the target share for the Patriots, at 25%. New England has the second most pass attempts in the league, so Edelman should keep seeing good volume. If the game gets away from the defense and the Patriots need to keep up with Mahomes and company, Edelman will likely be the guy they look toward most.
Another player New England will likely target early and often is James White ($6,000). White is somewhat tough to play on FanDuel given that he lacks rushing upside and most of his value comes through receiving work. He usually has more value in full-PPR formats, but he actually has been a red zone threat in the passing game. He is second in the league in red zone targets among all players, behind only Edelman. We saw White's upside when the Patriots got behind in last week's game, when he got 33.7 FanDuel points against the Houston Texans.
Others to Consider
Sony Michel ($6,600) has really disappointed fantasy owners this year, but he could turn things around in this game. The Patriots went with a run-heavy game plan last year in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs, running 48 times and throwing 46 passes. If they are looking to capitalize on the Chiefs' weakness, Michel could be in line for a lot of work once again.
Tyreek Hill ($8,300) is a threat whenever he takes the field. Whenever he gets the ball in space, he's a threat for a big play. The matchup with the elite pass D of the Pats may scare off some fantasy players, so Hill could see less ownership than he normally would.
Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Panthers Implied Team Total: 22
Falcons Implied Team Total: 25
We saw these two teams play in Week 11, and that game was somewhat of a bust for fantasy with a 29-3 blowout victory in favor of the Atlanta Falcons. That seemed like an unlikely outcome that was driven by some turnovers coming at unfortunate times. The bookmakers don't seem to think that Week 11 performance will repeat itself as the 47.0-point total is the third highest on the slate. This game will be in a dome, as well, which is always a benefit this time of year considering how many games had bad weather last week.
Christian McCaffrey ($11,000) is the first talking point when thinking of the Carolina Panthers for fantasy football. Even in that game where the Panthers scored just three points, McCaffrey had 24.6 FanDuel points due to catching 11 passes for 121 yards. He is in play no matter the matchup or game script thanks to his elite usage in the passing game. It does help that he goes against what we have as the 27th-ranked defense.
D.J. Moore ($7,100) has been a stud wide receiver over the last five weeks. A problem he was having earlier this year was a lack of touchdowns, but he now has three in the last two games. He has separated himself as the number-one receiver on the team with a 25% target share. He saw 15 targets in that game in Week 11, when the Panthers got way behind, so they are not afraid to pepper him with looks if necessary.
Julio Jones ($7,800) could return from the injury that saw him miss last week's game on Thanksgiving. Jones is fourth in the league in raw air yards despite missing that game. Atlanta has the league's highest pass-to-run ratio at 2.19, and they are sixth in seconds per play. That should continue to provide opportunity for Julio, who has seen at least seven targets in every game this season.
Devonta Freeman ($6,000) returned last week after a two-game absence. He will face the Panthers run defense that is allowing the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Last week, Washington running backs ran for 242 yards and three touchdowns against Carolina. Freeman should be able to get things going on the ground, and he has also seen decent pass-game volume when the Falcons have been behind. All three of his touchdowns this season have been receiving touchdowns.
Others to Consider
Ian Thomas ($4,000) would be the replacement for Greg Olsen, who looks set to miss this game with a concussion. That would take a 16% target share out of the offense. Thomas caught all four of the targets he saw last week and could see more volume if he gets the full game this week.
Austin Hooper ($6,600) is another Falcon who has been trending upward with three practices this week and could play in this game. Hooper was at one point the number-one tight end in fantasy football this season, so he would be a good play in a game that could be high scoring.
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
Dolphins Implied Team Total: 20
Jets Implied Team Total: 25.5
This is a game that could be considered by some a "toilet bowl" between two teams that are not good. The Miami Dolphins played the New York Jets in Week 9, which turned out to be a 26-18 win for Miami. These teams do have players who can put up good fantasy scores, though, and we saw some of that in the first meeting.
The Jets will get to face a Miami defense that is the worst in the league, per our metrics. Miami's passing offense has been the most appealing part of their game recently, and they have a matchup against the 24th-ranked pass defense of the Jets. So who are the players we want in this game?
It's been an up-and-down season for Sam Darnold ($7,700). He missed three games with illness and had some bad performances when he did come back. Then he went through a stretch of three straight games with at least 20 FanDuel points. The Dolphins have allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, so this could be a nice bounce-back spot for Darnold after his disappointing showing in Week 13.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7,400) gets the revenge narrative against one of his many former teams. He threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting between these two teams. The Jets force teams to throw the ball on them, with the second best defense against the run. You don't have to ask Fitzpatrick twice to throw the ball as he has attempted at least 33 passes in every game since being reinstated as the starter.
DeVante Parker ($7,200) is finally having the breakout season many have hoped for since he was selected in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. With injuries and trades leaving him as the top target, Parker has seized the opportunity. He has 10 or more targets in each of the last four games and six total touchdowns on the season. Parker should be able to dominate a Jets secondary that has struggled all year.
Jamison Crowder ($6,000) had his best fantasy game of the season the last time these two teams met. He caught eight balls for 83 yards and a touchdown. Crowder has the highest target share on the team (22%). He also will benefit from the individual matchup, which PFF ranks as the best matchup for a wide receiver this week.
Others to Consider
Patrick Laird ($5,500) is the last running back standing for the Dolphins. He was able to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion in last week's win. The Jets are a difficult matchup for running backs, but that can be somewhat negated if Laird can get the usage in the passing game that we have seen him get over the last three weeks.
Robby Anderson ($6,400) is always in play for a deep target and has finally shown signs of life over the past three weeks. He had two straight games with a touchdown before going over 100 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals. A deep touchdown to Anderson would do wonders for the game script, scoring points without taking much time off the clock.
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.