Week 16 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.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks
Cardinals Implied Team Total: 21
Seahawks Implied Team Total: 30.5
Typically, the second matchup between two division opponents is lower scoring, but this game should buck that trend. It has the highest total on the main slate and features the team with highest implied total, as well. The Arizona Cardinals' fast-paced offense and lackluster defense make all of their games fantasy friendly. They rank second in situation-neutral pace, according to Football Outsiders. They also are 30th in overall defense by our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, and given that they are playing so fast, it gives the defense a lot of opportunities to score fantasy points.
The Seattle Seahawks have many players who can take advantage of that situation. Russell Wilson ($8,300 on FanDuel) can certainly be one of them, going up against a pass defense that is the third worst in the league by our metrics. The Cardinals have also allowed the most fantasy points to the quarterback position this season. The main issue with Wilson is that he needs the game to stay competitive to his his ceiling, as Seattle runs the ball at the fourth-highest rate in the league. When games have required him to throw more, Wilson can explode for big games in the air and on the ground.
With Seattle loving to run the ball as much as they do, Chris Carson ($8,200) also makes sense. Carson saw an increase in carries last week with Rashaad Penny out and put up his first game of more than 20 FanDuel points since Week 6. While Arizona's defense is better against the run than the pass, they are still below average against the ground game. Being a 9.5-point favorite at home is typically a great spot for a running back, and one who should see around 20 to 25 carries could have a big day.
Kyler Murray ($7,700) may need to throw a ton to keep the Cardinals in this game. The Seahawks' D faces passes at the third-highest rate in the league and ranks as a middle-of-the-pack defense against the pass. Murray should have time to attempt to pick apart the defense, with Seattle second to last in adjusted sack rate. Jadeveon Clowney also looks like he will miss this game, dealing a blow to what is already a weak pass rush. If Murray has time in the pocket and will be throwing a lot, he makes for an interesting play this week.
The story of the week for the Cardinals in Week 15 was Kenyan Drake ($7,100). He put up 137 yards and four touchdowns as Arizona controlled the game at home. This situation is a little different, with the Cardinals going on the road as underdogs. However, since Drake got traded to Arizona, he has been utilized a lot in the pass game. He has 28 targets in the six games he has played in a Cardinals uniform. Even if Arizona gets behind, Drake should see the chance to get loose.
Others to Consider
If trying to pair Wilson with someone, Tyler Lockett ($7,600) seems like the best choice. Lockett got back on track last week, seemingly recovered from his prior injury. He caught eight of his nine targets for 120 yards and a touchdown. He's the type of receiver whose big-play ability comes in handy if you're trying to stack multiple pieces of the game.
Christian Kirk ($5,900) has been Arizona's number-one receiver this year with 24% target share, per airyards.com. He is in play against a Seahawks defense that is 19th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tennessee Titans
Saints Implied Team Total: 26.5
Titans Implied Team Total: 24
A game with a point spread under a field goal and two team totals 24 points or higher could make for a back and forth, high scoring game. If neither team is able to run away from the other as the point spread suggests, there are a lot of players on both sides of the ball who could benefit. The Tennessee Titans have changed their style of offense since they changed quarterbacks, playing a a lot of no huddle offense. The New Orleans Saints offense continues to click right along, ranking fourth overall in NEP.
Drew Brees ($8,200) had a performance for the ages on Monday night, breaking the NFL record for most passing touchdowns. He completed 29 of 30 passes and threw four touchdowns, and has nine touchdown passes in the last two weeks. The Titans defense is 16th in NEP against the pass, and they now have two cornerbacks on injured reserve and Adoree' Jackson questionable after missing two games, per Rotowire. Brees could easily pick apart a secondary that is this injured.
Michael Thomas ($9,000) probably wouldn't be slowed down against any defensive back, but playing against backups would not be pretty for the Titans. Thomas leads the league with a 31% share of his teams' targets. He has seven games this season of catching at least ten passes for over 100 yards. The Saints should be throwing the ball often, as the Titans defense is stingy against the ground game, with the fourth best NEP defending the run this season. Thomas would of course be the feature of the Saints passing game, and should see volume in any game script.
Ryan Tannehill ($7,800) continues to impress as the starter for the Titans. Last week, we saw a game which the Titans needed to comeback, and Tannehill threw the ball 36 times and put up 25.16 fantasy points. He could see the same situation here if the Titans are in catch-up mode. Tannehill has been throwing the ball down field more often, with 14 passes of over 16 yards attempted in the last two weeks. Deep completions are what really makes games go off for lots of fantasy points, so that would be a big benefit to this game overall.
The main deep target for Tannehill has been A.J. Brown ($7,200). His average depth of target is 12.3 yards, and has a reception of 60 yards or longer in three of his last four games. He finally got peppered with targets in the game last week vs the Houston Texans, seeing a season high 13. If this game is similar to that one, Brown should be Tannehill's main threat through the air once again.
Others to Consider
Jared Cook ($6,600) has been a fine play at the tight end position this year, with eight straight games of at least 50 yards or a touchdown. He's third on the team in target share and second behind Thomas with six touchdowns on the year.
Jonnu Smith ($5,400) has slightly emerged as a tight end that Tannehill can trust. He caught all five of his targets in Week 15, and had a 57 yard rush. In Week 14, he caught a touchdown. With Corey Davis questionable, Smith could become the second option in the pass game for Tennessee.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Atlanta Falcons
Jaguars Implied Team Total: 19.75
Falcons Implied Team Total: 26.75
Two teams that have nothing to play for -- except helping us decide fantasy matchups -- will take the field in this game on Sunday. We get a game inside a dome, which is always helpful at this time of year. This also is a clash of bad defenses, with the Jacksonville Jaguars ranked 27th overall by our numbers and the Atlanta Falcons 25th. The offenses do have some talent and still seem to be playing for something to prove, so there should be some options for both teams in fantasy this week.
Matt Ryan ($7,700) has been asked to throw the ball until his arm falls off this season. Atlanta is first in pass-to-run ratio, throwing the ball on over two-thirds of their plays this season. Luckily, his arm is still working, and he has two touchdowns in three straight games. The Jaguars' pass defense is not what it was a few years ago as they are 21st at defending the pass this season.
Julio Jones ($8,000) had his best game of the season last week, scoring twice and catching 13 passes for 134 yards. He saw 20 targets against the San Francisco 49ers, good for over a 50% target share in the first game since Calvin Ridley was placed on IR. If that's the way the Falcons' offense will run again this week, Julio could erupt again. Jacksonville doesn't have a lockdown cornerback like they once had with Jalen Ramsey, so Jones should be able to get free against this secondary.
Leonard Fournette ($7,500) has been surprisingly game-script independent this season. In the past, Fournette would need the Jaguars to be ahead to have an impact on the game, but an increase in his passing-game usage has helped change that. Fournette is third at the running back position with 6.71 targets per game and has an 18% target share this season. If Jacksonville is behind, that doesn't rule out Fournette from being able to help our fantasy lineups.
Chris Conley ($5,800) took advantage of D.J. Chark being injured and put together his best game of the season last week. He benefited from the Jaguars trying to keep pace with the Oakland Raiders and saw eight targets, two of which he converted into touchdowns. Since Jacksonville is a 7.0-point underdog on the road, we could see something similar play out here if Chark was to miss this game.
Others to Consider
Russell Gage ($5,100) is a cheap option from the Falcons who sees an increased role when they are missing a wide receiver. In Week 13, when Jones missed the game, Gage caught eight passes for 76 yards. In last week's game without Ridley, he was second on the team with six targets.
Dede Westbrook ($5,700) did not capitalize on the opportunity with Chark missing the last game, but he could bounce back in this game. The Jaguars attempted only 29 passes last week despite trailing for most of the game. That should change this week as Atlanta is an above-average D against the run but 27th against the pass, per our metrics. Westbrook has a 19% target share on the season, which is second (to Chark) on the Jaguars.
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.