Week 1 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Week 1 of the NFL is here! Welcome to the Game Scripts to Target article for the 2020 season. Each week we'll be taking a look at specific games to target for daily fantasy tournaments. Stacking games has always been a popular option in GPPs, as it allows you to reach for upside with the back-and-forth scoring.
Dissecting 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 expected game scripts in these contests 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 betting related numbers -- implied totals, over/unders and spreads -- as well as custom metrics that show how the teams will match up against each other. This gives us a much better handle on how games are likely to play out, and we can take advantage of that in our lineups.
Let's look at some game scripts to target for this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Before we get to some of the storylines, let's take note of that over/under and where the bets are landing. According to oddsFire.com, 78% of the bets placed are on the over, while only 53% of the money is on the over. Of course, this can change leading up to kickoff, but it's good to note from the start.
One storyline, of course, is Tom Brady ($7,600) departing the New England Patriots for warmer weather and a fresh start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With this move, we now get Brady matchup up against Drew Brees ($8,100) twice per year in games that should bring us plenty of scoring and fantasy points. This is our starting point -- one of the two quarterbacks paired with a few of their offensive weapons.
On the Buccaneers' side of things, wide receiver Mike Evans ($7,500) popped up on the injury report on Wednesday afternoon and is day-to-day going forward. Prior to this news, we had him projected for 12.8 FanDuel points -- the eighth-most among wide receivers. Ultimately, this might not be a massive loss if he does sit, as he struggled against the Saints last season -- racking up only 11 targets, 4 receptions, 69 yards, and 0 touchdowns over two games. Across the field in those games, teammate Chris Godwin ($7,700) hit another level with 15 targets, 10 receptions, 172 yards, and 1 touchdown.
The Brady-to-Godwin connection is likely where you want to start your Buccaneers stacks, but what do you do with their backfield? Leonard Fournette ($6,900), Ronald Jones ($5,700), LeSean McCoy ($5,300), and Ke'Shawn Vaughn ($5,000) are the four members of Tampa's backfield. Currently, Fournette is projected for 8.4 FanDuel points, while Jones is right behind him at 6.5 FanDuel points. No one player stands out too much, so you could look to add another member to your Bucs stacks via the tight end spot.
That tight end could be Rob Gronkowski ($5,500), who has come out of retirement to pair up with Brady for one more shot at a Super Bowl. Given the lower salary we have on Gronk, adding him to a Brady-Godwin stack isn't too much of a strain on your salary cap, which will allow you to "run it back" with someone from the Saints.
Michael Thomas ($8,800) would be an elite option to add to this stack, as he is projected for 16.3 FanDuel points -- the highest among wide receivers on the slate. However, Alvin Kamara ($8,300) is also projected for 16.3 FanDuel points and is a better point-per-dollar play. We have a full slate of games -- there is value out there -- so you could roster both of them, but if that is your plan, pairing them with Brees would be ideal for maximum upside.
If you don't have the salary to fit those players in your lineup, or if you want to be a bit different with your lineups, the Saints have some secondary options. Emmanuel Sanders ($5,600) is the new addition to the Saints' offense and won't break the bank. Tight end Jared Cook ($5,900) could also be an option, depending on what your roster construction looks like.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Games with high over/unders are nothing new for the Falcons, as they have a strong offense and a rather weak defense. In recent years, the same can be said for the Seahawks, whose defense is far removed from the Legion of Boom. Two good offenses and two bad defenses set us up for plenty of scoring.
The Falcons are at home but come in as 1.5-point underdogs, so let's start there. They are led by quarterback Matt Ryan ($7,800), who has consistently shown to be a strong option in DFS throughout his career. Over the last two seasons, Ryan has averaged 38 pass attempts per game -- giving him plenty of upside. You should look to pair Ryan with either Julio Jones ($8,200) or Calvin Ridley ($6,600). They are projected for 14.2 and 12.2 FanDuel points, respectively.
They are the top options by a good amount, with Todd Gurley ($7,100) and Hayden Hurst ($5,200) a clear step behind. However, Hurst is projected to be our third-best point-per-dollar value among tight ends on this slate.
For Seattle, they are in a similar situation when it comes to players to target for a game stack. Russell Wilson ($8,400) is projected for 20.5 FanDuel points, which is the second-most among all quarterbacks. This should make him a top-tier option, and you can pair him with either or both of Tyler Lockett ($6,800) and D.K. Metcalf ($6,400). With their top two wide receivers both under $7K, it's feasible to roster both of them alongside Wilson, and then you can run it back with Julio Jones -- creating an ideal game stack.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers hold an implied team total of 27.75, which is the second-highest on the slate, and they are a 7.0-point favorite. The 49ers aren't known for having a potent offense, but that leads to their players being a bit cheaper overall. George Kittle ($8,000) is the most expensive player on the 49ers, and he has an elite matchup as the Cardinals allowed 16.1 FanDuel points per game to tight ends last year -- the most in the league. Kittle is projected for 14.3 FanDuel points, tops among all tight ends.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($7,400) has never been known for his massive upside and scored more than 20 FanDuel points only four times last season. However, two of those four games came against the Cardinals, matchups in which he posted 28.88 and 31.66 FanDuel points. There aren't many times you can look to roster Garoppolo in DFS, but this looks to be one of them.
Outside of Kittle, Raheem Mostert ($6,200) would be the next best option on the 49ers, and he also has a reasonable salary.
For the Cardinals, the most popular stacking option would be Kyler Murray ($7,700) and the newly acquired DeAndre Hopkins ($7,800). They should be far less popular compared to Brees/Thomas, Brady/Godwin, Ryan/Jones, or Wilson/Lockett. That, in itself, makes them an interesting option for tournaments.
Kenyan Drake ($6,600) and Christian Kirk ($5,800) are the Cards' secondary options, but they have both shown significant tournament upside in the past. Overall, this game doesn't feature anyone super expensive, making roster construction a bit easier in this game stack.