Week 2 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Week 2 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.
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
Targeting a high over/under game is nothing new in NFL DFS, but it can also be helpful to target games where the pace will be very fast. This allows more plays to be run, making it a great game environment for tournaments. Per Football Outsiders, the Cowboys -- 23.31 seconds per play -- rank as the fastest team in the league in situation-neutral pace, while the Falcons -- 27.85 seconds per play -- are the 10th-fastest. If you look at the game overall, not just situation-neutral pace, the Cowboys are still the fastest team, but the Falcons jump to the third-fastest team.
This is good -- no, this is very good. We have two teams that move the ball quickly and have great offensive weapons. It is an ideal spot to stack, so let's get to some players.
On the Cowboys' side, they are led by Dak Prescott ($8,300), who had a modest performance in Week 1 but gets to face a Falcons secondary that allowed 4 touchdowns and more than 300 yards to Russell Wilson last week. Ezekiel Elliott ($8,600) had a very strong performance in Week 1, with more than 100 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Play him if you have the salary available.
It really comes down to what you do with the Cowboys' trio of receivers -- Amari Cooper ($7,000), Michael Gallup ($6,000), and rookie CeeDee Lamb ($5,200). In Week 1, Cooper had 15 targets for a 37.50% target share, while Gallup and Lamb both had 6 targets for a 15.0% target share. Cooper carries the highest projection among the three, per our model, sitting at 13.9 FanDuel points along with being the best point-per-dollar value at wide receiver this week. Lamb comes in as the third-best value among wide receivers and is the cheapest of the trio.
If you want to be a bit riskier in tournaments while grabbing some savings, tight end Dalton Schultz ($4,000) is the minimum salary and saw four targets last week after Blake Jarwin went down with an injury.
For the Falcons, Matt Ryan ($7,700) is always an option in tournament stacks due to the volume of passes he attempts on a weekly basis. He had 54 attempts and 450 yards in Week 1, both of which lead the league. If the Falcons' defense is going to be this bad all season, Ryan will be an option every week.
Running back Todd Gurley ($7,000) played on just 46% of the snaps in Week 1, which is a bit concerning as he was one of three Atlanta running backs to see more than 20 offensive snaps. For the most part, avoiding this backfield might be the right call.
Atlanta also has a trio of receivers to consider -- Julio Jones ($8,200), Calvin Ridley ($7,100), and Russell Gage ($5,400). They all finished with 12 targets and more than 100 yards in the opener, but Ridley was on the only player to find the end zone -- which he did twice. Of course, Gage is the riskiest of the three options, as it's hard to imagine he will keep pace with Jones and Ridley in terms of targets or target share over the long haul.
Tight end Hayden Hurst ($5,700) saw five targets in Week 1, but none of them came in the red zone. There is hope that will change since Austin Hooper had the second-most red zone targets for the Falcons last season.
Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans
In terms of offensive pace in 2020, the Texans (25.64 seconds) are the 13th-fastest team in the league in all game situations, while the Ravens (30.47) are the 5th-slowest. The Ravens ended last season as the slowest team in the league, but their offense was hyper-efficient along the way -- scoring plenty of touchdowns. In short, don't be too worried about the Ravens' slower pace; they are going to score.
With a 29.00 implied team total, the Ravens are implied for the most points on the slate, and this isn't anything new for them with Lamar Jackson ($9,500) at the helm. He is the most expensive quarterback on the slate and is also projected for the most FanDuel points (24.6) at the position.
After Jackson, the most consistent DFS option on this offense could be tight end Mark Andrews ($7,500), who had six targets and five receptions with two touchdowns in Week 1. Of those six targets, four came in the red zone, and that usage shouldn't be a surprise. Last season, Andrews led the team with 19 total red zone targets and 9 red zone touchdowns.
Wide receiver Marquise Brown ($6,200) had a big performance in Week 1, ending with 101 yards on 6 targets and 5 receptions. Brown and Andrews accounted for 52% of the team's target share, making them the top stacking options to pair with Jackson.
The running back situation for the Ravens is a bit of a mess and could be a spot to avoid entirely. Mark Ingram ($6,200), J.K. Dobbins ($5,700), and Gus Edwards ($4,600) all saw an offensive snap rate of 25% or higher. Ingram led the group with 10 carries, while Dobbins finished with 7 and Edwards with 4. Dobbins was able to find the end zone twice, both via the ground game. It should be noted that these three running backs didn't see a single target in the passing game.
The Texans are led by Deshaun Watson ($7,900), who is considerably cheaper than Jackson. Watson is projected for 19.9 FanDuel points and makes stacking this game a bit easier due to the savings he brings. The Texans are at home, but they are 7.0-point underdogs, which should put Watson in a spot to throw more often.
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks ($5,600) played on only 53% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and is still dealing with a quad injury. He had five targets in Week 1, which were the second-most on the team, but is questionable leading up to this game. Will Fuller ($6,100) paced the Texans in targets (10), receptions (8), and receiving yards (112) in their opener, showing he is the top passing option in their offense. Fuller has always been known for his downfield ability, and he is a great option to pair with Watson.
David Johnson ($7,200) led the charge in Houston's backfield, logging 81% of the snaps and 14 total touches, which he turned into 109 combined yards, and 1 touchdown. Johnson and Fuller are the ideal options from the Texans for stacking. Jordan Akins ($4,600) caught a touchdown in Week 1, but he had only one other target for the rest of the game. Proceed with caution if you roster him.
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts
The over/under is set at 48.5, and, according to oddsFire.com, 74% of the bets are on the over, while 83% of the money is also on the over. This is a strong sign and something we should always look for on a week-to-week basis.
After Week 1, the Vikings (22.48 seconds) were the 4th-fastest team in the league, while the Colts (27.82) were the 21st-fastest team in the league. On top of that, both teams had lackluster defensive efforts in Week 1 and should be strong matchups to attack again this week.
What should be noted to start is that new Colts' running back Jonathan Taylor ($5,800) is set to be one of the most popular players on the entire slate, but this game overall isn't projected to be very popular. Sticking with the Colts, quarterback Philip Rivers ($7,100) looked good but not great in his Week 1 debut. He posted a classic Rivers stat line with 46 passing attempts, 363 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions.
Rivers will have upside due to his passing volume, and hopefully, he funnels a good portion of those yards to wide receiver Parris Campbell ($5,300) who has a fantastic matchup. Last week, Campbell played on 61 total offensive snaps, 55 of which were from the slot. That is Part 1. Part 2 is the fact the Vikings allowed 14 targets last week to opposing slot receivers. Of those 14 targets, 13 resulted in receptions for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns. Considering his salary, Campbell has to be one of the top targets in this game.
Tight end Jack Doyle ($5,300) has been ruled out for this game, which means we should see Mo Alie-Cox ($4,000) as the starting tight end. He comes in at the minimum salary. And T.Y. Hilton ($6,300) is worth a look, too.
For the Vikings, their offense starts with wide receiver Adam Thielen ($7,300), who held a 35% target share in Week 1. The Colts allowed 38.4 FanDuel points to the Jacksonville Jaguars' wide receivers in Week 1, and you should be very confident in Thielen with this matchup.
The Colts gave up only 11.8 FanDuel points to running backs in Week 1, which was the fourth-fewest in the league. Of course, the Colts didn't face a running back near the caliber of Dalvin Cook ($8,800). Given his higher salary and the fact the Vikings are road underdogs, Cook profiles as an under-the-radar play.
Kirk Cousins ($7,400) had a solid performance in Week 1 with 22.76 FanDuel points, and that level of production is on the table again this week. The Colts' secondary got worked by Gardner Minshew for three touchdowns in Week 1, and it should excite you to stack Cousins with Thielen this week.