Week 4 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Week 4 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.
Update: The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots game has been postponed and is expected to be played on Monday or Tuesday. Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play this week.
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are making an appearance in this piece for the third straight week, and it could be a bit of a trend moving forward. They have a great offense with plenty of options. They are letting up a ton of points on defense. They play at a very fast pace. This is the holy trinity when it comes to finding game scripts to target for tournaments in DFS. Speaking of pace, the Cowboys are averaging 19.88 seconds per play in all game situations, which is the fastest in the league, according to Football Outsiders. In situation neutral games, the Cowboys -- 22.55 seconds per play -- are still the fastest team in the league.
On the Cleveland side of things, they are averaging 28.45 seconds per play in all game situations, which is 25th in the league. However, when they are in situation neutral games, they jump up to 15th in the league. This is a good sign, as it shows they can pick up the pace and get more plays off when it's needed. This should set things up for plenty of plays and scoring, which is what we are seeking.
For the Cowboys, Dak Prescott ($8,200) is coming off another massive game where he posted 29.48 FanDuel points from 472 yards and 3 passing touchdowns on a staggering 57 passing attempts. This is fantastic to see since the volume of pass attempts will allow Prescott to access his ceiling every week. Starting your game stacks with Dak will always be a strong decision.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000) is coming off his worst game of the season, where he only posted 14.8 FanDuel points. Of course, we are only three games into the season, so take that production with a grain of salt. What is encouraging about Zeke's numbers from last week was the fact that he had 12 targets -- his season-high -- which were tied for the most on the Cowboys. The Browns are allowing only 17.7 FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs, which is the eighth-fewest in the league. A slightly tougher matchup for Zeke doesn't make him a "must-play" in this situation.
The passing game for the Cowboys is where you want to target upside since the Browns are significantly worse against the pass. They are allowing 35.4 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers, which is the sixth-worst in the league. This is the spot to target via a stack.
Amari Cooper ($7,100) leads the team with 35 targets through three games but has yet to find the end zone. Michael Gallup ($5,900) and CeeDee Lamb ($5,600) are tied with 21 targets so far, but only Gallup has found the end zone this season. If you leave Zeke out of the Cowboys' side of this game stack, it's not overly expensive. It should also be mentioned that tight end Dalton Schultz ($4,900) has 16 targets in the past two weeks, leads the team with 4 red zone targets, and pulled in a touchdown this season.
For the Browns, it doesn't set up for them to be in a spot for a ton of rushing attempts, but we still need to touch on their backfield quickly. Nick Chubb ($8,300) is expensive for a running back on the road, specifically one who doesn't see a ton of work in the passing game -- he only has three targets on the entire season. However, Kareem Hunt ($5,900), who has 11 targets this season, is dealing with a groin injury and didn't practice Thursday. Even though Hunt doesn't play a big role in the passing game normally, he could see more work if Hunt isn't able to play.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield ($7,000) is very affordable and can be easily stacked with his receivers, but he hasn't shown much of an upside this season. He has yet to throw for over 300 yards or 3 touchdowns, and his season-high is only 16.26 FanDuel points. This game scrip could force the Browns into more passing, but you can capture those fantasy points via their wide receivers.
Speaking of wide receivers, Odell Beckham ($6,600) leads the team with 26 targets, which is 12 more than the next receiver. He is the clear number one option for the Browns and is in a spot for a ceiling game, as the Cowboys are allowing 41.2 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers, which is the second-most in the league.
Jarvis Landry ($5,700) is also firmly in play this week -- second on the Browns with 14 targets -- as an addition to this game stack due to his affordable salary. He has yet to make a huge impact this season, but the matchup and game scrip are too good to pass up. The same can be said for Austin Hooper ($5,100), who has yet to record more than five FanDuel points this season but is in a good matchup.
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
A high over/under of 51.0 and a 3.0-point spread should give us another strong game script to target for a stack this week.
The Arizona Cardinals are traveling across the country for an early start and still come in as 3.0-point favorites against the Carolina Panthers. Overall, this game appears to be very easy for a game stack since there aren't too many expensive options, and lineup construction should be easier overall.
Let's start there, the expensive options. Cardinals' wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins ($8,700) is dealing with an ankle injury and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday's open portion of practice. Hopefully, these are just maintenance days for him, since this is an awesome matchup to attack. The Panthers are allowing 26.8 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers, and we saw every bit of that last week. Los Angeles Chargers' wide receiver Keenan Allen posted 13 catches, 132 yards, and 1 touchdown against them last week. So yeah, we want Hopkins to play this Sunday.
Quarterback Kyler Murray ($8,400) is the higher upside choice among the two starters in this game and a great spot to start a game stack. He has 35 passing attempts or more in every game this season, as well as 4 passing touchdowns and 4 rushing touchdowns -- that has led to at least 24.7 FanDuel points or more in every game.
Last week, wide receiver Christian Kirk ($5,400) was out due to a groin injury but has been back at practice this week. His status isn't confirmed either way for this game. In his place last week, we saw Andy Isabella ($5,000) finally become a thing in the Cardinals' offense. He ended with 18.1 FanDuel points from 47 yards, 4 receptions, and 2 touchdowns. If Hopkins or Kirk are out again this week, Isabella could be an option again -- at a very affordable salary.
For their running backs, Kenyan Drake ($7,000) is the clear number one option, playing on 67.9% of the snaps this season, compared to only 33.9% for Chase Edmonds ($5,300). However, Edmonds has 11 targets on the year, compared to only 5 targets for Drake. If this game doesn't allow the Cardinals to run the ball, Edmonds could be a deeper tournament option.
For the Panthers, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ($6,800) is the lower-upside option among the two quarterbacks in this game and has yet to surpass the 20-FanDuel point threshold this season. Starting a game stack with the Cardinals and running it back with the receiving options for the Panthers appears to be the best course of action.
Running back Mike Davis ($6,300) has taken over the starting job with Christian McCaffrey out due to an ankle injury. In the past two games, Davis has seen 17 targets, which is very encouraging, given the potential for scoring in this game. If the Panthers fall behind, Davis should see plenty of work. If the Panthers are ahead, his 13 carries from last week point to him continuing to have a role in the offense.
Wide receivers D.J. Moore ($6,800) and Robby Anderson ($6,200) are tied for the team lead in targets (25), but only Anderson has a touchdown (1) this season. Anderson also takes a step ahead in red zone targets with five, compared to only one for Moore. If the Panthers fall behind in this game, they both have strong upside at their affordable salaries.
New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions
With an over/under sitting at 54.0, there are plenty of points expected to be scored in this game -- and it shouldn't be nearly as popular in tournaments compared to other games on the slate. On top of that, 76% of the bets are on the over, along with 79% of the money, according to oddsFire.com. This is a good sign and should point to a good spot for fantasy points. On top of that, both teams are in the top half of the league -- Detroit at 11th, New Orleans at 15th -- when it comes to fastest teams based on average seconds per play.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford ($7,200) is the cover boy on this article for a reason. He is one of my favorite tournament options this week and it's for a variety of reasons. First off, he comes in projected for 19.7 FanDuel points, which is the fourth-best value at quarterback this week. He has 31 pass attempts or more in all three games this season and has posted 17-plus FanDuel points or more in each contest. On top of that, the Saints are allowing the fifth-most (22.9) FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Stafford has been consistent, has upside if this game turns into a shootout, and just got his number one wide receiver back last week. Who is that receiver? It's none other than Kenny Golladay ($7,300), who posted 14.7 FanDuel points in his first game of the season from 57 yards, 5 receptions, and 1 touchdown -- a good start to the season after missing the first two games, and it can get even better. Top cornerback for the Saints, Marshon Lattimore, is dealing with a hamstring injury and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday.
If this were Twitter, this would be the spot where I'd use the Rocket Ship emoji to describe Golladay's stock this week. He has multi-touchdown potential and should start his ascent to the target share leader for the Lions.
In the first two weeks, when Golladay didn't play, tight end T.J. Hockenson ($5,400) and wide receiver Marvin Jones ($6,000) were tied for the team lead with 18 targets. They are both affordable and should be less popular compared to Golladay. Frankly, stacking the Lions' receivers this week is affordable and leaves you plenty of salary space to run it back with some of the options on the Saints.
The news for the Saints this week is surrounding wide receiver Michael Thomas ($8,800), who was on track to play, but his ankle injury is still an issue, and his final status is yet to be determined. If he is out again, Alvin Kamara ($8,800) could be the lock of the slate after posting 33 and 38 FanDuel points in his last two games when Thomas was out.
Kamara had 14 targets and 6 rushing attempts in Week 3, with 9 targets and 13 rushing attempts in Week 2. No other player in the Saints' offense saw double-digit targets in either of those games, making Kamara a very clear player to trust.
In recent weeks, there has been plenty of talk surrounding Drew Brees ($7,700), his arm strength, and his ability -- or inability -- to throw the ball downfield. Brees currently ranks 33rd (3.9 yards) this season in completed air yards per completion (CAY/Cmp), according to ProFootballReference. In all honesty, I have no interest in looking to this game stack with Brees as a key player in it. The options on the Lions are cheaper, and you can capture a significant portion of the Saints' offensive production by going to Kamara and Thomas -- if the latter plays.