Week 5 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Week 5 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.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
While these two teams have combined for a single win this season, they present plenty of viable fantasy options and are lacking when it comes to the defensive side of things. On top of that, they are both sitting in the top 12 or higher in regards to the fastest teams in the league. The Texans are averaging 25.19 seconds per play in all game situations, which is the seventh-fastest in the league, according to Football Outsiders. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are averaging 26.44 seconds per play in all game situations, which is 12th in the league.
Starting off with the visiting Jaguars, quarterback Gardner Minshew ($7,200) isn't that expensive this week and has looked strong to start the season -- outside of the game against the Jacksonville Dolphins, where he posted only 10.2 FanDuel points. Besides that game, Minshew has had 20 FanDuel points or more in his other three games and at least 2 passing touchdowns in each game. Starting a game stack with Minshew will allow plenty of flexibility due to his lower salary this week.
Running back James Robinson ($6,600) is looking borderline great since taking over the starting job prior to the start of the season. He has 17 or more total touches in all four games, 90 or more combined yards in all four games, and a total of 3 touchdowns on the season. He is in a great spot since the Texans are allowing 29.4 FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs this season, the fifth-worst in the league. In theory, stacking Minshew and Robinson could allow you to capture all of the Jaguars' touchdowns in this game.
The receiving options for the Jaguars are all affordable -- it's just a matter of deciding on who to roster. Laviska Shenault ($5,300) is dealing with a hamstring injury, but he should be good to go for Sunday. He has the second-most targets (21) on the Jaguars and is seeing some involvement in the rushing game with the second-most carries (7) this season.
Keelan Cole ($5,400) has the most targets (22), the most receptions (19), and the second-most touchdowns (2) on the Jaguars, but is the second-most expensive wide receiver. Their most expensive wide receiver is D.J. Chark ($7,000), who has the fourth-most targets (17) but the most touchdowns (3). On a point-per-dollar basis, Cole is the better play over Chark.
The passing options for the Jaguars can easily be stacked with Minshew, which should leave you in a good spot to add a few options from the Texans to complete this game stack.
For the Texans, quarterback Deshaun Watson ($7,900) is the most expensive player in this game and is one of my favorite quarterback options on the entire slate. He comes in with two passing touchdowns in back-to-back games, has 18 FanDuel points or more in three of his four games this season, and is now freed from Bill O'Brien and his play-calling since he has been fired. On top of this, the Jaguars are allowing 21.1 FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks, the 13th-worst in the league.
This is the spot for a Watson ceiling game, and you should look to stack him with Will Fuller ($6,600), who leads the team in targets (23), target market share (18.85%), touchdowns (2), and red zone targets (3). To no one's surprise, Fuller also holds a 12.7 aDOT (Average Depth of Target), as has been his calling card for his entire career. This is the ideal pairing and maintains the highest upside stack on the Texans.
Brandin Cooks ($5,200) has posted over 10 FanDuel points only one time this season, but still has the second-most targets (17) and the second-most red zone targets (2) on the Texans. Cooks shouldn't be as popular as Fuller, which is always appealing when it comes to tournaments.
Tight end Jordan Akins ($4,800) left last week's game with a concussion but was back at practice today. His final status for Sunday's game hasn't been determined, and if he is unable to play, Darren Fells ($4,700) would see time at tight end. Fells would be a very inexpensive option to add to this game stack.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
A classic NFC South rivalry has another chapter this weekend and sports an over/under sitting at 54.5.
The Atlanta Falcons are hosting the Carolina Panthers this Sunday, and we are in a spot where we could see plenty of scoring back and forth, setting things up for a game stack. The Falcons have one of the worst defenses in the league, and that leads to them playing from behind in most cases -- leading to plenty of passing. In fact, the Falcons have the sixth-highest passing rate (63%) this season, according to SharpFootballStats. This leads to higher-scoring environments and an opportunity to capture those fantasy points via a game stack.
Let's start with the visiting Panthers, who looked great last week in a 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals. They were led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ($7,100), who posted his best game of the season with 27.24 FanDuel points -- coming from three total touchdowns. Hitting that level of production this week is very much on the table since the Falcons are allowing a league-worst 33.0 FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
The target distribution for the Panthers is relatively condensed, which makes things easier for stacking. Wide receivers Robby Anderson ($6,200) and D.J. Moore ($6,600) lead the team with 35 and 32 targets, respectively. They have only one touchdown between them this season, and considering they Falcons are allowing 32.9 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers, you can expect them to be in a great spot to increase that total.
Running back Mike Davis ($6,800) has filled the shoes of Christian McCaffrey nicely over the past two weeks, playing on 71% of the snaps or more in each game. Davis has also piled up exactly 21 total touches in each of these past two games and is primed for that role again. The 15 targets over the last two weeks are the most encouraging, showing he will be involved in the offense if the Panthers fall behind.
If you want to take a shot on tight end Ian Thomas ($4,700), you can grab savings along with a great matchup. The 22.5 FanDuel points per game the Falcons allow to tight ends is dead last in the league.
For the Falcons, they are dealing with a few injuries, so let's touch on those quickly. Wide receiver Julio Jones ($8,100) is dealing with a hamstring injury that caused him to leave Monday's game against the Green Bay Packers early. Jones will test that hamstring injury on Friday during some running drills, and his final status for the game is up in the air. Calvin Ridley ($8,300) was limited at practice on Thursday, and his status is also yet to be determined for this weekend.
If either of those players is out, we should see Russell Gage ($5,600) and Olamide Zaccheaus ($4,800) step into some targets in the passing offense. Last week against the Packers, Zaccheaus saw nine targets, while Gage saw only three targets. They are significantly cheaper compared to Jones and Ridley, which will ease roster construction overall.
Quarterback Matt Ryan ($7,700) got off to a hot start this season with 24.9 and 28.52 FanDuel points in his first two games. Since then, things have taken a turn with 12.4 and 12.42 FanDuel points. Even with these past two weeks, Ryan should still be in play this week due to his passing volume on a weekly basis -- he has 38 attempts or more in three of the four games this season.
Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
Seeing a total that high should have all fantasy players interested, due to the potential scoring that is set to take place and the upside it brings to your lineups. We know that the Chiefs have have an explosive offense, but their players come in with high salaries, which can impact roster construction overall. However, there are a few values options on the Raiders' side of the ball, where a game stack is feasible.
For the Chiefs, quarterback Patrick Mahomes ($9,000) is the most expensive player on the entire slate, but we know the multi-touchdown upside he brings every week. Mahomes has also torched the Raiders in his young career, averaging 298 yards per game, along with 2.75 touchdowns per contest.
The receiving options for the Chiefs are all very strong. Tight end Travis Kelce ($7,800) is leading the team in targets (35) and red zone targets (6) this season. The Raiders are allowing the third-fewest FanDuel points (5.1) per game to opposing tight ends this season, but they haven't played anyone near the caliber of Kelce.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill ($8,200) is the other obvious choice from the Chiefs -- he is first one the team in touchdowns (4), second in targets (30), and third in red zone targets (4). You might have to pick and choose between Kelce and Hill since stacking them uses a significant portion of your salary.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($7,900) is set to be one of the most popular players on the entire slate. The Chiefs are large home favorites, he is the bell cow back, has a role in the passing game, and can rack up over 20 total touches. Play him this week.
I mentioned value options on the Raiders, so let's take a look at some to help you round out this game stack with plenty of fantasy upside.
Tight end Darren Waller ($6,800) is by far the best option on the Raiders. Waller leads the team in targets (40), red zone targets (7), and is tied for third in touchdowns (1). If you are looking to have him in your lineups, it would essentially block you from playing Kelce -- since you shouldn't be looking to roster two tight ends. Just keep that in mind.
If Waller is too expensive, wide receiver Henry Ruggs ($5,300) could be an option worth considering. He is back at practice this week after missing the last two games with a leg issue. In the two games he did play, he held a 16.2 aDOT, which will offer the big-play potential in the passing game. Hunter Renfrow ($5,100) is also very affordable and comes in with the second-most targets (25) on the team, second-most red zone targets (5), and yes, the second-most touchdowns (2) to start the season.
It seems very clear to load up on whatever Chiefs' players you can afford in one lineup, then add in the value options from the Raiders to capture their positive game script.