Week 15 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
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.
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
That total is tied for the highest on the slate, and given the offensive options on both sides, this should be a popular game stack in Week 15. The one injury absence we need to note for this game is Saints' wide receiver Michael Thomas ($7,000), who has been ruled out.
Let's start with the visiting Chiefs, who are coming off an exciting win over the Miami Dolphins and continue to be a great source of fantasy points. Patrick Mahomes ($8,900) looked mortal by throwing 3 interceptions last time out but still managed to post 21.62 FanDuel points via 393 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not to mention he did all of that on only 34 passing attempts, which were his fewest in the past seven games.
Without a doubt, Mahomes has the higher ceiling compared to Saints' quarterback, Drew Brees ($7,500). Yes, Brees is back this week, and hopefully he provides a boost to the Saints' passing offense. However, as you can see, Mahomes is considerably more expensive than Brees, and the stacking options for the Chiefs are also very expensive. Regardless, going to Mahomes and company can be done with an 11-game slate and plenty of value options.
The two top options to stack with Mahomes are wide receiver Tyreek Hill ($9,300) and tight end Travis Kelce ($8,500). The upside a triple-stack brings is undeniable, but it would cost you $26,700 in total -- or 45% of your total salary cap. Yikes. That would leave you with an average of $5.5K per player remaining, but again, there are enough value options on the slate to do this if you want.
Hill and Kelce account for 49.2% of the Chiefs' total target share along with 51.29% of KC's total red zone targets this season. Those are the highest equity touches for the Chiefs, and you want to grab as much of that as possible via stacking.
That's it for the Chiefs. Really, that's it. The role players of Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($6,400), Sammy Watkins ($5,600), and Mecole Hardman ($5,400) are all far too inconsistent. We know where the targets are going -- stick with Kelce and Hill.
For the Saints, as mentioned above, Brees doesn't have the same ceiling as Mahomes, but he shouldn't be as popular. Using Brees does make stacking this game much easier due to the savings he offers, but I'd only use him if you were going with multiple lineups around this game stack. If you are going with just one, Mahomes is the guy.
The real question is -- who from the Saints do you add to your lineup to round out the game stack? Who can you afford? Who has the easiest path to fantasy points?
Running back Alvin Kamara ($7,800) is the clear number-one option in this game for the Saints now that Thomas is out. But adding yet another player over $7K is really going to eat up a good portion of your total salary. With Thomas out, Emmanuel Sanders ($5,500) should become a popular play and is the de facto number-one wide receiver for the Saints, so you could go there.
Trying to jam in Kamara brings the most upside, but Sanders offers some savings. The Chiefs are allowing 25.2 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers, which is the second-fewest in the league. The Chiefs are allowing 21.2 FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs, which is the 10th-most in the league. Kamara has an easier matchup, but he is more expensive, which makes an already tough roster construction even tougher.
It's hard to say, but that's really it for the Saints. Both of these teams have very condensed offensive usage, and that is where you want to be looking for fantasy points. I can understand an argument for tight end Jared Cook ($5,600) since he has an affordable salary and shouldn't be as popular as the other two options. But I probably won't go there.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
This AFC South matchup sees the total coming in at 51.5, which is the second-highest on the slate.
The Houston Texans are on the road to take on the Indianapolis Colts, and this appears to be a very easy game to stack. The most expensive player in the game is Deshaun Watson ($8,100), so there is plenty of flexibility to roster multiple pieces from this game and capture a good portion of the offensive production.
There are only two real injuries to note, both from the Texans. Running back David Johnson ($5,900) is set to play after being on the COVID list last week. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks ($6,600) is also set to return after sitting a week ago.
Last week against the Chicago Bears, Watson had a very modest game with only 16 FanDuel points, coming from just 30 passing attempts. The rushing game also struggled, and it led to them scoring a total of seven points. The Texans come in as 7.5-point underdogs, which should lead to a good amount of passing attempts for Watson.
Cooks should continue to be the top wide receiver in the passing game, as is shown by his team-high 21.01% target share. Keke Coutee ($5,900) has seen an increased role after Will Fuller was suspended for the season. In the two games since Fuller has been suspended, Coutee has a total of 12 targets, which are the second-highest on the team.
The team leaders in targets over the past two weeks has been Chad Hansen ($5,600), who has 14 targets, 12 receptions, and 157 yards. It's safe to assume Hansen will now be the third wideout with Cooks back, but all three are easily affordable.
David Johnson could easily see his normal 15 to 20 touches, but he rarely goes past that. The Colts are allowing the 12th fewest (19.6) FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs, so it's not a great matchup, but it's not the worst. There's also a chance DeForest Buckner is out for this game. Derrick Henry went nuclear on the Colts the last time Buckner sat.
A Watson-Cooks/Coutee-Johnson stack could account for the majority of Houston's production and shouldn't be too popular.
On the Colts' side of things, Philip Rivers ($7,100) has been very consistent in recent weeks, but he doesn't have a massive ceiling of points. Over his last five games, he has scored 16 or more FanDuel points in each game but hasn't been higher than 22 FanDuel points. He is a good-but-not-great option. That's the easiest way to put it.
The real player to target on the Colts is running back Jonathan Taylor ($7,400), who is looking like a stud in recent weeks. Taylor has piled up 90 or more rushing yards in each of his last three games and at least 16 total touches in each game, which has been good for 13.4, 21.0, and 29.5 FanDuel points. On top of that, the Texans are allowing 28.1 FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs, which is the second-most in the league. This is a definition of a smash spot for Taylor, so, yeah, roster him this week.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton ($6,800) has re-emerged from the grave in recent weeks and actually looks like a viable fantasy option for the Colts. Over the past three games, Hilton has a total of 277 yards and 4 touchdowns. In the nine games prior to that, he had a total of 327 yards and no touchdowns. Straight Undertaker Coffin GIF status right there. And, as you can probably guess, the Texans are bad against wide receivers -- allowing the 10th-most (32.5) FanDuel points per game to them.
Rookie Michael Pittman Jr. ($5,500) has seen at least five targets in five of his last six games but has posted more than 10 FanDuel points only twice in that time. The opportunity is certainly there -- along with the matchup -- just know he has a wide range of outcomes. The Colts' tight ends are a mess and not a good target for stacks.
A Colts' stack could look like Rivers-Taylor-Hilton while still having plenty of salary to run it back with Cooks or Coutee.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
This classic NFC South rivalry adds another chapter this weekend, and it's boasting a 49.5 over/under. There are two injuries to note -- Falcons' wide receiver Julio Jones is out, and Buccaneers' running back Ronald Jones is out.
With Jones being out, Calvin Ridley ($8,400) should be a popular play this week and is worth considering in all formats. Ridley has nine or more targets in four straight games, more than 100 yards in back-to-back games, and 2 touchdowns in this span. He has a very high ceiling, which should be on display this week versus a Bucs secondary that is allowing the 12th-most (31.3) FanDuel points per game to wide receivers.
Russell Gage ($5,700) becomes a bit of a value play with Julio out. Gage isn't a priority in this game and won't be nearly as popular as Ridley is. There have been a total of 12 targets for Gage in the past two games Julio has missed.
If you can trust Matt Ryan ($7,400) this week after he has posted fewer than 15 FanDuel points in each of his last four games, you are a braver man than I.
I'm almost strictly looking to start this game stack with Bucs quarterback Tom Brady ($7,900) while using the Falcons' offensive options to complete the game stack.
As mentioned above, running back Ronald Jones is out for the Buccaneers, so we should see Leonard Fournette ($5,500) get the start. Again, if you play Fournette, you are braver than I am. I have no interest in using Fournette or really anyone from the Bucs' backfield. The pass catchers from the Bucs is where I want to focus my stacks, and there are plenty of options.
Last week, Brady attempted only 23 passes and threw for just 196 yards. This means that no one receiver truly had a big game since the volume simply wasn't there for them. I almost want to throw that game away, because it's weird to see a player like Godwin go from having at least six targets in every single game he's played to only three looks.
Godwin and Evans have the most consistency but are also the most expensive, which impacts your roster construction. Essentially, whoever you end up stacking from the Bucs, you need to have the salary left to pay up for Ridley from the Falcons. He brings the most offensive equity for them, and that is what will give you the upside.
A stack of Brady-Godwin-Gronkowski-Ridley gives you access to the passing production on both sides. While going with Brady-Evans-Brown-Gage would help to make your lineup a bit different.