Week 2 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Welcome to the Game Scripts to Target article for the 2021 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 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 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It shouldn't be a surprise to see this game on the list this week -- it simply makes too much sense. The Falcons' defense looked terrible in Week 1, and the Buccaneers' offense looked awesome in Week 1, giving us an ideal game to target. We have data from the Week 1 games, so we can start digging into those numbers. But it's a one-game sample size, so take it with a grain of salt.
Tampa Bay and Atlanta both ran 64 plays in Week 1, which were the 17th-most in the league. Tampa Bay averaged 23.58 seconds per play, which was the third-fastest. Atlanta averaged 26.29 seconds per play, which was the ninth-fastest. Two offenses in the top 10 in pace is great to see and sets us up for a fast, high-scoring game with plenty of fantasy production.
We'll start with the home Buccaneers, who have a slate-high 31.50 implied total. The Bucs posted 31 points in the season opener, seemingly not losing a step after last season.
Quarterback Tom Brady ($8,200) should be the chalkier of the two gunslingers in this game, and his 29 FanDuel points from 379 yards and 4 touchdowns in Week 1 is what we could see again. The Falcons allowed 28.3 FanDuel points to Jalen Hurts in Week 1, which was the seventh-most any team allowed to a quarterback.
Brady is an elite option this week, but who should we stack with him? That is the question we are all asking since there are legitimately four good receiving options to choose from in the Buccaneers' offense. Chris Godwin ($8,000), Mike Evans ($6,700), Antonio Brown ($6,400), and Rob Gronkowski ($5,800) are legitimate fantasy options for a game stack.
Brown played on 64% of the snaps in Week 1, had the third-most (7) targets on the team, posted a 20.6 average depth of target (aDOT), and ended with 21.2 FanDuel points. It was an amazing game from him, but the lower snap count is a bit concerning compared to the other receivers. With that said, AB always has big-play potential and should be a welcome addition to any game stack.
Godwin played on a team-high 98% of the snaps in Week 1, had a team-high (13) in targets, had an 8.08 aDOT, and ended with 19.0 FanDuel points. Godwin also led the team with four red-zone targets. Consistency, consistency, consistency. That's what we get from Godwin and you should have full confidence in stacking him with Brady.
Gronkowski was in on 88% of the snaps, had the second-most (8) targets, had two red-zone targets, and two touchdowns for a total of 25 FanDuel points. The Brady-to-Gronk connection continues for another season, but 90 yards and 2 touchdowns from Gronk is likely a ceiling game for him.
Evans played on 94% of the snaps in Week 1, had the fourth-most (6) targets, had a 7.7 aDOT, and ended with a meager 3.9 FanDuel points. Of course, we'd like to see more from Evans, and given the options in the Bucs' offense, it almost seems as if it will be a coin flip on which pass-catcher has the hot hand. Some DFS players will see the big game from Brown or the consistency from Godwin and decide to go there for a stack. I totally get that. However -- and it's a big however -- if that is the case, Evans could be the clear contrarian stacking option.
Going with Evans still gives you a great matchup but can help you pivot off of the chalkier players in a Buccaneers' stack. Ultimately, if Evans ended up having a monster game versus the Falcons, would any of us be surprised? Godwin, Evans, Brown and Gronkowski is the order I'm targeting the Bucs' pass-game piece this week.
When it comes to the backfield for the Bucs, we are presented with another interesting situation. By interesting I mean we have been told one thing, and we have no idea if it's going to stay true. That would be the fact Bruce Arians announced Ronald Jones ($5,300) is going to be the starter against the Falcons. Jones didn't do anything in Week 1, and his backfield partner, Leonard Fournette ($5,900), did just a bit more. But in the grand scheme of things, it was nothing notable.
Truthfully, I have no interest in the Bucs' backfield. Arians makes up his mind, changes it, and then changes it again. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
On the Falcons' side of things, Matt Ryan ($6,700) looked bleh in Week 1. If there was a visual definition of "bleh," it would just direct you to Ryan's performance in Week 1. He totaled an uninspiring 164 yards, no touchdowns, and 7.36 FanDuel points. Historically, Ryan has been a quarterback who could put up 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in a loss, which would be the ideal outcome in this game.
The Buccaneers allowed 28.4 FanDuel points to Dak Prescott in Week 1, and if you buy into this game hitting the over, Ryan would likely have a nice outing. I'm not starting my game stacks with Ryan, but I'll grab a few shares since he is under $7,000.
This means we should see Brady, two of his pass-catchers and one of the options on the Falcons as the chalk game stack when people target this game. The options from the Falcons would be wide receiver Calvin Ridley ($7,700) and tight end Kyle Pitts ($5,500).
Ridley was tied for a team-high in targets (9) and also had a team-high aDOT (10.9). He ran routes on 97.4% of passing plays but ended with only 7.6 FanDuel points. It was a slow start for the new number-one wide receiver in Atlanta, but given what we saw from the Bucs' secondary in Week 1, Ridley has a chance to get back on track in this game.
Pitts also had nine targets in Week 1, had a modest 6.7 aDOT, and ran routes on 78.9% of passing plays. Pitts was super chalky last week and underwhelmed a bit, but his overall involvement in the Falcons' offense is very encouraging. You should look to add him in a game stack. Ridley is the ideal bring-back stack, but he should also be the chalk option. Pitts is lower in salary and will likely be less popular.
The secondary options from the Falcons -- Mike Davis ($5,500), Hayden Hurst ($4,800), or Cordarrelle Patterson ($5,200) -- are not options I'm considering since their path to fantasy production is slim.
Brady plus two of his pass-catchers with a bring-back of Ridley/Pitts is the core game stack I want from this contest.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers
Any time we see a game total this high, we know the masses will be flocking here to get some tournament stacks, and the offensive equity is too good to pass up. The Chargers ran 78 plays last week, which was the fourth-most in the league, while the Cowboys ran 77 plays, which was the fifth-most. The Chargers averaged 27.04 seconds per play, which was the 11th-fastest. The Cowboys averaged 25.21 seconds per play, which was the seventh-fastest. Absolutely perfect. Another game with two teams who play pretty fast and run a good amount of plays.
The Chargers are led by quarterback Justin Herbert ($7,600), who had a modest start to the season with only 14.38 FanDuel points in Week 1. Despite the middle-of-the-road fantasy points, Herbert threw for 337 yards and had 47 passing attempts, which is very encouraging to see and will give him a high ceiling, as we saw last season.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen ($7,400) totaled 13 targets, 4 red-zone looks, 9 receptions, 100 yards, but no touchdowns on his way to 14.5 FanDuel points. Allen has been as consistent of a fantasy wide receiver as you could dream of since Herbert took the reins, and stacking him with Herbert is a go-to option most weeks.
Mike Williams ($5,600) was a pleasant surprise in Week 1, notching 12 targets, 8 receptions, 82 yards, and 1 touchdown for a total of 18.2 FanDuel points. We also saw him have a team-high 9.1 aDOT, a good indication of things to come in the Chargers' passing attack, which is now led by offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. Considering the success Antonio Brown had against the Cowboys' secondary last week, this is looking like the ideal matchup for Williams. He's a player I'm prioritizing in all formats -- in this game stack and in any lineup.
Tight end Jared Cook ($5,400) played on only 58% of the snaps last week, ran a route on 59.2% of passing attempts, piled up 8 targets, 5 receptions, and 56 yards in his Chargers debut. With some uncertainty around the Cowboys' linebackers and the production we saw from Gronkowski last week, Cook is a great addition to a game stack. Also, he shouldn't be as popular as Allen or Williams, providing a slight pivot.
Jalen Guyton ($4,800) played on 65% of the offensive snaps last week, ran a route on 71.4% of passing attempts, and had 5 targets. His role isn't massive, so he falls into dart-throw territory.
Austin Ekeler ($7.000) played on just 58% of the snaps last week, didn't have any targets out of the backfield, and ended with 11.7 FanDuel points. Ekeler was dealing with a hamstring issue early in the week, but he started the game and had 15 rushing attempts. Ekeler still has plenty of talent, and his lack of a pass-catching role in one game shouldn't have you turning and running away. If you want to get more shares of Allen or Williams in this game stack ahead of Ekeler, that is fine, but Ekeler is still a guy you need exposure to.
A Herbert-Allen-Williams stack may be the most popular pairing for the Chargers. You could look to be different with Herber-Ekeler and one of Allen or Williams. You could go even further by going Herbert-Williams-Cook.
When we move onto the Cowboys, we are presented with another set of fantasy options -- all with their own paths to production.
Dak Prescott ($8,000) showed no signs of rust in Week 1, when he went for 28.42 FanDuel points via 403 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Dak is back, and the floor and ceiling of fantasy points he brings to any lineup is something you should always consider trying to roster. He attempted 58 passes in Week 1, which is no doubt a ton, but that level is something he could reach again in a game with a 55.5-point over/under, especially if Dallas gets behind.
Of course, Amari Cooper ($7,800) and CeeDee Lamb ($6,800) are the top options for the Cowboys' passing game and are both great picks this week. But we also have to consider Cedrick Wilson ($4,900), who played on 40% of the offensive snaps last week and ran a route on 33.9% of passing attempts. While his role isn't fully defined, he is primed to step into the passing game and have more opportunities sans Gallup.
When it comes to deciding between Cooper and Lamb, we're legitimately splitting hairs. Cooper had 17 targets, 13 receptions, 139 yards, and 2 touchdowns in Week 1. Lamb had 15 targets, 7, receptions, 104 yards, and 1 touchdown in the opener. Cooper had an 8.1 aDOT, while Lamb had an 11.0 aDOT.
They are both legitimately fantastic options this week, and it truly only comes down to how much salary you have available. Given Lamb's lower salary, he'll likely be more popular than Cooper.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the masses pass on rostering Ezekiel Elliott ($7,500) after Zeke's dud in an island game in Week 1. This means that Elliott is likely the leverage play within this game stack, something that can always be beneficial in tournaments.
Rostering Dalton Schultz ($4,800) or Tony Pollard ($4,800) seems like trying too hard to be different. As Paul Rudd's character said in Forgetting Sarah Marshall during the surfing scene, do less. Stick with the primary offensive options here and roster players with consistent paths to fantasy upside.
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks
Another game, another massive over/under, with this one sitting at 54.5 points.
All three of these games are in the late window, so wherever you see your lineups at the start of the day, don't get too comfortable -- we are in for plenty of scoring late in the slate.
With the Tennessee Titans-Seattle Seahawks matchup, we have two similar teams. This should make things very easy to break down for a game stack. Both teams are in the top half of the league -- Titans 5th and Seahawks 15th -- in terms of seconds per play, providing another strong environment for fantasy production.
The Seahawks are led by Russell Wilson ($8,500), with a supporting cast of Chris Carson($6,700), Tyler Locket ($7,200), and D.K. Metcalf ($7,000). The Titans are spearheaded by Ryan Tannehill ($7,300), with Derrick Henry ($8,000), A.J. Brown ($7,100), and Julio Jone ($6,300) as the supporting cast.
Two teams with a clear dominant running back and two viable fantasy receivers. Ultimately, I'm expecting the Seahawks to be a bit more popular considering they have a 30.50 implied total, which is the second-highest on the slate, and are 6.5-point home favorites.
That provides us a chance to go against the grain with a game stack led by the Titans. Stacking Tannehill with both of his top wideouts and then running it back with Lockett or Metcalf is a very viable game stack.
Lockett had a big performance in Week 1, but what is overlooked is the fact both Lockett and Metcalf had five targets. Their snap counts and routes run are nearly identical, so it's a pick-your-preference situation.
The difference between Brown and Jones was somewhat noticeable in terms of routes run in Week 1 but not in snap count. Brown ran a route on 90.2% of passing plays, while Jones was at 78.0%. This could be due to the fact Brown already has a sturdy connection with Tannehill, something Jones hasn't been able to develop yet. I noted this last week, and it could continue to be a storyline as the season goes on.
Let's be clear -- Jones still has plenty of upside in this matchup and for the season overall. This may be an opportunity to roster Jones when he is being overlooked.
Overall, this game is very straightforward in terms of the options on each side. Using Tannehill over Wilson in game stacks could be a big leverage play in tournaments.