Week 3 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.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs lead the slate with a 30.50 implied team total, and the Chargers are sitting at 24.00. That puts us in a spot where we should be seeing several touchdowns throughout the game. It's clear the Chiefs' offense is as elite as it's ever been, but what's also clear is that they are still struggling on defense. After allowing 29 points in Week 1 to the Cleveland Browns and 36 points in Week 2 to the Baltimore Ravens, the Chiefs could be a recurring team in this piece since every game is primed for tons of scoring.
The Chiefs' defense is in the bottom 11 of the league or worse when it comes to the most FanDuel points allowed per game to quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends. They also sit right around the league average when it comes to the most FanDuel points allowed per game to wide receivers, so that is not a spot to be concerned about either.
We'll start with the visiting Chargers, who are led by quarterback Justin Herbert ($7,500). It has been a bit of a slow start for Herbert, who only has two touchdowns through the first two weeks. He still has posted over 337 and 338 passing yards in the first two games, though, with 47 and 41 passing attempts respectively. The overall volume for Herbert is fantastic, and the touchdowns will catch up. That could certainly come this week, as the game total (54.5) is indicating.
Herbert's upside we saw last season will continue to be there, and when it comes to stacking the offensive options around him, there is a myriad of choices. Wide receivers Keenan Allen ($6,900) and Mike Williams ($6,000) are obvious choices. They have a 24.4% and a 25.6% target market share, respectively. Allen has over 100 yards in each of the first two games, has 4 red-zone targets, but no touchdowns so far. This could be the week he finds his way into the endzone. Willams has been electric to start the season with 10+ targets, 7+ receptions, 82+ yards, and a touchdown in each of the first two games.
I'm anticipating a game stack led by the Chiefs is the chalkier option, which would make a Herbert/Allen/Williams stack a solid pivot and starting point for this game.
The Chargers' options don't stop there. You can also consider Austin Ekeler ($7,000) as a strong stacking option due to the fact the Chiefs are allowing 29.9 FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs -- the third-worst mark in the league. After seeing zero targets in Week 1, Ekeler finished with nine targets in Week 2. He has the potential for 20+ total touches and his role is game-script proof in most situations.
Tight end Jared Cook ($5,300) has a 15.1% market share of targets, which is the third-highest on the team, making him a secondary option. The Chiefs allow the 11th-most FanDuel points per game (12.6) to opposing tight ends. You shouldn't anticipate 20+ FanDuel points from him, but a line of 4/60/1 is certainly a reasonable outcome this week.
Stacking Herbert with Allen and Williams presents massive upside in this potential game script. Stacking Herbert with Ekeler instead is a way to be a bit different or save some salary. Salary will be needed to include a Chief on the other side.
When it comes to Kansas City's side, Patrick Mahomes ($8,700) is good at football. Like really good. I know, breaking news over here. There's really no other way to put it, though, as Mahomes has a massive ceiling of points anytime he is on the field. He comes with a salary to prove it.
The same can be said about both Travis Kelce ($8,500) and Tyreek Hill ($8,700), who combine to make up 59.8% of the Chiefs' target market. They have one of the most condensed passing offenses in the league, and the challenge becomes how you can afford them all in one lineup while still being able to run it back with a primary option from the Chargers.
This is where someone might say, "What about Mecole Hardman ($5,400) or Byron Pringle ($4,900) or Demarcus Robinson ($4,700)? They had good games last week and caught a few touchdowns." Realistically, those players will always have a few games like that each year, but they are truly not consistent options on a week-to-week basis.
Stacking Mahomes/Kelce/Hill with Mike Williams -- the lower-salary Chargers' pass-catcher -- leaves you with an average of $5,620 per player remaining. You can look to save some money on defense, and then you should be in a spot to round out a solid lineup with upside.
Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
Whenever you see a game total of 55.5, your eyes should light up in fantasy football. Both teams are struggling on defense to start the season while having plenty of viable options on offense. Both teams are represented in the top 13 teams of the league when it comes to average seconds per play this season. This should help enable a strong fantasy environment with plenty of upside and scoring.
Seattle is led by Russell Wilson ($8,400), who is off to another strong start this year with 23 and 27 FanDuel points in the first two games. He's one of the highest-salaried quarterbacks on the slate, but well worth the price of admission. The Vikings are allowing 26.9 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks, which is the fourth-worst in the league.
To say this is a potential eruption spot for Tyler Lockett ($8,000) and D.K. Metcalf ($7,200) would be selling them short. The Vikings' secondary is allowing a staggering 46.1 FanDuel points per game to opposing receivers to start the season, which is the second-worst in the league. They've allowed 473 yards and 5 touchdowns to start the season and are shaping up to be a team we target each and every week.
Locket and Metcalf account for nearly 60% of the Seahawks' target markets, which is essentially what we saw last season. Realistically, they are the only two pass-catching options you should be considering from the Seahawks. They are the only ones that have a clear path to fantasy upside. Freddie Swain ($5,000), Gerald Everett ($5,000), and Will Dissly ($4,200) have no real fantasy merit.
The largest question for the Seahawks is if you should roster running back Chris Carson ($7,700) -- the clear bell cow for the team. He has played 70.5% of the snaps so far this season with no other running back on the team over 15.0%. Of course, Carson has a limited role in the passing game, but his overall volume will always make him a viable fantasy option.
If you stack Wilson, Carson, and one of Lockett or Metcalf, you have the potential to account for 100% of the Seahawks' offensive touchdowns. It's an elite DFS stack and is a great start to any tournament lineup.
With the Vikings, Kirk Cousins ($7,700) has also been off to a strong start this season and is probably going to go overlooked due to some amount of bias that he isn't as "good" as Wilson on the other side. Cousins, though, is not far behind Wilson with 22 and 25 FanDuel points to start the season. Cousins is $700 less in salary this week, too.
I'm fully advocating for starting this game stack with Cousins and the Vikings' offensive options, then running it back with Lockett or Metcalf. This should be the less popular option, creating a nice pivot away from the chalk while still maintaining plenty of fantasy upside.
We all saw the Seahawks get torched on the ground last week by Derrick Henry for 35 carries, 182 yards, and 3 touchdowns. This has caused the Seahawks to allow 37.5 FanDuel points per game to running backs -- last in the league. That might not actually be a glaring weakness as a result. Jonathan Taylor went for just 56 yards against the Seahawks in Week 1 on the ground. Taylor did add 6 catches and 60 yards through the air, though, for a total of 14.6 FanDuel points.
The Seahawks' run defense appears to be terrible, but it could be too early to tell. This is relevant since we could be considering Dalvin Cook ($9,500) as an option for this game stack. Cook is dealing with an ankle injury and is officially listed as questionable for this game. To say I'm hesitant to add Cook this weekend -- even if he does play -- would be an understatement.
Jefferson leads the team with 19 targets, Thielen has 17 targets, and Osborn has 15 targets. While their salaries may suggest Thielen and Jefferson are the clear top options for the Vikings, Osborn plays a significant role in the passing game and is far cheaper compared to them. Osborn has played on 70.4% of the snaps this season and run a route on 81.4% of passing plays, which shows he is fully integrated into their offensive plans.
Osborn is a clear value option that can help facilitate roster construction in a game stack where there aren't a ton of value options. A Cousins/Jefferson or Thielen/Osborn stack with one of Lockett/Metcalf presents plenty of upside while leaving enough roster flexibility for other players.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
Two teams that are 0-2 -- exciting!
At face value, the Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants game doesn't move the needle because these are two "bad" teams. I get it, we have a full slate of games, there are plenty of other options...do we really need to look here?
While the options might not jump off the page, there's plenty of fantasy value to be found here since the defenses on both sides are so bad.
The conversation starts with Daniel Jones ($7,400), who has been good...no great?... to start the year. Jones is the QB5 in fantasy football right now and has posted 21 and 29 FanDuel points in his first two games. His added rushing value is always great for fantasy production, and he is only $7,400 this week. All of that should continue this week since the Falcons are allowing a league-worst 29.1 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks.
Sterling Shepard ($6,400) has emerged as the top offensive option for the Giants with 19 targets, 16 receptions, 207 yards, and a score to start the season. He is an easy option to stack with Jones -- and one that doesn't break the bank.
Saquon Barkley ($6,000) hasn't looked like himself in the two games to start the season, but he is very affordable compared to where we normally see his salary. He played on 58 of 69 snaps last week against Washington and is facing the Falcons' defense. Atlanta has allowed 21.5 FanDuel points per game to runnings backs this season. If there's any time for him to break out, this would be the game.
A stack of Jones/Barkley/Shepard is a solid way to approach a game stack -- and far more salary-efficient than the previous two games.
The Falcons offer plenty of offensive options to round out a game stack, all of whom have plenty of upside since the Giants' defense is in the bottom half of the league against running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends in terms of FanDuel points allowed per game.
Calvin Ridley ($8,100) leads the Falcons with a 22.5% target market share and is tied for the team lead (3) in red-zone targets. It's been a modest start for Ridley, but he always has the potential for 20+ FanDuel points and should be a top option in this game.
Rookie tight end Kyle Pitts ($6,200) is looking good with a 17.5% target market share -- the second-highest on the team. He has also played 72.9% of the snaps and ran a route on 78.2% of the passing plays. He has yet to find the endzone this season, but that could certainly change this week against the Giants' defense, who have allowed the fourth-most (16.5) FanDuel points to opposing tight ends.
Running back Mike Davis ($5,700) has a surprising 13 targets in the first two games but has been under 10 FanDuel points in the first two games. We've seen Cordarrelle Patterson ($5,900) take over some of the rushing work, grabbing a few targets, as well as some red zone rushing attempts.
I haven't mentioned quarterback Matt Ryan ($7,100) yet because he seems like just an okay play this week. Considering his salary compared to Daniel Jones, I'd rather pay the extra $300 to get Jones and his rushing upside. The Jones/Barkley/Shepard stack with one of Ridley or Pitts on the bring back is the route I'm looking to go this week.