Week 5 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.
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
An NFC West matchup has an enticing 51.5-point over/under and a perfect spot to look for a game stack.
The Arizona Cardinals have proven to be among the league's best offenses, and their scoring potential presents plenty of fantasy upside. The San Francisco 49ers could be in for a changing of the guard at quarterback, but their offense still has plenty of potential. That changing of the guard in San Francisco is due to a quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, dealing with a calf injury. This means we should be seeing Trey Lance ($6,900) starting at quarterback for the 49ers. There's plenty to break down for both teams, so let's jump in.
Garoppolo will attempt to practice on Friday, leaving open the possibility he can still start for the 49ers. His status is one to monitor until Sunday morning and ultimately, the 4 pm late DFS slate.
Through four weeks this season, both teams are in the top half of the league when it comes to the number of plays run per game. This should set up a game environment that enables plenty of scoring back and forth, which helps create a potential ceiling of fantasy points for all players involved.
Let's start with the previously mentioned Trey Lance, who is set to take over the starting quarterback job for the 49ers. Lance started the second half last week after Garoppolo left with a calf injury. In one half of action, Lance finished with 20.38 FanDuel points from 157 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and 41 yards on the ground. His dual-threat ability can grant him serious upside, and given the fact he is only $6,900, he should be able to cruise past value this week.
Despite all of the injuries for the 49ers' backfield, we saw a bit of clarity in their most recent game. Running back Trey Sermon ($5,800) played on 51% of the offensive snaps, which may not seem like a lot, but there's more to it. No other true running back played on more than 8% of the offensive snaps, showing a sizable gap between Sermon and everyone else. We did see Kyle Juszczyk ($4,500) play on 82% of the snaps but only finish with 4 total touches. Sermon appears to be the lead back for the 49ers and should see a good volume to touches but most of it should come via the ground game.
The pass-catching options for the 49ers are all over the place to start the season, and it's no secret. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk ($5,300) has done legitimately nothing this season and was deemed to be in the "doghouse" for head coach Kyle Shanahan. Aiyuk has tremendous talent, his nine targets over the last two games are at least encouraging, and he's only $5,300 this week. I want limited exposure to him due to his inconsistency, but he still does have some upside. It's also worth noting that a Lance/Aiyuk stack is very affordable this week.
Deebo Samuel ($7,700) leads the team with 42 targets, a 32% market share, 490 yards, and 3 touchdowns. His eight targets or more in all four games provide him with a consistent floor and potential ceiling of points, which he should be able to reach this week. The Cardinals are allowing the eighth-most (35.6) FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers this season.
George Kittle ($6,500) has yet to post a signature game this season and has also yet to find the end zone. A high of only 13.6 FanDuel points is not what we expect to see from the elite tight end, but that has led to him being affordable this week. He always possesses 20-plus-point upside, and with this game environment, we could see it for the first time this season.
A Lance/Samuel/Kittle stack is very viable in this game but should be among the more popular combinations. Going with Lance/Sermon and one of Samuel/Kittle gets you exposure to both their ground and passing attack for a ton of upside.
The Cardinals are a juggernaut of an offense and averaging 35 points per game. The potential for scoring from their offense is immense, and you should be actively looking to stack them each and every week in a number of different combinations.
Quarterback Kyler Murray ($8,500) is looking like he is en route to an MVP award with 318 yards per game, 12 total touchdowns, and an average of 28.0 FanDuel points per game. He's a near-lock for 20-plus FanDuel points and the 30-plus ceiling is certainly a possibility with the Cardinals holding a 28.00 implied team total.
The one injury to note for the Cardinals is running back Chase Edmonds ($6,200), who is dealing with a shoulder injury and didn't practice on Wednesday. Edmonds has played on 62.4% of the offensive snaps this season and has the third-most (22) targets on the team. If he is out, it will likely be a boost for James Conner ($6,300), who has four rushing touchdowns in the past two weeks but plays an extremely limited role in the passing game.
When it comes to the Cardinals' wide receivers, there are three main options with one fringe option. The main options are DeAndre Hopkins ($7,500), who has 27 targets, Christian Kirk ($6,100), who has 16 targets, and A.J. Green ($5,700), who has 25 targets. Rondale Moore ($5,200) also has 17 targets but is on the outside looking in, for the most part, since he is running a route on only 44.4% of passing plays.
Green has been the surprise out of the three, with 11.9 FanDuel points or more in three straight weeks, a level Hopkins and Kirk have hit once apiece in that time. While a Murray-to-Hopkins stack contains plenty of upside, it should also be popular, which is nothing new. The Murray-to-Green stack shouldn't be as popular and is also less expensive.
Stacking Murray with Conner (if Edmonds is out) plus Green, should cover most of their offensive output. Then run it back with Kittle because you have plenty of salary remaining. You could also look to stack Murray with Hopkins and Kirk, with Deebo Samuel as the bring back. There are multiple ways to stack this game and plenty of ways to pivot away from the chalk.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Two teams that can't play defense? That's always a good spot for a potential shootout.
While the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars don't jump off the page as two offensive powerhouses, both defenses are terrible and we could be in for a sloppy game with plenty of points. The over/under is set at 48.5 points and seeing this game hit the over would not be a surprise.
Both teams are in the top half of the league in terms of average seconds per play, but more importantly, both teams are in the top seven of the league in average seconds per play when they are trailing by 7.0 points or more. The offenses know when to step on the gas a bit, which enables more fantasy scoring overall.
The Titans were without both A.J. Brown ($6,900) and Julio Jones ($6,800) last week, which was a clear downgrade to their passing upside. Brown was back at practice on Wednesday, in a limited capacity, while Jones was still out. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine ($5,300) played on a team-high 81% of the offensive snaps last week but didn't practice on Wednesday. This is going to be a very fluid situation to monitor throughout the week and leading up to Sunday morning.
If Brown is back, he is the clear stacking option to pair with Ryan Tannehill ($7,200) because the Jaguars are allowing 33.1 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers. If Brown is out, things become a bit messy for stacking options. Josh Reynolds ($5,000) played on 78% of the snaps last week, ran a route on 85.7% of the passing plays, and had a team-high of 9 targets, among the wide receivers.
If Westbrook-Ikhine plays, it's really a coin-flip between him and Reynolds as the top receiving option. This is assuming Brown and Jones are out, though. If either of them plays, he would be the top option.
Of course, Derrick Henry ($10,400) is a fantastic option with his 30 touches or more in three straight weeks. The Jaguars are allowing the eighth-most (23.7) FanDuel points per game to runnings backs, so yeah, play Henry this week. Jeremy McNichols ($5,100) saw 12 targets last week and played on 40% of the snaps, so he would be a bit of a dart throw in a stack.
Stacking Tannehill with Henry and then one of the wide receivers is the route to go. It's really a wait-and-see due to the injuries among the wide receivers.
When it comes to the Jaguars, they are without wide receiver D.J. Chark, who is on injured reserve with a fractured ankle. This makes the Jaguars' offense very condensed around just a few players, making stacking a bit easier.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence ($6,500) is very affordable this week and is one of the top value options among quarterbacks. Lawrence could be in for his best game of the season because the Titans are allowing 21.1 FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks, which is the 11th worst in the league.
Marvin Jones ($6,600) leads the team with 32 targets, 359 air yards, and 4 red zone targets. He should be the priority option to pair with Lawrence, as the Titans are allowing the second-most (43.7) FanDuel points per game to wide receivers.
Next up would be Laviska Shenault ($5,800), who has seen seven targets or more in three of the four games this season with a 21.8% market share, but he's yet to find the end zone this season. His rushing potential gives him some upside, and given the favorable matchup, Shenault reaching 100 combined yards and a touchdown is in play.
James Robinson ($7,400) has posted back-to-back games of 20 FanDuel points or more after failing to reach 20 FanDuel points combined in his first two games. The 19 total touches or more each of the last two games gives him a strong floor and ceiling combination for an affordable salary.
And that's it for the Jaguars. Their offense is very tight and there aren't a ton of options to consider. If you are starting the game stack with the Jaguars, Lawrence and Robinson plus one of Jones or Shenault is the main route to go. Or Lawrence with both Jones and Shenault, then looking to run it back with a receiver from the Titans.
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers
I say intriguing for a few reasons, so let's jump in. The Panthers' defense had a strong start to the season, but they played the New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, and Houston Texans. They allowed a total of 30 points in those three games because -- let's just call it what it is -- those teams aren't good offenses. Last week, the Panthers played the Dallas Cowboys and allowed 36 points.
A bit of an easy schedule had them looking good, but once they played a solid offense, they looked average. The Eagles have scored 21 points or more in three of the four games this season, and I'm buying into their offense. In short, the Panthers' defense had an easy go at things, and I'm not convinced they are elite.
With that said, let's turn to the Eagles' offense led by Jalen Hurts ($8,100), who has simply been amazing to start the year. He has 21 FanDuel points or more in every game, over 300 passing yards in each of his last two games, 2 passing touchdowns or more in three of the four games, and 35 rushing yards or more in all four games. He is getting it done in all areas and has a floor and ceiling combination that is tough to find.
There are a staggering seven players on the Eagles who have seen at least 14 targets this season. Six of the seven players are between 14 and 20 targets, with DeVonta Smith ($6,000) being the one outlier with 33 targets. As you can imagine, Smith leads the team in air yards (445) and average depth of target (aDOT) (14.35) and is tied for the third-highest red zone targets (3). He would be the top stacking option with Hurts, but there are still plenty of other options.
Dallas Goedert ($6,100) has the fourth-most targets (18), the most red zone targets (7), and the fifth-most air yards (99). Overall, he's a fine option to stack, but I personally think he is a tad too expensive and having limited shares of him in stacks is probably the right call.
It then comes down to Quez Watkins ($4,900), Zach Ertz ($5,000), and Jalen Reagor ($5,300). Ertz has the most targets out of this group, Regaor is playing on the most snaps out of this group, and Watkins has the highest aDOT out of this group. It's a jumbled mess and frankly a spot I'm only looking to go for salary relief.
When it comes to the running backs, Miles Sanders ($5,900) still leads the backfield with a 64.7% offensive snap rate but is losing touches to Kenneth Gainwell ($5,700), who is paying on 33.2% of the offensive snaps. Sanders has still out-touched Gainwell in all four games this season, but Gainwell is getting touches in the red zone. There's no overwhelming argument for either, and it could a spot to stay away if you are worried.
A Hurts with Smith plus Goedert stack could be the safest option for the Eagles' offense.
For the Panthers, the big news surrounds Christian McCaffrey ($10,000), who missed their most recent game but has been back at practice this week and "definitely" has a chance to play this week. If he is able to play, we know the potential ceiling he brings to your lineups, not much more to say.
If he is out again, Chuba Hubbard ($6,700) would be the starting running back and has played on 55% and 47% of the snaps in the past two weeks. He has seen 14 and 15 touches in the two weeks, and considering the Eagles are allowing the sixth-most (25.6) FanDuel points per game to running backs, he would be a clear option for your lineups.
Sam Darnold ($7,600) is apparently a rushing quarterback now with his five touchdowns on the ground this season. Besides that, he has thrown for over 300 yards in three straight games and two touchdowns in two of those three games. He is slightly cheaper than Hurts, which could be needed if you are paying up for other options in this game or elsewhere in your lineup.
D.J. Moore ($7,900) has been on fire to start the season and leads the Panthers offensive in almost every category you can possibly imagine. He is the top option in the offense -- especially if McCaffrey is out -- so do not hesitate to roster him.
Robby Anderson ($5,600) has been a bit of a disappointment this season for fantasy players and seemingly not involved in the offense, but head coach Matt Rhule has stated he wants to get Anderson more involved. One category Moore does not lead the Panthers is aDOT. That belongs to Anderson sitting at a 15.27 aDOT. His big-play potential is always there, and if they are going out of their way to get him the ball more, this is the time to buy in.
The game stack could depend on the status of McCaffrey. If he is in, play him with Darnold and one of the receivers. If McCaffrey is out, a Darnold plus Hubbard plus one of Moore or Anderson is the route to go, then look to run it back with DeVonta Smith.