Week 11 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.
Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
Both teams are among the top 10 in the league for the most points scored, the top 10 of the league for the fastest average seconds per play, and the top three of the league in most plays run per game. Holy smokes. If there's any game to target for a game stack, it's going to be this one.
The one point that I will make -- before we get into things -- is to note the obvious. Both teams have very high-salaried options that eat up a good portion of your salary cap. For most lineup constructions, taking a quarterback plus three skill position players from this game, you will be left with about an average of $5,500 to $5,800 remaining per player. This means you will have to find value elsewhere on the slate, but it's doable.
The home Chiefs have a slate-high 29.25 implied team total and they looked their old self last week, posting 41 points. It was against the Las Vegas Raiders, so you might want to take it with a grain of salt. Regardless, Patrick Mahomes ($8,300) was able to post over 30 FanDuel points for the first time since Week 4. Mahomes threw for five touchdowns last week -- more than he threw in the prior four weeks combined. Hopefully, this game environment enables him to reach for that 30 points ceiling again.
This won't come as a surprise but Tyreek Hill ($8,500) and Travis Kelce ($7,300) still dominate the Chiefs' passing game and combine to account for 49.3% of the team's target share. They also account for 42.9% of the team's red-zone target share, so yeah, we know who Mahomes likes to target when they have a chance to score.
While Mecole Hardman ($5,500) continues to a point of ire for many fantasy managers, he is not a truly viable fantasy option. He has posted less than 10 FanDuel points in 8 of his 10 games this season and simply gives you false hope. Don't bite on it.
There is a chance Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($6,300) returns from injured reserve this week, but we are waiting on final confirmation. CEH was injured in Week 5 and didn't play the full game, so if we look at just the first four weeks of the season, we see that he led Chiefs' running backs with a 62.7% snap rate. He ran a route on 56.8% of the passing plays and had 18.5 running back adjusted opportunities per game. When he was healthy, it was his backfield. Whether or not that proves to be true with returning from an injury is yet to be seen, and we also need to know if he is actually activated or not.
If CEH remains out, Darrel Williams ($6,300) would be in line for the majority of the work for the Chiefs' backfield. The Chiefs' offense is yet another example of a very compact and condensed offense. We know who they are going to throw the ball to and we know who brings the most upside, so stack those players.
For Dallas, their offense is somewhat similar, where we are truly only targeting three players with a fourth being a fringe option.
They are led by Dak Prescott ($8,400), who has now thrown for at least two touchdowns in seven of his eight games this season, which has allowed him to post 19.88 FanDuel points or more in each of those games. He is one of the most consistent fantasy quarterbacks and with the Chiefs allowing the second-most (22.3) FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks, he should be a priority option this week.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,500) is always a threat to post over 20 FanDuel points and that could be happening this week versus a Chiefs' defense that is allowing 20.4 FanDuel points per game to running backs. Frankly, I'm not sure Elliott will be that popular this week given the pass-catching options involved in this game. Rostering him could be a nice way to get some leverage within a game stack.
The main options in the Cowboys' passing attack are CeeDee Lamb ($8,000) and Amari Cooper ($7,300), who combine for 42.2% of the team's target share...much like the Chiefs' top options. However, Cooper has been placed in the league's COVID Protocol and is now OUT for Sunday.
There was a small wrinkle thrown back into the mix last week will now be a huge wrinkle. Michael Gallup ($5,400) returned from the injury that has caused him to be out since Week 2. Gallup has a 13.3% target share this season, which is very modest, but it's also only through two games. I'm big on Gallup as a value option this week absorbing a ton of the work that Cooper will leave behind.
Those are the main three options for the Cowboys, and Dalton Schultz ($6,000) is a much more viable fourth option without Cooper. Schultz only saw two targets last week, a noticeable change compared to seeing five targets or more in each of the six games prior. The lower volume could've been due to Gallup returning to the lineup or it could've been due to the Cowboys blowing out the Atlanta Falcons 43-3, and they didn't need to pass the ball a ton. Schult does have a great matchup against the Chiefs' defense, who allows opposing tight ends to go for 12.6 FanDuel points per game, which is the seventh-worst in the league.
Schultz shouldn't be popular either overall this week or within the game stack, so he is another option to gain some equity in the game, while also gaining leverage.
Again, the core players for each team are expensive but getting them into one lineup is very doable. Stacking Mahomes with Hill/Kelce and then running it back with Lamb can be done, you just need to find value in other games.
Cincinnati Bengals at Las Vegas Raiders
A solid 50.5-point over/under is always worth mentioning when it comes to a potential game stack.
The Las Vegas Raiders are hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in a game that could provide plenty of fantasy value for all involved. The good thing about this potential game stack is there are now players over $8,000, making stacking that much easier. You can look to pick and choose exactly who you want and not have to worry too much about your salary cap.
Let's jump in with the Bengals and their offense, who are coming off a bye week after a disappointing game versus the Cleveland Browns the week prior. The Week 9 game against the Browns was the first time all season quarterback, Joe Burrow ($7,400) didn't throw for multiple touchdowns. That's right, Burrow had posted two touchdowns or more in each of the first eight games this season -- a streak that was snapped two weeks ago.
Given the fact I'm writing about Burrow, you can safely assume I'm anticipating him starting a new streak against the Raiders, who have allowed 17 passing touchdowns this season (tied for the sixth-most in the league). The Raiders are also allowing the 12th-most (19.2) FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks, pointing to Burrow getting back on track this week.
The trio of wide receivers from the Bengals -- Ja'Marr Chase ($7,700), Tee Higgins ($6,500), and Tyler Boyd ($5,600) -- all come in at distinctly different salaries -- another factor that can help with lineup construction. If you can't afford one, simply drop down to the next one and complete the game stack.
By far, Chase brings the most upside with his 13.6 average depth of target (aDOT), which is the highest among these three players. He also has the highest target market share (25.9%), but it's not by much compared to Higgins (24.6%). Boyd is a clear step behind them both with a 19.5% target share and a 7.6 aDOT, which is the lowest among the three players.
However, the Raiders are extremely weak defensively against short passes, putting Boyd in a great spot. According to SharpFootballStats, the Raiders are allowing an average passer rating of 104 in all areas of the field on passes going less than 15 air yards. Boyd doesn't have the same big-play potential as the other two but he could eat up easy targets this week.
Joe Mixon ($7,600) is always a solid fantasy option with his ability to see close to 20 total touches. He also adds a decent 9.2% target share while handling 72% of the team's red zone rushing attempts. The Raiders allow the ninth-most (23.5) FanDuel points per game to running backs, so yeah, Mixon is in a good spot.
The wild card for the Bengals' offense this week is tight end, C.J. Uzomah ($5,200). Even though he has a modest 9.9% target share and a 5.2 aDOT, the Raiders are flat-out horrible against tight ends. They allow the second-most (14.9) FanDuel points per game. This presents a similar situation as we see with Schultz for the Cowboys. It's factually an awesome matchup, the player shouldn't be popular, but he doesn't play a large role in the offense.
It's a riskier option but it could be beneficial in the grand scheme of things for your lineup and how you differentiate it with construction.
The Raiders are very straightforward to break down, so let's get to it.
Derek Carr ($7,200) has thrown for multiple touchdowns in three of his last four games, has 34 passing attempts or more in three straight games while going for over 300 yards twice in this time. He is showing to be a consistent fantasy option but also hasn't posted more than 25 FanDuel points in any game this season. Consistency but a limited ceiling. I slightly prefer Burrow in this game but Carr should be less popular.
In the two games since the Raiders released Henry Ruggs, it's clear their passing game is centered around Darren Waller ($6,700) and Hunter Renfrow ($6,100). In this two-game stretch, they are tied with a 22.5% target share, with Waller holding a 9.0 aDOT and Renfrow sitting at a 3.8 aDOT. This is mostly consistent with what we see when we look at the season overall with Renfrow's aDOT (5.8) being a bit higher as the only noticeable difference.
With Ruggs now gone, Bryan Edwards ($5,500) has the potential to step up and fill that downfield threat with this 15.8 aDOT. The same can be said about DeSean Jackson ($5,300), who has only played one game with the team and had a single target at 34.6 yards downfield. Both Edwards and Jackson are dart throws this week if you are desperate for value.
Josh Jacobs ($6,900) is the main running back for the Raiders but was limited in practice on Thursday. This is something to keep an eye on since he leads the backfield in snaps, routes run, red-zone rushing attempts. He's also second in target share. The matchup is fantastic for Jacobs with the Bengals allowing the sixth-most (24.3) FanDuel points per game to running backs.
If he were to miss this game, it would be a huge boost to Kenyan Drake ($5,900), who has stepped into the lineup in the games that Jacobs has missed this season.
A stack with Carr plus Renfrow plus Waller and then running it back with Chase is very doable this week given the affordable salaries. The same can be said about Burrow plus Chase plus one of Higgins or Mixon, then running it back with Waller or Renfrow.