Week 17 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.
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys
A slate-high 51.5-point over/under makes this the top game for a game stack.
We have a unique slate overall. It's a full 14 games, but it features five games with spreads at 7.0 points or higher and then another three games with totals that are under 40 points. This limits our options in terms of what matchups are best set up to have the back and forth scoring we want in a good game stack.
So, we'll stick with the one that features two teams that are top 10 in plays run per game and top 10 in average time per play while in situation neutral game environments. More plays being run means more possible fantasy points for all involved.
The news for the Cardinals is that running back, James Conner ($6,700) was back at practice on Thursday after missing practice on Wednesday and missing last week's game against the Indianapolis Colts. If he is back and ready to go, we can assume he should be around his normal workload of 15-20 total touches. If by chance he doesn't play, then Chase Edmonds ($6,500) is the obvious answer for the Cardinals' backfield. If they are both active, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them both go overlooked in tournaments.
The main area to focus on for the Cardinals is their passing game led by Kyler Murray ($8,200), who has modest results in the past three weeks -- a high of 21.9 FanDuel points -- but what's more interesting is his passing volume. In these past three weeks, Murray has attempted 49, 41, and 43 passes, which are his three highest totals of the season. In his nine games prior to those three, he had been over 35 passing attempts once. A clear increase in passing attempts leads to a higher potential ceiling despite Murray not materializing those results recently.
Kirk comes in with an 18.4% target share and an 11.6% red zone target share, Ertz has a 20.1% target share and a 28.6% red zone target share, and Green has a 16.5% target share and a 20.9% red zone target share.
There's very little between the three in their usage except when it comes to their average depth of target (aDOT). Kirk and Green are both at an 11.0 aDOT or higher, while Ertz is at a 6.9 aDOT.
Ertz's 24 targets over the past two weeks are certainly very encouraging, but that level is likely unsustainable, and the big-play upside lies with Kirk and or Green. A Murray-Kirk-Green stack leaves you with an average of about $6,600 per player remaining, and most importantly, it leaves you will plenty of salary to roster Dallas players on the bring-back stack.
For Dallas, their offense has several options to consider, as well, and they showed off their potential last week with a new level of production.
Dak Prescott ($7,400) had his best outing of the season and is still under $8,000. From a point-per-dollar view, you can make the case that Prescott is a better option than Kyler Murray, and he may be one of the best quarterback options on the entire slate. The Cowboys have a 28.75 implied team total, which is the fourth-highest on the slate, and this game has the highest over/under. Yes, Dak will be popular this week.
The question for Dallas is always the same: who do you stack with Prescott?
One of the options I'm not stacking is Ezekiel Elliott ($7,500). That's right, I do not want any shares of Elliott in my game stacks and potentially on the slate overall. Zeke hasn't seen 20 total touches since Week 8. Last week, he had 10 total touches, and his 16.7 FanDuel points were propped up by a one-yard receiving touchdown. Call it crazy, call it what you will, but a $7,500 running back putting up 15 FanDuel points or fewer in five of the last six weeks is not exciting.
It's all about the passing game for Dallas, and that means CeeDee Lamb ($7,200), Amari Cooper ($6,700), and Michael Gallup ($5,800). Similar to the Cardinals, there's very little separating the three receiving options. They all have target shares between 17.3% and 21.8%. They all have aDOTs between 10.7 and 12.2. They all have red zone target shares between 12.8% and 19.8%.
We're essentially splitting hairs for the three wide receivers, there's no question about that. Personally, I'm siding with Lamb since he is due for some positive touchdown regression. He leads the team with a 21.8% target share but has yet to find the end zone in any of his last five games. He's their most targeted receiver and is somehow not finding the endzone. This is if you have to decide on only one Cowboys receiver to stack.
However, I do think there is merit to double-stacking both sides of this game. By that, I mean going with Prescott plus Lamb and one of Cooper/Gallup. Then a bring-back stack of TWO Cardinals receivers (Kirk/Green/Ertz), not just one, which is the normal roster construction method.
There are several different iterations of a game stack you can look to use in this matchup and all have plenty of fantasy upside.