Week 13 Game Scripts to Target in Daily Fantasy Football
Welcome to the Game Scripts to Target article for the 2020 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 week 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.
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans
The total for this game is the highest on the slate, and as we all know, that should make this game popular in all formats. Betting lines have always been closely correlated with a game's popularity, so know that heading into this game. When it comes to pace for these two teams, we see the Titans averaging 28.42 seconds per play in situation neutral games, which is the third-fastest in the league. The Browns are averaging 30.68 seconds per play in situation neutral games, which is 20th in the league. It'd be great to see the Browns play even faster in this game, considering they are 5.5-point underdogs.
Let's dive into the players and start with the Titans, who are the favorites and at home. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill ($7,800) has shown to a consistent option throughout the 2020 NFL season and is the higher-upside option compared to Baker Mayfield ($7,100). Through 11 game this season, Tannehill has recorded 18 FanDuel points in seven games (63%), while Mayfield has recorded 18 FanDuel points only twice (18%). Tannehill is the clear answer here.
Now the question becomes, who do you stack with Tannehill to capture the most FanDuel points? Well, the options on the Titans are very clear, which makes things much easier. Wide receiver A.J. Brown ($8,200) leads the team with a 21.01% target share and has the most touchdowns (8) and the second-most red zone targets (10). He has cracked 14 FanDuel points in six of his nine games and always has big-play upside.
Corey Davis ($6,100) is $2.1K cheaper compared to Brown, which is some serious savings and makes stacking that much easier. In Davis' nine games, he has fewer than 10 FanDuel points four times and over 20 FanDuel points just once. He is a low-floor, lower-ceiling play compared to Brown but should be far less popular.
Of course, the running back situation for the Titans is super clear, as Derrick Henry ($10,000) is an absolute beast and comes in as the most expensive player in this game. Getting up to his salary is certainly tough but there are a few value options on the Browns' side to consider. But back to Henry. He has 20 total touches or more in 10 of his 11 games this season, has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last three games, and has 12 rushing touchdowns. This shouldn't be news to anyone who has been playing fantasy football this year -- play Henry if you have the salary.
There are a few value options to take note of on the Titans, starting with tight end Jonnu Smith ($5,700), who missed practice on Wednesday. If he is unable to play on Sunday, backup tight end Anthony Firkser ($4,600) could be a viable punt option considering he has the fourth-most targets (42) on the team this season. Wide receiver Adam Humphries ($4,900) was a full participant at practice on Wednesday after missing the last month with a concussion. He would be another value option on the Titans and shouldn't be popular.
I mentioned Mayfield above and how he has a lower ceiling compared to Tannehill, but that should make him far less popular. The Titans are allowing 21.7 FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks, which is the fifth-worst in the league. So, this is legitimately a good spot for Mayfield combined with the fact the Browns are underdogs, which should put them in a passing game script.
If you don't want the riskier option in Mayfield and you just want to stack the Browns' offensive options, then starting with Jarvis Landry ($6,000) is a fantastic choice. He finally had a ceiling game last week with 11 targets, 8 receptions, 143 yards, and a touchdown -- his best game of the season. The fantasy football community has been waiting for Landry to post a big game since Odell Beckham went out with an injury. Landry now leads the team with 70 targets, while the player with the second-most -- Austin Hooper ($5,300) -- has 41 targets. The pecking order for the Browns' passing game starts with Landry, making him the top option to add to this game stack.
However, that $6K salary for Landry isn't exactly a value play, and if you are spending up for some combination of Tannehill, Henry, and Brown, it could be tough to fit them all in one lineup. So, yes, Landry is a great play due to his involvement in the offense, but there are other value options to consider.
Tight end Austin Hooper has an appealing salary this week along with a solid matchup. The Titans are allowing 11.9 FanDuel points per game to opposing tight ends, which is the ninth-most in the league. Hooper's salary makes him easy to add to a game stack while giving you some consistency since he has the second-most targets (41) on the team.
The real question for the Browns is how to handle their backfield? Nick Chubb ($8,700) is an awesome fantasy running back, it's really that simple. We know he is going to get the carries, we know those carries will be close or over 20 each game, and he always has a chance to reach the end zone. We also know that Chubb doesn't play a large role in the passing game, with only seven targets on the entire season. This is an issue since the game script doesn't set up for the Browns to be in control of this game.
Running backs on visiting teams, who are underdogs and have no involvement in the passing game aren't the safest path to fantasy points. If the Browns are able to take the lead and control the game, then Chubb would have a path to fantasy points. The other option would be Kareem Hunt ($6,300), who is averaging 2.9 targets per game and is cheaper but was limited in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday.
If you decide to pass on Henry, going with a Tannehill-Brown-Landry stack is much more affordable. If you want to go completely contrarian, you would stack Mayfield-Landry-Chubb-Brown, with the goal to be as different as possible in tournaments.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
This is the first meeting between the AFC South teams this season, and overall, it looks to be a good game to target for a few reasons. First off, there are no players over $8.2K on either team, so grabbing a few options is easy. Next, when in situation neutral games, both teams rank in the top 15, per Football Outsiders. This is always a good indication that the teams know when to push the pace and get the offense going, which leads to plenty of fantasy points.
The Colts are led by quarterback Philip Rivers ($7,000), who started the season slow but has turned things around recently. Over his last six games, Rivers has posted 16 FanDuel points or more in five of his last six games, and considering the Texans are allowing 19.4 FanDuel points per game -- the 13th most in the league -- Rivers is an obvious value play this week.
The issue for the Colts is the fact their offense is very spread out and there are no clear targets. They regularly deploy three different running backs, three different tight ends, and up to four different wide receivers. They even bring in backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett ($6,000) to run some goal line sneaks -- he had two rushing touchdowns last week.
The good news is that the Texans are allowing the 11th-most FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers and the second-most FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs. The Colts are truly in a great spot -- that much is clear -- and it's just a matter of finding the right options from their offense.
Running back Jonathan Taylor ($6,400) is off the Covid-19 list and should be good to go for this game. He played on 56% of the snaps in Week 11, where he posted 24 total touches and 13.4 FanDuel points but no touchdown. Considering the Texans are so weak against running backs, it'd be great to see Taylor get another 20 carries.
Nyheim Hines ($6,400) and Jordan Wilkins ($6,400) are the other two options at running back for the Colts. Hines is the best option due to his role in the passing game -- averaging five targets per game -- so look to pair him with Rivers ahead of Wilkins.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton ($5,600) had his first touchdown of the season last week, which was also his first game with more than 10 FanDuel points. Even though the matchup is great, it's tough to buy into a player who hasn't done anything this season. Rookie Michael Pittman Jr. ($5,600) is the same price and has seven targets or more in three of the past four games -- which is more than Hilton.
I have no interest in the tight ends from the Colts, as they are all regularly playing on at least 30% of the snaps, giving us no clear option. It's legitimately a dice roll on who will be the most productive.
This should make the ideal Colts' stack Rivers-Pittman and then one of Taylor or Hines.
For the Texans, they have a few things to take note of that impact their offense. Running back David Johnson ($6,200) is on track to play this week after missing a few games with a concussion. Wide receiver Will Fuller has been suspended for the rest of the season and wide receiver Kenny Stills was released.
Regardless of that, quarterback Deshaun Watson ($8,200) is still the best option on their entire team, and really, in the entire game. Watson is averaging 23.8 FanDuel points per game this season, while Rivers' highest game was 25.74 FanDuel points. I don't think I need to say much more.
With Fuller now out, Brandin Cooks ($6,500) becomes the number one receiving option in their offense and his 22.35% target share should only increase going forward. He will likely be one of the chalkier players on the entire slate due to his new role, so yeah, you should roster him.
If David Johnson is activated and we get a further report stating he won't have any limitations, he is another clear stacking choice. Not counting the game he was hurt, Johnson had 15 touches or more in five straight games. He is averaging over three targets per game, which is great to see considering this should be a back and forth game. He won't get scripted out of the game, providing plenty of safety.
Wide receiver Keke Coutee ($4,800) is expected to be the number two wide receiver and comes into this game having played on 50% and 57% of the snaps in the last two games. He was the clear number three receiver but with suspensions and releases, he is set for a new role. Under $5K is a great salary for a starting wide receiver.
So a game stack could look like Watson-Cooks-Coutee-Pittman, Watson-Johnson-Cooks-Hines, or Rivers-Taylor-Pittman-Cooks. There are a ton of options in this game, and they aren't super expensive.
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers
This is one of my favorites games on the entire slate, and I'm anticipating it to hit the over on its 47.5 total. There are some great options on both sides, and hopefully, we see a high-scoring game.
Quarterback Cam Newton ($7,500) is dealing with an abdomen injury but isn't expected to miss any time. He is coming off a rough game last week but had posted 16 FanDuel points or more in the four games prior to it. The Chargers are allowing the eighth-most (20.2) FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and with Newton's rushing potential, he has a high ceiling.
Running backs Sony Michel ($5,300) and Damien Harris ($5,900) are two players I have no interest in this week. They aren't involved in the passing game, and if the Patriots fall behind, they won't have a role in the offense. That leads us to James White ($5,700), who is averaging 4.66 targets per game. Throughout his entire career, White has been a good pass-catching option, so he is the player to target.
Wide receivers Damiere Byrd ($5,300) and Jakobi Meyers ($5,900) are nearly tied in targets this season -- 54 and 51, respectively -- so it's a bit of a coin flip situation. Meyers has a team-high 40 receptions this season but no touchdowns. He is due for some major positive regression, so that's where I'm personally leaning.
A Patriots stack of Newton-White-Meyers isn't that expensive and could essentially capture almost all of their touchdowns.
The Chargers have some serious offensive firepower and are super fun to stack.
Now that running back Austin Ekeler ($7,000) has returned, you should be looking to roster him every week. His salary is too low since he is fully healthy and coming off 25 total touches last week against the Buffalo Bills.
The players with the most targets on the Chargers are Keenan Allen ($8,100) with 127 targets, Hunter Henry ($6,000) with 79 targets, and Mike Williams ($5,800) with 61 targets. We all know Keenan Allen has been a fantasy monster this season and pairing him with quarterback Justin Herbert ($7,900) has been a winning formula, so don't stop now.
The Herbert-Ekeler-Allen stack should be the most popular for this game, so pivoting off of Ekeler or Allen could help you be different in tournaments. I wouldn't pivot off of both, though, because you are losing too much offensive equity at that point.