Week 12 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.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
Surprisingly, this matchup features two of the top-scoring offenses in the league. The Bucs and the Colts have both scored 309 points this season, tied for the second-most in the league. If the offenses are going to be flowing, we want to stack this game to capture as many fantasy points as possible.
We also see both teams in the top 10 of the league for the fastest average seconds per play when trailing by seven points or more. This is always good to see and indicates the offenses know when to kick things into high gear when they fall behind.
For the Buccaneers, we saw Tom Brady ($8,200) post multiple touchdowns on Monday night for the sixth straight game. He's gone over 20 FanDuel points for the fourth time in that stretch. The Colts are allowing the fifth-most (20.4) FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so it won't be a surprise to see Brady reach or exceed that mark while going for 300 yards and multiple touchdowns.
As always, the question for the Bucs is who do we stack with Brady? There are three main receiving options with one main option out of the backfield. It should be noted that Antonio Brown ($7,000) did not practice on Wednesday and his status is still up in the air for Sunday. He has been out for the past four weeks with an ankle injury and it seems like a long shot he plays this week.
If we look at only the games since Brown has been out, Chris Godwin ($7,600) leads the team with a 23.1% target market share but a low 6.6 average depth of target (aDOT). Mike Evans ($7,500) isn't too far behind with a 17.5% target market share but has a very solid 12.7 aDOT. With the Colts allowing the fifth-most (32.6) FanDuel points per game to wide receivers, both Godwin and Evans are strong stacking options this week.
We could end things right there for the Bucs, simply stack Brady with Godwin/Evans and call it a day. However, there are more options to consider, starting with the tight end, Rob Gronkowski ($6,500), who returned last week and went for 6/71/0 versus the New York Giants. He has a modest 13.1% target share this season, but a 17.5% red zone target share makes him very interesting. The Colts have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends this season, which is tied for the second-most in the league. There's clearly some upside here, and we all know he is one of Brady's go-to options.
Leonard Fournette ($7,100) continues to see the majority of the work in the backfield ahead of Ronald Jones ($5,600), but I have zero interest in either of them. The Colts are allowing the fewest (16.1) FanDuel points per game to running backs, putting them in a very tough matchup. We also see Fournette failing to reach 15 FanDuel points in three of his last four games -- a tough look for the lead running back in one of the league's best offenses.
It's all about the passing game for the Buccaneers, and stacking Brady with any combination of Godwin/Evans/Gronkowski will put you in a good spot.
For the Colts, let's get the obvious out of the way -- Jonathan Taylor ($9,800) is unbelievable. His 51.9 FanDuel points last week against the Buffalo Bills are legitimately breathtaking, and if you want to roster him, do it. I'm not going to tell you not to. I'll simply note that the Buccaneers only allow 18.6 FanDuel points per game to running backs (sixth-best in the league). It's a tough matchup, but he is amazing and last week's matchup was also a "tough" one, so he might just be matchup-proof.
It wouldn't be a shock to see Carson Wentz ($7,300) less popular than Brady, making him a nice way to pivot away from the chalk. Wentz is far lower in salary and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four of his last six games while going for over 20 FanDuel three times in this stretch. He is just a step behind Brady in terms of production, but he can reach for upside if the Colts fall behind early and are forced to pass the ball. I have moderate interest in Wentz this week -- strictly to be different.
The Colts' receiving options are very straightforward and have all been lacking in production in recent weeks. It's no fault of their own. Taylor went nuts last week and Wentz only had 106 passing yards. Two weeks ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wentz had 180 yards and no touchdowns because Taylor scored one on the ground and their special teams added a score. Simply put, the Colts' receivers really haven't been in a proper game script to show their upside.
Michael Pittman Jr. ($6,600) is by far the best option for the Colts with his team-high 23.5% target market share, 28.6% red zone market share, and running a route on 95.2% of passing plays. If this game stack is centered around the passing options -- meaning no Taylor -- Pittman is going to be the chalkiest option and it won't be close. The Brady plus Godwin and Evans stack, running it back with Pittman leaves you with about $6,000 per player remaining for the rest of your lineup. That's awesome.
You can look for value in other games while maintaining strong offensive equity on both teams, bringing you plenty of tournament upside. Besides Pittman, there are really only two options I would consider only if the Bucs stack does not include Gronkowski.
That would be Jack Doyle ($4,600) or Mo Alie-Cox ($4,600). They are splitting snaps but both hold a 14.6% red zone target share this season. That gives them the potential to haul in a touchdown and pay off their affordable salaries quickly.
A game stack starting with Brady and Bucs is likely the popular option, leaving a Wentz-led stack to be a strong pivot and being cheaper overall.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers
A game featuring two strong quarterbacks and plenty of offensive options is always worth a game stack.
There's a good amount to cover for both teams and, more importantly, how to make this game stack actually work. The players in this game are on the higher end of salaries, which can limit how many you can stack from this game, and can leave you with very little salary for the rest of your lineup.
It's clear Cooper Kupp ($9,500) is the best overall option for the Rams, regardless of position. He has a team-high 32.0% target share, a team-high 30.8% red zone target share, along with leading the team in both snaps played and routes run on passing plays. With Robert Woods out for the season, we can safely assume Kupp can maintain these numbers in the Rams' offense.
If Kupp is the best option for the Rams, then Davante Adams ($8,700) is the best option for the Packers, posting similar numbers to Kupp. Adams has a 33.9% target share, a 28.3% red zone target share, and yes, leading the team in snaps played and routes run on passing plays.
But, therein lies the issue with this game stack -- the high salaries of the players. If these are the two best options, then you need to be doing what you can to get them in your lineups. Since both Aaron Rodgers ($7,900) and Matthew Stafford ($7,700) are expensive as well, no matter which quarterback you choose to add to your lineup, you are left with about $5,600 per player remaining. And that's with just one quarterback plus two receivers in what is barely a game stack. We typically want to get at least three position players on top of the quarterback to soak up as much of the offensive potential as possible.
So who else can you target? Rams' tight end Tyler Higbee ($5,400) now has the second-highest (19.28%) red zone target share on the team with Woods out. He is both affordable and has a decent matchup against the Packers, who allow opposing tight ends to go for 10.3 FanDuel points per game, which is around the league average.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,600) had a huge game last week with 10 targets, 4 receptions, 123 yards, and a touchdown. While that was his best game of the season by a good margin, he has always carried that type of upside with his team-high 18.5 aDOT. Despite being known for a strong defense, the Rams are really average this year against wide receivers, allowing 28.7 FanDuel points per game, (17th in the league). Hopefully, the Rams stay busy with Adams and leave an opening for MVS.
Aaron Jones ($7,000) is expected to practice on Wednesday after missing one game with an MCL injury. Whether or not he is going to play is yet to be seen, but if he is out, A.J. Dillon ($6,900) should continue to lead the Packers' backfield. Both the Packers and the Rams are in the top half of the league for the fewest FanDuel points allowed per game to opposing running backs, putting not only Jones/Dillion in a tough spot but also Darrell Henderson ($7,300).
I have limited to no interest in either of the starting running backs, regardless of who is healthy and playing. The wild card in this game is Odell Beckham ($5,800), who has a chance to see an expanded offensive role compared to his Rams' debut two weeks ago.
Beckham only played on 28.3% of the snaps while running a route on 23.3% of the passing plays two weeks ago versus the San Francisco 49ers. There are encouraging reports from Rams' head coach, Sean McVay, stating Beckham should be more involved after a modest first game.
Hopefully, we get more clarity on this going forward, but as of now, Higbee, MVS, and Beckham -- in that order -- are the secondary options I'm looking to stack after Kupp and Adams. This game stack is no doubt an expensive one, but it provides tremendous fantasy upside since the players involved have shown huge ceiling games this season.