Each week I take a look at every NFL game in an attempt to identify players that can be stacked together to maximize value in GPP play at FanDuel. I examine the spreads and totals for each game as well as the implied totals for each team and blend that with the likeliest script that these games will follow. In doing so, I am attempting to find players that can pay dividends for your lineup, but I will also provide a pivot within the stack to another player and give reasons as to why a pivot might make sense. You can use this information as a guide, and you will have multiple options to help you to sort through the noise while you put lineups together that can offer a degree of security.
The Raiders travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans in Week 1. Vegas likes this game as one of the higher scoring games of the week with a 50.5 point total. The Titans are favored by 2.5 points, and they have an implied total of 26 points. The Raiders have an implied total of 25 points.
The Titans were the No. 30 pass defense in the NFL last year, and because the Titans are forecast to score a lot of points, the Raiders will be forced to keep pace. This allows Carr a chance to have a big day, and it is reasonable to see Carr throw multiple touchdowns in this game.
Cooper is the No. 1 option in this passing offense and should see enough targets in this high-scoring game to warrant starting him. Also, only six teams league-wide gave up more passing plays of 20+ yards in 2016 than the 56 the Titans surrendered. Only four teams gave up more 40+ yard plays than the Titans did in 2016.
However, Cooper was limited in practice on Wednesday with a knee injury and you will want to monitor his practice status throughout the rest of the week. If we see a full practice this week then he’ll be good to go for Sunday.
Cooper can hit this defense down the field, and this is a juicy matchup, one that could pay dividends for GPP players.
The Vikings are at home Monday night to take on the New Orleans Saints, and Vegas is calling this one of the higher scoring games with a total of 48 points. The Vikings are favored by three points and have an implied total of 25.5 points while the Saints have an implied total of 22.5 points.
The Saints were the No. 32 ranked pass defense last year allowing 273.8 yards per game, and they ranked NO. 31 in yards per attempt allowed with a 7.9 average. While they added some secondary help in cornerback Marshon Lattimore, it generally takes a little time for rookie cornerbacks to play to a reasonable level in the NFL.
Vegas likes the Vikings to put points on the board in this game, and that means good things for Bradford and Diggs. Bradford played very well to finish the 2016 season, and he has a great chance to carry this over to start the 2017 season.
Diggs is a fantastic route runner, and he is far and away the No. 1 option in the Vikings passing attack. He should see plenty of volume in this game and has an easier test against a poor Saints secondary. He is priced at a point where his road to getting to GPP value is not all that tough to envision. Bradford and Diggs are a super intriguing stack in Week 1, and the stack’s price point allows for spending salary elsewhere.
The Seahawks travel to Lambeau Field Sunday to take on the Packers in an NFC matchup that Vegas is calling the highest scoring game of the week with a game total of 51 points. The Seahawks are a three-point underdog and have an implied total of 24 points while the Packers have an implied number of 27 points.
The Packers ranked No. 32 in the NFL, allowing 8.1 yards per attempt and were the No. 31 ranked pass defense last year. The Packers allowed 32 passing touchdowns in 2016, and only the Detroit Lions (33) and the Cleveland Browns (36) surrendered more.
From a game-script outlook, it is easy to see Wilson having a big game here as the Packers are going to put up enough points to push the Seahawks to keep throwing to stay in the contest. Baldwin has emerged as the go-to receiver in the Seahawks aerial attack, and he should see enough target volume to warrant his big price.
The Packers are incredibly vulnerable through the air and Wilson should pick this defense apart. All signs point to a very nice day from Wilson and his receivers, and they are worthy of consideration for GPP play in Week 1.
Pivot: If you are looking to lessen the cost of a Seahawks stack, a move to wide receiver Paul Richardson Jr ($5,200) could pay dividends while allowing for a little more of your salary to be spent elsewhere. Richardson is seeing time as the No. 2 receiver in this offense, and he has a chance to have a good outing at a very nice price.
The Panthers travel to the west coast on Sunday to take on the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC matchup that Vegas likes to be a high scoring game. The total is set at 48 points, and the Panthers are favored by 5.5 points with an implied total of 27 points. The 49ers have an implied total of 21 points, and it is clear that points will be scored.
Newton has not played much in the preseason, but this matchup sets up nicely for him. The Panthers added playmakers like running back Christian McCaffrey and receiver Curtis Samuel to help the offense, and while those guys will be productive, it is going to open up things for other options already in the offense.
Benjamin has been fantastic in the preseason (two touchdown catches in very limited time) while appearing to be in great shape, and I think that carries over into Week 1. He is a huge receiver, and it gives him a significant advantage over any cornerback trying to cover him. He looks to matchup against 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson and he holds a five-inch height advantage over him. Dontae Johnson starts at cornerback opposite Robinson for the 49ers, and he is 6'2" and the tallest player in their secondary.
The 49ers did surrender 30 touchdown passes in 2016 and while they added linebacker Reuben Foster in the 2017 NFL draft, they haven’t done much to bolster the back end. The 49ers were the No. 28 ranked DVOA pass defense last year, and interestingly, they were the No. 31 ranked DVOA pass defense against No. 1 wide receivers.
Benjamin should be considered a very potent red-zone weapon in this offense because of how much they can spread out a defense. Newton and Benjamin are high ceiling, high floor players for GPP play this week and absolutely worthy of being rostered.
Pivot: Rostering tight end Greg Olsen ($6,600) is another way to get a piece of Newton in this matchup, and the same point can be made for him that was made for Benjamin. This offense will be different than what we have seen in the past, and it has a chance to be prolific because of how many playmakers they have added. Olsen is another fantastic red-zone weapon, and he is always worthy of consideration if the Panthers are forecast to score many points.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
Vegas likes this game as one of the higher scoring games of the weekend with a total of 47 points. The Steelers are on the road, favored by 10 points with an implied total of 28 points. The Browns implied total is 18.5 points. This is Kizer’s first start in the NFL, and it is likely that the Steelers will have this game well in hand at some point in the second half, and that means Kizer will be playing catch up, which means a lot of passing throughout the game.
From a game-script perspective, the Browns will likely try to establish the run, but at some point, they are going to have to go away from the run because of the score, and Kizer is going to take shots down the field. That helps the value of Coleman as I think he will see plenty of targets as this game goes along, and there will be a few vertical shots they take too. The cost in rostering these two players is so cheap, and it allows you to spend up elsewhere to load up the rest of your roster.
There is significant risk here as Kizer is a rookie and this is game one, but the script calls for a lot of passing game volume as this contest wears on, and that could be very good for DFS players looking to find cheap options in solid situations.
This is another risky stack but one that lines up nicely from a game-script outlook. The Bears are seven-point underdogs at home, and Vegas likes this as a high scoring game with a 48.5 point total. The Falcons have an implied total of 28 points while the Bears have an implied number of 20.5 points.
It is hard to see a scenario where the Bears are not forced to throw due to the potent nature of the Falcons offense, and that means plenty of volume for both Wright and tight end Zach Miller ($4,500). Because of the uptick in volume, Wright or Miller has a chance to get to value in a game that lines up as a bit of a one-sided affair. Again, rostering these players allow a savvy DFS player the chance to play the “David Johnsons” and “LeSean McCoys” of the fantasy world.
It seems a little nutty that I am writing this, but when looking at the numbers and the potential for Hilton to have a big day, it makes some sense (I said some). This game features a low total of 41.5 points with the Rams favored by 3.5 points The Rams have an implied total of 22 points while the Colts have an implied number of 19.5 points. Vegas does not see this as a high-scoring game.
However, the Rams are without all-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and that changes things for Tolzien. He will have more time to throw, and he is going to be staring down Hilton throughout this game. It would not surprise me if Hilton had 12+ targets in this game, and this is another stack that allows for improvement at other positions.
Pittsburgh Steelers ($4,800) + Le'Veon Bell ($9,300) = $14,100
The Steelers travel to Cleveland on Sunday and are 10-point favorites in a game they should win easily. Rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer makes his first start, and while he is capable, he will make mistakes, and the Steelers defense can make him pay for those mistakes. Running back Le’Veon Bell returned from his holdout in great shape, and the Steelers are going to give him a full workload in Week 1. It is not that hard to see Bell torching the Browns and the Steelers defense helping to kick in points too.
Buffalo Bills ($4,700) + LeSean McCoy ($8,500) = $13,200
The Bills bring the lowly New York Jets into town on Sunday in a game that Vegas is forecasting as a blowout. The Bills are favored by nine points, and it is tough to see the Jets being able to do much on offense in this game. McCoy is already a bit of a no-brainer type of start in his matchup, but when the game script is considered, he might be the best running back in fantasy this week due to the increase in the volume he will see as the Bills go into clock killing mode early in the second half. Look for a big game from McCoy and enough opportunity from the Bills defense to make this stack worthy.