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 get the New York Jets at home in Week 2. Vegas does not consider this game to be high scoring, but it does like the Raiders chances to score a lot of points as their implied total is 29.5 points. Also, the Raiders are favored by 15 points, and the Raiders should have their way with a very poor Jets pass defense.
The Jets were the No. 31 DVOA pass defense in the NFL last year, and they allowed 30 passing touchdowns last year. Also, only two teams league-wide gave up more passing plays of 40+ yards in 2016 than the 13 the Jets surrendered. The Jets have started poorly in 2017 as only two teams league wide have surrendered more 20+ yards, and 40+ yard passing plays.
Cooper is the No. 1 option in this passing offense, and he should continue to dominate targets. He had a chance at an enormous day last week but left points on the field because of a few drops. The Jets do have an above average run defense, and the heavy lifting will be done in this game by the passing attack.
Cooper was limited again in practice on Wednesday with a knee injury, and it mirrors what we saw last week. Like last week, you will want to monitor his practice status throughout the rest of the week. If we see a full practice this week, then he will be good to go for Sunday.
Cooper can stretch the field and hurt defenses vertically, and this is an excellent stack for GPP play.
Pivot: Michael Crabtree ($7,300) and Jared Cook ($5,100) are both options that are intriguing and should perform well in against the porous Jets secondary. If Cooper is limited, selecting Crabtree becomes a no-brainer as he will see an uptick in volume and has a chance to have a big day. Stacking Cook gets you a piece of this juicy matchup and allows for spending up elsewhere.
The Patriots are on the road to take on the New Orleans Saints, and Vegas is calling this one of the highest scoring games with a total of 56 points. The Patriots are favored by seven points and have an implied total of 31.5 points while the Saints have an implied total of 24.5 points.
The Saints were the No. 30 ranked DVOA pass defense last year, and they allowed 273.8 yards per game, and they ranked No. 31 in yards per attempt allowed with a 7.9 average. They added help in the 2017 NFL draft, but we saw last week when the Vikings lit up this defense that it takes time. After one week of 2017 play, the Saints are the No. 32 ranked DVOA defense.
Vegas likes the Saints to put points on the board in this game as well, and that means Brady and company must keep the pedal on the gas. The Saints pass defense is horrendous, and if the Saints offense can push the Patriots to score points (as indicated by the total), then very good things are in store for Brady on Sunday.
Cooks is a fantastic vertical weapon, and he is returning to the team that drafted him in the first round several years ago. Certainly, there is familiarity here, but that works both ways and Cooks has a chance to have a big game in his return to New Orleans. This defense was just torched by Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford and receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
Pivot: Rob Gronkowski ($8,100) is another option and a player that gives you a piece of the action in this high scoring contest. Gronkowski had a down first week but looks to bounce back in Week 2. He should have no problem tearing up this defense, and this game has a very positive script which should help keep him involved all day.
The Seahawks bring the San Francisco 49ers to town Sunday in an NFC West divisional matchup. Vegas is calling this a low scoring game with a total of 43 points. The Seahawks are a 13.5-point favorite, but the intriguing number is their implied total of 28.5 points.
The 49ers ranked No. 28 ranked DVOA pass defense in the NFL, and through one week in the 2017 season they are the No. 27 ranked DVOA defense. They are beatable through the air and Wilson should be able to exploit them on Sunday.
The 49ers allowed 7.7 yards per attempt in 2016 and only three teams league wide allowed a higher average. The 49ers also allowed 30 passing touchdowns in 2016, and only five teams in the NFL surrendered more.
There seems to be a trend emerging about how the Seahawks offense performs at home versus on the road, and last week’s mess against the Packers on the road was another indication of that. In traditional formats, Wilson scored 19.63 points per game at home last year as opposed to 14.59 points per game on the road. Regardless of the scoring system, Wilson generated 34.5 percent more points at home last year.
Obviously, this trickles down to his receivers and Baldwin will be a primary beneficiary of this. Baldwin moves around the Seahawks formation a lot, and they scheme him into positive situations, and that helps him get into positive coverage situations.
The 49ers are easy to beat through the air and Wilson should pick this defense apart. All signs point to a very nice rebound-type day from Wilson and Baldwin, and they are worthy of consideration for GPP play in Week 2.
The Saints are at home this week, and they bring the Patriots into town after the Patriots were burned by the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1. The game total is set at 56 points, and the Patriots are favored by seven points on the road. The Patriots have an implied total of 31.5 points while the Saints have an implied number of 24.5 points.
The Patriots were the No. 22 ranked DVOA pass defense in 2016, and they stumbled out of the gate in 2017 and are the No. 30 ranked DVOA pass defense through one week in 2017. They gave up four touchdowns passes to the Chiefs, and only three teams in the NFL gave up a higher average per attempt than the 10.5 yards per attempt the Patriots allowed.
The Patriots offense is going to bounce back in this game, and that forces the Saints to continue to push the ball down the field, and that means plenty of volume for Brees and the entire Saints passing game. The Patriots are going to try and take away Saints No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas, and that opens the door for Ginn.
Ginn is an intriguing option in this game with receiver Willie Snead still suspended, and he is worth a shot in this explosive matchup. He is a very dangerous vertical threat, and I like the idea of rostering a player like Ginn in what everyone is considering a super high scoring contest.
Pivot: Rostering tight end Coby Fleener ($5,300) is another way to get a piece of Brees in this matchup, and the same point can be made for him that was made for Ginn. This offense is going to get pushed to keep the pace in this game, and I’d even consider a triple stack here.
Vegas likes this game as one of the higher scoring games of the weekend with a total of 54 points. The Packers are on the road and 2.5-point underdogs with an implied total of 26 points. The Falcons implied total is 28 points.
The Falcons were the No. 18 DVOA pass defense in the NFL last year, and they allowed 31 passing touchdowns last year. The finished the year as the No. 28 ranked pass defense from a yards allowed perspective. Teams are racking up yardage, but that comes from Atlanta being ahead in games and forcing teams to abandon the run and throw the ball to play catch up. That is a best case scenario for the Packers and one that we could see play out.
There is history here to take into account, and it is worth looking at to glean a little perspective about how this one is going to go. Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdown passes in his last three matchups against the Falcons, and he clearly can beat them through the air.
We are seeing a lot of points being forecast, and from a game-script perspective, that means that the pressure will be on Rodgers to keep pace with the Falcons offense. The Packers pass defense is going to get lit up, and that means Rodgers must keep his team in the game on the strength of his arm.
Nelson is the No. 1 option in the Packers stable of receivers, and he continues to score touchdowns at a fantastic rate for the Packers. He has scored 15 touchdowns in his last 18 games going back to the start of the 2016 season, and he will look to add to that on Sunday. This stack has phenomenal potential to outperform its price, and one worth considering.
The Falcons bring in the high powered Green Bay Packers to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday for an NFC showdown that is forecast to be a shootout. The Falcons are 2.5 point favorites at home, and Vegas likes this as a high scoring game with a 54 point total. The Falcons have an implied total of 28 points while the Packers have an implied number of 26 points.
The Packers were the No. 23 ranked DVOA pass defense last year, and they were No. 31 in the league, allowing 269.2 yards per game. They also ranked last in the NFL in yards per attempt allowed with an 8.1-yard average. The Packers were also third-worst in the NFL allowing 32 passing touchdowns. Only three teams in the NFL gave up more 20+ yard plays than the 58 the Packers surrendered in 2016. Ryan and company have to be licking their chops.
Ryan has thrown 11 touchdown passes over his last three games against the Packers, and he gets them at home with a high game total and high implied totals for each team. Jones did not produce big numbers in Week 1 but should have no trouble eating up this defense.
It is hard to see a scenario where the Falcons passing game does not produce big numbers when looking at the game script, the history between the teams and overall strength of each team. Look for Ryan and Jones to have a very nice day in Week 2 against the Packers.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
The Buffalo Bills travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers in Week 2. Buffalo is an 8.5-point underdog on the road with an implied total of 17.5 points. The Panthers have an implied total of 26 points for the game.
The game script is calling for the Bills to be down and throwing late into this game while trying to catch up and that is favorable for Taylor and Clay. Clay has emerged as the go-to weapon in this passing game with Sammy Watkins being traded in the offseason.
He saw nine targets in Week 1 and caught four passes for 53 yards and a score. Going back to last season, he has been targeted 39 times over his past five games and has caught 25 passes for 282 yards and five touchdowns.
There is risk in multiple places here though. Vegas has the Bills for a low total, so there’s not a ton of upside, but the reduction in Taylor’s cost might allow you to spend salary elsewhere. Also, Clay was dinged up in Week 1 and is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. Monitor his status and make sure he practices in full before rostering him.
Jacquizz Rodgers ($6,600) + Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,500) = $11,100
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers bring the Chicago Bears to town on Sunday and are seven-point favorites in a game they should win easily. The Bears come to town undermanned in the passing game while starting quarterback Mike Glennon returns to the city that gave him his start in the NFL. The Bears lost receiver Cameron Meredith for the year in the preseason and followed that up by losing receiver Kevin White for the year during their Week 1 loss. Tampa Bay should generate pressure and force Glennon to get the ball out earlier than he would like, and that gives the defense a shot to put up some points.
Running back Jacquizz Rodgers gets the start with Doug Martin suspended, and he has been very productive for the Buccaneers when given a full workload. Rodgers should see enough volume in this game, and he is facing last year’s No. 29 ranked DVOA run defense, and that means nothing but good things for Rodgers.
Terrance West ($6,600) + Baltimore Ravens ($4,700) = $11,300
The Ravens get the Cleveland Browns at home on Sunday in a game that Vegas is forecasting as a rout. The Ravens are favored by nine points, and it is tough to see the Browns doing much on offense against the Ravens in this game. Rookie Deshone Kizer starts at quarterback for the Browns, and the Ravens just destroyed the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, generating four interceptions and five sacks while pitching a shutout. The Ravens defense should have plenty of opportunity in this game. West is slated to step in as starting running back with Danny Woodhead out due to a hamstring injury. West saw 19 carries in Week 1, and the game script looks favorable for that kind of volume this week. Look for a big game from West and enough opportunity from the Ravens defense to make this stack worthy of selection in GPP play.