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 Atlanta Falcons travel to Ford Field in Detroit to take on the surprising Lions in what should be a high-scoring game. The game total is set at 50 points and the Falcons are a three-point favorite with an implied total of 27 points. The Lions have an implied total of 23 points in this game.
The Lions were ranked as the league's worst DVOA pass defense last year where they allowed 33 passing touchdowns, only better than the Cleveland Browns. Interestingly, the Lions have played very well to this point in the 2017 season, but they have not faced an offense like the Falcons and this feels like a week when the water finds its level concerning their pass defense.
Ryan quarterbacks an offense that can make big plays, but he has started the 2017 season slowly as he has only thrown two touchdown passes to date. While the Lions have put up strong numbers to start the season, they present a good opportunity for Ryan to get things rolling again.
Sanu runs the majority of his routes out of the slot, and the Lions are the No. 22 ranked DVOA defense against slot receivers in 2017 after finishing as the No. 32 defense in this category last year. Sanu is the second option in this passing offense and he should see enough volume running out of the slot in this matchup to warrant consideration. He has been targeted 15 times through two games and has caught 11 of them.
Pivoting away from wide receiver Julio Jones and rostering Sanu gets you a piece of this high-scoring game without paying a prohibitive price, and it allows for spending up elsewhere.
Pivot: Falcons tight end Austin Hooper ($5,400) is a fantastic option if Lions middle linebacker Jarrad Davis is out, and he is currently in the concussion protocol. Davis’ injury moves linebacker Tahir Whitehead back to the middle where he was torched last year, and Hooper almost becomes a chalk-type play in that scenario.
The Panthers are at home for this NFC South matchup as they bring the New Orleans Saints into town for this Week 3 matchup. Vegas is calling this one of the highest scoring games with a total of 48 points. The Panthers are favored by six points and have an implied total of 27 points while the Saints have an implied total of 20.5 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 were beaten badly by the Vikings in Week 1 and absolutely torched by the Patriots last week. They are the No. 32 ranked DVOA pass defense through two games in 2017.
Through two weeks this year, the Saints rank last in the following areas. They allow 11.2 yards per attempt and have given up 388.5 yards per game. They have surrendered six touchdown passes and 17 plays of 20+ yards. Also, opposing quarterbacks have a quarterback rating of 141.4 against them.
Benjamin had a great preseason, but the entire Panthers offense started the season slowly. The Saints come to town which can only help whatever may be ailing the Panthers passing attack. Benjamin was targeted eight times and caught 6 passes for 77 yards last week, and he looks to build on that performance.
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is out with a foot injury and that means more targets to shuffle around to other Panthers receiving options. Also, the Saints have a potent offense and can put points on the board quickly, and if they push the Panthers offense at all, it will mean big numbers for Cam and company.
It should be noted that there is some risk with both Newton and Benjamin listed on the injury report. Newton is questionable with an ankle injury and Benjamin as questionable with a knee injury. Both must practice in full before being rostered, and you will want to monitor the Panthers practice reports through Friday.
The Detroit Lions bring the Atlanta Falcons to town Sunday in an NFC matchup of undefeated teams. Vegas is calling this a high scoring game with a total of 50 points. The Lions are a three-point home underdog, and their implied total is 23 points while the Falcons implied number is 27 points.
The Falcons were the No. 18 ranked DVOA pass defense in the NFL in 2016, and through one week in the 2017 season, they are the No. 17 ranked DVOA pass defense. This does not look like a super-exploitable matchup, but there is something interesting hidden in those numbers though.
The Falcons were the No. 11 ranked DVOA defense against No. 1 receivers in 2016. They were the No. 8 ranked DVOA defense versus No. 2 receivers last year. Here is where Tate comes in and where he has a significant advantage. The Falcons were the No. 27 ranked DVOA defense against slot receivers in 2016 and with the addition of rookie receiver Kenny Golladay, Tate has been pushed to the slot where he is at his best.
Tate will draw slot cornerback Brian Poole while Marvin Jones looks to get cornerback Desmond Trufant and Golladay draws cornerback Robert Alford. It is tough to see Jones doing much against Trufant, and I don't fully trust Golladay outside the red zone just yet. While Poole has performed well, Tate works best out of the slot and I think has the best matchup of the three receivers here.
The Falcons are funneling passing game volume because they have been up in games and it has forced opposing quarterbacks to throw late into games to try to catch up. Teams have thrown 90 passes against them through two weeks which is the most in the NFL.
This speaks to the game script which has Stafford slinging it all over the field trying to stay in the game, and that means more passing game productivity for the Lions aerial attack. Everyone loves garbage time points and that is in play here. Stafford and Tate are a very intriguing stack for Week 3 GPP play.
The Redskins are at home this week as they bring the Oakland Raiders to town in Week 3. The game total is set at 53 points, and this game has the highest total of the week. The Redskins are a 3.5 point underdog at home. The Redskins have an implied total of 24.5 points while the Raiders have an implied number of 28.5 points.
The Raiders were the No. 25 DVOA ranked pass defense in 2016. Through two weeks of the 2017 season, they are the No. 22 ranked DVOA pass defense. Last year, the Raiders surrendered 61 plays if 20+ yards and 16 plays of 40+ yards, both ranked dead last in the NFL. The Raiders are susceptible and they can be beaten vertically down the field.
Helping matters is the fact that the Raiders offense is going to push the pace in this game and that forces Cousins and company to continue to drive the ball down the field. Cousins will put the ball in the air plenty here and that means a more than normal amount of volume for the entire Redskins passing game.
Pryor was targeted 11 times in Week 1 and caught 6 passes for 66 yards and followed that up with a quiet performance in Week 2 as he was only targeted four times. Things change in this matchup as the Raiders ability to score will push volume to Pryor, and it is important to look at the Raiders struggles versus No. 1 wide receivers. They are the No. 25 ranked DVOA defense against No. 1 wide receivers and that bodes well for Pryor.
Vegas likes this game as one of the higher scoring games of the weekend with a total of 53 points. The Raiders are on the road and a 3.5-point favorite with an implied total of 28.5 points. The Redskins implied total is 24.5 points.
The Redskins were the No. 24 DVOA pass defense in the NFL last year and so far in 2017, they are the No. 20 ranked DVOA pass defense. The Redskins have allowed 8.7 yards per attempt which is fourth-worst in the NFL. Only two teams have allowed more 20+ yard plays than the nine the Redskins have allowed in 2017. Only one team has allowed more 40+ yard plays than the two the Redskins have allowed through two games.
The Raiders have come out of the gate on fire on offense as Carr has thrown five touchdowns in two games. He looks to be very comfortable and in sync with his weapons on offense. Crabtree has taken a step forward with receiver Amari Cooper struggling with a knee problem. Cooper is listed as questionable this week as well, and Crabtree could be in line for plenty of volume, especially in the red zone.
We are seeing a lot of points being forecast on both sides, and from a game-script perspective, that means that Carr will have plenty of chances to make plays against the Redskins defense. The Redskins pass defense is going to give up plays and that means Carr and Crabtree could have a shot at a very productive day on Sunday.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
Jay Cutler ($7,400) + Devante Parker ($6,500) = $13,900
The Miami Dolphins travel to Metlife Stadium to Sunday for an AFC East matchup against the New York Jets in Week 3. The Dolphins are a six-point favorite with an implied total of 24 points while the Jets have an implied total of 17.5 points.
The Jets were the No. 31 DVOA ranked pass defense last year where they allowed 30 passing touchdowns which was tied for sixth-worst in the NFL. They have allowed five passing touchdowns in 2017, only better than New Orleans and New England.
In 2016, the Jets pass defense gave up 13 passing plays of 40+ yards and only two teams league-wide gave up more. Interestingly, the Jets gave up a touchdown pass on 5.5 percent of opposing attempts and ranked fifth-worst in the NFL in this statistic. In 2017, this number has risen to 8.9 percent, and the Jets are dead last in the NFL here this year.
In 2016, the Jets were the No. 25 ranked DVOA defense against No. 1 wide receivers. In 2017, they are the No. 29 ranked DVOA defense against No. 1 receivers. The first receiving option in the Dolphins offense in Parker and he is a vertical threat, capable of making plays down the field and exploiting the Jets vulnerability to get beat deep. Parker was targeted nine times last week and he caught 4 balls for 85 yards.
There is a risk in stacking Cutler and Parker though. Vegas has the Jets for a low total (17.5 points), so they are not expecting the Jets to push the Dolphins and keep them throwing the ball. That puts a cap on the stack’s ceiling and likely holds it back a touch, but there are positive cost savings to be considered and that is helpful.
However, as of this writing, Parker is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Monitor his status and make sure he practices in full before rostering him. Cutler and Parker offer nice value from a points-per-dollar outlook and while there is risk, there is also enough upside to warrant consideration.
The Cardinals bring in the Dallas Cowboys to the University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday night for an NFC showdown. The Cardinals are three-point favorites at home, and Vegas likes this as a middle of the pack type game from a scoring perspective with a 46.5 point total. The Cardinals have an implied total of 21.5 points while the Cowboys have an implied number of 24.5 points.
The Cowboys were the No. 19 ranked DVOA pass defense last year, and they were seventh-worst in the league, allowing 260.4 yards per game in 2016. The Cowboys are the No. 18 ranked DVOA pass defense in 2017, but interestingly, the touchdown rate they surrender is fifth-worst in the NFL as they allow a touchdown pass on 5.7 percent of passing attempts.
The Cardinals return home for the first time in the 2017 season and Palmer has been much more effective at home than he has been on the road. He seems to struggle in games where he has to travel to play games starting early on Sunday. See the Detroit Lions matchup in Week 1 and the
Indianapolis Colts matchup in Week 2 as examples here.
The Cowboys held down the struggling New York Giants offense in Week 1 but were fried by the Denver Broncos last week as Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian hit them for four touchdown passes. This matchup gives Palmer a chance to get the passing game back on track.
Fitzgerald sees the most of his snaps out of the slot, and the Cowboys are without slot cornerback Orlando Scandrick this week. The passing game now becomes the focal point of the offense with running back David Johnson out, and Fitzgerald has a great opportunity in this matchup.
Jay Ajayi ($8,200) + Miami Dolphins ($5,100) = $13,300
The Miami Dolphins travel to Metlife Stadium to take on the New York Jets in an AFC East matchup on Sunday afternoon. The Dolphins are a six-point favorite in a game they should win easily as the Jets are not playing well. The Jets offense is severely understaffed and Miami’s defense should have an opportunity in this game.
While the Jets had a stout run defense last season and finished the season as the No. 1 DVOA run defense, they have fallen off and are the league’s No. 27 DVOA run defense in 2017. Running back Jay Ajayi has been very productive for the Dolphins and he had 30 touches and 126 yards in Week 2 versus the Los Angeles Chargers. It should be noted that Ajayi is on the injury report as questionable with a knee issue and you will want to monitor his status and make sure he gets in a full practice before rostering him.
Ty Montgomery ($7,200) + Green Bay Packers ($4,800) = $12,000
The Green Bay Packers bring the Cincinnati Bengals to Lambeau Field in Week 3. It is an understatement to say the Bengals are struggling on offense as they have not scored a touchdown in 2017. They have made a change and have named Bill Lazor as their new offensive coordinator, and it is a situation that is very much unknown. The Packers are favored by 10 points and have an implied total of 27.5 points, but the Packers receiving corps is dealing with injuries and the Cincinnati pass defense is still a solid unit.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is struggling, and his offensive line is not helping him at all. He has thrown four interceptions and has been sacked eight times through two games. The Packers defense will have many chances to make plays in this contest.
Montgomery is intriguing on two fronts. He might have to handle a little bigger workload than usual here with receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb banged up. Also, the Packers are the second largest favorite of the week and the game script calls for more volume than usual for him. Also, the Bengals funnel passing game targets to running backs. Out of the 41 passes that have been thrown through two games against the Bengals, 13 have gone to running backs. Montgomery and the Packers defense are a stack worthy of selection in GPP play.