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. In some cases, 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.
Facing No. 15 ranked DVOA defense - No. 25 ranked pass defense allowing 259 yards per game
Game Total - 46
Implied Totals - Panthers at 25 points and Eagles at 21 points
Game Line - Carolina Panthers - 3.5
The Carolina Panthers bring the Philadelphia Eagles into town on Thursday night for an NFC matchup in Week 6. The Eagles have been bleeding points to fantasy quarterbacks in 2017. Quarterbacks Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer have all had solid games against this defense.
The Eagles surrender an average of 7.6 yards per attempt and only seven teams in the NFL allow a higher average. The Eagles have been hit with five passing plays that have gone for 40+ yards and only the Kansas City Chiefs have allowed more.
Newton started the season slowly, but he has heated up and is playing very well over his past two games, throwing six touchdowns and 671 total yards. The Panthers are not running the ball well, and it is clear that any points the Panthers are scoring are coming off the arm of Newton. The implied total has the Panthers at 3+ scores and that means very good things for the entire Panthers passing game.
Newton will take shots down the field and is dangerous throwing to the intermediate level of the field. He does a fantastic job of placing the ball in a spot where only his receivers can get to the ball, and generally speaking, that is high as his weapons are tall with Devin Funchess at 6’4” and Kelvin Benjamin at 6’5”.
Newton is incredibly dangerous in the red zone as his weapons have a huge size advantage over defensive backs around the league. He also will run with the ball and has scored two rushing touchdowns in 2017.
Funchess has been targeted 33 times over the past four games. He has caught 22 passes for 249 yards and three scores over his past four games. Newton and Funchess have developed chemistry since tight end Greg Olsen was injured, and this is another excellent matchup for them.
Facing No. 9 ranked DVOA defense - No. 27 ranked pass defense allowing 255.8 yards per game
Game Total - 50.5
Implied Totals - Saints at 28 points and Lions at 23 points
Game Line - New Orleans Saints - 5
The New Orleans Saints bring the Detroit Lions to town for a Sunday afternoon NFC matchup. The Saints are a different animal at home than they are on the road, and the game script paints the Saints passing attack in a very favorable light for this matchup.
The Lions allow 7.7 yards per attempt and only six teams in the NFL allow a higher average. The Lions have done an admirable job on defense in 2017, but the Saints are forecast to score four touchdowns and those points will not likely come from the Saints ground game.
When looking at rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis’ splits, a trend has emerged that is very interesting. When he has played, the Lions have allowed 2.1 yards per carry to opposing running backs. They have defended 64 carries and allowed 135 total yards with Davis in the middle of the defense.
With Davis out, the Lions have defended 50 runs, and they have allowed 238 yards for a 4.8-yard average. It can be argued that Davis has bolstered the run defense and that means good things for the Saints passing attack if they are going to get near that implied number. This matchup has the highest total of the week and looks to be a shootout on paper.
Thomas is far and away the first option in the Saints passing attack and he has been very active in 2017 before the Saints Week 4 bye. Thomas has been targeted 37 times in his first four games and has totaled 25 catches for 310 yards and he has scored twice over his past two games.
This game has the look of a shootout and one that funnels passing-game volume to Thomas which makes Brees and Thomas an intriguing option to stack for GPP play in Week 6.
Facing No. 31 ranked DVOA defense - No. 19 ranked pass defense allowing 228.2 yards per game
Game Total - 47
Implied Totals - Texans at 28 points and Browns at 19 points
Game Line - Houston Texans - 9.5
The Houston Texans are at home to take on the Cleveland Browns in an AFC matchup in Week 6. This game has one of the higher totals of the week, and the Texans have been a scoring machine of late. The Browns enter this game stumbling against the pass as they are surrendering 7.9 yards per catch. Only four teams in the NFL allow a higher average through five weeks.
While the Browns are holding offenses down from a yardage perspective, they are getting gashed by touchdowns. They have also allowed 11 touchdowns through the air and only the Titans and Patriots have allowed more in 2017.
Watson enters this game on a ridiculous pace having thrown for 11 scores through his last three games. These touchdown numbers are unsustainable going forward as Watson has thrown a touchdown on 11.2 percent of this throws over the past three games, but they could continue through this week.
Watson also puts up enough rushing numbers to boost his value. He has averaged 36 yards rushing per game and has scored twice in 2017. Watson is playing out of his mind and should be started while this trend remains.
Hopkins and Watson are not efficient at all, but there is so much volume going to Hopkins that even a bad day is still good for fantasy purposes. A good day means great things for your roster. Hopkins has been targeted 61 times in five games, and he has caught 35 balls with 14 percent of those catches going for scores (5).
Watson and Hopkins bring a high floor and an even higher ceiling and are an intriguing stack worth consideration for GPP play in Week 6.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
Facing No. 16 ranked DVOA defense - No. 28 ranked pass defense allowing 265.2 yards per game
Game Total - 50.5
Implied Totals - Lions at 23 points and Saints at 28 points
Game Line - Detroit Lions + 5
The Detroit Lions travel to New Orleans for an NFC matchup against the Saints in Week 6. The Saints have only surrendered six passing touchdowns in 2017 which tenth-best in the NFL. However, when we look at that number in relation to the number of attempts made on them, they allow a touchdown to attempt rate of 4.5 percent which is 19th worst in the NFL.
The Lions cannot run the football and that means that there will be more passing game volume for Stafford and company. More passing game volume is going to funnel productivity to the Lions passing attack.
The Saints surrender an 8.6-yard average and only one team in the NFL allows a higher average (New England Patriots). The Saints have allowed 21 passing plays of 20+ yards this season and only two teams have allowed more in 2017. 15.9 percent of completions against the Saints have gone for 20 or more yards. The only team allowing a higher rate than the Saints here is the Patriots.
The Lions offense is driven by a short throwing attack which acts as their running game, and because they cannot run the ball effectively, if they are going to score points it will come from their passing game. They are projected to score three-plus touchdowns via their implied total, and that will come from Stafford and the Lions passing game.
Also, Stafford has fared extremely well in his last two trips to New Orleans. In Week 13 last season, Stafford threw for 341 yards and 2 scores. In Week 15 of the 2015 season, Stafford threw for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The game script sees Stafford and the Lions playing from behind in this contest with New Orleans favored by five points. It is conceivable that the Lions throw the ball 40+ times in this game.
Tate has been a steady performer out of the slot in this offense and he is the Lions clear first option in their aerial attack. He has been targeted 40 times in five games, but he will draw Saints slot cornerback Kenny Vaccaro while the outside options do not look great for Detroit. Look for Tate to lead the Lions in targets again this week.
The risk here is that Stafford has historically struggled when playing banged up, and he is dealing with multiple nagging injuries now, including an ankle issue and a hamstring problem. Also, the Lions offensive line is not playing well as Stafford has been sacked six times in each of his past two games.
However, when looking at the matchup and game script, the risk is mitigated by the sheer volume the passing game will see because of the Lions inability to run the ball combined with the concept that they will be playing catch-up in this game.
Stafford and Tate offer nice value from a points-per-dollar outlook, but you need to be comfortable with the risk. There is enough upside to warrant consideration for stacking them in GPP play in Week 5.
Facing No. 27 ranked DVOA defense - No. 31 ranked pass defense allowing 309 yards per game
Game Total - 44.5
Implied Totals - Cardinals at 21 points and Buccaneers at 23.5 points
Game Line - Arizona Cardinals + 2.5
The Arizona Cardinals bring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into town for an NFC matchup on Sunday in Week 6. When looking at the Buccaneers, their schedule must be considered as they have played only four games to this point, facing off against the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and the New England Patriots.
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum torched the Buccaneers in Week 3 to the tune of 369 yards and 3 scores. In Week 4, Giants quarterback Eli Manning hit the Buccaneers for 288 yards, 2 touchdowns, and he added a rushing touchdown too. The Patriots were expected to light up Tampa Bay on Thursday night last week, but tight end Rob Gronkowski did not play and the Buccaneers surprisingly held the high-octane Patriots passing game in check.
The Buccaneers surrender a 7.6-yard average and only seven teams in the NFL allow a higher average. They also allow significant yardage to opposing quarterbacks as evidenced by the No. 31 overall pass defense ranking.
With stud running back David Johnson injured in Week 1, Palmer has been forced to become the driving force behind this offense. Palmer has averaged 45.4 attempts per game in 2017 and he had three consecutive games throwing for 300+ yards going into Week 5. Through five games, Palmer is averaging 314.6 yards per game, but the touchdowns have been missing to this point.
The Cardinals added veteran running back Adrian Peterson in a trade with the Saints this week, but it is yet to be determined how involved he will be in the game plan. Peterson is a better running back than what they had at the position, but by no means is he a perfect fit for this offense.
When looking at the Cardinals offense, the lack of a running game must be considered and the reality is if the Cardinals are going to score points, it is going to come from the passing game. The Cardinals implied number has them scoring three touchdowns, but they are a home underdog and that number is attainable.
The game script sees Palmer and the Cardinals forced to throw and playing catch-up in this contest with Tampa Bay favored by 2.5 points. It is not out of the realm of possibility to see Palmer throw the ball 50+ times in this game and that means the potential for more production for all involved.
Fitzgerald has been a steady performer out of the slot in this offense and he is commanding a majority of the target share in the passing game. Fitzgerald has been targeted 51 times in 5 games, catching 32 passes for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns. Again, the touchdowns are currently missing from this passing game.
The risk here is that Palmer and company have a low implied total at 21 points which likely caps the ceiling of this stack. However, when looking at the matchup and game script, the risk is mitigated by the sheer volume the passing game will see.
This is another stack that is intriguing from a points-per-dollar outlook and if Palmer can get the Cardinals into the end zone a few times in this game, this stack he fantastic potential in GPP play in
Facing No. 30 ranked DVOA defense - No. 18 ranked pass defense allowing 226.6 yards per game
Game Total - 48.5
Implied Totals - Chargers at 23 points and Raiders at 26 points
Game Line - Los Angeles Chargers + 3
The Los Angeles Chargers travel to Oakland for an AFC West matchup in Week 6. The Raiders pass defense has not played well to this point in the 2017 season, surrendering an average of 8.1 yards per attempt, and only three teams in the NFL allow more.
The Raiders have allowed 16 passing plays of 20+ yards and only four teams in the NFL have allowed more. Only three teams have allowed more 40+ yard passing plays than the (4) the Raiders have given up.
The Raiders have not played a potent passing attack through five games and haven’t been tested in 2017. They have played Tennessee, the New York Jets, the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens. Their only real test came in against the Washington Redskins in Week 3 and quarterback Kirk Cousins went for 365 yards and 3 touchdowns on the Raiders.
Allen is the focal point of the passing attack as he has been targeted 51 times through five games. He has caught 28 passes for 401 yards, but he has not scored since Week 1. This matchup is juicy though as he faces off against Raiders slot cornerback T.J. Carrie and he has the best matchup of any Chargers wide receiver this week.
Rivers has thrown five touchdowns over his past two games and will look to keep his hot play going this week. However, the Chargers implied total is 23 points and the risk is that the Chargers are not forecast to score many points in this contest, but the matchup and game script makes Rivers and Allen an interesting stack for Week 6.
C.J. Anderson ($7,000) + Denver Broncos ($5,400) = $12,400
The Denver Broncos bring the New York Giants to town on Sunday in what appears to be a fairly one-sided contest on paper. The Broncos are a 12-point home favorite in a game they should win easily. The Giants are the league’s No. 28 ranked DVOA run defense in 2017.
They are also ranked fourth-worst in yards allowed per game (139) and ninth-worst in yards per carry (4.5). The Giants have only allowed two rushing touchdowns but this matchup screams heavy volume for Anderson. Vegas is calling for the Broncos to score close to four touchdowns with an implied total of 26 points, and some of that will come from the rushing attack.
The struggling Giants offense is only forecast to score 14 points and they are missing all of their starting receivers from just one week ago. Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall both went to injured reserve this week due to ankle injuries, and slot receiver Sterling Shepard is unlikely to play with an ankle injury. It is tough to see the Giants moving the ball at all in this game.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has struggled at points this year, and his offensive line is allowing too much pressure to force the ball out too soon. The Broncos can bring pressure via the likes of linebacker Von Miller and they should have no problem making Manning very uncomfortable in this game.