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 and DraftKings. 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 attempt 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.
Patrick Mahomes III + Tyreek Hill
FanDuel: Mahomes ($8,900) + Hill ($8,200) = $18,100
DraftKings: Mahomes ($7,000) + Hill ($8,500) = $15,500
Game Total - 56
Implied Totals - Chiefs at 31 points and 49ers at 25 points
Game Line - Kansas City Chiefs -6.5
The Kansas City Chiefs bring the San Francisco 49ers to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday for a potential shootout in Week 3. This game has the highest total of the week at 56 points, and it appears that both teams will put points on the board looking at the implied totals for each squad. The Chiefs have the highest implied total of the week (31) and they are off to an electric start to the 2018 season.
The 49ers are vulnerable through the air as they have surrendered 278 yards per game. Only seven teams in the NFL have allowed more yardage through two games. They have allowed five scores via the passing game, and only three teams across the league have yielded more.
As mentioned above, there is an expectation that this game will be a high-scoring affair, and that means great things for a Chiefs offense that is already clicking on all cylinders. If the 49ers can push the Chiefs offense to keep throwing, then this stack should be one that pays enormous dividends this week.
Hill is the type of player that does not need many targets to be productive as he can score at any time because of his ability to outrun a defense. Mahomes is also willing to take shots down the field, and he will give Hill the opportunity to make big plays on a weekly basis.
Hill has seen 14 total targets through two weeks, and he has converted 12 of them into catches. He has registered 259 yards and three scores through two weeks, and he does not look to be slowing at all. The hope here is that the 49ers offense can push the Chiefs to keep taking shots down the field. As evidenced above, Hill only needs a few vertical shots to be a very productive fantasy option.
Pivot: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins ($6,200 at FanDuel and $5,100 at DraftKings) gives you a piece of what Vegas is calling the highest scoring game if the week. Watkins is a secondary option in the Chiefs passing attack, but he went for 100 yards last week as Mahomes spread the ball around. He offers nice savings from Hill, and while he does not offer as much upside as Hill, he has a ceiling that makes him worthy of consideration.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce ($7,500 at FanDuel and $6,700 at DraftKings) tore up the Steelers last week on 10 targets. He scored twice while registering 109 yards on seven catches. Kelce is another Chiefs weapon worthy of consideration because of the high total and the Chiefs ability to score at an electric pace.
FanDuel: Cousins ($8,600) + Diggs ($8,300) = $16,900
DraftKings: Cousins ($6,800) + Diggs ($7,700) = $14,500
Game Total - 41
Implied Totals - Vikings at 29 points and Bills at 12 points
Game Line - Minnesota Vikings -17
The Minnesota Vikings face the Buffalo Bills at home this week, and they should have no problem walking away from this game with a win. While this game has a low total, the implied number for the Vikings has them a touch over four scores, and that should alleviate any concerns with the Vikings putting enough points on the board.
Cousins has developed an excellent rapport with this receivers, and he is challenging defenses down the field which is leading to bigger plays from his weapons. Cousins has thrown for six scores through two weeks, and he has the passing game in an excellent place right now.
Opposing quarterbacks have hit the Bills for a rating of 128.8, and only one team in the NFL has yielded a worse rating. The Bills have also given up six scores through the air, and only one team across the NFL has given up more passing scores. It is easy to see a roadway to success for the entire Vikings passing attack in Week 3.
Diggs exploded in Week 2 with nine catches, 128 yards and two scores on 13 targets. Diggs is an excellent route runner and is capable of winning in the early, intermediate, and deeper parts of the field. The Bills are going to have a difficult time in coverage in this game and Diggs should be able to exploit them in a big way.
Pivot: Wide receiver Adam Thielen ($8,200 at FanDuel and $7,800 at DraftKings) is a very interesting option in Week 3 facing Bills slot cornerback Rafael Bush. He has been targeted 25 times through two weeks, scoring one touchdown on 18 catches to go with 233 yards. Like Diggs, he has an excellent path to get to GPP value and is a viable option in a solid passing game on a team expected to score four-plus touchdowns.
FanDuel: Brady ($8,500) + Gronkowski ($8,100) = $16,600
DraftKings: Brady ($6,900) + Gronkowski ($7,400) = $14,300
Game Total - 51.5
Implied Totals - Patriots at 29 points and Lions at 22.5 points
Game Line - New England Patriots -6.5
The New England Patriots go on the road to face the Detroit Lions on Sunday night this week in what is likely to be a high scoring game. This game has the fourth-highest total of the week (51.5), and both teams are vulnerable through the air, and this game could easily go over with the strength of each team being on offense.
The Patriots have the second highest implied number in Week 3, and the strength of their offense meets the weakness of the Lions defense. Brady is an elite quarterback, and he should be able to eat up the Lions secondary that may be missing star cornerback Darius Slay. It is not all that difficult to see Brady having a big game on Sunday night.
One thing that stands out is the Lions ability to push the pace in this game to keep the Patriots foot on the gas. Neither defense has performed well to start the season, combining for nine passing touchdowns allowed through two weeks.
Gronkowski is a security blanket for Brady, but he is also a threat to make plays down the field because of his sheer size. He is a mismatch nightmare because of his size and ability to box out defenders with his frame and long arms, and that will continue this week.
Last week the Lions put Quandre Diggs on 49ers tight end George Kittle (Diggs is 5’9”), and while the numbers were not there in the end, there were plenty of plays that were left on the field. Kittle was open early and often in the game and Diggs was simply outmatched from a size perspective. If the Lions deploy Diggs on Gronkowski, I would expect Gronkowski to go off in this game.
Gronkowski is the No. 1 option in the Patriots aerial attack, but he was limited last week by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the Lions do not have anywhere near the assets the Jaguars do. Everything is set up for Gronkowski to do serious damage to the Lions in Week 3 and he is an easy player to roster this week.
FanDuel: Garoppolo ($7,400) + Kittle ($5,800) = $13,200
DraftKings: Garoppolo ($6,500) + Kittle ($4,500) = $11,000
Game Total - 56
Implied Totals - 49ers at 25 points and Chiefs at 31 points
Game Line - San Francisco 49ers +6.5
The San Francisco 49ers are on the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs in a Week 3 matchup that has the potential to be a very high scoring game. This game has the highest total of the week (56) and should be a game that features each team’s passing attack.
We have witnessed the potency of the Chiefs offense as they’ve obliterated defenses in the first two weeks of the season, and the reality is the 49ers are not going to present a stiff challenge to this offense in Week 3. The Chiefs are expected to score more than four touchdowns, and if the 49ers are going to hang in this game, their passing game will need to lead the way.
The Chiefs have surrendered six passing scores in 2018, and that is second-worst in the NFL. Part of this is because their offense is scoring at an alarming rate, and teams are throwing the ball all over the field to try to stay in games. The Chiefs have given up 111 passing attempts through two games, and they have surrendered 430 yards passing per game. Both rank dead last in across the NFL.
The 49ers relied on their ground game last week while putting up 30 points against the Lions, but they will not have that luxury in Week 3. Garoppolo is going to have to open up the offense to stay in this game, and that means lots of opportunities for his receiving weapons.
Kittle is a mismatch problem as he is big and fast, but he is also a very nuanced route runner, and that makes it tough for defenders to cover him. While he put up lesser-than numbers last week, he and Garoppolo left a big day on the field as they just missed a few times. He is one of the primary weapons in the 49ers passing game. Kittle should feast on the porous Chiefs secondary this week.
Pivot: 49ers receivers Marquise Goodwin ($5,800 at FanDuel and $5,500 at DraftKings) and Pierre Garcon ($5,600 at FanDuel and $5,300 at DraftKings) are both intriguing options this week. Goodwin is dealing with a quadriceps injury, but if he plays, he becomes an almost no-brainer at his price because of his ability to take the top off the defense in a hurry. Pay attention to the injury report and monitor his status going forward.
Rostering Garcon gives a team a nice salary reduction and a piece of a high-scoring game, but his ceiling is limited. Receiver Dante Pettis ($5,200 at FanDuel and $4,300 at DraftKings) is an intriguing option if Goodwin is out again this week.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
FanDuel: Stafford ($7,400) + Jones ($6,600) = $14,000
DraftKings: Stafford ($5,900) + Jones ($5,600) = $11,500
Game Total - 51.5
Implied Totals - Lions at 22.5 points and Patriots at 29 points
Game Line - Detroit Lions +6.5
The Detroit Lions are at home on Sunday night, bringing in the potent New England Patriots in what is being forecast as a high scoring game. This game has a fairly high total, and there is excellent potential for this game to go over the 51.5-point total that is set as both defenses have struggled out of the gate in 2018.
Stafford and the Lions passing attack will benefit from the poor Lions defense in this game as it looks to be a game with the Lions fighting from behind and accumulating garbage-time points. The expectation is that the Patriots will score more than four touchdowns and if the Lions are to stay in this game, they will need to lean on the strength of their passing game.
The Patriots have surrendered five passing touchdowns in 2018, and only three teams across the league have given up more passing scores. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles torched the Patriots for four touchdowns and 376 yards last week, and it is clear the Patriots are struggling to defend the pass.
Stafford has looked a touch out of sync with the deep ball to start the season, and while he has thrown four touchdowns in 2018, he has also left several on the field, and his numbers could be much bigger than they are right now. It appears that Stafford is underpriced and while he is risky, he has a great matchup and has a road to get to GPP value in Week 3.
Jones was excellent down the field and with the ball in the air last year, but he and Stafford have been out of sync in 2018. It is just a matter of time before Jones and Stafford get on the same page, but they priced low enough that the risk is worth the reward against the Patriots.
Jones has seen 17 targets through two weeks, but he has only converted eight of them into catches this season. He has 108 yards receiving and one touchdown in 2018, but the Lions need him to kick-start the offense have a big game on Sunday night. Stafford is going to take shots down the field and to the boundary, and that is where Jones excels.
This is a risky stack as there is potential for the Lions offensive stagnancy to continue, but they both represent value and bring cost savings that can be used to spend up elsewhere.
Pivot: Wide Receiver Golden Tate ($6,800 at FanDuel and $6,800 at DraftKings) has a great matchup against Patriots slot cornerback Jonathan Jones. Tate brings more value at DraftKings because of the full point for receptions, and he should continue to see plenty of volume in the Lions passing attack. He has 28 targets through two games, catching 14 balls for 288 yards and a score. If Tate can get into the end zone, he has a pathway to get to GPP value.
Lions receiver Kenny Golladay ($5,800 at FanDuel and $6,000 at DraftKings) has been heavily targeted down the field to start the season, and he is now a part of a very potent wide receiver corps. The Lions wide receivers will have to play a significant role if the Lions are going to stay in this game, and Golladay could be a sneaky-good GPP play in Week 3.
FanDuel: Ryan ($7,700) + Jones ($8,700) = $16,500
DraftKings: Ryan ($5,700) + Jones ($7,900) = $13,600
Game Total - 53
Implied Totals - Falcons at 28 points and Saints at 25 points
Game Line - Atlanta Falcons -3
The Atlanta Falcons bring the New Orleans Saints into town on Sunday for a pivotal NFC South matchup in Week 3. This game has a high total, both teams have implied numbers, and each passing attack is potent enough to force the opposition to keep scoring points.
Ryan and the Falcons offense will need to put points on the board as the Saints will do the same. The Falcons are forecast to score four touchdowns, and while there is risk in rostering this stack, it is definitely worth the throw of a dart.
Jones is one of the league’s premier wide receivers and he has a plus matchup versus Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Jones has yet to find the end zone in 2018, but he has 28 targets through two games and has tallied 15 catches for 233 yards.
Those are not the numbers that we have come to expect for Jones, and he is due for a big game. If Jones can see that kind of volume in this game, and the expectation is that he should, he will have a chance to break out and bring excellent value in Week 3.
There is risk associated with this stack as Ryan and Jones do not have a great history against the Saints in games that are expected shootouts, and you will be relying on a bit of an outlier here. The reward could be significant though, and this stack is worthy of consideration when looking at the game total, implied numbers for each team and the game script.