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.
FanDuel: Cousins ($8,300) + Thielen ($8,900) = $17,200
DraftKings: Cousins ($6,200) + Thielen ($8,900) = $15,100
Facing the No. 30 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 7 ranked pass defense allowing 223.1 yards per game
Game Total - 50
Implied Totals - Vikings at 27.5 points and Lions at 22.5 points
Game Line - Minnesota Vikings -5
The Minnesota Vikings are at home to take on the Detroit Lions in a pivotal Week 9 NFC North matchup. This game is expected to be one of the higher scoring games of the week as it has the fifth-highest game total. The implied number has the Vikings scoring just under four touchdowns in this game, and Cousins should have his way with the Lions in this game.
Cousins has had an excellent start to the season with the Vikings as he has thrown for 2521 yards and 16 touchdowns to go with four interceptions through the first half of the 2018 season. Cousins also has a rushing touchdown this year, and he is capable of extending plays with his feet.
Opposing quarterbacks have hit the Lions for an 8.6-yard average, and only three teams in the NFL allow a higher average. The Lions have given up 15 scores through the air, and only eight teams in the NFL have allowed more.
Consider the opposition has only attempted 200 passes against the Lions, and they are giving up a touchdown at a rate of 7.5 percent per attempt. Only the Buccaneers give up a score through the air at a higher rate per attempt than the Lions.
Thielen and Cousins have great chemistry, and Thielen continues to be one of the most targeted players in the NFL. Thielen is a phenomenal route runner working out of the slot, and he draws a great matchup against Lions cornerback Nevin Lawson on Sunday. This is a matchup to exploit.
Thielen has been targeted 96 times in 2018 and his volume has stayed consistent in every game this year. He has seen 40 targets in the past four games, catching 34 passes in that span for 452 yards, scoring a touchdown in each of those four games. Thielen has registered 100-plus yards, and at least six catches in every game the Vikings have played in 2018.
The Vikings passing game is in an excellent spot in this matchup as the Lions are beatable versus the pass and the game script is very favorable for Thielen to continue his stellar play even if the Lions offense does not push the Vikings in this contest. If the Lions can push the Vikings to keep throwing, Thielen could have a huge day.
Pivot: The Lions struggle to defend the tight end and Kyle Rudolph ($5,700 at FanDuel and $3,600 at DraftKings) could find himself in the end zone against the Lions on Sunday. The Lions are the league’s No. 31 ranked DVOA pass defense versus the tight end, and Rudolph is a nice option for GPP play in Week 9.
FanDuel: Newton ($8,600) + Funchess ($6,400) = $15,000
DraftKings: Newton ($6,600) + Funchess ($5,600) = $12,200
Facing the No. 32 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 31 ranked pass defense allowing 318.4 yards per game
Game Total - 55
Implied Totals - Panthers at 31 points and Buccaneers at 24 points
Game Line - Carolina Panthers -7
The Carolina Panthers bring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to town for a Week 9 NFC South matchup that is expected to be a very high scoring game. This game has the third highest total of the week. The implied number has the Panthers scoring over four touchdowns, and Newton will be able to exploit a brutal Buccaneers secondary on Sunday.
Newton has thrown for 13 scores and four interceptions to go along with 1646 yards in his first seven games in 2018. He also has 309 yards rushing and has four scores on the ground, and his ability to run with the ball gives him an excellent boost in value. Newton has a glorious matchup in Week 9 and should be heavily considered for GPP play this week.
Opposing quarterbacks have hit the Buccaneers for an 8.8-yard average, and no team in the NFL allows a higher average. The Buccaneers have given up 31 passing plays of 20-plus yards and only five teams in the NFL allow more of these types of plays.
The Buccaneers have also yielded 20 scores through the air, and no team has given up more. Lastly, the Buccaneers have allowed a quarterback rating of 123.5 which is worst in the NFL by a significant margin. The Buccaneers have been torched by the pass in 2018 and are the league’s worst pass defense to this point in the season.
Funchess is the first option in the Panthers passing attack, and he has been targeted 29 times over the past four games. He has caught 18 passes for 216 yards, and he has scored twice over that span. Those numbers are underwhelming but this week’s matchup makes his an excellent option for GPP play in Week 9.
The game script has both teams scoring enough points to keep the other offense pushing the pace, and that means great things for Newton and company. Attacking the Buccaneers secondary is one of the best GPP plays in Week 9.
Note that Newton is listed as questionable as of this writing, and you want to monitor his status throughout practice this week.
Pivot: Tight end Greg Olsen ($6,200 at FanDuel and $4,700 at DraftKings) is an interesting option as he faces the league’s No. 26 ranked DVOA pass defense versus the tight end. The Buccaneers allow 7.5 attempts and 80.1 yards per game to the tight end position. It is reasonable to see Olsen getting into the end zone in this high scoring matchup. Olsen is also questionable, and the same thing applies here as it does to Newton. Monitor his status to ensure he is okay to play on Sunday.
FanDuel: Goff ($8,400) + Woods ($7,600) = $16,000
DraftKings: Goff ($6,000) + Woods ($7,000) = $13,000
Facing the No. 29 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 28 ranked pass defense allowing 300 yards per game
Game Total - 60
Implied Totals - Rams at 29 points and Saints at 31 points
Game Line - Los Angeles Rams +1.5
The Los Angeles Rams travel to New Orleans in Week 9 to take in the Saints in a crucial NFC matchup. This contest is sure to be a high-scoring affair as no game has a higher total than this one, and both teams are expected to score plenty of points via their implied totals.
The Saints have allowed an 8.7-yard average, and only two teams in the NFL allow a higher average. They have given up 27 passing plays of 20-plus yards and only 12 teams in the NFL allow more of these types of plays.
They have also given up seven passing plays of 40+ yards, and only three teams in the NFL have allowed more through eight weeks. Also, only eight teams across the league have surrendered more passing touchdowns than the 15 the Saints have allowed.
The game script calls for plenty of points from both teams and it is easy to see both teams scoring enough, and at a quick enough pace to force their opponent throwing the ball throughout the entire game. Both teams have very potent offenses, and Goff should benefit from the pace and script in this contest.
Woods draws a favorable matchup against Saints cornerback Eli Apple this week, and he should be able to exploit him all over the field. Woods has been targeted 31 times over the past four weeks, catching 22 passes for 349 yards over that span. Woods has not scored in that span, but the matchup is very favorable in this contest.
Goff and Woods are going to be busy on Sunday in this high-scoring game, and this stack can pay huge dividends in GPP play in Week 9.
Pivot: Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks ($7,500 at FanDuel and $6,700 at DraftKings) and Cooper Kupp ($6,800 at FanDuel and $6,000 at DraftKings) are both intriguing options because of the game script and potential for points in this game. Kupp is questionable with an MCL injury, but he draws a fantastic matchup against P.J. Williams if he plays on Sunday.
FanDuel: Rodgers ($8,600) + Adams ($8,600) = $17,200
DraftKings: Rodgers ($6,400) + Adams ($8,200) = $14,600
Facing the No. 19 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 27 ranked pass defense allowing 277.2 yards per game
Game Total - 56.5
Implied Totals - Packers at 25.5 points and Patriots at 31 points
Game Line - Green Bay Packers +5.5
The Green Bay Packers travel to New England on Sunday night for a Week 9 matchup with the Patriots. This game is expected to be a high-scoring contest with the second highest total of the week, and it looks like both teams should be able to put points on the board which will help both team’s passing attack.
The Packers are forecast to score almost four touchdowns, and the Packers struggle to run the ball, so we should see Rodgers and the passing attack responsible for the majority of the scoring in his game. The Packers have four rushing touchdowns through seven games in 2018, and only three teams across the NFL have fewer rushing scores.
Rodgers has thrown for 2283 yards and 13 scores in seven games, and it is easy to see that he is the entire Packers offense at this point. The Packers offense goes through Rodgers, and he is in a great spot in this matchup as he will be forced to throw to keep the Packers in this game.
The Patriots have given up 17 scores through the air, and only three teams in the NFL have allowed more. The Patriots have given up 28 passing plays of 20-plus yards and only 11 teams in the NFL allow more of these types of plays.
Perhaps most important to this is the fact the Patriots have only generated 12 sacks in 2018, and only three teams in the NFL have fewer sacks through eight weeks. Rodgers has a banged up knee, but if he gets comfortable in the pocket, he will pick apart the Patriots secondary with ease in this game.
Adams is a very potent weapon with the ability to beat teams all over the field, and he is easily the Packers first option in their passing attack. He has been targeted 47 times in his past four games, catching 32 passes for 486 yards and three scores over that span. Rodgers and Adams make an excellent stack in GPP play in Week 9.
Pivot: Wide receivers Geronimo Allison ($7,300 at FanDuel and $6,800 at DraftKings), Randall Cobb ($6,100 at FanDuel and $4,600 at DraftKings), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4,700 at FanDuel and $4,700 at DraftKings) are all worth the throw of a dart in this high scoring matchup. Cobb might have the best matchup working out of the slot and away from the Patriots outside cornerbacks. They all offer savings from Adams and could give some much-needed variance to your roster which is critical for GPP play.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
FanDuel: Fitzpatrick ($7,100) + Evans ($7,900) = $15,000
DraftKings: Fitzpatrick ($5,500) + Evans ($8,100) = $13,600
Facing the No. 20 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 17 allowing ranked pass defense 255.1 yards per game
Game Total - 55
Implied Totals - Buccaneers at 24 points and Panthers at 31 points
Game Line - Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Carolina on Sunday to take on the Panthers in a Week 9 NFC South matchup. This game has the third-highest total of the week at 55 points, and the Buccaneers implied number has them scoring three-plus touchdowns. The game script has them chasing via their passing attack in this game.
Fitzpatrick started the season on fire, throwing for 400-plus yards in each of the season’s first three games while registering 11 touchdown passes. He was pulled after struggling in Week 4 versus the Bears in favor of quarterback Jameis Winston and came on last week in relief of a poorly performing Winston. Fitzpatrick threw for two scores against the Bengals to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers have done an admirable job of defending the pass in 2018, but this is a volume-based play as the Panthers offense is going to force Fitzpatrick to throw the ball if the Buccaneers are going to stay in this game.
The game script calls for plenty of volume for the Buccaneers passing game, and they are a potent unit with weapons everywhere. It is not tough to see a path for GPP success for the Buccaneers passing attack in Week 9.
Evans has been targeted 38 times over the past four games, and he has caught 23 passes for 403 yards and one score over that span. Interestingly, Evans had huge games earlier in the season with Fitzpatrick starting. He caught 23 passes for 367 yards and scored a touchdown in the all three games that Fitzpatrick played in to start the season. Evans could have a monster game in this game as he draws a favorable matchup against Panthers cornerback James Bradberry.
The risk associated here is that there is uncertainty going from one quarterback to the other, and the fact that the Panthers defense is performing admirably. However, one of the keys to GPP success is finding players in games where their team goes over their projected total, and it is hard to see the Buccaneers not going over 24 points in this game.
Pivot: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson ($6,600 at FanDuel and $5,000 at DraftKings) continues to make vertical plays on a consistent basis and is worth a shot because of his big-play ability. Tight end O.J. Howard ($6,000 at FanDuel and $4,300 at DraftKings) has emerged as a high-quality option at the tight end position. Carolina is the league’s No. 28 ranked DVOA pass defense versus the tight end, allowing 8.1 attempts and 78.7 yards per game to the position.
FanDuel: Stafford ($7,300) + Golladay ($6,200) = $13,500
DraftKings: Stafford ($5,600) + Golladay (5,500) = $11,100
Facing the No. 16 ranked DVOA pass defense and the No. 15 ranked pass defense allowing 244.6 yards per game
Game Total - 50
Implied Totals - Lions at 22.5 points and Vikings at 27.5 points
Game Line - Detroit Lions +5
The Detroit Lions travel to Minnesota on Sunday for a pivotal Week 9 NFC North matchup versus the Vikings. This game has the fifth-highest total of the week, and there is a strong chance that the Lions go over their implied number as they look to be chasing the Vikings in this game.
It has been essential in GPP play in 2018 to find players on teams that can score more than their projected total, and that is the case here with the Lions. The game script has the Lions abandoning their ground game and being forced to throw the ball in this game.
The Chiefs have yielded an 8.1-yard average, and only five teams in the NFL allow a higher average. They have given up 32 passing plays of 20-plus yards and only two teams in the NFL have given up more. The Vikings have given up eight passing plays of 40-plus yards and only two teams in the NFL have given up more. The Vikings can be beaten via the pass, and the expectation is for a lot of volume for the Lions in this contest.
The Lions traded slot receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles, and it seems they are going to rely on their ground game and challenge defenses vertically with their big receivers. Stafford has played well this season, but he needs to take it up a notch if the Lions are to stay with the Vikings in this game.
Golladay has taken a step forward via his play and is becoming a dangerous receiver for the Lions. He will be heavily counted on going forward, and he draws a very favorable matchup versus Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes in Week 9. Golladay should see enough volume and is in an excellent spot in this game with the Lions chasing via their passing attack.
There is risk because of the low implied number for the Lions (22.5), the chance that the Lions struggle on offense in their first game without Tate, and the fact that the Vikings defense has given Stafford significant problems in the past. However, there is a strong chance the Lions go over their implied number, and that makes them valuable options for GPP play in Week 9.
Pivot: Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr Jr. ($6,500 at FanDuel and $5,300 at DraftKings) had a big game last week, and he has excellent ability to make plays on the boundary and down the field. He will also be counted on going forward and is worth a dart throw because of the game script and potential for a boost in volume.
Kareem Hunt + Kansas City Chiefs D/ST
FanDuel: Hunt ($8,500) + Chiefs ($3,900) = $12,400
DraftKings: Hunt ($7,700) + Chiefs ($2,700) = $10,400
Facing the No. 27 ranked DVOA run defense and the No. 28 ranked run defense allowing 138.9 yards per game
Game Total - 51
Implied Totals - Chiefs at 30 points and Browns at 21 points
Game Line - Kansas City Chiefs -8.5
The Kansas City Chiefs travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns in an AFC matchup in Week 9. The Chiefs are an 8.5-point favorite on the road, and they are forecast to score four-plus touchdowns in this game.
Hunt has a fantastic matchup against a defense yielding 4.6 yards per carry, and only seven teams in the NFL allow a higher average. The Browns have surrendered seven running plays that have gone for 20-plus yards and only five teams in the NFL allow a higher average. The Browns run defense is seeing a lot of volume as they have defended 30.1 rushing attempts per game which is third-most in the NFL.
Hunt comes into this game on a tear as he has scored 10 touchdowns this season. He has been involved in the passing attack as well, catching 16 passes over the past four games. He has totaled 203 yards while scoring three times over that span. On top of his normal running load, he will pad his stat-line with his receiving usage, and he is in store for another big day in this matchup.
The Chiefs should be able to get after Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield as they enter this game with 24 total sacks in 2018 which is second-most in the NFL. The Chiefs defense should have plenty of opportunities to put up points in this game.
Hunt and the Chiefs defense are both in a prime spot in Week 9, and both sides of this stack should perform well in GPP play in Week 9.