Each week I will 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 will 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'm 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 which will help you to sort through the noise while you put lineups together that can offer a degree of security.
The Cardinals travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in an NFC clash in Week 12. Vegas has this game pegged as one of the highest scoring games of the week with a total of 51 points. The Falcons have an implied total of 27.5 points and the Cardinals have an implied number of 23 points.
Both teams have potent offenses and can put up points in hurry in either the running or passing game. While the Cardinals pass defense is one of the better units in the game, the Falcons are extremely susceptible to the pass as they are ranked No. 31 in the NFL.
The Falcons pass defense is surrendering a league-high 285 completions through 10 games which is the highest number of completions allowed in the NFL. They have also yielded a passer rating of 100.9 to opposing quarterbacks which is fifth-worst in the league.
The Falcons have a very good cornerback in Desmond Trufant but he plays outside and Fitzgerald takes most of his snaps out of the slot, and that’s where the Falcons are extremely susceptible. The numbers all point to a high floor with a giant ceiling for Palmer and Fitzgerald in this game.
Fitzgerald has been consistently been the most targeted receiving option in the Cardinals passing attack. He’s been targeted 106 times in 10 games to date, but he’s seen an uptick over the past four games as he’s seen 50 targets over the past four games. He’s converted 37 of those 50 targets into catches for 339 yards, but he hasn’t scored.
Looking at the likeliest game script, it is easy to see points getting scored on both sides in this game and the Cardinals will definitely have to move the ball, and it is easy to see a path for Palmer and Fitzgerald to have success this week.
The combination of Palmer and Fitzgerald is as safe play as it offers a nice floor and a high ceiling which makes it an excellent GPP play in Week 12.
The New York Giants go on the road in Week 12 to face the winless Cleveland Browns. The Giants are favored by nine points on the road and the Giants implied total is 27 while the Browns implied number is 17.5 points.
The Browns have the No. 22 ranked passing defense but they are extremely vulnerability as they’ve allowed 25 touchdowns through the air which is worst in the NFL. The Browns have allowed 248 completions through 11 games which is ranked No. 13 league-wide. However, they’ve allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 10.1 percent which is third-worst in the NFL.
The Browns giving up big plays coming in the form of touchdowns as evidenced above, but they’re also being hit for big passing plays on a consistent basis. The Browns have given up 41 passing plays of 20+ yards which is a rate of 16.5 percent in relation to the completions they’ve allowed. The Browns are ranked No. 27 in this category.
The Browns have given up nine passing plays of 40+ yards which is a rate of 3.6 percent in relation to the completions they’ve allowed. They are ranked No. 26 in the NFL in this category. The Browns have allowed the third-worst passer rating (102.8) to quarterbacks and they’ve given up 8.0 yards per attempt which is also third-worst in the NFL.
If there is a concern here it is that the production is likely capped as the reality is that the Giants won’t need their passing game at full capacity for four quarters. However, if the above numbers illustrate anything, it is that the Browns give up a lot of quality opportunities against the pass. In this game, the quality of the plays coming from the Giants passing attack will very much outweigh the potential lack of quantity.
Manning comes into this game on a bit of a roll coming out of the Week 7 bye. He’s thrown nine touchdowns in his last three games and will add to that number in Week 12. Manning should be good for multiple scores and he’ll stay on his hot streak for another week.
Beckham is a big play waiting to happen and can hurt defenses in an instant because of his ability to hurt teams over the top. He can take short passes and outrun defenders and is a threat to score if a defender takes a bad angle. Beckham has been targeted 28 times in three games since the bye, catching 19 passes and scoring three times.
This is a safe stack as both Manning and Beckham have a very solid ceiling and is a good GPP play.
Pivot: Sterling Shepard ($6,100) runs his routed out of the slot and has been very much in sync with Manning after the bye. He’s been targeted 24 times and has 13 catches in those three games, but he’s scored in all of them.
The Raiders bring the Carolina Panthers into Oakland for a Week 12 contest featuring a pair of high-octane offenses and defenses that simply cannot defend the pass. Vegas is calling this one of the higher scoring games of the week as the total is set at 51 points. The Panthers have an implied total of 23 points while the Raiders have an implied number of 27 points.
The Panthers are the No. 27 ranked passing unit in the league allowing just under 272 yards per game. The Panthers allow 25.5 completions per game and only Dallas and Atlanta allow more on a per game basis. This is a positive for the Raiders as the game script should funnel passing plays to the Oakland offense.
Carr is having a tremendous season having thrown for 20 touchdowns and only four interceptions to date. He can hit defenses vertically as he throws with great accuracy and touch down the field, and he has the arm strength to rip throws to the sideline. Carr’s array of arm talent allows him to be a threat to defenses anywhere on the field, including in the red zone.
Carr likes to drive the ball down the field and challenge defenses vertically via receiver Amari Cooper but he will spread the ball around to other options like receivers Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts along with tight end Clive Walford. Six Raiders have 20 or more catches, and this is where Carr can really rack up the yardage in this game as the Panthers allow so many receptions per game.
From a game script perspective, it is likely that the Raiders and Panthers find themselves in a shootout which benefits both passing offenses. Carr has really exploited bad pass defenses in 2016, torching teams like Atlanta, San Diego and Tampa Bay but there is another trend that tells the tale here.
Carr has had big games when the Raiders have faced teams with tough run defenses. He torched the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 to the tune of four touchdown passes. He threw for 317 yards and two scores versus San Diego in Week 5 and this week he gets the No. 2 ranked run defense which should lead to big things.
Cooper is an ultra-smooth route runner and a player that can hurt defenses in a variety of ways, and he and Carr have developed serious chemistry in their short time together. Cooper is the Raiders No. 1 option as he’s been targeted 93 times in 10 games, but the game script should push more targets his way his Week 12 and that means good things for Carr and Cooper this week.
Pivot: Michael Crabtree ($6,700) is a cheaper way to get a piece of this high scoring game while saving a little salary to spend up elsewhere.
The Carolina Panthers are on the road in Oakland in Week 12. As stated above, this game looks to be one of the highest scoring games of the week with the total set at 51 points. The Panthers are a three-point underdog on the road and they have an implied total of 23 points.
The Raiders are the league’s No. 29 ranked passing defense allowing 277.9 yards per game. Only 10 teams in the NFL have allowed more than the 18 passing scores the Raiders have yielded to date. The Raiders are allowing 7.9 yards per attempt and only three teams in the NFL are allowing more yards per attempt than the Raiders.
This defense can be had and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton gets a nice situation against a team that struggles to get pressure on the quarterback. The Raiders rank last in the NFL having registered only 15 sacks through 10 games. This means that Newton will have more time in the pocket than he’s had in a lot of games this year and he and the rest of the offense will benefit from this lack of pressure in a big way.
The Raiders have yielded points in a generous manner to tight ends all year. Falcons tight end Austin Hooper hit the Raiders for 84 yards on three catches in Week 2 while teammate Jacob Tamme went for 75 yards on five catches and he scored. Chargers tight ends Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates both scored against the Raiders in Week 5.
The Raiders gave up a score to Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas in Week 7 and another to Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate in Week 8. They also surrendered 87 yards on six catches last week to Texans tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz while giving up 32 yards on three catches to Texans tight end Ryan Griffin.]
Olsen is the center piece and the No. 1 receiving option in the Panthers passing attack and he’ll carry the load for the Panthers this week. The numbers all point in a very good direction for Newton and Olsen in this matchup and they make for an excellent GPP stack in Week 12.
The Patriots travel to the Meadowlands in Week 12 to take on the struggling Jets in an AFC East matchup. The Patriots are 9.5 point favorites on the road and have an implied total of 28 points. They’ll face the No. 19 ranked pass defense in the NFL, but running the ball on the Jets is not easy as they are ranked No. 4 in the NFL against the run.
From a game script outlook, the Patriots are going to have to be very dependent on their passing game in this one as they aren’t going to run the ball effectively on the Jets, but that shouldn’t be a big problem for the Patriots.
This game does not have a high total as the Jets have an implied total of only 17.5 points so there’s a bit of a cap on what the Patriots will have to do on offense, but the Patriots will throw it effectively throughout this game.
The Jets look to be an average pass defense but there is one area where they appear to be susceptible and another where they have a significant weakness. They are allowing 7.5 yards per attempt which is 10th-worst league-wide so they are a touch leaky in that area.
Now to their biggest weakness; The Jets have allowed 10 passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards. Only Tampa Bay and Oakland have allowed more of these kinds of plays and that’s an area that the Patriots will expose on Sunday.
Brady has been as good as it gets since returning from the four-game suspension, throwing for 16 touchdown passes and only one interception in the six games he’s played in 2016. The only team to limit him was the Seattle Seahawks and even in that game Brady was 23-of-32 for 316 yards.
Edelman has been targeted 87 times in the 10 games the Patriots have played and with tight end Rob Gronkowski out, it is clear he’s been the No. 1 option here. However, since Brady’s return, Edelman has seen an uptick in his workload as he’s been targeted 60 times in the six games.
In relation to those 60 targets with Brady, 37 have been converted into catches and Edelman has scored (his only TD’s in 2016) touchdowns in Week 8 and Week 11. The arrow is pointing up for Edelman as long as he’s tied with Brady.
This is another stack that provides a great floor while allowing for enough upside to be worthy of GPP play in Week 12.
Pivot: Martellus Bennett ($5,500) has replaced tight end Rob Gronkowski in the lineup as Gronkowski is out with a chest injury. Bennett should be in line for significant volume as he was last week, but he laid the proverbial egg in Week 11 as he was only targeted two times. His price is still too reasonable and his upside is ridiculous, and this makes his addition to your roster very intriguing.
The Seahawks travel south to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 12 NFC clash. The Seahawks are favored by six points on the road and have an implied total of 24.5 points while the Buccaneers have an implied total of 20 points. Vegas has set the total for this game at 45 points.
The Buccaneers are the league’s No. 25 ranked passing defense but have given up 20 passing touchdowns which is sixth-worst in the NFL. They’ve also allowed 8.1 yards per passing attempt which is No. 31 in the NFL in this statistic, and only the Green Bay Packers allow a higher YPA than the Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers have allowed 217 completions through 10 games which is 10th best in the NFL. However, the rate at which they give up touchdowns in relation to the number of completions they’ve given up is not a good number. Their touchdown-to-completion rate is 9.2 percent which is fourth-worst in the NFL.
Now we’ll get into the meat of the weakness that the Seahawks will exploit to make big plays on Sunday. The Buccaneers have allowed 42 passing plays of 20 or more yards and 12 passing plays of 40 or more yards. They rank last in the NFL in both areas here and this points to Wilson hitting the Buccaneers vertically down the field multiple times in Week 12.
19.4 percent of the completions the Buccaneers allow go for 20 or more yards and 5.5 percent of the completions they allow go for 40 or more yards. This is unsustainable for the Buccaneers, especially against a healthy and clicking combination of Wilson and Baldwin.
Wilson has gotten healthy over the past three weeks, and he’s clearly playing his best football of 2016 right now. He’s faced off versus three solid defenses over those three weeks and has eight total touchdowns over that span.
Baldwin has been targeted 19 times over that three-week span and has converted 16 of those targets into catches, totaling 252 yards and three scores (all in Week 10).
This is another solid stack with great upside that should pay dividends in Week 12 GPP play.
Pivot: Jimmy Graham ($6,900) is a great option if you’re looking for another way to stack Wilson with a receiving option. Graham is playing very well and Wilson is finding him, and the Buccaneers have been lit up by top-tier tight ends in 2016.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
The Eagles are home versus the Packers in Week 12. The Eagles are favored by 3.5 points at home against a volatile Packers team that can score points on offense but isn’t stopping anyone on the defensive side of the ball. Vegas has the total at 46 and the Eagles have an implied total of 24.5 points while the Packers implied total is 21.5 points.
The Packers are the league’s No. 23 ranked unit and are allowing a passer rating of 105.5 to opposing quarterbacks. The Packers allow a league-worst 8.6 yards per attempt and have given up 22 touchdowns through 10 games in 2016. Only three teams in the NFL allow more touchdowns than the Packers to date.
The Packers have allowed 212 completions through 10 games which is ranked No. 8 league-wide. However, they’ve allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 10.4 percent which is third-worst in the NFL. While teams aren’t completing an inordinate number of passes, they are giving up a huge number of touchdowns in relation to their number of completions.
The Packers giving up big plays coming in the form of touchdowns, but they’re also being hit for big passing plays on a consistent basis. The Packers have given up 37 passing plays of 20+ yards which is a rate of 17.5 percent in relation to the completions they’ve allowed. The Packers are ranked No. 29 in this category.
The Packers have given up nine passing plays of 40+ yards which is a rate of 4.2 percent in relation to the completions they’ve allowed. They are ranked No. 29 in the NFL in this category. The Packers have allowed the third-worst passer rating (105.5) to quarterbacks.
These are all very positive indicators for quarterback Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense. From a game outlook, the roadmap for Wentz’s success is fairly easy to see. The Packers are going to score points and that will push the Eagles offense to keep their foot on the gas.
The Packers are very banged up and Wentz could be in line for a big day, but he has struggled of late and the risk here is that the running game isn’t really going to help as the Packers are the league’s No. 6 ranked rush defense allowing 3.7 yards per carry.
Matthews has been targeted 44 times over the past four weeks and he’s doing his damage out of the slot for the Eagles. The Packers have been beaten recently by slot receivers like Jamison Crowder, Mohammed Sanu and Kendall Wright. This is an extremely favorable matchup for Matthews and while the Wentz/Matthews stack varies risk, it does offer great upside and is worthy of GPP selection.
Pivot: Zach Ertz ($5,000) is an inexpensive option that gets you a piece of this game that has a very positive script for the Eagles. Ertz has seen 30 targets over the past four games, catching 24 passes for 206 yards and a score. Ertz is a very safe play with upside.
The Browns host the New York Giants in Week 12 in a matchup of teams going in opposite directions. The Browns are winless through 11 games and the Giants are in playoff position at 7-3. Vegas has the total set at 45 points and has the Browns as a nine-point underdog at home.
The Giants have an implied total of 27 points and the Browns have an implied number of 17.5 points, so it is expected that the Giants will score enough points to force the Browns to abandon the run and keep throwing to play catch up late in this game. That is certainly how this one stacks up from a game script outlook.
The Giants are the league’s No. 20 ranked pass defense and have allowed an average of 24.3 completions per game. They are ranked No. 24 in the league in completions allowed and the script should funnel attempts and completions to the Browns receivers this week.
Also, the Giants are allowing a large number of big chunk plays as they have surrendered 37 passing plays going for 20 or more yards. This is a rate of 15.2 percent in relation to the completions they’ve allowed. The Giants are ranked No. 25 in this category.
The Giants have given up eight passing plays of 40+ yards which is a rate of 3.3 percent in relation to the completions they’ve allowed. They are ranked No. 22 in the NFL in this category. The Packers have allowed the third-worst passer rating (105.5) to quarterbacks.
Interestingly, the Giants allow only 6.7 yards per attempt which is No. 6 in the NFL and they allow a passer rating of 76.1 which is good for No. 4 league-wide. The above numbers are in contrast to one another, and it’s easy to see where the Giants can be beaten.
Pryor has emerged as a high-end receiving weapon in the Browns passing attack even with the volatility that’s come with their offense and the constant rotation of different starting quarterbacks. Pryor has been targeted 39 times over the past four weeks and is clearly the No. 1 option in this passing offense.
The reason (and the risk) that this stack is listed here is two-fold. The game script is calling for passing game volume from the Browns and the Giants can be beaten down the field as evidenced by the numbers above. This is an ultra-risky stack as it is tough to find weekly production coming out of Cleveland.
Pivot: Corey Coleman ($5,300) is a cheaper alternative to Pryor and another player that can beat the Giants defense vertically. Rostering Coleman gives lots of roster flexibility and allows for spending up elsewhere.
Jay Ajayi ($8,400) + Miami Dolphins ($5,000) = $13,400
The Dolphins face the San Francisco 49ers at home in Week 12 in what looks like a fantastic matchup for the Dolphins, their ground game and their defense. The Dolphins are favored by 7.5 points at home with an implied total of 27 points. The 49ers have the NFL’s worst ranked run defense and are allowing 5.2 yards per carry which also ranks last in the NFL.
They have allowed 13 rushing scores to date which is second-worst in the NFL and they’ve surrendered 14 runs of 20 or more yards which is far and away more than any other team in the league. The Dolphins defense has allowed 10 runs of 20+ yards and no other team has given up more than eight. Ajayi is in line for a heavy workload in this game against a very bad run defense.
From a game script outlook, the Dolphins should be up in this game with the 49ers being forced to throw the ball to get back into the game. The Dolphins can bring pressure from their front four and will harass 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick can hurt teams with his feet while fleeing the pocket, but he isn’t a big threat while throwing from the pocket and more passing from Kaepernick gives the Dolphins defense more opportunity for turnovers and big plays which makes this stack intriguing on both ends.
Lesean McCoy ($8,100) + Buffalo Bills ($4,800) = $12,900
The Buffalo Bills are at home in Week 12 to take on a Jaguars football team that is very much struggling on offense. The Bills are favored by seven points with an implied total of 24.5 points.
From a game script outlook, it is likely that the Bills will run early and often against a Jaguars defense that is stout versus the pass but susceptible versus the run. McCoy is listed as questionable as of this writing with a thumb injury, but early indications are that he will play.
We’ll see a heavy dose of McCoy as a runner in this game against the league’s No. 23 ranked run defense which has surrendered 10 rushing touchdowns (only six teams have allowed more) and is allowing 113 yards per game against the run.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is struggling on almost every level and he will turn over the ball which will allow the Bills defense to make a few plays in the game. Also, the Bills can bring heavy pressure as they have registered 31 sacks to date which is tied for the most in the NFL. This kind of pressure will funnel opportunity to the Bills defense.
There is opportunity on both ends of this stack and it is one that could pay big in GPP play in Week 12.
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