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 Tampa Bay Buccaneers bring the New Orleans Saints to Raymond James Stadium for a Week 14 NFC South clash. The Buccaneers are three-point favorites at home in what Vegas is calling the highest scoring game of the week with a total of 51 points. The Buccaneers have an implied total of 27 points and the Saints have an implied number of 24 points.
The Buccaneers are tied for first place in the NFC South with the Atlanta Falcons at 7-5 and this game will have enormous bearing on the NFC playoffs. The Buccaneers will have to play a good football game and execute well on offense to beat a very game Saints football team.
The Buccaneers passing attack draws the league’s No. 31 ranked passing defense which is giving up 276.8 yards per game through the air. The Buccaneers yield 7.8 yards per attempt which is third-worst throughout the league and they have given up a passer rating of 95.6 which is ranked No. 24 in the NFL.
The Saints are tied with the Indianapolis Colts having given up 284 completions to date (11 teams have allowed more completions) and they’ve have allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 6.6 percent which is ranked No. 14 in the NFL. Let’s look a little deeper at the data behind the completions to see where the Buccaneers can exploit them.
The Saints have allowed 39 passing plays that have gone for 20+ yards which puts them in the middle of the pack league-wide. They’ve allowed nine passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards and this is where Winston and Evans can do damage in this game. They are ranked No. 22 in this category and this is where they are vulnerable.
Now to something that helps the Buccaneers; The Saints play at an alarming offensive pace and they will force passing game volume to the Buccaneers in Week 14. It is likely that these teams trade scores which will keep Winston and Evans working at an optimal level.
Evans is far and away the No. 1 option in the Buccaneers passing attack but he had a quiet day last week versus San Diego as he was only targeted three times. Coming into that game, Evans had been targeted 71 times in the six games coming after Tampa’s Week 6 bye. He’ll get back to double-digit targets versus the Saints in Week 14 as he is too important a piece of their offense to ignore him like they did in Week 13.
Pivot: Cameron Brate ($5,600) continues to be the No. 2 option for Winston and is seeing enough weekly volume to warrant his selection to your roster. He has done well against teams that struggle to defend the pass and had down weeks versus Kansas City and Seattle, but this matchup favors him and he should get enough volume here.
The New York Giants are at home in Week 14 to take on the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC East divisional contest featuring a pair of teams looking to solidify playoff position. The Giants are three-point underdogs at home and the Giants implied total is 22.5 points while the Cowboys implied number is 25.5 points.
The Cowboys have the No. 29 ranked passing defense, allowing 276.2 yards per game, but they are extremely vulnerable as they have allowed 338 completions in 2016 which is ranked last in the league. However, they’ve done a solid job of limiting the number of big plays and touchdowns they’ve allowed relative to the high number of completions.
What stands out is that the Cowboys allow much more opportunity for receivers than the average team and if there is one receiver in the league that can make teams pay with limited volume it is Beckham. Now throw in the added volume he’ll get in this game and there is a very high likelihood that he goes off in this contest.
This game has the potential to go over and it is easy to see the passing games leading the way in this game. Both defenses are tough versus the run and both are susceptible against the pass.
Via their implied total, the Cowboys are forecast to score enough points to force the Giants to keep pace, and if the Giants are to do that it won’t be on the strength of the running game. The Cowboys are the league’s No. 2 ranked run defense allowing 82.2 yards per game and the Giants will need Manning and Beckham to carry the load Sunday.
It is likely that the Giants will need more from their passing attack than the Cowboys will need from theirs and that’s why the Giants are here and not the Cowboys (even though a solid argument can be made that a Cowboys stack is strong for the exact same reasons as a Giants stack is strong) because the Cowboys should be ahead in this game, even though it will be a very close contest.
Beckham continues to be heavily targeted on a consistent basis (55 targets in the past five games since the Week 8 bye) which gives him a high floor and the amount of volume going his way along with the ability to score touchdowns gives him a huge ceiling. If the Giants are to stay in this game it will come on the backs of Manning and Beckham which makes them incredibly attractive options as a stack in GPP play in Week 14.
The San Diego Chargers travel across the country to take on the Carolina Panthers on the road in Week 14. Vegas has set the total at 48 points and it sees this game as one of the higher scoring games if the week. The Panthers are favored by one point at home with an implied total of 24.5 points while the Chargers have an implied number of 23.5 points.
The Panthers are the No. 30 ranked passing unit in the league allowing 276.8 yards per game. The Panthers have allowed 309 completions which is ranked No. 29 in the NFL. This is a very positive number for the Chargers as the game script should funnel passing plays to the Chargers offense. The reality is that the Chargers are not very good at defending the pass and the Panthers will score points and keep Rivers throwing the ball.
Only five teams league-wide have allowed more passing scores than the 22 the Panthers have allowed. The Panthers have yielded a touchdown-to-completion rate of 7.1 percent which in ranked No. 17 in the NFL. The Panthers have given up 10 passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards and that is a rate of 3.2 percent in relation to their completions.
The Panthers are the league’s No. 8 ranked run defense and only four teams allow fewer yards per carry than the 3.8 yards per carry the Panthers allow. Also, as of this writing, it sounds positive for linebacker Luke Kuechly’s return and that only boosts that stout run defense.
Williams has become the vertical option in the Chargers passing attack and he’s scored in four straight games. He’s been targeted 36 times over that four-game span and has caught 21 passes for 307 yards to go with the four scores. He’ll have every opportunity to extend that streak Sunday.
Pivot: Antonio Gates ($5,200) is an attractive option in this matchup as tight ends have given the Panthers fits in 2016. The upside is there in this matchup as Gates is an outstanding red zone weapon, and he’ll have his numbers boosted by the passing game volume and number of completions the Panthers allow.
The Carolina Panthers are at home in Week 14 to take on the San Diego Chargers in a game that looks to be one of the highest scoring games of the week with the total set at 48 points. The Panthers are a one-point favorite at home and they have an implied total of 24.5 points while the Chargers have an implied number of 23.5 points.
The Chargers are the league’s No. 27 ranked passing defense allowing 271 yards per game. The Chargers have surrendered 295 completions to date which is ranked No.28 league-wide. The Chargers have allowed 17 passing scores (No. 10) but have been beaten by quarterbacks that are mobile and can manipulate the pocket recently.
The list of quarterbacks to have solid days recently on the Chargers includes Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Chargers simply can’t pressure the quarterback as they only have 21 sacks which is a rate of 4.5 percent in relation to the sheer number of attempts the opposition has made. This is second-worst in the NFL.
The Chargers are going to score points on the Panthers and the script is funneling passing attempts to the Panthers offense. Newton should be able to exploit the Chargers defense and he will take a few shots down the field which is where Ginn enters the picture.
Ginn has been targeted 28 times over the past four weeks and has 17 catches for 285 yards but has scored in three straight weeks. Over the past three weeks, he has caught a 40-yard pass, a 55-yard pass and an 88-yard pass, and it’s clear they are taking shots down the field.
You’re chasing a big play or two, but they’re already happening here and the script is pushing for these kinds of plays as well. Rostering Ginn allows for spending up elsewhere and gives you great flexibility with the rest of your roster.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
The Rams host the Atlanta Falcons at home in a Week 14 which pits teams headed in opposite directions. The Rams are favored by six-point underdogs at home against a Falcons team that has been scoring points on offense but isn’t stopping anyone on the defensive side of the ball. Vegas has the total at 45 points and the Rams have an implied total of 19.5 points while the Falcons implied total is 25.5 points.
The Falcons are the league’s last-ranked passing unit allowing 280.8 yards per game and are allowing a passer rating of 100.5 which is ranked No. 28 in the NFL. The Falcons allow 7.2 yards per attempt which is No. 15 in the NFL but they have given up 26 touchdowns in 2016. Only the Cleveland Browns have allowed more touchdowns than the Falcons in 2016.
The Falcons have allowed 331 completions which is ranked No. 31 league-wide. They’ve allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 7.9 percent which is No. 27 in the NFL. The Falcons are yielding a lot of completions and a high number of those completions go for touchdowns.
Cornerback Desmond Trufant is the Falcons No. 1 cornerback and he is out for the season with a pectoral injury. The Falcons struggled to stop the pass before Trufant’s injury and this should open the door for a big-bodied receiver like Britt to have plenty of opportunity on Sunday. From a game script outlook, it is likely that there will be more passing game volume from the Rams as they should be trailing in this game and throwing late to play catch up.
Britt has seen 23 targets in Goff’s three starts and has 12 catches for 162 yards but has scored twice. The reality is that the Falcons pass defense is porous, the game script is very favorable and Britt is the lead-dog in the Rams passing attack.
This stack is risky as it is tough to trust a rookie quarterback to make plays and produce for GPP play. Also, Vegas doesn’t like this game to be a high-scoring affair with a total set at 45 points. Therein lies the risk as it is possible that there aren’t enough points to warrant this stack, but it has enough upside and comes at a reduced price which makes it super intriguing.
*** Updated 12/10/16 ***
Weather issues could have an impact on this game and it is important to understand that before rostering players here. The current forecast is calling for wind and snow which will definitely impact the passing attack for both teams and that adds more risk to the stack.
The Cleveland Browns bring the Cincinnati Bengals to town in Week 14 for a clash of AFC North teams. Vegas has the total set at 43.5 points and has the Browns as 5.5 point underdogs at home. The Browns have an implied total of 19 points while the Bengals have an implied number of 24.5 points.
The Bengals are the league’s No. 16 ranked pass defense allowing 251 yards per game. They are ranked No. 23 in the league in completions allowed (290) and the script funnels attempts and completions to the Browns receivers this week.
They’ve allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 7.2 percent which is ranked No. 19 in the NFL. One of the Bengals weaknesses is their inability to bring pressure on the quarterback as they only have 22 sacks registered to date. Only four teams in the NFL have a lower rate of sacks (4.9 percent) in relation to attempts made against them than the Bengals. Griffin III has a chance to get comfortable in the pocket in this game and drive the ball down the field to his big-play weapons.
Much like the Goff/Britt stack, this one is driven by a game script that calls for a heavy volume of passing with the Browns behind and throwing in this game. The main beneficiary of added passing game volume is Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor has proven himself week in and out and is a solid GPP play with a good floor and high upside each week. I believe he has better potential this week when combining the fact that he has Griffin III at the helm and the very positive game outlook.
This stack is not without risk though as weather concerns are now very realistic, and it is touchdown dependent, which makes the stack dependent on the amount of scoring we’ll see in the game.
The San Francisco 49ers bring the New York Jets into town in Week 14. The 49ers are a 2.5 point favorite at home and have an implied total of 23.5 points while the Jets have an implied total of 21 points. The 49ers will face the league’s No. 23 pass defense which is allowing 264.4 yards per game and only nine teams league- have allowed more yards wide per catch than the 7.5 yards per catch the Jets allow.
The Jets have allowed 287 completions which is ranked No. 22 in the NFL. They have allowed 22 touchdowns through the air which is a touchdowns-to-completions rate of 7.7 percent which is No. 25 in the NFL.
Kaepernick is really boosting his value by running with the ball which allows him to generate yardage or extend plays to help receivers get open. The Jets don’t do a very good job with pressure as they only have 20 sacks on the season, and only the Browns have fewer sacks in 2016.
Kaepernick’s value gets a boost with the extra time he’ll see in the pocket and that means good things for tight end Vance McDonald, as well. McDonald has emerged as a go-to weapon in this offense and the Jets were torched last week by the Colts and Dwayne Allen’s three touchdown performance.
The Jets are a stout run defense ranked No. 4 in the NFL allowing only 3.5 yards per carry. From a game script outlook, it is easy to see that it’s tough to run on the Jets and very easy to throw on them, and that’s the expectation here.
This is risky as Kaepernick was benched just last week and the 49ers passing attack was nonexistent in the snow in Chicago. However, based on the matchup and the script, there is enough upside to make a case for GPP play here.
The Houston Texans travel to Lucas Oil Stadium for an AFC South divisional clash with the Indianapolis Colts. There is a three-way tie at the top of the AFC South standings as these two teams are locked with the Tennessee Titans at 6-6. This game will go a long way in determining playoff position in this division.
The Texans are six-point underdogs on the road with an implied total of 20.5 points while the Colts have an implied number of 26.5 points. Vegas likes this one to be on the higher scoring side with a total set at 47 points.
The Texans will face the league’s No. 28 ranked pass defense which is allowing 273.3 yards per game. Only four teams allow more than the 7.7 yards per catch the Colts allow and only four teams allow more passing touchdowns than the 23 the Colts have allowed.
The Colts fare very poorly when looking at completions and the rate at which a team surrenders touchdowns in relation to the number of completions they allow. They allow a touchdown-to-completion rate of 8.1 percent which is ranked No. 28 in the NFL.
The Colts are explosive on offense but the Texans do a nice job of shutting down the pass, and that’s where the risk is in this stack. Are there enough points to go around? Do the Colts force the Texans to open up the offense and drive the ball down the field?
Rostering Hopkins is super-risky as Osweiler simply hasn’t been able to connect with him to this point in the season, but there were signs of life last week in Green Bay. He’s been targeted 36 times in four games since the Week 9 bye and he has 18 catches for 234 yards and the score in Green Bay last week. Playing this stack is more hoping that Indianapolis forces the Texans to push the ball down the field, but playing Hopkins looks to be a bargain at his price. It is worth the flier in GPP play.
Pivot: C.J. Fiedorowicz ($5,100) has earned enough of the volume share that he gives you another shot at this matchup at a less expensive price which allows for roster flexibility elsewhere. He has 30 targets in the four games since the bye and has caught 19 passes for 194 yards with zero scores. He’s seeing enough work and this is a great matchup as the Colts struggle with tight ends.
Devonta Freeman ($7,500) + Atlanta Falcons ($4,700) = $12,200
The Falcons travel across the country to face the Los Angeles Rams on the road in Week 14. This matchup looks favorable for Falcons offense and their ground game. It also looks good for the defense as Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff has turned the ball over four times and taken eight sacks in his three starts. The Falcons are favored by six points on the road with an implied total of 25.5 points.
The Rams have the No. 21 ranked run defense and only seven teams league-wide allow more yards per carry (4.3) than the Rams. The Rams have also yielded big plays against the run. They’ve been hit for 11 runs that have gone for 20 or more yards and only two teams in the NFL have given up more chunk plays against the run.
The Falcons offense has big play potential and can score points quickly and this will put pressure on the Rams offense to throw the ball which will funnel running plays to the Falcons offense. There is great opportunity for both sides of this stack to bring value in Week 14.
Jeremy Hill ($6,900) + Cincinnati Bengals ($5,000) = $11,900
The Cincinnati Bengals are on the road in Week 14 to take on a winless Browns football team. The Browns are currently a bad football team and their defense can be beaten by the run or the pass. The Bengals are favored by 5.5 points on the road with an implied total of 24.5 points.
It is difficult to see this game playing out in a positive way for the Browns. The Bengals have not played great football in 2016 but have favorable situations all over the field and they should be in an offense that is run-heavy in the second half of this game.
The Bengals should give a heavy dose of work to Hill and he’ll run the ball against the league’s No. 31 ranked run defense allowing 140.6 yards per game. They allow 4.5 yards per carry which is fifth-worst in the NFL and have surrendered 13 rushing touchdowns (only seven teams have allowed more) in 2016.
As of this writing, Robert Griffin III III is slated to start at quarterback for the Browns after a long absence due to injury. He is a capable quarterback but might be a touch rusty after such a lengthy absence and will put the ball into bad places which could lead to good opportunity for the Bengals defense. It is likely that Griffin III will be throwing the ball plenty in this game and that will give the Bengals chances to turn the ball over on defense.
To summarize, Hill should see plenty of work in this game against a very bad run defense and the script is favorable for the Bengals defense to get more than a few chances to make plays and produce points as a defense.
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