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 Indianapolis Colts travel to take on the Oakland Raiders for a Week 16 AFC showdown of teams looking to bolster their playoff position. The Colts are 3.5 point underdog on the road in what Vegas is calling the highest scoring game of the week with a total of 53 points. The Colts have an implied total of 24.5 points and the Raiders have an implied number of 28.5 points.
The Colts passing attack will face the league’s No. 25 ranked passing defense which is giving up 259 yards per game through the air. The Raiders yield 7.8 yards per attempt which is third-worst throughout the league and only eight teams in the NFL have allowed more than the 23 passing touchdowns the Raiders have surrendered.
The Panthers have only given up 292 completions to date and are seventh-best in the NFL in this area. Let’s take a deeper look into the kind of completions they are surrendering to see where they are vulnerable and how that fits with what the Colts do on offense.
As stated above, they’ve also surrendered 23 touchdowns through the air. They’ve have allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 7.9 percent which is ranked No. 26 in the NFL. The Raiders are not allowing large quantities of completions but there is quality in the completions they are surrendering.
The Raiders have allowed 54 passing plays that have gone for 20+ yards which has them ranked near the bottom of the league at No. 30 overall. They’ve allowed 14 passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards and this is where Luck and Hilton will do damage in this game. They are ranked dead-last in this category.
The Raiders defense is vulnerable vertically and that’s exactly where Hilton is going to challenge them. Hilton doesn’t need a lot of volume to score points as he is capable of making big plays in a flash and the numbers show that the Raiders are getting beaten by big plays.
Hilton the No. 1 option in the Colts passing attack but there are enough weapons in this offense that the defense has to pay attention to other areas of the field which opens up the field for Hilton. In the five games that Hilton has played since the Week 10 bye, he has been targeted 45 times and caught 29 passes for 457 yards and two scores.
Also, the Raiders struggle to bring pressure on the quarterback as they have only generated 25 sacks in 2016. The rate at which they sack the quarterback is 5.2 percent (in relation to the number of pass attempts) and only five teams in the NFL generate a rate lower than the Raiders. Luck will have a little extra time in the pocket and that will allow him to exploit the deeper part of the field.
Vegas is telling us that the game script here is calling for lots of scoring and there is potential for this game to turn into a shootout. That is possible as both teams have prolific offenses and both teams struggle on defense. Luck and Hilton are safe, reliable options for Week 16 GPP play as they have both a high floor and a high ceiling.
Pivot: Having shown that the Raiders defense is vulnerable vertically, it is natural to look at Colts receiver Phillip Dorsett as he is a tremendous vertical threat, and his price ($4,500) makes him intriguing as he can get to value in one or two plays, and that gives him a big ceiling. Dorsett is a volatile play but one that could pay off because of his ability to produce in a flash.
The Oakland Raiders bring the Indianapolis Colts into town in Week 16. Vegas has set the total at 53 points and it sees this game as the highest scoring game of the week. The Raiders are 3.5 point favorites at home with an implied total of 28.5 points while the Colts have an implied number of 23.5 points.
The Colts are the No. 27 ranked passing unit in the league allowing 261.4 yards per game. Only seven teams league-wide allow a higher average than the 7.6-yard average the Colts allow and only seven teams in the NFL surrender a higher passer rating than the 96.1 rating the Colts have allowed.
The Colts have allowed 330 completions which is ranked No. 24 in the NFL. They’ve given up 23 passing scores to date which is ranked No. 19 league-wide. They’ve have allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 7.0 percent which is ranked No. 20 in the NFL.
The Raiders have allowed 49 passing plays that have gone for 20+ yards, a rate of 14.9 percent which is No. 23 overall. Interestingly, they tighten up when it comes to giving up big, vertical plays. They’ve allowed only seven passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards which is eleventh-best in the NFL.
The Colts defense tightens down the field and receiver Amari Cooper will draw the Colts best cornerback in Vontae Davis. This will open up things for receiver Michael Crabtree, and he’s been very busy of late. In five games since the Week 10 bye, he’s been targeted 46 times and has caught 28 passes. Cooper has only been targeted 29 times in that same span and it seems that Crabtree has emerged (for the time being) as the No. 1 receiving option in Oakland.
Crabtree is far more utilized in the red zone and he and Carr have some chemistry working as the field shortens. If the Raiders get into the red zone as much as Vegas is forecasting, Crabtree has a real nice shot at a very good game and is absolutely worthy of selection in GPP play in Week 16.
Pivot: Amari Cooper ($7,200) is an intriguing option in this matchup as he’s explosive, is a fantastic route runner and is capable of having a big game. That gives him enough upside to warrant selection in this high scoring matchup.
The Carolina Panthers are at home in a pivotal NFC South matchup as they bring the Atlanta Falcons to town in Week 16. Vegas has this game tabbed as one of the highest scoring games of the week with the total set at 52 points. The Panthers are a 2.5 point underdog at home and they have an implied total of 24.5 points while the Falcons have an implied number of 27.5 points.
The Falcons are the league’s No. 30 ranked passing defense allowing 267.4 yards per game. Atlanta has surrendered 375 completions to date which is the most completions surrendered in the league and are allowing a completion rate of 66.7 percent which is third-worst league-wide. Newton has struggled to complete passes in 2016 (career-worst 53.8 percent) but he’ll get some help here in this matchup as the Falcons are a very soft pass defense.
The Falcons have allowed 28 passing scores (No. 31 league-wide) and the rate they allow touchdowns in relation to the completions they allow is 7.5 percent which is No. 24 in the NFL. The passer rating that they surrender is 96.9 and only four teams allow a higher rating.
Where this matchup is most attractive is in the game script. The Falcons are going to score points on the Panthers defense and the script is funneling passing volume to the Panthers offense. Newton should be able to exploit the Falcons defense simply with the increase in volume and the fact that they are facing a porous pass defense. Where he’ll exploit them is through tight end Greg Olsen.
The Falcons are very vulnerable to the tight end position and they have been beaten regularly throughout the 2016 season. Last week the 49ers tight ends hit them for 67 yards and a score. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce went for eight catches and 140 yards in Week 13.
The Falcons have given up at least five catches to tight ends in nine of their 14 games this year. They’ve also given up seven scores to the position in 2016 and overall they have a very hard time covering tight ends that can run good routes and exploit coverage.
The tight ends that give the Falcons the most trouble are “move” tight ends and that’s exactly the kind of player that Olsen is, and he’ll have plenty of opportunity in this game. Olsen had been quiet over the middle part of this season, but over the past few weeks he has become more involved in the offense. He’s been targeted 16 times over the past two games and has caught 10 balls and registered 172 yards.
When looking at the game script, it is easy to see a path to added volume for Olsen in what looks like a back and forth game that should be high scoring. Also, when these teams met back in Week 4, Olsen caught six passes for 76 yards and a score with Derek Anderson filling in for Newton at quarterback. The Falcons and Panthers combined for 81 points in that game.
Pivot: Ted Ginn Jr ($4,800) might be worth rostering at this price as he’s been very active of late for the Panthers offense as he has scored in four of his last five games and he could pair nicely with Newton and Olsen for a solid triple stack with a high ceiling.
The New England Patriots take on the New York Jets at home in an AFC East showdown in Week 16. The Patriots are 16.5 point favorites at home and they have the highest implied total of the week at 30 points. Vegas is not calling this a high scoring game though with a total of only 43.5 points as the Jets have an implied total of only 13.5 points.
The Patriots passing attack will face the league’s No. 21 ranked passing defense which is giving up 251.8 yards per game through the air. The Jets yield 7.6 yards per attempt which is seventh-worst throughout the league and only three teams in the NFL have allowed more than the 27 passing touchdowns the Jets have surrendered.
The Jets have only given up 314 completions to date and are No. 16 in the NFL in this area. Let’s take a deeper look into the kind of completions they are surrendering to see where they are vulnerable and how that fits with what the Patriots do on offense.
As stated above, the Jets have surrendered 27 touchdowns through the air. They’ve have allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 8.6 percent which is ranked No. 29 in the NFL. The Jets are in the middle of the pack from a completions perspective, but they’re getting lit up in big plays and touchdowns at a high rate in relation to those completions.
The Jets have allowed 47 passing plays that have gone for 20+ yards which is a rate of 15 percent, and it ranks them No. 24 overall league-wide in this statistic. They’ve allowed 12 passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards, a rate of 3.8 percent which is No. 29 league-wide. It is clear that the Jets can be beaten through the air.
Edelman has been incredibly active in the six games the Patriots have played since the Week 9 bye. He’s been targeted 76 times in those six games, catching 44 passes for 508 yards and one score. The Jets allow touchdowns at a higher rate than most of the rest of the league and if Edelman sees the kind of volume he’s seen since the bye, he is in for a big game.
The Dolphins gave up four passing scores to the Dolphins and backup quarterback Matt Moore last week and they appear to have mailed it in so to speak. This is a glorious matchup for Brady and company.
Pivot: Rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell ($6,100) has been a solid red zone option as he has caught four touchdowns in the six games the Patriots have played since the bye. More importantly, Mitchell has caught all four of those touchdowns with tight end Rob Gronkowski out of the lineup, and he scores twice against this Jets team in Week 12.
The Seattle Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals in an NFC West clash in Week 16. Seattle has clinched the division and the Cardinals have had a rough year. The Seahawks are favored by eight points at home and have an implied total of 25.5 points while the Cardinals have an implied total of 18 points. Vegas has set the total at 43.5 points.
The Cardinals have the league’s No. 5 passing defense and are allowing 212.9 yards per game. They surrender 6.8 yards per attempt and are No. 8 in the NFL in this category. They’ve only allowed 17 passing scores and are No. 6 in the NFL here, but the reality is that they are playing very poorly of late and have been torched over the past several weeks through the air.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan went 26-of-34 for 269 yards and two scores against them in Week 12. Redskins quarterback was 21-of-37 for 271 yards and a score in Week 13 while Dolphins quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore combined for 18-of-25 for 242 yards and three scores. Last week, Saints quarterback Drew Brees was 37-of-48 for 389 yards and four scores. They’ve given up seven passing scores over the past two games.
Looking at the Seahawks, it is clear that they are a different team at home than they are on the road. Seattle has played seven games at home in 2016 and they’ve won all of them. Wilson has played very well at home this season, and after a slow stretch, he is 83-of-119 (70 percent) for 1060 yards over his past four home games. He’s thrown seven touchdowns and two interceptions to go with 70 yards rushing and a score over that span.
This game will be played in Seattle and that obviously gives Wilson and the Seahawks offense an advantage given what’s happened with these teams recently. Seattle’s implied total has them scoring three-plus touchdowns and Wilson is going to be vital in moving the ball on the Cardinals defense.
Baldwin has been consistent as of late but isn’t scoring like he did last year. He’s still seeing enough passing game volume and is making the most of his opportunity as he’s converted 25 of his 32 targets (78 percent) over the past four games. He did score last week and looks to be in a nice spot this week as he’ll avoid a matchup with stud cornerback Patrick Peterson as he lines up out of the slot.
Wilson and Baldwin form a solid, stable stack with a good floor and some intriguing upside in Week 16 and are a solid GPP play in Week 16.
Pivot: Tyler Lockett ($4,700) is a riskier choice as he’ll lock horns with Peterson at times but he does have big play upside to produce big points with limited touches. Lockett saw nine targets and caught seven passes for 130 yards and a score last week. He’s also been targeted 27 times over the past four games and has caught 16 passes for 234 yards and a score over that span.
The Chicago Bears are at home in Week 16 to take on the Washington Redskins in an NFC clash featuring a team with little to play for and another desperate for a win to get into playoff position. The Bears are a three-point underdog at home with an implied total of 21 points while the Redskins implied number is 24 points.
The Redskins have the No. 26 ranked passing defense, allowing 260.1 yards per game. They are yielding 7.4 yards per attempt which is No. 20 in the NFL. The Redskins have allowed 346 receptions to date in 2016 which is ranked No. 28 in the NFL.
Meredith runs the majority of his routes out of the slot and he’ll avoid Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and he’ll have a very good matchup there. Barkley has started at quarterback for the Bears in Week 12 and since that time Meredith has been targeted 34 times with 13 coming last week versus Green Bay. Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery returned last week and that only helps Meredith as Jeffery draws coverage and leaves Meredith in the slot,
There are multiple levels of risk in this game with weather being one of them. We are talking about Chicago in mid-December. This is something to consider, but the reality is that as long as there is minimal snow/wind, you should be good to go here as the game the Bears played at home last week was played in incredibly cold conditions.
The second risk comes from the game script as Barkly has performed well in very negative script situations. When the Bears needed to abandon the run and throw the ball because they were down big in Week 12, Barkley threw the ball 54 times. Last week the Bears were down big early and he threw it 43 times.
If the Redskins push the Bears in this game and force them to go pass-heavy, this stack could pay big dividends as rostering Barkley and Meredith is inexpensive and it gives you the flexibility to load up elsewhere.
The Houston Texans host the Cincinnati Bengals at home in a Week 16 AFC clash featuring teams headed in opposite directions. The Bengals are struggling and are 5-8-1 and out of the playoffs in 2016 while the Texans are tied for first place in the AFC South with an 8-6 record.
The Texans are one-point favorites at home with an implied total of 21 points. The Bengals have an implied total of 20 points and the total has been set at 41 points in this game.
The Bengals are the league’s No. 13 ranked passing unit allowing 241.6 yards per game. The Bengals allow 6.9 yards per attempt which is No. 10 in the NFL but they have given up 22 passing touchdowns in 2016. The Bengals have allowed 323 completions which is ranked No. 19 league-wide. Interestingly, they’ve allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 6.8 percent which is No. 19 in the NFL.
Savage entered the game last week as Texans starting quarterback Brock Osweiler was benched due to poor play, and his impact on Hopkins was immediate. Hopkins was targeted 17 times last week which is the highest volume he’s seen in the entire season. That’s the reason that this stack is on the list as it is entirely driven by the kind of volume that Hopkins could see in this game.
However, there is enormous risk here on multiple levels. The above numbers show that the Bengals pass defense is a capable unit and one that has been playing well of late. You’re taking on the risk that the volume Hopkins sees will be enough to get them past the matchup.
Also, it is tough to trust young quarterbacks that haven’t played much to make plays and produce for GPP play and Savage simply hasn’t played enough to justify an opinion as to whether he can be a productive player at the NFL level. Consider that the Texans are in first place with two games to go and that might give you an answer as to head coach Bill O’Brien’s opinion of him and his ability to make plays for the Texans.
Also, Vegas doesn’t like this game to be a high-scoring affair with a total set at 41 points. You’re taking on huge risk at the quarterback position and that risk is automatically passed onto the receiver as he’s dependent on the quarterback throwing him the ball (see Osweiler’s effect on Hopkins as evidence). However, by stacking these two players together you’ll potentially be able to spend up elsewhere and if Savage and Hopkins can get to GPP value you are a step ahead of the game.
The Jacksonville Jaguars bring the Tennessee Titans to town in Week 16 for an AFC South clash of teams going different places. The Jaguars have been a tremendous disappointment while the Titans are tied for first place in their division.
Vegas has the total set at 44 points and has the Jaguars as a 4.5 point underdog at home. The Jaguars have an implied total of 20 points while the Titans have an implied number of 24 points.
The Titans are the league’s No. 29 ranked pass defense allowing 266.6 yards per game. They are ranked No. 26 in the league in completions allowed (335) and they are allowing 7.2 yards per attempt which is a solid No. 14 league-wide.
The Titans have given up 22 passing touchdowns in 2016 and they’ve allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 7.7 percent which is ranked No. 24 in the NFL. The Titans have given up 47 passing plays that have gone for 20 or more yards and that is a rate of 14.0 percent in relation to their completions. They are ranked No. 19 in the NFL here.
The Titans have given up 11 passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards and that is a rate of 3.3 percent in relation to their completions. They are No. 26 league-wide in this area and this is where Robinson (at his price) can do damage in this game.
There is risk associated with the game script here as one has to consider whether the Titans can score enough points against the Jaguars defense to push the Jaguars offense to keep throwing. However, when looking back at Week 8 when these two teams faced each other this is exactly what happened as Bortles threw 54 passes in the game and threw for two fourth-quarter scores.
Robinson has had an extremely down season but has proven himself in the past as a big-play receiver capable of making plays to give him a huge ceiling, but it has been some time since we’ve seen that guy. It would not surprise me one bit to see him go off in this game and at his price, he’s a very intriguing (and super risky) as it will only take a big play or two for him to get to GPP value.
This stack is extremely volatile and it feels like a total Hail Mary, but at their prices, they are an intriguing stack in Week 16.
RUNNING BACK/DEFENSIVE STACKS
LeGarrette Blount ($7,200) + New England Patriots ($5,000) = $12,200
The New England Patriots bring the struggling New York Jets into Gillette Stadium on Saturday for a Week 16 AFC matchup featuring teams going different ways. The Patriots are currently 12-2 and are challenging for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Jets are 4-10 and already looking to the draft as their season has been effectively over for a few weeks.
This matchup looks favorable for Patriots offense, specifically for their potent passing game which should put this game out of reach relatively early in this game. This should funnel volume to the Patriots ground game and that looks to be Blount in this physical matchup.
It also looks good for the defense as the Jets are starting Bryce Petty at quarterback in Week 16. Petty has thrown six interceptions in his four starts and he’s been sacked nine times over the past two games. This bodes well for the Patriots defense and its ability to be a productive play in GPP tournaments this week.
The Patriots are favored by 16.5 points at home with an implied total of 30 points while the Jets have an implied total of 13.5 points. Again, the game script here is very favorable for the Patriots running game as it should funnel running attempts as the game wears on and that is good news for Blount.
The Jets have the No. 14 ranked run defense allowing 99.9 yards per game and a stout 3.9 yards per carry. However, they have yielded big plays against the run. They’ve been hit for 11 runs that have gone for 20 or more yards and only five teams in the NFL have given up more plays generating big yards from the run than the Jets.
The Patriots defense has the ability to confuse teams with different alignments and it can lead to pressure on the quarterback. The Patriots will make Petty uncomfortable and he’ll put the ball into bad spots which could lead to big plays for their defense which makes them an intriguing GPP play in Week 16.
Thomas Rawls ($6,200) + Seattle Seahawks ($5,000) = $11,200
The Seattle Seahawks are at home in Week 16 to take on a struggling Arizona Cardinals football team. The Seahawks are favored by eight points at home with an implied total of 25.5 points while the Cardinals have an implied total of 18 points.
The Seahawks should be in a situation to get Rawls heavily involved early in this game and if Vegas has it right, they’ll be running the ball to kill time late in this game, all of which benefits Rawls’ ability to produce fantasy points.
Rawls takes on the league’s No. 12 ranked run defense allowing 99.1 yards per game. They allow 3.7 yards per carry which is outstanding but they’ve surrendered 16 touchdowns to date. Only six teams have yielded more rushing touchdowns in 2016.
Cardinals starting quarterback Carson Palmer is playing well right now but he’s struggled in his recent matchups against the Seahawks going back several years with the exception of his three-touchdown performance in Week 10 of the 2015 season. It seems that the Seahawks have his number and this is a tough test on the road for Palmer.
The Seahawks will pressure Palmer and make it difficult for him and the Seahawks do an outstanding job in coverage, throwing a blanket over areas which take away parts of the field. From a game script perspective, it’s tough to see the Cardinals offense doing much against a very good Seahawks defense and Vegas is certainly projecting the Seahawks up and running out the clock in this game.
Rawls should see plenty of work in this game against a run defense that allows an inordinate number of touchdowns. Because of the way the Seahawks play defense, there is fantastic opportunity on both sides of this stack and they make for a nice option in GPP play in Week 16.
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