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 Saints travel to San Francisco on Sunday to take on the 49ers in a game with a high total as Vegas has set the number at 52 points. Both teams have defenses that are struggling right now and the offenses should be able to make plays in this game.
The Saints implied number is 27.5 points and they are favored by three points on the road against a solid pass defense from a yardage perspective, but the 49ers have given up 15 passing touchdowns to date. Only five teams have surrendered more touchdowns through the air and the Saints have the kind of passing attack that can really do damage in this game.
The 49ers have only allowed 134 total receptions on the year which is No. 1 in the NFL, but they’ve allowed a touchdown on just over 11 percent of those completions which is worst in the NFL. Also, they’ve allowed 23 plays of 20 yards or more (just over 17 percent) which is sixth-worst in the league.
Both those numbers are extremely high, and the question that needs answering is about the number of completions that the Saints will have in the game Sunday. I believe the number is high based on several factors, including the game total, the implied totals for each team.
The 49ers have an implied total of 24.5 points which means that the 49ers offense should put up enough points to challenge the Saints offense to keep the foot on the pedal, meaning more receptions. Against this defense, more receptions means more big plays and touchdowns and that’s great news for the Saints.
Cooks has scored in three straight weeks and is capable of explosive, down the field plays. He and Brees are a very safe combination in Week 9.
Pivot: Willie Snead IV ($6,500) provides a piece of this offense at a reduced price from Cooks and is an intriguing option as the Saints slot receiver. The trio is also an interesting triple stack option this week.
The Buccaneers take on the Atlanta Falcons at home in a Week 9 contest featuring a pair of potent offenses in what Vegas is calling a high scoring, very close game. Vegas has the total at 51.5 points and the Buccaneers are a 3.5 point underdog at home on Thursday.
The Falcons have allowed a league-worst 19 passing touchdowns and only three teams have allowed more passing plays of 20+ yards than the Falcons. The strength of Evans’ game is his ability to hit teams over the top and down the field.
The implied totals are very intriguing in this contest. The Falcons have an implied total of 27.5 points and the Buccaneers implied number is 24. We should see multiple scores in this game and the reality is that both teams struggle to defend the pass, and the strength of both teams on offense is the potency of their passing game.
Vegas likes this game as one of the higher scoring games of the week and it’s not just the Buccaneers that can score. The Falcons have an incredibly potent offense and they’ll push the pace in this game which will force the Buccaneers to keep throwing. The Falcons are a road favorite and from a game script outlook, it is reasonable to see the Falcons getting ahead and helping to boost the fantasy value of Winston and Evans.
Evans continues to see a giant amount of target volume in this offense as Winston continues to look his way on a consistent basis. Evans has been targeted 86 times in seven games in 2016. He’s consistently seeing double-digit targets on a weekly basis, with the exception of Week 1. Consistency is key here as Evans has not seen lower than 11 targets since Week 1 with a high of 18 in Week 2.
The Colts travel to Lambeau Field for a Week 9 contest on Sunday. This is expected to be the highest scoring game of the week as the total has been set at 55 points. The Packers are favored by seven points at home and have an implied total of 30.5 points. The Colts have an implied total of 24.5 points.
The Packers are the No. 16 pass defense in the NFL and they’re ranked there because they’ve not allowed many receptions to date. Only four teams have allowed fewer receptions in 2016, but it’s the numbers within those receptions that matter.
The Packers are allowing 7.9 yards per pass attempt which is ninth-worst in the entire league. When looking at the rates they give up touchdowns in relation to the number of receptions they allow, they allow a touchdown on 8.8 percent of their opponent’s completions, and only seven teams have allowed a higher percentage in 2016.
The Packers are the league’s No. 2 ranked rush defense. They’re allowing 74.4 yards rushing per game and the Colts aren’t built to run the ball against a run defense like the Packers. It is entirely unrealistic to think the Colts can run the ball with any level of success and if the Colts are going to put up the points they are expected to, it will come from the passing attack.
Hilton is an electric vertical weapon in the Colts passing game and when he’s healthy he can generate production in a flash. As of this writing, he is questionable with a hamstring injury and you’ll need to confirm his status for Week 9 as the rest of the week plays out. If he plays, he and Luck are very safe options for GPP play in Week 9.
Pivot: Donte Moncrief ($6,100) is a great option versus the Packers even if Hilton plays, but even more so if Hilton misses the game Sunday. Moncrief gets you into a high scoring game at a price-reduction which gives you roster flexibility to spend elsewhere.
The Green Bay Packers are home to Indianapolis in Week 9 in what Vegas is calling the highest scoring game this week. The total is 55 points and the Packers have an implied total of 30.5 points.
The Packers can’t run the ball and have adjusted their offense to more of a short throwing attack which is effectively their running game. Over the past four games, Rodgers has thrown the ball 181 times but is only averaging 6.2 yards per attempt. It’s clear the Packers understand their limitations and have deployed a plan to move the ball which is working.
Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdown passes over those four games, with seven coming over the past two games. Clearly, the Packers offensive scheme is working as they did the majority of their damage last week with backups.
A short passing game in Green Bay is a very positive scheme for Cobb as he works out of the slot and can use his short-area quickness to create separation immediately in his routes. Cobb is currently questionable with a hamstring injury but was a limited participant in practice Wednesday. Monitor his status and if he plays he’s an auto-start in this matchup.
The Colts are the league’s No. 31 pass defense. They’ve allowed the ninth-most touchdowns (14) and the third-most completions (203) in the NFL through eight games. When looking at the Packers short passing offense and the weaknesses of the Colts defense, it’s easy to see how Rodgers and Cobb fit in that puzzle.
Pivot: Jordy Nelson ($8,200) would normally draw outside cornerback Vontae Davis but he’s in the concussion protocol and his status is up in the air for Sunday. Nelson is a great option if Davis misses this game. Davante Adams ($7,100) is another outside receiver that could be targeted because of the matchup as he should be able to exploit the Colts lesser than secondary.
HIGHER RISK STACKS
The Jaguars travel to Kansas City on Sunday for an AFC matchup of teams heading in the opposite directions. The Chiefs are favored by nine points at home and are the biggest favorite of the Week 9 slate of games.
Bortles and Robinson are incredibly risky as they’ve been out of sync and have performed poorly in 2016, but the reason they are listed here is based on the concept that they are going to be down in this game and garbage time points still count in GPP play.
From a game script perspective, it’s easy to see the Chiefs getting out in front of the Jaguars early in this game. To get a feel for how this game could shake out, look back to Week 8 when the Jaguars were torched by the Tennessee Titans.
Bortles and the Jaguars out up zero points in the first half and were virtually out of the game at halftime, but Bortles put together a fantastic second half stat line, throwing for three scores in the second half as the game was out of reach.
Robinson has had a very rough 2016 campaign but he’s worth the risk here as his price is relatively inexpensive compared to his upside. In last week’s game, Robinson was targeted 15 times in a contest that was out of hand early and that’s a blueprint I’d expect to repeat this week.
Pivot: Allen Hurns ($5,900) will run out of the slot and that allows him to avoid the Chiefs better secondary members. His selection gets you a piece of an offense that will be throwing the ball early and often and very much in garbage time on Sunday.
The Browns host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9 and they are a seven-point underdog in what Vegas is calling a high scoring game. The game total is 48 points, and the Browns have an implied total of 20.5 points while the Cowboys have an implied total of 27.5 points.
This is another very risky stack based almost entirely off of the game script, but there are other factors that bring them into play for GPP tournaments. It’s very likely that the Cowboys get up in this game which forces the Browns to air it out and the total and implied numbers add up to make this stack worth a flier.
Coleman has been out with a broken hand since Week 2 but is expected to return this week (check his status to be sure). Coleman is a vertical threat and can take the top off of a defense instantly with his speed. He’s also a tremendous competitor with the ball in the air and he plays with great intensity.
Back in Week 2, Coleman and McCown hooked up for two scores at home against the Baltimore Ravens. McCown targeted him eight times and Coleman caught five passes for 104 yards to go along with those two scores.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the Cowboys are expected to be without defenders Barry Church and Morris Claiborne and that could give Coleman some room to make plays. McCown does give added value with his ability to make plays with his feet and if he can extend plays to allow Coleman a little more time to get open, the pairing could be in store for nice production in GPP play.
The 49ers are at home in Week 9 versus the New Orleans Saints in what Vegas has pegged as a high-scoring game as the total is 52 points. The 49ers are a home underdog of three points, but looking at that game total and implied totals of 27.5 points (New Orleans) and 24.5 (49ers), it’s easy to see big offensive numbers here.
The Saints are No. 29 in the NFL versus the pass and they’ve allowed 8.0 yards per attempt. There are only three teams in the NFL allowing more yards per attempt than the Saints.
Looking at the likeliest game script, I see lots of points coming from both teams and we’ll see a bunch if explosive plays in this game. Each team has played seven games, and the Saints have allowed 25 plays of 20+ yards or more while the 49ers have allowed 23 passing plays of 20 yards or more. Both teams allow an average amount of chunk plays against the pass, but the Saints are going to bludgeon the 49ers in this aspect of the game Sunday and the 49ers will take shots down the field to keep pace.
Kaepernick is going to boost his value via his rushing totals as he’s rushed for 150 yards in his two starts. However, he’ll have the opportunity to make plays while throwing the ball in this game and if he can push the ball down the field it’ll be Smith as the main beneficiary.
Smith is a vertical threat and his price is such that he can get to value with a big play or two on Sunday. This stack is not without risk, but it adds up when looking at the game total, the implied numbers and the game script which likely calls for production coming from the passing attack.
The Miami Dolphins bring the New York Jets into Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday for a Week 9 contest featuring underperforming AFC East rivals. Vegas doesn’t like this game as a high-scoring affair with a game total of 44.5 points, but the Dolphins do have an implied total of 24 points so we’re expecting multiple scores this week. The Dolphins are also a 3.5 point favorite at home.
The Jets are the league’s worst ranked pass defense allowing 8.0 yards per attempt which is fourth-worst in the NFL. Only five teams have given up more touchdowns than the 15 the Jets have allowed, and only six teams have allowed more 20+ yard passing plays than the Jets. Also, only the Raiders have allowed more passing plays of 40 or more yards in the NFL.
The Jets have allowed an inordinate number of deep passing plays that have gone for scores. In Week 1 they gave up a 54-yard score to Bengals receiver A.J. Green. In Week 2 the Jets gave up an 84-yard touchdown to Bills receiver Marquise Goodwin and then a 71-yard score to receiver Greg Salas. Seahawks weapon Tanner McEvoy scored on a 42-yard reception and Sammie Coates Jr hit the Jets for a 72-yard touchdown in Week 5. These are all plays that illustrate how Stills can win this Sunday.
Again, this is an ultra-risky stack but the Jets are vulnerable to the deep ball and that is where Stills excels. This stack is one that has great upside with enough value to give you great versatility in other areas of your roster.
Dallas Cowboys ($4,900) + Ezekiel Elliott ($9,200) = $14,100
The Cowboys travel to Cleveland on Sunday in a game that looks to be higher scoring as Vegas has the total at 48 points. The Cowboys are favored by seven points on the road with an implied total of 27.5 points. The Browns have the NFL’s No. 31 ranked run defense and only three teams have allowed more rushing touchdowns than the Browns. The Browns are allowing 4.8 yards per carry which is third-worst in the NFL. The likeliest outcome here is a heavy dose of workload for Elliott as the Cowboys should be up in this game and running the ball behind their outstanding offensive line which will pave the way for big numbers from Elliott.
Kansas City Chiefs ($5,100) + Spencer Ware ($8,000) = $13,100
The Chiefs host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 9 in what looks to be a one-sided contest as the Chiefs are favored by nine points at home. The Jaguars are really struggling right now and it’s not all that difficult to see a few turnovers coming from Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. Ware is the starter but couldn’t finish the game last week due to a concussion and is questionable as of this writing. If he goes, he is a fantastic play with Jamaal Charles going to IR and I’d expect big numbers this week. If Ware misses the game, running back Charcandrick West ($5,600) becomes an auto-start as he’d be in line for a big workload to go with a very favorable game script.
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