There are four games with totals of 50 or more points. Of the four, is there one specific game you are targeting? If so, which teams (and players) do you find yourself consistently rostering? On the flip side, Is there a trap game among the four that will end up being low scoring?
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-7, 50)
Atlanta Falcons (-5.5, 50.5) at Chicago Bears
Oakland Raiders (Even, 53.5) at Tennessee Titans
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (-2.5, 50.5)
Phil Alexander: Raiders at Titans has shootout written all over it. Last season, Oakland games went over 50 total points nine times, while the Titans had seven games that combined for 50+ points. I expect heavy GPP ownership to be concentrated on this game, with the stars on both sides becoming rather chalky. In particular, Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Delanie Walker (especially since Gronk and Kelce are not available on the main slate) will be popular plays.
The rest of Tennessee's skill players are where things get interesting. Excuse the cheap plug, but a few weeks backs I made my first pass on DraftKings pricing and declared Rishard Matthews the top wide receiver value play on the slate. The preseason hasn't changed my outlook much. Despite his low price, I don't expect more than 10% of the field to roster Matthews in tournaments, making him an ideal stacking partner for Mariota.
Perhaps an even better idea for tournaments would be to stack Mariota with DeMarco Murray in an attempt to corner the market on Tennessee touchdowns. With Eric Decker and Corey Davis joining Matthews and Walker, it's hard to project exactly where Mariota's touchdown passes will go. But last year, Murray was the most heavily targeted red zone receiver on the Titans. Not just in their backfield mind you -- he led the entire team in red zone targets, ahead of Walker and Matthews.
On the flip side, I'm probably going to be underweight on Atlanta players compared to the field. At 29 points, they do have the highest implied point total on the main slate but I'm not assuming we'll see the same historic offense the Falcons fielded last year, even if many of the faces are the same. Atlanta is breaking in new coordinators on both sides of the ball and is coming off the worst possible Super Bowl hangover. The weakness of their defense -- run stopping -- aligns perfectly with the only things the Bears have going for them on offense (a strong interior offensive line and a young workhorse running back). I'm not sure Chicago can pull an upset in their home opener, but if they can establish Jordan Howard early, it wouldn't shock me if they slow things down and keep the game close, which could lead to a disappointing passing day for Matt Ryan and company.
Dan Hindery: The Oakland-Tennessee game is the one that the DFS community seems most excited about. I do think there’s a decent chance it shoots out, though I’m worried about a slow pace if both teams go run-heavy. The ownership percentages on some of the key guys could be higher than ideal. For example, our Steve Buzzard projects Marcus Mariota to be the highest-owned quarterback on both sites. Delanie Walker and Amari Cooper also project to high ownership numbers. These players are still very solid plays, but if you stack this game make sure you are differentiating your lineup with a couple lower-owned players from other games.
The game that intrigues me more is Seattle-Green Bay. I’m not convinced that either team will be able to accomplish much running the ball, which could lead to a whole lot of pass attempts from two of the league’s best quarterbacks. I will definitely have some game stacks for this game.
The trap game is Atlanta-Chicago. The Bears don’t have any big names on their defense. But it is a unit without any major weaknesses that looked solid in the preseason. They should keep Atlanta from exploding for a huge offensive day. On the other side of the ball, it will probably be a heavy dose of Jordan Howard. With Mike Glennon at the controls and a major lack of talent at wide receiver, it’s hard to see Chicago doing much damage through the air.
Jason Wood: As my colleagues have noted, the Titans/Raiders game is going to be the most popular, and for good reason. Both teams are projected to score a ton of points, so the game script is less risky versus a few of the heavier favorites taking their foot off the gas pedal if they get off to big leads. However, as my colleagues have also noted, the projected point total and internal logic ensure those players will be among the heaviest owned. There's no problem owning chalky plays in cash games, but in GPPs you are going to have a difficult time building a solid ROI if your rosters are full of chalk.
I'm leaning against the OAK/TEN game in GPPs but will have plenty of exposure in cash.
The Packers / Seahawks game excites me. Both teams should be in contention for the NFC this year, and this will be an early litmus test. Both teams paid lip service to improve the running game, and if both were successful it's possible this game's pace is slower than planned and, as a result, the 50+ points will be a pipe dream. However, I'm inclined to think the ground attacks are still 'works in progress' and this will come down to a passing game shootout.
Chris Feery: As the others have noted already, the Raiders-Titans game looks to be the most appealing of these four choices. While we can expect ownership percentages to be high for the key players in this game, I’m not too worried about that as there’s plenty of other spots to find some differentiation in Week 1.
For specific targets, I’m intrigued by a stack of Derek Carr and Amari Cooper on the Raiders side, while DeMarco Murray is jumping off the page at me for the Titans. I’m of the belief that the Carr and Cooper combo takes it to the next level this season, and I’ll look for that to start in a game that has the potential to devolve into a shootout.
As for Murray, this is a slight pivot off of the hype that Marcus Mariota is generating for Week 1. While I agree that he could take a proverbial leap forward in 2017, the Titans will not stray too far from their ground and pound roots. Add in Murray’s pass-catching upside, and you have yourself exposure to both facets of the offense. The only potential red flag to this theory comes in the form of Derrick Henry stealing, even more, carries in his second year, but I foresee Murray receiving more than enough work to offset that risk.
For a trap game, Phil nailed my thinking on the tilt between the Bears and Falcons. I’m hesitant on the Falcons for now until I get a feel for what the offense looks like under the new coordinator. That doesn’t mean I won’t consider Matt Ryan or Julio Jones and company for GPP lineups, but it does mean that I’ll be lighter on them than I would normally be. As for the Bears, Jordan Howard shapes up as a solid play, as we can safely assume he’ll see a ton of work.
James Brimacombe: For cash games the Oakland/Tennessee game is the most appealing to me. There are some big players in this game with Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree for the Raiders and Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray, Eric Decker, Rishard Matthews, and Delanie Walker for Tennessee. The question here is how to attack the game and what players do you want to roster. I like going Derek Carr and Amari Cooper for the quarterback/wide receiver stack and also don't mind adding in Rishard Matthews or Delanie Walker with it hoping for the shoot out.
I think the Atlanta/Chicago game could be lower scoring especially if the Falcons get up early in the game they could just run through out the second half and it could end up like a 30-13 type of game with the Falcons running backs and kicker getting all the action in the second half.
Justin Howe: Seattle at Green Bay carries a lot of interest for me because simply put, I trust the guys involved. They're proven producers, and all boast top end potential when viewed agnostically of the matchup. Russell Wilson should find himself throwing against a secondary long on bodies but short on snap-to-snap consistency; the Packers allowed 300+ passing yards to each of their final 6 opponents last year (playoffs included). He makes for a solid stack with Doug Baldwin. But I especially like the Packers in tournament play - the matchup will scare off a lot of DFSers, yet Aaron Rodgers doesn't seem spooked. Over their last two meetings, he's completed 43 of 56 passes (77%), with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Like those two, this game will be played in Green Bay, and I'm risking a decent GPP chunk in Rodgers building another lead with the first-half touchdown passes. On a week with so little differentiation between Rodgers and the other top-salaried options, it makes all the sense in the world to invest there.
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