Predicting Game Scripts of Home Favorites

Of the 16 games on the week three schedule, only six home teams (New England, Carolina, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Green Bay) are currently favored to win. Excluding New England, pick the home team that you think has the most predictable game script, and explain which players benefit the most from this game script. 

BJ VanderWoude: Of the 16 games on the week three schedule, only six home teams (New England, Carolina, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Green Bay) are currently favored to win. Excluding New England, pick the home team that you think has the most predictable game script, and explain which players benefit the most from this game script.

Phil Alexander: The only home team outside of New England in a truly favorable spot appears to be Green Bay, hosting the Bengals as 8.5 point favorites. Cincinnati is off to a tumultuous 0-2 start that already cost offensive coordinator Ken Zampese his job and now has to install a new game plan on the fly at Lambeau.

Provided Aaron Rodgers gets back starting offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari (or at least one of them), he still has enough offensive weapons to overcome the possible losses of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. We saw how the Packers schemed Jared Cook open during Nelson's absence in last year's playoffs, and they could certainly do the same with Martellus Bennett if Nelson is forced to miss. Geronimo Allison is no world beater, but he proved capable enough of replacing Cobb in the slot down the stretch last season and comes at or near the minimum price on both sites.

While the Bengals aren't a great rushing matchup, Ty Mongomery -- The PPR RB2 through two weeks -- will be buoyed by the game script and Green Bay's (possible) lack of receiving options. Green Bay's offense stands little chance of getting stuck in the mud and hurting Montgomery's numbers. Since 2014, Rodgers has averaged four more fantasy points per game at home compared to his games on the road. As long as he has time to survey the field, he'll get the ball to his open pass catchers.

James Brimacombe: I would have to go with Phil and say Green Bay. The Packers are coming off a game where they were out played by the Falcons and they are going to have some extra motivation playing at home to try to rebound. With Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson both getting injured last game I will be avoiding them and looking at an Aaron Rodgers, Ty Montgomery and Davante Adams super stack and even pairing A.J. Green in on the Bengals side of the ball. Both Adams and Montgomery will see an increase in targets if one or both Cobb and Nelson were to miss the game.

Even with Nelson going out early against the Falcons we saw Adams with 10 targets (which was up from 7 in Week 1), and Montgomery with 7 targets (4 in Week 1). The wildcard play would be Martellus Bennett who jumped from 6 targets in Week 1 to 11 targets in Week 2, and he could have his coming-out game for Green Bay in Week 3.

Justin Howe: I think we all know what to expect from a matchup with the Saints by now. And this week looks like the exact cure for what's ailing Cam Newton's effectiveness. Newton has lacked confidence and accuracy through two weeks, leaving opportunity on the field left and right, but he'll deal with better-than-usual throwing lanes and softer coverage this week. Through 2 weeks of 2017, the Saints have allowed a jaw-dropping 13 of 15 deep-ball attempts (15+ yards in the air) to be completed, resulting in per-game passing averages of 388.5 yards and 3.0 touchdowns. Over the past 2 years of Dennis Allen's defensive coordinator reign in New Orleans, Newton has faced them 4 times, averaging 290.0 passing yards, 2.5 touchdowns, and a whopping 29.8 fantasy points. And with the game in Carolina, there's less chance of Newton and the Panthers finding themselves in a negative game script. The Saints are 6-11 on the road dating back to 2015, with an average scoring margin of -4.8, a far cry from their Superdome success. Drew Brees tends to look utterly human on the road, and the Carolina defense is formidable, so we're not especially likely to see a Saints-favorable shootout that requires Newton and company to play catch-up. I'm expecting a narrow Panthers win, one that keeps Newton throwing and creating downfield, but in relatively friendly, unchallenged fashion.

I'm a little GPP-interested in the Bengals-Packers game, too, on both sides of the ball. Andy Dalton and the Bengals are simply much better than they've looked thus far, and with a coordinator more apt to fit scheme to personnel. Much of their early-season awfulness has stemmed from their league-worst offensive line, and from former coordinator Ken Zampese's insistence upon slow-developing, downfield play calls that don't work well under pressure. Under Bill Lazor, a Chip Kelly disciple, I'm expecting more focus on quick-hitting utilization of the Bengals' pass-catching backs, who can excel in space and counteract the line's horrid play. I wouldn't be surprised to see Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon each flirt with 3-5 catches a week - and both have the upside to usurp the other entirely for a week or two at a time.

John Mamula: I agree with Phil and James that the Green Bay offense has a favorable game script this week. Another home team that is in a good spot is the Carolina Panthers. Through the first two weeks, the Panthers defense has been very impressive allowing a total of 6 points and 196.5 yards/per game. While they have played below average teams in San Francisco and Buffalo, they have to be respected at home. Drew Brees struggled on the road Week 1 at Minnesota where he passed for only 291 yards and 1 touchdown. Expect Brees to struggle on the road again this week. On the other side of the ball, the Panthers will have no issue moving the chains versus the Saints worst ranked defense, which is allowing a whopping 512.5 yards/per game through the first two games. Greg Olsen's absence will not be an issue as it will open some additional receiving targets for Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey. I do not expect this to be that close of a game and can envision the Panthers winning by multiple touchdowns. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey are the two main players from this game that I plan to target this week in DFS.

Justin Bonnema: Phil pretty much nailed it with the Green Bay pick. Even if they have some injuries along the offensive line and we’re not sure which receivers will be healthy, we know that Ty Montgomery is going to dominate opportunities. So far on the season, he has handled over 85% of team carries and 12.1% of team targets. That’s a massive amount of volume for a running back, especially one that plays in an Aaron Rodgers led offense. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bengals turn things around after firing Ken Zampese and promoting Bill Lazor to offensive coordinator, which makes me think the Over is in play. So I’ll be stacking this game heavily in GPPs.

Chris Feery: I agree with the majority here: Green Bay has the most predictable game script, in spite of the injuries that may impact them in Week 3. In fact, the injuries open up some great value for GPP purposes. Ty Montgomery will see plenty of opportunities as it is, but he could become even more involved in the passing game this week. He also comes in at a discount in relation to other top backs, and the potential for top-flight production at a cheaper price is tough to pass up.

DaVante Adams would move into must-play territory if Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are forced to miss this one. He’ll see a boatload of targets if that proves to be the case, and that would be even tougher to dismiss than rostering Montgomery. On the value end of the spectrum, Geronimo Allison becomes awfully appealing if the other wide receivers are out. A Packers power stack of Aaron Rodgers-Adams-Nelson would afford you with a ton of salary leftover to build a competitive roster, and that could prove to be quite fruitful if the game goes according to script.

 


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