Punch Drunk Wonderland

Daily Fantasy Football Game Scripts to Target for Week 15

Zach Ertz PHI TE

Via our friends at numberFire.com.

If you’ve played daily fantasy sports for a while, you’ve likely heard the term “game script” tossed around. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, game script refers to the way that a game plays out. If you can predict how a game is going to unfold you should have an easier time being able to predict which players will be in line for production.

Luckily, we don’t have to try to predict the game scripts each week on our own. Oddsmakers do the job for us and have been perfecting their craft for decades. The Vegas odds are one of the many useful tools included in our Daily Fantasy Matchup Heat Map.

4for4.com’s Chris Raybon has done some excellent research regarding the correlation between FanDuel points per game and each stat for fantasy players. We’ll use quarterbacks as our example. Predictably, the most highly-correlated stat with quarterback FanDuel points is passing touchdowns. Raybon also wrote a piece showing the correlation between Vegas odds and scoring in NFL games. From 2013 to 2015, team’s listed as favorites have averaged 25.6 points and 1.79 passing touchdowns as opposed to 20.2 points and 1.41 passing touchdowns as underdogs.

Using these proven correlations, we’re going to take a look at some of the more interesting game scripts each week and some correlation plays that can give you an edge in your daily fantasy contests on FanDuel.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

Over/Under: 40.0

Eagles Implied Team Total: 23.75

Giants Implied Team Total: 16.25

The Philadelphia Eagles (11-3) managed to suffer their biggest loss of the season in the midst of their biggest victory. By now, you’ve definitely heard about Carson Wentz‘s season-ending ACL tear, and how it changes the complexion of the team’s playoff outlook. While the Eagles currently hold the top seed in the NFC, this is a time of uncertainty for a franchise that was enjoying an incredible run of success in 2017.

Their opponent this week, the New York Giants (2-11), is no stranger to uncertainty themselves. After dismissing their head coach and long-time general manager, this is a team in a state of flux. Even without Wentz in the lineup, the Eagles are 7.5-point favorites on the road. But can a game that features a backup quarterback against a 2-11 team truly be a fantasy-relevant affair?

On paper, yes it can.

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

FanDuel Price: $6,000

The injury sustained by Wentz is depressing on so many levels. It’s sad for a young man who was establishing himself as a future face of the NFL. It’s sad for a team that has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. It’s sad for the fans who enjoy watching him play. There’s simply nothing positive about the situation. But lost in all of this misery is that fact that Wentz’ backup quarterback once produced a 27-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio as a 10-game starter for this very Philly franchise.

Now, I’m not here to tell you that Nick Foles is as good as Carson Wentz, but the Eagles can win with him and so can your fantasy team.

The Eagles’ offense is humming. They have a strong depth chart at running back, wide receiver, and tight end, particularly if Zach Ertz is back in the mix. The Giants have surrendered the most FanDuel points per game (20.0) to opposing quarterbacks, and they are just trying to get through the tail end of a lost season.

At such a low cost, Foles could display some of his 2013 form and prove to be one of the value quarterbacks of the week. He’s a risky start in a playoff game in season-long leagues, but he’s worth a dice roll in daily formats.

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

FanDuel Price: $7,900

Assuming Ertz plays this week, he’s in a premium situation. Yes, losing Wentz for the year hurts his outlook, but not as much as you might think. In 2013, Ertz caught 36 passes for 469 yards and 4 touchdowns as a rookie. It was a decent season, and he flashed the considerable upside that he would ultimately reach in 2017. As a sophomore in 2014, Ertz looked sharp out of the gates, snaring 24 receptions for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns over his first seven games.

And as you’ve probably already guessed, he did most of this damage with a quarterback named — wait for it — Nick Foles. These two have already proven to have chemistry, and Ertz is a better player now than he was then.

Even better, Ertz draws a Giants defense this week that is permitting the most FanDuel points per contest to opposing tight ends (13.4). The 10 receiving touchdowns they’ve allowed to tight ends is tops in the league, as well. With or without Wentz, Ertz should produce in a big way in Week 15 as long as he’s healthy. If he can’t play, Trey Burton ($4,900) would be in line for a solid role.

Others to Consider

Alshon Jeffery ($7,200) has six touchdown receptions in his last six games and gets to face a struggling Giants defense. While we don’t know much about his chemistry with Foles, the matchup is right. It’s fair to temper expectations a bit, but he still represents a solid play, particularly at his WR15 cost.

The Eagles have a solid group of runners, but touches are being divided so evenly, it’s next to impossible to project who to play in fantasy. However, the Giants have allowed the second most rushing yards per game (130.0) in the league, so it’s a fantastic opportunity if you feel confident about one of Philly’s backs.

It’s been a tough year for the Giants in both fantasy and reality, but Evan Engram ($6,300) has been a pleasant surprise as a rookie. The team’s leader in targets (100), receptions (55), yards (623), and touchdowns (6), Engram is a startable player every week in spite of the matchup.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Over/Under: 42.0

Vikings Implied Team Total: 26.50

Bengals Implied Team Total: 15.50

The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) are coming off a tough loss to the Carolina Panthers and looking to get back on track against a Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) team that has endured a truly frustrating 2017 season. While the Vikings are jockeying for position at the top of a crowded and competitive NFC playoff picture, the Bengals are looking for something positive to take away from a year of missed opportunities. Playing spoiler to a contending team at this juncture would represent such an accomplishment.

While this doesn’t project to be a high-scoring contest, the Vikings are heavily favored — 11.0 points, second-biggest spread of the week — and several of their players make for intriguing plays in daily formats.

Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

FanDuel Price: $7,600

One of the season’s biggest breakouts, Adam Thielen looks ready to continue his sensational run of play in a nice spot against Cincy. With 80 catches, 1,161 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns on the season, the former undrafted free agent has established himself as one of the game’s best wideouts, and he has emerged as Case Keenum‘s ($7,400) favorite target.

While the Bengals have been stingy against opposing wideouts for much of the season, their secondary has been ravaged by injuries as of late and surrendered a 10 grabs and 107 yards to Kendall Wright a week ago (Wright had 11 catches for 111 yards combined over his previous four games). Thielen is an 11.0-point home favorite, and our models project him for 15.8 FanDuel points (sixth-most among wideouts). Oh, and he can be started for WR8 cost.

Betting against Thielen has proven to be a mistake more often than not in 2017, as he’s snared five or more receptions in all but one contest. That consistency should continue in Week 15.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings

FanDuel Price: $5,900

While the Bengals have been solid against opposing wideouts, the same cannot be said for running backs. After all, this is the same team that permitted 240 total yards and 2 touchdowns to Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen last weekend. In fact, the Bengals have surrendered 132.1 rushing yards per game (most in the league) and 23.2 FanDuel points per contest to runners (tied for fourth-most) on the season.

That means Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray ($6,200) should be in for a productive day. Murray is solid investment in his own right, but McKinnon gets the slight edge here because he’s the Vikings’ primary receiving back and the Bengals have allowed 78 catches (sixth-most) to opposing runners. At such a low cost, McKinnon could be a value pick and one of the week’s best contrarian plays.

Others to Consider

Stefon Diggs ($6,800) seems to have settled into a complementary role in recent weeks, but he still drew 10 targets last week and could produce against a depleted Bengals secondary.

Kyle Rudolph ($6,000) has scored four touchdowns over his last three games, but he hasn’t received more than five targets in any of them. Right now, he’s getting by on remarkable efficiency, but the volume is lacking.

A.J. Green ($7,700) is still one of the league’s best wideouts, but he faces a daunting matchup against Vikings top cornerback Xavier RhodesThe Vikings have allowed the fewest FanDuel points per game to opposing running backs, so even if he’s cleared to play, Joe Mixon ($6,700) and his backfield mate Giovani Bernard($5,900) could struggle to get anything going on the ground.

Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)

 

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