Being my first week to write content for forfantasysakeqc.com, I wanted to introduce two vital pieces of statistical information that I use as the basis for most of my lineup decisions. These two pieces of data are: 1) the implied totals for each NFL game; and 2) the number of DraftKings fantasy points that each defense allows to the four skill positions(QBs/RBs/WRs/TEs).
Stats Used for Lineup Decisions
Implied totals are fairly easy to use once you are familiar with them, but can be a little cumbersome at first. I use VegasInsider.Com for the most up-to-date betting spreads and over/unders. As an example of implied totals, I will use this week’s Saints at Panthers game. The Saints are currently three-point favorites and the over/under is 44.5. To make it simpler, I round the number up to the nearest whole number, 45. As a three-point favorite, the Saints’ implied total is 24 and the Panthers is 21. I typically limit my exposure to lower-scoring games.
The second concept, as mentioned, is the number of DraftKings fantasy points that each defense gives up to the opposing skill positions. ProFootballReference.Com provides very detailed and easy-to-use points against information, and I will link it below. With only one game per team played in 2021, I am currently using 2020 data for a larger sample size. In week 4, I will start using this year’s data.
Fire Them Up!!
Justin Herbert, Chargers – $6,900 – vs. Cowboys
In Week 1 against Washington (a 20-16 win), Herbert completed 31 of 47 pass attempts for 337 yards and one touchdown (vs one interception). Although the passing yards were there, the TD efficiency simply wasn’t in the low-scoring affair. The Cowboys’ defense allowed 379 yards passing and four touchdowns to Tom Brady in the 31-29 loss, so an opportunity to bounce back is there.
Although the Cowboys were only 15th giving up fantasy points to QBs in 2020, one must remember that they had an opportunity to play six games against their NFC East rivals. With an implied total of 29, look for Herbert to return to the form that allowed him to throw 36 passing touchdowns in 2020.
Nick Chubb, Browns – $7,800 – vs Texans
Although Chubb is the fifth-highest priced running back on the board, I am more than willing to take a stand at this price tag. In week one at the Chiefs, Chubb had 15 carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns, and also added 2 catches for 18 yards.
in 2020, the Texans allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs at an average of 33.6 points per game. With an implied total of 30, both Chubb and Kareem Hunt($5800) make great DFS plays.
CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys – $6,400 – at Chargers
In the thrilling 31-29 Thursday night loss to the Bucs, Lamb had 7 catches(on 15 targets) for 104 yards and a touchdown. While the 15 targets may be hard to duplicate on a weekly basis, the 46.6 catch rate(last year 66.7) will likely not happen very often either. Teammate Michael Gallup(calf strain) has been placed on short-term IR, removing a portion of the route tree.
Rob Gronkowski, Bucs- $4700- vs Falcons
Gronkowski had eight catches (on eight targets) for 90 yards and two touchdowns in week one vs the Cowboys. Looking like time has not passed him by in the least bit, it will be interesting to watch Gronk’s weekly performances.
With the highest implied total(32) on the board and facing the Falcons’ porous defense (third-most fantasy points given up to TEs in 2020), Gronkowski will have a great opportunity to continue a stellar start to his 2021 season.
Colder than Ice
Josh Allen, Bills – $7,200 – at Bills
Although the price tag is enticing, the matchup is not the easiest on paper. The Bills implied total is only 25 and the Dolphins gave up the twelfth fewest fantasy points(19.7 points per game) in 2020.
After a remarkable 46 total touchdowns in 2020, Allen and his Bills lost to the Steelers 23-16 at home in Week 1. For the game, Allen completed 30 of 51 passes for 270 yards and one touchdown, while rushing nine times for 44 more yards. Could week two continue a tough start to the season?
Jonathan Taylor, Colts – $7,200 – vs. Rams
In Week 1, Taylor had 17 carries for 59 yards (3.47 yards per carry) in a 28-16 home loss to the Seahawks. Six catches for sixty yards salvaged his fantasy day.
In Week 2, the Colts face the Rams(who gave up the fourth-fewest fantasy points) and have an implied total of only 22. Look for Taylor to have another tough day on the ground.
Adam Thielen, Vikings – $7100- at Cardinals
In week one, Thielen had a monster game at the Bengals. He hauled in nine catches (on ten targets) for 92 yards and two touchdowns. QB Kirk Cousins attempted 49 passes on the day, well above his normal pass attempts in a game.
In Week 2, the Vikings travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals. The implied total for the Vikings is 24 and the Cardinals gave up the thirteenth fewest fantasy points to WRs in 2020. Unlikely to have 49 pass attempts this week, Cousins will have to be more efficient against a stiffer defensive challenge. I prefer other similarly priced WRs ( I.e Keenan Allen) to Thielen this week.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles – $4,600 – vs. 49ers
In Week 1, Goedert had four catches(on five targets) for 42 yards and a touchdown at the Falcons. Meanwhile, fellow TE Zach Ertz had two catches for 34 yards. Although the performance was very efficient, the DFS owner would love to see a higher number of targets.
Despite a tough performance against the Lions’ T.J. Hockenson (8 catches for 97 yards and a TD) in week one, the 49ers gave up the fewest fantasy point to TEs in 2020. With an implied total for the Eagles of only 23, I look for the 49ers’ defensive to have a bounce-back performance this week.
Bargain Bin-Deep Tourney Plays
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos – $5,400 – at Jaguars
After being named Denver’s starting quarterback during the preseason, Bridgewater had a solid performance in week one. In beating the Giants 27-13, he completed 28 of 36 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
In week two, the Broncos travel to Duvall County to take on a Jags’s defense that gave up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs in 2020. With an implied total of 35 points, I look for Bridgewater to have another solid performance.
James Conner, Cardinals – $4,400 – vs. Vikings
In Week 1, both Chase Edmonds and Conner ($4,900) had 16 touches apiece in beating the Titans 38-13. Conner had 16 rushes for 53 yards. Although the yards per carry (3.31) was not good, DFS players are simply looking for volume at this price tag. The Cardinals have an implied total of 27 and the Vikings gave up the 6th most fantasy points to RBs last year. With a very favorable matchup, look for both Edmonds and Conner to have success this week.
K.J. Hamler, Broncos – $3,800 – at Jaguars
With Jerry Jeudy (high ankle sprain) being placed on IR and out for 4-6 weeks, the Broncos will look to both Hamler and Tim Patrick to fill the void. In week one, Hamler had three catches ( on four targets) for 41 yards against the Giants. With the Jags giving up the 11th most fantasy points to WRs, Bridgewater and Hamler make for an inexpensive contrarian stack.
Cole Kmet, Bears – $3,700 – vs. Bengals
In Week 1, Kmet had five catches(on 7 targets) for 42 yards against the stout Rama’s defense. Looking very athletic on the field, Kmet will now face a Bengals defense that gave up the sixth-most fantasy points to TEs. With a revenge-minded Andy Dalton, look for Kmet to put up a solid stat line.
Stack of the Week:
There are several good stacking options available at decent prices this week.
These stacks include:
1) Dak Prescott and Lamb ($13,200); 2) Herbert and Allen ($13,700); 3) Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown($13,200) and 4) Tom Brady stacked with any of his three primary receivers.
With the highest implied total on the board, I chose to go with the Brady/ Chris Godwin stack($13,500). The Falcons gave up the most fantasy points to QBs and the third-most fantasy points to WRs in 2020. Despite a 32-6 opening season loss to the Eagles, I am hoping that the Falcons keep this one relatively close to get a full game from both Brady and Godwin.