You know that targeting the highest scoring games and particularly the teams with the highest implied totals makes sense in fantasy football. This analysis will highlight exactly which situations are the best to take advantage of and which you might want to avoid within those games. We’ll also highlight a couple games to use caution with as well as some less obvious targets. All betting lines are courtesy of Westgate Sportsbook.
The high scoring games:
Atlanta at Houston, Total 48.5
Game totals aren’t high this week after coming off a low-scoring Week 4 and I don’t feel super optimistic about this game either. Per CBC Sports, the under has hit in the Texans last six games as a home favorite. Furthermore, Deshaun Watson has been inexplicably worse at home this season (29 fantasy points per game on the road, 12 fantasy points at home). After a hot start in Week 1, DeAndre Hopkins has been averaging just seven fantasy points per game, and though consistent, Carlos Hyde’s meager nine fantasy points per game make him an unappealing option as well, even in this matchup. It could be a time to look for a Duke Johnson breakout game, based on historical data on the Falcons’ susceptibility to pass-catching backs, but he’s only seeing about three targets per game. Given the fallibility of the 2019 Texans’ offense, this game is a situation where I’m going against Vegas.
All is not lost here, however. It's just that the Falcons are the more appealing option. Matt Ryan is quietly putting up consistent QB1 numbers this year. The fact that he’s so reasonably priced (ninth-most expensive option on DraftKings) makes him an easy target, even with Julio Jones, priced at the top among WRs (though at least cheaper than Hopkins) this week. I love this duo, but if you’re spending elsewhere, both Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu are getting plenty of targets and either is a good bet for a touchdown this week.
Arizona at Cincinnati, Total 48.5
The Bengals looked anything like a team capable of scoring 26 points on Monday Night Football, and with John Ross III’s shoulder injury of unknown severity, their offense could be in a tough spot this week. Andy Dalton is reasonably priced, but very hard to trust, even in a plus matchup. Tyler Boyd, one of the fantasy community’s highest hopes during the off-season, has been monstrously disappointing. Joe Mixon found some room to run last night, but it wasn’t nearly enough for fantasy (or actual) scoring. Going with Vegas this time, I’d use Dalton, Boyd and Ross (if healthy) against the Cardinals’ still-weak secondary in a tournament lineup (the Cardinals rank fourth in points allowed and third in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs), and it wouldn’t be an Arizona game if we didn’t at least consider Tyler Eifert. Tight ends are continuing to shred the Cardinals, and Eifert has seen five targets in three of five games played so far this season. He’s fine as a stand-alone, TE-savings option this week.
Kyler Murray has, like Matt Ryan, been putting up consistently decent fantasy numbers. He’s very affordable, and like Mason Rudolph on Monday night, Murray should be able to find guys like Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson with relative ease. The Bengals are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, an added incentive to roster Johnson.
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The low scoring games:
Buffalo at Tennessee, Total 38.5
This looks like another defensive battle as the Bills and Titans rank fourth and fifth in points allowed this season (around 15 points for both teams). The Titans at home are the better fantasy options here, but the Bills pass defense is frightening. Derrick Henry, on the other hand, is in a sweet salary spot given the much more friendly matchup he gets. He’s my top play from this game, and I’m ok fading everything else. If Josh Allen doesn’t suit up for Week 5, add the Titans Defense.
Chicago at Oakland, Total 40.5 (in London)
I’m not playing anyone against the Bears, who are once again a Top 5 defense after facing a more talented slate of opponents than, say, the Patriots have. Allowing just 61.5. rushing yards per game, rostering Josh Jacobs here is foolish. Derek Carr appears to have escaped serious injury, but the upside is so low here it’s crazy to target the Raiders’ pass game too.
The Bears' Mitchell Trubisky is doubtful with a dislocated shoulder, so Chase Daniel will be the starting QB. Oakland ranks near the top in points allowed, as well as fantasy points allowed to opposing QB and WR. Allen Robinson remains the only Bears receiver you can trust, but I have no issue if he’s in the salary range to fill out your last WR or Flex spot this week. David Montgomery is up there with Boyd in the disappointment ranks, but with the inexperienced Daniel at the helm, the Bears could be forced to rely on Montgomery more than they have so far. In PPR formats, Tarik Cohen remains an option, but he’s not a player I’m trying to work into my lineups at this point.
High team totals you might miss:
New England at Washington, Total 43.5
The Patriots’ offense struggled mightily in Buffalo, but should bounce back nicely here. Though their stifling D/ST is the best play here, Tom Brady will enjoy the league’s fourth-best QB matchup for fantasy. Washington also allows the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. The question is, will it be a bunch of short dump offs to what should be a healthier Julian Edelman? Or long bombs to Josh Gordon? Philip Dorsett led the group in targets with nine against the Bills, but that’s going to vary week to week. I’m taking Gordon as my top option here, since his ceiling is the highest of the bunch. James White led the team with 10 targets in Week 4, and Sony Michel was the clear lead back on early downs. If you’ve read me for any length of time, you know I prefer to avoid this situation when other teams or games offer reasonable RB solutions.
The Dwayne Haskins experiment didn’t go much better than the Case Keenum experiment, and this against one of the most fantasy-friendly defenses in the league. I’m avoiding all Redskins until further notice, and as noted above, loading up on the Pats D/ST.
New York Jets at Philadelphia, Total 44.5
The Jets are back from the BYE, but Sam Darnold is not, so the defense facing them is in play! If you want to differentiate from high Pats ownership, the Eagles are certainly a fine option. The Eagles’ D/ST isn’t the most talented group, but fantasy is all about the matchups. With the exception of Le’Veon Bell, there’s no one on the Jets Offense that worries me. I’m not even comfortable rostering Bell as the sixth-eighth-most expensive back this week. Aside from the fact that it’s obvious for the offense to run through him, the Eagles have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season.
The Eagles Offense is one of my favorite plays as I’m building my early lineups. Carson Wentz could easily be the highest scoring QB this week, averaging 22 fantasy points per game, and five more at home than on the road. Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey are clearly his favorite targets, but Ertz simply can’t find the end zone. I’m not ready to jump on the Jordan Howard bandwagon after his monster 3-TD game in Week 4, but his DraftKings price is pretty low…