Week 13 NFL DFS Stacks

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This weekly article gets us ready for NFL DFS by considering some of the safest stacks, contrarian stacks, and a mini-stack or two. The premise is based on research showing the degree of correlation between one player’s fantasy output and another in his game. Among the strongest correlations are QB-QB(opponent), QB-WR1, QB-WR2, QB-WR1(opponent), QB-TE, and RB-D/ST. These are for the main slate on Sunday.

Safe Stacks:

Minnesota Vikings at Jacksonville: Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, D.J. Chark?

The Vikings are one of the biggest favorites of the week, facing one of the most generous fantasy defenses. The Jaguars now rank second in overall fantasy points allowed, while falling into the Top 8 or better to every position. Cousins is averaging about 22 fantasy points per game over his last four and should have Adam Thielen back this weekend. I still have Jefferson, who is coming off a 13-target game without Thielen, in this lineup thanks to his slightly (FanDuel, DraftKings) or more substantially (Yahoo) lower salary. Both wide receivers should be able to rack up the catches and touchdowns in a big home win. Cook isn’t strictly necessary here, but I highly doubt he puts up two bad weeks in a row (if healthy) and think this is a nice opportunity to get him at a low roster percentage. If D.J. Chark plays, he’s a fine add to this lineup, or you can make it even more contrarian by using the Jaguars’ Mike Glennon at QB. Minnesota is nearly as good a passing/receiving matchup as Jacksonville is, so the fantasy points should be flowing in both directions this Sunday in Minnesota.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston: Philip Rivers, Michael Pittman, Brandin Cooks

Yes it does feel crazy putting the Colts in this ‘safe’ part of the article; that doesn’t escape me. Still, how can they mess this up? They are looking good as far as playoffs go, but want a win to keep pace with the Titans. With several tight ends and pass-catching running backs that could make a difference in this game, which makes them interesting tournament lineup targets, Rivers is the one Colt poised to succeed no matter what. Among his last six games, there is only one bad one, vs. Baltimore. He’s thrown six touchdown passes in the last three games with only two picks. After catching only two of nine targets last week, Pittman surely doesn’t seem like a safe bet at WR, but as a rookie, his job is to grow. He’s made some great plays already this season, and I’m rostering him for his usage and upside, not to mention his salary. With Rivers and Pittman locked in, there is salary leftover to do whatever you want. Houston was dealt a blow in the form of Will Fuller’s suspension, which is going to make Cooks a popular option. Still, he should be the leading target-getter for the Texans, but if you’re looking to go more risk/reward, you could consider the (near) minimum priced Keke Coutee or Isaiah Coulter. The Colts’ defense is not one to pick on extensively, but Vegas has this as a high scoring and close game, so don’t underestimate Deshaun Watson’s ability to put points on the board.

Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia: Aaron Rodgers, Jamal Williams (or Aaron Jones), Packers D/ST

The Packers are another huge favorite this weekend, over an Eagles team that has scored exactly 17 points in each of the last three games. Turning the ball over 21 times already, and allowing a league-high 4.2 sacks per game, the defense facing Philly should be a priority every week. Fortunately, the Packers represent a pretty nice discount from the highest priced Dolphins unit. The Packers should enjoy a lead throughout, and Rodgers will have a role in getting them there. Davante Adams may not be needed as much as one would want, and has been carrying a pretty heavy workload in recent games, so he and his lofty salary are sitting this lineup out for me. Instead, I will take the passing touchdowns from Rodgers and focus on the ground game. Last week, Williams and Jones had roughly equal touches. I expect this strategy to continue, especially in fairly friendly matchups as the Packers prepare for a long playoff run. Williams is likely to be lower-owned and is much less expensive than Jones. While he’s also not as good as Jones, I doubt this is one of the games where that will matter a great deal. Let salary be your guide, but don’t feel bad about saving with Williams, especially on Yahoo or FanDuel where he feels truly underpriced.

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Contrarian Stacks:

Seattle vs. NY Giants: Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, Sterling Shepard or Golden Tate

Wilson’s last three games have been his worst three of the season. He’s thrown three touchdowns, two interceptions and lost a fumble in that span while never topping 250 passing yards. Vegas still likes them to win big at home vs. the Giants, an offense that struggles to score, yes, but a defense that is allowing fewer than 23 points per game. Wilson’s salary has come down ever so slightly, but he’s still the most expensive QB on the main slate. I like Lockett over DK Metcalf not because it’s his turn, but because he’s likely to pick up some quick, under pressure outlet passes from Wilson. Both WRs are fine plays in a big GPP. I also think the Seahawks’ D/ST is rosterable here, but if you’re staying contrarian, betting on a Giants’ receiver is an upside play. That Seahawks Defense has looked slightly better against bad teams, but still allows the most overall fantasy points and most to wide receivers. The rub is that no Giants’ receiver has scored a touchdown since Week 8 (Tate). Tate also led the team in targets (9) in Week 12, largely after Colt McCoy and his more conservative style of play took over. In favor of considering a Giants WR, we can be confident that McCoy will be throwing the ball in an attempt to stay in this game. Shepard is generally safer, but Tate might better fit the game plan with McCoy this week.

NE at LA Chargers: Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Damiere Byrd

This game keeps evading my DFS radar, so I wanted to make a point to highlight its potential. Cam Newton is also a (higher risk) QB option here, but I prefer Herbert at home with his superior supporting cast. I expect Austin Ekeler to be somewhat highly rostered, but with several top tier running backs in good spots this week, and his salary up, it might not be a deal-breaker. Herbert threw only one TD pass in Week 12 (of 52 passing attempts) but Ekeler had 16 targets and Allen had 10. The Patriots Defense isn’t one I’m usually rushing to face off against, but the Chargers at home feels like a get-right game for them and Vegas has it as a pick’em. They are far more talented than their paltry record shows. After a brief outburst of usage, Jakobi Meyers has faded in favor of Byrd the last few games. Bryd himself had a much quieter Week 12 than 11, but was still targeted most among New England receivers. His low salary and the favorable matchup make him an easy stash in all kinds of lineups. Consider Meyers or Damien Harris higher risk lower reward plays. Basically, I want to pick at this game rather than go all in with a full game stack.

Mini-Stack of the week:

Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown

The Titans get a plus matchup this weekend with Cleveland, a game in which the Titans are six-point favorites. Cleveland also gets favorable passing matchups but the way they like to run the ball has me fading Baker Mayfield and Co. Tannehill has had more good games than bad this season, though it’s been a while since he’s posted a 300-plus yard game. It’s therefore worth noting that the Browns are allowing an average of 322 passing yards per game on the road. Though Brown hasn’t yet had a 10-target game this season, the man is a touchdown machine, only failing to score twice so far in his nine games. This duo will look to lead Tennessee to their ninth win of the season, which will probably be necessary to stay atop the AFC South.