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.
This is going to be one of my favorite games to target, whether as a stack or a player here and there. The Vegas total is 50.5 points and the Texans are 6.5-point favorites, in what projects as a fantasy feast. Both teams rank in the Top 5 in overall fantasy points allowed, with good positional matchups across the board. I’m staying safe with Watson, who is fantasy’s QB7 so far this season, coming into this week riding a four-game streak of 300-plus passing yards and a five-game multi-touchdown streak. Priced at $7100 (DK), $35 (Yahoo) and $8300 (FD), Watson is playable everywhere.
The Will Fuller V trade attempts/rumors didn’t amount to anything at the deadline, but does that leave any weirdness? Given that situation and the price difference, I feel more comfortable pivoting to Cooks this week, who before the BYE, was raking in the targets, yards and touchdowns. Houston ranks third in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, so Robinson is no surprise here. Add in the fact that Jacksonville is trying out a new QB this week in Jake Luton, and I think they’ll be relying quite a bit on Robinson in both the run game and short, desperate pass game. As it stands, Robinson is RB5 in PPR scoring this season.
I’m fine with taking a chance on Luton and D.J. Chark or Laviska Shenault in a tournament, or rolling with Fuller and even Jordan Akins. There are going to be fantasy points up for grabs here; hopefully we can’t go wrong!
Herbert is certainly getting more and more salary respect this week, nowhere more so than Yahoo, where he is priced as QB3! Both defenses have been very fantasy-friendly for opposing QBs, so I can see saving some money with Derek Carr this week as well. But it takes more than a good matchup to put Carr in any kind of safe or cash game stack. Herbert and Allen have been terrific together, and while Mike Williams and Jaylen Guyton have gotten in on the fun at times as well, Allen is still very much the WR1 here. You could easily take this stack to four or five players if you believe Justin Jackson will be the lead back again, or wanted to take a longer shot with less salary commitment with Williams or Guyton. I prefer to keep it safe and run it back with the Raiders star receiver, Darren Waller. After last week, he may not feel safe, but weather was a huge factor there – and it won’t be this weekend. Waller is second in the league among TEs in targets, catches and PPR scoring. Again, if you wanted to go deeper with this game, a Raiders wide receiver is a possibility. I prefer Nelson Agholor’s combination of low salary, end zone targets and overall production, but Henry Ruggs III has the highest ceiling.
This hardly seems necessary to write, but if you can afford Russell Wilson, go for it! He’s been an absolute fantasy cornucopia this season. Yes, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, ok? But Allen has taken a nose dive in the QB ranks since starting on Russ’ level. The thing is, his salary hasn’t. Still priced for the upside he offers with his legs, and even through the air in a perfect matchup like this one, I expect Allen’s roster percent to be a lot lower than it would have if this game took place in Week 5 or 6. All of that is also true of Diggs, who is priced as high as WR 3 on DraftKings (WR 4 on Yahoo, WR 8 on FanDuel).
People love to find patterns in the world around them, and fantasy stats are no exception. So, there are people out there who will look at the Seattle receivers game logs and decide that it is Tyler Lockett’s turn to excel, rostering him over Metcalf. It might not be a majority of people but it will be some. I’m of the mind that these two can both excel in any given week, and especially in a week where Buffalo is expected to keep it close in a high-scoring game. A better argument for Lockett is the numbers opposing slot receivers and tight ends who man the slot have put up on the Bills, not to mention the salary drop from Metcalf. I love them both this week, as should we all.
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There’s nothing inherently contrarian about a Falcons’ stack, except they’re getting very little buzz, and there’s nothing more boring than rostering Matt Ryan in a big tournament. Denver’s defense is a far cry from what it once was and would still like to be, and they’ve actually given up the 10th most fantasy points to QBs this season. Ryan has performed at or above an average expectation in each of his last three games, though his lack of touchdown passes is still a worry. Calvin Ridley is still not practicing on his sprained foot as of Thursday, which cements Jones in any Falcons stack for me.
I’m adding in Hurst, who hasn’t been the most efficient in the catch rate department, but has still managed to put up TE6 numbers in PPR scoring on the season. His salary, especially on Yahoo and DraftKings, places him much lower than that. Finally, anyone facing Atlanta is on the DFS radar, right? Noah Fant is obvious, so I’m pivoting slighting in this stack with Hurst at TE and adding Jeudy, who is coming off a 10-target game. It’s worth noting that Tim Patrick is still dealing with a hamstring injury. Even if Patrick plays, I prefer Jeudy.
Tennessee has been a surprisingly good fantasy matchup this season, allowing the seventh-most overall fantasy points to opponents. Nick Foles is coming off a great game, where all three Bears’ receivers were fantasy assets. Anthony Miller led with 11 targets, and Allen Robinson led in yardage, but Mooney was right in the mix with five catches on six targets for 69 receiving yards and a nice touchdown grab from inside the five-yard line. Mooney is exceptionally cheap on DraftKings this weekend ($3900) and Foles is always affordable. I’m looking to roster some high end running backs with this cheap start, including Henry. Chicago has been a well-rounded defense, but in no way impenetrable. I think the Titans will have the luxury of a balanced game plan that involves plenty of touches for Henry, and he’s one of the safer backs this week. Saving with Foles and Mooney also allows you to add in a Christian McCaffrey (if he indeed plays) or my favorite, Dalvin Cook.
Mini-Stack of the week:
Yes, a no-QB mini stack. The Vikings have a great team total, which normally puts me on a QB, but Cook gets another matchup so good that I can’t trust Kirk Cousins. He looked healthier than ever in his singular destruction of the Green Bay Packers Defense last week, and I see no reason he shouldn’t score another two or more touchdowns this week. Given the state of the Vikings’ defense, I don’t think the game is a runaway for Minnesota, and therefore, I do think Adam Thielen will get a shot to excel too. Thielen leads all WRs in red zone fantasy scoring with six touchdown catches on eight red zone targets. I’m also fine with building on this stack, going all in with Cousins in a multi-entry tournament, or throwing Marvin Jones Jr. in there too (but more ok if Matthew Stafford is cleared to play). Mostly, I want lots of shares of these two in all my lineups this week.