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.
The Panthers are home to a Raiders team that PFF has ranked in the bottom third of the league (21st). Meanwhile, they have Carolina dead last in defense rankings for 2020. So this game has the potential to be a fantasy goldmine. Vegas likes it with a 47.5-point total and 3-point spread (LV). Both Bridgewater and Carr are affordable on all three sites, which is good because you’re paying top dollar for McCaffrey. While the Raiders’ rookie receivers are going to get a lot of play in DFS contests this weekend, I prefer the (often) lower salary of Renfrow in this game stack. Renfrow and Waller, generally the third-highest salaried TE – except on Yahoo, where he could be argued as a must-play at just $16 – should garner most of the targets. D.J. Moore could be substituted or added on Yahoo, but his salary is super high on FanDuel and DraftKings (WR8-10). Jacobs is also costly, but I don’t mind using him here or outside of a stack given that Carolina allowed more fantasy points to running backs last year than any other team.
The 49ers were up there with the Ravens in terms of points per game last year – 29.9 PPG, second in the league. Their defense does a good job of keeping the ball in the offenses’ hands, and they are once again the top-ranked unit for 2020. This team succeeds by running the ball, again trailing only the Ravens in rushing attempts last year. Mostert is one of my favorite plays of the week given his affordable salary and projected usage. Our Optimizer has him as the best RB value in dollars per fantasy point, and the only one in his salary range projected for over 20 fantasy points. I figure the pass game to run through Kittle, especially with questions surrounding Deebo Samuels and Brandon Aiyuk, and don’t necessary think this stack needs Jimmy Garoppolo. Sometimes we think we have to force the QB if we’re high on the WR or TE, but Garoppolo is intentionally not a high-volume passer. There are other QB options in his range with more upside. I won’t argue with the goodness of the matchup or the high implied team total, I just don’t think Garoppolo is the guy to exceed expectations. Given that this game does have such a high point total, and our universal belief in Kyler Murray, including one of the Arizona receivers makes sense. I really like both Hopkins and Kirk and have to do some more tinkering to see how to make the salaries work. Kirk is easy to fit, but Hopkins is a little easier on DraftKings than the other sites, but still not easy. Hopkins also will make the stack a little more contrarian based on his perception in season long drafts this summer.
You’d take more pieces of this game if you could, but salaries are prohibitive! I think this simple stack is the safest way to go for the cost. The Bucs were destroyed through the air last year, including by the Saints. Thomas scored 28 and 44 PPR fantasy points against them in 2019. The difference between Brees and Tom Brady’s salaries is $300 (DK), $500 (FD), and $3 (Yahoo). The difference in potential outcomes is much greater, so Brees is the QB I prefer. Even without Mike Evans’ hamstring, I’m a Godwin believer. Given that Evans didn’t practice Thursday, however, Godwin is a must-play in this game stack.
This game stack lets you get some sneaky upside from a duo that finished the 2019 season on a high note. Both Parker and Fitzmagic averaged over 20 fantasy points per game—Parker was between 23-25 fpts/game and Fitzpatrick was closer to 30 fpts/game from Weeks 15-17. One of those was in New England. While the Patriots Defense will be one of the highest rostered plays this week, given Miami’s low team total, and the questionable health of their receivers, flipping the script guarantees a low-owned – and cheap – upside stack. If Parker’s hamstring takes a turn for the worse, consider Preston Williams or Mike Gesicki. On PPR sites, pair your Dolphins with the one guy who I’m sure will have a substantial role at an inconsequential price – James White.
Stacking a game with a low point total is always contrarian, but the Bills are touchdown favorites, with a reasonable implied team total (23 points). Josh Allen has led the league in rushing touchdowns among QBs for two years in a row. Diggs and he have developed some chemistry, according to the ever-optimistic camp reports, and Diggs’ sure hands could certainly benefit Allen’s medium-high drop rate and help compensate for his low accuracy rating.
Mini-Stack of the week:
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland: Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews
Just because it’s obvious doesn’t make it less true. As much as some people might want to do it, too, it doesn’t come cheaply. Jackson is around $1000 more than the QB2 this week ($5 more on Yahoo) and Andrews is the second- or third-highest salaried tight end. However, try to make it work because the Ravens not only led the league in scoring last year, but they are the biggest favorite with the highest implied team total for Week 1…by far. Our DFS Optimizer has Jackson as the best value QB despite his top salary on FanDuel, and third-best on DraftKings.