This article lays out my favorite ways to take advantage of positional correlations in DFS scoring through stacking. Factors that go into this strategy include the implied team total, the talent of the players, the opposing defense (especially any funneling tendencies), and the likely popularity of the players.
This is going to get redundant, but when we’re talking about safe stacks, game or team stacks you’ll trust in your H2H and 50/50 lineups, we’re often starting with the Ravens. Lamar Jackson has proven in style that he can put up points through the air or on the ground, and while his salary has come up, it’s still below that of the king of QBs, Patrick Mahomes. Brown is Jackson’s highest targeted wide receiver by far (18 total targets, 13 in Week 2), for good reason; Brown is fast enough to beat the Chiefs secondary for big plays. Averaging almost 20 YPC, Brown looks like the kind of player it’s tough to constrain even when you know what’s coming. DraftKings is almost begging you to roster Andrews ($4600), but it’s very easy to fit him into other sites as well. Leading all TEs with 220 yards and 42 fantasy points (0.5 PPR), Andrews has been a critical part of the Ravens Offense.
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It’s hard to imagine going wrong with Mahomes as your QB in cash games, even against the Ravens. That is the one reason I list Baltimore first among the safe stacks, but I’m not concerned that the Chiefs won’t put up points. I mean, Kyler Murray threw for 349 yards against them last weekend. I’m sticking with Watkins as Mahomes’ highest-targeted receiver, and love that he’s coming off a down game in which Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson went off – Watkins’ ownership should be much lower this week. I suspect Mahomes and Watkins will be trying to take big chunks of the field against a Ravens Defense that can be stifling at the line of scrimmage. Travis Kelce bounced back in Week 2 as expected, and should be productive in this shootout too.
I’m ready to trust the 49ers at home facing a disheveled Pittsburgh Steelers team that has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. MyBookie has a wide spread in favor of the 49ers (minus-6.5) and people are betting the over on a 43 point total. The only concern I have with Garoppolo is volume; he’s averaging just 26 attempts per game. But, he’s getting good protection and showed significant improvement in Week 2. This marks the home opener for SF, and they should put on a show in this matchup with Mason Rudolph and a Steelers Offense that might be better off without Big Ben. Kittle is overdue for a big game and I’m not giving up on him in this spot. Marquise Goodwin and Deebo Samuel were Week 2 heroes for the undefeated 49ers, but Samuel is the target, catch and fantasy point leader among this group and he’s the one I trust the most. If James Conner is out, I like the value of Jaylen Samuels, as well as the moderately high fantasy points correlation between QB and opposing RB.
I don’t think this is a wildly contrarian stack, but people in general are so down on the Vikings passing game that it will go under-owned in a great matchup with Oakland. The Vikings are big home favorites, and while the Raiders haven’t faced a running back of Dalvin Cook’s quality or usage, they’ve proven extremely susceptible to the pass. Of course Mahomes and the Chiefs tagged them for over 400 yards through the air, but Joe Flacco also looked almost elite against them in Week 1. Diggs was a penalty away from a 2-TD game in Week 2, and Thielen gets a great matchup with this weak Oakland secondary as Cousins’ favorite target. I believe the Vikings will have some boom passing games and I think this could easily be one of them.
Since the hype has cooled on this group, they’re available cheaply and at low ownership in tournaments. At home vs. a Carolina defense that revived our faith in Jameis Winston and Chris Godwin, Murray and Kirk should finally get on the same page and in the endzone. If you prefer Larry Fitzgerald, I won’t argue, but I think Kirk is the more contrarian, higher upside play. He leads the team in targets (24) and Murray is chucking it at the highest rate in the game (94 attempts). It’s a fantastic spot on paper for Johnson, who is listed as probable with a thumb injury that forced him to miss some time during the game in Week 2. If he’s a full-go, I’m including him in this game stack along with McCaffrey. The public will feel two ways about McCaffrey if Cam Newton is out – half will love him for the expected extra usage (like me) and half will fear that the whole team will fall apart and no one will be able to do anything. However, if you saw Newton play this year, it’s hard to imagine that Kyle Allen could be any worse, and he had a few nice preseason moments.
It’s time! If Jones is as good as expected, this is a spot for him to shine. The Bucs’ offense looked better in Week 2, as I noted above, and are pretty big home favorites. A road underdog is tough to bet on, which is why this stack is so risk/reward. The talent of these three is undeniable and I expect a less conservative offensive approach in Jones’ debut, especially if the Bucs are moving the ball with ease against them and the Giants find themselves playing from behind. Jones completed 28-of-34 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason. He boasted the best QB rating in those four games among QBs with at least seven attempts. Engram leads all TEs in catches and is behind only Zach Ertz in targets and Barkley is Barkley. Matchup proof, QB proof, and worth the salary hit.