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.
Yes, the Packers are facing the toughest of the tough defenses remaining in the playoffs, but Rodgers and Adams have led the Pack to the scoring title of 2020, averaging 31.8 points per game in the regular season. Rodgers is the third or fourth-most expensive QB option this week, making him a solid start to any lineup, but I especially like him for cash games. Adams has been more boom or bust than Rodgers, but his floor is generally higher than anyone else’s here, and the other options you’d pay up for – Stefon Diggs or Michael Thomas, at least – have concerns of their own with injuries or defense. I love the Packers’ D/ST as a bargain on Yahoo, they should be able to create some trouble for the turnover-prone Rams who will be out of their element, and it definitely doesn’t hurt that LA is the lowest scoring team left in the playoffs. However, RB is a tough position to fill this week and Akers is winding up in more of my lineups than I initially intended. He’s up there in salary (third-to-fifth-most expensive), but still a big dropoff from the top backs, Nick Chubb and Alvin Kamara. He got 20 more touches than Malcolm Brown vs. Seattle last week, and Green Bay is one of the league’s best RB matchups for fantasy, ranking fifth in fantasy points allowed to the position.
The Chiefs have the highest point total of any team playing this week, and face what is easily the softest defense in this round. The Browns have Top 10 DvP to QB, WR, and TE this season. It can be difficult to pick the best players from every game, so going all in with a huge Chiefs stack makes sense, if, like me, you think they’re going to pull a Browns and put up 40-plus points this week. They are incredibly well-rested after not playing in Week 17 and having the first round bye. They’ve been here before and should cruise to the victory. Tyreek Hill is off the injury report, and Kelce is the safest and though expensive, easiest way to deal with the annoying TE position. Hardman is a salary-saving way to get more exposure to this offense, but isn’t necessary in the stack; his floor is zero. Ditto for Sammy Watkins. Either one adds more risk to the lineup.
I mentioned that RB was a tough spot to fill this week, and Kareem Hunt is one of the ways I’m doing it. Hunt has gotten and is continuing to get a ton of red zone work, so while of course, I’d rather roster Nick Chubb, Hunt has value (he’s especially cheap on DraftKings). The Chiefs are the second-best RB matchup this weekend, after Green Bay, and Cleveland always plays its best with a robust run game. If you aren’t comfortable with Hunt, you might choose to go all-in with the Chiefs D/ST given the implied team totals and their affordability on all three sites.
How contrarian can you be with only four games? Still, I think Jackson and Andrews, in particular will go under-rostered this week. I expect people to gravitate to J.K. Dobbins and Marquise Brown, and I will be doing so too, but the Bills will probably have Tre’Davious White on Brown, and all season long, the easiest way to beat them is with the tight end (Buffalo gives up the sixth-most fantasy points to TEs). Andrews has been shaky at best lately, and certainly hasn’t paid off his high salary, which is a big reason why he’ll be low-owned. Still, the targets are there for him and a couple scores are well within his range. Pivoting to Edwards from Dobbins saves some salary and there hasn’t been that big of a usage discrepancy between the two Ravens’ backs. Dobbins is the better player, but Edwards has still put up very respectable numbers, averaging five yards per carry, and trailing Dobbins only slightly in carries when they both play.
The Bucs and Saints have met twice already this season. New Orleans won both games, and the Week 9 loss was Brady’s worst ever, on National TV no less. However, it’s no given that the Saints will three-peat this weekend, and Brady has his full arsenal of receiving weapons operating at a high level over the past few weeks. The Saints are a better run defense than pass defense, so while neither Godwin nor Evans had put up good numbers against them so far, I’m not giving up. It’s pretty much a coin flip, and you could substitute Antonio Brown, touchdown magnet, for either of them if you like, or if you are multi-entering big field tournaments and don’t want to go full Bucs stack.
I noted that Brees was a good bargain option this week, especially in cash games. I don’t think his ceiling is particularly high, but his floor certainly is. Michael Thomas looked good in the Wild Card round, and although he, like the Bucs’ guys, didn’t show well in the previous two matchups between these teams, teams have had more success passing on Tampa down the stretch. The Bucs ranked 11th in fantasy points allowed to WRs to finish the regular season, and were fourth among the Wild Card teams. Depending what you do with the rest of your lineup, pivoting from Thomas to Deonte Harris, who equaled Thomas’ targets last weekend, could save you quite a bit of salary cap.