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.
It might be safer to go with the Saints, but coming off such a big visible win on MNF, they might be in for a bit of a let down this week. New Orleans has clinched their division, got Drew Brees the big TD record, and though they have home field advantage at stake, don’t have as much on the line as Tennessee. I like the fight the Titans are putting up, and Tannehill is a huge part of why they are where they are. He has a 17:5 TD:INT ratio since starting in Week 7, and only one week with more turnovers than touchdowns (at Carolina). He’s averaging 24 fantasy points in home games this season, and has developed a true rapport with A.J. Brown.
Like any receiver, Brown will have his share of ups and downs, still, but he’s been over 100 receiving yards in three of the last four games, is a proven red zone threat with seven scores this season, and had 13 targets in Week 15. New Orleans is a much more formidable run defense than pass defense, and given that the Saints are favored on the road, a catch-up game script is probable for the Titans. Other receiving options are harder to pinpoint, but I’m turning to one of my faves, Smith. He’s caught eight of nine targets in the last two games, and he’ll be a huge salary saver for you this week while wrapping up a tough position on the main slate.
The Seahawks have one of the highest team totals of the week, not that Wilson needs much in the way of justification. He seemed to come out of a little bit of a slump, one that might have been caused by Lockett’s injury and/or some tough matchups, in Week 15. Now he’s back home, where he averages nearly 10 more fantasy points per game, facing the league’s most generous fantasy matchup for QBs. Arizona is known as the best TE matchup, so you could consider Jacob Hollister, but he saw only three targets in the previous game as Lockett was clearly back to himself. I like D.K. Metcalf in tournaments, since we know he has multi-touchdown upside, but to stay on the safe side, I’m using Lockett and Carson, who has thrived in some tough matchups this season. Not that Arizona is a bad spot for running backs; they average the 10th most fantasy points to opposing backs. I expect the Seahawks to run up the score in this game and think they’re a relatively cheap and safe place to start building around. Like I said, include Metcalf, Christian Kirk (if he moves to full practice), or Kenyon Drake to make the lineup more contrarian. There’s definitely potential for Arizona to put up some big points too.
The Ravens aren’t expected to let up in this divisional rivalry as they are 10-point road favorites in a game with nearly a 50-point total. Baltimore is the highest scoring team in the league, while allowing the fourth-fewest points in the league. Cleveland is a middle-of-the-road defense that plays to Baltimore’s strengths: the run game. The Browns allow an average 135 rushing yards per game, sixth-most in the NFL. Of course, Baltimore leads the league with an average of 204 rushing yards per game between Jackson and Ingram, which is why both are featured in this stack. It’s worth paying for, and I’d understand if you stopped there. Adding Mark Andrews solves TE at a slightly higher price than Jonnu Smith, but he does lead all TEs with eight receiving touchdowns this season and is the fourth highest-scoring TE in half-PPR. Marquise Brown is coming off a great game, and is cheap, but you should be scared of his single digit floor; adding him makes this stack considerably more contrarian, I think.
I avoided the Chargers like crazy last week, and Rivers did not disappoint, throwing three picks and losing a fumble against Minnesota. It was his fifth multi-interception game of the season. I do think he and the Chargers bounce-back a bit in this much more favorable matchup. It’s worth noting that it wasn’t pretty the first time these teams met, on the passing front, but overall the Raiders are the second-best QB matchup. I’ll take a gamble on the reduced salaries of Rivers and Allen. Allen started the season with two of his best games, and then was lost for a while between Weeks 4-9. In the past month or so, he’s been eeking out PPR value with a high catch rate on about nine targets per game. He’s priced under T.Y. Hilton and JuJu Smith-Schuster on both sites, though I prefer him on DraftKings.
I don’t see Ekeler’s value going anywhere this week; he’s playable in any format any week especially as the 16-19th most-expensive back (third-highest scoring in PPR, sixth in half-PPR). Hunter Henry was a fade for me last week, and I’m opting for TEs seeing higher usage this weekend too. Mike Williams is not quite “boom” enough and too much “bust” for me to consider forcing him into a larger Chargers stack.
No defense to see here! Miami allows the most points per game to opponents, while the Bengals rank ninth in that category. Neither defense creates many turnovers, so while the offenses struggle against normal opponents, I think there’s a real chance for a fantasy explosion here. Fitzpatrick is getting it done with whomever is healthy, and the Dolphins are small home favorites. Davante Parker is clearly his favorite target when healthy. He’s starting the week off as questionable again, but should play Sunday and should post another solid 15-ish fantasy points…at least.
Both of these teams are dream matchups for running backs, allowing the third-most (Miami) and sixth-most (Cincinnati) fantasy points to the position. Mixon has been coming on strong in the second half of the season despite a tough schedule. He popped up on the injury report Thursday, but assuming his new calf strain is nothing serious, I’d expect a solid effort from him. Patrick Laird gets all the DFS press, but I think Miami knows he’s not the long-term RB solution for them. They’ve given Gaskin, the seventh-round rookie, increasingly more touches over the past three games, including nine carries and three targets in Week 15. If it were me, I’d like to see what he can do with a bigger workload, in a sweet matchup. At his low, low, price, he really doesn’t even need to score to hit value, but he could end up the bargain play of the day.
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It’s been an interesting season for the Colts, to say the least. Although eliminated from playoff contention, I think they’ll want to erase the memory of a MNF blowout by the Saints from fans’ minds. The team is talking about getting Hilton more reps (I’m staying away), which sounds like they intend to play ball here. Having Hilton on the field more can only help Brissett, who is increasingly comfortable throwing to Marcus Johnson, Zach Pascal, and Jack Doyle. His struggles with accuracy (Fantasy Data ranks him 22nd in accuracy) have hurt not only him but his receivers at times this season, thus I’m considering him only in GPPs. But when he clicks, he clicks and he does have 30-fantasy point upside in a friendly matchup. Mack is coming off a horrific game against the Saints, which isn’t new for them as they’ve been a run-squashing defense all season long. This week he gets the exact opposite: a Panthers team that gives up the most fantasy points to opposing backs. Mini-stacking these two Colts, favored by nearly a touchdown at home in a good matchup, limits risk while probably accounting for all the offensive touchdowns. Stay out of the way, Jordan Wilkins/Nyheim Hines.
Denver rounds out the teams favored by close to a touchdown at home this week that I want a piece of. Lock still has a lot to learn, but he’s going to learn it. Denver shows no sign of benching Lock after failing to do much in a tough matchup vs. the Chiefs, and this week he should have an easier time at home facing a Lions team that allows the sixth-most fantasy points to the position and second-most passing yards per game. Detroit has only six interceptions this entire season, tied with Dallas for fewest in the league. It won’t get much safer for the rookie QB and his favorite receiver, though Darius Slay will try. Sutton has been up and down and it does hurt him when he is the focus of defensive attention. Still, Detroit’s defensive attention could be compared to my son and his math homework…negligible.