DFS Stacks for Week 8
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.
The Saints are rolling with Bridgewater, and despite Drew Brees’ return to throwing and practicing in a limited fashion, it seems incredibly foolish to rush him back before the bye into a home game vs. the Cardinals. So while I’m proceeding as if Bridgewater will continue to start this weekend, Brees’ status is something to be mindful of. Bridgewater is coming off his third multi-touchdown game and will face a Cardinals Defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs and 2.4 passing touchdowns per game this season.
Michael Thomas remains the top option in this pass offense, averaging over 11 targets per game over the last four games. He failed to score last week and is still at or near the top of the salary list for WRs, but I love him this weekend. No, Patrick Peterson doesn’t scare me off given Thomas’ volume and talent. Alvin Kamara is making progress on his knee, but his ankle and overall status is still uncertain for Sunday. Murray gave the team no reason to rush Kamara back with 150 total yards and two touchdowns in Week 7. This game carries one of the highest totals of the week and the Saints are big home favorites. I like Arizona to do enough to keep this interesting and potentially turn it into one of the best fantasy games of the week.
Atlanta’s secondary has been so terrible this season, ranking first in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs, their opponent consistently makes their way into this article. When the opponent is Wilson, with 15 touchdowns and only one interception to his credit this year and a very stable 25 fantasy point per game average, the only thing to worry about is price. I’m not even concerned. Wilson will be worth the cap you devote to him, and you can minimize the headache by limiting your stack to Wilson, Chris Carson and the Seahawks’ defense.
Carson only has four touchdowns so far, but he’s had at least 15 carries in every game so far, and over 20 in each of the last four. He’s also commanding nearly four targets per game, and two of his touchdowns have been of the receiving variety. Carson has 14 red zone carries in the last four games and is tied for sixth in the league on the season (21). Between he and RW3, I’m confident you can scoop up all the Seattle touchdowns. Except maybe the defensive ones…
The Seahawks D/ST has to compete with some pretty tempting options. New England, of course, but also Jacksonville and the Rams (see below). It looks like Atlanta will start either Matt Schaub or a gimpy Matt Ryan. Either way, this is a good spot for Seattle. So far, Atlanta ranks eighth in giveaways (12) and tenth in sacks taken (19). The Seahawks have the seventh-most takeaways entering Week 8. They are a far better deal on DraftKings ($2800) than FanDuel ($4900).
Going all in on this potential shootout. Coutee and Stills both have upside for different reasons: Stills will be playing the deep threat, big play role, while Coutee could have a big PPR day in the slot. Hopkins is still the primary option for Watson, though we are still awaiting a Will Fuller-sized game from him. He’s seen 12 targets in each of the last two games. Oakland should have no answer for this pass attack, and Watson’s played well in favorable matchups this season. Add Waller to the stack as Oakland’s only reliable receiving option. I’m not comfortable running with Derek Carr or even Josh Jacobs (Houston has been a tough rushing matchup), but Waller is the Raiders’ target leader – his are equal to the top two WRs combined (50) – with at least an 80 percent catch rate in every game this year. You could consider Keelan Doss or Hunter Renfrow in a multi-entry GPP lineup, but Waller is the safe play here.
This isn’t so contrary, perhaps, as lots of people are into Tannehill vs. the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay gives up the third most points per game, and rank sixth against QBs, second against WRs, and second against TEs in fantasy points allowed. Davis was a favorite play last week after he showed just a bit more chemistry with Tannehill than he had with Marcus Mariota. I think we see even more of that this week, especially if Tampa Bay keeps moving the ball.
It’s nice to round out your team stack with the opposing team’s best player and Godwin is my favorite option from the Bucs, though he is now more expensive than Mike Evans (third highest priced WR on FanDuel). I think people will flock to Evans, for name value, lower price, and equal upside. The thing is, Evans has had some really high target games (15 in Week 3, 17 in Week 6) but he’s been so inefficient with them. While Godwin’s true catch rate (on catchable passes) is 95.6 percent, Evans’ is just 81.8. Godwin recorded his fourth 100-plus yard game ahead of the bye and I think the trust has shifted in his direction. Speaking of trust, can you trust Jonnu Smith? No, of course not, but Delanie Walker is still out of practice on Thursday, and Smith did see some looks from Tannehill last week, catching all three targets for 64 yards. Given how good this matchup has been for tight ends, and the athleticism that Smith has always had, he’s a great low-owned pivot in GPP lineups this weekend.
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The Giants aren’t quite back to full strength as it sounds like Sterling Shepard may not be out of the woods yet with the two concussions, but they’re getting close. I think Engram will be low-owned after a disappointing return game vs. Arizona last week (fellow TE Rhett Ellison got a score there), but has a chance to return to form a week healthier in Detroit. Detroit’s offense has been humming along, but defensively they’re very average, at best. Barkley gets the most favorable matchup, as the Lions allow the third-most fantasy points to running backs, and he’s probably going to be fairly highly owned this week. Surrounding him with Engram and Tate, always kind of a boom or bust guy in my mind (though 11 targets last week!) helps to differentiate your lineup. Not many people will be all in on the Giants. Jones is also in a good spot here, so I do expect a bounce-back from the Week 7 debacle. The Giants have many quality pieces and when they’re working well together, they can produce great results. This isn’t a risk-free stack, given Jones’ inexperience, but I think this game should have more offense than defense with plenty of opportunities for fantasy goodness.
Todd Gurley and Rams D/ST
Gurley is tied for sixth in the league in red zone attempts and now gets the Bengals, our best RB matchup. Although it was frustrating to watch Leonard Fournette not cross the goal line last week, he ran amok everywhere else on the field. Gurley is off the injury report and out-worked Darrell Henderson last week. The Bengals rank second in giveaways and fourth in sacks, and average the fifth-fewest points per game. All of which makes the Rams D/ST an easy pairing with Gurley in this mid-priced mini-stack to build around.
Sony Michel and Patriots D/ST
The same basic argument applies here. The Patriots Defense is on another level this year, and no matter what they cost, they are probably going to be worth it. The schedule toughens up a tiny bit, but Cleveland ranks third in the league in giveaways and has a hard time sustaining drives. Over the last three games, they have the fifth-lowest time of possession (per TeamRankings) and on the season average 20 points per game (23rd). The team seems content to have Michel run in as many touchdowns as he can, a role their running backs have often played over the years. Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Philip Dorsett and James White can get the ball down the field, but then it’s Michel time. He ranks third with 25 red zone rushing attempts.