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. These are for the main slate on Sunday.
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This game has shootout written all over it. The Cowboys have the advantage of home field and are five-point favorites in the game with the highest point total of the week. Prescott is coming off a fantastic game, and overall has been a lot better at home this season. So has Elliott, who has two nice games in a row, scoring in both, though still splitting time with Tony Pollard. Arizona still rates as a good defense, but fantasy-wise has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. I prefer Cooper in cash games, but to diversify a Cowboys stack, you could certainly hope for a touchdown or two for CeeDee Lamb or Dalton Schultz in multi-entry contests. Cooper is the target leader and has the highest floor of the bunch. Pairing the Dallas stars with Arizona’s top pass-catcher makes sense in this game environment. Kirk has six, 12, and nine targets in his last three games and is still very affordable. If you’re not sold on Kirk, you could also use Zach Ertz safely here. He is actually the Cardinals’ target leader over the last three games, though you’d like to see him in the end zone.
The D/ST is an obvious play this week; the Pats are huge favorites and Jacksonville scores the fewest points in the league, while tied for the lead in turnovers (26). After a beating by Buffalo last weekend, New England will surely be looking for a big offensive bounce-back this week as well. Harris could do a lot less and still be worth the salary he costs. I don’t expect another three-touchdown game, but if he’s up for it…the Jaguars run defense has gotten more lax as the season goes on. Jakobi Meyers gets as many or more looks from Jones as Henry, but Henry is scoring touchdowns this season. Given that tight end is always a tougher position to fill than WR, I’m preferring Henry in a Patriots stack. Still, Meyers is a great PPR play in a friendly matchup.
I think this game could go a little bit overlooked on such a big slate, with the status of Wentz being a headache some people just don’t want to deal with. If cleared on Sunday, though, he might be the bargain play of the day, given that the Colts are pretty decent favorites in one of the higher scoring games. Michael Pittman is someone you might consider in GPPs, but Taylor is the safest play here. Not much needs to be said about what he’s done and what he’s capable of, but the Raiders rank sixth in fantasy points allowed to the running back position this season, so he could be in for one of his slate-breaking games. I’m torn between going with the Colts D/ST here or running the stack back with Las Vegas’ best option, Renfrow. Ultimately, there are other defenses I prefer, so I’m going with Renfrow or Foster Moreau (if Darren Waller remains out). Renfrow has scored in two of the last three games, though he was targeted only three times in Week 16’s win over Denver. The Raiders pass game is all over the place, but Indianapolis represents a more pass-friendly than run-friendly defense.
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I don’t think all the Bills will be contrarian; the D/ST and Stefon Diggs will probably be pretty popular, and a lot of people will stack Allen with them. I think you can take advantage of this great offense in a great matchup with a lot less salary and lower roster percentages if you go with Singletary. He’s put together three quality games in a row and it’s no surprise that a balanced Buffalo offense is going to be more successful than a one-dimensional one. Singletary has been traditionally unreliable, but it looks like the team is committing to him at last. The Bills are huge favorites at home and I can’t trust most of the Atlanta offense this week. In tournaments, I think it will be pretty unpopular to pay as much as Pitts’ salary is given the on-paper matchup. The only thing that’s been preventing him from the monster fantasy lines he’s clearly capable of is a lack of touchdowns. His usage is off the charts, making him a fine GPP play this week.
Mini-Stack of the week:
Ronald Jones and Bucs D/ST
I’m almost equally enthusiastic about Tom Brady and Antonio Brown, but not quite. The Jets are just bad enough that the Bucs’ D/ST is a huge priority, despite the cost. New York ties with Jacksonville for most turnovers in the league, while also allowing the fifth-most QB sacks (2.9 per game), and scoring the sixth-fewest points per game. The Bucs defense is as good in those categories as the Jets are bad, averaging a second-best 2.9 sacks per game, sixth-most takeaways (26), and giving up the ninth-fewest points per game. Jones was great last week and now gets the dream RB matchup. No one gives up more fantasy points to RBs than the Jets, and as Ryan McDowell pointed out earlier, they’ve allowed a league-high 21 Top 24 fantasy games to opposing backs. With the Tampa receiving corps still not at peak healthiness, expect Jones to be very busy come Sunday.