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.
The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
As the highest scoring team in the league, it’s never a surprise to see the Bucs headlining our stacking strategy article. In the game with the highest over/under, Brady is set to be one of the top QB plays of the slate despite being in the second salary tier. While I would use Mike Evans in a tournament lineup, Godwin and Gronk are getting too many good targets to pass on in a TB stack. If Buffalo can put points on the board, this game should be a back and forth through the air. Stefon Diggs is an obvious consideration for obvious reasons, but I need to save some salary somewhere! Davis had a couple bad drops in the Bills’ last game, but Josh Allen was looking for him in scoring and critical situations (three red zone targets, one touchdown). If the Bucs attempt to double Diggs, I’m betting that will be the case again. Davis has produced some big plays and some big stat lines for Buffalo, not very often, but for the cost, he’s pretty low risk. The alternative is Dawson Knox, but I rarely want to start two TEs in cash games.
Prescott is one of my favorite QB plays this weekend, given that he has a healthy offense around him and is facing the absolute most-generous pass defense. Dallas is favored on the road in what should be a high-scoring divisional rivalry game. The Cowboys are still not a lock to win the division, so motivation is there. Washington actually allows the third-most overall fantasy points and third-most to wide receivers, making pretty much all Dallas players possible. Lamb is the safest, but a big game from Dalton Schultz or Amari Cooper, one week healthier, wouldn’t surprise me at all. Although Ezekiel Elliott is still out-touching Tony Pollard, it has been Pollard coming up with the productive stat lines. The Cowboys have had extra time to get right before this Week 14 matchup, and now it’s Pollard on the injury report. If Elliott remains in good shape ahead of Sunday’s game, I think he is the slightly safer stacking partner for cash games. Adding McLaurin makes sense because this is expected to be a pretty close and high scoring game, and Dallas’ weakness is through the air. They give up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, but are the third-worst running back matchup. McLaurin already has over 100 targets, and Taylor Heinicke is going to need him more than anyone else if the Football Team is going to make this competitive.
There are too many good stacks this week! Herbert is set to excel again, except that his two best receivers are on the COVID list. The correlation between implied team total and QB fantasy points is a strong one, and someone like Herbert, who is just about tied with Tom Brady in fantasy points per game, isn’t just a matchup-based play. His last three games have been outstanding, all over 300 yards passing with eight passing touchdowns. The Giants are a Top 10 fantasy matchup for both RB and WR, so while Ekeler is a no-brainer, as long as this ankle thing isn’t a big deal, I’m also eager to slot in a cheap receiver. Guyton has seen his looks increase as the season wears on, and he caught his first touchdown of the season last week. It seems likely that Mike Williams is back with more negative test results coming in, and if true, I’d rather roster Williams than Guyton. But if both Allen and Williams are out, Guyton is in (my lineups). The Chargers D/ST is a great, if expensive, option this weekend. The Giants are hoping Mike Glennon can start, but if not, it will be Jake Fromm making his first NFL start. The only 300-yard passing game they allowed all season was to Cleveland (ironic) and the Giants score the fifth-fewest points per game.
Editor's Note: Looking for an added edge? Dominate all season long with our DFS Toolkit. Use our Lineup Optimizer to come up with winning lineups for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo! Click here for more!
Tannehill has performed well under expectations this season, but to be fair, those expectations were unrealistic based on his otherworldly efficiency from last season. His best fantasy games to date have been around 23 fantasy points while his salary is still a bit higher than it should be on DraftKings and FanDuel. He’s reasonably priced on Yahoo, but actually overpaying a bit is a good thing when it comes to getting low percentage rostered players. This is a matchup where he can succeed through the air or on the ground, something we haven’t seen in a couple weeks, but he does have five rushing touchdowns this season. Westbrook-Ikhine is looking like his WR1 after averaging seven targets per game in the last two games. He went over 100 yards in Week 11, and followed up with a score in Week 12. Those two games put him behind only A.J. Brown in fantasy points among Titans receivers. It’s kind of a bleak situation, but it’s a chance for Westbrook-Ikhine to make a mark on this offense and the Jaguars shouldn’t interfere much. Most people will look at Dontrell Hilliard this week after his big touchdown run last time, but Foreman still had more touches and was efficient with his workload in Week 12. Both backs went over 100 rushing yards, and both fumbled. There’s really nothing other than the breakaway that says Hilliard should dominate the backfield this week. Plus, Hilliard’s salary has soared. If you roster Foreman, you get a lower owned, equal or heavier workload, for less salary. Easy decision in tournaments.
It’s not clear how popular this game is going to be given that there are a lot of injury questions that need clearing up. For instance, if Joe Mixon were to miss the game, Samaje Perine becomes a priority value option. We’d like to see how Joe Burrow’s finger is in practice. Eli Mitchell sounds closer to doubtful than probable on the questionable spectrum. If he were ruled out, JaMychal Hasty and/or Jeff Wilson, who did practice in limited fashion, would be popular value plays too. So, for now, I’m leaving out the potentially highly rostered bargains and focusing on where I think the real fantasy points will come in. That is through the air. This game has a sneaky high over/under, and the Bengals are only one-point favorites at home. Garoppolo may have a lower ceiling than some of the safe stack QBs, but for his salary, anything over 20 fantasy points is fine with me. Pairing him with Kittle might be obvious, but I think with Kelce in such a good spot, people looking to spend at TE will just spend a little more for the No. 1. Kittle was terrific without Deebo Samuel, and Samuel is no lock to play this weekend. Kittle is key to the 49ers success in this game without a fully healthy running back or two, and there’s no stacking it without him. Chase has been up and down this season, and lately it’s been a lot of down. I think he will go overlooked in his price range, but has the same upside he had in the first half of the season. Even if Tee Higgins is inactive, I think Chase is priced too high for most people to roster given his recent game logs. Being different requires a risk, and Chase has the wide range of outcomes and salary to make him an uncomfortable play. Perfect for the big GPPs.
Mini-Stack of the week:
As mentioned above, Kelce gets a dream matchup that he already took full advantage of once this season. Against Las Vegas, he caught eight of 10 targets for almost 120 yards. Even without scoring, he was worth the price. The Raiders are actually the league’s second-best TE matchup for fantasy, and it’s looking like a great situation for Mahomes to rebound this weekend. The Chiefs are big home favorites, and the Raiders are one of the more generous defenses in the league, allowing over 26 real points per game. Unfortunately for this stack, Mahomes’ salary has not tracked his recent disastrous performances. Though the Chiefs keep winning, it’s been a lineup crusher to roster the star QB. He knows better than anyone that at this point in the season, they can’t rely solely on defense, and I’m thinking the Raiders will provide the motivation and access to get one of those 3-plus TD games we’re used to seeing from Mahomes.