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.
Easy peasy, this one. High on everyone’s list (and salary rolls) are Jackson and Andrews. Jackson’s range over the last four games is 22-37 fantasy points (DK scoring). He’s playing his best right now and gets a sweet matchup with a Bengals team that he should beat with his arm and legs. With Patrick Mahomes sitting this one out, the Chiefs’ starting skill players are all questionable plays in my book, and that includes Travis Kelce. If you’re looking for security at TE, you’re left with Andrews and Darren Waller, and give me the cheaper guy with some playoff motivation every time in that choice. I don’t dislike Marquise Brown this week, I just prefer the higher floor of Andrews and Dobbins, who has truly emerged as the Ravens’ (and fantasy’s) preferred back. Dobbins will look to score for the fifth game in a row this week and I bet yes on that.
This stack breaks my “games that matter” rule, but Vegas has the Vikings as touchdown favorites in the highest point total game of the week (54.5). I can’t ignore that, nor how well Cousins has been playing. With Dalvin Cook out for a personal matter, and the status of Alexander Mattison unclear at this time, I think the Vikings may rely more on the passing game this week. Detroit is a great matchup either way; and by great I mean second-best to QB, absolute best WR matchup (second-best to RBs too). Jefferson has double-digit targets in four of his last five games (he had 8 in Week 14), while Thielen has the awesome catch rate and touchdown rate (he’s scored in three of the last four games). With virtually no resistance from Detroit, these three make a solid core stack for Week 17.
Bound to be popular after the now-famous snow game last Sunday night, Rodgers and Adams are very much on the same page right now. The only thing that might hold back their ownership is price and fear of the Bears pass defense. I’m not scared of the latter, and I’m willing to spend on these two in a game that matters to both teams. Rodgers threw four touchdown passes vs. the Bears a few weeks ago, and though they weren’t all to Adams, he did catch six-of-nine targets with one score. The Packers are still averaging 20-30 rushing attempts per game, but they are spreading them around a lot more, making it hard to trust any of Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon or Jamaal Williams (if he plays). All the more reason to limit your Packers stack to Rodgers and Adams. Adding the red-hot David Montgomery doesn’t do much to alleviate salary concerns, but does give you exposure to the Bears best chance to move the ball and score. Green Bay’s defense isn’t overly friendly to opposing passers or receivers, but gives up the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Cold weather in Chicago should favor Montgomery, who is averaging about 24 fantasy points and well over 100 rushing yards over the past five weeks, along with seven scores in that span.
The Colts are huge Vegas favorites – like two touchdown favorites – in an important game for their playoff hopes, so this really isn’t that contrarian. However, people hate rostering Rivers. I can see Jonathan Taylor’s roster percentage soaring in the awesome matchup with Jacksonville, but committing to the pass game isn’t for everyone. Jacksonville has been overly generous to opposing wide receivers and QBs (they rank third in fantasy points allowed here) this season, and I fully expect that to continue. Rivers wasn’t great the first time these teams met in Week 1, throwing two picks, but in general this season he’s been a high floor guy. He probably won’t win you a tournament, but should be solid with about 20 fantasy points for the price. I’m all over Pascal instead of T.Y. Hilton this week, as Pascal is not only significantly cheaper, but is getting the same number of targets while scoring more often. In fact, he’s 2-for-2 with two scores in the red zone over the last three games (Hilton had zero red zone targets in that span). The main risk with this stack is the random vultured TD…the Colts have too many running backs and tight ends that can spoil the best-intentioned stacks. So I wouldn’t use this stack in cash games, but think it’s nice in a single-entry GPP.
This game has one of the lowest point totals of the week, but there are still some fantasy advantages here. Murray being on the injury report all week, but determined to play in a meaningful game, could keep his rostership down. Also, the status of DeAndre Hopkins is concerning for Murray and the Cardinals. I think it’s a great time to roll with Kirk, who had a nice bounce-back game in Week 16. While Kenyon Drake should be a popular play, especially if Chase Edmonds is unable to suit up, I think Murray and Kirk should be great together against this defense. In fact, I hope Hopkins is able to play (I think he will) because the Rams’ formidable defense will have to focus its primary attention on him, rather than Kirk. The nature of Murray’s injury also favors a more pass-heavy game script as he might be more reluctant to scramble or run designed plays. With Cooper Kupp on the COVID-19 list, Woods may also be a popular play, but John Wolford is a total wild card. I’m not trusting Woods in cash lineups but still believe he’ll be the go-to guy for the Rams’ offense this weekend.
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Mini-Stack of the week:
The game isn’t in December, but Henry should be able to keep his strong winter play going this week in a critical game for the Titans. Lucky for them, they get Houston, who has been among the best receiving and rushing matchups for fantasy all season long. Houston is actually the league-best RB matchup for fantasy, and Henry is the league’s leading rusher with 1777 yards (and a not-so-bad 15 rushing touchdowns). Henry had one of his best games (43 fantasy points) against them earlier this season. Tannehill doesn’t have it too bad either, and looking at his numbers against Houston might be all you need to convince yourself to roster him this week. 366 passing yards and four touchdowns might not be repeatable, but this team is playing for their life, and rostering both Tannehill and Henry should go a long way toward your securing all the scoring for your DFS lineups.