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.
Nothing says safe like a high point total game (50.5) with a narrow spread (Giants -3) between two teams known for their generous defenses. I’m choosing Jones over Kyler Murray largely because of price, partly because he’s home and getting Barkley back this week. Arizona’s fast pace of play means that opposing QBs get plenty of opportunities and they are giving up the third-most fantasy points to the QB position this year. Engram has been the highest per game targeted TE in the league this season, and we all know the Arizona vs. TE stat (it’s been a weakness for several seasons). The return of Patrick Peterson is probably not going to make an immediate impact on the ability of opponents to move the ball effectively against Arizona. So Tate, if Shepard is out, rounds out the receiving side of the Giants as a reasonable value play at WR.
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The Cardinals are also in a prime spot. New York ranks 10th in fantasy points allowed to RBs and fourth to WRs. David Johnson is dealing with a new ankle issue after playing well through his bad back in Week 6. This is a situation to monitor, but I’m probably still opting for the cheaper Edmonds, who has exceeded value in back-to-back weeks with his versatility. It’s also just too easy to slot Fitzgerald in here, who ranks eighth in the league in receptions among WRs and is once again likely to be the favorite option for Murray with Christian Kirk still not practicing in full. Minor tweaks are definitely possible here: using Murray and Shepard, Johnson instead of Barkley, but I think the risk goes up with them.
The Rams boast the highest implied team total of the week and are favored on the road in Atlanta. The Falcons could be featured below in a contrarian stack, but my favorite way to attack this game is with the Rams pass attack. That means the lower-priced Goff, his favorite play-maker, Kupp, and the very cheap Cooks. Cooks still leads the team in market share of air yards (28.5 percent) and this is the week to take advantage of his fantastic combination of matchup and salary. Robert Woods is also in a fine spot as the entire Falcons secondary has been generous – both slot and perimeter receivers are eating them alive. Given that Todd Gurley is still questionable, and both Malcolm Brown (also questionable) and Darrell Henderson are part of the game plan, it’s not worth relying on the Rams’ run game in a cash game lineup unless Henderson is the only active RB.
T.Y. Hilton is one of my favorite overall plays this weekend. He’s coming off the bye, priced right, and playing in what should be a shootout. I love what Jacoby Brissett has been doing so far this season, but Watson’s extreme greatness over the past couple weeks is too hard to ignore. The salary discrepancy between these two QBs is a bit larger on DraftKings, so you could elect to save with Brissett there, but try to afford Watson. With Will Fuller V and Hopkins both on the injury report, you may be scared off the Texans pass game, but I think both will play. Hopkins is still expensive but his salary is creeping down and I think we’ll see him featured in a close division rivalry. Fells saw seven targets last week, catching six of them. He didn’t score in Week 6, but does have three receiving touchdowns on the season. He’s a cheap answer to the TE or flex question this week given the game environment and with the Colts giving up the third-most fantasy points to TEs.
When I see these teams, I think defense. But we have to break out of old mindsets and note that neither team ranks in the Top 10 defenses in points allowed and both teams rank in the Top 10 in points scored this season. Vegas has a 51-point total on this one, and the Seahawks are only small home favorites. Positional matchups don’t come into play so much here as usage and talent. Jackson has been running furiously since Week 2, and when he does pass, it’s probably going to Andrews, who leads the team in targets by a wide margin. It doesn’t sound likely that Marquise Brown will be back this Sunday, and no other receiver has really stepped up enough to warrant DFS consideration. I know Mark Ingram is a factor, but Jackson has handled a lot of the important running work himself and this game could be more of a ‘big chunks’ plan for Baltimore.
It’s certainly possible to use Russell Wilson, who has been terrific this season, and salary isn’t going to be much help in deciding between them. I go with Jackson because I think he’ll be the lower-owned player. Lockett had his best game at home vs. New Orleans, but since then his targets have dwindled, while his salary is staying fairly high (it’s better on FanDuel). The 4-5 targets he’s gotten over the past three games should scare people off, and of course, some will chase Jaron Brown’s touchdown bonanza. That means Lockett, at home in a great game situation, is a strong tournament play. Carson might not be as low-owned, given that he’s been terrific over the last three games. Rashad Penny is due back, which could cut into Carson’s workload, but he’s reasonably enough priced (especially on DraftKings) that I believe he can be a difference maker this week as the undisputed lead back.
All the skill players, none of the QBs. I’m ok with using either Andy Dalton or Gardner Minshew if you really want, but this is a great game to stack around someone like Josh Allen. Dede Westbrook’s absence from practice gives Chark a boost (as if he needed one), and Fournette is my favorite RB play this week. The Bengals have been gashed by opposing running backs this year, and the Jaguars are sticking to their preseason vow to involve Fournette more in the passing game. Boyd is more the boom or bust guy in the Bengals’ receiving corps, while Tate has been consistently good. He had 12 (!) targets last week in Baltimore. Given the status of Cincinnati’s offensive line and the way games have been flowing for the Bengals, I can’t give the nod to Joe Mixon this week.
Risky, risky. Both defenses have been pretty stout this season, and I have nothing but respect for Casey Heyward and Desmond King. But you have to go out of the box in the big multi-entry tournaments, and the Titans are a very cheap stack to build around. Making the big change at QB to Tannehill could provide a spark this offense needs. Davis saw increased usage with Tannehill in the second half last week, and Walker remains a capable safety outlet as well as a big end zone target. The Chargers have been sputtering themselves lately, with the notable exception of Henry, coming off the stellar performance we’d been waiting for. Henry is still priced well below the top options, but proved he has as much upside as anyone at the position. Furthermore, though the Titans don’t offer many positional opportunities, they do rank ninth to TEs for fantasy.