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Top 5 QB/WR stacks to consider in Week 12 DFS

The right QB/WR stacks is regularly the difference-maker in DFS contests. We break down some key options to consider for Week 12.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan looks to pass in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The concept behind stacking a QB with his WR is simple; both players benefit from each completion, doubling the benefit of that play for your fantasy lineup. As Adam Levitan pointed out, 79 percent of the lineups that won DraftKings’ Fantasy Football Millionaire contests used a QB stack in their lineup. With the significance of stacking in mind, this article aims to highlight the best stacking options for Sunday’s main slate.

5. Baker Mayfield ($5,900)/Odell Beckham ($7,000), Browns vs. Dolphins

In the words of my favorite failed viral marketing campaign (https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/bbdo-converses-shorthand-doritos-78085/), “if not now, when?” Long before The Helmet Swing, the Browns were a disappointment. Mayfield appeared to have digressed, and Beckham was getting outproduced by teammate Jarvis Landry ($6,300). But the team also faced a gauntlet of an early schedule, and they’ve started to turn the corner over the last few weeks. After throwing twice as many interceptions as TDs in the first seven games, Mayfield has thrown five TDs and zero INTs over the last three games. And the Dolphins should be the easiest defense they’ve faced yet.

Even though Landry and Beckham have almost identical stats to this point in the season, I’m willing to pay the extra $700 for Beckham for two main reasons. First, throughout his college and pro career, Mayfield has made it clear that he’s aware of the narratives that surround him and his team, and he’s likely eager to help Beckham get back on track. Though it faces an uphill climb, this team is not out of the playoff hunt yet, and they’ll need to get the most out of their stars to achieve that goal. Second? Beckham is simply a lot better than Landry.

4. Mitchell Trubisky ($5,100)/Taylor Gabriel ($4,200), Bears vs. Giants

You knew I had to fit a bad QB in here somewhere. Ok, so what’s the logic behind using one of the worst QBs this season? Well, for starters, the salary. There are a few cheaper starting QBs in Week 12, but none you’d want to consider starting in DFS: Dwayne Haskins against the Lions, Ryan Finley against the Steelers, Brandon Allen against the Bills, and Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Browns. Second, the matchup is great. The Giants’ defense is very bad, especially their secondary. While “dropped potential interceptions” isn’t an official stat, it seems to be a strength of theirs. They allow the second-most DKFP per game to WRs, and the ninth-most to QBs. Lastly, while it took way too long, coach Matt Nagy seems to have finally awoken to the idea the Trubisky has been struggling, and that they need to alter the offensive game plan to help him out. Not to overuse the word “finally”, but they finally started calling more short passes to Tarik Cohen ($4,800), who had been an afterthought despite that he’s one of the most dynamic playmakers on the roster. By the way, I also like the Trubisky-Cohen stack this week.

Gabriel comes in significantly cheaper than Allen Robinson ($6,500), despite the fact that he has more targets, receptions, yards, air yards and TDs than Robinson over the past four weeks. Furthermore, while Robinson is likely to spend most of his day dealing with Janoris Jenkins, Gabriel is likely to get the Deandre Baker treatment. Jenkins is still a very good CB, while Baker has been very generous to opposing WRs this season.

3. Russell Wilson ($6,800)/DK Metcalf ($6,300), Seahawks at Eagles

Over the first six or seven weeks of the season, it was hard to read an article or listen to a podcast without coming across someone telling you to “start passing games facing the Eagles”. That mantra has faded over the past few weeks, but there is little (no?) evidence that the Eagles’ pass defense has actually improved. Are we really going to give them credit for stopping the Mitchell Trubisky-led Bears, or slowing the Josh Allen-led Bills? This is still a matchup to target, especially now that they’ve drawn one of the leading MVP candidates and the second-best fantasy QB this season in Wilson.

Perhaps I’m taking the cowardly route by picking Metcalf over Tyler Lockett (shin; $7,600) as Wilson’s running mate. I’m worried that the shin injury that forced Lockett to stay in the hospital for several days after their last game might return or otherwise impede Lockett’s production – but I also don’t like Lockett’s lofty salary. It’s relatively fair, considering the opponent and the fact that Seattle is coming off their bye, but it’s also a ton of cap space to spend on a player coming off an unusual injury. And it’s not like Metcalf is some kind of scrub. Metcalf has seen at least nine targets in three of their last four games, and he’s averaging more than one red-zone target per week. He’s become a focal point of the offense, and he’d be the primary beneficiary if Lockett is anything less than 100%.

2. Sam Darnold ($5,800)/Jamison Crowder ($6,200), Jets vs. Raiders

The Raiders secondary held strong against the Bengals in Week 11, but it seems safe to assume that had more to do with the latter team than the former. Despite that modest success, Oakland has still allowed the fifth-most passing yards and the third-most passing TDs this season. They’ve allowed eight 20-plus DKFP games to WRs, and three of the last five QBs they saw scored at least 27 DKFP. Darnold is coming off of back-to-back 20-plus DKFP games – coincidentally going exactly 19 for 30 in both. In games where Darnold was active, Crowder has commanded 27% of the targets and 23% of the air yards, and he has nearly twice as many receiving yards as any other Jet. He’s clearly Darnold’s preferred target, and his salary is lower than I expected it to be. This is the highest Crowder’s salary has been all year, but he’s coming off of three straight games of at least 18 DKFP and in a favorable matchup.

If you want to save some salary in a GPP, you can consider swapping out Crowder for Robby Anderson ($4,800). Anderson’s floor is a lot lower than Crowder’s, but he’s their go-to option on deep passes, and he’s pretty good at them. It only takes one deep TD catch to make his week, and his odds of doing that are slightly higher against a weak secondary. That said, if he doesn’t make that big play – and he doesn’t a lot more often than he does – then he’s probably going to hurt a lineup. He is not a cash games option.

1. Matt Ryan ($6,700)/Julio Jones ($8,000), Falcons vs. Buccaneers

Ryan is very good good, Jones is great, and the Buccaneers’ secondary are one of the most favorable matchups in fantasy. Ok, I’ll be more specific. Ryan has thrown for at least 300 yards in seven of his nine games, each of which resulted in at least 19 DKFP. Jones is sixth in the league in yards per game, despite ranking ninth in targets and 11th in receptions. Among the players on Sunday’s main slate, Jones ranks eighth in DKFP per game, and all of the players ahead of him have more TDs than he does. Speaking of Jones’ TD totals – he’s likely to see some positive regression there soon as his TD drought is now up to seven games. Given the largely random nature of TDs and the fact that we know Jones is more than capable of providing them, that gap makes me slightly more inclined to use him, not less. Finally, the Bucs. Oh, the Bucs. They’re almost the platonic ideal of a pass funnel defense. DVOA ranks their rush defense as the best in the league, and it says their pass defense is the third-worst. They’ve given up an 80-DKFP QB-WR stack, three 60-DKFP stacks, a 50-DKFP stack, a 45-DKFP stack and a 40-DKFP stack. That’s seven of their 10 games!

If you want to make this a triple-stack, or if you want in but can’t afford Jones, consider Russell Gage ($3,900) in GPPs. Gage caught what would have been his first NFL TD in Week 11, but it was called back due to a penalty. He’s seen increased involvement in the offense since the Mohamed Sanu trade, and Austin Hooper’s (knee) injury opens up additional targets. He’s averaging 8.1 DKFP per game over the last three, and his price is so low that he only needs to slightly outperform that average to earn a profit.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is arikleen) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.