Welcome back! Even though bye week season is over, the all the Thanksgiving games mean that Week 13’s Sunday main slate has just 11 games, a small-to-average sized slate. DraftKings did a great job setting fair salaries this week, which is both a blessing and a curse – the lack of standout values makes it harder to identify the best plays, but it also opens up the widest possible range of roster construction strategies. As it happens, many of my favorite stacks happen to be on the cheaper side, but I made sure to incorporate a couple high-dollar plays to reflect the wide range of lineup constructions that managers should consider.
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.
This stack is best suited for GPP use, as the Titans’ receivers have been wildly inconsistent from week to week. That said, Brown has taken over as the clear leader since Tannehill took over, leading the team with a 20% target share and an average of 61 yards per game. He’s also seen 27% of the team’s air yards, trailing only Corey Davis’ ($4,000) 29%. While Brown’s down weeks can be brutal, he has at least 12 DKFP in three of Tannehill’s five starts. The Colts pass defense is marginally better than most of the teams Tannehill has faced this season, but they’re still very close to league-average – the average defense is allowing 18.8 DKFP to QBs and 35.9 DKFP to WRs this season, and the Colts are allowing 17.8 to QBs and 37.3 to WRs. Tannehill has been on fire since he replaced Marcus Mariota, averaging 255 yards, 2.0 TDs and 24.4 DKFP.
The 49ers defense is excellent, which is the only reason this stack isn’t higher. But, at least according to advanced metrics, the 49ers are slightly worse than the Patriots, who Jackson walloped for two rushing TDs and 28.6 DKFP. And it doesn’t hurt that the tough opponent has cut more than $1,000 off the combined cost of this stack. Jackson has scored at leas 20 DKFP in all but one game all season, and he has at least 26 DKFP in each of his last six games. He’s also ran for at least 60 yards in all but two games, including each of the last eight. The 49ers linebacker corps is so good that the Ravens are likely to need a more balanced attack than usual, which is good news for leading WR Brown. Brown leads the team in air yard share and receiving touchdowns, and he trails only TE Mark Andrews ($5,700) in total targets and yardage.
I can’t be serious. Right? Am I really recommending the QB of an 0-11 team who was recently benched for Bryan Finnerty? A QB so bad that you’re not totally sure whether that’s his real name? (Note, it was actually “Ryan Finley”). But Dalton was averaging 282 yards and 18.5 DKFP as a starter, and he was on track to set career highs in attempts, completions and passing yards before getting benched. The Bengals clearly benched Dalton to try to figure out whether Finnerty/Finley could be their QB of the future; once they saw enough to decide that he wasn’t, they immediately switched back to their better option, Dalton. Dalton’s benching, therefore, had more to do with the team’s 0-8 start than with Dalton himself.
While the Jets’ pass defense is almost exactly average, they’re a bit of a pass funnel because their run defense is so effective. Boyd is by far the Bengals’ leading receiver, and he saw nearly twice as many targets as any other WR while Dalton was starting. He scored at least 12 DKFP in five of Dalton’s 8 starts. If you want to make this stack even cheaper, however, consider Auden Tate ($3,800). From Weeks 3 to 8 – Dalton’s last five starts – Tate saw 8.8 targets per game and led the team in air yards.
2. Nick Foles ($5,700)/DJ Chark ($6,600), Jaguars vs. Buccaneers
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.
While managers who played a Matt Ryan-Falcons stack in Week 12 were surely disappointed with the results, the Bucs still allowed 313 yards through the air, their sixth-straight game allowing at least 280 passing yards. Foles has averaged 284 yards and 1.0 TDs since he reclaimed his starting role, averaging a respectable 16.8 DKFP. While game script was relevant, as the Jags were losing throughout most of both games, it’s also worth noting that he attempted 47 and 48 passes over the last two weeks.
Chark is the preferred running mate here, as he has maintained his role as the team’s top receiver through the QB transition. With Foles at QB, Chark still leads the team in targets, air yards, receiving yards and receiving TDs. Chris Conley ($4,500) has become Tannehill’s No. 2 option, and he’s also a decent option if you want to target Tampa Bay, but need the extra salary cap space.
1. Patrick Mahomes ($7,400)/Tyreek Hill ($8,900), Chiefs vs. Raiders
If everyone’s salary is fair, why not spend up for the best players on the slate, especially when they have a plus matchup? Mahomes and Hill are both the most expensive players at their positions, and it’s pretty understandable why. Hill missed most of two games with an injury, but he’s averaged six catches, 105 yards and 1.0 TDs on 24.2 DKFP in his full games. Mahomes’ stats from his complete games are even more impressive: 342 passing yards, 2.3 TDs and 26.1 DKFP. The Raiders have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and their pass defense ranks in the bottom five in pass yards allowed, pass TDs allowed, opposing QB rating and pass defense DVOA.
Many managers will probably be concerned about Hill’s health, and understandably so. He played just two snaps in Week 12 before his hamstring flared up and he had to leave the game. But Hill was a full participant in practice all week, which is a very strong sign that he should be in better shape for Week 13.
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.