Welcome back to our weekly countdown of the best QB-WR stacks! Week 3 poses some interesting strategic questions, especially when it comes to the two projected blowouts (the Patriots and Cowboys are both favored by more than 20 points) and the explosive potential of the Chiefs-Ravens matchup. As always, I recommend starting your DFS lineup with a well-crafted stack.
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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.
If the Eagles’ Alshon Jeffery (calf) misses Sunday’s game, feel free to pretend this section was written about Carson Wentz ($5,600) and Nelson Agholor ($3,600) in their matchup against the Lions. But as of this writing, Jeffery still might play. Besides, there’s approximately 3.7 bazillion articles, podcasts and tweets touting the merits of the Wentz-Agholor connection this week, so let’s use this space to talk about a more interesting combo.
As Ian Haritz initially pointed out, Byrd has been in on 93 percent of the Cardinals snaps so far this season. He’s actually run more routes than teammate Christian Kirk ($5,000) and has the same number of catches. Kirk has seen more targets, and his targets have come farther downfield, so he’s still the clear No. 2, but Byrd is the clear No. 3, and the gap there is a lot smaller than their production and the $2,000 salary difference might imply. Meanwhile, Murray has produced largely as advertised, passing for over 300 yards in back-to-back games, neither of which came against below-average defenses. As expected, the Cardinals are playing fast – they’re running the second-fastest pace in the league – increasing the number of opportunities. Oh, and the fastest paced team? None other than their Week 3 opponent, the Panthers. This game might not be pretty, but there are likely to be a ton of snaps.
Larry Fitzgerald ($5,100) also looks like a gigantic bargain here. He could cost $500 more and I’d still be willing to roster him. But if you really want to differentiate your lineup, Byrd is the way to go.
As President George Bush once said, “fool me once, shame on, shame on you, fool me can’t get fooled again”. Well, maybe I’m setting myself up to get fooled again, but I’m not ready to accept that the second-most accurate QB over the last four seasons is suddenly the second-least accurate starter heading into Week 3. Cousins turned 31 last month, relatively young by QB standards, and he still plays with arguably the best WR tandem in the league. The matchup is fantasy-friendly – the Raiders have a below-average defense and a better-than-expected offense. And Cousins’ non-existent production in the first two weeks has torpedoed the Vikings’ salaries.
Look, maybe Cousins really has fallen off a cliff, or maybe the new offensive system is a total disaster for the passing game. Two games is too small a sample size to know, especially when one game was a start-to-finish blowout that reached 14-0 early in the first quarter. But I am 100 percent certain that Cousins was a lot better than the 21st QB in 2018, and that Thielen and Diggs were better than the 13th and 20th best WRs – but that’s how their salaries rank on Sunday’s slate.
3. Dak Prescott ($6,500)/Randall Cobb ($4,600), Cowboys vs. Dolphins
Are we sure Prescott should be $100 cheaper than Tom Brady, and $1,100 less than Patrick Mahomes? Prescott has the easiest matchup of the three. He is averaging just 0.5 DKFP less than Mahomes, and 5.8 DKFP more than Brady. He’s got more passing yards than Brady, the same number of TDs as Mahomes, and he’s the only one of the three that provides consistent rushing production. Targeting the Dolphins is going to be a pretty popular strategy in DFS this season, but if you’re thinking of spending up on a QB, Prescott appears to be the best per-dollar value by a significant margin.
So why pair Prescott with Cobb? First, a Prescott-Amari Cooper ($7,500) pairing is likely to be too popular to provide much GPP upside. Cooper’s skillset lends itself to big swings between boom and bust, which is the opposite of what you want in cash games. In a game where the Cowboys are likely to dominate, a short-yardage possession receiver has more appeal than a deep threat. Finally, with Michael Gallup (knee) out, Cobb steps in as the No. 2 WR, and the go-to option for short and medium pass plays.
Devin Smith ($3,400) showed his upside with his 51-yard TD catch in Week 2, but he’s about as safe as a 12-year-old boy with nunchucks. Smith is too risky for cash games, and last week’s TD will probably make him too popular to be worth the risk in GPPs.
The Bengals defense.
Sorry, my editor is telling me this blurb must be more than three words long, so let’s elaborate. We’re only two games into the season, but somehow the Bengals have already allowed four RBs score in top-15 at the position for the week! The Bengals have allowed four of the top-30 RB performances so far this season! That’s absolutely absurd! Last season, the Bengals allowed the second-most DKFP to running backs, allowing the sixth-most rushing yards and seventh-most rushing TDs. Allen isn’t technically an RB, of course, but he’s second on the Bills in rush attempts, and Devin Singletary (hamstring; $4,300) looks likely to sit out another game after missing practice all week. Even if he never completed a pass, Allen would be reasonable cash games option Sunday.
But Allen does throw the ball – sometimes even accurately! Brown is dominating the Bills’ receiving opportunities, with a 27 percent target share, a 43 percent air yards share, and 97.5 yards per game. He’s got the workload to provide cash-games safety, and the big-play upside for GPP appeal. The fact that this isn’t my top stack of the week is purely a reflection of my confidence in Keenan Allen.
Allen saw 15 targets in Week 2. That was with Lions’ star CB Darius Slay following him all over the field. Rivers once again demonstrated a willingness to throw to Allen regardless of who was covering him. Except, in Week 3, instead of getting chased by a back-to-back Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro, Allen will spend most of the game matched up against Bradley Roby, who has been one of the league’s worst starting CBs since the start of last season. Allen leads the NFL in air yards, and is sixth in receiving yards. And he’s averaging more DKFP than any player with a higher salary.
As for Rivers, he’s been solid and the salary is fair. Averaging 313 yards and 1.5 TDs is plenty for 13th QB salary on the slate. There’s nothing in particular about Rivers or this matchup that has me over-the-moon for him, but the fundamental strategy of stacking directly applies here. I think that Allen for $7,000 is the best WR play by a significant margin, and so I want to double-dip.
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