Welcome back for Week 6 as we run down my top five NFL QB-WR stacks for DraftKings DFS this week. Let’s get to it.
For the uninitiated, 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 DraftKings fantasy lineup. With the significance of stacking in mind, this article aims to highlight the best stacking options for Sunday’s main DraftKings slate.
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5. Ryan Tannehill ($5,900)/A.J. Brown ($5,600), Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
I’m still not totally sure what to make of this Texans’ defense. I think they’re bad, but I don’t have a lot of conviction behind that – if I were more confident in that assessment, this might be my top stack of the week, because these salaries for Tannehill and Brown are Black-Friday-level bargains. In his last 14 games, Tannehill has failed to hit 16 DKFP just once, and he’s topped 23 DKFP eight times. He’s scored 327.9 fantasy points over those 14 games – only five QBs have scored more than Tannehill that during the entire 2019 season (and yes, all five played more than 14 games). Tannehill has produced like a top-tier QB for an entire year now, yet he’s still the 14th most expensive QB on the main slate in a week in which Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson and more are unavailable. His salary should probably be about $1,000 higher.
Brown isn’t quite so discounted, but the sophomore has given plenty of indications that he might be just as good as his former college teammate DK Metcalf. Brown closed 2019 by putting up at least 100 yards, a TD and 25 DKFP in four of his final six games. He missed two games after a forgettable Week 1, but he was right back at it with seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in Week 5. While I’m still on the fence about the Houston defense as a unit, I have no hesitation in expecting Brown to outplay CB Bradley Roby.
4. Matthew Stafford ($6,300)/Kenny Golladay ($6,200), Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars
When I first started looking at this week’s slate, Stafford’s salary jumped out at me as too low. Less than Tom Brady ($6,500) and Gardner Minshew ($6,400) in much tougher matchups? Just a couple-hundred more than Teddy Bridgewater ($6,000) and Philip Rivers ($5,900)? Stafford has topped 17 DKFP every week, and the Jaguars have given up at least 19 DKFP to every QB they’ve faced. The Jags have allowed the fourth-most passing yards and their defense is dealing with a ton of injuries. Stafford looks like a rock-solid cash games option, and I like his GPP potential when stacked with Golladay. Since Golladay returned after missing the first two games, Stafford has honed in on him – Golladay has more than twice as many targets as any other Detroit WR in that time, scoring a touchdown back-to-back weeks and logging 16-plus fantasy points in each outing. He’s also seen four of Detroit’s 13 red zone targets in that span, so a multiple-TD game is very much within the range of possible outcomes.
If you want to double-stack here, you should probably avoid the other WRs and look to TE T.J. Hockenson ($5,300). Since Golladay returned to the lineup, Hockenson is the only other Lions pass-catcher to see more than four targets in a game (he saw seven in Week 3). In general, I’m a big fan of double-stacking as a strategy, though Stafford’s recent target trees make that a riskier proposition here.
3. Kyle Allen ($5,100)/Terry McLaurin ($5,700), Washington Football Team at New York Giants
This is another stack that first caught my attention with a startlingly low salary. McLaurin is 14th in fantasy points among WRs this season, just ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. ($6,400). The $700 difference between McLaurin and Beckham is way too large to be accounted for by matchups – DraftKings’ salary algorithm just likes McLaurin a lot less. Bullish for us. Among WRs, McLaurin is eighth in targets, ninth in yards and 10th in air yards. He’s the focal point of the Washington passing game and an undeniable talent. Sure, rostering Allen makes me a little queasy, but the combination of his tiny salary and the matchup makes it easier to swallow. After all, the point of stacking is to “double-dip” by rostering both ends of a completed pass, and few players see a bigger share of their team’s passing game than McLaurin. There’s a correlation between all WRs and their QBs, but that correlation is particularly strong here.
It’s also worth noting that Allen isn’t awful! When called upon to start 13 games last season for the Panthers, he was mostly serviceable. He threw for at least 250 yards eight times, and topped 17 DKFP six times. Facing the Giants should also help, as they are a bottom-third pass defense according to DVOA. They’re close to average in most defensive metrics, but diving deeper three figures stand out – the Giants allow the second-most plays per drive, they have defended the second-fewest drives, and they are in the bottom quartile for points allowed per drive.
This means that part of the reason the Giants appear close to league average in so many areas is because they tend to give up long, slow, scoring drives. Put differently, it’s not that the Giants are actually an average defense; they are very bad, but their flavor of bad tricks a lot of the more commonly used defensive metrics. This is definitely a matchup to target.
2. Lamar Jackson ($7,700)/Marquise Brown ($6,500), Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles
There’s no way around it – there are plenty of causes for concern here. The Ravens are attempting the fewest passes in the league, and Jackson has failed to hit 18 DKFP in three of his four games. His completion percentage is down, which jives with the eye-test observation that his accuracy appears to have regressed some. He’s running less, and his yards per carry are down. Brown is averaging just 12.6 DKFP per game, less than any other WR with a salary above $5,500. There is meaningful downside here.
But Jackson is still rushing 8.2 times per game, and he’s still attempting deep passes – usually to Brown. Brown’s 597 air yards are fifth-most in the league, and account for 45% of the Ravens’ team total. The Ravens may not throw often, but a meaningful percentage of their throws are bombs to Brown, and he only needs to catch one or two of those to turn a profit. Though his raw production has underwhelmed so far, Brown ranks among the league leaders in an array of advanced metrics that tend to correlate highly with future fantasy success: targets per route run, airyards.com’s “WOPR” (weighted opportunity rank), Scott Barrett’s XFP (expected fantasy points), among others. There is plenty of reason to believe that better weeks are ahead for him.
Similarly, I think Jackson is also likely to have more success going forward. He topped 20 DKFP in 14 of 15 games in 2019. According to DVOA, his five opponents this year rank fourth, ninth, 14th, 17th and 18th – not a murderer’s row, but no easy matchups either. The Eagles are the worst defense he’s faced yet. They’re a soft pass funnel (a defense that is better at stopping the run than the pass), and they’ve given up more than 45 DKFP to QB-WR stacks in two of their last three games. This sets up as a great opportunity for Jackson and Brown, and hopefully all of the concerns that I listed at the top of this blurb will help decrease their roster rates.
1. Kirk Cousins ($6,100)/Adam Thielen ($7,300) and Justin Jefferson ($6,000), Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons
This is an early game, so there should be plenty of notice to adjust is this game gets canceled or suspended following the Falcons’ COVID-positive tests Thursday. Assuming this game happens, this stack is likely to be somewhat popular, as the Atlanta defense is notoriously terrible and the other most famously bad defense this season (Dallas Cowboys) are not on the main slate. Yet, even with what will probably be a high roster rate, I still think this trio is a +EV play due to how gigantic the talent gap is between Thielen and Jefferson and the Falcons’ defense.
How bad is the Falcons’ defense? Well, they put up their best defensive showing of the season in Week 5, giving up “just” 23 points to the Christian McCaffrey-less Panthers and holding Teddy Bridgewater to “only” 23.8 DKFP. It was the first time all season they stopped opposing offenses from scoring 30 points and opposing QBs from totaling 30 DKFP. Through five games, they’ve allowed six WRs to top 19 DKFP. They’ve allowed the most receiving touchdowns and the second-most receiving yards – and that’s when they were allowed to practice before games!
I’d consider starting the wooden carving of a duck if it was playing WR against the Falcons, but Thielen and Jefferson are actually much better than chiseled waterfowl. Thielen leads the NFL in target share, and he trails only DK Metcalf in air yards share, so he should have plenty of valuable opportunities to collect fantasy points. His ceiling is high and he hits it often - he’s topped 29 DKFP in three of five games. Jefferson was quiet for the first two weeks, as we might expect from a rookie. Since Week 3, however, he has elevated into the top-25 in target share and air yards share, and he’s all the way up at fourth in receiving yards. And there’s no need to worry about these two cannibalizing one another – in both Weeks 3 and 4, Thielen and Jefferson combined for more than 45 DKFP, and the Falcons have allowed multiple WRs to score in double-digits in four of their five games.
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