Welcome back for Week 8 as we run down my top five NFL QB-WR stacks for DraftKings 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 lineup. With the significance of stacking in mind, this article aims to highlight the best stacking options for Sunday’s main DraftKings DFS slate.
Set your DraftKings lineups here: NFL $3.5M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st]
5. Patrick Mahomes ($8,100)/Tyreek Hill ($6,700), Kansas City Chiefs vs. New York Jets
Every week, dozens of industry analysts submit their weekly PPR ranks to FantasyPros, which combines those ranks to compile an “Expert Consensus Rank” (ECR). In Week 8, Hill is second among WRs in ECR. On the DraftKings’ main slate, he has the ninth-highest WR salary. That’s a massive discrepancy, and it implies his salary is a giant discount. He’s topped 15.0 DKFP in six of his seven games this season, and the speedy deep-threat always has potential for a few big plays. The main reason I don’t have this pairing ranked higher is that Mahomes’ salary is high enough to cut into Hill’s savings. Additionally, I expect Hill will be a popular play, so managers will have to get creative elsewhere in order to differentiate their lineups.
The logic here isn’t terribly complicated: Mahomes and Hill are incredible talents, and the Jets are bad. An added bonus is that the Jets are a bit of a pass funnel — their run defense is much better than their pass defense, incentivizing opponents to focus on the pass — with a bottom five pass defense DVOA and an above average rush defense DVOA.
Put your DraftKings daily fantasy football skills to the test against other readers and writers of DraftKings Playbook! Check out the new Cramer’s Cash Contest and enter your lineup for the Week 8 contest.
4. Cam Newton ($5,700)/Damiere Byrd ($3,700), New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
I started hesitantly writing this blurb, and then the news broke that Julian Edelman (knee) underwent surgery and will miss Week 8. Edelman’s absence gives me a little more confidence, but the core truth of this stack remains — this is an incredibly risky pick. If things go bad, which they very easily might, a lineup with this pairing has no chance of cashing. But to win a GPP you need to take some risks and make your roster stand out.
The Bills’ secondary has a scary reputation, but their defense has taken a massive step backwards this season — they went from a seventh-ranked overall defense with a sixth-ranked pass unit (per DVOA) in 2019 to 21st and 18th this season, respectively. They’re beatable, and this game is crucially significant if New England wants to stay in the playoff hunt, so I expect Bill Belichick to come up with an imaginative game plan. Newton is about as cheap as a starting QB gets, and Byrd’s and Jakobi Meyers’ ($3,500) salaries are both near minimum. Though the Patriots’ offense has looked awful the last two weeks, they showed us early in the season that they are capable of big games. And, of course, Newtons’ role as a runner — especially in the red zone — gives him massive upside.
Byrd was already moving up the Patriots’ pecking order before the Edelman injury. With Edelman out and N’Keal Harry’s (concussion) availability looking very much in doubt, Byrd and Meyers are likely to lead the Pats in targets. Meyers saw more targets than Byrd in Week 7, and he’s a reasonable alternative running mate for Newton. I went with Byrd because he seems to have a more established rapport with Newton, and he’s seen a few deep targets each week.
3. Joe Burrow ($6,200)/Tee Higgins ($5,600) and A.J. Green ($4,500), Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans
Are we sure Tyler Boyd ($6,600) is still the Bengals No. 1 WR? I’d give it a solid “maybe” – nowhere near confident enough to stake $1,000 or $2,100 of salary cap on it. He definitely was at the start of the season, and he hasn’t done anything wrong to lose that title, but all of a sudden he has some really stiff competition. Former All-Pro Green started the season poorly, and hit a nadir in Week 5 when he had to leave early due to injury. But he’s seen 24 targets over the last two games, averaging 7.5 catches and 89 yards. Boyd is a close second for Bengals’ targets during that span, but Higgins has logged more yards, air yards, yards after catch and a better catch rate. Higgins was an early second-round pick in 2020, and the rookie has steadily improved through the season. This looks like a 1A-1B-1C situation, except we’re not sure which player is the “A”, “B” or “C”, and one player costs way more than the other two. Especially in a multi-entry contest, I’d gladly put in some lineups with Burrow-Green, Burrow-Higgins and Burrow-Green-Higgins.
Similar to the situation with the Bills, above, the popular perception of the Titans’ defense doesn’t match what’s happening in 2020. They are exactly average in points allowed per game, and in the bottom third in passing yards allowed. They were effective in Week 1 against Drew Lock, but have allowed at least 15.0 DKFP to every QB since, including three who topped 21.0 DKFP. Burrow has had some ups and downs, but he’s already had five 300-plus yard games and rushed for three TDs.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo ($5,400)/Brandon Aiyuk ($5,800), San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
With the Falcons and Cowboys off the main slate, the Seahawks are the clear defense to target. They’ve given up the most DKFP per game to WRs, and it’s not close. They’ve allowed 64.0 per game, while the second-worst team has allowed just 49.7 — a difference as large as the gap between the second-worst team and the tenth-best. They’ve also given up oodles of points to QBs, only stingier than the aforementioned Falcons. They are one of the most pronounced pass funnels in the league, with a 30th ranked pass defense and a ninth ranked run defense (per DVOA). The top stack against them has scored at least 40.0 DKFP every week, and they’ve allowed a 50-plus DKFP stack in five of their six games.
It’s hard to view Garoppolo as anything more than an average (or slightly worse) QB, but his salary this week feels unfairly harsh — he’s going to be the second-cheapest starting QB Sunday, despite an excellent matchup. In three of his five starts, he’s thrown multiple TDs and zero INTs. He’s capable.
Aiyuk has become the clear second-fiddle in this passing game, behind only TE George Kittle ($7,000). Since his Week 2 debut, Aiyuk is second on the team in targets, receptions and yards, and he leads the way in air yards. He also has two rushing TDs, which are a testament to how the 49ers want to incorporate him into the game plan. And with Deebo Samuel (hamstring) out, Aiyuk’s role may continue to grow.
1. Ryan Tannehill ($6,800)/A.J. Brown ($6,900), Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals
Did you really think I wasn’t going to have Tannehill in here? Especially in a week where my two favorite punching bags (Falcons and Cowboys) are off the main slate? The schedule barely gave me a choice, I had to go back to the well with Tannehill! Especially since, as I’ve been saying for weeks, Tannehill is absurdly underpriced. His salary is up $600 over Week 7, but I was arguing that he was a $1,000 discount and his Week 8 matchup is one of the easiest he’s had all season. He’s still easily one of the best bargains anywhere on the slate.
My “Tannehill’s salary is laughably low” argument is the same as it’s been, just with one more week of data to back it up: He has exceeded 16.0 DKFP in 15 of his 16 starts since taking over the job for the Titans in Week 7 of last season. His QB rating over that span is 116.5. In those 16 games, he’s put up 378.8 DKFP, which would have placed second in 2019. Whatever we think of who he is as a player, the simple fact is that Tannehill has been one of the two or three best fantasy QBs and his salary is nowhere near reflective of that.
The savings on Tannehill are so low that he demands DFS consideration, and the strategic benefits of stacking are such that I’d include him in this article even if I didn’t like Brown and Brown’s Week 8 salary. But I do like Brown and his salary. His good games are always great games, and his great games happen often. Since their 2019 bye, anytime Brown has scored a TD he has also scored at least 21.0 DKFP. That’s seven out of ten games. The way the Titans use Brown to stretch the field increases the likelihood of long TDs, which is a big part of why his TDs and blowup DFS games are so tightly linked — Brown is not their most frequently targeted red-zone option, yet he sees multiple downfield looks per game and has the skills to turn many of those into breakaway TDs.
The Bengals’ defense isn’t horrible, but they are pretty far from good (and they’re a heck of a lot softer than the Titans’ Week 7 opponent, the Steelers). They’re near league-average in DKFP allowed to QBs and WRs, and that’s despite games against Tyrod Taylor, Phillip Rivers, Gardiner Minshew and Baker Mayfield twice. They’re 12th-worst in points allowed, and they’ve given up the sixth-most passing TDs.
Set your DraftKings lineups here: NFL $3.5M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st]
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO) or 1-800-BETS OFF (IA). 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.