Welcome back to another season of my weekly top five NFL QB-WR stacks. Let’s jump right into 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.
Matt Ryan ($6,700) - Calvin Ridley ($6,100), Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks
In Week 1, the first step of my process involves comparing my preseason ranks to a player’s “ranking” on DraftKings (the most expensive WR is “ranked” first, second-most expensive second, etc). With no games in the books, I don’t want to overreact to matchups since the fantasy community is often wrong about multiple defenses every season. In 2019, the Patriots’ D was expected to be below average and the Jaguars’ D was expected to be great – we were way off. In DFS we shouldn’t ignore Week 1 matchups but we should tread carefully with them and this process helps toward that aim. I have Calvin Ridley as WR9 this season among WRs playing on Sunday’s main slate (I have him 13th overall when considering all wideouts, a little higher than most but close to FantasyPros’ “Expert Consensus Rank” of WR16). He’s the 15th-most expensive WR on DraftKings’ main slate this week, so that’s a pretty significant gap. Seattle added some talent to their secondary over the offseason but the Seahawks were an average pass defense in 2019, so the matchup isn’t enough to explain that large gap between Ridley’s preseason expectations and his Week 1 salary. The third-year rising star is a bargain.
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Josh Allen ($6,500) - Stefon Diggs ($6,400), Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets
Internal inconsistencies concern me. What I mean by that is my core argument in favor of Diggs (that he’s so talented it doesn’t matter who his QB is) seems to contradict my core argument for Allen (that sure he’s bad but the Jets are probably worse and he runs a lot). Does talent matter or not? Other than that question, there is a ton to like here.
While Allen has many flaws as a passer, his usage is about as fantasy-friendly as possible. His average depth of target in 2019 was fourth in the league, meaning that the Bills like to attempt tons of long passes. On top of that, Buffalo gives Allen a lot of its short run plays. He was second only to Lamar Jackson among QBs in rushes inside the red zone and inside the 10 and he got 34% of his team’s carries inside the 10. The addition of Diggs this offseason gives Allen the best wide receiver he’s ever played with. Diggs’ crisp routes should help him get open downfield and he’s fast enough to chase down Allen’s inaccurate bombs. Though there are always a few teams that surprise us with an unexpected offseason improvement, I’m willing to bet that the Jets are still a bad team with one of the worst pass defenses in the league.
Carson Wentz ($6,300) - DeSean Jackson ($4,900), Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team
As referenced above, a common trap fantasy managers fall into is over-emphasizing Week 1 matchups – as we see every season, some teams change dramatically and unexpectedly over the summer and it takes a few games for us to notice. But Washington wasn’t just bad last season, they were awful. Improving to regular bad is a dramatic improvement in this instance. Washington allowed more than 30 points in half their games. The QBs they held below 30 points include such illustrious names as Jeff Driskel, Kyle Allen, Josh Rosen and Daniel Jones. Judging by Washington’s offseason personnel moves, while their defensive front seven may have improved, their secondary appears to have gotten slightly worse.
Jackson’s salary might look low if the Eagles were fully healthy but it’s highway robbery with Alshon Jeffery (foot; $5,400) looking likely to miss Week 1 and with Miles Sanders’ (hamstring; $6.300) is questionable and looking likely to be limited if he’s even available. Rookie Jalen Reagor (shoulder; $4,300) is surprisingly on track to play, though they may elect to be cautious with their first-round pick who was originally expected to miss the whole month. Most of us remember how good Greg Ward was last season when starting for this injury-plagued receiver corps, averaging 13.7 DKFP as a starter. Jackson is a bargain as the lead WR, especially in this matchup. Wentz topped 17 DKFP in each of his last five games last season. Over the past three seasons, he’s topped 20 DKFP in 24 of 40 games (60%). In his career against Washington, he’s averaged 279 yards, 2.1 TDs and 0.8 INTs.
Lamar Jackson ($8,100) - Marquise Brown ($5,100), Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns
Sometimes players are just good. Jackson outscored 2019’s second-best fantasy QB by 68 DKFP (4.27 per week). Brown is simply way too good to have the 44th-highest WR salary on DraftKings this week. It doesn’t take a lot of #analysis to identify this pair as a worthwhile start, especially at home against a bad defense.
That said, the point of this article is to provide that #analysis, so let’s do that. As a rookie playing most of the season on a bum leg, Brown topped 11 DKFP in half of his games. He topped 18 DKFP in almost every third game (29%). He and TE Mark Andrews ($6,000) were the only Ravens to top 50 targets last season, so a now-healthy Brown should get plenty of opportunities. Cleveland was a bottom-third defense by DVOA last season and they’re likely to be without multiple CBs in Week 1, including starter Greedy Williams. Additionally, they were particularly bad against the run – third-to-last per DVOA – adding to Jackson’s appeal. Jackson’s salary may be a touch on the high side but Brown’s discount more than makes up for it.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,300) - Preston Williams ($4,500), Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
I tried to stay away, I really did. I tried to talk myself into Joe Burrow ($5,800) and Cam Newton ($6,100). But Fitzpatrick’s beard kept calling me back. That, and the fact that this stack combined costs less than Christian McCaffrey ($10,000).
Doubting Bill Belichick has been a losing strategy for the past 20 years but the 2020 offseason looks like a disaster for this New England defense. I know better than to predict that they’ll fall to the bottom half of the league but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be anything close to their world-beating 2019 status. I’m not picking this stack to target the Patriots’ D but they’re not scaring me away either.
Fitzpatrick is risky. His lows are dreadful – he scored 1.2 DKFP as a starter in one game last season and had six starts below 16 DKFP. But his highs can be week-winning, especially at this low salary – he topped 20 DKFP in his other seven starts, including four games above 25 DKFP. While most of the fantasy buzz focuses on DeVante Parker ($6,000), Williams outplayed Parker in the six games they played with Fitzpatrick at QB. In that split, Parker saw one extra target but Williams led Miami in receptions, yards and air yards and his average depth of target led all full-time Dolphins. In Week 1, the Dolphins’ No. 1 WR is $1,500 cheaper than their No. 2.
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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.
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