With only two games on the slate, there are only so many stacking options available. In tournaments, don't hesitate to lean heavily into triple stacks or correlated plays on other side of the ball that fit a shootout gamescript. And if you have a hunch about an out-of-nowhere player, this is the week to trust those instincts. It's a hard week to find differentiation. You either have to be perfect or find that diamond in the rough.
Tom Brady ($8,100) + Rob Gronkowski ($8,900) = $17,000
This pairing will cost you a premium. But Gronkowski and Greg Olsen are the only viable tight ends this week. So you're probably not skimping at the position regardless. And with only two games on the slate, there are only so many expensive players you can cram into your lineup anyway. This is the safest stack on the board because there's no doubt who Brady's top two targets are.
Twist: Brady's other top target, Julian Edelman ($7,800), is a Gronkowski alternative or expensive (but worthwhile) triple stacking option. For differentiation, you could use James White ($6,400). He's my third-favorite Patriots pass-catcher, but there are better opportunities to roster low-owned players on other teams. White hasn't been involved in the offense the past couple of games. And his upside is nowhere near that of Gronkowski or Edelman.
Carson Palmer ($7,700) + Larry Fitzgerald ($8,000) = $15,700
Fitzgerald will be highly owned after catching the game-winning touchdown in overtime last week. He's led the team in receptions and yards the past two games and has a touchdown in three straight. If you can find differentiation elsewhere, Fitzgerald should be able to exploit the middle of the field while the Panthers' stronger corners work the outside. Playing from behind as three-point underdogs, the Cardinals' passing attempts should see an uptick in this matchup.
Twist: Michael Floyd ($7,500) will also be a popular pick coming off of a multi-touchdown game. But I'd rather bank on John Brown ($6,500) getting behind Carolina's secondary for a long touchdown. Floyd is the safer play, but Brown's ownership should be low enough to make it worth taking a chance on his upside. He's the best triple-stack option in tournaments.
Cam Newton ($8,500) + Greg Olsen ($7,000) = $15,500
During their last five games, only two teams allowed tight ends to overperform more than the Cardinals. Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu's absence has left the middle of their defense vulnerable, and Olsen will be this week's beneficiary. This will be a popular pairing, but tight end isn't the position to find differentiation this week.
Twist: I like Ted Ginn Jr. ($6,200) or Devin Funchess ($5,100) in triple stacks. Funchess will be lower owned and is the better value, but you can decide based on how much money you spend at other positions.
Carolina Panthers ($5,100) + Jonathan Stewart ($7,000) = $12,100
It's no surprise that the favored teams are my top defensive plays of the week, but the Patriots don't have an appealing fantasy pairing for their defense. Jonathan Stewart will be highly owned after last week's multi-touchdown effort. But he's a safe option if you want to throw a dart at a longshot receiver or two.
Twist: If you fade Stewart, consider pairing Graham Gano ($4,700) with Carolina's defense. Most people will be on Brandon McManus ($5,000) after last week's 20-point game or will pay up for Stephen Gostkowski ($5,100). On small game slates, you have to dig deeper to make your lineup unique. Kicker is an easy position to pivot. Hopefully Gano can replicate his November success of five straight double-digit fantasy outings.
Austin Lee hang-glided in Rio, climbed The Great Wall, and caught passes from both Dan Marino and Joe Montana. For more of his DFS insights listen to The Audible's Championship Weekend Preview podcast. Also check out his Normalized Strength of Schedule tool or hit him up for advice on Twitter.