Starting Stacks Week 15

Scott Bischoff takes a look at the stacks that could pay dividends in Week 15 in GPP play on FanDuel.

Each week I will take a look at every NFL game in an attempt to identify players that can be stacked together to maximize value in GPP play at FanDuel. I will examine the spreads and totals for each game as well as the implied totals for each team, and blend that with the likeliest script that these games will follow. In doing so, I'm attempting to find players that can pay dividends for your lineup but I will also provide a pivot within the stack to another player and give reasons as to why a pivot might make sense. You can use this information as a guide and you will have multiple options which will help you to sort through the noise while you put lineups together that can offer a degree of security.

RISK-AVERSE STACKS

Kirk Cousins ($7,500) + Desean Jackson ($6,000) = $13,500

The Washington Redskins bring the Carolina Panthers to FedEx Field for a Week 15 NFC showdown. The Redskins are 4.5 point favorites at home in what Vegas is calling one of the highest scoring games of the week with a total of 51 points. The Redskins have an implied total of 27.5 points and the Panthers have an implied number of 23.5 points.

The Redskins passing attack will face the league’s No. 30 ranked passing defense which is giving up 272.4 yards per game through the air. The Panthers yield 7.6 yards per attempt which is seventh-worst throughout the league and they have given up a passer rating of 92.5 which is ranked No. 20 in the NFL.

The Panthers have given up 330 completions to date which is third-worst in the NFL. They’ve also surrendered 24 touchdowns through the air and only four teams league-wide have allowed more. They’ve have allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 7.2 percent which is ranked No. 20 in the NFL.

The Panthers have allowed 42 passing plays that have gone for 20+ yards which puts them in the middle of the pack league-wide at No. 19 overall. They’ve allowed 11 passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards and this is where Cousins and Jackson can do damage in this game. They are ranked No. 28 in this category and this is where they are vulnerable.

The Panthers defense is vulnerable vertically and that’s exactly where Jackson is going to challenge them. Jackson doesn’t need a lot of volume to score points as he is capable of making big plays in a flash and the numbers show that the Panthers are getting beaten by big plays.

Jackson is far and away the No. 1 vertical option in the Redskins passing attack. In four games that Jackson has played since the Week 9 bye, he has been targeted 22 times and caught 12 passes for 330 yards and three scores.

This game could turn into a shootout as both teams play can score and that is what Vegas is forecasting in this contest with such a high total. Carolina is stout versus the run as they are the league’s No. 5 run defense and it will fall upon Cousins to make plays in this game.

Pivot: The Panthers defense is vulnerable vertically but they are also susceptible to quality tight ends and Jordan Reed ($6,000) has an opportunity to feast in this game. Carolina is bleeding touchdowns to the tight end position and Reed gives you an intriguing option which allows more exposure to this high scoring contest. The three can be put together as a triple-stack that offers a high floor and ceiling and could pay big dividends in GPP play.

Philip Rivers ($7,800) + Tyrell Williams ($6,500) = $14,300

The San Diego Chargers bring the Oakland Raiders into town for a Week 15 AFC West clash. Vegas has set the total at 50 points and it sees this game as one of the higher scoring games of the week. The Chargers are three-point underdogs at home with an implied total of 23.5 points while the Raiders have an implied number of 26.5 points.

The Raiders are the No. 27 ranked passing unit in the league allowing 264.3 yards per game. The Raiders pass defense is allowing a 7.8 yard average which is second-worst in the NFL.

Interestingly, the Raiders have only allowed 275 completions which is ranked No. 10 in the NFL. The Raiders don’t allow a significant number of receptions but it is more about the quality they are yielding and not the quantity.

The Panthers have given up 50 passing plays that have gone for 20 or more yards and that is a rate of 18.2 percent in relation to their completions. The Raiders are dead-last in the NFL here. The Raiders have given up 13 passing plays that have gone for 40 or more yards and that is a rate of 4.7 percent in relation to their completions. They are No. 31 league-wide in this area.

The Raiders do not generate the kind of pressure to move a quarterback from the pocket and it forces the members of their secondary to cover receivers far too long, as evidenced by the numbers above. The Raiders have generated 22 sacks on 2016 which is the second-worst number in the NFL. The lack of pressure here will give Rivers more time in the pocket and will lead to big plays going down the field.

Williams is banged up and has been held in check over the past few weeks so monitor his status as the week goes on, but if he is good to go for Sunday, he is in a great spot to do damage against this porous defense.

Williams has become the vertical option in the Chargers passing attack and he’s scored in four of his past five games. If healthy, he should see enough volume here and he’ll have to opportunity to break a few big plays to vertically challenge this defense.

Pivot: Antonio Gates ($5,300) is an intriguing option in this matchup as he’s seeing enough volume in what looks to be an attractive matchup. He has a strong enough floor and enough upside to warrant his selection here.

Cam Newton ($7,700) + Greg Olsen ($6,300) = $13,900

The Carolina Panthers travel to FedEx Field on Monday night to take on the Washington
Redskins in Week 15. Vegas has this game tabbed as one of the highest scoring games of the week with the total set at 51 points. The Panthers are 4.5 point underdogs on the road and they have an implied total of 23.5 points while the Redskins have an implied number of 27.5 points.

The Redskins are the league’s No. 24 ranked passing defense allowing 257.8 yards per game. Washington has surrendered 325 completions to date which is ranked No.28 league-wide. The Redskins have only allowed 18 passing scores (No. 9) but are allowing a completion rate of 66.4 percent which is fifth-worst league-wide. Newton has struggled to complete passes over the past few weeks and he’ll get some help here in this matchup.

Where this matchup is most attractive is in the game script. The Redskins are going to score points on the Panthers defense and the script is funneling passing attempts to the Panthers offense. Newton should be able to exploit the Redskins defense simply with the uptick in volume. Where he’ll exploit them is through tight end Greg Olsen.

The Redskins are very vulnerable to the tight end position and over the past five weeks, the average they are allowing is 5.8 catches and 74 yards. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz hit them for 10 catches and 112 yards last week. Packers tight end Jared Cook went for six catches and 105 yards to go with a score in Week 11 and Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph caught five balls for 69 yards and a score in Week 10.

These tight ends are “move” tight ends and that’s exactly the kind of player that Olsen is, and he’ll have tremendous opportunity in this game. Olsen has been targeted 26 times over the past four weeks and has 15 catches but we’ll see more volume and a better completion percentage in this contest.

HIGHER RISK STACKS

Carson Palmer ($7,600) + Larry Fitzgerald ($7,200) = $14,800

The Arizona Cardinals are at home in Week 15 to take on the New Orleans Saints in an NFC clash featuring a pair of underperforming teams looking to get something going late in the season. The Cardinals are a 2.5 point favorite at home with an implied total of 26.5 points while the Saints implied number is 24 points.

The Saints have the No. 29 ranked passing defense, allowing 268.3 yards per game. They are yielding 7.8 yards per attempt which is second-worst in the NFL. The Saints run defense is solid and they do a good job in limiting the run. They allow 3.8 yards per carry and only six teams in the NFL are better than the Saints are in this facet of the game.

Understand that there are multiple levels of risk in this game. The Saints don’t always travel well and the Cardinals defense is potent and can potentially cap the output in this one. However, you can never really count out quarterback Drew Brees and the passing offense as they are as potent as it gets.

If they can push the Cardinals offense here it will lead to good things for Palmer and Fitzgerald. This is what Vegas is expecting as they have set the total at 51 points which makes it one of the higher scoring games of the week.

Fitzgerald continues to be heavily targeted on a consistent basis (49 targets in the past five games since the Week 9 bye) which gives him a high floor and the amount of volume going his way along with the matchup and game total makes him an intriguing option.

Pivot: Jermaine Gresham ($4,500) has been very involved in the Cardinals passing attack recently and he has 31 targets in five games since the Week 9 bye. Receiver Michael Floyd was cut this week due to off-field issues and that paves the way for Gresham to continue to receive enough volume to warrant consideration here. He has 21 catches over that five-week span and 15 catches over the past three weeks. Gresham can get to GPP value easily if he can add a score to this mix and is a value play in Week 15.

Bryce Petty ($6,000) + Robby Anderson ($4,700) = $10,700

The New York Jets host the Miami Dolphins at home in a Week 15 AFC East clash featuring teams headed in opposite directions. The Jets are struggling and are 4-9 in 2016 while the Dolphins are trying to strengthen playoff position at 8-5.

The Jets are 2.5 point underdogs at home against a Dolphins team that looks to be without quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Vegas has the total at 38 points and the Jets have an implied total of 17.5 points while the Dolphins implied total is 20 points.

The Dolphins are the league’s No. 10 ranked passing unit allowing 233.7 yards per game. The Dolphins allow 6.8 yards per attempt which is No. 7 in the NFL but they have given up 23 passing touchdowns in 2016. Only seven teams in the NFL have allowed more passing touchdowns than the Dolphins in 2016.

The Dolphins have allowed 292 completions which is ranked No. 15 league-wide. Interestingly, they’ve allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 7.9 percent which is No. 27 in the NFL. The Dolphins are in the middle of the pack in yielding completions, but they allow a high number of those completions to go for touchdowns.

Anderson has seen 23 targets in Petty’s two starts and has 10 catches for 160 yards and has scored once. He’ll see enough volume to make him worthy, but there’s no denying how risky this stack is. This stack is as risky as it is gets on multiple levels as it is tough to trust young quarterbacks that haven’t played much to make plays and produce for GPP play.

Also, Vegas doesn’t like this game to be a high-scoring affair with a total set at 38 points. You’re taking on huge risk at the quarterback position which passes on risk to the receiver you’re selecting. However, by stacking these two players together you’ll potentially be able to get Cardinals running back David Johnson and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell together on the same roster.

Sam Bradford ($6,700) + Kyle Rudolph ($5,800) = $12,500

The Minnesota Vikings bring the Indianapolis Colts to town in Week 15. Vegas has the total set at 45 points and has the Vikings as a four-point favorite at home. The Vikings have an implied total of 24.5 points while the Colts have an implied number of 20.5 points.

The Colts are the league’s No. 26 ranked pass defense allowing 262.4 yards per game. They are ranked No. 17 in the league in completions allowed (298) and they are allowing 7.6 yards per attempt and only six teams league-wide allow a bigger number than the Colts. The Colts allow the sixth-worst passer rating in the NFL at 97.2.

The Colts have given up 23 passing touchdowns in 2016 and they’ve allowed a touchdown-to-completion ratio of 7.7 percent which is ranked No. 24 in the NFL. The Colts struggle to bring pressure on the quarterback as they only have 25 sacks registered to date. Only seven teams in the NFL have fewer sacks than the Colts and this means that Bradford will have a little extra time in the pocket to find weapons down the field.

There is risk associated with the game script here as one has to consider whether the Colts can score enough points against the Vikings defense to push the Vikings offense to keep throwing. However, the Colts are forecast to score around three touchdowns and the Vikings running game is not relevant which is forcing Bradford to throw the ball at too high a rate.

Rudolph has proven himself week in and out and is a solid GPP play with a good floor and high upside each week. He has been targeted 30 times in the past three weeks and has registered 19 catches for 169 yards and a score.  

This stack is not without risk as it all depends on the amount of throwing that the Vikings will need to do which makes the stack dependent on the pace at which the Colts play and whether they score enough points to force the Vikings passing attack.

Jameis Winston ($7,800) + Cameron Brate ($5,700) = $13,500

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in Week 15. Both teams are looking to fortify their playoff position as the Buccaneers are tied with the Falcons in the NFC South with an 8-5 record. The Cowboys are 11-2 and are in the playoffs, it is just a matter of what seed they get.

The Buccaneers are a seven-point underdog on the road and have an implied total of 20 points while the Cowboys have an implied total of 27 points. The Buccaneers will face the league’s No. 28 pass defense which is allowing 267.8 yards per game and two teams league- have allowed a higher passer rating than the 99.5 passer rating the Cowboys allow.

The Cowboys have allowed 355 completions which is tied with the Falcons for last in the NFL. Teams are throwing the ball into the middle of this defense and it is a defense that is proving to be soft as evidenced by the number of receptions they allow. Teams are not hitting the Cowboys defense down the field vertically but they are allowing them to move the chains at a regular rate.

Brate is proving to be a major asset in the Buccaneers offense as he’s realistically their No. 2 option in the passing game. Brate has been targeted 43 times since the Week 8 bye and he’s converted 34 into catches. This kind of conversion rate is a good indication of what kind of game we can see from Brate on Sunday with expanded volume from the way teams are attacking Dallas.

The risk here is that the Cowboys play at such a slow pace and that will reduce the amount of time the Buccaneers will have on offense. The Cowboys want to take the air out of the ball, but the game script is funneling passing game volume to the Buccaneers as they should be down and throwing in this game.

Based on the matchup and the script, there is enough upside to make a case for GPP play here. Vegas likes this game as potentially high scoring with a total of 47 points and if we see that amount of points there is a very good chance that Winston and Brate will be a big factor in getting there.

DEFENSIVE STACKS

LeSean McCoy ($9,000) + Buffalo Bills ($5,100) = $14,100

The Buffalo Bills bring the hapless Cleveland Browns into Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday for a Week 15 AFC matchup. The Bills are currently 6-7 and realistically have to finish out the season winning every game to get to a 9-7 record which might get them a wildcard berth.

This matchup looks favorable for Bills offense, specifically for their potent ground game. It also looks good for the defense as the Browns revolving door at quarterback has veteran Robert Griffin III III at the helm in Week 15. Griffin III showed considerable rust starting his first game in months last week and he had a hard time connecting with his weapons through the air, although snow and wind were factors as well.

The Bills are favored by 10 points at home with an implied total of 26.5 points while the Browns have an implied total of 16.5 points. The game script here is very favorable for the Bills running game as it should funnel running attempts as the game wears on and that is good news for McCoy.

The Browns have the No. 31 ranked run defense allowing 146.2 yards per game and only three teams league-wide allows more yards per carry (4.6) than the Browns. The Browns have also yielded big plays against the run. They’ve been hit for 10 runs that have gone for 20 or more yards and only four teams in the NFL have given up more plays generating big yards from the run than the Browns.

The Bills defense has the ability to pressure the quarterback at a high rate as their sack rate is 7.8 percent. The rate at which the sack the opposing quarterback in relation to the number of attempts they face ranks behind only the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. This defense will make Robert Griffin III III uncomfortable and he’ll put the ball into bad spots which could lead to big plays for the Bills defense.

There is opportunity for both sides of this stack to bring value in Week 15 as McCoy looks to be in line for a big volume day and the Bills defense should have the ability to make plays in this matchup that favors them in a big way.

Lamar Miller ($7,200) + Houston Texans ($5,000) = $12,200

The Houston Texans are at home in Week 15 to take on a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars football team. The Jaguars offense is completely out of sorts and prone to mistakes which makes the Houston defense an intriguing option this week. The Texans are favored by six points at home with an implied total of 23 points while the Jaguars have an implied total of 17 points.

The Texans should be in a situation to get Miller heavily involved early in this game and if Vegas has it right, they’ll be running the ball to kill time late in this game, all of which benefits Miller’s ability to produce fantasy points.

Miller takes on the league’s No. 23 ranked run defense allowing 113.2 yards per game. They allow 3.9 yards per carry which is actually very good but they’ve surrendered 15 touchdowns to date. Only five teams have yielded more rushing touchdowns in 2016.

Currently, Jaguars starting quarterback Blake Bortles is a bit of a mess mechanically and he’s struggling with his accuracy because of the time it takes for him to release the ball. Throwing windows are super-tight in the NFL in a perfect scenario, but these windows close if a delivery takes too long. This leads to opportunity for defenses as they can close on the ball to make plays that could turn into huge plays.

Miller should see plenty of work in this game against a run defense that allows an inordinate number of touchdowns and the script is favorable for the Texans defense to get more than a few chances to make plays and produce points as a defense. There is opportunity on both sides of this stack and they make for a nice option in GPP play in Week 15.


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