DFS Roundtable: Game Stacking

Picking the top game from Week 14 and stacking the top 3 players from it.

Game Stacking - Week 13 just saw the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets play in a 38-31 game where Alex Smith and Josh McCown both finished the week as the top two scoring quarterbacks in fantasy. At first glance give me the Week 14 game that looks most appealing to you, and list your top three players from that game.

Phil Alexander: At first glance, it appears the Chiefs will be involved in the most appealing game for the second straight week. Kansas City goes back home to face the Raiders in a crucial division matchup with a 47.5-point over/under. When these teams last met in Week 7, they combined for 61 points. While division games are usually lower-scoring the second time around, it's hard to imagine anything but a high-scoring affair between two teams whose defenses are as rotten as their offenses are competent. The Chiefs and Raiders came into last week rated 26th and 32nd, respectively, in team defensive efficiency by Football Outsiders. The top three player stack:
  1. Travis Kelce - One bad game put the crowd off Kelce last week and he predictably rebounded with a 4-92-2 receiving line. He's a matchup nightmare for any team, particularly the Raiders, who came into last week ranked 25th in pass defense DVOA vs. tight ends and will drop further after Evan Engram's 23 fantasy point performance in Week 13.
  2. Alex Smith - Don't expect another 40 fantasy points, but 25 -- a plateau he's reached in 5-of-12 games this season -- is clearly within his range of outcomes. Smith is one of three quarterbacks to throw for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns in a game against Oakland since Week 7.
  3. Amari Cooper - Michael Crabtree costs $900 more on DraftKings and Kansas City struggles most to defend receivers on the perimeter (as evidenced by the 11-210-2 line Cooper hung on them in Week 7). It's tough to endorse Cooper this early in the week without knowing if he's fully recovered from a Week 12 ankle sprain, but provided he's practicing by Friday, he's priced to return value. If Cooper sits, Crabtree becomes a no-brainer cash game play. In tournaments, I'd rather run it back with Johnny Holton if Cooper scratches again. Holton led all Raiders wide receivers in snaps last week and has posted a team-leading 26% market share of the team's air yards over the last two games.
Justin Bonnema: Phil nailed it with the Chiefs/Raiders tilt. Outside of that one, this is a tough week for matchups. I’m tempted to go right back to the Vikings even though they disappointed from a fantasy football perspective and in a great matchup last week. The Panthers have allowed the most yards, fantasy points, and touchdowns per game over the last five weeks to wide receivers. Stefon Diggs should see Daryl Worley for the majority of this game, which is an interesting matchup that favors the speed of Diggs. But the Vikings’ defense scares me away from investing in any Panthers, so I can’t, in good faith, recommend investing a lot in this game.

The Eagles versus the Rams could offer a lot of points, but I’m going to go contrarian and consider cross-stacking the Browns and Packers even though it could get me kicked off staff. There is no sugarcoating Deshone Kizer’s play; he’s not great. He’s inaccurate and makes questionable decisions. The Browns will be looking at quarterbacks early in next year’s draft. But he does save his floor every week with rushing yards. He ranks fourth in the league among quarterbacks in that category even with limited opportunities. Since Week 10, he’s QB13 in both DraftKings and FanDuel scoring, despite playing the Lions, Jaguars, Bengals, and Chargers over that stretch. Now he gets the Packers at home and a full game of prep with Josh Gordon. Give me that stack and the discount it provides, and cross-stack it with Davante Adams or Jamaal Williams.   

Dan Hindery
It feels weird to say this given that the game has a Vegas total of just 43 points and features two of the worst teams in the league, but the game that stands out to me as a potential shootout on my first look is San Francisco at Houston. Both teams play fast, with San Francisco ranking 1st in pace (7th in adjusted pace) and Houston ranking 11th (4th in adjusted pace). Both have serious vulnerabilities in their secondaries and are prone to giving up big plays. Plus, both quarterbacks moved the ball well last week. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 293 yards in his first start for the 49ers while Tom Savage passed for 365 yards against Tennessee. But for struggles in the red zone, both quarterbacks could have had huge fantasy games in Week 13. 

Aside from the two quarterbacks, who are priced very attractively, there are a number of other players who stand out. Bargain options with upside include wide receiver Marqiuse Goodwin for the 49ers and tight end Stephen Anderson for the Texans. Goodwin had 8 receptions for 99 yards last week while Anderson had 5 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown on a whopping 12 targets. The Texans tight end position has been decimated by injuries, leaving Anderson ($4,500 on FanDuel and $3,200 on DraftKings) as the last man standing at the position. DeAndre Hopkins is in play every week and has seen 79 targets in the 6 games started by Tom Savage (over 13 per game).

Jason Wood: As an Eagles fan, you might expect me to go chalk here and picked the Eagles versus the Rams. Vegas installed the game with a 50.5 point over/under, the highest implied total on the Sunday slate. While that game has potential for a shootout, I do think there's a risk of a whiff with Ertz' status up in the air and the stout defenses, particularly on the Eagles' side. 

Instead, I'll join with my colleagues and throw out the Chiefs and Raiders. I know the Chiefs hit a stretch of ineptitude, but Andy Reid has a long history of offensive productivity, and his decision to hand off play-calling to Nagy last week reignited the offense, particularly the passing game. The Raiders get Michael Crabtree back and both teams are motivated by a race for the division crown in a heated rivalry matchup. 

I love stacking David Carr with Michael Crabtree, because I think that pairing will be lesser owned than Alex Smith with Tyreek Hill or Smith with Travis Kelce. In terms of my favorite three players from the game:

1) Michael Crabtree
2) Travis Kelce
3) Kareem Hunt

Devin Knotts: The Browns Packers game is actually a sneaky one that I am targeting this week even though the over/under is only 40.5 points.DeShone Kizer and Josh Gordon are in a tremendous matchup this week as they are going up against Green Bay’s secondary which has really struggled so far this season. The Browns passing schedule has been one of the most difficult over the last five weeks as they have played the Vikings, Lions, Jaguars, Bengals, and the Chargers. The Packers had a brutal outing in a game that they should have taken advantage of against the Buccaneers. This could very well be Brett Hundley’s last chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Hundley has locked onto Davante Adams While Adams was largely shut down last week he still led the team in receiving yards and while Jason McCourty has been good throughout the course of the season, the 30-year old receiver has struggled over the last two weeks.

James Brimacombe: I am with Dan on the 49ers/Texans game as it should be a close game and both defenses have struggled to limit opposing offenses. Jimmy Garoppolo had a great first game with the 49ers as he completed 26-of-37 passes for 293 yards. Although he didn't find the endzone he did lead the 49ers to 5 field goal scoring drives and got them the win. The matchup was a tough one as well, against a Bears defense on the road in his first game with a new team. The Bears have the 8th best defense against opposing quarterbacks but this week Garoppolo gets the Texans defense who are 2nd worst against the quarterback position allowing 248 passing yards and 1.9 passing touchdowns on average. Pairing Garoppolo with Marquise Goodwin makes a lot of sense as the two connected on all 8 targets last week for 99 yards. For my third player in this game stack I want DeAndre Hopkins on the Texans side of the ball as he is the Texans entire offense right now, seeing 14 targets last week for 8 catches and 80 yards. If this game gets into a shootout it could very well be Goodwin and Hopkins trading off long touchdown receptions.

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