DFS Roundtable: Game Stack - NE vs PIT

New England vs Pittsburgh: Looking at the biggest Vegas total of the week.

Game Stack - New England vs Pittsburgh - It is easy to look ahead to Week 15 and see this game as the game you want to roster players from. The Vegas total in this game is 53.0 points with New England as a 3-point favorite. Lets talk game stacking on this game. It may be viable to stack 3 or 4 players for cash games this week from this game alone. Give me your top game stack from this game (at least 3 players) and tell me why?

Phil Alexander: After three consecutive home games with at least 29 fantasy points, we're back to trusting Ben Roethlisberger at Heinz Field. Any Pittsburgh-New England stack should start with Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, who has scored between 35 and 45 PPR fantasy points in each the Steelers aforementioned previous three home games. 

For GPPs, I'd bring it back with Brandin Cooks. Cooks just flopped in a national TV spot on Monday night (1-38-0), which could limit his ownership, but the Patriots top downfield threat is the player to target in this matchup. Since Week 8, Pittsburgh has allowed 24 pass plays of 20+ yards (sixth-most in the league). According to Pro Football Focus, Cooks has the highest target percentage and catch rate in the NFL on targets that travel 20 or more yards through the air. 

Chris Feery: I think Phil nailed it with the Roethlisberger-Brown stack, and you can get full coverage by adding on Cooks for a potential shootout. It works in reverse as well - Brady + Cooks with Brown on the side - and that may actually be the more prescient call now that we know that the Patriots are heading into this key tilt off of a loss. This game can certainly go either way quite easily, but it’s tough to see the Patriots losing two in a row at any point, let alone this late in the season. If we add in the nonsense overreactions after the loss that have suggested Brady is ready to be put out to pasture, then it’s not too hard to envision a scenario in which Brady and company come out with guns a blazing. 
For an alternative approach, we can look towards the respective clubs running games and call it a day. We all know what Le'Veon Bell brings to the table, and the fact that the Patriots were just shredded by Kenyan Drake makes him all the more intriguing in a potentially high-scoring affair. For the Patriots, it’s a coin flip as to who is going to be more productive between Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. Lewis brings the yardage upside to the table, while Burkhead has been the preferred red zone option in recent weeks. I’m leaning towards Lewis as the wiser choice of the two at this point, but that’s subject to change as I dive deeper into this matchup as the week moves along.
Dan Hindery: I won’t go too overboard on this game in either cash or GPPs. While there are plenty of strong plays from an overall points perspective, the top players are also incredibly expensive and will come with huge ownership. In fact, this week provides a great opportunity to fade the highest profile game and build a more balanced lineup with higher upside. 

If I was to stack this game, Rob Gronkowski is the obvious place to start. He has averaged 6.0 receptions, 99.2 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game in his career against the Steelers. Pittsburgh plays a lot of zone and has a weak spot down the seam that New England and Gronkowski have exploited mercilessly over the years. Tom Brady has torched the Steelers as well in recent years and has averaged 2.7 passing touchdowns per game against Pittsburgh. Rex Burkhead is still priced favorably despite his recent uptick in usage. You can stack Brady, Gronkowksi and Burkhead and hope that Burkhead scores a receiving touchdown. It is difficult to run it back with Le’Veon Bell or Antonio Brown due to pricing but JuJu Smith-Schuster is a more reasonably-priced option. If the Patriots consistently double-team Brown, Smith-Schuster could see extra opportunities to make plays against single coverage.

John Mamula: With a current game total of 53 points, it is imperative to have a piece of this game in your cash contests this week. After losing to the Dolphins, the Patriots will be extra motivated this Sunday. 

Dan nailed it. My top stack starts with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski as they have been thorns in Pittsburgh side in past matchups. Gronkowski went to high school in the Pittsburgh area and always "gets up" when playing the Steelers. The loss of Ryan Shazier cannot be understated as he was the glue that held their defense together. Without Shazier, the Steelers were less disciplined with routine tackles. 

If I am starting with a Brady/Gronkowski stack, the most likely third piece is either Leveon Bell or Antonio Brown. It will be interesting to see if Bill Belichick's game plan is to try to minimize either Brown or Bell. The Ravens sold out to stop Bell and that didn't work out so well as it left wide open space across the middle where Steelers receivers and tight ends feasted with crossing routes. For GPP tournaments, it may be wise to squeeze someone like JuJu Smith-Schuster or Jesse James with the hope that they find the end zone. 

Devin Knotts: With Aaron Rodgers medically cleared to return this week, this Packers vs Panthers game could be a shootout. Thankfully the sites did not lower Aaron Rodgers’ price, but Rodgers’ favorite target Jordy Nelson is extremely cheap. Both teams are very strong against the run and can be beaten through the air as their secondaries have struggled this season. This could be a tremendous opportunity for Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Devin Funchess on the other side of the game. Funchess has scored a touchdown in two consecutive games and has four touchdowns in his last four games while his lowest yardage total was just 59 yards. He has clearly emerged as the leading option in Carolina and while he is not cheap, he is not someone that will be highly owned as people still do not trust Funchess for one reason or another. 

James Brimacombe: I would love to be able to roster Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and bring it back with Rob Gronkowski but those three are all the highest price at their positions. My favorite trio in this game is Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and I like Brandin Cooks on the New England side. If this game is going to be a shootout type of game it is going to start with the passing game from both teams and Brown and Cooks are the two guys that can make big plays any time they touch the ball. I think Roethlisberger is a good play off of Brady because of the price and possible ownership as most will try to pay up to Brady this week. Cooks is coming off a disappointing game against the Dolphins and with Rob Gronkowski back, Cooks will be lesser owned as well.

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