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Correlations are very relevant in NFL DFS, as we like to pair up quarterbacks with their top receiving options. While the running back and defense stack is not as high of an upside stack as using a passing game, it is still viable with the right plays around it, and still brings a small correlation of upside. Game stacks can often be overlooked, but why wouldn't you want exposure to the team trying to keep up or chasing your favorite passing offense? There are ways to be contrarian by still targeting a top offense projected with higher ownership. Shifting from the popular WR1 to a WR2, TE, or even RB is going to help you get exposure at slightly less ownership. WR1, RB1, WR2, and TE1 in that order stand the highest chances of generating the most fantasy points in a stack. This is at least for two man stacks. We will dive into more multiplayer stacks below. Volume, Vegas, opposing defensive stats, pace, and pricing are all calculated into my stacks below. You will find my top, value, contrarian, and game stacks within the article. You can find me on Twitter at @JGuilbault11 to help with the week's slate, or questions/comments about the article.
Los Angeles Rams - Implied Total 29.5
There are a number of ways you can go stacking this week, and you will see in the notes below there are a few other popular stacks that don't require a ton of breaking down. The Rams offense was a little sluggish last week against Oakland, although things came to life in the second half. They have their first home game of the year against Arizona, who struggled stopping the Washington Redskins in Week 1. The Rams come in with over a four touchdown implied total, and plenty of options to consider. After watching Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson run wild against this defense, we are all salivating for Todd Gurley to do the same. Arizona was stout against the run last season, but this year looks to be different. The game script is going to be there for Gurley, but as we saw with many backs in Week 1, the passing game can still produce. Jared Goff had 233 passing yards in Week 1, and also threw two touchdowns. His 33 attempts were pretty narrowed down to who you would expect. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods led the team in targets with nine, while Brandin Cooks saw eight. Gurley saw five targets, which was where he had his lone touchdown of Week 1 in. Kupp is my favorite of this group this week, dodging Patrick Peterson who generally doesn't go to the slot. Dating back to last season Peterson went to the slot on just 10% of routes, while Kupp lined up there over 60% of the time. Kupp led the Rams in red zone targets last season, and he looks right on track to do the same this year. He had three red zone targets in Week 1, which led to a touchdown. Woods will draw Peterson on most routes this week, which is why Cooks and Kupp will be the main targets. McVay's use of Cooks is going to help, but overall he is going to be a boom-or-bust option most weeks because the touchdown upside will be highly variant. A Goff-Gurley-Kupp stack is one to look at, with Cooks swapped in being a close second.
Note: Teams like Pittsburgh and New Orleans are going to be good stacks this week, as they will most weeks. Unless there are limited options to talk about, they will likely be found here. Pittsburgh's James Conner, Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger (if healthy), and Juju Smith-Schuster are all excellent options against a hapless Kansas City defense. The New Orleans stack paid off last week as expected, but chasing the game really helped Thomas and Brees. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas are back in play again this week.
Kansas City Chiefs - Implied Total 24
While I do wish this game was in Kansas City, the Chiefs are still in a good spot to put up some points and Vegas is expecting them to. The Steelers defense has some good pieces, but I am not too high on the secondary coming into the year despite them ranking 7th in DVOA against the pass last year. The Chiefs showcased their upside in Week 1 against a Chargers defense that was missing a few pieces, but even so are very above average. We know the Pittsburgh side of this game is going to be popular, and that helps because I do expect the Steelers to put up a lot of points in this spot. The game stack opportunity here is incredible. Week 1 was a non-optimal weather game for Pittsburgh against Cleveland, and it is hard to reference what they did given the circumstances, but they still managed to let the Browns run wild, and Jarvis Landry did his usual thing. Tyreek Hill instantly hit the ground running, and that is going to be the upside he brings on a weekly basis, but we also saw some very low floor games for him last season. The average depth of target for Hill in Week 1 was 17.6. In 2017, Pittsburgh ranked 26th in DVOA against passes that traveled 16+ yards. With Pat Mahomes being more comfortable throwing the deep ball, this is going to open things up as stated by many before the season. This is going to be a tournament stack given the other side of this game is one to get pieces of and New Orleans as well. Mahomes led all quarterbacks in Week 1 with a 14.6 aDOT, and has the weapons to make him an upside play each and every week.
Travis Kelce was in a tough matchup for Week 1, and things won't get easier this week. Pittsburgh ranked first in DVOA against tight ends last season, allowing the second fewest fantasy points per game. Kelce isn't going to crack a lot of lineups, but a share or two in tournaments is fine. Kelce has been limited against Pittsburgh in his career, which has been the case for most tight ends. Kareem Hunt is an interesting pivot away from a lot of chalky backs this week. Hunt's use in the passing game was disappointing, but Pittsburgh ranked 23rd in DVOA against pass-catching backs in 2017, and 18th in DVOA against the run. While there is a small sample size, but Hill's big games could mean Hunt takes a back seat in the action. The sample size isn't large enough to support, but it is a theory. The Chiefs are capable of being one of these teams that can support a QB-RB-WR stack. I am limiting exposure to this stack in large field tournaments this week, but I do like them as a contrarian side worth mentioning.
Denver Broncos - Implied Total 26.25
The Broncos came out and put up some numbers on a poor Seattle defense at home. They get Oakland this week who bring in another poor defense to target. I like going back to the well with the passing game, as the running game was a bit split for my liking. Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsey both split shares, which pushed Devontae Booker basically out of the mix. I do like the game script for Freeman at his price, but within the stack I am looking more towards the two wideouts. Oakland struggled to get any pressure on Jared Goff this past week, and their corners are not anything to shy away from. They ranked 30th in DVOA against the pass, and they will likely be in this bottom five group yet again. Case Keenum had some questionable throws, which led to three picks last week, but he also threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Keenum's price has not jumped up high enough around the industry for me to feel wrong for starting him over some others. This stack comes in offering up some value again, which is a bit surprising. I do believe this will be the last week they are priced down for their production. I was a bit surprised to see 40 attempts for Keenum in Week 1, but hey I won't complain. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are the stacking partners with Keenum, and Sanders is going off a monster Week 1. He posted a 10-135-1 line on 11 targets, while Thomas had a 6-63-1 line on 10 targets. The nice thing in Denver is not having to guess where the targets will go. Sure they have Courtland Sutton and Lindsey as guys who will see targets, but not enough to cause low volume weeks for Thomas and Sanders.
Los Angeles Chargers - Implied Total 25.5
Talked Los Angeles last week, although I did not expect them to be playing from behind. Either way the stack paid off big time, and I am going back to the well this week. It should be a much better spot for Melvin Gordon on the ground, so I don't expect to see 13 targets and over 100 receiving yards for him. Gordon looked good on the ground, but 15 attempts was due to the game script. Against Buffalo that should be a different story. Baltimore trounced Buffalo, and they combined for 34 rushing attempts. Nobody really was able to take advantage given the committee, but Los Angeles will lean on Gordon here and if it gets out of hand Ekeler will come in and maybe get some run. Buffalo ranked 30th in DVOA against running backs last season, and allowed the most fantasy points per game. Most of that came within the second half of the season after they decided having personnel on the defense wasn't worth it.
After watching Baltimore torch Buffalo through the air, you have to at least consider Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen again this week. They are coming off big performances against Kansas City, and Allen is going to avoid Tre'Davious White. Allen will move to the slot, where White has only covered 5% of the time going back to last year. This is a huge advantage given White is one of the better young cornerbacks in the game. After White this set of corners is a joke. They should have no problem moving the ball at will this week. While you can make the argument of them traveling cross country, which can be tricky games, the Bills are going to allow a ton of upside regardless of where teams are coming from. If you are looking for a more contrarian wide receiving option, Mike Williams had 80 receiving yards on six targets.