NFL DFS – Main Slate Optimizer Groups & Stack Rankings – Week 12 – Sunday Update & Game Notes

This article focuses on building lineups with a quality foundation by utilizing the powerful Groups and Rules/Limits tools within the industry’s optimization tools. All of the concepts and pairings included below can be applied to hand-building as well. The goal is to create lineups that have high-scoring correlation and take advantage of combined outcomes within stacks while limiting the likelihood of building inefficient or negatively correlated entries for a full slate of NFL DFS lineups.

This video was made in a former life and features a detailed demonstration of how to apply these concepts in one leading optimizer tool: Fantasy Cruncher – How-To Video

All references to Sims were done via friends of the site:

Don’t miss the new Above/Below feature article for a few of our top picks, coming Sunday morning

Join us on Saturday for a marathon game-by-game breakdown of every little piece of the slate, check back for a link or subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Week 12 DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS Stack Rankings

The following stack rankings were created by pairing each team quarterback with his top three scoring options, whether they are three wide receivers, two wide receivers and a tight end, a wide receiver, tight end, and running back, or any viable combination. In some cases, an expensive running back, such as Tony Pollard, can push the overall price point of his team stack in the value rankings.

TEAMFD RankFD Val RankDK RankDK Val RankHR RankFacingOpp SP Rnk
BAL11133Jose Berrios, RHP10
NYY242141Chris Paddack, RHP13
LAD3113124Paul Skenes, RHP8
SEA42412Joey Estes, RHP7
TEX5165165Kenta Maeda, RHP15
CHC68856Erick Fedde, RHP11
KC667515Nick Sandlin, RHP (O)18
SDP8105711Jose Soriano, RHP12
CLE91691716Brady Singer, RHP9
MIN10410108Carlos Rodon, LHP3
TOR1113111412Albert Suarez, RHP14
PIT1215121710James Paxton, LHP16
TB131313818Braxton Garrett, LHP5
CWS1431427Jameson Taillon, RHP4
OAK15816128Logan Gilbert, RHP2
DET16715413Jose Urena, RHP17
LAA1711171017Dylan Cease, RHP1
MIA181818814Zach Eflin, RHP6

Week 12 DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS Stacks & Optimizer Groups


Rules and limits are powerful tools for lineup creation for NFL DFS where our primary focus is creating highly correlated lineups via stacking players from the same game. Lineups will typically be coordinated around the quarterback selection, which informs at least one pass-catcher choice, establishes a budget, eliminates a defense, and sets the tone for the lineup. We will typically look to correlate a quarterback and at least one of his pass-catchers in every lineup, with most of those including a skill player from the opposing team who will have a chance to support the stack in a high-scoring game that drives offense on both sides to create additional correlated scoring potential. Stacking multiple pass-catchers in the same lineup is a sound approach as well, though there are typically overall ceilings on how much volume is available at any given position. We do not typically include running backs who are not pass-catchers as priorities in NFL DFS groups, they typically stand alone with the selection of the quarterback-based stack informing remaining salary which then informs the running back selections. High-volume backs and pass catchers out of the backfield can be included in the groups utilized below, but it is frequently not necessary to do so with the very best players, they arrive in lineups without help.

The following rules and limits are typically applied in an optimizer’s Advanced Options menu. Notes are included to elucidate the reasons behind each rule and to explain what it does during the lineup creation process. These settings can typically be saved for re-use, which is highly recommended. Saving the Week 1 groups that will be created below is also a very good idea to save time with updates instead of recreation each week. These groups are created manually, but most optimizers include automated group creators that can help accelerate the curation process.

DraftKings + FanDuel Settings & Advanced Options

Unique Players Per Lineup– This setting forces the optimizer to utilize at least X new players who were not in Lineup 1 when it creates Lineup 2, and so on. It is recommended to utilize at least two, and more can be applied depending on the degree of differentiation desired within lineups.

Team Salary– a minimum or maximum salary spend can be applied here as needed, though this is not a part of the recommended process in this space as leaving salary on the table is an easy path toward creating unique lineups while not necessarily making a negative expected value play.

FLEX position– allows restrictions on what positions can be rostered at the FLEX spot. The only position to consider in this case is tight end, but that is something to be restricted at the individual level via Groups, rather than at the global level.

Global Exposure Settingallows caps on the maximum percentage of lineups a player can appear in within a given pool of lineup construction. This is a powerful tool for shaping lineups but if settings are too low attempts to build a full set will fall short due to a lack of available players, one of the most common errors in optimizer building. Most optimizers include the ability to calculate ownership caps continuously or at the end of the pool creation process. If caps are calculated continuously, a player with a 25% cap who is utilized in Lineup 1 will not be available for use again until Lineup 5 , we recommend turning OFF continuous calculation.

Randomness – provides a random multiplier to each player’s projected point total based on the set values. This is a valuable tool that helps differentiate lineups instead of simply creating them in order of highest median projected scores. Using some randomness for lineup generation is strongly recommended but the degree to which it is applied is down to personal preference, but 15-25% is fine to get started. We suggest heavier randomness to more event-based players like wide receivers while tracking volume-based positions like running backs more toward their median or ceiling projections.

DraftKings + FanDuel Team Stack Rules

This set of rules will force optimizers to build lineups with certain combinations. We are looking to stack at least one skill player, almost always a pass-catcher, with his quarterback while also playing a skill player from the opposing team in the lineup. The theory behind this build is that a high-scoring stack will require some response from the opposing team to deliver a ceiling score in most situations. When that is not the case, the team that is winning will simply slow down and run out the clock. Most optimizers utilize a “complete the sentence” approach for rule creation with selections from drop-down menus following a very straightforward logic. Exceptions to these rules can be added for specific teams and players on most optimizer products.

  • QB with at least one WR/TE from Same Team (note: It is fine to set this to two or to utilize two versions of this rule, one with WR/TE and one with RB/WR/TE, but we refine this via Groups)
  • QB with at least one RB/WR/TE from the Opposing Team (we typically prefer the pass-catchers but high-volume running backs can be effective here)
  • QB with at most zero DST from the Same Team (this is a personal preference; high-scoring teams and quarterbacks tend to leave their defenses on the field, exposing them to simple point-scoring negatives)

Limits & Custom Rules and Requirements

Limit rules can be applied to restrict certain combinations from coming together. This is powerful for limiting multiple running backs from the same team or getting overweight to a certain stack within a lineup.

  • Limit QB/RB/WR/TE from Same Team to three
  • Limit RB/WR/TE from the Same Team to one unless paired with QB from the Same Team OR the Opposing Team
  • Limit RB from Same Team to one (we also do this with WR in a separate rule that adds an “unless paired with QB or opposing QB” but it’s a personal preference for NFL DFS, we typically do not want two pass-catchers from the same team without their quarterback)

We will maintain the list of rules and limits throughout the season, with occasional tweaks, if needed. Each week sees yet another fresh crop of value plays as situations change and injuries create opportunities around the league. These changing roles and emergent value plays are accounted for in the process of creating these groups from week to week. After a large pool of lineups is created utilizing these groups, it is still of critical importance to filter them for factors including ceiling projections and leverage potential. These groups should help ensure that a highly correlated premium set of options that rotates through a variety of combinations is utilized to create the full lineup pool.

Sunday Updates

Any changes and recommended boosts to specific players will be provided in an early morning update each Sunday.

NFL DFS Week 12 Features & FREE Projections


Construction Concept

Team groups are built by utilizing the quarterback as the KEY player in group settings. The quarterback decision in each lineup is the driving factor in which stack is utilized in that lineup and which corresponding plays are then made to work within the structure and requirements. Built to specification, each team will have two groups, a team group, and an opponent group, both of which utilize the same quarterback as the key player. Each game will have a total of four groups. This is the best approach to truly capture the requirement of playing individual “run-back” plays from the opposing team. A more basic approach would be to include all of the skill players from a game in each quarterback’s group and rely on rules and limits to restrict any potential overflow. It is highly recommended to save the Week 1 groups as a foundation that will be updated for the rest of the season. The recommended groups will include skill players who have an active role in their offense and provide significant correlation with their quarterback’s scoring, often bell-cow running backs who do not specialize in the passing game will not be included in groups as they are projected highly and appear on their own in basically correct distributions, while also not always providing the strongest positive correlation plays. Stacking quarterbacks with pass-catchers and allowing running backs to fall into the lanes then created by settings, available salary, and randomness should create a well-distributed set of quality lineups. These groups are updated weekly to account for changes in utilization, schemes, injuries, target shares, and more.

Team Groups for DraftKings & FanDuel – Week 12

The goal is to create a large pool of well-built lineups that can be utilized in any large-field GPP contest. Our approach is to build far more lineups than needed and utilize a sorting table or sim process to filter to the best set of lineups for entries. The lineups created in these crunches should provide a broad distribution that includes some of the lower-owned high-upside skill players from each stack. Applying boosts is critical in pushing and pulling ownership to individual players within their team’s stacked lineups if they are appearing too much or too little.

The groups below are designed so that each quarterback will have two groups to create, one with his skill players and another with the opposing team. A more basic approach would be to add them all to one large group with an “at least three” and let rules and limits set things, but there is a more granular level of control in creating them separately.

Utilizing two groups also allows us to place running backs into the “run-back” position in certain teams while not including them in the primary stack for their team. This is useful when there is a situation with an extremely highly projected running back who does not necessarily fit into his team’s passing game. These players are threaded throughout the following construction recommendations.

Note for the Rotogrinders optimizer, we recommend trimming the automatically created groups that can be accessed under Team Groups, Opponent Groups, and Max Position Groups to match these groups for lineup building. We typically utilize the Stacks tab to enforce constructions as well, but a key requirement is missed in the automated groups. The Max Position groups need the manual addition of the running backs and tight ends to the group that is created with the wide receivers with a setting of max 1 and the team’s quarterback selected as a key player with the designation of using that group when the quarterback is NOT in the lineup. This is done to eliminate the possibility of three skill players from the same team appearing at running back, tight end, and wide receiver together without their quarterback involved. A simple limit of three players per team will keep things to just a quarterback with two skill players in stacks after that. Update: if one were to reset their saved settings on RG’s optimizer new options will reveal themselves, including thankfully a toggle to take care of this from the main build rules page. There is also a non-QB group with a max-1 setting that works better for this purpose because the toggle on the main page will limit stacks to just a 1-1 combination, seemingly as a bug.

Note for all optimizers the rules can be utilized to force bring-back plays in some sets of crunches and turned off for others as a global function instead of changing each group to “exactly one” bring-back play, wherever applicable, but it will apply to all teams.

Arizona Cardinals

Key Player: Kyler Murray

Setting: at least one

Team Group: James Conner, Trey McBride, Marquise Brown (Q), Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, Elijah Higgins (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, Tyler Higbee

Lineup Notes: Marquise Brown is expected to play. This game is a high-priority stack on both sides, Arizona ranks 7th by points and 4th by points-per-dollar value on the DraftKings slate while landing 7/5 on the FanDuel board. Kyler Murray is a strong fantasy performer who can score through the air or running the ball in, he has two rushing touchdowns in the two games since his return, with 7.5 yards per pass attempt and a significant 10.2 intended air yards per attempt. With Marquise Brown playing, there can be a bit of expectation for ownership to free up somewhat around anticipated value play Greg Dortch, with a similar but less significant impact to Rondale Moore. Both receivers are good plays who should be included in stacks, in our opinion Dortch, who received eight targets in last week’s game, becomes more interesting if his ownership dips with his teammate active. The Rams side has several very strong options for bring-back plays with Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, as well as a returning Kyren Williams and a productive Tyler Higbee. Tutu Atwell is not a priority bring-back or stacking option in the current form of the Rams offense.


Atlanta Falcons

Key Player: Desmond Ridder

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Bijan Robinson, Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith, Van Jefferson (large field), KhaDarel Hodge (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, Taysom Hill, AT Perry, Juwan Johnson

Lineup Notes: Atlanta ranks 14th by fantasy points but sixth by DraftKings points-per-dollar while landing just 15/14 on the FanDuel slate. The Atltanta offense is limited by frustrating play calling and multiple positional splits with touchdown and opportunity vultures Jonnu Smith and Tyler Allgeier wreaking havoc on the productivity of Bijan Robinson and Kyle Pitts. This game is not overly favorable for stacking with the limited Desmond Ridder at the helm against a quality New Orleans pass defense, but Atlanta has interesting skill players, not the least of whom are Robinson and Pitts. Drake London is an affordable option at wide receiver, both touchdown pivots at running back and tight end are viable individual plays, and the team offers large field dart throws in Van Jefferson and KhaDarel Hodge. The Saints are a fair bring-back offense, but the Falcons have been god against the pass this year, limiting opposing offenses to just 5.9 yards per pass attempt, the seventh-best mark in the league. Alvin Kamara makes for a strong bring-back play in any game, Chris Olvae and Rashid Shaheed are stong options at the wide receiver position, and the team offers value at tight end, with high ceiling Taysom Hill and quality touchdown upside in Juwan Johnson.


Buffalo Bills

Key Player: Josh Allen

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Stefon Diggs, James Cook, Gabe Davis, Dalton Kincaid, Khalil Shakir, Deonte Harty (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, D’Andre Swift, Julio Jones, Jack Stoll

Lineup Notes: This is a top-priority game in Week 12. Buffalo is a three-point underdog on the road in a game with a 49-point total, the highest of the week. Both the Bills and Eagles have excellent skill players across the board for NFL DFS purposes, this is an excellent potential source of fantasy scoring with two strong quarterbacks who will both be popular on this slate. The expensive Bills stack features on of the highest ROI% marks in our early sims and the third-highest among quarterbacks on the FanDuel slate. Allen is a big play quarterback who has thrown too many interceptions, he comes with some flaws but he has a very strong upside as one of the most highly projected options against an Eagles pass defense that has allowed more than two touchdowns per game through the air this season. Allen has the ability to run the ball into the end zone as well, he has seven rushing touchdowns on the season. Jalen Hurts has nine rushing touchdowns from the opposing quarterback position. Allen and Hurts will duel at quarterback while these teams are balanced throughout, Buffalo has an excellent number-one receiver in Stefon Diggs, who is matched by AJ Brown in a pairing that we love in lineups both in and out of stacks. Gabriel Davis is not at the level of DeVonta Smith, but he projects very well in our model and is destined for the “Above” side of the Above/Below column. James Cook has limited appeal against a good Eagles rush defense while his counterpart D’Andre Swift has a significant ceiling against a targetable Buffalo rush defense that lands 29th with 4.5 yards allowed per rush attempt this season. Buffalo gains the advantage in tight end Dalton Kincaid, who is a better option than Eagles backups Jack Stoll and Albert Okwuegbunam. This game should be rostered up and down on both sides despite its obvious popularity.


Carolina Panthers

Key Player: Bryce Young

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Adam Thielen, DJ Chark, Jonathan Mingo, Tommy Tremble, Laviska Shenault (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Kyle Phillips, Chig Okonkwo, Tyjae Spears

Lineup Notes: We are slightly ahead by projections but have limited enthusiasm for the Panthers behind quarterback Bryce Young. Adam Theilen lands as a playable wide receiver option, he ranks 8th by value on FanDuel but just 31st on DraftKings, while sitting 11th by raw fantasy scoring on both sites. DJ Chark, Jonathan Mingo, and Laviska Shenault are not much more than dart throw options in large field tournaments, while tight end Tommy Tremble is a limited value play who lands 31/31 on DraftKings and 31/29 on FanDuel despite price tags of $2900/$4,800. Neither Miles Sanders nor Chuba Hubbard has much appeal, the potential upside reflected in the limited passing projections is due to a Titans defense that has yielded 7.3 yards per pass attempt and 230 yards per game this season. The Titans have two strong bring-back options in Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins but they will also be somewhat limited by the quarterback situation and a 37-point total in Vegas.


Cincinnati Bengals

Key Player: Jake Browning

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, Trenton Irwin, Tanner Hudson, Irv Smith Jr.

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Jaylen Warren, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Pat Freiermuth

Lineup Notes: Jake Browning is an undrafted quarterback who has been on the Vikings practice squad since 2019, he once threw for 43 touchdowns in 14 games while at Washington, but that was in 2016. Browning has strong weapons in Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon, and Tyler Boyd, with ample support from Trenton Irwin and the tight end pool, but this team will only go as far as Browning can take them. In limited action against the Ravens after Burrow could not continue, Browning completed eight of 14 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown in his 32 snaps against what is a top-flight pass defense. Browning added four rushing attempts for 40 more yards. Ja’Marr Chaes ranks fifth by fantasy points on both sites but he lands differently for value. Chase is just WR37 by points-per-dollar at a hefty $8,300 on DraftKings, but he lands at WR9 by FanDuel value at $8,100. There is a bit of life in the Bengals play and there is support on the Steelers’ side for bring-back options with a split running back situation, two good receivers, and what looks to be a terrific tight end value play. Pat Freiermuth returned to action last week against the Browns, he saw 31 snaps but ran just 12 routes, drawing one target which he caught for seven yards in a bit of a letdown. Freiermuth had a pair of three-catch games prior to getting injured and missing five games, but he scored two touchdowns in the early part of the season and is coming off of a season in which he caught 63 passes for 732 yards and two touchdowns. That 2022 season followed up a rookie campaign that featured seven touchdown receptions and 497 yards on 60 catches, Freiermuth is extremely affordable on both sites, he ranks as TE7 by points and TE1 by value on DraftKings while sitting 8/5 on the blue site.


Cleveland Browns

Key Player: Dorian Thompson-Robinson

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Amari Cooper, Jerome Ford, David Njoku, Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Jerry Jeudy, Javonte Williams, Courtland Sutton, Marvin Mims Jr., Adam Trautman

Lineup Notes: The Denver defense has seen some wild swings this season, their numbers are still skewed for the season from their 70-point drubbing at the hands of the Dolphins earlier this season. Overall, the Broncos have not been as bad as it may seem, they have a moderately productive defense that has allowed 7.4 yards per pass attempt and 240 yards per game, a 17.3% pressure rate, 19 sacks, and 10 interceptions on the season. Denver’s defense is affordable for a team taking on Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Browns offense. Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford are a fairly well split backfield with touchdown potential and red zone opportunities on both sides. Hunt had a strong run of games with at least one touchdown scored before faltering last week. The running back scored at least once in every game from Week 6 through Week 10. Meanwhile, Ford scored last week but put up just 31 yards on 12 carries over 37 snaps. Ford drew five targets, he has the upside in passing situations in the split and is the volume leader at a fair price. Amari Cooper and the wide receiver pool are somewhat limited by the quarterback and a low 36-point total, but David Njoku looks like a very playable tight end option from site to site. Njoku saw a monster 15 targets in the team’s most recent outing.


Denver Broncos

Key Player: Russell Wilson

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Jerry Jeudy, Javonte Williams, Courtland Sutton, Marvin Mims Jr., Adam Trautman

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Amari Cooper, Jerome Ford, David Njoku, Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman

Lineup Notes: Denver is a low-priority passing attack against a good Cleveland defense. The rushing game is not overly appealing either. Courtland Sutton has overtaken Jerry Jeudy in projections and he has an excellent touchdown connection with Russell Wilson, but there is limited appeal against a defense that has allowed just 5.4 yards per pass attempt, the second-lowest mark in the league, and in a game with a 36-point total.


Houston Texans

Key Player: CJ Stroud

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Tank Dell, Nico Collins, Dalton Schultz, Devin Singletary, Robert Woods, John Metchie III (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Travis Etienne Jr., Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, Zay Jones (Q)

Lineup Notes: The high-flying Texans receiving corps gains strength with Tank Dell, Nico Collins, Robert Woods, and Dalton Schultz all as strong options and Devin Singletary heading up a backfield split with returning Dameon Pierce. The Jaguars are the 22nd-ranked pass defense at 6.7 yards allowed per pass attempt this season, CJ Stroud and co. have an opportunity to feast through the air in what could be a bonanza game for fantasy points. Stroud + 2 stacks are viable in this setup, the 47.5-point total is very appealing and the point spread has Houston as 1-point underdogs at home to a similarly talented Jacksonville team that offers good run-back options. In addition to the big play upside of both Dell and Collins, who are excellent selections, lower-cost Robert Woods has good volume and scoring potential, and Schultz has been heavily targeted inside the 20 all year as one of our preferred tight ends since the season began.


Indianapolis Colts

Key Player: Gardner Minshew II

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., Josh Downs, Alec Pierce, Kylen Granson

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Rachaad White (Q), Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Trey Palmer, Cade Otton

Lineup Notes: Jonathan Taylor is a very high priority running back in what is ultimately a very good option for stacking purposes or on his own in Week 12. Taylor is the top projected running back on volume and talent, despite facing a defense that has limited opposing running backs to just 3.7 yards per rush attempt, the 5th-best mark in the league. Taylor will be joined by Gardner Minshew and his passing attack that features three viable wide receivers with standout Michael Pittman, Josh Downs, and Alec Pierce. Pierce is more of a downfield big play threat with limited volume, while Downs and Pittman are the go-to options. The tight end position will see Kylen Granson pick up most of the action but Mo Allie-Cox may see a bit of an opportunity in a limited positional depth chart. Tampa Bay has been a sieve against the pass, allowing 7.4 yards per attempt, the 29th-ranked mark in the league, there is a very good upside for the inexpensive Colts stack, they rank fifth by fantasy points and fourth by value on DraftKings while sitting 5/1 on FanDuel.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Player: Trevor Lawrence

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Travis Etienne Jr., Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, Zay Jones (Q)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Tank Dell, Nico Collins, Dalton Schultz, Devin Singletary, Robert Woods

Lineup Notes: On the other side of the Houston game, the Jaguars are an equally compelling stack that matches their opponent position-for-position. This high-profile game has a 47-point total with the teams a point apart, meaning we should have action up and down the field for the length of the game, with premium skill players on both sides. The Jaguars passing game sprang to life around Calvin Ridley who had a two-touchdown game in the team’s last outing, with Trevor Lawrence posting a strong but still not ceiling-caliber performance. Ridley is joined by capable Christian Kirk, Travis Etienne Jr. out of the backfield, and tight end Evan Engram, as well as the more limited Zay Jones, who sees fewer opportunities with so many mouths to feed. The Jaguars rank 2nd across the board for points and value on both sites against a Texans team that has allowed 7.0 yards per pass attempt but just 3.7 yards per rush attempt, the 24th and 3rd best marks in football. Travis Etienne has more than enough involvement in the passing game to support his upside even against the strong rush defense. The Texans offer excellent bring-back plays across the board.


Kansas City Chiefs

Key Player: Patrick Mahomes

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco, Rashee Rice, Justin Watson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Michael Mayer

Lineup Notes: The Chiefs will only be limited by their own lack of talent at the receiver position and the performance of their opponent’s offense. In a game with just a 42-point total and a 10-point spread, one can easily see Kansas City easing up in the second half and burning time feeding the ball to premium running back Isiah Pacheco, who is a high-priority play at the position this week. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelece remain a high-end pairing, they are costly but worthwhile in lineups together and their projections along with the running back are keeping the team afloat. Kansas City is facing a weak Las Vegas defense that has allowed 4.5 yards per rush attempt but just 6.4 yards per pass attempt, 27th and 16th in the league. Wide receiver Justin Watson is an extreme value option at $3,000 on the DraftKings slate, while the spread of bad receivers that the Chiefs offer are all at least somewhat playable, particularly with a bit of additional concentration of opportunity in the absence of Kadarius Toney. The priorities are Pacheco, who is in play both in and out of stacks, Kelce, who rates similarly, and then stacks with Mahomes. The Raiders have three strong bring-back plays, but they will be limited overall by the play of Aidan O’Connel in a spot that Vegas does not like for their hometown squad


Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, Tutu Atwell, Tyler Higbee, Austin Trammell (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: James Conner, Trey McBride, Marquise Brown (Q), Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch

Lineup Notes: This is a high-priority game with options on both sides. The Rams rank 3rd by fantasy points but 10th by value on DraftKings while landing 4/7 on the FanDuel slate, where they look a bit better. The team is very playable, but the pricing of Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua at the receiver position drives up the cost of stacking the somewhat disappointing of late Rams offense. Los Angeles should see the return of quality running back Kyren Williams, who also lands at a high price tag overall. The Rams are a playable stack in a game with a hefty 44.5-point total and just a two-point spread, and the Cardinals are offering up a very good pool of bring-back plays with some cheap options and good points-per-dollar value to help average down the cost of a double-stack. Cooper Kupp has been surprisingly limited in his last four games, posting just nine catches and 109 yards with zero touchdowns over the four contests. For comparison, he had eight catches for 118 yards in his return to action and seven for 148 yards and a touchdown in his Week 6 game. Nacua has been good with a bit of a downturn in volume, drawing seven targets per game over the last three, but his ceiling has also lowered in recent weeks, he has just one touchdown since Week 5 and he has not been over 100 yards since Week 7. Tutu Atwell is a limited low-volume option, as is the team’s tight end Tyler Higbee, who is expected to play. Kyren Williams last played in Week 6, putting up 158 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, he is not likely to see as much volume, and Royce Freeman was somewhat effective in his absence, so there could be reason to believe that he will have a bit of coverage in the rush game.


Las Vegas Raiders

Key Player: Aidan O’Connell

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Michael Mayer, Hunter Renfrow (large field), Tre Tucker (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco, Rashee Rice, Justin Watson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore

Lineup Notes: Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams are always good options, they are star talents who see tons of volume. Jakobi Meyers is in the middle of a strong season as the second option in the passing attack for Las Vegas, and the opposing team has a few capable bring-back plays in this otherwise poor-looking spot. The Raiders are better deployed as individuals or bring-back options against stacks of Chiefs, Aidan O’Connell has put up just 189.2 yards per game and 6.5 yards per pass attempt over his first five starts, throwing 29 times a game and completing just three touchdown passes to his two interceptions. Meanwhile, the Chiefs defense has been good against the pass with just 5.5 yards allowed per pass attempt, the third-best mark in the league.


New England Patriots

Key Player: Mac Jones

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Rhamondre Stevenson, Demario Douglas, DeVante Parker (Q), Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, Juju Smith-Schuster, Kayshon Boutte

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Saquon Barkley, Wan’Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt, Sterling Shepard, Isiah Hodgins (but mostly just Saquon)

Lineup Notes: The Patriots finally confirmed Mac Jones as the starter overnight on Saturday, this should go well. With a quarterback “controversy” the Patriots don’t seem to be a great option, but they are facing a terrible Giants defense that could be a get-right spot for poor Mac Jones, who has thrown for 272 yards and two touchdowns as recently as Week 7 against Buffalo. Jones has a 300-yard game on the season that also came with three touchdowns, although that was in Week 1 against the Eagles. The quarterback is an up-and-down experience and he is limited by a weak receiving corps led by Demario Douglas and DeVante Parker, who remains questionable going into action. The Giants’ inept defense is the driving factor making the passing game look OK here, but running back Rhamondre Stevenson is looking like an undeniable play on both sites. New York has allowed 4.8 yards per rush attempt, the 30th-ranked mark in the league, and Stevenson costs just $5,800/$6,500 against them. Stevenson is easily the top priority option in this backfield, he shows strong returns in early sims for this slate on both sites. If Parker plays he projects to be a good value option on the DraftKings slate, climbing to a good points-per-dollar ranking at just $3,000 despite a limited projection, though options like Justin Watson could be better before lock arrives. With the cheap price tag Parker is in play, but he has delivered just one catch in each of his last three games and he would be coming off of two straight DNPs and a bye week. Parker has not been over 33 yards since his 57-yard day in Week 2 and he is yet to score a touchdown this season.


New Orleans Saints

Key Player: Derek Carr

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, Taysom Hill, AT Perry, Juwan Johnson

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Bijan Robinson, Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith

Lineup Notes: The Saints land similarly to their opponents in what could turn into a deceptively weak game for fantasy. This game could also explode for scoring, given the skill players involved, but both defenses are good, the Saints have not lived up to their talent levels this season, and the Falcons are a mess on the offensive side of the ball overall. New Orleans has the excellent Alvin Kamara, a fully healthy Derek Carr, downfield burner Rashid Shaheed, Swiss Army Knife “tight end” Taysom Hill, and actual tight end Juwan Johnson all landing as playable selections on a team that ranks 9th by points and 11th by value on DraftKings and 8/8 on FanDuel, where they are slightly more appealing. Kamara on his own and in stacks is a good option, the Falcons offer plenty of talent in the form of bring-back plays, but this game is sitting at just 42 points in Vegas with a 1-point spread and an Atlanta defense that ranks 10th against the run at 3.9 yards per rush attempt and 11th against the pass at 6.2 yards per pass attempt.


New York Giants

Key Player: Tommy DeVito

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Saquon Barkley, Wan’Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt, Daniel Bellinger, Sterling Shepard, Isaiah Hodgins

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Rhamondre Stevenson, Demario Douglas, DeVante Parker (Q), Hunter Henry

Lineup Notes: The sun even shines on… well, Tommy DeVito anyway. The 3rd-string Giants quarterback threw three touchdown passes in last week’s game and showed signs of life, but we remain incredibly skeptical about the potential for a repeat performance behind a terrible offensive line with very bad pass-catchers to work with. DeVito’s talent level is another limiting factor in any real sense as well. Saquon Barkley remains the one truly appealing part of the Giants’ offense, while any of the cheap wide receivers can be used as a dart throw in large field formats.


Philadelphia Eagles

Key Player: Jalen Hurts

Setting: at least one

Team Group: AJ Brown, D’Andre Swift, DeVonta Smith, Julio Jones, Jack Stoll, Olamide Zaccheaus (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Stefon Diggs, James Cook, Gabe Davis, Dalton Kincaid, Khalil Shakir

Lineup Notes: This is the highest-profile game of the week with major talent on both sides. Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts are the top two rushing quarterbacks when it comes to touchdown scoring this season, they could battle head to head all day, but it seems likely that their excellent skill players will be involved to significant degrees in the most highly totaled game of the week. The Eagles have an excellent 1/1A combination in AJ Brown, the clear 1, and highly capable DeVonta Smith. With Stefon Diggs on the other side of the game, a pairing of Diggs and Brown back and forth in lineups that include this stack with either quarterback or as a pairing in lineups that are not stacks of this game is a very high-upside correlated scoring play for premium wideouts. Both are expensive, but they have slate-breaking potential despite their popularity. Smith slots in next to Brown and Diggs as the next-best option in the passing game, while D’Andre Swift is an excellent play on the ground. The Bills rush defense is vulnerable, they have given up 4.5 yards per rush attempt, the 29th-best mark in football, but their 6.3 yards allowed per pass attempt sits at a more respectable 13th. Swift could have an excellent day on the ground and he is involved in the passing game and playable in Eagles stacks as well.


Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Player: Kenny Pickett

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Jaylen Warren, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Pat Freiermuth, Allen Robinson II (large field), Calvin Austin III (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, Trenton Irwin, Tanner Hudson

Lineup Notes: The Steelers have not been a great offense this year, but every now and then we have to talk about uncomfortable plays in this space. Pittsburgh is facing a Bengals defense that sits 31st against the run, allowing 5.0 yards per rush attempt, and 32nd against the pass with 7.6 yards allowed per pass attempt on the season, there is potential for the Steelers to succeed and the team has three highly talented inexpensive pass-catchers with a solid dual-threat backfield. Kenny Pickett is the limiting factor for Pittsburgh, the quarterback has thrown for just 6.1 yards per pass attempt and 172 yards per game on the season and he has only thrown six touchdowns all year. Pickett has not thrown a touchdown pass in the team’s last two games, he has one in their last five. Jaylen Warren is the slight favorite in the backfield, but that has been performance based with Najee Harris still leading in snaps and touches despite underperformance. In the team’s most recent game, Warren carried the ball nine times but put up 129 yards and a touchdown, while adding three catches for 16 more yards. Harris carried the ball 12 times but gained just 35 yards. He was at 82 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries the week before and had another 69 yards and a touchdown on 16 opportunities in Week 9, but overall he has been outplayed by Warren at every turn. George Pickens and Diontae Johnson are talented receivers with big play ability and tight end Pat Freiermuth is one of the top value options across the industry this week at his position. Freiermuth saw 31 snaps but ran just 12 routes, drawing one target which he caught for seven yards in a bit of a letdown. Freiermuth had a pair of three-catch games prior to getting injured and missing five games, but he scored two touchdowns in the early part of the season and is coming off of a season in which he caught 63 passes for 732 yards and two touchdowns. That 2022 season followed up a rookie campaign that featured seven touchdown receptions and 497 yards on 60 catches, Freiermuth is extremely affordable on both sites, he ranks as TE7 by points and TE1 by value on DraftKings while sitting 8/5 on the blue site.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Baker Mayfield

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Rachaad White (Q), Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Trey Palmer, Cade Otton, Deven Thompkins (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., Josh Downs, Alec Pierce, Kylen Granson

Lineup Notes: Tampa Bay is a playable stack with three good options in the passing game, including Rachaad White out of the backfield and high-end wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has done enough to support the idea of a playable stack, he has 15 touchdowns and 6 interceptions this season with 6.8 yards per pass attempt and he is up against a defense allowing 6.6 yards per attempt, 19th best against the pass this season. White came up questionable on Friday but is expected to play, while Evans is the leading option in the passing game. Godwin is the potentially sneakier play, he has excellent upside for touchdown scoring any given week and picks up volume games here and there, with two outlier double-digit target games standing out in Weeks 4 and 7. With single-digit targets each week since, it may be time to sling the ball Godwin’s way a few for a few additional attempts this week. Godwin is involved in the red zone, he has a target inside the 20 in four of the team’s last five games. Evans has had 22 targets over the past two games, catching 11 passes and putting up two touchdowns and 186 yards. White draws major targets out of the backfield while seeing plenty of carries, his overall touch mark has tons of appeal and he gains even more value at the position in PPR format.


Tennessee Titans

Key Player: Will Levis

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyjae Spears, Kyle Phillips, Chig Okonkwo, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Adam Thielen, DJ Chark, Jonathan Mingo, Tommy Tremble, Laviska Shenault (large field)

Lineup Notes: The Titans are focused around starts Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins, either of whom plays better as an individual than in stacks, with the fairly limited nature of Will Levis at quarterback. Levis has six touchdown passes on the season with two interceptions in his four games, throwing 31 times per game and racking up 6.9 yards per pass attempt to this point, he is not the worst option on the board at the position and he has an appealing 10.6 yard intended air yards per attempt mark against a team allowing a surprisingly low 6.1 yards per pass attempt, the 8th-best in football. Carolina has held opposing passers to 179 yards per game, but they have allowed 13 touchdowns on the season while managing just 17 sacks and 5 interceptions, they are not an intimidating defense. Tyjae Spears has limited appeal with a general lack of volume, he may see around 10 touches but will need a big play to see value. The other receiving options are dart throws at best.

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