NFL DFS – Main Slate Optimizer Groups & Stack Rankings – Week 14 – 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: acemind.io

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


 

Week 14 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.

TEAMOPPFD$FDpRankFDvalRankDK$DkpRankDKvalRank
DALWAS$31,00012$27,40014
PHINYG$30,20021$28,70029
MIABUF$33,60037#N/A#N/A#N/A
BUFMIA$30,90045#N/A#N/A#N/A
DETMIN$31,700511$27,900319
GBCHI$28,20064$23,30052
CHIGB$29,70076$24,40068
JACTEN$27,20083$23,60043
TBCAR$30,200916$27,500721
SEAARI$27,400109$23,700812
LVDEN$27,6001110$24,700918
NOATL$27,3001212$24,5001120
MINDET$27,3001315$21,900107
ATLNO$25,4001413$20,500126
NYGPHI$25,4001514$20,9001413
ARISEA$25,8001618$21,4001715
TENJAC$25,6001719$20,7001511
LACKC$24,200188$20,4001610
CINCLE$28,5001924$23,6001323
DENLV$25,2002023$21,7001822
SFLAR$23,6002117$18,8002217
CARTB$24,7002220$20,0001914
NYJNE$25,5002327$21,3002126
WASDAL$24,9002425$18,8002016
NENYJ$24,1002526$18,5002324
KCLAC$20,9002622$13,700251
CLECIN$20,0002721$13,900265
LARSF$22,9002828$18,6002425

Week 14 DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS Stacks & Optimizer Groups

Overview

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 14 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 14

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.


Atlanta Falcons

Key Player: Desmond Ridder

Setting: exactly one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Rachaad White, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Trey Palmer, Cade Otton, Deven Thompkins

Lineup Notes: The Falcons draw a Tampa Bay defense that ranks 10th against the run with 3.9 yards allowed per rush attempt and 27th against the pass at 7.1 yards per attempt, which should strongly favor Desmond Ridder and his pass-catchers. Ridder is a middling-at-best quarterback who has had a limiting impact on his teammates in most games, Ridder has topped 250 passing yards just three times this season and has thrown more than one touchdown in only one game while posting four games with zero. Atlanta has appealing skill players but their backfield split against a decent rush defense is not the best go-to option for running backs on this slate. Both Tyler Allgeier and Cordarelle Patterson saw touches in last week’s game, but Bijan Robinson remained the focal point on the ground with 21 touches and 79 combined yards from scrimmage. Drake London and Kyle Pitts are the truly appealing options in the passing game, Robinson can be played in stacks given his average target volume out of the backfield, while the remaining receivers are more of the big play dart throw nature. Van Jefferson Jr. and Jonnu Smith have the most security of targets, while all of Hodge, Miller, and Mack Hollins are limited-volume downfield receivers for large-field tournament plays.

 


Baltimore Ravens

Key Player: Lamar Jackson

Setting: at most two (this allows for “naked” Jackson lineups)

Team Group: Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., Isaiah Likely, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Kyren Williams, Puka Nacua, Cooper Kupp, Tutu Atwell, Demarcus Robinson

Lineup Notes: The Baltimore stack is driven by their fantastic quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has an ideal fantasy skill set that can score points in bunches. Jackson will be facing a Rams defense that ranks 14th against both the run and the pass, coming in at 4.2 and 6.3 yards per attempt. Jackson ranks as QB7 by fantasy points on both sites but he has an undeniably higher ceiling than most quarterbacks on the slate, making him an ideal option for tournaments. With regular tight end Mark Andrews out the team will once again have Isaiah Likely as a capable cheap option at the position. Likely is not drawing an overly high projection but he is affordable with scoring upside. Zay Flowers remains the prime target and the main option to stack with Jackson, who is playable all by himself as well. Flowers scored a touchdown but posted just 25 yards on 5-8 receiving in the team’s most recent game, he has not had a 100-yard game on the season and he has just two touchdowns for the year. Flowers picked up a second score to pad his fantasy number with a 37-yard rushing touchdown in last week’s game. Rashod Bateman does not draw a particularly high volume of targets, he has just one touchdown on the season. Odell Beckham Jr. has gotten in the end zone twice this year and has seen an uptick with seven and five targets in the team’s two most recent games. In Week 11 he put up 116 yards on four catches but he dipped back to just 34 yards on his three catches last week. We have Beckham ahead of both Likely and Bateman in projections this week, while Nelson Agholor is a low-volume large-field tournament dart throw for a big play touchdown. The typically untargeted options below Agholor on the depth chart do not warrant shares on this slate. The Rams’ premium skill players project lower than usual but still fairly well against an excellent Ravens’ defense, there are bring-back plays available if desired.

 


Buffalo Bills

Key Player: Josh Allen

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Stefon Diggs, James Cook, Dalton Kincaid, Gabe Davis, Khalil Shakir, Dawson Knox (Q)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon, Justin Watson, Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Lineup Notes: The Bills are drawing just mid-level projections as a stack against Kansas City’s mid-level defense. The Chiefs have allowed a whopping 4.6 yards per rush attempt, the 28th-ranked mark in the league this season, but they have given up just 5.7 yards per pass attempt, which sits fifth. Additionally, Baltimore has 39 sacks with a 27.1% pressure rate, which should have Josh Allen operating in a bit of a hurry. Allen is a fantastic quarterback but he is a bit of a gunslinger, which can result in stunningly high or staggeringly mediocre and expensive results in any given week. Ultimately, the quarterback who has posted 7.4 yards per pass attempt with 24 touchdown passes this season outweighs the danger lurking in his 13 interceptions. Allen to Stefon Diggs is an elite combination in stacks and the receiver is a weapon in lineups that are not stacking Bills. The underrated option in this attack could be running back James Cook, who sees stable volume in the passing game to support his inclusion in groups and stack builds, and has seen 12, 17, and 16 carries in each of the last three weeks with more than 20 touches each of the last two. Dalton Kincaid has been good in the absence of Dawson Knox, who has a chance to make his return on Sunday. Knox should draw some targets and has low-owned low-cost appeal if he makes his way onto the field, but Kincaid is currently still outpacing him in our projections. Gabriel Davis is a good second option in the wide receiver pool for a significantly lower investment than Diggs on both sites. Davis had a touchdown and 106 yards on 6-12 receiving in the team’s most recent game, tying his target high for the season and posting a new yardage high. Davis has a 100-yard game, a 92-yard game, and an 87-yard game, with an average of 8.9 yards per target, he is a better option than he may get credit for with the public. Khalil Shakir has seen mid-level targets for several weeks in a row, with only Week 10 landing below 4 targets in a stretch beginning in Week 7. Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty are more limited in volume and Harty was inactive in the team’s most recent game. Kansas City has several strong bring-back options, Edwards-Helaire will be the team’s lead running back this week while Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice are the top options in the passing game.

 


Carolina Panthers

Key Player: Bryce Young

Setting: exactly one

Team Group: Adam Thielen, Chuba Hubbard, Jonathan Mingo, DJ Chark Jr., Mike Strachan (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The Panthers have been a low-end offense all season and nothing changes against a strong New Orleans pass defense. The team from the Big Easy ranks 27th against the run with 4.5 yards allowed per attempt but eighth against the pass with just 6.2 yards allowed per attempt this season and they are second on the slate with 14 interceptions, though their ability to pressure the quarterback has been limited with just a 19% rate and 19 sacks. Still, there is little reason to think that Bryce Young will find much success given his slate-low 5.4 yards per pass attempt and nine touchdowns with nine interceptions for the season. Adam Thielen is the only truly appealing part of the passing game, though Jonathan Mingo has put up better numbers on increased volume. Mingo saw 10 targets last week, hauling in six of them for 69 yards, all of which were career-high marks. DJ Chark Jr. draws a few downfield targets per game, he is a cheap but limited dart throw for large-field play. Chuba Hubbard has a chance to find success against the weaker rush defense, he carried the ball 25 times last week, scoring two touchdowns and putting up 104 yards on the ground. Hubbard scored and had 45 yards on 14 carries the week before while Miles Sanders has seen his value crumble.

 


Chicago Bears

Key Player: Justin Fields

Setting: at most two

Team Group: DJ Moore, Cole Kmet, Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott (Q) (large field), Trent Taylor (Q) (large field), Collin Johnson (Q) (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs, Josh Reynolds, Jameson Williams, Kalif Raymond

Lineup Notes: The Bears are looking like a premium go-to stack this week on the back of quarterback Justin Fields who leads our projections at the position. Fields has a habit of posting monstrous rushing performances in divisional games against the Lions, but that is not an overly important trend when we consider his general ability and success on the ground against any given opponent. The real appeal is in facing a Lions defense that has not been very good against the pass while stuffing the run this season. Detroit has allowed just 3.8 yards per rush attempt, ranking sixth, but they sit 23rd with 6.8 yards allowed per pass attempt and they are second-worst on the slate with 20 touchdown passes allowed so far this season. Fields has an opportunity to post a very good fantasy score, he has a clear connection with first-read wideout DJ Moore, who he connected with for 114 yards and 11-13 receiving in the team’s most recent game. The tandem also had a 230-yard three-touchdown day in Week 5, and Moore had 96 yards with a touchdown on 7-9 receiving at Detroit two weeks ago. Darnell Mooney will see targets as the team’s inexpensive second receiver, his lone touchdown came in Week 1 and he has not just one game above 75 yards on the season with multiple zero-yard games. Tyler Scott is questionable with a hamstring, if he plays he is the typical third wide receiver but he is a lower priority in the passing game with running back and tight end involvement. Cole Kmet is the true appeal and could easily be called the team’s number-two option in the passing game. Kmet has two multi-touchdown games on the season and he regularly sees five or more targets. Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, and Roschon Johnson should all see touches in the team’s backfield, Johnson out-snapped and out-touched Herbert in the team’s last game with Foreman out for the week but there is little certainty about who gets the ball the most in Week 14. The Lions offer excellent bring-back options with two good running backs of their own, a top-flight wide receiver, and a premium tight end.

 


Cincinnati Bengals

Key Player: Jake Browning

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd (Q), Tanner Hudson

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Zack Moss, Michael Pittman Jr., Josh Downs, Alec Pierce, Drew Ogletree

Lineup Notes: Jake Browning was relatively effective in Week 12, completing 19-26 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, in Week 13 he was shockingly good. The quarterback completed 32-37 passes for 354 yards but he managed just one passing touchdown while adding another one on the ground. Browning has plenty of potential if he can put up anything resembling that level of efficiency and accuracy, given the receiving corps at his disposal. Tyler Boyd is questionable on Sunday morning but he is expected to play. Tee Higgins returned last week and caught three of three targets for 36 yards while Boyd hauled in five of seven targets with 37 yards and added five yards on a carry. The lead option in the pass game is, of course, Ja’marr Chase, who had 149 yards and a touchdown with 11 catches on 12 targets. Chase has four games with double-digit catches this season and he has five 100-yard games with seven touchdowns, three of which came in one gigantic outburst in Week 5. Joe Mixon is a playable option at running back, though he put up just 16 yards on eight carries with 44 added on his two catches in last week’s game. Tanner Hudson is an OK option at tight end, while the rest of the depth chart represents dart throw options at best. If Boyd does not play then Trenton Irwin will see an uptick in value, he ran just two routes and caught his lone target for 25 yards in last week’s game but was more regularly involved during Higgins’ absence. The Bengals have a good opportunity for production against a Colts squad that ranks 17th against the run with 4.2 yards per attempt and 18th with 6.5 yard per attempt given up through the air, though Browning will be facing a ton of pressure, the Colts are second on the slate with 42 sacks and they have a 21.4% pressure rate despite just a 16.6% blitz rate. Indianapolis offers a running back value play and good bring-back options in the passing game.

 


Cleveland Browns

Key Player: Joe Flacco

Setting: exactly one

Team Group: Amari Cooper, Jerome Ford, Elijah Moore, David Njoku, Cedric Tillman, David Bell (large field), Marquise Goodwin (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The Cleveland offense gets a weapon added in the Sunday update with Amari Cooper now expected to play. Cooper is the team’s lead wide receiver though he was out-targeted by Elijah Moore while playing with Week 14 quarterback Joe Flacco. Moore had a season-high 12 targets in last week’s game, hauling in four of them for 83 yards. Moore has just one touchdown this season but the skilled receiver would be a good option with similar volume again this week, he and Cooper join David Njoku, the team’s tight end, as the top options in a limited stack. Flacco will have an opportunity to drink from the fountain of youth once again this week, facing a Jaguars defense that sits just 12th against the run and 24th against the pass with 6.9 yards allowed per attempt. The quarterback was surprisingly good last week, passing for 254 yards and two touchdowns while completing 23 of 44 attempts. Cedric Tillman drew volume with six targets last week and five the week before, he stands to provide a touch of value in the right draw. Marquise Goodwin adds even more depth at the receiver position, he is expected back after missing fou games with a concussion, though he has not seen more than two targets in a game this year. David Bell saw two targets in each of the last two games, his appeal is as limited as his volume. The Jaguars offer solid skill players for bring-back plays but this game has a very limiting 34.5-point total with Cleveland favored by three.

 


Denver Broncos

Key Player: Russell Wilson

Setting: at least one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Quentin Johnston, Gerald Everett, Jalen Guyton

Lineup Notes: Denver quarterback Russell Wilson ranks well against a Chargers’ pass defense that has allowed 7.2 yards per pass attempt this season, the 28th-ranked team in the league. Los Angeles is not good against the run either, Denver could see their ground game take off around Javonte Williams and co., but it is the passing attack that has true appeal in this situation. Wilson ranks as QB5 by fantasy points on both sites while landing as QB3 by points-per-dollar on FanDuel and QB1 by value on DraftKings. Wilson can be difficult to trust, he has thrown for just one touchdown in each of his three most recent games but he has added value in the ground game and has scored a rushing touchdown in his two most recent outings. Overall, Wilson has thrown 21 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions this season with a 6.9 yards per attempt average. Courtland Sutton has overtaken Jerry Jeudy as the team’s clear number one receiver, he has a touchdown in nine games this season and has scored in three of the team’s last four contests. Sutton is highly targeted with a big upside, but Jeudy does not lack talent. The receiver had three catches for 51 yards last week against Houston but he has not been higher than the 81 yards he put up in Week 3 and has just one touchdown with diminishing target volume this season. Marvin Mims continues to see limited volume, he had two targets last week after seeing three in two straight games before that; he has not scored or made a big play for DFS scoring since Week 2. The Chargers have appealing bring-back options in Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen and they rank very well against the Denver defense.

 


Detroit Lions

Key Player: Jared Goff

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, Jahymr Gibbs, Josh Reynolds, Jameson Williams, Kalif Raymond (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: DJ Moore, Cole Kmet, Darnell Mooney, D’Onta Foreman, Roschon Johnson, Khalil Herbert

Lineup Notes: The other side of the appealing Bears stack brings plenty of action as well. The Lions rank 4th by fantasy points and 6th by value on FanDuel and they sit 3rd by points on DraftKings, though they slip all the way to 16th by points-per-dollar value on that site. Jared Goff has thrown exactly two touchdown passes in four straight games, when he goes off for yardage he has plenty of appeal, two of the four games he threw for 333 and 332 yards, in the other two he had 236 and 213. Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of the league’s best wide receivers, he ranks extremely well across the board and has a significant ceiling for fantasy points this week. St. Brown scored in last week’s game and he has a touchdown in three of the team’s last four contests. David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs split the backfield effectively. Montgomery has a touchdown in four straight games since his return, with 12, 12, 15, and 18 carries over that stretch and minimal involvement in the passing game. Gibbs had a pair of touchdowns in Montgomery’s first game back, with the veteran getting one of his in that game as well, but he was limited to just eight carries and one catch on two targets for 54 scrimmage yards last week, though three carries did come in the red zone. Gibbs had 11 carries and was 4-8 in the passing game the week before, there is an upside for volume but Montgomery is probably the safer bet for opportunities and quality of touches. Sam LaPorta had 140 yards with a touchdown and nine receptions last week, he is a star-caliber tight end who is an easy next click after St. Brown shares in this stack. Josh Reynolds has more limited volume but a bit of touchdown potential, he scored in Week 12 and had targets in the red zone each of the last two weeks with at least three or four targets a week regularly. Jameson Williams had a touchdown on two catches in Week 11 and he had another back in Week 6 on a two-catch 53-yard day, but his overall volume and performance has been limited. Williams has big play potential and will typically see three deep targets, he is a big play threat who is playable in stacks and who works particularly well for large field tournaments.

 


Houston Texans

Key Player: CJ Stroud

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Nico Collins, Noah Brown (Q), Brevin Jordan, Robert Woods, Devin Singletary, John Metchie III

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Breece Hall (Q), Garrett Wilson, Tyler Conklin, Xavier Gipson, Allen Lazard

Lineup Notes: The Texans are not popping as they have in recent weeks, with quarterback CJ Stroud lacking one big weapon in injured Tank Dell. Stroud will still be working with capable Nico Collins, Noah Brown, and Robert Woods, but tight end Dalton Schultz also remains out, with Brevin Jordan filling the gap once again. The primary challenge comes not from the impactful absences but from the Jets’ capable defense. New York has allowed just 5.7 yards per pass attempt this season, the second-ranked mark in the league. They have given up more on the ground with 4.1 yards allowed per rush attempt but that still sits 13th and they are more of a “bend don’t break” defense on the ground with 136 yards allowed per game but just 0.58 touchdowns. New York has limited opposing passers to just 176.58 yards per game with 14 passing touchdowns, and they have 31 sacks with a 28% pressure rate despite just a 16% blitz rate. The Texans backfield split has limited appeal in this spot, Dameon Pierce stepped back into the primary role last week after Devin Singletary had done well filling in during his absence, Pierce carried the ball 15 times for 41 yards and a touchdown while Singletary had eight carries for 36 yards and added another four yards by hauling in his lone target. The passing game has been the main focus for Houston, Stroud has been a rookie revelation with 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions with an 8.5-yards per attempt average in his 12 games. In last week’s matchup, Nico Collins posted a whopping 191 yards and a touchdown on 9-12 receiving. Collins also had a 100-yard game and a touchdown the week prior and he has caught 7 of 11 targets, 7 of 9, and 9 of 12 in the team’s three most recent games. Noah Brown is questionable but expected to play, he has big play ability and posted a pair of huge games in Weeks 9 and 10 in a similar role. Brown was over 150 yards in both of those games though he scored just one touchdown in the two contests. Robert Woods saw valuable red zone targets early in the season, they fell off but could return in this version of the passing game, Brevin Jordan had three catches for 64 yards on five targets filling in last week, he could see a similar upside this week and has the potential for a touchdown in the right situation as the team has favored the position in the red zone passing game all season. If Brown does not play John Metchie III would step into a bit of additional value. The Jets offer two playable bring-back options in Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson but they should not be expected to hold up a shootout in a game with a 32.5-point total.

 


Indianapolis Colts

Key Player: Gardner Minshew II

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Zack Moss, Michael Pittman Jr., Josh Downs, Alec Pierce, Drew Ogletree

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Tanner Hudson

Lineup Notes: After featuring him in our Below section of the Above/Below against a tough rush defense we still planned to, and did, get to what looked like an amazing value play last week, Zack Moss predictably disappointed the entire DFS industry with just 51 yards on 19 carries, adding six more on two catches. Moss was filling in for Jonathan Taylor and he will be featured again this week for $6,800 on FanDuel and $5,900 on DraftKings, while drawing slate-high ownership at the low prices once again. Moss had several strong games as the featured back early in the season and concerns about a repeat of last week’s limited output should be lessened against a Bengals defense that has allowed 4.8 yards per rush attempt and 133.92 yards with 1.17 touchdowns per game on the ground. Moss has clear potential for the price, but with massive popularity again it could pay to undercut the field and pivot shares to one of many potentially strong running back options. The Colts passing game can be effective with Gardner Minshew at the helm, he threw for 312 yards on 26-42 passing with two touchdowns last week against Tennesseee’s weak pass defense, his third 300-yard game since Week 6, and his third two-touchdown game over the same stretch. Minshew has starting-level talent but has never been able to hold a starting job with some inconsistency of quality, he is rarely bad but he can turn in low-level performances that take the team down around him. Michael Pittman, Josh Downs, and Alec Pierce are all capable receiving options whose value is derived from the quarterback’s performance. Pittman had his second-straight game with more than 10 catches and 100 yards while adding a touchdown in Week 13. He also had three straight games with eight catches in the three games leading up to the Colts’ Week 11 bye. Downs has seen some high-volume weeks, he had 13 targets in Week 12, hauling in five of them for 43 yards, but he drew just five opportunities and caught three of them for 14 yards last week after drawing some buzz. If the public backs off the play Downs becomes more appealing. Pierce has big play ability and he put up a three-catch 100-yard game with a touchdown last week as a good value option.

 


Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Player: Trevor Lawrence (Q)

Setting: at least one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Jerome Ford, Elijah Moore, Kareem Hunt, David Njoku, Cedric Tillman

Lineup Notes: The banged-up Jaguars are a limited option this week against a very good Cleveland defense in a game that has a 34.5-point total. Jacksonville is expecting Trevor Lawrence to play, which boosts their chances, but Lawrence has been up and down for fantasy this season and has yet to post a truly big passing day, with just one standout scoring week that came with rushing touchdowns helping pad the score. A hurt Lawrence will be facing a Browns defense that ranks fourth with 5.7 yards allowed per pass attempt. Cleveland has allowed just 13 passing touchdowns this season while giving up 153.42 yards per game through the air, this is a challenging spot and the Jaguars rank just 16th on both sites by fantasy points this week. Any of Travis Etienne Jr, Calvin Ridley, Evan Engram, Zay Jones, or Parker Washington have appeal as an individual play and they all work when stacking this team, but overall this is a lower priority spot for Jacksonville than we have been accustomed to lately. Etienne is also questionable to play, he had 45 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries last week and sees regular pass game work, making him a valuable part of stacks, but he has put up over 100 rushing yards just once this season. Ridley is the team’s first-read receiver he posted his best game of the year with 103 yards and two touchdowns in Week 11 and followed it with 89 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 but came back to earth last week with four catches for 26 yards on eight targets while adding another seven yards on three carries. Engram finally found the end zone after we called for his touchdown last week, he had his best game of the year with nine catches and 82 yards in addition to the score. Zay Jones and Parker Washington should see upticks with Christian Kirk out with injury, Jones had eight targets and caught five of them for 78 yards in last week’s game and Washington caught his first six passes of the season for 61 yards and a touchdown on six targets.

 


Kansas City Chiefs

Key Player: Patrick Mahomes

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon, Justin Watson, Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Noah Gray (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Stefon Diggs, James Cook, Dalton Kincaid, Gabe Davis, Khalil Shakir, Dawson Knox (Q)

Lineup Notes: Kansas City ranks 3rd by points and 4th by value on FanDuel and they sit 4/9 on the DraftKings stacks board, the team is basically always in play because Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are so good. The additional components of the Chiefs’ attack this season are a bit more muted, though Rashee Rice has become a dependable weapon in the passing game most weeks. The team is without Isaiah Pacheco this week, Clyde Edwards-Helaire was declared the lead running back by coach Andy Reid during the week, he should see the bulk of the work as a good value play on this slate. After Kelce and Rice, the Chiefs’ deep bench of receivers is very difficult to trust. The group leads the NFL in drops, they are directly responsible for any statistical dip that we see in Patrick Mahomes when looking back at this season, but any of Justin Watson, Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are all playable mix-and-match options with limited but viable targets. The Bills offer excellent bring-back options on the other side of the week’s most anticipated and most highly-totaled game at 49 points in Vegas. Buffalo’s defense ranks 29th against the run with 4.7 yards allowed per rush attempt and they sit 12th with 6.3 yards allowed per pass attempt.

 


Las Vegas Raiders

Key Player: Aidan O’Connell

Setting: exactly one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson, Jordan Addison, KJ Osborn

Lineup Notes: The Raiders are a fairly low-priority stack that ranks 12th by points and value on FanDuel and 12/17 on DraftKings, their parts are better than the whole. Both Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams, and to a lesser extent Jakobi Meyers, are better individual options than this team is as a stack. Las Vegas is facing a Vikings defense that has been decent this season with 3.7 yards allowed per rush attempt and 6.3 yards allowed per pass attempt, the fifth and 15th-ranked marks in football. Aidan O’Connell, meanwhile, has managed just four touchdowns and six interceptions with 6.7 yards per pass attempt in his six games. O’Connell has averaged below 200 yards per game on fewer than 30 attempts. Jacobs put up 110 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries last week, his second 100-yard game in the past three outings, he remains a talented very high-volume running back. Adams has not had a 100-yard game since Week 3 when he scored two touchdowns and had 172 yards on 13 catches, but he is consistently posting seven or eight catches with 50-80 yards. Adams has been hampered by O’Connell’s play and has just four touchdowns this season. Meyers scored last week, catching six of seven targets for 79 yards, he has six touchdowns on the season as arguably the team’s most consistent receiver this year.

 


Los Angeles Chargers

Key Player: Justin Herbert

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Quentin Johnston, Gerald Everett, Jalen Guyton, Donald Parham Jr. (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The Chargers have two highly appealing skill players in Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen, despite any dip in Ekeler’s output this season. The team has an excellent quarterback with Justin Herbert throwing the ball, but something has simply not come together as consistently as one might expect from this team this season. The same could be said about a Denver defense that has been alternately decent and capable of shutting down good teams like Kansas City, or awful and allowing 70-point games to Miami. The Broncos still rank last with 5.2 yards allowed per rush attempt and they are 30th with 7.2 yards allowed per pass attempt this season. Denver has given up 20 passing touchdowns with a 7.1-yard defensive ADOT and they have managed just 28 sacks, the sixth-lowest total on the slate, this could be a good get right spot for all things Chargers. Ekeler has been limited to just 14 carries and 18 yards last week and 10 caries in each of the two games before that, but he still sees involvement in the passing game, though there has been a bit of coach speak about additional loss of opportunities potentially coming. Ekeler needs a big game and this is the perfect spot for him to find it, statistically and in our models everything aligns well for the running back, assuming that his team gives him the ball. Keenan Allen should also have little issue making value at worst, and he has a clear path to another ceiling score after last week’s five catches for 58 yards snapped a three-week run of more than 100 yards and more than 10 catches. Quentin Johnston had five catches for 52 yards on seven targets last week, he is the clear number two option in the passing game now and he comes at a big discount to his star teammate. Jalen Guyton, Alex Erickson, and tight end Gerald Everett have moderate mix-in appeal in the passing game, while Joshua Kelley would be the likely beneficiary if the team gets frustrated with Ekeler.

 


Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Kyren Williams, Puka Nacua, Cooper Kupp, Brycen Hopkins, Tutu Atwell

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., Isaiah Likely, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor (large field)

Lineup Notes: The Rams are flashing more value than we would like against the too-good Baltimore defense, this does not have the “feel” of a good spot but Los Angeles land 10th by points on FanDuel and 7th by points on DraftKings. Fortunately, their points-per-dollar values as a stack are off on both sites which should limit the appeal somewhat. The Rams sit 18th on FanDuel and 19th on DraftKings in a value sense, and it is easy to see the path to failure for this inconsistent but expensive offense against a team that ranks first in football with just 4.6 yards allowed per pass attempt. The Ravens have been more vulnerable to the run, allowing 4.3 yards per rush attempt, the 22nd-best mark, but they are another bend-don’t-break defense on the ground, despite allowing 102.25 yards per game they have given up just 0.33 rushing touchdowns per game this season, which limits the appeal of Kyren Williams. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has excellent weapons in Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp, but the Ravens lead the slate by a wide margin with 47 sacks and they have a 20.6% pressure rate with a 22.7% blitz rate and 11 interceptions. Stafford will be challenged to find Nacua and Kupp and the receivers could be limited in their performance for the high price tags. Kupp saw the end zone again last week after several weeks without a score but he was held to just 39 yards on six catches by Cleveland’s also strong pass defense. Nacua fared better with 105 yards and a touchdown on four catches, but neither player was hyper-critical to success, they could land similarly in a very tough spot in Week 14.

 


Minnesota Vikings

Key Player: Joshua Dobbs

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson, Jordan Addison, KJ Osborn

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The Vikings get Justin Jefferson back this week and it is in this spot that the individuals from the Raiders side may provide value in a bring-back sense, in addition to their appeal in other lineups. Overall, this is not a high-end game, but the skill and opportunity lands more on the Minnesota side, with Johsua Dobbs facing a defense that ranks 20th with 6.6 yards allowed per pass attempt, though Vegas has deceptively allowed just 13 passing touchdowns this season, one of the lower marks on the slate. Dobbs and Jefferson have not played together but they have an opportunity to develop a fast connection, Jefferson is a leading receiver who sits second by fantasy points at the position on both sites while landing 10th and 20th on FanDuel and DraftKings respectively by points-per-dollar. TJ Hockenson is the next high-end play in the Vikings passing attack, he has the potential to carry the team in any given game and he was very good with a bit of increased volume in recent weeks. With the focus on Jefferson, Hockenson could soar to success in this one. Jordan Addison will retain value as the number two receiver in the passing game, he has been good in games with and without Jefferson this season and has seven touchdowns on the year. KJ Osborn seems likely to take more of a back seat once again while down board options like Brandon Powell are extremely limited at this point.

 


New Orleans Saints

Key Player: Derek Carr

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave (Q), Juwan Johnson (Q), AT Perry, Lynn Bowden Jr. (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Adam Thielen, Chuba Hubbard, Jonathan Mingo, DJ Chark Jr.

Lineup Notes: With Rashid Shaheed and Taysom Hill questionable an not expected to play, and Chris Olave and Juwan Johnson both questionable but hoping to suit up, the Saints are very banged-up coming into this one. Quarterback Derek Carr has not been the picture of health himself this season and the team is facing a defense that is good against the pass but weaker against the run, all of which could add up to a good day for star running back Alvin Kamara on the New Orleans side. Carolina ranks just 19th with 4.2 yards allowed per rush attempt and they have given up a whopping 1.67 touchdowns per game on the ground this season with 125.17 yards per game allowed. Kamara regularly sees at least 20 touches between carries and catches, he is a very high-volume high-skill player. The running back scored twice last week while posting 51 yards on 14 carries and adding another 58 on 6-8 in the passing game. If Olave plays he is a good wide receiver option, but the spot is not great. Carr has managed 230 yards per game and 11 touchdowns with 7.0 yards per pass attempt this season, but the overall connection has been weak and the pass defense has been effective with just 180 yards per game and 14 touchdowns allowed. Carr should have time to throw the ball however, which could work in the veteran’s favor, Carolina has managed only 19 sacks and a 17.2% pressure rate despite a 30% blitz rate on the season. Juwan Johnson is a capable tight end if he takes the field, he has touchdown potential and the opportunity to see full work with Hill out. AT Perry will maintain some value assuming Shaheed does not play, but Kamara is our focus in this spot.

 


New York Jets

Key Player: Zach Wilson

Setting: exactly one

Team Group: Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall (Q), Tyler Conklin, Xavier Gipson, Allen Lazard

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Nico Collins, Noah Brown (Q), Brevin Jordan, Robert Woods, Devin Singletary, John Metchie III

Lineup Notes: The Jets are, hilariously, going back to Zach Wilson again. There is very little reason to play a Jets stack against a good enough Houston defense, Wilson has not proven to be an NFL-caliber quarterback and the team has just two good options in Breece Hall, who is questionable to even play, and Garrett Wilson, who relies on the quarterback for success. This game has a 32.5-point total for a reason.

 


Seattle Seahawks

Key Player: Geno Smith (Q)

Setting: at least one

Team Group: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Kenneth Walker III (Q), Noah Fant

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle

Lineup Notes: Both Kenneth Walker II and Zach Charbonnet are questionable but expected to play, putting the dual-headed backfield threat in play. It is difficult to say which would truly lead the situation with everyone at 100% but there could be touches for both backs with quarterback Geno Smith also carrying a questionable designation. Of course, the primary issue facing Seattle stacks is an excellent San Francisco defense that ranks 8th and 3rd with 3.9 and 5.7 yards allowed per attempt against the run and pass respectively. The 49ers have 36 sacks and 15 interceptions with a 23.5% pressure rate despite just a 17.7% blitz rate this season, the highly talented team is favored by 13.5 with the primary concern being if Seattle can muster enough to even keep the game rolling for fantasy scoring. The best bet is probably to take up the passing attack if someone is in your home forcing you to play Seattle shares on Sunday morning, but barring that there is no appeal here, only DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and, to some extent, Jaxson Smith-Njigba hold much value in this spot and they are all very limited in projection with Metcalf landing highest at 21st by fantasy points on both sites.

 


San Francisco 49ers

Key Player: Brock Purdy

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Jauan Jennings

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Kenneth Walker III (Q), Noah Fant

Lineup Notes: On the other side, the 49ers look spectacular against the Seahawks defense. Seattle ranks 18th against the run and 13th against the pass, they are not bad but they have given up 17 passing touchdowns and 6.3 yards per attempt through the air this season. Seattle does have 36 sacks on the year and they gain pressure on the quarterback 23.8% of the time on a 23% blitz rate, so Brock Purdy will have work to do, but the skill he has on his side is enviable. Purdy is surrounded by elite weapons with all of Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle looking like good options. The 49ers can play as a Purdy + 2 stack easily, there is more than enough potential for multiple touchdown games from multiple players. McCaffrey has scored in all but one of the team’s games this season and he has major potential on the ground or through the air in any given game. Samuel is coming off a two-touchdown game that saw him put up 116 yards on just four catches, he has excellent big-play ability before and after the catch and he added another touchdown and 22 yards on three carries in the same game. With Samuel scoring three times and McCaffrey adding a touchdown and 133 scrimmage yards of his own, one can easily see how multiple 49ers can get to successful scoring levels. Aiyuk also scored in that game, he had 46 yards and five catches and has managed a touchdown in four straight games. Kittle did not find the end zone, but he did manage four catches for 68 yards and he remains one of the top any-slate tight end options in football.

 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Baker Mayfield

Setting: at least one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The Buccaneers bookend the article with their game against the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta has a good defense this season, the team has been effective against both the run and the pass and they have the Bucs relegated to just 8/9 on the FanDuel stacks board and 8/15 on DraftKings. Tampa Bay is another team with better skill players than stackability, either of Mike Evans or Chris Godwin is a good wide receiver option at typically fair pricing, and Rachaad White has been a go-to value running back option who sees volume both on the ground and in the passing game. White posted another 100 yards from scrimmage with 84 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries and another 22 yards on his three catches, he is consistently around 100 yards and 20 touches. Evans had another big game in Week 13 with 162 yards and a touchdown, he has now scored in four straight games with five touchdowns in the stretch. Godwin’s performance has been more muted, he failed to catch any of his three targets last week and has just one touchdown all season. Trey Palmer, Cade Otton, and Deven Thompkins are more dart throw caliber plays in a not-great spot.


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