NFL DFS – Main Slate Optimizer Groups & Stack Rankings – Week 15 – 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 15 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 15 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 15 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 15

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: Trey McBride, Marquise Brown (Q), James Conner, Michael Wilson (Q), Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The Cardinals will have their hands full with the visiting 49ers favored by 12 in a game carrying a 48-point total, one of the higher marks on the board. The 49ers are soaking up 30 implied points, but the Cardinals have enough talent to hang in the game for long enough to support ceiling scoring from the San Francisco superstars at worst. Kyler Murray is a serviceable fantasy quarterback on the right week but he will be facing a defense that ranks eighth with 3.9 yards allowed per rush attempt and fifth with 5.8 yards allowed per pass attempt and he ranks just 11th by fantasy points and 15th by points per dollar value on FanDuel and 11/16 on DraftKings. The Arizona offense is going to need contributions from running back James Conner, as well as the group of quality pass catchers that may see the return of Michael Wilson and should also include currently questionable Marquise Brown in the first-read role. Trey McBride is a highly appealing option at the tight end spot week in, and week out, McBride ranks as TE2 by both points and points-per-dollar value on both sites. Conner is a mid-level running back with mid-level pricing and projections, he is not a priority item but he is the clear lead back with plenty of support from volume alone. Conner saw 25 carries and put up 105 yards and two touchdowns at Pittsburgh in Week 13 before the team’s bye last week. Among the wide receivers, only Marquise Brown ranks inside the top-25 options on either site. The 49ers offer abundant and obvious bring-back options.

 


Atlanta Falcons

Key Player: Desmond Ridder

Setting: exactly one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: This is the worst game on the board in Vegas by about a field goal, with a 33.5-point total and the visiting Falcons favored by 3.0. Atlanta has a strong defense and an offense that has enough talent at the skill positions but suffers from the inconsistent low-level play of Desmond Ridder at quarterback. Ridder rang up a career-high 347 yards on 26-40 passing in the team’s Week 14 game against a good Tampa Bay defense, throwing a touchdown and an interception along the way. The total was by far his highest since Week 7, a 250-yard performance that ended a solid three-week stretch at the time. Ridder has good weapons and enough talent to beat a Carolina defense that ranks 18th against the run with 4.2 yards allowed per rush attempt and 7th against the pass with 6.0 yards allowed per pass attempt, but this is not the pushover spot that some may expect, we are not rushing for Atlanta shares. Bijan Robinson saw 15 touches and 17 potential touches in Week 14, putting up 34 yards and a touchdown on the ground and adding 54 yards through the air. Tyler Allgeier, meanwhile, managed to pick up 40 yards on nine carries but failed to haul in any of his three targets, while both running backs saw a few touches in the red zone, with Robinson getting two to Allgeier’s one. Drake London remains the clear lead receiver, he had a massive 172 yards on 10-11 receiving in the team’s most recent game but failed to find the end zone for the eighth-straight game. Mack Hollins, Van Jefferson, and KhaDarel Hodge are more downfield dart throws for large tournaments, while the dual-threat tight ends Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith continue to see fairly evenly split volume. Pitts drew six targets and caught three for 57 yards and a touchdown in last week’s game, while Smith had four catches for 27 yards on his seven targets. Overall, neither side of this game is very appealing, but the Falcons are clearly the better option if forced to choose.

 


Buffalo Bills

Key Player: Josh Allen

Setting: at least one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, Jake Ferguson, Brandin Cooks (Q), Rico Dowdle (Q), Michael Gallup

Lineup Notes: At 49.5, this game falls short of only the Commanders @ Rams game on the board in Vegas. The featured contest of the day sees the high-end Bills as slight favorites at home in Buffalo on what is expected to be a rainy but not overly cold Sunday. Buffalo has one of the top quarterbacks in football on their side, high-flying risk-taker Josh Allen rates as the most highly-projected quarterback on both sites in the Week 15 model, he is a very strong option from the top of the board, even at high pricing. Allen ranks as QB1/6 by points then value on DraftKings and 1/2 on the FanDuel slate. The dynamic mobile passer has excellent targets in Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis at the wide receiver spot as well as rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid and recently returned Dawson Knox. Buffalo offers a few cheap downfield dart throw options for very large tournaments, the team is prone to taking some shots with their quarterback’s big arm stretching the field for options like Khalil Shakir, Deonte Harty, and Trent Sherfield. James Cooks is a playable option at the running back spot, though he ranks just as RB 12/16 on DraftKings and RB 13/17 on FanDuel. Among the pass catchers, Diggs ranks as WR3/18 on DraftKings and 3/4 on FanDuel, while opposing wideout CeeDee Lamb lands as WR 1/6 and 1/1 respectively, the pairing is one to keep in mind both in stacked and non-stacked lineup constructions as we could be in for a high-flying dogfight. Both teams have options both as the primary stack and the bring-back play, this is a high-end game that will see plenty of popularity, but the appeal outweighs most of the potential downside.

 


Carolina Panthers

Key Player: Bryce Young

Setting: exactly one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: All of the unappealing factors of this game that were mentioned above in the Falcons section go doubled for the hometown Panthers. Carolina ranks as stack 20 by points and 18 by value on DraftKings while landing 20/19 on the blue site. The play of quarterback Bryce Young has been a total disaster for most of this season, Carolina has very little to offer DFS gamers when it comes to point-scoring ceilings or reliability, perhaps the most interesting play on the board from their team is the $2,800/$3,300 defense. Young will lead his limited warriors against an Atlanta defense that ranks 10th against the run with 3.9 yards allowed per rush attempt and 9th against the pass at 6.2 yards per attempt. The Falcons has 27 sacks with a 22.9% pressure rate, unspectacular but sound enough numbers in this matchup. Young has thrown nine touchdowns and nine interceptions this season, while landing at a league-low 5.4 yards per pass attempt on his 34.6 attempts per game. The upside for Adam Thielen is capped if he is unable to receive the ball reliably, the wide receiver had a few good weeks this year but his sporadic contributions remain pricey and he lands as just WR21/39 on DraftKings and 22/24 on FanDuel. Things get worse from there. Chuba Hubbard is the nominal lead back, Jonathan Mingo is the team’s number two receiver and the tight end position is missing most of its talent. This is a game that is easy to de-prioritize while taking choice cuts from the Falcons and maybe a few shares of Thielen and the Panthers’ defense at most.

 


Chicago Bears

Key Player: Justin Fields

Setting: at most two (this will allow for “naked” Fields stacks)

Team Group: DJ Moore (Q), D’Onta Foreman, Cole Kmet, Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: Bears quarterback Justin Fields lands as QB6/7 on DraftKings and QB6/6 on the FanDuel slate. The Fields experience can be frustrating and is never reliable, but when it connects it can be slate-winning, and Fields is one of the few quarterbacks who can offer that potential every week while not having to rely on help from his friends. Of course, the quarterback does have very good weapons at his disposal this season, making the task of including him far easier for DFS purposes. Fields has established a very strong connection with receiver DJ Moore (expected to play), who ranks as WR11/26 on DraftKings and WR11/19 on FanDuel. Moore caught six of 10 targets for 68 yards and a touchdown while adding another 20 yards and a rushing touchdown on three carries in a very good Week 14 performance and he had a peak game in Week 5, catching three touchdown passes from fields and posting 230 yards on eight catches. Tight end Cole Kmet is a strong safety valve in the offense, he can get out in the offense and can be productive on volume alone, given just a 4.9-yard overall average depth of target this season. Kmet has two multi-touchdown games on the year and he is a regular recipient of red zone targets. The running back group is involved in the passing game as well, D’Onta Foreman should lead the way for Chicago’s crowded backfield, he had 11 carries for 50 yards last week and added two catches for 22 more yards but did not score. Khalil Herbert was reduced to a mere three carries in Week 14 while Roschon Johnson touched the ball just once in his 18 snaps. Foreman is the clear option for any DFS shares, the others are dart throws at best, and they are low-end even for that purpose. Darnell Mooney and the balance of the receivers are also lower-end options who play well when filing out multiple Bears stacks but are not high-priority options on their own.

 


Cleveland Browns

Key Player: Joe Flacco

Setting: at least one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: DJ Moore (Q), D’Onta Foreman, Cole Kmet, Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott (large field)

Lineup Notes: The Bears are the more appealing side of the equation in this 38-point game in Cleveland, but the hometown Browns are not entirely off the board. Cleveland ranks 14/6 on DraftKings and 14/11 on FanDuel as a unit, they do not project very well but they are affordable. Quarterback Joe Flacco is making his third straight start for the Browns, he has been surprisingly good in his first two outings and has the potential to surprise one more time against a gettable Bears defense. Flacco stepped into the starting role in Week 13 against the Rams and threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, on 23-44 passing. The following week he topped that effort with a monster 311-yard three-touchdown game in which he also threw an interception on his way to completing 26 of 45 pass attempts. Between the heavy passing volume and the degree to which the veteran former not-quite-a-star-but-fairly-close quarterback has played the first two games, we have some interest at fair value. Flacco pairs well with wide receiver Amari Cooper, who drew a whopping 14 targets in Week 14, though he caught just seven of them for 77 yards and no score on the quarterback’s three-TD day. Elijah Moore was targeted 12 times in Flacco’s first start and six times last week, over the two games he has seven catches for 125 yards with Flacco targeting him 18 times. Moore is potentially underappreciated for just $4,500/$5,700, he lands as WR 29/28 on DraftKings and WR 30/28 on FanDuel but could play higher. David Njoku has become another fast Flacco favorite, he saw eight targets and caught six of them, including two in the end zone, for 91 yards last week and had six targets in Flacco’s first start. Njoku ranks as TE 3/4 on both sites.

 


Dallas Cowboys

Key Player: Dak Prescott

Setting: at least one

Team Group: CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, Jake Ferguson, Brandin Cooks (Q), Rico Dowdle (Q), Michael Gallup, Jalen Tolbert (Q) (large field), KaVontae Turpin (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: Just like the Bills side of this game, the Cowboys offer excellent skill players, a premium quarterback, and plenty of scoring potential in the most interesting actual NFL game of the day, let alone for DFS purposes. While the game between the Commanders and Rams offers high-end skill players and the expectation of a loose pass-happy game environment, this matchup has far more star power in play and could easily peak higher for scoring while the high pricing keeps common constructions a bit less popular than they probably should be. Dak Prescott has been arguably the best quarterback in the league this year, he has thrown for multiple touchdowns in seven straight games, with three performances that saw him throw four touchdowns over that stretch. Prescott has connected for a touchdown with CeeDee Lamb in all but one of those seven games, the first-read receiver is the team’s primary weapon, he had 71 yards on 6-10 receiving last week and he put up a big 116-yard performance on a whopping 12 of 17 catches the week before. Jake Ferguson is a strong option at the tight end spot, he sees plenty of red zone targets and has been a reliable option up and down the field this season. Brandin Cooks checks into this one as questionable, but the veteran is expected to play. Cooks has emerged more in the second half of the season, he had touchdowns in four of the seven games in the Prescott run. Michael Gallup lands in between those receivers and those options from further down the depth chart like KaVontae Turpin and Jalen Tolbert, both of whom draw a few gadget plays each week with big play potential. Turpin adds kick return upside for additional big play scoring. Tony Pollard had 16 carries for 59 yards last week and added 37 yards on 7-8 receiving, though he didn’t score in Week 14. Pollard had touchdowns in three straight games leading into Week 14 after a long scoreless stretch.

 


Green Bay Packers

Key Player: Jordan Love

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Jayden Reed, Romeo Doubs, Aaron Jones, Dontayvion Wicks, Tucker Kraft, Malik Heath (large field), Samori Toure (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The Packers rank as stack 11/8 on FanDuel and 10/12 on DraftKings behind quarterback Jordan Love this week. Love has taken several steps forward in the second half of the season after a lackluster start, but he did not have a great Week 14 against a low-end Giants team. Love managed just 218 yards with one touchdown and an interception after throwing three touchdowns in two straight games with a pair of two-touchdown games preceding those outings. Overall, Love has looked the part of a competent NFL quarterback with upside, he has the potential to connect with talented receivers Jayden Reed and Romeo Doubs, though they will be without Christian Watson again this week. Aaron Jones will make it back from injury to enhance the team’s ability to utilize the running back position in the passing attack while picking up his role as the team’s featured back, with AJ Dillon hitting the sidelines this week. Patrick Taylor should serve as the backup to spell Jones. For his part, Jones ranks just 19/22 on DraftKings and 20/19 on FanDuel, the appealing running back in this game is Rachaad White on the other side, he lands as RB 4 across the board on both sites. The mix of talented wide receivers on both sides ranks well, Mike Evans from Tampa Bay is WR7/30 on DraftKings and 7/17 on FanDuel, while Green Bay’s Jayden Reed checks in as WR18 by points and WR1 by points-per-dollar value on DraftKings while landing as WR13/2 on the FanDuel slate. Reed should be fairly popular, while Doubs is WR 27/35 and WR28/30 across DraftKings and FanDuel. The battle of the bays has options in play on both sides but they may ultimately work better as pairings in non-stacked lineups or as skinny stacks.

 


Houston Texans

Key Player: Case Keenum

Setting: exactly one

Team Group: Devin Singletary, Dalton Schultz, Noah Brown, Robert Woods, John Metchie III, Xavier Hutchinson

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Chig Okonkwo, Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

Lineup Notes: the Texans are opting for veteran Case Keenum over Davis Mills at quarterback, Mills will serve as the backup. Keenum will be operating without the team’s top wide receiver Nico Collins but he should have Dalton Schultz joining Noah Brown and Robert Woods in what is still a strong group of options. The Texans land as just stack 19/19 on DraftKings and 19/20 on FanDuel behind Keenum this week, it is difficult to envision much success, though the Titans’ defense has been fairly inept against the pass for most of the season. Tennessee ranks 26th with 7.0 yards allowed per pass attempt but they sit sixth against the run with just 3.8 yards per rush attempt allowed this season. The pass funnel approach has led to big fantasy games against for opposing passing attacks, there is appeal in low-owned skill options from Houston, but it is difficult to trust Keenum or pile shares on top of him in stacks, Schultz, Brown, Woods, and the running backs work better as individual skill players this week.

 


Kansas City Chiefs

Key Player: Patrick Mahomes

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice, Jerick McKinnon, Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justin Watson (large field), Skyy Moore (large field), Richie James Jr. (large field), Noah Gray (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Ezekiel Elliott, Demario Douglas (Q), DeVante Parker (Q), Hunter Henry, JuJu Smith-Schuster (Q), Tyquan Thornton

Lineup Notes: We tend to avoid common-use industry terms like “trap”, particularly when it comes to teams with amazing positional options like Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes, two of the very best at what they do. Unfortunately, the rest of the Chiefs roster comes nowhere near being the best at what they do. The team leads the league in drops, though emergent receiver Rashee Rice has shown solid upside over the past few weeks, drawing 10, 9, and 10 targets over the team’s three most recent games. Justin Watson has seen just four targets total in his three games since a huge 11-target game in Week 11, but he did find the end zone on his lone catch in Week 12, before posting just one catch and 18 yards while coming up empty over the past two games. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is an unreliable dart throw with downfield ability and bad hands. Skyy Moore has underperformed the entire season and has seen more than three targets in just three of the team’s 13 games. If the Chiefs have one thing to offer, other than Mahomes and Kelce, it might be the flexibility and potential for low-owned low-cost DFS scoring, there are several additional options for a few targets on the depth chart and the backfield should be well split between Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Kansas City ranks as stack 6/5 on FanDuel and 7/14 on DraftKings in a game with a 37.5-point total in which Kansas City is favored by 8.5 on the road. The potential trap springs between the lackluster options in the Chiefs passing game and the quality defense in play. New England, for all their faults this season, ranks 13th against the pass with 6.3 yards per attempt allowed while landing first against the run with just 3.2 yards allowed per rush attempt. The Patriots enjoy a 20.7% pressure rate on a whopping 34.7% blitz rate this season but they have only racked up 26 sacks and seven interceptions. This is not an endorsement for the New England defense but it is also not support for a Chiefs stack that has been mostly underwhelming this year.

 


Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, Demarcus Robinson, Tyler Higbee

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas

Lineup Notes: This is potentially the big one of the week. The highest total lands not with the Cowboys and Bills but between the Rams and Commanders. Washington and Los Angeles are drawing a 50.5-point total with the hometown Rams favored by 6.0 and a ton of potential DFS value in play. Los Angeles ranks as stack 2 by points and 1 by value on DraftKings and they land 2/3 on the FanDuel slate where the team’s passing components are more high-priced against the cap. Matthew Stafford has thrown 10 touchdown passes in the team’s last three games, posting 229, 279, and 294 yards while completing 70 of 111 pass attempts and throwing just one interception. The quarterback has a pair of premium wide receivers in Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, both of whom project highly in this game environment as big pay-up options. Kupp ranks as WR5/15 on DraftKings and WR5/8 on FanDuel, while Nacua is WR4/4 on DraftKings and WR6/6 on FanDuel. Kupp finally returned to form last week, putting up 115 yards and a touchdown with eight catches on 10 targets. Kupp also scored in a lower-end performance in Week 13 after going six straight games without a touchdown. Nacua did not get in the end zone last week but he posted 84 yards on 5-9 receiving and gained six yards on his one carry. Nacua carried the ball twice for 34 yards in Week 13 and he caught four of his seven targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. Nacua has five 100-yard receiving games so far this season. Running back Kyren Williams ranks as RB 2/3 on DraftKings and RB2/6 on FanDuel this week, he has a significant ceiling even if the game gets pass-happy. Even with heavy passing volume the past two weeks, Williams had 24 touches in Week 13 and 28 in Week 14. Tyler Higbee is a playable tight end with touchdown upside, while the team’s remaining pass catchers are more touchdown-dependent dart throws. The Rams are facing a Commanders defense that ranks 32nd against the pass with 7.7 yards allowed per attempt and 30 passing touchdowns allowed this season.

 


Miami Dolphins

Key Player: Tua Tagovailoa

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Tyreek Hill (Q), Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert, Braxton Berrios, Cedrick Wilson Jr., Durham Smythe

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Breece Hall, Garrett Wilson, Tyler Conklin, Allen Lazard

Lineup Notes: Another spot that may be more shine than substance is the high-flying elite Miami offense against the division rival Jets. New York’s offense stands very little chance of keeping pace with the Dolphins unless their defense can keep them in the game, and it is a defense that ranks 12th against the run with 4.1 yards allowed per attempt and 2nd against the pass with just 5.4 yards allowed per attempt. The Jets have racked up 36 sacks and 12 interceptions on the season while pressuring the quarterback at a 28.1% clip despite just a 16.4% blitz rate, they are a fundamentally underrated defense, and the high-scoring Dolphins are checked to just 23 implied points in a game with a 36.5-point total. Of course, none of that is to say that Tyreek Hill and Tua Tagovailoa’s unique connection in the passing game don’t have a major upside for scoring this week, the elite speed and ability to connect at a high rate can beat any defense in football. Hill is questionable but expected to play. Jaylen Waddle adds plenty of potential as the team’s established second option in the passing game. Waddle had 79 yards on 6-8 receiving last week, posting 52 yards on 5-8 the week before and 114 yards on 8-8 in Week 12 against this same Jets team. Waddle has not scored a touchdown since Week 8, he could be a somewhat sneakier angle into this passing attack in a not-great spot. De’Von Achane is questionable with an injury and was a limited participant in practice this week, if he does not play then Raheem Mostert will see the bulk of the work as a high-end option for DFS scoring. If Achane does play the options are both playable but less appealing in the split in most weeks. The remaining options in this top-heavy offense are more of the dart-throw nature. Miami ranks as stack 5 by scoring on both sites, but they sit 10th by points per dollar value on FanDuel and 20th on DraftKings.

 


New England Patriots

Key Player: Bailey Zappe

Setting: exactly one

Team Group: Ezekiel Elliott, Demario Douglas (Q), DeVante Parker (Q), Hunter Henry, JuJu Smith-Schuster (Q), Tyquan Thornton

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The low-end Patriots rank 18th by fantasy points on both sites for Week 15, though they do climb to 7th by points-per-dollar value on DraftKings due to extremely cheap pricing on skill players and a $5,000 quarterback. New England ranks 14th by points-per-dollar value on the FanDuel slate where they have virtually no appeal. Demario Douglas is expected back to help enhance the weak passing game that also features DeVante Parker, Hunter Henry, and other less interesting options. The Chiefs’ defense ranks 27th against the run, allowing 4.6 yards per rush attempt, which could play well for the ancient Elliott in the absence of Rhamondre Stevenson. Elliot carried the ball 22 times for 68 yards and added another 72 yards and a touchdown on 7-8 receiving in a Week 14 game that was his best in quite some time. The passing attack is far less of an option against a Chiefs defense that sits 4th against the pass at 5.7 yards allowed per attempt and they have a slate-leading 42 sacks with a 28.9% pressure rate on 34.6% blites this season. Elliott is the only player on the Patriots who is more interesting as a DFS option than the opposing defense is.

 


New Orleans Saints

Key Player: Derek Carr

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave (Q), Taysom Hill, Juwan Johnson, Rashid Shaheed, AT Perry (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Saquon Barkley, Darren Waller, Wan’Dale Robinson, Darius Slayton

Lineup Notes: The Saints will be facing a Giants defense that ranks 31st against the run with 4.8 yards allowed per rush attempt and 19th with 6.6 yards allowed per pass attempt, they are not good. New York has managed to string together a few wins in the Tommy DeVito era, but no one should buy into what has happened as anything but simple short-term happenstance. DeVito is not an NFL-caliber quarterback and there is no hope for this Giants squad despite their mathematical inclusion in the playoff race. New York has allowed 15 passing touchdowns on the season despite giving up 226.3 yards per game, they have been a bit of a bend-don’t (totally)–break defense against the pass but there is an opportunity for a talented veteran like Carr who has solid weapons on his side. New York has 23 sacks and 13 interceptions on the season, with the sacks total coming on 21.1% pressure with a 41.6% blitz rate which is the highest on the slate. The team may get gouged by Alvin Kamara for a massive rushing yards total before Carr even manages to get involved however, New York’s ineptitude against the run should not be ignored with such a high-volume runner in town. Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed are strong options against the Giants’ secondary, while Juwan Johnson is the more reliable “true” tight end in the offense while Taysom Hill is far from predictable with his punt-pass-kick approach to scoring DFS points. Saquon Barkley and returning Darren Waller are the most appealing bring-back options from the Giants side. The Saints rank 9th by fantasy points on both sites but sit just 17th by value on DraftKings and 13th on FanDuel, they may work better as individual options.

 


New York Giants

Key Player: Tommy DeVito

Setting: exactly one

Team Group: Saquon Barkley, Darren Waller, Wan’dale Robinson, Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt (large field), Isiah Hodgins (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Alvin Kamara, Chris Olave (Q), Taysom Hill, Juwan Johnson, Rashid Shaheed

Lineup Notes: The Giants land as stack 17/16 on DraftKings and 17th across the board on FanDuel, they are not an appealing stack, though Tommy DeVito is an inexpensive quarterback at just $5,000/$6,600 across sites. DeVito’s growing legend is inflating faster than the expense account his newly famous “agent” is ringing up. DeVito has won more games than one would expect from someone who still needs his mom to drive him to the dentist, but the quarterback has relied primarily on his defense, the talent at the running back position, and a bit of good fortune to this point, he has posted one truly strong fantasy outing, though his extremely inexpensive pricing made him a winning option with just 158 yards and a touchdown on the short slate in Week 14. DeVito threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns, completing 18 of 26 passes in Week 11, he has thrown for less than 200 yards and just one touchdown in each of the two next games. Saquon Barkley is the true star in this offense. Barkley carried the ball 20 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns in Week 14, adding 15 yards on three catches to boost his total over 100 scrimmage yards. Barkley had not scored a rushing touchdown in several weeks, but his regular involvement in the passing game pads DFS scoring and he is regularly targeted in the red zone when he is not simply getting red zone carries, he had two receiving touchdowns in DeVito’s big Week 11 game. Wan’Dale Robinson and Darius Slayton are the team’s nominal one-two punch at wide receiver but neither is overly reliable, nor are the options further down the depth chart. The interesting option in the passing game, after Barkley, is returning tight end Darren Waller, who did not have much success before hitting injured reserve earlier in the season. Waller is a former star at the position, he has a chance to provide a safety valve for the young quarterback and has touchdown potential on this slate at a fair price.

 


New York Jets

Key Player: Zach Wilson

Setting: exactly one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Tyreek Hill (Q), Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert, Braxton Berrios, Cedrick Wilson Jr., Durham Smythe

Lineup Notes: Jets quarterback Zach Wilson had a career week in Week 14, putting up 301 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions on 27-36 passing. Wilson is far from consistent, but the result was nice to see after the quarterback has shown flashes of big throw ability from time to time. Wilson seems extremely likely to crash back to Earth this week in a low-totaled game that sits at just 36.5 with the Jets as 9.5-point underdogs against Miami. The Dolphins rank fifth with 3.8 yards allowed per rush attempt and they sit 12th with 6.3 yards allowed per pass attempt so far this season. Miami has allowed 17 passing touchdowns this season and they have accrued 42 sacks with a 26.5% pressure rate that is sure to keep Wilson nimble. Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson are the key options in any Jets stack and they are playable on their own in other lineups, the remaining options on the New York roster are merely mix-and-match caliber at best. The Jets stack ranks 16/13 on DraftKings and 16/18 on FanDuel this week.

 


San Francisco 49ers

Key Player: Brock Purdy

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, Jauan Jennings (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: The 49ers are one of the most appealing stacks in the NFL, they rank 1st by fantasy points on both sites for Week 15 while landing 3rd by value on DraftKings and 2nd on FanDuel. It is noteworthy that the team’s stack has five viable candidates for our ranking exercise when we take only four per team for price and score sums, San Francisco is elite. The 49ers offense has football’s best offensive player in Christian McCaffrey, a dynamic weapon both in the rushing and passing attack, and not far behind they have Deebo Samuel who is a dynamic weapon both in the passing and rushing attack. Brandon Aiyuk is a highly talented wide receiver who has six touchdowns and a 14.1-yard ADOT on the season. Aiyuk has plenty of touchdown potential alongside his star teammates, as does tight end George Kittle, who sits 4/19 on the DraftKings slate and 5/7 on the FanDuel tight end board. Samuel is WR 6/12 on DraftKings and WR 4/5 on FanDuel, Aiyuk lands 9/29 on DraftKings and 8/15 on FanDuel, and McCaffrey ranks 1st across the board on both sites at the running back position while Brock Purdy drops in 2nd by fantasy points on bo

 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Baker Mayfield

Setting: at least one

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

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Jayden Reed, Romeo Doubs, Aaron Jones, Dontayvion Wicks, Tucker Kraft

Lineup Notes: Tampa Bay heads to Green Bay to take on a Packers team that ranks 14th against the pass with 6.3 yards allowed per attempt and 28th against the run at 4.8 yards per attempt, with a huge 141.85 yards allowed per game on the ground. Green Bay has yielded a touchdown per game on the ground this season while allowing 14 total passing touchdowns and racking up 29 sacks but just six interceptions with a 24% pressure rate and 29.9% blitz rate, this is a targetable defense with a team that has a few strong DFS options. Mike Evans is still a premium talent at wide receiver, he has 10 touchdowns in 12 games while putting up 9.83 yards per target and a 14.5-yard ADOT. Chris Godwin is an established weapon in the second receiver spot, he ranks as WR19/21 on DraftKings and 19/14 on FanDuel while Evans slots in at WR7/30 on DraftKings and WR7/17 on FanDuel. Running back Rachaad White may be the most appealing part of the Tampa Bay offense, he has seen massive volume throughout the season and he has a fair amount of involvement in the team’s passing attack. White had 25 carries for 102 yards in the team’s Week 14 game against a good Atlanta defense, he added two catches on two targets, putting up 33 receiving yards and a touchdown through the air, his seventh score of the season. White has been popular in good spots, he is likely to be highly owned once again but he is an easy click on both sites and he ranks as RB4 across the board.

 


Tennessee Titans

Key Player: Will Levis

Setting: exactly one

Team Group: Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Chig Okonkwo, Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

Opposing Setting: at most one

Opposing Group: Devin Singletary, Dalton Schultz, Noah Brown, Robert Woods, John Metchie III, Xavier Hutchinson

Lineup Notes: The Titans draw a Houston defense that stacks up similarly to their own. Houston ranks 2nd against the run with 3.6 yards allowed per rush attempt while they land 30th with 7.2 yards allowed per pass attempt on the season. With both teams funneling action through the air, this would have the potential to be a better spot than it seems if there were better quarterbacks involved. The presence of Case Keenum and the Titans’ Will Levis is likely to drag down the overall nature of the game, which has just a 37-point total in Vegas with Tennessee favored by 3.5 at home. The Titans rank 12th by fantasy points on both sites while landing fifth by points-per-dollar value on DraftKings but just 12th by value on FanDuel. Tennessee has two excellent skill player options in stars Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had a 124-yard game with a touchdown on 7-12 receiving last week and he scored while posting 75 yards on 5-12 receiving in Week 13. Henry carried the ball 17 times for just 34 yards but he scored two touchdowns last week and he had a 102-yard game on 21 carries in Week 13 while scoring twice in that game as well. In fact, Henry has two touchdowns in each of the last three games and he has 10 on the season while gaining 4.3 yards per rush attempt. Levis did have a good game at quarterback in Week 14, completing 23 of 38 attempts for 327 yards but he threw just one touchdown and lost an interception along the way. He has three games this season with zero touchdown passes but he did have a good first outing back in Week 8 with 238 yards and four touchdown passes. Chig Okonkwo is a playable option at tight end and wide receiver Treylon Burks adds dynamic upside to the passing game while the remaining options are more downfield dart throws.

 


Washington Commanders

Key Player: Sam Howell

Setting: at least one

Team Group: Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas, Dyami Brown (large field), Byron Pringle (large field)

Opposing Setting: at most one

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

Lineup Notes: Don’t look now, but Commanders quarterback Sam Howell has thrown for 3,466 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding five rushing touchdowns this season. Howell has thrown 14 interceptions this season, knocking down his value somewhat in those games, but he can keep his team in lockstep with a high-end passing attack in a high-scoring game like he may find himself in on Sunday. Howell ranks as QB5/2 on DraftKings and QB5/3 on the FanDuel slate, he is very much in play for both pure upside for scoring and for points-per-dollar value. Washington stacks rank 8/2 on the DraftKings board and 8/7 on FanDuel against a Rams defense that sits 20th with 4.2 yards allowed per rush attempt and 16th with 6.4 yards allowed per pass attempt. Howell has Antonio Gibson in the backfield this week with Brian Robinson Jr. out. Gibson carried the ball 10 times for 35 yards and added 37 more on 4-5 receiving last week, he is a strong weapon in the passing game and should see significant volume on the ground as well. Terry McLaurin has not had a 100-yard game this season, peaking at 90 yards in Week 7, and he has scored just twice, but he still draws a significant target share in the offense most weeks and sees plenty of looks in the red zone as well. Jahan Dotson has been over 100 yards once this season and he has scored four times, but his season overall has been a bit lower-end than expected despite being the team’s clear number-two option all year. The two talented receivers are joined by Logan Thomas at tight end and playable dart throws for downfield scoring in Dyami Brown and Byron Pringle, while slot receiver Curtis Samuel is the third option in the passing game most weeks. Samuel had a 100-yard day on 9-12 receiving in Week 12, he put up 65 yards on 4-5 receiving in Week 13.

 


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