WATCH: Is Brett Hundley’s fantasy upside going unnoticed?
What’s better than getting that push notification that your wide receiver caught a 50-yard touchdown pass, adding 12 points to your fantasy football team? Also having the QB who threw it, increasing that single play’s value to 18.
When you look back at past fantasy football contests, you’ll probably find that, almost always, the winning team took advantage of a quarterback-receiver stack.
With many big-name players either in very poor or obviously good matchups this week, the list below covers five pairings you might not expect to see. So, without further ado, let’s get to my top fantasy football stacks for Week 7.
5. Case Keenum ($5,000) and Adam Thielen ($6,700)
This Sunday’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens is significantly worse than the one this pairing saw in Week 6, but with both Sam Bradford (knee) and Stefon Diggs (groin) ruled out, Keenum and Thielen again will have to connect in order for the Minnesota Vikings to compete. Even before Diggs sat out last week against the Green Bay Packers, Thielen already led the Vikings in targets and receptions. He’s still without a touchdown, but he has five red-zone targets, including one last week, and he had 13 total targets against the Packers. While Keenum has been inconsistent, he has posted two games with a passer rating above 110 and three games with a completion percentage above 63 percent.
4. Brett Hundley ($5,100) and Jordy Nelson ($6,800)
Popular perception of the New Orleans Saints’ defense is shifting, but I’m still not sold that the unit is mediocre, let alone good. So far this season, the Saints have been torn apart by the Vikings and New England Patriots, and they were decidedly “meh” against the Detroit Lions from a points and yardage standpoint. Their only strong performances came against a brutally ineffective Miami Dolphins offense and a below-average Carolina Panthers offense, so I’m still targeting the Saints, who will face the Packers this week.
While there’s inherent risk in rostering someone making his first NFL start, Hundley is worth taking it here. That risk likely will keep Hundley’s ownership numbers tiny. Besides, the Packers are eighth in pass attempts, so Hundley should see plenty of volume.
Inexperienced quarterbacks often narrow their target tree, so I’m keeping it simple for the second half of this stack. Nelson ranks eighth among wide receivers in fantasy points despite effectively missing Week 2. In his other five games, he’s averaging 7.6 targets — 2.0 of which are coming in the red zone — 58 receiving yards and 1.2 touchdowns.
3. Russell Wilson ($6,400) and Paul Richardson ($4,200)
Wilson is vastly underpriced, but because the Seattle Seahawks face CBs Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the New York Giants, pairing the QB with No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin is a bad idea. Rodgers-Cromartie covers the slot, where Baldwin runs the majority of his routes, and Jenkins probably will smother him the rest of the time. However, Eli Apple, the Giants’ third corner, simply isn’t that good, only recently breaking a lengthy consecutive games streak of allowing opponents to score a touchdown against him, and Richardson should spend some time matching up against him.
Wilson has been inconsistent this season, but the Giants have been fairly generous to opposing quarterbacks. In the last three weeks, Trevor Siemian, Phillip Rivers and Jameis Winston averaged 24.1 fantasy points.
2. Josh McCown ($5,200) and Robby Anderson ($4,200)
“Once more into the deep” with McCown, though this time with a new running mate. I promise I’m not some McCown fanboy, but he has hit a particularly soft run in the New York Jets’ schedule, so I’m taking advantage.
McCown has been a solid quarterback all season, but he’s very turnover-prone. He has scored at least 14 fantasy points in four of six games, and his touchdown-turnover rate in the other two games is 0-4. This is why the Dolphins are such a good matchup for him, even though they’re allowing the fewest passing yards per game of any NFL team. While the Dolphins are decent at defending the pass, they rank second to last in takeaways and interceptions.
Anderson overtakes Jermaine Kearse ($4,700) as McCown’s best stacking partner not only because he’s cheaper but also because he has surpassed Kearse in opportunities. Anderson has more targets in three of the Jets’ last four games, and the overall target share during this stretch tilts 27-18 in his favor. Since Week 1, Anderson has three red-zone targets to Kearse’s one. And the Dolphins’ pass defense might be good, but it’s not great — a lot of the reason for the lofty ranking in passing yards per game is because they were blow out in two of their six games.
Another stacking option is tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($5,000), who has even more targets and red-zone targets over the last four weeks than Anderson.
1. C.J. Beathard ($4,900) and Pierre Garcon ($5,800)
While the fantasy talk-o-sphere works itself into a tizzy over Beathard’s University of Iowa connection with tight end George Kittle ($4,500), I encourage fantasy managers not to overthink this. Garcon is the San Francisco 49ers’ lead receiver and also a proven, talented NFL starter. Kittle is an unproven rookie tight end with only one great performance on his résumé. Kittle could be in line for a good season, but the Dallas Cowboys are a bad matchup for tight ends. They’ve allowed only one touchdown to the position, zero double-digit fantasy outings and none had more than 53 yards receiving against them.
You know what the Cowboys are a great matchup for? Wide receivers. Three have scored at least 24 points against Dallas, and five more have scored at least 10. Only the Giants’ wide receiving corps failed to score a touchdown against the Cowboys — the other teams averaged two wideout scores per week — and Garcon should have his chances, as he ranks seventh in the NFL in targets.
The Cowboys also are a great matchup for quarterbacks, ranking as the fifth-most favorable, according to DraftKings, which is good for the inexperienced Beathard. As with Hundley above, there is obvious risk in relying on a rookie, though Beathard played well in relief of Brian Hoyer in Week 6 and won the starting job from the veteran.
Dak Prescott ($7,300) and Dez Bryant ($7,800)
Prescott and Bryant could be in position to go off against an easy matchup, but they’re priced accordingly, with a combined $1,800 jump in salaries compared to last week. Despite the price increase, both Cowboys stars likely to be heavily owned, minimizing their potential benefit against the 49ers.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is arikleen) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.