The bye weeks are almost over, but they’re not done yet, and the Week 11 Sunday Main Slate is still missing several noteworthy players and teams. The Bills are off, while the Vikings, Bears, and Seahawks play in primetime – all four of are defenses that fantasy managers have spent a lot of time trying to avoid this season. On the flip side, the high-powered Chiefs and Rams play Monday night, removing several expensive-but-reliable options from the player pool. Weeks like this can be incredibly interesting and fun for DFS, as both factors — fewer defenses to avoid and fewer ol’ reliables in the player pool — actually increase flexibility. It’s a great week to experiment with new strategies.
One strategy I always recommend is stacking. The concept behind stacking a QB with his WR is simple: both players benefit from each completion, doubling the benefit of that play for your fantasy lineup. As Adam Levitan pointed out this offseason, 79 percent of the lineups that won DraftKings’ Fantasy Football Millionaire contests used a QB stack in their lineup. With the significance of stacking in mind, this article aims to highlight the best stacking options for Sunday’s main slate.
5. Joe Flacco ($5,300)/Willie Snead ($4,300), BAL vs. CINAssuming Flacco (hip) is healthy, this looks like a pretty big bargain for two players in a great matchup. Flacco is attempting 42.1 passes per game, leading the NFL and on pace to set his career high. With all that passing, there is ample opportunity for not only Snead but also Michael Crabtree ($4,800) and John Brown ($5,900). The other big part of the appeal here is the matchup, as the Bengals allow the most passing yards per game and the second-most points per game.
Ryan Tannehill is the only QB to play a whole game against the Bengals and score fewer than 23.5 DKFP. Snead gets the headline because of his low salary and the fact that he leads the Ravens in targets over the last four games, but Crabtree and Brown are also both reasonable options.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Flacco is not expected to play, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Lamar Jackson ($4,700) will make his first NFL start.
4. Eli Manning ($5,200)/Odell Beckham Jr. ($8,400), NYG vs. TBLast week I said I’d start my dog if it was playing the Buccaneers. Manning may not be a whole lot better than my dog at this stage of his career, but he is playing the Bucs, so he’s worth starting in fantasy. Week 10 was the first time all season that they did not allow a QB-WR stack to total 40 DKFP against them. Even then, Tampa Bay still allowed both an Alex Smith-Josh Doctson stack a Smith-Maurice Harris stack to return at least 2.5X value, generally considered the standard for a neither helping nor hurting a lineup.
The Bucs are coming off their best defensive showing of the year — holding a below-average offense that was without its top two WRs, it’s pass-catching RB and much of its offensive line to 16 points in a game the Bucs still lost by double-digits. The Bucs are still allowing the most points per game, the second-most DKFP to WRs and the fourth-most DKFP to QBs. Their defense is very bad.
I’m not a big believer in Manning, especially late-career Manning, but he’s long been a streaky QB, so it’s easy to see his recent play as being a part of one of his positive stretches. Before the Week 9 bye, he posted back-to-back games of at least 300 yards, and after the bye, he scored three TDs including one on a late game-winning drive. Beckham was the recipient of two of those TDs, and he has either 100 yards or a TD in all but three games this season.
3. Marcus Mariota ($5,500)/Corey Davis ($5,600), TEN at INDChasing last week’s stats is almost as bad as having to advocate for Eli Manning. Davis is coming off his second-best game of the season, while Mariota is coming off his third-best – matching that production would qualify as a massive success. Nonetheless, they are huge bargains in a plus matchup, so they warrant inclusion here.
Unsurprisingly, their fates have been linked since Mariota returned to action in Week 3, as their three most productive games of have happened simultaneously. That makes perfect sense for a QB and his No. 1 WR, but the trend is not always so pronounced. But Davis isn’t just the Titans’ top WR, he’s the only reliable passing option. He has more than twice as many targets, receptions, yards, air yards and YAC (yards after the catch) than any other Titan.
The Colts defense isn’t bad, but they’ve given up six games of at least 16 DKFP and more than one TD per game to WRs. They’ve allowed four QBs to top 24 DKFP, including both of their last two opponents. After Mariota threw for under 130 yards and zero TDs in four of his first five games, he has at least 225 and one TD in each of his last three.
2. Deshaun Watson ($5,700)/DeAndre Hopkins ($7,900), HOU at WASThe Redskins have allowed 10 WRs to top 17 DKFP, and every starting QB except Sam Bradford and early-post-injury Andrew Luck broke that same barrier. Overall, the Redskins’ passing defense ranks inside the top-10 in most DKFP allowed per week to both QBs and WRs. Watson hasn’t run as much from Weeks 6-to-9 as he did in Weeks 1-to-5, but he has thrown a TD in every game and he hasn’t thrown an INT since Week 6.
Hopkins has at least one TD in each of the last four games, and in all but three games on the season. In the games without a TD, he’s averaging 105 yards. But, on a fundamental level, what this pick boils down to is simple: these players are too good for these salaries. Maybe these salaries would make sense if this were a really bad matchup, but this is a relatively good matchup.
1. Dak Prescott ($5,200)/Amari Cooper ($5,400), DAL at ATLIn two games since joining the Cowboys, Cooper has dominated their passing game. His 18 targets and 197 air yards are twice as many as anyone except Ezekiel Elliott ($8,500). Logically, it follows that he also leads the team in receptions, yards and receiving TDs in that time. He’s also seen six red-zone targets, including three inside the 10-yard line.
The Falcons defense has given up the third-most DKFP per game, and the third-most TDs to WRs. Cooper has always been a fantastic route runner – he struggled with drops and there seemed to be some situational or internal roadblocks to his success, but the ability to get open early and often was never in doubt. The move to Dallas seems to have remedied whatever situational obstacles were impacting his performance, and he’s now playing like one of the best WRs in the league, but without the correspondingly high salary.
As for Prescott, Cooper’s arrival has corresponded with improved play. He’s thrown for more than 240 yards in back to back games, with completion rates above 67 percent – over his first seven games, he only reached that yardage total once, and never completed more than 66 percent of his passes in a game. He has a solid floor, throwing for at least one TD in eight straight games, and the Falcons are as good for QBs as they are for WRs. They’ve allowed eight QBs to top 20 DKFP, and allow the third-most DKFP per game to the position.
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