With the end of the season nearing, the Sunday fantasy football main slate is back down to 11 games — similar to most bye weeks — due to the return of Saturday games. All three of the highest scoring offenses — the Chiefs, Saints and Rams — are not available Sunday. With those star-studded teams unavailable and many of the available stars working through injuries, Week 15 looks like an interesting slate that should include a lot of value and a lot of different possibilities for how to build lineups. As always, the first place I’ll start is with a QB-WR stack.
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. Derek Carr ($5,400)/Jordy Nelson ($4,200), OAK at CIN
You might be wondering, “Alex, how does it feel to use any of your professional credibility advocating people spend their own hard-earned money on a lineup that includes members of the Oakland Raiders?” I assure you, it does not feel good. But the Bengals’ defense is really bad, and, unfortunately for all of us, the Raiders are next on their schedule.
Ten QBs have scored at least 19 DKFP against the Bengals, and eight of those have scored at least 23. Lamar Jackson is the only QB who didn’t score a TD against them, and he rushed for 119 yards in his first career start. They’ve given up four games of more than 350 yards passing. And if the Bengals are kind to QBs, it’s the WR generosity that is what’s most appealing. They’ve allowed multiple pass-catchers (at least four receptions) to reach double-digit DKFP eight times. That means even if TE Jared Cook ($5,600) leads the Raiders in catches, there is still plenty of room for Nelson to profit, too.
Nelson missed Week 11, and then the whole Raiders’ offense was smothered by the Ravens in Week 12. But in Weeks 13 and 14 Nelson averaged eight catches on nine targets for 73 yards. For all Carr’s struggles, he hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 5, and he has three 22-plus DKFP points in that span.
4. Ben Roethlisberger ($6,600)/JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8,000), PIT vs. NE
Perhaps I’m just an over-cautious Patriots fan, but this defense looks vulnerable. They’ve had some good games, but the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins each had their best games of the season against the Pats. Two of those were in the past four games. Stephon Gilmore is great most weeks, but the rest of this secondary is beatable, especially against someone as talented as Smith-Schuster. Gilmore is likely to focus most of his attention on Antonio Brown ($8,500), and Smith has more 100-yard games than Brown (7 to 4) this season. Both Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster also have high floors, with Big Ben scoring at leas 15 DKFP in every game, and Juju only once falling below double-digits.
And, of course, as I’m sure Sunday’s broadcast crew will remind us repeatedly, this is a rematch of 2017’s Week 15. In that game Roethlisberger threw for 281 yards and two TDs, while Smith-Schuster caught all six of his targets for 114 yards.
3. Josh Allen ($5,800)/Zay Jones ($4,200), BUF vs. DET
Readers, you’ve been good to me, so I’m sorry for punishing you with both a Bills and Raiders stack in the same article. But fantasy points are good, even if the getting them is ugly. You might have seen this stat making the rounds: Over his past three games, Allen has more rushing yards than any QB ever over a three-game span. From Week 12 to Week 14, he has more rushing yards than anyone other than Saquon Barkley. Even if this passing attack is ugly — and make no mistake, it is — any passes at all are gravy if they come on top of second-overall-RB play.
And while Allen is not a good QB if your goal is efficiency or winning NFL football games, his passing skills are well-suited to fantasy, and especially for stacking in DFS. His poor accuracy might mean he struggles to hit the broad side of a barn, but his arm is strong enough to throw over several barns at a time. That lends itself to some big passing plays, and since all of the Bills’ WRs come with very low salaries, it only takes a connection on one such long-ball to make any of them profitable.
Since the hope is just for one big play, I’d prefer to pair Allen with Jones, who leads the remaining WR corps in targets by a large margin. Allen is inaccurate and Jones struggles with drops, but hopefully the mass of targets overwhelms their individual skill deficits. That said, Robert Foster ($4,300) or Isaiah McKenzie ($3,900) are equally reasonable choices. Foster might be more talented and was the best of the trio in Week 14. McKenzie is also used as a runner, and he has two TDs on four red zone carries in his past three games.
2. Cody Kessler ($4,700)/Dede Westbrook ($4,500), JAX vs. WAS
Apparently I’m committed to filling this article with mediocre-or-worse football players. Sorry about that. Blame the schedule-makers. The Redskins are falling apart — both physically and mentally — and the Jaguars are next on their calendar. The Redskins have more than a whole team’s worth of player on IR (11+), and that’s not including all the players on their lengthy weekly injury report. They’ve lost four straight, falling from first in the NFC East to probably out of the playoffs. They just gave up 40 points to the Giants without Odell Beckham Jr. Each of their past three opposing QBs scored at least 19.9 DKFP. They might be able to make Nathan Peterman look good.
Kessler played relatively well in Week 14, getting 240 yards and a TD against an average Titans defense. Westbrook led the team in targets and receptions and also was the recipient of that TD pass. He doesn’t always lead the team in receiving, but he might be the most explosive option in their passing game, which is particularly valuable when targeting an end-of-season team that might have given up for the year.
1. Dak Prescott ($5,500)/Amari Cooper ($7,500), DAL at INDThis might look like stat chasing, but I promise you it is not. Prescott’s salary comes at a crazy discount. Like many in this industry, I have an algorithm I use to try to identify the best values at each position every week. It’s a simple tool that assigns a whole number “discount rating” to each player. Positive numbers are good, higher numbers are better. Most weeks, one or two QBs will score in the four-to-seven range, and most of the QBs who get highlighted in this article have a one or a two. In Week 15, Prescott’s score is a nine. It’s the highest I’ve seen since my mid-season update to the system. The next-highest score on Sunday’s slate is a three. This much value is really rare.
Since the Cowboys acquired Cooper, Prescott is averaging 35.3 passes, 285.7 yards and 1.5 TDs per game. That’s way up from his pre-Cooper numbers: 29.4 passes, 202.4 yards and 1.1 TDs per game. Yet, despite the massive jump, his salary is in the middle of pre-Cooper range. Cooper has scored at least 13 DKFP in five of his six games as a Cowboy, and he leads the league in receiving yards since the trade. The Colts’ defense is a quality unit, but it hasn’t done enough to warrant avoiding. The Colts gave up big games to A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins, and otherwise have not faced any top-notch wide receivers.
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.