WATCH: Make Your Pick: Week 2 Games to Target
Week 2 promises to be an interesting one for fantasy football. Most of Week 1 was in the books by the time salaries were announced, so there are far fewer easy-to-find discounts available. With managers affording fewer top-tier talents, lineups will look a lot different than they did in Week 1. Multiple games have potential to be impacted by severe weather, which might cause still more roster variation. But no matter how you fill your lineup, you want to make sure you start strong — and that’s 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.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the recommendations.
5. Deshaun Watson ($6,300)/DeAndre Hopkins ($8,000), HOU at TEN
This one is all about Hopkins. I’m not sure if this is really my fifth-favorite stack of the slate, but it’s the only high-cost pairing I feel good about — and I feel very good about Hopkins. The Titans have one of the best secondaries in the NFL, but all of their DBs are on the small side. Hopkins has the size, strength and ability to outmaneuver them and make a ton of catches. As has been the case for years, Hopkins dominated the Texans’ targets in Week 1, and he accounted for 47 percent of their catches and 44 percent of their passing yards. No matter what is going on with the rest of the Texans’ offense, Hopkins will get targets. Nonetheless, Hopkins costs a full $800 less than Antonio Brown, $600 less than Michael Thomas and $400 less than Julio Jones. Compared to his peers, Hopkins is a massive discount.
Watson struggled in Week 1, but his ability to produce with his legs gives him a huge advantage in fantasy. He was second among QBs in rush yards per game in 2017.
4. Kirk Cousins ($6,400)/Stefon Diggs ($6,900), MIN at GB
In last week’s article, I went into detail on whether Diggs or Adam Thielen ($7,100) should be considered the No. 1 option in Minnesota. The conclusion was clear: When Diggs is healthy, he is the top dog. When he is banged up, he cedes that role to Thielen. Thielen played significantly more snaps than Diggs in Week 1, but it takes more than one game to draw conclusions.
The Vikings take on the Packers — a team that was in the bottom 10 of the league in passing yards and passing defense in 2017, only winning one game by more than eight points. In this matchup and costing less than his teammate, Diggs looks like a great play. Meanwhile, Cousins appears to have adapted to his new home well, as he looked good in his first start as a Viking, and his price is pretty low. Last year’s sixth-highest scoring QB now plays for a team with dramatically better offensive weapons, and despite a good first game and positive Week 2 matchup, his salary is only the ninth-highest of the week.
3. Matt Stafford ($6,100)/Kenny Golladay ($4,800), DET at SF
In DFS, we must always seek every possible advantage. One often under-appreciated example is the salaries for the following week are usually posted before the Monday night games are played. That means when the Week 2 salaries came out, the Jets’, Lions’, Rams’ and Raiders’ salaries were based only 2017 and preseason data. This explains why, even though Golladay saw 12 targets and converted them into seven catches, 114 yards and 21.4 DKFP in Week 1, his salary is even lower than it was Monday night. While that same pricing inefficiency probably propped up Stafford’s salary after his underwhelming opener, the salary saved on Golladay is enough to make the pair a huge bargain.
The Lions don’t have an meaningful TE in their passing game, and they run mostly three-WR sets, so there are enough targets available for Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. ($6,200) and Golden Tate ($6,500) to stay productive. All three saw at least eight targets in Week 1. Stafford’s fantasy output was decimated by the four INTs he threw, but managers shouldn’t overreact. He still threw for 286 yards, and the Lions threw the ball on 77 percent of their plays. Stafford has been a fantasy machine for the past seven years, so we shouldn’t overreact to one bad opening night. The Lions face the 49ers on Sunday, and they were one of the most favorable opponents for QBs and WRs in 2017.
2. Sam Darnold ($5,100)/Quincy Enunwa ($4,700), NYJ vs. MIA
As with the Lions stack above, one of the most attractive things about this pair is the salaries were set before the Week 1 Monday night game. Darnold’s salary dropped $500 from Week 1, while Enunwa’s went up $200. Had the salaries come out after the games, one has to assume Enunwa’s team-leading 10 targets and 18.3 DKFP would have driven his salary higher. And let’s be clear: Enunwa wasn’t just the most targeted player on the Jets; he accounted for 48 percent of all of Darnold’s passes. If the Jets hadn’t built up a multiple-TD lead early in the third quarter, forcing them to transition to a run-heavy offense, both Darnold and Enunwa might have had even bigger games.
Enunwa has emerged as the Jets’ clear top WR. Darnold showed confidence and poise, played well, and demonstrated he is capable of handling the offense. Finally, don’t be fooled by DraftKings labeling the Dolphins as one of the 10 worst opponents for QBs and WRs. They allowed the league average amount of passing yards and the 10th-most passing TDs while snagging the fifth-fewest interceptions in 2017. Furthermore, they lost several key defensive starters over the offseason. This is a favorable matchup for the Jets’ passing game.
1. Cam Newton ($6,600)/Devin Funchess ($4,700), CAR at ATL
These guys are my top pick by a mile. Greg Olsen (foot) is out, and Funchess is more likely to pick up the additional target share than rookie backup TE Ian Thomas ($2,900). In the nine games Olsen missed in 2017, Funchess averaged 7.8 targets, 4.6 catches, 56.3 yards and 0.7 TDs for 14.2 DKFP per game — a season-long pace of roughly 900 yards and 12 TDs.
The Falcons match up as a slightly-harder-than-average defense for WRs, but they are very vulnerable to TEs or, more pertinent here, pseudo-TEs. The Falcons also sustained major injuries in Week 1, placing both their middle LB and their top safety on IR. The Falcons already tried to force offenses to play in the middle of the field, relying on their LBs and safeties to seal them for limited yards. These two injuries, therefore, open up critical holes in that strategy. When you add Newton’s ability to produce in the run game, this becomes an even more attractive matchup.
After finally factoring in that both players are surprisingly inexpensive and cheaper than they were in Week 1, they become almost impossible to ignore. I’m so excited about this matchup I’m strongly considering using a Panthers triple-stack, adding in RB Christian McCaffrey ($7,000).
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.