The bye weeks continue at a slow trickle in Week 5, though unfortunately the Buccaneers and their flimsy defense is one of the teams that are off. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of good matchups to target and lots of steep discounts available, especially for WRs.
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. Matt Ryan ($6,600)/Calvin Ridley ($5,800), ATL at PIT
The salaries for Ryan and Ridley are catching up with their production, which is the only reason this isn’t my top stack of the week. The pair costs $1,400 more than in Week 4, and a full $3,000 more than their Weeks 2 and 3 minimum. But while the prices are catching up, the dramatic increase is fully warranted, and both players still rate as slight discounts in what is easily the best matchup of the week (with the Buccaneers on bye). The Steelers’ defense has allowed the second-most passing TDs (the Bucs are first) and the fourth-most passing yards per game. This game also has the highest projected score for the week.
The Steelers’ susceptibility to passing TDs is a key reason to target Ridley over his teammate Julio Jones ($8,500), though both are good cash games options in this matchup. While Jones is the star and clear No. 1 receiving option, the team has inexplicably eliminated him from its red-zone offense. Over the past three games, Ridley has five red-zone targets while Jones has zero. Ridley is averaging 6.3 targets over the last three games, topping at least 16 DKFP in each. Meanwhile, Ryan has recovered from a disastrous Week 1 to post three straight games of at least 31 DKFP, including multiple passing TDs and completing at least 74 percent of his passes in each.
4. Andy Dalton ($5,900)/A.J.Green ($7,200) and Tyler Boyd ($5,700), CIN vs. MIA
The matchup here isn’t great, but the Dolphins’ schedule may be misleading and these salaries for the Bengals demand attention. The Dolphins have allowed only five passing TDs this season, but their first three opponents were: Marcus Mariota while he literally couldn’t feel his hand in his throwing arm, rookie Sam Darnold’s second career start, and David Carr, who currently ranks outside the top 20 QBs according to ESPN’s Total QBR. The Dolphins are actually seventh-to-last in pass yards allowed.
As for the players themselves, Dalton has managed at least 17 DKFP in each of his four games, including two against more challenging opponents. He has multiple TD passes in each game. Green is still the clear No. 1 in this offense, already with five TDs and at least eight targets in every game. This is his second-lowest salary of the season. He’s a solid DFS option, especially in cash games. He’s likely to be covered by Xavien Howard for much of the game, though, which limits his GPP potential. Meanwhile, Boyd has emerged as the No. 2 WR for a team that hasn’t had a good secondary receiver to pair with Green since early-career Marvin Jones back in 2015. Boyd actually has more targets than Green over the past three games, and Boyd is also seeing heavy red-zone use with six red-zone targets and two TDs during that span. Because of his lower salary, Boyd is a better play than Green in Week 5, but both are great cash games options with legitimate GPP appeal. All three are discounted enough to warrant considering a double-stack that uses all of them in the same lineup.
3. Ben Roethlisberger ($6,900)/JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,500), PIT vs. ATL
I’ve reached the point where step one in writing this article is identifying which teams are playing the Falcons and the Buccaneers, and penciling that team in as a probable stack. I was delighted, therefore, to find Smith-Schuster available at such a bargain, clinching what was already an almost foregone conclusion to include the Steelers here. Among WRs active in Week 5, Smith-Schuster ranks eighth in DKFP per game, yet — even with an incredible matchup — he is only the ninth-most expensive option. This game has the highest projected combined score by far, and the Falcons are third-to-last in points allowed per game. The Falcons also rate 25th or worse in yards allowed, pass yards allowed and completion percentage allowed. The Falcons have intercepted just three passes, despite having the third-most passes attempted against them.
So the Falcons’ defense is bad. You get it. But what about JuJu and Big Ben? Roethlisberger is the most expensive QB on the slate, which is never ideal. That said, he offers a strong floor posting at least 15 DKFP each game. When facing two of the other dreadful pass defenses, the Buccaneers and the Chiefs, Roethlisberger put up 28.0 and 42.0 DKFP, respectively. And while there is a lot of noise in home-road splits, Roethlisberger has been significantly better at home over the span of several years. Smith-Schuster has double-digit targets in each of the last three games, and he has at least 100 yards receiving three times this season. Against the Bucs and the Chiefs he posted 23.6 DKFP and 34.1 DKFP, respectively.
2. Joe Flacco ($5,400)/John Brown ($5,600), BAL at CLE
Flacco is a fine play, but this pick is all about John Brown. He’d be a slight discount here based on the expectations of the fantasy community at large, but I think that he’s even more valuable than most people are recognizing. The Ravens’ offense was in shambles last season, but it was only the second time in Flacco’s career that it did not support a WR who totaled at least 900 yards.
Including 2017, Flacco’s top WR has always averaged at least 11.6 DKFP, and half of those seasons included a player who averaged at least 13 DKFP. In 2017, those averages would rank in the top-32 or top-21, respectively. Brown is the 28th most expensive WR in Week 5, though he’s currently averaging 17.6 DKFP – a pace that would make him Flacco’s second best WR ever. Though the speedy wideout has fewer targets than Michael Crabtree ($5,100) on the season, Brown has nearly doubled Crabtree’s yardage and has more TDs. If you believe, as I do, that Brown is not a fluke but rather is now the Ravens’ No. 1 option, then this salary in an average matchup is way too low. The Browns are in the bottom quarter of the league in pass yards allowed per game.
1. Matthew Stafford ($5,700)/Kenny Golladay ($6,000), DET vs. GB
The Packers’ defense is not quite as porous as it has been in recent seasons, but it still isn’t particularly good, either. However, regardless of the matchup, it’s surprising to still see Stafford and Golladay available at such low salaries. In the insane pass-happy world of 2018, Stafford is still sixth in attempts and 10th in yards and TDs. Nonetheless, his salary is 16th in Week 5 – with two teams on bye, that means that he’s priced as a bottom-half QB option. Golladay’s targets dipped in Week 4, but he’s still second on the team in targets, receptions, yards and TDs (behind Golden Tate, $6,700, in each category). Golladay is a home run threat with at least 11 DKFP in all four games, and two games above 20 DKFP. Tate and Marvin Jones ($4,700) are also attractive DFS options. Tate’s salary seems slightly discounted, but it is close to fair, which is why Golladay gets the top billing. Jones appears to be a major discount, but his role is very similar to Golladay’s so it is unlikely that both will have great games simultaneously. Golladay has had a bigger role for most of the season, and I like his talent more, but that’s not a knock on Jones. If you’re struggling to fit Golladay into a GPP lineup, swapping to Jones is a very reasonable strategy.
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.