4 NFL FanDuel Stacks for Week 2
Stacks fuel upside in FanDuel contests. To that point, colleague Brandon Gdula took a deep dive into hit rates and correlation for stacks. It's worth a read.
Every week, I'll lay out my four favorite stacks in this space. Here are the stacks I'm honing in on this week.
Los Angeles Rams
Stafford took to Sean McVay's offense like a fish to water in his debut. Among quarterbacks who attempted multiple passes in Week 1, Stafford's 0.90 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back was second to only Jameis Winston's 0.94. He efficiently torched the Chicago Bears for 321 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, needing only 26 pass attempts for his outburst.
This week, as you can see on our Heat Map, the Los Angeles Rams have a rock-solid implied total of 26.0 points versus the Indianapolis Colts, setting the stage for another excellent showing from Stafford. Further, the game's spread of only 3.5 points should allow him to keep his foot on the accelerator throughout the contest.
Stafford's top option in the passing attack is Kupp. I discussed his outlook at length when highlighting Kupp in my value plays piece. The short version is he's the unquestioned number-one receiver for the Rams, leading the way in passing snaps, routes, targets, receptions, and receiving yards in the opener.
What might come as a surprise is that Higbee could be the number-two guy. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Higbee's 28 passing snaps played tied Kupp for the top mark. But, more importantly, he ran a route on 25 of those snaps. In other words, he's no longer being kept in to block much at all. That's a boon for his fantasy value. In addition, he was moved around the formation, lining up wide (25.0 percent), in the slot (28.6 percent), and inline (46.4%).
I suspect this stack will be fairly contrarian, adding to the appeal in GPPs. In addition, the salary savings you get rostering these three is a nice bonus, freeing up salary to spend on numerous studs elsewhere.
Los Angeles Chargers
While the previous stack has a chance to be contrarian, these three will be chalky. Sometimes it's okay to eat the chalk, though. For example, the Los Angeles Chargers have the fourth-highest implied total (28.75) in a near-certain shootout against the high-powered Dallas Cowboys. The game has a 3.0-point spread with a slate-best 54.5-point total -- it's a perfect environment for fantasy.
Fortunately, the Cowboys' defense appears to remain problematic for them, as Tom Brady eviscerated the 'Boys in the opener, passing for 379 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Herbert's the next on the docket, and he thrived in new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's offense in Week 1. The second-year signal-caller passed for 337 yards and a touchdown. The stellar showing is made all the more impressive by playing in the 1:00 p.m. EST time slot on the road as a west-coast team. He won't be saddled with the timezone adjustment this week, as the Bolts are hosting the Cowboys.
Revisiting Lombardi running the offense, passes were funneled through receivers. Allen led the team in targets (13), receptions (9), and receiving yards (100). Meanwhile, Williams nipped at his heels with 12 targets, 8 receptions, 82 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Further, Williams shouldn't be viewed as a boom-or-bust vertical-only option if this usage holds.
According to Sports Info Solutions, Williams was targeted at a much shallower depth, tallying an average depth of target of 9.5 yards downfield last week, compared to 14.8 yards in 2020. As a result, Sports Info Solutions described all 12 of his targets as catchable, so don't sleep on the usage change.
Finally, there's plenty of meat on the bone for both receivers to ball out in a game that should be uptempo. Per Sharp Football Stats, the Cowboys played at the fastest offensive pace with a scoring margin ranging from trailing by seven points to leading by seven points in 2020. As a result, the Chargers should have an opportunity to run more plays and pile up fantasy points.
Ranking directly behind the Cowboys in offensive pace last year were the Arizona Cardinals. Pace means plays, and plays mean increased ceiling. We saw their ceiling on full display in their lopsided victory over the Tennessee Titans last week.
Murray rarely needed to use his legs, rushing for 20 yards. However, that's still in his bag of tricks, and he scored a touchdown on the ground. Further, he was sharp as a tack through the air, passing for 289 yards and 4 touchdowns. He ranked eighth among quarterbacks in Passing NEP per drop back (0.43) in Week 1.
Nuk is his top pass-catching option and is on the shortlist of players who have a case for best receiver in the game. He was on the field for 35 of 36 drop backs, running a route 34 times. Even with the sizable route total, he was still efficient, generating 2.44 yards per route run. Adding perspective to that mark, it would have tied for seventh-highest last season out of the 73 receivers targeted at least 50 times.
Additionally, Hopkins is a target hog. According to Sports Info Solutions, his 29.3 percent target share was the highest in the NFL last year. In a laugher last week, he remained heavily involved with a 25.0 percent target share.
Lastly, the matchup is tantalizing for him. According to Pro Football Reference, the Minnesota Vikings allowed the fourth-most receptions (22), tied for the third-most receiving yards (250), and coughed up two touchdowns to the Cincinnati Bengals' receivers. Also, PFF provides him the highest matchup advantage among the main slate wideouts on their receiver-versus-cornerbacks tool.
Unsurprisingly, our daily football projections love Murray and Hopkins. Murray projects to finish third in scoring at quarterback, and Hopkins projects to lead wideouts in scoring. I think there's a distinct possibility both players top their position in scoring. So, obviously, I love these two, and they may not be as popular as Chargers stacks.
Forget what you knew about Hurts after his rookie season. New head coach Nick Sirianni, the team's play-caller, used him differently in the opener. Among quarterbacks with at least 75 pass attempts in 2020, Hurts's 8.4 yards average throw depth tied for the sixth-deepest mark. Last week, he had the lowest average throw depth (3.1 yards) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 10 pass attempts.
Hurts thrived with this utilization, carving up the Atlanta Falcons for 264 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Obviously, the scoring doesn't end with Hurts through the air. The dual-threat quarterback also steamrolled the Dirty Birds for 62 yards on 7 rushes. The second-year quarterback's running ability bolsters his floor and ceiling.
Picking a stacking partner for him is easy. Smith showed out in his professional debut, corraling 6 of his 8 targets for 71 receiving yards and a touchdown. I analyzed his Week 1 performance in greater detail when highlighting him as one of my favorite value plays for this week. I'm not going to rehash all that, but suffice to say, I'm a fan of Smith's outlook this week.
However, don't just trust me. Our projections have Smith as the 10th-best point-per-dollar play among receivers. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Eagles' implied total of 23.25 points against the San Francisco 49ers provides pause. Spinning this positively, if you're more bullish on their outlook (like I am), the unexciting total will likely throw other DFS gamers off their scent. That's a recipe for GPP appeal.
Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.