4 NFL FanDuel Stacks for Week 1
Stacks are usually the backbone of the best FanDuel lineups, especially in tournaments. Brandon Gdula's piece examining hit rates and correlation for stacks is a must-read article whether you're already familiar with stacking or new to the concept.
This piece will lay out my favorite weekly stacks. So, read on to see the stacks I'm firing up this week.
Kansas City Chiefs
Let's address some overarching factors for the Kansas City Chiefs at a team level before looking at the individuals in the suggested stack. First, the game against the Arizona Cardinals will probably be played at a blistering pace. According to Football Outsiders, the Chiefs played at the third-fastest situation-neutral pace in 2021, and the Cardinals weren't far behind in seventh.
Second, the Chiefs were a pass-happy offense in 2021. Per Sharp Football Stats, the Chiefs passed at the third-highest rate (62 percent) in neutral game scripts. Andy Reid remains Kansas City's head coach, and Eric Bienemy is still the offensive coordinator. So, even if the club tweaks their offense without Tyreek Hill, it would be shocking for them to abandon a fast-paced and pass-heavy offense with Mahomes at the controls.
Even in what many might describe as a down year for Mahomes last season, he was fifth in passing yards per game (284.6) and tied for fourth in passing touchdowns (37). The 2018 NFL MVP is in the discussion for the best quarterback in the league, and he has a good matchup in Week 1. In late June, Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranked Arizona's secondary 27th. Mahomes should carve them up, even with a collection of fresh faces running routes in the offense.
Kelce is the familiar face for Mahomes, and he's still arguably the NFL's best tight end. Including the playoffs, out of 44 tight ends targeted at least 30 times, Kelce's 1.92 Yards Per Route Run (Y/RR) was the seventh-highest clip, per PFF. Kelce is also a target hog, unlike many efficient tight ends. He averaged 8.3 targets per game in 19 contests, parlaying his looks into 6.1 receptions per game, 74.9 receiving yards per game, and 12 touchdowns.
Mahomes and Kelce are the top options in a KC stack. numberFire's projections have Mahomes as the QB1 and Kelce as the TE1 on FanDuel's main slate. They're an excellent stack in all game types. Still, in tournaments, doubling up on pass-catchers is advised.
We want Kelce to hog targets. So, adding a field-stretching receiver who needs only a few shot plays to pay off to this stack is a wise move. Earlier this week, I laid out the case for casting a dart in Watson's direction in GPPs. Valdes-Scantling is also a great option, with a likely more prominent role in the offense than Watson. According to Sports Info Solutions (SIS), MVS had the deepest average depth of target (17.2-yard aDoT) among receivers targeted at least 40 times in 2021.
Thus, the speedster's vertical ability is tailor-made to make the most of a few deep balls, and Mahomes' cannon arm pairs well with MVS's wheels. As a result, the former Packer is a boom-or-bust selection to round out a stack on the team with the highest implied total (29.50 points) on the main slate.
And if you want to run it back, Hollywood Brown is the last man standing on a depleted Arizona receiver corps, and McBride, a rookie, could have a big Week 1 role with Zach Ertz looking iffy.
Bring-back Option: Amon-Ra St. Brown ($6,500)
The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the most run-heavy teams in 2021. In fact, they ran at the second-highest rate (49 percent) in neutral game scripts. However, that's not the offense new head coach Nick Sirianni wanted to deploy. In the first five weeks, Hurts averaged 36.4 pass attempts per game with a median of 37 pass attempts. Moreover, the Eagles were tied for the 11th-highest pass rate (60 percent) in neutral game scripts.
It's probably a bit ambitious to expect them to swing the pendulum back to passing at a 60 percent clip in neutral game scripts, but the addition of Brown to the offense might be a bread crumb for a shift in play calling. Brown is an elite and efficient wideout. Out of 71 receivers who were targeted at least 60 times in the regular season and postseason in 2021, he was fifth with 2.72 Y/RR. Brown has also had 2.59 Y/RR in his career.
Additionally, he's earned targets at an eye-popping rate. According to PFF, he's been targeted on 24.6 percent of his routes in his career, and he was targeted on 29.6 percent of them in 2021. Brown will have a golden opportunity to make the most of his looks on Sunday. Per PFF, he has the largest receiver-versus-cornerbacks matchup advantage in Week 1.
Goedert is also exceptionally efficient. In a breakout campaign a year ago, Goedert's 2.33 Y/RR was the highest mark among tight ends targeted at least 30 times. Goedert flourished after the Eagles traded Zach Ertz. He averaged 5.9 targets, 4.3 receptions, 64.1 receiving yards per game, and had two touchdowns and 2.61 Y/RR in 11 games without Ertz last year.
Hurts, Brown, and Goedert have excellent individual projections this week. We project Hurts as the QB3 with the highest point-per-dollar value score. Brown is our WR7 with a nearly identical value score to his positional ranking, and Goedert is our TE5.
Los Angeles Chargers
Bring-back Option: Hunter Renfrow ($5,900)
When the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders squared off in Week 18 in 2021, a playoff berth was on the line. The AFC West foes exchanged blows and went into overtime. When the dust settled, they combined for 67 points. The teams have changed since then, but the game projects to light up the scoreboard again with a game total of 52.5 points. The host Chargers are 3.5-point favorites and have the second-highest implied total (28.00 points) on the main slate.
So, that's obviously an excellent starting point for the highlighted stacking choices. The Bolts' offensive tendencies are also a plus. Last year, the Chargers were tied for the fourth-highest situation-neutral pass rate (61 percent) and played at the sixth-fastest situation-neutral pace.
Instead of suffering a sophomore slump following a brilliant rookie year, Herbert flourished. He was also brilliant against the Raiders, passing for 605 yards, six touchdowns, and only one interception in two meetings.
Ekeler was also a monster in last year's offense. He was unleashed as a do-it-all back who wasn't lifted near the goal line. Instead, Ekeler had 48 carries, 16 targets, 14 receptions, and 20 touchdowns in the red zone. The elite pass-catching back's receiving chops have long been established, but his excellence in the red zone and career-highs in rush attempts per game (12.9) and rushing yards per game (56.9) helped him morph into one of the game's best backs. He clowned the Raiders to the tune of 244 scrimmage yards, eight receptions, and four touchdowns in the pair of matchups last year.
Williams is the last piece of this three-man stack on the heels of leading the Chargers in receiving yards per game (71.6) and touchdown receptions (nine) a campaign ago. The big-bodied wideout was cast as a one-trick field-stretching receiver through his first four years. According to SIS, he had an 18.2-yard aDoT in 2019 and 15.2-yard aDoT in 2020 before getting reigned in for a more manageable 12.0-yard aDoT in Joe Lombardi's offense in 2021. Clearly, Williams took like a fish to water to his role change.
The Chargers-Raiders game has week-high scoring potential. Therefore, Herbert, Ekeler, and Williams is a three-person stack that fits well in tournaments.
Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings
Let's close the show with a game stack. Jones has a talented backfield mate, A.J. Dillon, but the Green Bay Packers can support both in an offense transitioning to life without Davante Adams. Even in a two-headed backfield in 2021, Jones averaged 53.3 rushing yards per game with four touchdown scampers.
Still, Jones's rushing ability is gravy. Instead, his receiving prowess creates a warm and fuzzy feeling in my stomach when I click him into my FanDuel lineups. Jones averaged 3.5 receptions and 26.1 receiving yards per game with six touchdown grabs in 2021. Jones was tied for 12th out of 51 running backs targeted at least 30 times in 2021 with 1.52 Y/RR.
That's only the tip of the iceberg, though. According to 4For4 Football's Market Share Splits App, Jones averaged 67.1 rushing yards, 6.7 targets, 5.1 receptions, and 55.4 receiving yards per game in seven games without Adams from 2019 to 2021. Of course, I don't expect Jones to maintain his splits without Adams for an entire season, but his dominance without the stud wideout is encouraging for Week 1.
Finally, Jefferson is projected as the WR1 with the second-highest value score among wideouts for Week 1, per our model. According to SIS, Jefferson was first in target share (29.1 percent) and intended air yards (2,218) last season. He turned his elite usage into booming box-score numbers, ranking eighth in receptions per game (6.5), sixth in touchdown receptions (10), and third in receiving yards per game (95.1).
Jefferson is already one of the game's best and most productive receivers, and new offensive-minded head coach Kevin O'Connell could coax more out of him this year. I love Jefferson this week. He's my most-roster player, and the ceiling is cathedral high for stacking Jones and Jefferson in a possible NFC North shootout between the Packers and Minnesota Vikings (47.5-point total and 1.5-point spread).
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.