Daily Fantasy Stacks for Week 1
The 2015 football season is just a day away from kicking off and with that is a breath of fresh air in a new fantasy season. Daily fantasy football is based on finding the best matchups and exploiting the best value and this column will attempt to help you in assembling your weekly fantasy football roster.
Whether you play on FanDuel or DraftKings, exploiting the best matchups will help you win more often than not. One strategy that is used often in DFS is “stacking.” For those who are new to DFS and need an introduction to the term, here’s the definition from our DFS glossary.
“The general idea is to find a strong team going against a weak team and then choose as many players from the strong team as you can. General observation says that if a team does well, many of the players on the team will do well, too.”
Stacking is a high-risk, high-reward venture, as you are pretty much placing your weekly stock into one team’s performance. The matchups can be enticing, but there still has to be execution. If you pick three players on the Denver Broncos and they win 35-10, your team will likely earn the dividends. On the flip side, if you spend three of your roster spots on Green Bay Packers offensive players and they lose 13-6, your team will likely flounder.
Week 1 provides plenty of uncertainty because of questions regarding team depth charts and playing time, but here are a few matchups I would try to capitalize on in Week 1 that could pay off in an enormous way. For each matchup, I will list the game, the players and their current salary on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Players of note
Aaron Rodgers ($9,700 value on FanDuel, $8,600 on DraftKings), Randall Cobb ($8,400 on FanDuel, $8,000 on DraftKings), Eddie Lacy ($8,500 on FanDuel, $7,500 on DraftKings), Davante Adams ($5,500 on FanDuel, $4,400 on DraftKings).
You may have to pay a hefty price on these Packers, but they should pay off against a Chicago Bears team that is in a rebuilding mode defensively. According to Pro Football Reference, Rodgers is 11-3 against the Bears, with 3,448 yards and 31 touchdowns. He averaged 22.3 points on FanDuel and 23.4 points on DraftKings a season ago. The Bears will be rolling with Kyle Fuller and Alan Ball as the starting corners. Even on the road, Rodgers should carve up the Bears.
Lacy will probably be one of the priciest running backs on the market Week 1, but for good reason. He ran for only 98 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown in two games against Chicago last year, which is a bit concerning. However, Chicago’s front seven looks to be pedestrian this season in its first year in a 3-4 defense.
You may not be willing to pay premium prices for Rodgers, Lacy and Cobb. But, Cobb is going to be Green Bay’s top target Sunday afternoon with Jordy Nelson out for the season with a torn ACL. Cobb does have a shoulder issue, but it isn’t expected to hold him out of the season opener. He killed the Bears for 185 yards and three scores last season.
Adams is presumably going to be the next man up in Green Bay’s receiving group and he comes at a good value in Week 1. The scheme is perfect, but the talent is unproven. Adams caught 38 passes and three touchdowns last year as a depth receiver and didn’t do much damage against Chicago in his rookie year.
Players of note
Ryan Tannehill ($8,000 on FanDuel, $7,400 on DraftKings), Lamar Miller ($7,300 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings), Jarvis Landry ($6,900 on FanDuel, $5,600 on DraftKings), Miami Dolphins D/ST ($4,700 on FanDuel, $3,000 on DraftKings).
In case you haven’t been following the Washington Redskins, they’re a bit of a mess. Tannehill should tear apart a Washington secondary that ranked 24th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game and gave up a league-high 35 touchdowns through the air in 2014.
I like Landry because of his speed and ability to run underneath. The Redskins surrendered 8.2 yards per attempt, which means Landry should get some open space to run after receptions.
Washington was more respectable against the run, but Miller still makes for a good play and a nice value. The Redskins gave up more than 100 yards per game and 11 touchdowns on the ground in 2014.
The defense could be the best play of them all. The Redskins are rolling out Kirk Cousins once again as the starting quarterback, but he will be playing behind a horrible offensive line outside of left tackle Trent Williams. Miami’s defensive line should rack up at least a few sacks against the overmatched Washington O-line. That increased pressure could lead to a couple of turnovers from Cousins. The Phins have very good shutout potential in Week 1.
Players of note
Adrian Peterson ($9,200 on FanDuel, $7,700 on DraftKings), Charles Johnson ($5,600 on FanDuel, $4,900 on DraftKings), Teddy Bridgewater ($7,200 on FanDuel, $6,600 on DraftKings), Minnesota Vikings D/ST ($4,400 on FanDuel, $2,800 on DraftKings)
The 49ers might be a team I pick on throughout the year because of all the attrition they went through this offseason. Defensively, replacing Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and Aldon Smith will be brutal. NaVorro Bowman is back, but there’s no guarantee he ever becomes the shutdown linebacker he was before his gruesome knee injury.
A motivated Adrian Peterson playing in his first game since Week 1 of last year on Monday Night Football? Count me in. I’ll pay the hefty price for what could be insane production. The 49ers were one of the best teams against the run a year ago, but that was with three Pro Bowl players on the front seven who are now gone.
The good news is the money you spend on Peterson you will save with the rest of the Vikings listed. I really like Teddy Bridgewater this year. He was the best among the rookie QBs and should take another step forward in year two. The 49ers didn’t give up many yards through the air last year, but did allow 29 passing touchdowns.
I like Johnson over Wallace because of his cheaper price tag and his chemistry with Bridgewater. Johnson came on strong in the second half of the season and reeled in 25 passes for 415 yards and two scores in the final seven games. The 49ers secondary isn’t impressive outside of Eric Reid and Johnson could exploit San Francisco for a couple of big plays. Johnson should be more involved in what could be an enhanced passing game in Minnesota.
If you’re looking for a relatively safe and cheap option defensively, the Vikings could be a good choice. They weren’t particularly good against the run last year, but San Francisco’s offensive line isn’t great and is without Mike Iupati. The Vikings ranked seventh in the league against the pass last year and Colin Kaepernick doesn’t strike much fear as a thrower.
Mike Zimmer is a great defensive coach and should have the Vikings well prepared. Minnesota might not present a ton of fantasy upside, but they should be a safe and inexpensive choice for your roster.