When looking at an NFL DFS slate, I usually begin with these two steps:
- Examining Implied Team Totals and Game Over/Unders
- Identifying Teams to Target and Possible Stacks
Each week, I will share my findings with you after I have completed these first two steps. Throughout this piece, I will reference implied team totals, winning probabilities, and game over/unders that are acquired from our consensus odds collected over at BettingPros.
Games/Teams to Target
- Detroit at Tennessee (Over/Under 51.5)
- Tennessee Bay Team Total: 31.0
- Detroit Team Total: 20.5
- Kansas City at New Orleans (Over/Under 51.5)
- Kansas City Team Total: 27.25
- New Orleans Team Total: 24.25
- Houston at Indianapolis (Over/Under 51.0)
- Indianapolis Team Total: 29.25
- Houston Team Total: 21.75
- Tampa Bay at Atlanta (Over/Under 50.5)
- Tampa Bay Team Total: 28.25
- Atlanta Team Total: 22.25
DFS Stacks to Target
All salaries are from FanDuel, but these stacks can be utilized on DraftKings as well.
Tom Brady (QB – TB): $7,900 / Mike Evans (WR – TB): $7,100
Much discussion has surrounded Tom Brady and his struggles in pushing the ball downfield. However, a matchup in a dome against Atlanta could be just what the doctor ordered for the veteran QB to rise out of this slump.
The Falcons have allowed the most fantasy points to the QB position on the season, and they have already allowed “get-right” games to Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, and Drew Lock. This is the first meeting between the two NFC South foes, and the game carries one of the highest over/unders of the main slate at 50.5 points.
Despite the narratives surrounding him, Brady has managed to throw for 300+ yards twice in the last month. With RB Ronald Jones (thumb) possibly missing Sunday’s game against the Falcons, Brady’s passing volume could see an increase as well. Any of the “big three” WRs could be considered in Tampa Bay stacks, but I’m deciding to highlight Mike Evans who has more TD upside. In every game in which Evans has seen at least seven targets, he has scored double-digit fantasy points.
On the Falcons side of the ball, it is best to avoid any RBs against a strong Tampa Bay rushing defense. Therefore, our focus will once again be on WRs Calvin Ridley ($8,400) and Julio Jones ($7,500). If Jones suits up for this one, he offers a nice salary discount with plenty of upside against a Tampa Bay secondary that has been an above-average matchup for opposing fantasy WRs all season.
Philip Rivers (QB – IND): $7,100 / T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND): $6,800
I’ll be honest. This is not a stack that I envisioned myself featuring in the weekend of fantasy football semifinals. However, this duo has simply been fantastic over the last three weeks, and the matchup could not be any better.
Rivers has at least two passing TDs in each of his past four games as the veteran QB is starting to look comfortable leading the offense for his new team. He has been connecting on his patented crossing routes and letting his talented WRs pick up yards after the catch, but he has also shown the ability to drive the ball down the field over the defense after they start to cheat up on the short passing game.
A key to Rivers’ recent success is Hilton’s revival and recent involvement in the passing game. After struggling at the start of the season, Hilton finally hauled in his first TD of the season Week 12 against Tennessee. All he has done in his past three games is total 277 receiving yards and four receiving TDs. The veteran burner-type WR hauled in eight of eleven targets on his way to a season-high 110 receiving yards and a TD in Week 13 against this same Houston Texans defense that is now without top cornerback Bradley Roby.
Early indications are that WR Brandin Cooks ($6,600) will return for the Texans after a one-week absence. He caught five of eight targets for a quiet 65 receiving yards in the first meeting between these two teams. Especially if Cooks misses the game, WR Chad Hansen ($5,600) is an intriguing bring-back option after seeing seven targets in each of the past two games.
Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN): $7,700 / Corey Davis (WR – TEN): $6,800
I certainly hope that you are fortunate enough to have RB Derrick Henry ($10,200) on your fantasy playoff rosters (or at least that you do not need to play against him). However, in order to place near the top of a GPP or tournament in NFL DFS, we have to get creative. I think we can have some differentiation from other lineups by rostering the Titans passing game rather than loading up on Henry or fading the game completely.
The game between the Titans and Lions does feature the highest over/under of the main slate with 51.5 points. We will want to monitor the health of Lions starting QB Matthew Stafford to ensure that the Detroit offense has a better chance to keep the game competitive. While the Titans’ success on the ground has been widely discussed, we must not forget that Ryan Tannehill is playing great football himself. Playing efficiently in the play-action passing game, the veteran QB has four games with 26+ FanDuel fantasy points. Detroit has been a top-ten matchup for opposing QBs on the season.
With an implied team total of 31 points, there is value to be found on the Titan’s offense. While many expect the scoring to come on the ground, capturing any points scored through the air can help elevate lineups to the top of leaderboards. Because we are treating this stack as a contrarian play, I’m deciding to highlight Davis who is coming off a disappointing three catch outing against Jacksonville. He is just one week removed from an 11 catch, 182 yard, and a TD game against Cleveland in Week 13. Davis offers a substantial discount compared to teammate A.J. Brown ($8,300) who could be popular following his circus catch TD and big day against Jacksonville last week.
If Stafford does not suit up, I’m comfortable playing this as a skinny stack with only Titans pass catchers. However, if the Detroit QB is able to go, then TE T.J. Hockenson ($6,200) is an intriguing play. Most DFS players will likely punt the TE position or pay up for Travis Kelce ($8,500), who could be part of popular game stacks featuring the Chiefs and Saints. To stay contrarian, we can roster a lineup that fades that game in New Orleans and instead play a TE who offers plenty of upside and completes our Titans-Lions game stack.
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