Welcome to championship week. Hopefully you still have some season-long teams in the hunt for fantasy football glory. At the very least, there’s another fun week on deck for daily fantasy football tournaments. As per usual, I will remind everyone the focus of this series is to utilize the outstanding advanced stats and metrics here at PlayerProfiler to identify intriguing quarterback-wide receiver combinations from the same NFL team to roster. When stacking, we put our teams in a position to capitalize on the positively correlated nature of fantasy point scoring between QB and WR teammates. If we can predict which games will be conducive to scoring fantasy points, we can double dip on the fantasy points by stacking multiple players from that game. In this unpredictable world, there are benefits to reducing the number of games you need to “get right.”
Week 16 Review
Amid the chaos last week, we emerged with degrees of success across the set of recommendations. The first stack featured Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. Burrow and the Bengals smashed this week, to the tune of 41 DK points. With over 500 passing yards and four touchdowns, there was plenty to go around for the receivers. Many winning lineups double stacked Chase and Tee Higgins. Higgins caught two touchdowns leading to the higher finish, but Chase’s 22 was still solid. Burrow became popular throughout the week and came in at 12% in large field tournaments. Chase was around the same.
The next stack opted for Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson. Cousins checked in at 3% played while Jefferson was more popular at 14%. Cousins reached 20 points and Jefferson 22 in a game that hit the over but featured two very short Vikings field goals. Just missed a much bigger day for this passing game.
The final stack looked to go nearly as cheap as possible with the Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence and Marvin Jones. As predicted, this was not a popular stack. Lawrence garnered a measly 1% roster share with Jones at 2%. Once again, Lawrence failed to throw a touchdown. The yardage racked up 13 DK points. Jones was the featured receiver finishing with 15 points.
Week 17 Overview
Week 17 gives us as full a slate as we get during the season. With no byes or Thursday night game, all but four teams are on this slate. That broad selection should keep popularity relatively flatter than typical weeks.
There are two games this week with obvious shootout potential that will garner significant attention by fantasy gamers.
The first is Chiefs Bengals, and the second is Cardinals Cowboys. Both feature 49+ point totals and strong offenses. There’s potential for a third game as well with Rams Ravens if Lamar Jackson is able to return. These project as the most popular game stacks this week which doesn’t mean we have to fade them, but it does require some creativity with how we construct our stacks or the rest of our lineup.
The other element at play this week concerns the projected blow outs. Vegas has four games on the slate where a team is favored by 13 or more points. That game script is tricky for stacking QBs and WRs since we expect the offense to be successful but with limited passing as they nurse leads. The field knows this which can produce leverage opportunities if the favored team continues racking up stats at low popularity.
Josh Allen is so integral to his offense that he’ll score regardless of game script. He won’t be ignored this week. The Bucs have shown a tendency to keep Tom Brady throwing while winning, the speculation being they’re chasing season and career passing records. Against the Jets this close to playoffs with several key contributors already out, they may not be so aggressive this week. The chalkiest of this bunch will undoubtedly be Trey Lance if Jimmy Garoppolo misses this week. At $4.8k against the Texans, his rushing floor will make him a smash, especially in cash games. I’m fading in tournaments purely due to popularity.
Kyler Murray & Christian Kirk
We start with one of the marquee games of the week playing Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk. The Cardinals face the Cowboys this week in the game with the highest total on the slate. Despite this, Kyler projects to go slightly overlooked. Since returning from injury, he has two top six finishes but also two finishes outside QB12. The matchup is also intimidating on paper against the Cowboys defense.
We won’t be scared off however. Murray has been dynamic all year posting 8.1 (No. 3 among qualified quarterbacks) Yards per Attempt and 0.63 (No. 3) Fantasy Points per Dropback. The Cards are underdogs in a game critical for playoff positioning. The game script sets up perfectly for a back and forth fantasy bonanza between two offenses that are among the top in the league in pace of play.
Made a new chart! This one shows how teams' pace (seconds/play) changes by game script. Here are the definitions:
Neutral script (logo): plays outside of 2-min warning, WP between 20%-80%
Positive script (green arrow): WP >80%
Negative script (red arrow): WP <20% pic.twitter.com/H0dAEfaAiR
— Sam Hoppen (@SamHoppen) December 28, 2021
In the absence of DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk takes on a centerpiece role in the Cardinals offense. His Snap Percentage increases from 64% to 81%. His Routes increase from 23 to 34. Most importantly, his Targets rise from 5 to 7.7 per game. Yet DraftKings still prices him below $6k. Take advantage of this yet to be priced-in role change.
Ryan Tannehill & A.J. Brown
Decimated by injuries to his supporting cast, Ryan Tannehill has been a non-factor for fantasy over the last several weeks. Since losing A.J. Brown in week 11, Tannehill finished QB16 or lower in each game with two outside QB22. Brown returned last week leading to an immediate boost in efficiency for the Titans passing offense (7.2 Yards per Attempt vs 5.2). A matchup against a lumbering 49ers squad prevented enough volume for a big fantasy day. This week against a league average paced offense in the Dolphins, Tannehill could see that volume while those only checking game logs will continue to ignore him.
Brown returned last week and dominated the Titans passing attack. He generated 16 Targets on only 29 Attempts, over 50%. There’s reason to believe that volume could carryover another week too. Julio Jones and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine are in the covid protocol leaving very few other options for Tannehill to target. Look for a healthy Brown to be heavily involved again this week.
Davis Mills & Nico Collins
Budget stacks are a recurring theme in this series. In an age where daily fantasy gamers are more than happy to pay up to $7-8k for QBs, there’s significant opportunity in paying down to boost the rest of the roster. This week has the added benefit of a chalk cheap QB (Trey Lance) pulling popularity away from the rest of the options. That leads us to Davis Mills. The rookie QB for the Texans has played surprisingly well this year considering a near league worst situation he’s in. His Supporting Cast Efficiency ranks No. 26 at -4.42. When taking that into account, Mills has availed himself well. A +3.5 (No. 11) Production Premium shows that he’s performing above league average adjusting for situation.
Coming off an upset win against the Chargers, the Texans face the 49ers where they are heavy underdogs. This should lead to negative game script and increased passing volume and therefore plenty of fantasy opportunities.
With Brandin Cooks still in the covid protocol, rookie Nico Collins will step into a full-time role that’s been gradually increasing all season. At only $4k, his role projects to be much more solid than many of the options in his price range. With a collegiate profile indicative of a deep field threat, evidenced by his 19.7 (93rd-percentile) Yards per Reception, he has high splash play potential creating a low bar to return value.