Hello friends, welcome back to our weekly recommended GPP stacks article. This is the time of the year where it’s tempting to believe what we’ve seen so far is all we will continue to see. However, we must remember that three weeks is far too small of a sample to declare anything definitively. Matt Kelley, the Podfather himself, likes to say we’re Bayesians adjusting our expectations and projections based on new info. At this point, we need to keep our pre-season priors still in mind when forecasting rather than purely chasing the last few weeks.
That’s particularly relevant for this series as we chase under the radar stacks that give us that desirable combination of high upside at low popularity. For GPP tournaments with heavily weighted payout structures, it’s not enough to find high scoring players. You need to find points where others aren’t getting them. Where some fantasy gamers have moved off pre-season favorites who have underwhelmed, we see an opportunity for contrarian upside. We stack generally because that gives us a better chance at finding multiple high scoring players (the QB and the WR double dipping on passing stats). We stack lowly rostered teams because that gives us the chance to find leverage and score where others aren’t.
Week 3 Review
Week 3 was another feast or famine week for us in terms of fantasy scoring. From a roster share perspective, all three QBs were under 10-percent but above 5-percent. Frankly, that’s too high. The WRs as well showed up far too often. Chris Godwin and Sterling Shepard both checked in around 15-percent.
The best performing stack last week featured Godwin and Tom Brady. We correctly identified the Bucs-Rams game was one that would create a plethora of fantasy points. The thought was more players would be on the Rams side than the Bucs due to fears around the ferocious Rams defense. Brady hit 31 DK points and Godwin 19 points. Both chipped in rushing touchdowns. If either had been a passing touchdown, things could have been more explosive, but that’s how it goes some weeks.
Next, the Bears stack of Justin Fields and Allen Robinson flopped in epic fashion. Fields spent the entire day with Myles Garrett and the rest of the Browns pass rush in his lap. He didn’t even scramble much which we thought protected his floor. Instead, both players finished with less than 5 DK points.
Finally, we had Daniel Jones and Sterling Shepard. Jones became a very popular play as the week went on. Unfortunately for this stack, Shepard got hurt and missed most of the game. Jones didn’t have an efficient day finishing with no touchdowns but did chip in 8 rushes for 39 yards, essentially adding a passing touchdown with his legs. He will continue to be an option, but the general struggle of the Giants does mean this kind of game will happen. He should be avoided when popular.
Week 4 Overview
Shifting our focus to Week 4, we see that there are a couple of exciting matchups with 55 point totals. The Cardinals vs the Rams and the Chiefs vs the Eagles both look like they will be heavily played game stacks with all four QBs as appealing options. Especially in cash, I have little to no reservations about playing any of them. In GPPs however, we’re going to zero in on other games with slightly lower totals (though still elevated) in the hopes of finding a less popular game with similar shootout potential.
Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper
The first stack features Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Prescott has been up and down to start the year. In Week 1, the Cowboys came out firing against a stout run defense in the Buccaneers with Dak accounting for over 400 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the two weeks since, we’ve seen those attempts get cut in half as the Cowboys leaned on the run game to finish out wins. Prescott showed he can still be productive in that environment based on passing touchdowns as we saw last week.
This week they face another stout run D in the Panthers, who also have shown a competent offense thus far. With a 50-point total, this looks like a game where the Cowboys will not be able to pound the rock repeatedly. We’re expecting Prescott to throw, which he’s done effectively this year. His 81.1-percent True Completion Percentage ranks No. 4 among qualified quarterbacks. Rushing TDs are also in play for Prescott, who currently ranks No. 4 with 5 Red Zone Carries.
The Panthers have allowed 22.8 fantasy points to RBs through three games. Total.
— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) September 29, 2021
To complete the stack, we’re recommending Cooper this week. He and teammate CeeDee Lamb are in an extremely tight 1A/1B split right now. Lamb leads in targets by two (27 to 25) while Cooper leads in Snap Share (90.8-percent to 83.6-percent), Average Target Distance (9.3 to 9.1), and Red Zone Targets (six to four). The one differentiator is price. Lamb is $700 more expensive than Cooper. We like both weapons and the game environment, so if you want to double stack, go for it.
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs
The discussion in the introduction of this piece is particularly relevant for this next stack. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have not been connecting for the same splash plays that we saw last year. It’s completely natural for doubt to start creeping in. Don’t forget about our prior (pre-season) forecasts here though.
What have we seen so far? The Bills rank among the pass happiest teams in the league (42.7 Team Pass Plays per Game ranks No. 4), and Diggs is the undisputed WR1 in that offense (32 targets also ranks No. 4). What have we not seen so far? The explosive fantasy finishes for Diggs. Those are heavily driven by touchdowns, which we know are the most volatile element of fantasy football. It’s only a matter of time before Diggs and Allen connect as Diggs leads the league in Air Yards (415) and ranks No. 2 in Unrealized Air Yards (271).
This week, the Bills play the Houston Texans in what is projected to be a blowout. That will suppress both players’ roster shares. The expectation will be that they’ll run all over the sorry Texans. Two issues with that: First, it’s still too early to be that confident in projecting blowouts (remember the projected Jacksonville blowout against Houston in Week 1?) Second, Buffalo still passes in blowouts. When looking at pass frequency at Ben Baldwin’s rbsdm.com and intentionally not filtering out garbage time, Buffalo is top 6 in terms of Early Down Pass Frequency. This has the makings of a great GPP leverage opportunity.
Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham
Despite the high point total in the Browns-Vikings game, this looks to be a under-represented matchup on the slate, possibly due to the lack of flashiness at QB. We know the Browns are a run heavy team. Most weeks, Baker Mayfield simply won’t see the volume to hit a ceiling performance necessary for GPPs. The efficiency has been there though. He averages 9.8 (No. 4) Yards Per Attempt and 8.6 (No. 12) Air Yards Per Attempt. In a game with a 51-point total, we’re banking on continued efficiency plus a bump in volume to lead to a contrarian QB putting together a top fantasy day.
The other noteworthy piece here is Odell Beckham wasn’t playing for the first two weeks. When two of the Browns’ top WRs were a second year sixth round pick and a rookie third round pick, it makes sense to lean on Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Beckham returned in Week 3 and immediately reclaimed the alpha role in Cleveland with 149 Air Yards on 9 Targets. For a more affordable stack, there’s certainly upside in what could be the sneaky shootout of the week.