Last week was one of those weeks in DFS. Many of the most popular plays had monster days leaving those who pivoted off the chalk in a tough spot. Derrick Henry, Alexander Mattison, and Davante Adams showed up on anywhere from a quarter to a third of the lineups, even in GPP tournaments. If you frequently read this series and the many other excellent ones here at PlayerProfiler, you’ve surely seen multiple times the warnings around playing the chalk in tournaments. The upside is capped because even when they hit, your points are not unique. With one in three other competitors also playing those players, you haven’t separated yourself from the rest of the field. Hitting 200 points on DraftKings doesn’t matter when everyone else did as well.
In the long run, avoiding the chalk to find unique roster builds and leverage points increases your likelihood of spiking a tournament and getting in on the top heavy prizes. It doesn’t mean it will work every week though. Week 5 showed that sometimes the chalk hits and fantasy gamers who faded them don’t have much of a chance. We won’t adjust our process; we continue to zoom out and focus on the strategies that work best over the long term.
Week 5 Recap
We found success in week 5 with a few recommended QBs surpassing 40 points. The best was the Tom Brady and Mike Evans stack. Brady threw five touchdowns, two of which went to Evans, resulting in almost 41 DK points for Brady and 32 for Evans. Neither was particularly popular either at 7.8-percent and 6.1-percent rostered respectively.
The other explosive QB last week was Justin Herbert. In a wild shootout game against the Browns, Herbert finished with five total touchdowns (four in the air, one on the ground) for a whopping 45 DK points. Unfortunately, our paired Keenan Allen did not get in on much of the action. He finished with an underwhelming six for 75. Herbert was even less popular than Brady at 4.2-percent, while Allen came in at 8.8-percent.
Our budget option featured Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin. Throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns, Heinicke did not put up the fantasy numbers we hoped for. It was similarly quiet for McLaurin who only had four for 46. Both were contrarian plays at 1.6-percent and 6.6-percent rostered, so the potential was there but didn’t fire.
Week 6 Overview
For the first time this year, we have to deal with bye weeks. On a reduced slate, the popular industry plays should catch even more roster share given the lack of viable alternatives. This week looks fairly straightforward for identifying those popular game stacks. The combination of 50-plus point totals and exciting QBs make the Chiefs-Football Team and Chargers-Ravens matchups seem like the obvious game stacks this week. With the absence of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and a struggling defense, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs may air it out this week like never seen before. Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson are both coming off incredible fantasy performances and get a tantalizing shootout matchup this week. I’m not here to say these are bad plays in a vacuum. Considering how popular they will likely be though, we are going to look deeper for other options to build unique tournament lineups.
Kyler Murray and Rondale Moore
For our first stack, Kyler Murray gets paired with his rising ancillary option Rondale Moore. Murray needs very little justification to play any week. He has demonstrated one of the highest ceilings of any QB this year through his tremendous passing and prolific rushing. The undefeated Cardinals unsurprisingly have been facing positive Game Script, their +5.55 mark ranks No. 2 in the league. That naturally puts a damper on passing volume. Kyler has been overcoming that through downfield efficiency. He averages 8.8 (No. 3 among qualified quarterbacks) Adjusted Yards per Attempt, has put up 905 (No. 6) Completed Air Yards, and leads the league with 19 Money Throws. Combine that with his top 5 rushing work (30 carries rank No. 4) and that makes for a weekly DFS option.
DeAndre Hopkins is a completely valid stack option with Murray this week. While still the target leader for the Cardinals, he hasn’t been playing a target dominant alpha role. Despite a 21.7-percent (No. 32) Target Share, his salary on DraftKings remains stubbornly high at $7800.
Looking at the other options, Moore costs too little given the potential role change apparent over the last couple of weeks. Outside of Week 2, Moore’s snaps, routes, and targets have all been increasing. Last week, he ran even more routes than Christian Kirk. At $4600, we’re taking advantage of the growing, yet still nebulous role before the market can fully react.
Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper
At the time of writing, the only other game on the main slate with a 50-point total features the Cowboys and Patriots. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have been lighting it up this year in a way reminiscent of past Russell Wilson-led Seahawks. They’ve been so efficient that it’s almost hurting their fantasy scoring due to lowered volume. Prescott’s 165 (No. 19) attempts and 1,330 (No. 21) Air Yards aren’t the exciting opportunity-based stats you want to see. Part of that is because each attempt has been so good. He’s averaged 8.6 (No. 4) Adjusted Yards Per Attempt and 0.61 (No. 9) Fantasy Points per Dropback, with 13 (No. 3) passing touchdowns.
This game projects to be a high-scoring, shootout environment. If the Cowboys get into a passing script where they can’t force feed Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, that passing efficiency could produce a massive fantasy performance for Prescott and the Cowboys pass catchers.
Amari Cooper looks like the best value to pair with Prescott. He costs $500 less than teammate CeeDee Lamb. So far, Lamb has a higher Target Share (23.3-percent for Lamb and 20.9-percent for Cooper), but Cooper is getting the more valuable targets for fantasy. His 11.9 (No. 33) Average Target Distance and 8 (No. 5) red zone targets both exceed Lamb. Cooper will naturally be more volatile as a result of the deeper targets, but we’re shooting for maximum upside in GPP tournaments and so go with the cheaper, high upside play.
Mac Jones and Jakobi Meyers
We’re heading to the other sideline for a budget option this week. Mac Jones and Jakobi Meyers can be stacked for less than $11k in a game that we’ve already discussed projects as a shootout. Despite being a rookie, the Patriots are trusting Jones to air the ball out this year, evidenced by his 190 (No. 9) attempts and 1,518 (No. 10) Air Yards. Most encouragingly, Jones leads the league with an 8.1 Accuracy Rating. This could be the week that passing volume and accuracy come together for multiple splash plays and a breakout fantasy performance.
Given the non-WR passing game involvement for the Patriots with the TEs and RBs, the only viable WR to stack with Jones is Jakobi Meyers. The former undrafted free agent has established himself as the top WR on the team who rarely comes off the field. He ranks top five in Snap Share (93.6-percent) and Route Participation (98.4-percent). His 46 (No. 10) targets show he’s earning receiving opportunity as well.
As a predominant slot receiver though, we’re banking on significant volume to hit a fantasy ceiling. That’s not typically what we want to hope for in a GPP play, but with the budget savings you get from this stack, you can afford to pay up for a unique roster construction with sufficient upside.