For most season-long fantasy leagues, we are at the halfway point. The season marches on into Week 8, where we have an interesting slate to break down for daily fantasy football. PlayerProfiler will be releasing articles all week to help you put together the best lineups you can across your managed leagues and daily contests. The aim of this article is to utilize advanced stats and metrics to identify stacking opportunities in GPP lineups. As a reminder, a stack is when fantasy gamers roster the quarterback and one or more wide receivers from the same NFL team. Stacking has become an essential tactic in roster construction and has been shown to increase the upside of rosters through positive correlation of fantasy point scoring.
Week 7 Recap
Week 7 wrapped as one of our more successful QB weeks. Each of the recommendations cleared 20 points. We started with Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown. Lamar was popular at a 10-percent roster share, as was Brown at 13-percent. However, part of the thesis behind this play was leveraging off of Rashod Bateman, who came in at 17-percent. Brown caught a long touchdown but didn’t hit the explosive ceiling we hoped, finishing with 19 DK points. Unfortunately, the Ravens shut Jackson down halfway through the fourth, just within striking distance of both the rushing and passing bonuses. What easily could have been a 30-plus point day finished at 23 points.
The next leverage play worked out exactly to plan. Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown provided an easy way to pivot off of Derrick Henry. Despite positive Game Script, Henry faltered. While Tannehill and Brown connected on several long plays, including a touchdown. Tannehill was under 5-percent played, while Brown was more popular at 10-percent. Tannehill finished with 20 points and Brown with 30 points.
The final stack featured Derek Carr and Henry Ruggs. We noted how Carr had been towards the top of the league in deep passing and played to capitalize on deep shots to Ruggs. Those did not materialize this week. Ruggs was kept in check with only 7 points at under 5-percent played. Carr was similarly unpopular at only 3-percent. He did finish with a strong 23 points. We just didn’t hit the right receiver, a known risk when playing a volatile field-stretcher.
Week 8 Overview
While Week 8 only has two teams on bye, the prime time games pull several of our favorite QBs off the main slate. Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes are all not options this week. We also don’t have any obvious shootout matchups. Currently only two games have a total above 50, both at 50.5 with Tennessee-Indianapolis and Tampa Bay-New Orleans. That suggests we’re unlikely to see any singular game stack rise to a must-fade level of chalk.
Tom Brady and Chris Godwin
Let’s kick it off with a Buccaneers stack from one of those 50 point total games. Tom Brady has proved himself to be an every week viable GPP QB through unbelievable passing volume. Brady leads the league with 303 Attempts, 64 Red Zone Attempts, 43 Deep Ball Attempts, 2,275 Passing Yards, 2,605 Air Yards, and 21 Passing Touchdowns. We simply cannot ask for anything more. Brady is checking all the boxes for fantasy production in the passing game.
Even without any rushing production, Brady has secured a top of the line floor and slate-breaking ceiling. He’s good for multiple touchdowns and the 300-yard passing bonus every week. Game Script is irrelevant since the Bucs continue to air it out in all situations (see tweet below). He will be popular, so when building your Brady lineups, get unique through bigger game stacks or avoiding all chalk throughout the rest of your lineup.
Partner Brady this week with Chris Godwin. With 277 (No. 1 among qualified wide receivers) Routes Run, Godwin sees more opportunity than anyone else in the league. He’s averaging over 8 targets per game, mostly coming out the slot where he can utilize his elite YAC ability (255 Yards after the Catch ranks No. 3) to turn short passes into big gains. With Antonio Brown unlikely to play, and Mike Evans dealing with Marshon Lattimore, take the savings on Godwin.
Justin Herbert and Mike Williams
Our next stack features Justin Herbert and Mike Williams. Right behind Brady’s 43.2 Attempts per Game is Herbert’s 41. The Chargers are top 3 in Pass Rate Over Expected and No. 4 in Pace of Play at 2.21. That up-tempo passing attack has led to success for Herbert in posting splashy fantasy performances. Playing at home this week against the Patriots with a 48.5-point total offers another opportunity for the second-year QB to put together a big day.
Here's your updated PROE through Week 7, both overall and in the Red Zone. pic.twitter.com/DYxCjRRb0i
— Michael Leone (@2Hats1Mike) October 26, 2021
Coming out of the bye week, Williams said he’s healthy and feeling good. He’s ready to resume his target hog role on this Chargers offense. His 19.2-percent (No. 8) Hog Rate shows just how involved he is in this offense every time he’s on the field. With much of the field paying up for Cooper Kupp, or looking at options like Stefon Diggs and Ja’Marr Chase in the same price range, his roster share should check in lower than expected. That makes this stack particularly appealing.
Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin
Finally, we wrap this week with a budget stack featuring Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin. With a 2.15 (No. 6) Pace of Play, Heinicke is also in a position to see copious volume to accumulate fantasy points. The passing volume isn’t the same as Brady and Herbert, 235 Attempts rank No. 13, but Heinicke is providing more value with his legs than the others. He ranks in the top six for Carries, Red Zone Carries, and Rushing Yards among QBs. That provides an extra boost to unlock a ceiling that can break a DFS slate.
The other reason to play Heinicke is what it does structurally to the rest of your lineup. The budget QB options are very thin this week. The vast majority of fantasy gamers will not want to risk it and instead pay up for a Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford, or Jalen Hurts. By saving around $2,000 at QB, you have access to that second elite WR play or differentiating yourself with a top TE on a slate without the usual targets (Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, George Kittle). This structural leverage allows you to get unique constructions even if you want to play a couple popular plays since your budget allocation is so different than your competitors.
With Heinicke, the stack has to be Terry McLaurin. He has one of the best roles in fantasy football among the WRs. His 100-percent Route Participation of course leads the league. He ranks No. 5 in Targets (69) and Target Share (29.1-percent). These are valuable targets too; evidenced by his league leading 47.9-percent Air Yards Share. McLaurin is earning almost half of all the Air Yards available in Washington. If there are any splash plays to be had, McLaurin will be involved. Similarly to Williams above, McLaurin is competing with some popular WRs in the same price range, keeping his roster share low as well. This play allows you to leverage those WRs without sacrificing any upside.