Week 1 Daily Fantasy Football Tournament Stacks
By Andrew C. Lovell (@Andrew_Lovell)
Football. Is. Back. And, wouldn’t you know, it’s just as unpredictable as ever. The Kansas City Chiefs opened the 2017 season with a 42-27 romp over the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass. Just like everyone predicted, right? If Thursday’s outcome was any indication of what’s to come in Week 1 and beyond, we should be in for a wild ride this season.
The goal of this weekly column is to help find the most profitable DFS stacks, while avoiding the duds. Stacking, or pairing multiple players from the same NFL team, is an ideal way to maximize your point production, which is crucial in larger GPP (guaranteed prize pool) tournaments.
Let’s take a look at some of the top DFS stacks for Week 1, loosely sorted by salary.
High Priced Week 1 DFS Stacks
New season, same old Browns. Sure, Cleveland has some nice young pieces in place, but the likelihood of that translating into wins in 2017 is slim to none. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is a legitimate Super Bowl contender. This matchup should play out accordingly.
Roethlisberger and Brown have bullied the Browns for years, and while that’s hardly earth-shattering analysis, it’s all you need to know. Look for Brown to catch somewhere around 10 passes, finish with 100 yards, and score at least one touchdown.
Make sure to monitor Newton’s status prior to kickoff. He’s listed as questionable, but all indications point to him starting. As long as that’s the case, he makes for a solid play against an improving, but still below-average defense.
Olsen torched San Francisco for 122 yards and a touchdown on five receptions in last season’s meeting, so he’s a solid stacking option. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who caught a pair of touchdowns against the 49ers last season, is also worth a look.
Wilson enters the 2017 season after battling a multitude of injuries in 2016. Baldwin, well … he’s still Baldwin: dependable, consistent and productive. With some uncertainty in the ground game, Wilson and Baldwin stand out as a strong Week 1 stack against a beatable Packers secondary.
Baldwin tallied at least five receptions in 10 games last season, and should be in line for another 90-catch season. His touchdowns predictably dipped, from 14 in 2015 to seven in 2016, but he’s a good bet to find the end zone in what should be a high-scoring game against Green Bay.
Moderately Priced Week 1 DFS Stacks
The Titans surrendered the third-most passing yards in the NFL last season. Offseason additions Logan Ryan and Jonathan Cyprien should help, but Tennessee still looks to have an exploitable secondary.
That’s great news for Carr and Cooper, the Raiders’ dynamic young duo. Cooper has been solid in his first two professional seasons, but could be truly special in his third season. Look for Oakland to get him involved early and often in Week 1.
Cousins tossed two touchdowns in each meeting with the Eagles last season, a trend that should carry over into 2017. Pryor is coming off a breakout campaign with Cleveland last season, and he’ll immediately step into the No. 1 role in Washington.
Neither the Eagles or Redskins have dependable ground attacks, so this matchup could turn into an aerial shootout. If that’s the case, Cousins and Pryor represent solid value.
This stack is more about Green than it is about Dalton. Green, who was limited to just 10 games last season, didn’t face the Ravens in 2016. But in 2015, the six-time Pro Bowler absolutely abused Baltimore to the tune of 14 receptions for 261 yards and three touchdowns in two games.
Baltimore’s defense is traditionally solid, but Green is matchup-proof. Expect Dalton to look his way often in the opener against an AFC North rival. Dalton’s relatively cheap DFS price tag also helps offset Green’s premium price.
Bargain Week 1 DFS Stacks
Is Jeffery the best wide receiver in the NFL? Of course not, but you couldn’t fault Wentz for possible thinking so. Wentz put together a respectable rookie season with no dynamic threats at wide receiver. Jeffery, a free-agent acquisition from Chicago, represents a major step up.
Expect Wentz to target Jeffery heavily against Washington, particularly if the Eagles’ running game stalls. If Wentz is to take a major step forward in his sophomore year, Jeffery will be a big reason why.
Warning: This stack is not for the faint of heart. Watkins, and to a lesser degree Goff, have frustrated fantasy owners over the years. Goff was largely ineffective in his rookie season and Watkins, though productive when healthy, is virtually never healthy.
However, at home against a banged-up and porous Colts defense, there is upside for a long Watkins touchdown or two. This stack is a major roll of the dice, but sometimes you need to lightning to strike to win big in a GPP.
Hopkins was a major fantasy disappointment in 2016, as his receptions dropped by 33 and his receiving yards plummeted by 567 yards. No one is going to mistake Savage for Drew Brees, but he’s certainly an upgrade over Brock Osweiler.
The Jaguars defense is improved, but Hopkins remains the Texans’ top target by a wide margin. With Will Fuller injured and Jaelen Strong suspended, Houston should lean heavily on Hopkins in the opener. He’s worth some exposure in GPPs.