Hello, and welcome back to our weekly dive into the daily fantasy football stacking pool. As previously noted, our intent with this piece is to identify strong opportunities to play a quarterback and one or more of his team’s wide receivers to form stacks in daily fantasy football tournaments. Before jumping into Week 5, with PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats and metrics as our guide, we will recap Week 4 and discuss a shift in the methodology to be used in this series.
Week 4 Recap
Last week, we had four recommended stacks. Due to late-breaking positive COVID tests for both the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, the Cam Newton double stack with Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry was removed from the main slate. An unfortunate turn of events.
The Cowboys stack with Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb proved to be the week’s strongest recommendation. Both were popular, albeit not fully chalk; each saw about 10-percent ownership. They smashed. With Cleveland getting out to a big lead, unsurprising given Dallas’s defensive woes, Prescott was forced to throw nonstop in the second half, which benefitted nearly all the Cowboys pass catchers. Lamb found himself on the receiving end of two touchdowns, dropping 25 DraftKings points compared to 42 for Prescott. That stack put teams in a great spot to cash in tournaments.
Nick Foles and Allen Robinson made up the second stack last week. Foles went almost completely unowned, while Robinson saw light ownership at around 3-percent. Robinson had another great week, hitting the 100-yard bonus and scoring a touchdown. The issue was that Foles didn’t produce anything outside of Robinson’s numbers. I’ll touch on this further in the next section, but this shouldn’t have been a surprise and was a bad play on my part.
The final stack was specifically a budget stack. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Preston Williams appeared to be heading towards a shootout with the Seahawks. Fitzpatrick was popular both in cash and GPP rosters on Sunday, and it paid off. His 26 points at $5400 were excellent. Williams did not get in on the action, finishing with 4.5 fantasy points as our fear of a low Target Share materialized. His Snap Share has decreased in each game this year, hitting a season-low 56.7-percent against Seattle.
To this point in the season, we’ve mostly focused on the WR side when trying to identify promising stack candidates. In years past, there typically hasn’t been much differentiation among the QBs in these daily fantasy formats. Both price and scoring were tightly packed. This season has changed that. Games have been more likely to shoot out, and more QBs are racking up points with their legs. Until DraftKings adjusts the top QB salaries, they present real value to fantasy gamers. Gone are the days when a strict pocket passer on medium to low volume (such as Nick Foles last week) will be able to compete with the historic production we’re seeing from the leaders at the position. As a result, my focus will shift.
Most Fantasy Points by a QB Through the First 4 Games of a Season All-Time
1. Dak Prescott, 2020 (125.2)
2. Russell Wilson, 2020 (124.9)
3. Josh Allen, 2020 (120.3)
4. Peyton Manning, 2013 (120.1)
5. Aaron Rodgers, 2011 (116.3)
6. Lamar Jackson, 2019 (112.2)
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) October 5, 2020
Instead of primarily targeting WRs in promising matchups and their QBs, we will now target difference-making QBs in promising matchups and their WRs. We’re searching for QBs that are throwing a ton, such as Joe Burrow and his 44.2 (No. 2 among qualified quarterbacks) Pass Attempts per Game. We’re also searching for QBs that create points with their legs, such as Kyler Murray and his 66.2 (No. 1) Rush Yards per Game. Or, with 50.2 (No. 1) Pass Attempts per Game and three (No. 3) rushing TDs, we’re searching for a player who can provide both such as Dak Prescott.
The other category that is still in play is super budget QBs in expected smash spots (think Ryan Fitzpatrick last week). This unfortunately means that the pool of QBs and WRs to highlight each week will shrink, and there will be some repeats. While a goal of this series is to entertain, the main goal remains to inform. Fear not, for the fabulous RotoUnderworld Writing Team will still pump out several pieces each week highlighting strong individual WR plays. With that foundation in place, let’s get to the Week 5 Quarterback-Wide Receiver Stacks.
Deshaun Watson & Will Fuller
We start this week with Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller. The two hooked up for one (and very nearly two) TDs last week. Watson started this year slowly which, given the gauntlet of defenses the Texans have faced, is explainable. This week they face the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have yielded top ten weeks this season to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Tannehill.
Watson has been super efficient aggressively throwing the ball down the field this year. He has recorded 664 (No. 8) Completed Air Yards, 8.4 (No. 7) Yards per Attempt, and 8.5 (No. 10) Air Yards per Attempt with a 108.8 (No. 8) True Passer Rating. The issues have come when pressured. His 73.3-percent (No. 33) Protection Rate ranks near league-bottom. When pressured, his completion percentage falls to a measly 34.5-percent (No. 17) mark. However, in a clean pocket, Watson leads the league at 87.8-percent completion percentage. That lines up well against the Jaguars and their anemic pass rush. With only four sacks, they rank second to last in the league. According to FootballOutsiders, their 4.2-percent Adjusted Sack Rate checks in at No. 29.
Watson will have all day to throw the ball, which will allow him to pick apart this secondary with efficient, deep passing to his favorite target. Despite averaging 14.0 (No. 19) yards of Average Target Distance, Fuller has notably produced a +39.8 (No. 8) Production Premium and a +48.7-percent (No. 10) Target Premium. Good things happen when Watson throws to Fuller. In a game projected to shoot out with a 54-point total, expect multiple splash plays from these two.
Joe Burrow & Tee Higgins
Joe Burrow’s passing volume makes him appealing week in and week out for daily fantasy. While some will be scared off going against Baltimore, the pass volume and expected Game Script give Burrow a high floor. With a total above 50 points, the ceiling is there. His 20 (No. 6) carries also adds to his fantasy appeal, giving him a Konami Code element.
We’re targeting Tee Higgins this week mainly due to price. He’s $4900 on DraftKings despite taking over WR2 responsibilities. He’s commanded over 100 Air Yards in each of the last two weeks. That downfield target role makes him more valuable in tournament settings as we look to capitalize on big plays. He averages 15.7 (No. 12) yards of Average Target Distance. This role goes back to his college days, where his 19.8 Yards per Reception put him in the 93rd-percentile among qualified wide receivers. He also draws the slightly more favorable cornerback matchup with Jimmy Smith rather than Tyler Boyd‘s looming matchup with Marlon Humphrey. If you have the cash, Boyd still makes a fine play at $6200 as a player receiving steadier volume.
Daniel Jones & Darius Slayton
The faithful reader will remember that I’ve recommended stacking Daniel Jones with Darius Slayton before. It did not work out then. Nevertheless, we march on. Jones and Slayton are both cheaper and get the dreamiest matchup possible this week against the Cowboys in Dallas. This is a great budget stack for those looking to pay up elsewhere. The matchup features a 54-point total with the Cowboys defense having hemorrhaged points over the last few weeks. Dallas has excelled in fantasy this year, creating points for themselves and for their opponents.
The volume has been there for Jones, who ranks No. 7 with 37.2 Pass Attempts per Game. With only six (No. 30) Deep Ball Attempts and 6.6 (No. 28) Air Yards per Attempt, the coaches aren’t letting him sling it deep. Dinking and dunking won’t get it done this week. I’m expecting a more aggressive approach either by choice or situation as the Giants will be forced to score and score quick. One aspect that has been positive for Jones’ game is his rushing. He’s adding value with his legs with his 34.2 (No. 4) Rush Yards per Game.
Slayton has also received encouraging volume despite lacking efficiency recently. He’s been involved both down the field and in the red zone, with a 36.5-percent (No. 11) Air Yards Share and six (No. 4) Red Zone Targets. These are high value looks, but also volatile opportunities. With 4.39 (95th-percentile) wheels, all it take is one or two connections on these opportunities to find a slate breaking WR under 5K.