NFL DFS: Paydirt Stacks and Stats Breakdown
Welcome to the stacks breakdown here at Paydirt! This is going to be a weekly article aimed at giving thoughts and notes on the best and worst stacks to focus on for your NFL DFS lineups. We will talk about the sportsbook and vegas information as well as the key pieces of information for the teams in good and bad spots. This article is best used with the projections models here at Paydirt, but it will still be valuable even as a one off piece of content. While the focus is on Draftkings, the content is applicable to Fanduel as well. Costs, Projections, and LevX format will be Draftkings/Fanduel.
- The main roster construction this week will be avoiding the expensive stacks, so leveraging that with star power is a strong strategy.
- The Chiefs are a top 3 offense in upside in the league, but will be outside the top 5 highest owned combinations on the slate so we should prioritize them.
- Dak Prescott is returning this week, but considering the uncertainty around his health and the offense’s lack of upside we should wait and fade in GPPs.
For conversation and game theory on the slate, jump in the Paydirt discord! Free with this link: https://discord.gg/mQ6u5dfawF
NFL Implied totals and slate outlook
The highest Over/Under on the slate this week is for the LAC/SEA game and sits at 51 as of writing. The Chargers have the highest individual team total at 28.75. On the other hand, the Seahawks sit at a total of just 22.25. Following that trend, the Chargers are implied for the most passing TDs on the slate at 2.06, while the Seahawks are at just 1.48. Overall, this game sets the baseline for ownership across the slate with the Seahawks being the highest projected ownership stack by far.
On the other end of the spectrum, the DEN/NYJ game has the lowest Over/Under at a pitiful 39. This comes off the news of Russell Wilson missing the game with a hamstring injury. However, Brett Rypien, the backup QB for the Broncos, might not actually be much of a downgrade based on the performance of the offense thus far. Regardless, both these teams prefer to run and sport low upside stacks in general. The Jets are implied for just .52 passing TDs, the lowest on the slate.
This is the first big week of bye’s and we are missing plenty of big name offenses to leverage. However, we still have the Chiefs, Chargers, and Bengals as higher powered offenses to utilize. Likewise, we have Baltimore and the Seahawks as consistently high upside options. The big issue as of writing is a lack of value, and as we will see, that’s going to lead to reduced ownership on the expensive options as a whole.
NFL DFS Stacks to prioritize
It's important to figure out the best spots to stack each weak, as correlation plays a large part in the upside of your lineups for NFL DFS. Here are the stacks that project the best in the models here at Paydirt:
Some of the tables used for the stats in this article:
- Aggressive Throw Index: https://paydirtdfs.com/nfl-aggressive-throw-index-league-wide/
- League adjusted pass and rush rates: https://paydirtdfs.com/nfl-pass-and-rush-splits-league-wide/
- League adjusted redzone pass and rush rates: https://paydirtdfs.com/nfl-redzone-pass-and-rush-splits-league-wide/
- NFL Receiver research sheets: https://paydirtdfs.com/nfl-fantasy-receiving-research-sheets/
Kansas City Chiefs: Expensive but undervalued
Stack – Patrick Mahomes/Travis Kelce/Juju Smith-Schuster
Cost – $21,400/$23,500
Projection – 47.50/41.20
As mentioned in the slate overlook, the expensive options are going to have reduced ownership this week. That includes the Chiefs, who project reasonably well but not so well that people will sacrifice other pieces to lock them in. They project for just 19% combined ownership but have the fourth highest stack projection. Likewise, if you check out the NFL range of outcomes (found here) you’ll find they have the second best chance to be the highest scoring stack on the slate. Considering price, upside, and reduced ownership, it’s important to look into building some strong Chiefs stacks this weekend.
- Kansas City has the third highest adjusted pass rate at 68.82%, but their redzone pass rate sits at just 56.92% which is below league average.
- This offense is generally spread out, with three players over a 20% target share and five players with a 10%+ targetshare in the redzone.
- Travis Kelce is more expensive and has a lower projection than Mark Andrews but should be considerably less owned than the cheap options.
This play is much more about roster construction and game theory than it is about the projections and value of the players. The majority of roster constructions will be a cheaper TE, two mid priced RBs, and a cheaper QB with upside WRs. Building with the Chiefs gives you a couple good options in leveraging the field in that regard. First off, the combo of Mahomes/Kelce goes against the main cheap QB/TE combo. Likewise, if you pay into the midrange with both WRs instead of Kelce, you can go with Mark Andrews and keep the expensive path. Overall, this is a great stack with a lot of upside that will be underowned.
Cincinnati Bengals: Popular and expensive
Stack – Joe Burrow/Ja'Marr Chase/Tee Higgins
Cost – $21,500/$23,900
Projection – 52.12/44.57
The Seahawks project a tad better for the same ownership projection, but there are red flags there. The Seahawks adjusted passing rate is now bottom 10 in the league while the Bengals have continued to increase theirs and now sit at a healthy 66.67% rate. The Bengals also have a nicer team total at 26.5 along with more implied passing TDs. Granted, these better rates come with a heftier price, as the stack costs $3,500 more. However, winning GPPs is about leveraging upside, and the Bengals look to have more potential than the Seahawks regardless of price.
- As mentioned, the Bengals have a strong team total at 26.5 (third best on the slate) along with a good adjusted pass rate to go with a passing TD implication of 1.79.
- One big downside on CIN is their aggressiveness when throwing, which is 4.60% below league average, third worst in the league.
- When Higgins and Chase are healthy and play together, they easily take up 70%+ of the air yards and 50%+ of targets both overall and in the redzone.
Going with the trend of expensive stacks this week, the Bengals will be low owned because of the lack of value, not the lack of upside for the stack itself. It’s easy enough to know where the ball is going on the team, and those combos will still be underowned. There’s also some really easy game stacking options. You can bring back either of Drake London or Kyle Pitts for some solid correlations with good ceilings. This is a strong spot to focus on and is more deserving of the ownership than Seattle.
Baltimore Ravens: Unlucky with upside
Stack – Lamar Jackson/Mark Andrews/Rashod Bateman
Cost – $20,600/$23,800
Projection – 57.85/50.32
The Ravens get back Rashod Bateman this week, and it should help the flow of their offense overall. There’s been a visible disconnect between the receiving group and Jackson in the last couple weeks with a lot of mistakes. Granted, some of it has come from Jackson, but lots of drops and timing issues have neutered the offense.This week they have a strong team total of 25.75 and are 6.5 point favorites over the Browns. While this game should include plenty of rushing attempts (both teams are under 60% adjusted passing rates) that doesn’t mean no upside. Both teams have similar passing structures with great WR1s and explosive options.
- While Baltimore is lower in their adjusted pass rate, they have a high pass rate in the redzone leading to an implied for 1.78 passing TDs which is about the same as the Bengals.
- The Ravens sit at 2.85% above league averageness in aggressive throws, and their average air yards per pass is at 8.79 which is third in the league overall.
- JK Dobbins went on IR this week, so expect a mix of Kenyan Drake, Justice Hill, and Mike davis behind Lamar Jackson as the lead rusher.
The crux of this stack is Lamar Jackson projecting as the highest scoring QB on the slate along with Mark Andrews by far the highest projected TE. That stack by itself should be a priority in all formats but especially in GPPs where people will be looking for value at TE instead of paying up. You can bring back that combo with Amari Cooper and to maximize upside from the Browns who should be passing in a deficit. Considering all three of these players have 25+ fantasy point upside and ceilings in the 30s, they should be in your pool as a short correlation.
NFL DFS stacks to avoid
While it's important to find the best stacks to use, it's equally as vital to figure out the best stacks to avoid. Here are the stacks with the largest negative LevX (leverage score) based on current ownership projections:
Dallas Cowboys: Dak doesn't make them better
Look, Dak might be a higher upside QB, but he hasn’t shown to be invaluable to the Cowboys. Cooper Rush stepped in and they didn’t have to change the playbook almost at all. They turtled up and went run heavy and had a lot of success until they couldn’t. They have the third lowest adjusted pass rate in the league at 51.22%. They also have a bottom 5 rate of aggressive throws, though you could argue that gets to about league average with Dak back. The big thing here is the uncertainty on gameplan with Dak coming back from injury. Considering that uncertainty and high ownership on the combo of Dak/CeeDee/Gallup, there are better places to focus.