Week 1 Stack Em Up – DraftKings 2018
New Orleans SaintsGame Over/Under: 49.5 Team Implied Points: 29.5
Drew Brees $6,900 did not sling it as much last season, attempting the fewest passes since the 2009 season which can be concerning to some, but with Mark Ingram out due to suspension, I think that the Saints will rely a bit more on his arm to start the season. He faces off against a team that he is familiar with, the Buccaneers, who he has averaged 279.9 passing yards per game against in 25 career games, while tossing 48 touchdowns. In his last 11 games against them, he has topped 298 passing yards six times, including five 300+ passing yard games. Tampa Bay was allowed the 11 th most DKFP per game last season to opposing signal callers and 265 passing yards per game. The Saints have one of the healthier implied team totals of the slate, so I am expecting points to be scored here. He still offers 20+ fantasy point upside and certainly has the potential for a 300+ passing yard game, which would get you the three-point bonus. This leads me to have interest in stacking him and one of his pass catchers this weekend.
Michael Thomas $7,800 gets a great matchup to start the season against the Buccaneers who surrendered 39.5 DKFP per game to receivers last season, which was the most of any team. In addition, they yielded 179.6 receiving yards and 13.8 receptions per game to the position, to go along with 16 touchdowns. He is expected to be covered by rookie Carlton Davis this weekend, which is a matchup that Thomas has a 25 percent advantage rating in, according to PFF, making this matchup even more appealing. Thomas fared well against this defense last season, averaging just shy of 15 DKFP per game. He has faced Tampa Bay three times in his career, topping 90 receiving yards twice, but has yet found the pay dirt, however, I expect that to change this week. This is really setting up to be a smash spot for Thomas and if the Saints pass a bit more like I expect them to, he should receive plenty of looks. Pairing a running back with a quarterback is usually a negative correlation, but that is not the case in this instance as Alvin Kamara $8,500 is a great pass catcher out of the backfield. Last season he led all running backs in receiving yards with 826, was second in receptions, and was tied in second for receiving touchdowns. As a rookie, Kamara quickly gained Brees’ trust and instantly became one of his go-to pass catchers. That should remain the same this season and to top it off, Kamara gets a really nice matchup.
The Buccaneers allowed the fourth most DKFP per game last season, giving up 27 fantasy points per game to the position. Kamara faced off against them twice last season, scoring over 30 DKFP in each of those games. With no Ingram this week, Kamara’s usage should be through the roof and he should be in there for most snaps. I seldom stack three players from one team, but this is one of those situations that I feel good about doing so.
My favorite option: Brees/Thomas/Kamara
Los Angeles ChargersGame Over/Under: 48 Team Implied Points: 25.75
Philip Rivers $6,400 isn’t the flashiest quarterback, but somehow he manages to be one of the more productive fantasy quarterbacks each season. His price to start off the year appears to be too low to me, considering his abilities. He draws a matchup against a Chiefs defense that was more generous on the road to signal callers than they were at home, allowing over 45 more passing yards per game. They did a solid job defending Rivers in each of their two meetings last season, but this is still a situation that he is capable of exploiting. Heading into the season, the Chiefs secondary is ranked 28 th out of 32 teams by PFF, so this is certainly a favorable matchup. When you look at his potential 30+ fantasy point upside and a game that should generate plenty of scoring, he appears to be a great value this week. Patrick Mahomes will start under center for the Chiefs and the young quarterback could make mistakes on the road against a tough secondary. If that is the case, I would not be shocked to see the Chargers offense capitalize and put some points on the board. Keenan Allen $7,500 is another player on this offense that seems a bit underpriced. He is a target machine, as he averaged 9.9 targets per game last season and accounted for 32.9 percent of the redzone targets on this offense, which was the third highest of any pass catcher in the league. He is expected to see one coverage from Kendall Fuller who grades out really well on PFF, but it is still a matchup that Allen has a 24 percent advantage rating in. The Chiefs as a team were generous to opposing wide outs last season, allowing the most DKFP per game to the position, as well as 18 receiving touchdowns, which was tied for third most in the league. Allen’s role on this offense is significant and this is just too cheap for someone as involved as he is. This duo should connect often on Sunday, making them an appealing stack.
If you’re trying to catch lightning in a bottle, you may want to take a look at Mike Williams $3,900. The second-year receiver has had a strong preseason and camp thus far, and was generating plenty of buzz. That somewhat changed when the team signed Antonio Gates, but for me Williams is still a viable large field tournament option. He may lack consistent targets, but will be someone who could be a threat in the red zone and he faces a defense that allowed the third most receiving touchdowns to wide outs. I would not roll him out in cash, but he would be someone I pair up with Rivers if I am running plenty of lineups and in large field GPP’s where you are playing for the top heavy payout.
My favorite option: Rivers/Allen
Cincinnati BengalsGame Over/Under: 48.5 Team Implied Points: 23
I may be in the minority here, but I expect Andy Dalton $5,800 and the Bengals offense to have a rebound season this year and it should start as soon as the first game of the season. They head to Indianapolis to take on a Colts secondary that ranks dead last by PFF to start the season. Last year, the Colts surrendered 255.9 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, and 19 DKFP per game. The Bengals have plenty of weapons on offense and have made changes to improve the offensive line. This game should be competitive and have plenty of scoring, so I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see Dalton finish the day with several touchdowns.
A.J. Green $7,800 draws a lovely matchup against Pierre Desir who grades out below average on PFF, and a matchup that Green has a 32 percent advantage rating in. Indianapolis was generous to wide outs last season, giving up 11 th most DKFP per game, as well as 164.6 receiving yards per game and 13 touchdowns to the position. Green is a huge part of this offense as he averaged 8.9 targets per game last season and accounted for 27.1 percent of the red zone targets. He has played in three career games against Colts and has found the pay dirt in each of those contests. Look for that streak to continue this weekend against an absolute disaster of a defense.
John Ross $3,900 will likely not see a ton of targets and may not be as consistent as you would like for cash games even at this low price, but his big-play ability is really appealing to consider him in large field tournaments. He displayed that upside in the preseason and could carry that momentum over into the season. As I mentioned above with Green, this is a phenomenal matchup. He could come out and have a poor performance, but he could also get behind this secondary and find the end zone in a big play. I will not be overly exposed here, but in larger field GPP’s where I want to get a cheap, low-owned receiver with upside, I do not mind looking his way.
Tyler Eifert $3,400 is finally healthy and is way too cheap considering his abilities. He is a big red zone target and draws a very nice matchup against a Colts defense that surrendered eight touchdown receptions to opposing tight ends last season. While there are plenty of weapons on this offense, Eifert will still draw plenty of attention from Dalton in the red zone, increasing his touchdown upside. If you want to get creative with a Bengals stack, using Eifert makes a lot of sense.
My Favorite Option: Dalton/Green
Additional NotesThe Patriots and Texans game will generate a ton of interest because of it’s high over/under. I am ok with rolling out Tom Brady with one of his pass catchers such as Rob Gronkowski or Chris Hogan, but I am not planning on making them a priority at this time. If I make enough lineups, I will likely squeeze them in because I do feel this game should be high scoring.
Running it back in the Bengals and Colts game with T.Y. Hilton or even stacking the other side of it with Andrew Luck is something I am strongly considering. The Bengals are a middle of the pack secondary according to PFF, so it is not a spot that I am too concerned about. Luck is returning from injury and could draw lower ownership than he would normally receive in this spot, but is still providing the same upside.
The Broncos stack is one I am intrigued by because they may go completely overlooked considering the play the Seahawks who are still considered a good defense by the general public. They are actually not that good of a pass defense anymore, ranked 21 st by PFF heading into the season. Feel free to sprinkle in some Case Keenum to Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders into your lineups. Sanders offers a more solidified floor and is cheaper, but Thomas offers the higher upside.
Good luck to all this week. If you have any questions, you can always find me on the Twitter machine @Armando_Marsal