3 NFL FanDuel Stacks for the Wild Card Round
This week we’re focusing in on the Wild Card Round, where there are four games spread out between Saturday and Sunday.
The Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints game currently has the highest implied total this week at 49.5 points and makes for a great game stack, while the Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans game is projected to be the lowest scoring game this week and may make for some contrarian DFS stacks.
In this article, I will reflect my favorite DFS stacks for this week. These decisions are made by using player projections, Vegas implied team totals and player ownership projections.
The first stack I like in the Wild Card Round starts on Saturday with the Buffalo Bills. They’re currently 2.5-point road underdogs in this matchup, and I personally think they should be favored to win this game. That’s why I’m rolling with Josh Allen and John Brown this week.
Although he’s playing in just his first NFL playoff game, Allen shouldn’t have any problem driving the football against this Texans defense that has struggled all season -- particularly covering the pass. Per our schedule-adjusted metrics, the Texans’ passing defense finished 24th overall in terms of Net Expected Points (NEP) this season. They also allowed 21.1 FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks this year, which was the fourth-most across the league.
Per our projections, Allen is currently expected to be the fourth-highest scoring quarterback this week. We have him projected for 32.67 pass attempts, 225.4 passing yards and 1.30 passing touchdowns, but his upside rushing the ball is just as good (if not better) than any other quarterback this weekend. He currently leads all quarterbacks in projected rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
While Allen’s rushing upside is certainly worth noting, I think he’ll be efficient passing the ball this week as well. Therefore, I like stacking him up with his wide receiver, John Brown.
Brown has had a career year with the Bills this season, topping over 1,000 receiving yards for just the second time in his career. He and Allen seemed to build an immediate connection in their first year playing with one another.
Brown led all Bills receivers with a 27.25% target share this season and also led the team with a 26.83% red zone target share. He’s been Allen's go-to receiver this season and should be his go-to receiver once again come Saturday.
Per PFF’s wide receiver/cornerback matchup chart, Brown is expected to be lined up with Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph in this game. Brown currently has a 16% advantage over Joseph in this matchup, which ranks as the third-best wide receiver/cornerback matchup this week. This is one the Bills should be targeting early and often.
Heading into Philadelphia to play the Eagles this week, I like the idea of stacking up Seattle Seahawks players in this game -- particularly a triple-stack between Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf.
The game plan for the Seahawks heading into this game should be to attack a susceptible Eagles secondary and even more so now that they have Marshawn Lynch as their starting running back due to Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny going down in the regular season with injuries.
Per our numbers, the Eagles' passing defense currently ranks 23rd across the league. In just their last three games, they’ve allowed 261.0 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, which ranked as the eighth-most.
Per our projections, we currently have Wilson projected to throw for 259.01 passing yards and 1.75 passing touchdowns in this game. With the Eagles' passing defense allowing quarterbacks to put up big numbers against them all season, there is no reason to doubt Wilson could go well beyond what we have him projected for.
Wilson has thrown and/or rushed for multiple touchdown in all three of his last playoff appearances and has a great matchup to extend that streak against the Eagles this week.
I like stacking up Wilson with two of his wide receivers, and while I don’t typically target a triple-stack with two wideouts, it makes a lot more sense when you’re making lineups for a four-game slate.
The Eagles' secondary has allowed opposing wide receivers to score 33.3 FanDuel points per game against them this season, which ranks as the third-most across the league.
Per PFF’s wide receiver/cornerback matchup chart, both Lockett and Metcalf have positive matchups against the Eagles' secondary. Lockett is expected to line up against Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox, and PFF gives Lockett a 12% advantage in that matchup. Metcalf is expected to be line up against Rasul Douglas, and PFF gives Metcalf a 14% advantage.
The Eagles' secondary has primarily struggled against speed wide receivers this season, an area both Lockett and Metcalf excel in. Metcalf’s 4.33 40-yard dash speed is going to cause problems for Douglas -- who runs a 4.59 40-yard dash -- while Lockett’s separation will cause issues for Maddox. Per NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Lockett is averaging 3.2 yards of separation per route run, which ranks as the 10th-best among wide receivers this season.
Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints
The final stack I’ll be targeting is a game stack between the Vikings and Saints. I think you can stack this game up several different ways, including a stack led by Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ wide receivers; however, my favorite stack in this game is with the Saints’ top playmakers and then running it back with a Vikings receiver.
Throughout the month of December, there wasn’t a quarterback playing better than Drew Brees. He threw 15 passing touchdowns in his four December games while averaging 297.0 passing yards per game. He’ll carry that momentum into the playoffs this week, where the Saints have the highest implied team total with 28.5 points.
While you will have to pay up for Brees this week as the most expensive FanDuel quarterback, he should be worth every penny. He’s the only quarterback we have projected to throw for at least two passing touchdowns this week.
I like stacking up Brees with both Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. While I don’t typically stack quarterbacks with a running back, Kamara is an exception due to his role in the Saints’ passing game. Since entering the NFL (2017), Kamara has caught exactly 81 receptions in each of his first three regular seasons. He was also heavily targeted during the playoffs last season, where he had 15 receptions in two games.
Kamara had a “down season” this year in terms of fantasy production but has really started to find his game in December. While he only scored six touchdowns this season, four of those came during the final two weeks. He’s starting to heat up at the right time, and we currently have him projected to be the highest-scoring running back this week.
At this point in the season (or in his career), we shouldn’t need to do too much convincing as to why you should be rostering Thomas in your DFS lineups. He saw double-digit targets in all but four games this year, which led to him breaking the NFL single-season record for receptions with 149. On top of that, he also had over 100 receiving yards in 10 of his 16 games this year.
Per PFF, Thomas currently has the best wide receiver/cornerback matchup this weekend. He’s expected to line up against Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who has really struggled this season. PFF has Thomas getting at a 32% advantage in this matchup.
As you might expect, we also have Thomas projected to be the highest-scoring wide receiver this week. He’s the only receiver projected to have over 100 receiving yards.
Finally, I like running this stack back with Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. While he hasn’t done much since returning from a hamstring injury in Week 15, this is a great bounce-back spot for Thielen. His teammate, Stefon Diggs, is expected to be shadowed by the Saints’ top cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, which should free up Thielen against Eli Apple, who PFF grades as the Saints' worst cornerback.
In his last three games against the Saints, Thielen has dominated -- he’s averaged 7.3 receptions, 111.3 receiving yards and 0.3 touchdowns.
With the Saints currently favored to win this game by 7.5 points, the Vikings will likely be playing from behind in this game. If that holds to be true, that would be a beneficial game script for Thielen.
Griffin Swanson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Griffin Swanson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username GriffDogg_. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. (edited)