4 NFL FanDuel Stacks for Week 1
The football season is finally back, and we’re here to discuss my favorite DFS stacks for Week 1 of the NFL season.
On the Week 1 FanDuel main slate, there are five games with an over/under of at least 47.5 points, which makes for some nice team and games stacks across the league. There are also 10 teams implied to score at least 24 points this week, which should lead to some high-scoring players.
In this article, I will break down my favorite DFS stacks for this week. These decisions are made by using player projections, Vegas implied team totals and player draft percentage projections.
I’m starting this with the MVP of last season, Lamar Jackson, and his top receiver, Marquise Brown. The Ravens are playing the Cleveland Browns this week and have an implied total of 28.00 points -- the highest on the 12-game main slate.
Being that Jackson plays such a big role in the Ravens’ rushing game, he offers so much upside. He was also incredibly efficient throwing the ball last season. Jackson attempted 401 passes in 2019, which ultimately led to 36 passing touchdowns. That’s a touchdown rate of 8.9%. To put that into perspective, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson both have a career touchdown rates of 6.0%, per Pro Football Reference. While the 8.9% clip is likely unattainable year in and year out, we certainly know Jackson is capable of putting up monster numbers whenever he takes the field.
Looking at our DFS projections, Jackson is slated to throw for 222 passing yards and 1.8 passing touchdowns in this game. On top of that, he’s also being projected for 11 rushing attempts, 54 rushing yards and 0.5 rushing touchdowns. He offers both the highest floor and ceiling of any quarterback this week and is a great play in all formats.
I like stacking up Jackson with Brown. There is a chance that standout Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward shadows Brown in this game, but Brown’s 4.22-second 40-yard dash speed is a problem for any corner. And should the Browns decide to play man coverage in this game, Jackson will likely have a field day against that. Jackson posted an NFL best 91.0 QBR versus man coverage in 2019, according to ESPN. Jackson also ranked fourth in the league against zone coverage with a 74.7 QBR.
Las Vegas Raiders
The next stack I like this week is a Las Vegas Raiders stack. I’ll be targeting Derek Carr and Henry Ruggs, who face a Carolina Panthers team that is on track to have the NFL’s youngest defense in the past 10 years. There will likely be mistakes made early on in the season by this Carolina defense, and we want to target them.
The Panthers’ D allowed the second-most points per game to opposing teams in 2019, and the Raiders are implied to score 25.25 points in this game, the sixth-most on this week’s main slate.
It might not be ideal to target a rookie wide receiver in his first game, but the Raiders' receiver options are limited heading into this season, making Ruggs a solid play. He won’t be the only rookie wide receiver making their debut for the Raiders, as Bryan Edwards is set to start for them, as well.
With many eyeing Raiders’ running back Josh Jacobs in Week 1, Carr and Ruggs should make for a nice contrarian stack. There is some risk involved here, but there's also high reward. This game is currently coming in with an over/under of 47.5 points, which is the fourth-highest on the main slate. There is shootout potential in this game, and that would certainly benefit this stack.
Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), Ruggs is expected to line up against Panthers’ speedy cornerback Donte Jackson. Jackson is one of the fastest corners in the league and ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the 2018 NFL combine. He was, however, susceptible to big plays in 2019, when he allowed 16.9 yards per reception. That was the fifth-most last year among cornerbacks who allowed at least 30 receptions.
Per our projections, Ruggs is the sixth-best point-per-dollar value on the main slate.
I was honestly surprised to see the Buffalo Bills' implied total at only 23.00 points against the New York Jets this week. I think they’re certainly capable of going behind that mark, especially considering they added some new pieces to their offense this offseason. The Bills are currently favored to win this game by 6.5 points, making Buffalo the third-biggest favorite on the main slate.
Stacking Josh Allen with Stefon Diggs in this contest sticks out to me.
Now Allen certainly isn’t on Lamar Jackson’s level in terms of rushing the ball, but the Bills’ quarterback is by no means afraid to run. He was one of two quarterbacks to rush the ball over 100 times in 2019, per Fantasy Football Today.
Outside of Jackson, Allen is projected to have the most rushing attempts and rushing yards at the quarterback position this week, according to our numbers. He also has slightly better odds (0.48) than Jackson (0.47) to score a rushing touchdown.
While the rushing upside is certainly there for Allen, he also has one of the strongest arms in the NFL. He hasn’t been very consistent throwing the ball deep in his first two years, but Diggs should help alleviate some of that concern, as he’s one of the best wide receivers in the NFL at catching deep passes.
Per Next Gen Stats, Diggs ranked third in the league in terms of Percentage Share of Team’s Air Yards in 2019. He also had an average separation of 2.5 yards, which is right up there with the likes of Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham.
Diggs is set to line up against Jets’ cornerback Bless Austin, who has played just seven games in his NFL career. Diggs should have his way with the inexperienced cornerback.
Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks
The final stack I like this week is a game stack -- using Russell Wilson and D.K. Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks and running it back with Calvin Ridley from the Atlanta Falcons. I think you can run a game stack from this clash in several different ways -- including stacking up Matt Ryan ($7,800), Tyler Lockett ($6,800), Julio Jones ($8,200) and Hayden Hurst ($5,200) -- considering this game currently has the highest total (49.0) on the main slate.
Starting it off with Wilson and Metcalf, this should be matchup made in heaven for the two of them. This will be the first season the Falcons are without cornerback Desmond Trufant, who has been a staple for the Atlanta secondary since entering the league in 2013. The Falcons will now run out third-year cornerback Isaiah Oliver and rookie A.J. Terrell at their outside corner positions.
Wilson is currently projected to be the second-highest scoring quarterback on the main slate, per our model. You also get him at a $1,000 salary discount compared to Lamar Jackson.
Per PFF, Wilson had the highest passing grade in terms of passes 20-plus yards downfield in 2019. Having receivers such as Metcalf and Lockett certainly bolster this offense’s deep threat ability, especially against the Falcons’ young cornerbacks.
Metcalf is currently expected to face Oliver in this matchup, and D.K. has both a height and speed advantage. Of the 115 qualified cornerbacks a season ago, PFF had Oliver ranked 81st overall. Metcalf, meanwhile, ranked 38th out of 122 qualified receivers in 2019.
I like running it back with Ridley. While Julio Jones is projected to score 2.15 more points than Ridley, per our algorithm, you get Ridley at a $1,600 discount from Jones. On top of that, Matt Ryan is projected to have throw the ball more than any other quarterback this week. That bodes well for all the Falcons’ pass catchers.
Ridley is set to see Shaquill Griffin in this contest, and he has an 18% matchup advantage, per PFF.
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)