If you were expecting Zach Bahner’s wisdom in this spot, my apologies. I’m pinch hitting for Zach this week, and hopefully I can replicate my week 12 performance (unlikely).
Week 14 review
The value stack was even better. Ryan Fitzpatrick (24.8) threw three touchdowns, including one each to Brandon Marshall (21.5) and Eric Decker (16.9). Getting this point total for $23,300 put you in great position to cash.
The bonus stack looked like a potential GPP winner until Thomas Rawls went down in the first quarter. In the first ten minutes of the game, he’d already amassed 44 yards on 6 carries. He could have been the top scoring running back on the week, and the Seahawks defense was dominant throughout (though they didn’t manage a defensive or special teams score). Chalk this one up to bad luck.
This week presents more tasty quarterback matchups than you could want, which means expected ownership rate will help us choose among the most appealing options.
Tom Brady ($9,500)
Rob Gronkowski ($8,500)
The Patriots have the highest implied point total of the week with 31.25, and LeGarrette Blount just went to IR. Julian Edelman remains unlikely to play, Brandon LaFell has failed to replicate his 2014 magic, and Danny Amendola is doing a good, but not great, Edelman impression. That leaves Gronkowski, who is quietly on a 16-game pace of 81 receptions, 1357 yards, and 13 touchdowns. If you’re worried that the Patriots will let up on the lowly Titans, don’t be. According to Chase Stuart at Football Perspective, the Patriots have the highest team passing identity in the league, which means they pass way more often than game script would predict.
With Dez Bryant on the schneid, no receiver in the league has Gronkowski’s weekly touchdown upside, and he’s priced like a mid-WR1. And Brady is Brady—he still leads the league in passing touchdowns. With all the (rightly) trendy plays at quarterback this week, paying up for a Brady-Gronkowski stack can be a GPP-winning move. [inlinead]?
Alex Smith ($7,000)
Jeremy Maclin ($6,700)
The Chiefs face Baltimore, who give up the second-most points to both wide receivers and quarterbacks. Plus, the Chiefs have a respectable 24-point implied total. With Spencer Ware battling a rib injury and the Ravens defense being surprisingly stout against the run, a three-touchdown day from Smith is not out of the question.
Maclin has been on a tear lately, ranking as the WR6 in Fanduel points per game since week 12. Smith is never going to light the world on fire, but he ranks as QB10 over the same period. Maclin’s low price tag will give him ownership in the 15-20% range, but Smith figures to be a 2-4% guy. If you can’t afford one of the top quarterback options, this should be your go-to stack.
Stack of the Week
Carson Palmer ($8,500)
Michael Floyd ($6,100)
Most weeks, this stack would be too chalky to roll out in a big GPP. But thanks to Russell Wilson, you can get a top-three quarterback at less than 10% ownership and stack him with a dramatically underpriced wide receiver who was below 15% in Thursday tournaments. Oh, did I mention the Cardinals face the team that allows the most quarterback and wide receiver points in the league? And the most plays per game? Palmer is a no-brainer this week.
The only question is who to play with him. Larry Fitzgerald is the highest priced and lowest owned target, but he’ll see the bulk of routes against the Eagles’ most respectable defensive back, Malcolm Jenkins. John Brown and Floyd come with much cheaper prices and similar outlooks. I wouldn’t blame you for stacking Palmer, Brown, and Floyd (or Palmer, Floyd, and David Johnson). Just don’t be left without a piece of the Cardinals offense this week.
Matthew Stafford ($7,800)
Eric Ebron ($4,800)
Everyone’s debating whether to pair Stafford with Calvin Johnson or Golden Tate (the answer to that one is Calvin, by the way). But with the Lions predicted to be in a shootout with the sieve-like Saints defense, both of those stacks should be highly owned.
If you’re looking to differentiate your lineup, go with a Stafford + Ebron stack. Ebron figures to be about 1% owned, as he hasn’t put up more than 30 yards since week 7. But Brandon Pettigrew is on injured reserve, which means Ebron will be on the field more than 75% of the Lions’ snaps. Plus, the Saints give up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Russell Wilson ($8,800)
Doug Baldwin ($7,400)
What’s this, Malone? You’re telling me to fade the QB1 and WR2 over the last two weeks … when they’re facing a bottom-five pass defense … and their running back corps consists of two guys whose best pro performances were at the combine and a third guy who’s older than my dad?
Well, first of all, Bryce Brown didn’t participate in the combine. Check your facts. Second, are you sure you’re old enough to legally play DFS? Third, Wilson was nearly 25% owned in Thursday contests, and Baldwin was nearly 40% owned. With so many appealing quarterback plays out there (Drew Brees and Cam Newton, in addition to those listed above), you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you play such a highly owned pair in a GPP of any size. Wilson and Baldwin should perform well this week, but they’re not such better bets that you should play the chalk. If you must get Wilson stack into your GPP lineup, at least pair him with Tyler Lockett, who’ll be a top-owned wide receiver, but not nearly as chalky as Baldwin. Or if you really want to differentiate, pair him with the immortal Fred Jackson and hope Jackson gets some early down work and a receiving touchdown.[ad5]?