We have a big 11-game slate on deck for week 16 on the day after Christmas. Let’s waste no time and dig into some of the best game environments to stack up.
LAR (26.25) @ MIN (22.75)
In terms of having a relatively high total and a close spread, with two capable offenses, this may be the game of the week. It should be highly-owned in stacks, in turn. In tournaments, one thing to note is that Matthew Stafford should be one of the more popular quarterbacks of the week. At the same time, Kirk Cousins should gain very little ownership. There is good reason for this, considering the Rams’ stout pass defense. Stafford is generally a more viable DFS quarterback, and Cousins comes at no considerable discount on either DFS site. On top of it, Cooper Kupp may be the top overall play on the slate and pairs easily with Stafford. The very apparent leverage move here is to play a Cousins stack and bring it back with a Ram.
To take it to the next level, part of the reason why Cousins will gain such little ownership is that Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook is out. This makes Alexander Mattison a smash play as a lead running back, stepping into Cook’s role at $6,800 on DraftKings and $5,500 on FanDuel. The easy and apparent way to stack this game is to play Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp with Mattison on the other side. The Rams running game will go primarily unowned due to the now timeshare between Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson. This could be a great spot to flip the build entirely and play Michel or Henderson on the other side of a Cousins stack. While it is risky, it does appear that Michel may have taken on the lead-back role based on the Rams’ Tuesday game.
Cooper Kupp is likely the top receiver option on the entire slate. Yet, Justin Jefferson, on the other side is also a top option and will come at significantly less ownership. Yes, he will get some, but it is low enough to be manageable in tournaments. He offers direct leverage from the chalky Mattison, particularly on FanDuel, where Mattison will be more popular. Playing a Stafford stack with Kupp and then Jefferson on the other side is not terribly sneaky. Still, it is a step in the right direction rather than playing Mattison. Playing Cousins-Jefferson-Kupp is where we really start to gain leverage. Cousins-Jefferson-Michel takes it to the next level.
If you play a Stafford stack, an easy way to make it more unique is to roster Odell Beckham Jr., Van Jefferson, or Tyler Higbee (Q) with Kupp, as all three should be low-owned. At least gaining the ownership discount of Jefferson over Mattison is another option. There is some chance that Adam Thielen (Q) plays. He would be another leverage pivot at what should be low ownership. Thielen correlates negatively with the chalky Mattison and somewhat popular Justin Jefferson. He tends to vulture touchdowns as the Vikings love him as a red-zone target. If Thielen does not play, we’ll also want to look at K.J. Osborn in this game.
BUF (20.75) @ NE (22.75)
This will not be one of the more popular games of the week, yet I wanted to target it as a super-contrarian GPP game stack. We don’t have any ultra-high total games. We don’t have many tight spreads where we have solid implied team totals. This leads to the Baltimore/Cincinnati game (which is projected to be very slow-paced) being somewhat popular, particularly from the Lamar Jackson (assuming he suits up) side. Yet, the Buffalo/New England game has an almost identical spread and features what should be an extremely low-owned Josh Allen at QB. Allen is generally one of the highest-owned quarterbacks every week, and rarely would we be able to get him at very low ownership.
You don’t even have to get different with this stack, considering it is inherently low-owned, and you have decent plays here. A simple Allen to Stefon Diggs stack will suffice, and you don’t even need to run it back if you really don’t want to use a Patriot. We also have some other notable things going on here. Cole Beasley will definitely miss this game, and Emmanuel Sanders is questionable. If both sit, we get significant value with Gabriel Davis becoming the Bills WR2, and tight-end Dawson Knox likely gets a bit of a boost as well. These guys would pair great with Allen in stacks. Damien Harris is questionable for the Patriots, and Rhamondre Stevenson would become an excellent running-back play if Harris sits. This would be a perfect bring back to Allen stacks. Patriots WR Jacobi Meyers is a decent option already, but K’Neal Harry and Nelson Agholor are questionable. Meyers could be even more viable as their only decent option in the receiving game if one or both sits.
Again, this is not one of the more popular games of the week and is not a clearly optimal spot for game stacking. Yet, part of the goal of this article is to find leverage with our stacks in large-field GPPs. I usually focus on the top, evident game environments that will be chalky while finding ways to be different within them. I decided to include a more under-the-radar game this week and may do more of this in the future. When people are reaching for similarly middling stack options such as BAL/CIN, it is worth presenting the case for this game as a sleeper option for tournaments.