Week Sixteen NFL Stacks

There are a handful of great stacks to look at in Week 16, but we’ll focus on three stacks for this weekend. Welcome to the Week 16 stacks! In case it’s not clear, the underlined team is the stack to focus on.

New York Jets at New England Patriots

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Plays

QB: Tom Brady – $7700 DraftKings, $9000 FanDuel

WR: Chris Hogan – $4200 DraftKings, $5300 FanDuel

RB: LeGarrette Blount – $5600 DraftKings, $7200 FanDuel

Flex: Julian Edelman – $6900, $6700 FanDuel

Vegas

Total: 43.5

Spread: NE -16.5

Implied team total: 30.0

Stack Breakdown

Stacking the Patriots makes a lot of sense this week if the Jets can keep the game close enough to keep the starters on the field for New England, or if Bill Belichick decides to pile on points against a weaker divisional rival. The Patriots have the highest implied team total on the slate at 30.0, so they’ll garner a lot of ownership (see below), but are the highest projected team stack on the DFSDatalytics projections.

By DVOA, the Pats have the third best offense in the NFL (20.6%) and the second highest pass DVOA (48.4%), and that’s including the first four Tom Brady-less games to start the season. Their cake matchup has them going up against the Jets’ 28th-overall ranked defense, and more importantly their 32nd-ranked pass defense. Although the Jets’ cornerback PFF ratings aren’t as bad as the team DVOA would imply, the Jets this season have allowed 2433 yards through the air and 15 receiving touchdowns to WR.

The Patriots’ deep threat receiver Chris Hogan should get a lot of run this week, as he’ll be matching up with the ghost of Darrelle Revis (78.9 on PFF, thrown at on 19% of routes); although Tom Brady has only connected on nine “Big Plays” (passing plays over 25 yards) which is only 3.61% of his completions, the Jets’ are bad on deep passes – NYJ has a deep ball DVOA of 41.8% (24th). For his deep-ball and touchdown potential, Hogan is the optimal Patriots WR but is priced $2700 cheaper than their “best” receiver, Julian Edelman. Hogan is actually a better play on FanDuel than DraftKings because he’s not a high-volume reception player, but still projects very well on both sites.

The Jets defensive line also ranks as the worst in the league, with an adjusted sack rate of 4.0% and combining for only 40 hurries from their DEs. Compare that with Olivier Vernon of the better NY team who has 33 hurries from that position on his own. That should allow Brady tons of time in the pocket to let plays develop downfield and to either take his shots at Hogan or check it down to Edelman.

Edelman should also have a big day, as he’s on the field the most of the WRs (just under 80% of total snaps) and runs a route 71.03% of snaps played. Given that Edelman is a target monster (0.25 times per route run/126 targets this season), he should pick up a lot of points from receptions as opposed to lots of yardage. He’s projected for 9 targets this week as a floor and faces an incredibly weak part of the field of the Jets –  the Jets are 27th in DVOA for passes across the middle of the field. Over the last three weeks with Rob Gronkowski missing Edelman’s been targeted 12, 15, and 12 times against teams worse than the Jets (Denver, Baltimore, Los Angeles). Look for him to run a lot of slants and curls out of the slot, as well as the odd gadget running play or pass out to the flat.

There’s really not much to be said here about Tom Brady that hasn’t already been said. He’s the highest projected QB by a good margin, and the only 30+ projected quarterback this week.

At running back, LeGarrette Blount has started losing touches to Dion Lewis since Lewis came back in Week 11. From that week up to last week (five games), Blount grabbed 83 rushing attempts – 16.6/game – and in the five games previous he saw 94 (18.8/game). Last week was the first time that Blount had less touches than Lewis, with 17 attempts to Lewis’ 18. From a game-flow perspective though, Blount should get a lot of action in this game as the clock-eating back in a blowout. Blount is also the only goal line threat as a running play – not including Brady sneaks – as this season he’s rushed 17 times from inside the 5 which is T1 for attempts. Blount has connected for the score nine times and has taken 68% of the Pat’s rushes from that position.

The one good thing the Jets can do is run-block, and stuff backs behind the line. That hurts Blount (and James White and Dion Lewis) this week, as the Jets stuff the runner on 27% of rush attempts; conversely, if one of the backs can find a hole, the Jets rank 29th in Open Field yards allowed to running backs. The Patriots have the ninth-ranked run-blocking offensive line, and only get run stuffed 19% of the time.

Other Factors & Ownership

Weather won’t be a factor in Foxboro this weekend, with the forecast calling for sunny & clear with minimal winds (8-10mph) and temperatures in the low 40s at gametime. The Jets get an extra day off because they played last Saturday at home against Miami, getting pumped by MATT MOORE(!) 34-13.

The Patriots should figure to be the most highly owned this weekend in a divisional matchup against the Jets. Our highest projected WR (Hogan) should see lower ownership than Edelman based on name value/price. FanShareSports.com currently has Edelman as the T18th most “tagged” player (100% start), versus Hogan as the T45th most tagged. (As an aside, FanShare is a valuable resource (not affiliated with DFSDatalytics!) that costs absolutely nothing and correlates their tagged players closely with actual ownership.)

 

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys

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Credit: Andrew Weber, USA Today

Plays

QB: Dak Prescott – $5900 DraftKings, $7800 FanDuel

WR: Cole Beasley – $4900 DraftKings, $6200 FanDuel

RB: Ezekiel Elliott – $7900 DraftKings, $8900 FanDuel

Flex: Jason Witten – $3400, $4900 FanDuel

Vegas

Total: 44.5

Spread: DAL -7.0

Implied team total: 25.75

Stack Breakdown

In the house that Jerry built the Lions will try to keep hold on the NFC North title while Dallas tries to keep first place in the NFC, and it sets up to be a great game for DraftKings purposes even with a middle-of-the-pack total this week. It should come as no surprise that the top stack for the week comes against the worst pass defense in the league, but this sets up as a great game for the Cowboys against the 30th worst pass defense.

The Lions are especially bad against #2 and #3 receivers, ranked 18th against #2s and 30th against #3s in DVOA; this should be an ideal matchup for Cole Beasley out of the slot, much in the same way the Giants beat up on the Lions last week coming out of the slot. Beasley leads the Cowboys WRs in targets with 84 (although Dez Bryant did miss three games) – 0.22 targets per route run – and although he doesn’t see as much of the field as Dez or Terrance Williams because Beasley isn’t a run-blocker, he does run a route on 72.20% of snaps he’s on the field for. Beasley has steady hands, catching 76% of balls thrown his way with only two drops, and should match up against Asa Jackson who gives up 0.28 fantasy points per route.

Detroit is atrocious on short passes, 31st in the league (just in front of Indianapolis), but even better for Beasley is that the Lions are the worst on short passes to the middle. This has him projected for 7 targets in this game, so he’ll be a great play on DraftKings and has catch & run upside – the Lions are 22nd in the league for Yards after the Catch, allowing 123.7/game, implying a fair amount of missed open field tackles or soft coverage.

On the other side of the line is another player that eats targets, TE Jason Witten. Detroit has the 20th-ranked pass DVOA against TEs, and allows the third highest catch rate to that position (75.47%). They’ve allowed 8 touchdowns to tight ends.

POST-THURSDAY UPDATE: I stopped writing this breakdown as soon as the Giants lost the Eagles, clinching the NFC/home field advantage for Dallas. Their starters’ projected snap counts will go down (not dramatically based on history) enough to push this stack out of the top-5 for the week. The Cowboys are still a legit GPP play in the Sat – Mon slate, but will definitely see a reduction in expected points.

The next highest projected stack is the New Orleans Saints – WR Michael Thomas should match up mostly against Vernon Hargreaves who gets picked on 21% of routes run, and has an atrocious PFF grade of 47.7. At home in a dome, the stack of Drew Brees – Thomas – Mark Ingram and Brandin Cooks has an expected 78.86 DKPts. They won’t get a full write-up, but if you’re using an uncorrelated wide receiver, make sure it’s Michael Thomas.

Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears

Plays

QB: Matt Barkley – $5000 DraftKings, $9000 FanDuel

WR: Cameron Meredith – $4700 DraftKings, $5300 FanDuel

RB: Jordan Howard – $6300 DraftKings, $7200 FanDuel

Flex: Alshon Jeffery – $6300 DraftKings, $6700 FanDuel

Vegas

Total: 46.0

Spread: CHI +3

Implied team total: 21.5

Stack Breakdown

The Bears could qualify as a High-Upside/Low-Ownership stack this week and also show up as the fifth highest value stack mostly thanks to the play and price of QB Matt Barkley. Although Barkley is the second highest tagged quarterback at FanShareSports (T13th total), WR Alshon Jeffery is T32nd  for wide receivers and Cameron Meredith shows up as T20th. Jordan Howard has been on a tear recently and so he’s the third most tagged running back, but as a whole this stack shouldn’t see more than 40% combined ownership.

Going back to week 8, Jordan Howard has either grabbed 100+ all-purpose yards or a touchdown in every game save one against the Giants, where he hit 99 yards. Priced as the 8th highest running back this week, Howard gets to face off against the 26th-ranked Run Defense by DVOA, who are even worse (31st) in 2nd Level Yards. With Washington giving up 4.24 Adjusted Line Yards to opposing teams and only stuffing RBs on 18% of rushing attempts, if Howard can get past the early surge he should have an easy time with the LB corps of the Redskins. He has definite potential to break for a long touchdown run this week – once Howard gets a carry longer than ten yards, he’s very hard to bring down and helps Chicago rank third for Open Field Yards. Conversely, Washington ranks 20th for Open Field Yards Allowed.

Within 5 yards of their goal line, the Redskins this year have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns on 19 attempts (63.2%), and 17 touchdowns on 50 attempts in the Red Zone overall. On the other side of the ball, Chicago has had 39 rushing attempts in the Red Zone that resulted in nine touchdowns, and eight touchdowns on 14 rushing attempts from 5 yards out (57.1%). Jordan Howard has picked up five of those touchdowns (nine total attempts), and has had every attempt in that situation but one since Jeremy Langford returned.

Another player that’s been playing above expectations is the Bear’s QB, Matt Barkley. Since taking over from Jay Cutler, Barkley has thrown for six touchdowns in five games and has attempted more than 30 passes in three games – including a snow game against San Francisco. He’s topped 300 yards twice, and although he’s thrown more interceptions than touchdowns (seven), he’s built a rapport with speedy slot receiver Cameron Meredith and also has Alshon Jeffery back for their second game together. Over the last four weeks, Meredith has been targeted 34 times and caught 20 balls for 262 yards and two touchdowns, and with a high-projected game pace game that target share should continue.

Last game against the Packers brought the return of Alshon, who went for 89 garbage time yards and a score on nine targets. Matched up against the ghost of Josh Norman (PFF grade 65.10) on the left, those looks should continue today. On the other side of the field although he’s not a part of this stack is Joshua Bellamy. Bellamy gets the even juicier CB matchup across the field against Bashaud Breeland who allows 0.35FP/route run and grades out at 47.40. With Alshon back Bellamy will lose the extra targets he picked up with Jeffery back (24 in those four games), but still got three targets and one reception for a 10-yard touchdown against Green Bay.

The Redskins rank 30th in deep ball defense, which should really let Meredith et. al loose in this game. The one area Washington is specifically bad is the deep middle, so look for a lot of short catch and runs through the middle for Meredith and a lot of deep bombs from Barkley to Jeffery or Bellamy. Defensively, the Redskins are only good at stopping short passes to running backs (8th); one thing that does go in favour of the ‘Skins is their defensive line’s adjusted sack rate ranking (8th), which could make Barkley hurry throws. Conversely, the Bears also rank 8th for pass protection, so it could end up being a toss-up in that regard.

 

Other Factors & Ownership

Weather won’t be a factor in Chicago, with minimal winds (2mph) and warm weather for the time of year at 32F. There should be no “snow game” repeat of the Bears’ game against San Francisco, as it’s currently calling for no precipitation. Washington has to travel on a short week, having played Monday night at home so will only have five days between games with travel.

The ownership on this stack is fairly hard to predict accurately; while going cheap at a high projected quarterback will be popular this week which will boost Barkley’s ownership, the full team stack as a whole shouldn’t be too highly owned.

Good luck this weekend! Don’t forget the games are on SATURDAY! And Happy Holidays!

You can follow me on twitter @adalyfrey

Adam Daly-Frey

Adam is the Director of Content and Lead PGA Analyst for DFSDatalytics, as well as an NHL & NFL Analyst. Adam can be reached on Twitter @adalyfrey or via email at a.dalyfrey AT gmail.com

adalyfrey has 88 posts and counting.See all posts by adalyfrey

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