Welcome to the NFL Big Three! This article is going to look at the NFL daily fantasy sports main slate and go over three different areas: Stacks, important players, and value pieces. There will be three additions to each area as we look to give you the best preparation for the week ahead. Hopefully, you find this info valuable no matter your skill level and we can find consistent success through the season!
All in all, The data here tries to look forward and get an idea of the best spots to attack.
Models and disclaimer
The majority of the information that I’m going to be using in these articles is based on freely available information that you can find yourself, but there will also be information and data that is pulled from the models at my daily fantasy sports site which look to use predictive algorithms to find valuable info in important stats.
Of those models, I’ll be looking at things like a range of outcomes dataset, expected touchdown rates, as well as aggregated yardage calculations which pull together a lot of predictive info to create more manageable statistics about every player in the league. Using a model that creates a range of outcomes rather than a single median projection is much more applicable to sports and is something that I encourage any stats or analytics nerd to pursue, and it’ll be the basis of a lot of the decisions I make here.
All in all, The data here tries to look forward and get an idea of the best spots to attack.
Three key stacks
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce
There’s really nothing much to say here except that it’s the Chiefs, they are kind of pretty good, and they are kind of the best possible stack. They have the highest implied team total at 33.5 and are 10 point favorites over the high-on-victory Browns, and each of the main pieces all cost around $8,000 dollars on Draftkings.
The price you are paying here is insane, as it takes up nearly half your entire salary cap and makes building the rest of the roster nearly impossible. That price does give you the best median projection available of 81.91 (nearly 25 points higher than any other stack) and a 49.82% chance to be the top-scoring combo, but can you build a competitive lineup around them?
It starts to get pretty thin, and you are forced into paying way down at running back and almost have to use a two-TE build which is almost always suboptimal. The good news is that a game stack involved this optimal combo along with Rashard Higgins from the Browns starts to make things a bit more affordable, but you have to put your faith in Devin Singletary at running back to make things work and that’s not something I’m fully comfortable with at the moment. If more value opens up on this slate, the Chiefs are the obvious best-case scenario, but you may end up getting passed by more complete rosters if you sacrifice too much as is.
Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley
The second best-rated stack of the week belongs to the Buffalo Bills who are going to be in either the most exciting game of the week or the most painful to watch as both Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson has shown some warts under pressure. With an implied team total of 26.25, the Bills project pretty well and obviously has some of the best upside on the slate.
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have been one of the most consistent combos in all of fantasy the entire year, with Diggs having no games under 10 fantasy points and Allen having multiple above 30, and when you add Cole Beasley to the mix you get a three-man stack with a fantastic floor and a lot of upside.
That upside, however, lies in how the Ravens want to play and what this game turns into. Should the Ravens end up just running the ball 45 times and trying to limit the passing game of the Bills, then this game can be pretty boring. What you have to bank on is the Bills getting a lead and forcing the Ravens into a passing game script, which should unlock massive upside. My preference here is to play to that upside and go with a stack of Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Marquise Brown. This has multiple positive effects as it limits the upside of Devin Singletary who looks like chalk while doubling down on a game with the highest potential on the slate.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams
The Packers come into this game fresh off a first round bye week and going up against the Rams who had their way with a crumbling Seahawks group to advance past the first round. With an game total of just 45.5, this game has the lowest over/under and will likely be ignored by a lot of the industry.
The Packers are still implied well at 26 (middle of the pack, lowest of the favorites) and are still led by MVP Aaron Rodgers with the best wide receiver in the league at his disposal. The duo costs $15,500 on Draftkings, which is actually not all that expensive in relation to the other stacking options available and is projected for 46.29 with a 15.60% chance to be the top-scoring combo of the slate.
The most attractive piece of this combination is the ownership, as Aaron Rodgers is likely to be forgotten while people focus on Mahomes, Allen, and Jackson as high end plays. Where you really gain leverage is with a game stack as people are under the assumption that the Rams are toast and won’t be able to keep up. Using a stack of Rodgers, Adams, Tonyan, and Woods gives you plenty of upside from the main players in the game environment as well as keeping you different and allowing you to load up on popular plays to fill out your roster.
Three key players
Tyreek Hill: Fade
Tyreek Hill used to be a high end deep threat that didn’t offer much in the form of consistent work or floor, but the 2020 season saw him demanding massive amounts of the targets, both short and deep, as well as good redzone usage. He’s projected to be the highest owned player on the slate (though I think that will actually end up as Akers) and for good reason, as the Chiefs have the highest implied team total and have the most condensed target tree available.
That target tree, however, contains Travis Kelce and that presents some issues. Kelce has gotten more targets than Hill in four straight games as well as outscoring him in fantasy each of those games. For the price that you are paying, you don’t want to run the risk of having the lower scoring combo of the duo, especially since there are other high-end receivers to pay for that don’t have to share the target share of their respective teams. Hill is projected for 25.40 fantasy points and is a terrific play in a vacuum, but due to the threat of Travis Kelce getting the high-value work along with Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs being projected in the same realm, I would rather fade Hill and hope he doesn’t destroy me. Play.
Davante Adams: Play
It’s not often that we have a slate with Davante Adams involved where he isn’t beating every other projection by at least five points, but the playoffs are a different beast and Adams isn’t alone at the top here. He’s projected for 27.10 and has a 34% chance to finish as the top dog at his position, but he’s priced appropriately for those circumstances and isn’t an easy button play because of Tyreek Hill being slightly cheaper and projected similarly.
The reason why Davante Adams is a valuable play is actually not based on Adams at all, but based on the ownership surrounding a Packers stack. As mentioned in the team blurb, the Packers are garnering significantly less ownership overall in comparison to the Chiefs, and that offers leverage on the stack even if Adams ends up 35%+ owned. While Adams and Hill are very similar plays in terms of targets, upside, and floor, the combination of Rodgers and Adams against Mahomes and Hill offers just as much while being cheaper and less owned, which makes Adams a more valuable play. Play.
Devin Singletary: Fade
With Zack Moss getting hit by attrition, Devin Singletary looks to be the lead back for the Bills and is garnering plenty of ownership because of it. I think that’s a pretty big mistake by most of the industry because frankly Devin Singletary ain’t that good. He’s projected for 14.96, which is okay, but the historical metrics don’t like him much. He’s had just four games this season with a fantasy points per touch above .75 and the Bills picked up help to back him up through the injury so it’s not like the volume is going to be phenomenal.
TJ Yeldon and Devonta Freeman should both have a role behind him, and the Bills aren’t a team that wants to run the ball in high-value situations anyway. The best thing you could hope for here is for Singletary to have an increased role in the passing game, but that would be a stretch from what we have seen on the season. Yes, he’s cheap, and it helps you grab Chief’s firepower, but it comes at the expense of your entire lineup upside and isn’t worth the downside. Fade.
Three key values
Cam Akers: Fade
Well they didn’t price up Cam Akers whatsoever after he had 28 attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown (along with 45 yards receiving) so you can expect him to be absolutely gigantic chalk on this slate. The problem with that is the Rams don’t project to be leading in this game and the game environment might kill his upside.
He’s projected for 17.82 as a median and has a 12.04% chance of being the top-scoring RB on the entire slate, but he needs to get a lot of volume to make that happen as he struggles to be explosive more often than not. Now, the rushing touchdown upside is pretty good here, as the Rams run the ball 63.89% of the time in the RedZone, so the floor looks fine! The issue is the upside that comes from being in the right game script and that’s just too risky for a player that I expect to be one of the highest owned on the entire weekend. Fade.
Mark Andrews: Fade
This isn’t necessarily based on skill or matchup or projection, it’s just based on a weird price point that seems like a value but really isn’t. The only reason that Andrews seems like a value play on this slate is that Travis Kelce is so damn expensive that another high-end TE is going to look cheap by comparison. That being said, Andrews and Kelce are the only “bell cow” TEs on this slate and are getting much more consistent and high-value attention on their teams than anyone else involved.
Andrews is projected for 15.60 and has a 21.92% chance to score 20+ fantasy points, which is pretty good, but they aren’t good enough. The only tight end on this slate that you should be utilizing is Travis Kelce because the gap in projections and metrics is a grand canyon at the position. Because of that, Andrews is a fake value and makes for a good fade candidate. Fade.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Play as Leverage
CEH is looking truly questionable for this slate, as he is still only getting in limited practices after missing the end of the season with a high ankle sprain. However, if he does end up playing, the median projections for him are really nice and the ownership should be exceedingly low in comparison with the other cheaper RBs available.
Projected for 16.17 fantasy points and being priced under $6,000 on DraftKings makes him an intriguing tournament play on its own, but there’s a lot more to be gained by taking him as leverage off of Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs pass-catching chalk. If Edwards-Helaire plays and scores two touchdowns, that’s going to seriously cap the upside of the pass-catchers while giving a lot of relative value to those that went with the running game. He’s a very, very risky play but one that could pay massive dividends to those that take that route and I would suggest playing him as leverage if he gets the green light. Play.