We had a clear winner in the daily fantasy sports stack battle last week as Ryan Miner’s Matt Ryan/Julio Jones stack bested Ben’s Philip Rivers/Keenan Allen stack as Ryan connected with Jones for two scores in a three-touchdown performance in Sunday’s loss to the Packers.
The two Loaded Box Podcast contributors are back to battle again in Week 15 so read through both opinions on this week’s selections and be sure to vote for the stack that you prefer by clicking on the tweet below!
Here are this week’s nominees:
Kirk Cousins ($7,800 FanDuel; $6,200 DraftKings) / Adam Thielen ($8,200 FanDuel; $8,600 DraftKings)
You have all the right in the world to feel nervous about this stack after watching the Vikings crawl through their Monday night matchup against the Seahawks last week. Kirk Cousins finished with just 208 yards and a touchdown, and 70 of those yards and the lone TD came on a meaningless drive in the final two minutes of the game.
However, let me tell you one thing that I’m absolutely sure about in the NFL this season – the Miami Dolphins are no where near as good as the Seattle Seahawks when it comes to stopping opposing team’s passing offenses – especially without Xavien Howard.
Miami ranks just 25th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and despite losing last week via the Miami Miracle, Tom Brady still posted nearly 27 fantasy points tossing for over 350 yards and three touchdown passes.
Cousins is the eighth-most expensive quarterback on the Sunday main slate on FanDuel after posting back-to-back 10-point fantasy performances. So yes, Cousins doesn’t have as safe of a floor as you’d like from your quarterback, but he does have three games this season with more than 25 points with one of them being a 27-point performance three weeks ago against the Packers – a team much more comparable to what he’ll be facing this Sunday.
The biggest hindrance to a breakout performance by Cousins is the fact that Miami also struggles against the run, and it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see Minnesota get back to the basics and try to establish the run with Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray in its first game without former offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo.
However, even if the Vikings are able to find success on the ground, the two options on the outside – Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen – are too talented to be phased out of this week’s game plan with how shaky the Dolphins ‘ secondary has been this season.
While I’m not opposed to stacking Cousins with Diggs if you need to save the cap space, I favor stacking with Thielen this week for a couple of reasons.
The floor with Thielen is about as safe as you can get at the receiver position. He hasn’t finished under double-digit points on FanDuel in a single week this entire season, compared to Diggs who has failed to hit this mark four times.
Thielen appeared on the injury report this week with an ankle issue, but he was able to play through the injury that occurred last Monday night and actually made the majority of his impact after suffering the injury, so I don’t see this hindering him in any way.
Lastly, while Thielen has been the most consistent offensive weapon for the Vikings, he’s still capable of those big weeks that can put you over the top. He leads the league with 103 receptions, is third in receiving yards with 1,236 and ranks sixth with nine touchdown receptions.
Utilizing the Cousins/Thielen stack takes a fairly large percentage of your salary cap this week so you’ll need to incorporate a few bargain plays into your lineup. Here are a couple of recommendations that you can fit into a lineup with this stack.
Tarik Cohen continues to be Mr. Do-it-all for the Bears and gets a matchup against the Packers who rank just 24th against opposing team’s running backs.
Tyler Lockett caught just one pass last time the Seahawks played the 49ers but it went for a deep touchdown; plus I see Lockett recording more than one reception this time around against San Francisco and I’m banking on him finding the endzone once again.
Jaylen Samuels is my ideal choice at the flex spot this week if James Conner misses Sunday’s game against the Patriots. I see this game being a struggle for both defenses so I like getting at least one of the running backs who is also likely to make a difference in the pass game.
Sample FanDuel Lineup:
QB: Kirk Cousins, $7,800
RB: Tarik Cohen, $6,800
RB: David Johnson, $7,400
WR: Adam Thielen, $8,200
WR: Tyler Lockett, $6,700
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, $7,800
TE: Vance McDonald, $5,500
FLEX: Jaylen Samuels, $5,500
D/ST: Seattle Seahawks, $4,200
Dak Prescott ($7,300 FanDuel; $5,500 DraftKings) / Amari Cooper ($6,600 FanDuel; $7,500 DraftKings)
Looking at this week’s options at quarterback makes me glad I play DraftKings as they try to get the upcoming week’s slate values out before anyone else, and once again, we have a steal in Dak Prescott.
Sure, he’s an every other week type of quarterback as you look at his numbers after the Cowboys Week 8 BYE, but I’m predicting this week to be a shootout so I’m buying Prescott as he should return great value at his $5,500 price tag.
For receiver, how could I not be using recent superstar Amari Cooper after he just shred the Eagles last week for 217 yards and three touchdowns?
I know many will be chasing Cooper’s points as his value increased from $6,600 to $7,500; and while this is a steep increase and may be hard for some to swallow, I’m all in on Cooper as Prescott seems to always have his eyes on him, quickly become his go-to first option.
Expect Cooper to be peppered with targets as that volume will lead to some solid points for this QB/WR duo. I’m sure Jon Gruden is shaking his head right now wishing he had a “No. 1 receiver” on his team. Oh wait, he did, and he traded him to Dallas where he’s flourishing!
Ever since being traded to Dallas he’s averaging 24.2 points per game on DraftKings, but he’s been on same roller coaster as Prescott when it comes to consistency. However, there’s no need to fear this week. As I said earlier, this game has shootout potential all over it.
Plus, the Cowboys are in the thick of the playoff hunt so they need to do everything they can to be balanced on offense because we know Ezekiel Elliott can’t just do it all by himself (as proven last year).
Stacking Prescott/Cooper gave me the flexibility to do what I like to do best and that’s stack it with higher-end running backs.
With Joe Mixon getting 26 touches last week, he’s in line for another week of heavy usage as this week’s opponent, the Oakland Raiders, have given up the most rushing yards (1,595) in the league so far this season. Plus, he has been a nice target for Jeff Driskel to use as a relief valve.
Another player I’m targeting this week is Dalvin Cook. He was on the field for 87% of the team’s offensive snaps in Week 14 and he should eat against the Miami Dolphins in the process of putting some extra money in your wallet.
Last but not least, Saquon Barkley. Do I need to say more? With his video game like moves and how he’s able to produce behind that horrific offensive line is just mind blowing. Plus, with Odell Beckham Jr. being downgraded Friday afternoon to OUT with a hamstring injury, the sky is not even the limit for this guy as he will go well beyond that.
Sample DraftKings Lineup:
QB: Dak Prescott, $5,500
RB: Dalvin Cook, $6,500
RB: Joe Mixon, $6,100
WR: Tyler Boyd, $5,700
WR: Randall Cobb. $4,400
WR: Amari Cooper, $7,500
TE: Anthony Firkser, $2,900
FLEX: Saquon Barkley, $9,400
D/ST: San Francisco 49ers, $2,000
Be sure to check out this week’s episodes of the Loaded Box Podcast as the guys preview the upcoming fantasy football week with their daily fantasy sports stacks, bargains and advice to go along with their weekly against the spread gambling advice!