Finally! Some exciting football in Week 3. Hopefully that carries over to Week 4, but it does not look promising as this is the first week of the season where there isn’t a single game with an over/under of at least 50 points to start the week. Although that is the case, there are still several games with a nice total and some teams with appealing team totals. Let’s jump right into it and take a look at some of the stacks I will be targeting this week.
For those who are not familiar with what stacking means, let’s define what we are calling a stack.
Stacking is pairing multiple players from one team. In this instance I will be referring to a quarterback and one of his receivers, tight ends, or running backs.
New England Patriots
Game Over/Under: 48
Patriots Implied Points: 28.5
Tom Brady $8,000 (DK), $15,000 (FantasyDraft) has been lights out in the last two games and could very well continue that this week in Foxboro against the Panthers. Carolina was impressive defensively in each of their first two games, but they faced Brian Hoyer and Tyrod Taylor. In Week 3, however, they were exposed by Drew Brees and the Saints in Carolina. The Panthers came into the season with a secondary ranked 22nd by Pro Football Focus, so this is not a unit that Brady will be unable to handle. He has thrown for 825 yards and eight touchdowns the last two weeks, while topping 30 fantasy points in each of those contests. He is the most expensive quarterback of the slate and this is a position I typically prefer paying down for, but the upside that Brady brings to the table is just too high to ignore. The Patriots have the highest implied team total of any team on the main slate.
Brady spreads the ball around, but there is no doubt that his favorite target is Rob Gronkowski $6,600 (DK), $12,300 (FantasyDraft). He leads the Patriots pass catchers with 25 targets, including five red zone targets which accounts for 29.4 percent of the teams red zone targets. In addition, he has played in 84 percent of the snaps despite leaving the Saints game early with an injury. Gronk continues to be a focal point in this offense and has now scored a touchdown in back-to-back games. Even though this is not the most appealing matchup, Gronk is still firmly in play because he can create matchup problems even against the best defenses. He’s had at least nine targets in each of the last two games and has caught 14 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns in those contests. It may be difficult to pair these two as they cost 58 percent of your salary combined, but if you can manage it, I think it can pay off in a big way as they can connect for multiple touchdowns on any given week.
Brandin Cooks $7,600 (DK), $14,300 (Fantasy Draft) is coming off of his best game as a Patriot, catching 5-of-7 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns. He has not been consistent this season, but that comes as no surprise as he depends a lot on the big plays as you can see from his Week 3 performance. He is averaging six targets per game and is second amongst all New England pass catchers in targets through three games. The only thing that is concerning is that he has yet to receive a red zone target, making him very dependent on a long touchdown. He makes a lot of sense in tournaments due to his upside, but this price tag is tough when trying to pair him up with Brady.
Chris Hogan $6,000 (DK), $11,300 (FantasyDraft) has been very efficient in the last two games, catching 9-of-12 targets for 146 yards and three touchdowns. He is tied with Gronk with five red zone targets and is third on New England with 17 targets. His price has come up since the start of the season and it has come to a point where it becomes tougher to roster him, however, there is still wiggle room for him to pay off his salary and exceed value. The Panthers are giving up over 30 fantasy points per game to receivers, making this an enticing matchup for Hogan and one he should be able to excel in.
My favorite option: Brady/Gronkowski
Los Angeles Chargers
Game Over/Under: 47.5
Chargers Implied Points: 24.25
The Chargers offense is one I am really liking early in the week, especially Philip Rivers $6,300 (DK), $11,900 (FantasyDraft). The Eagles are the definition of a funnel defense as they have a very good front seven, but their secondary is one of the worst in the league. In fact, they came in this season ranked dead last by Pro Football Focus. They are yielding 285.7 passing yards and over 16 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Eli Manning threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns against them, after throwing for 459 yards and one touchdown in his first two games combined. Rivers is coming off of a rocky performance, but this is a great bounce back spot for him. He has the upside to throw 300+ yards and 3+ touchdowns on any given week and this is the type of matchup that he can accomplish that against. Hopefully recency bias keeps his ownership down, but I am very bullish on him this week.
Keenan Allen $7,200 (DK), $13,700 (FantasyDraft) has been peppered with 29 targets through the first three weeks and accounts for 22 percent of the Chargers red zone targets. He leads all pass catchers on this offense by a wide margin in targets and has a respectable 66 percent catch rate. He is the clear-cut No. 1 target for Rivers and in this matchup, Allen has all the upside in the world. The Eagles are giving up over 40 fantasy points per game to receivers, while allowing 16.3 receptions and 185.3 yards per game. In addition, they have surrendered three touchdowns to the position. Allen has already scored over 20 fantasy points once this season and that was in a matchup not as favorable as this one.
Tyrell Williams $4,400 (DK), $8,700 (FantasyDraft) is off to a slow start, but sometimes a matchup like this one is all a player needs to get things rolling. Despite the slow start, Williams is still second on this offense with 18 targets and has played in 93 percent of the snaps, which is clearly a sign that the opportunity is there. It is just a matter of execution at this point. He comes in at a very low price and will likely be very low owned. There is certainly plenty of downside with rostering him considering the start he has had to the season, but he also possesses some nice upside and could smash value at this price tag. If you are firing multiple Rivers stacks, you may want to consider Williams in one.
Travis Benjamin $3,600 (DK), $7,700 (FantasyDraft) is an interesting tournament option to pair up with Rivers this week. Benjamin caught 5-of-8 targets for 105 yards in Week three and now has 15 targets this season, only three behind Tyrell Williams. While he is certainly a boom-or-bust play, Benjamin finds himself in a good situation. Last week, Sterling Shepard caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in this same matchup. Benjamin is a very volatile play and I am only suggesting him in larger field tournaments, if your stomach can handle it.
My favorite option: Rivers/Allen
Game Over/Under: 46.5
Raiders Implied Points: 24.75
As expected, Trevor Siemian $5,200 (DK), $10,200 (FantasyDraft) struggled in his first road game of the season. This could actually be a very good thing for those interested in him as last week’s performance could knock his ownership down a bit this week. He faces off against a Raiders defense that he fared decent against last year, averaging 244.5 passing yards per game and tossing four touchdowns against in two games. The Raiders have been generous to quarterbacks this season, allowing 787 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, and over 20 fantasy points per game to the position. Considering price and matchup, along with the implied team total for the Broncos, Siemian has a lot to offer this week and could return to more of what we saw in the first two games.
I find that Demaryius Thomas $6,300 (DK), $12,000 (FantasyDraft) is too cheap considering the matchup and the amount of volume he receives. He is averaging 8.3 targets per game and has played in 87 percent of the Broncos snaps. The Raiders have allowed three touchdowns in the last two games to opposing wide outs and are giving up over 30 fantasy points per game to the position. Thomas has been steadily producing solid numbers this season, despite not reaching his ceiling. However, a matchup like this one can certainly change that.
It is not Thomas that leads the Denver receiving group in targets, it is Emmanuel Sanders $6,100 (DK), $11,400 (FantasyDraft), who has also received 28.6 percent of the red zone targets which leads the team as well. Sanders has been a tad more inconsistent, but has eclipsed 20 fantasy points once this season. His targets have increased on a weekly basis and he has led the Broncos receivers in snaps in each of the last two games, so things are certainly trending in the right direction. This matchup is one that favors Sanders and one he should do well in. I will likely have equal shares of Sanders and Thomas his weekend, both making fine stacking options with Siemian.
My Favorite Option: Siemian/Thomas
I am interested in Carson Palmer this weekend because, not only is this a good matchup, but he finally showed some signs of life on Monday night. However, I am a tad concerned about potential ownership and the fact that it is a short week for him. That being said, the 49ers have allowed 661 passing yards and six passing touchdowns this season to opposing quarterbacks, so this is certainly a smash spot for Palmer. I will be keeping an eye on his popularity this week, but if he is going to go overlooked, I am going to be considering getting exposure to him. There are several ways to stack him, but Larry Fitzgerald is the favorite hands down. The good news is that their strong performances from Monday night are not reflected in their prices this week.
There are times where I do not mind rostering a quarterback without rostering any of his pass catchers and this is one of those times. Dak Prescott continues to be efficient on a weekly basis and remains at a reasonable price tag. The matchup is not all that great, but this is a Rams defense that was unable to contain Brian Hoyer last week. Prescott does have some downside as he is on a short week and will be traveling to the West Coast, but there is upside here and he could potentially go low-owned.
Good luck to all this week. If you have any questions, you can always find me on the Twitter machine @Armando_Marsal