The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 12

Nov 21, 2019
The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 12

Below are the Week 12 running back-defense stacks on FanDuel and DraftKings. I'll examine where we might be able to get a solid defensive performance and volume-driven running production, including at least one RB-defense stack that will have minimal usage.

One should not base their weekly DFS lineup composition on the RB-DEF stack, as the correlation isn’t nearly as strong as the QB-WR1 combo, for example. But considering RB1s—and only RB1s—get a decent bump in production when their team’s defense scores at least 15 fantasy points, it’s worthwhile to see where this stack might offer upside and differentiation for those who play large-field DFS tournaments. Running backs and defenses from the same team often face positive circumstances together.

It's these conditions that lead to fantasy points. Sometimes a lot of fantasy points—the kind that swing DFS tournaments.

Our Week 11 RB-defense stacks were less than stellar. Josh Jacobs and the Raiders' defense combined for 27 points; Adrian Peterson and Washington's defense scored a combined 10 fantasy points; and Devin Singletary stacked with the Buffalo defense notched 19 points.

Now let's see how we might exploit good game script in Week 12.

Alvin Kamara/Saints

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 22.0%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 23.0%

This stack aligns so flawlessly with the process, I can hardly write about it for 30 seconds without breaking out into a sweat. It costs a ton on both FanDuel and DraftKings—enough to (maybe) push DFS players off this combination in Week 12 tournaments.

You have Alvin Kamara ($8,300 FD/$8,200 DK), having fully recovered from his various injuries and returning to a workhorse role in Drew Bress' machine-like offense, taking on a bottom-dwelling run defense being gouged for 128.5 rushing yards per game. Carolina gives up 26.2 schedule-adjusted points to enemy runners, which is on par with the Miami defense. Kamara, besides his usually hefty passing game work, is a great touchdown candidate against the Panthers, as the Saints have the week's highest implied total (27.75 points). Only Christian McCaffrey has a higher projected Week 12 ceiling than Kamara, who piled up 23 touches last week against Tampa, including an absolutely ludicrous 10 receptions.

Carolina's collapsing offense has become a prime target for fantasy defenses; the Panthers now give up the sixth-most schedule-adjusted points to opposing defenses after Kyle Allen's collapse against Atlanta. Deploying the New Orleans defense ($4,900 FD/$3,300 DK) here is really about taking advantage of a quarterback who has proved disastrous when facing negative game script. Allen has nine interceptions and three touchdowns over the past four games, three of which were losses that saw the Panthers fall way behind. Kyle has absorbed 18 sacks over those four games and the Saints' defense has a 10.7% sack rate at home this season. They could pile on the fantasy points if things go haywire for the Panthers' offense early on in this contest.

Derrick Henry/Titans

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 21.8%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 20.2%

It's that time of year where Derrick Henry ($8,400 FD/$6,000 DK) starts breaking 90-yard runs and posting stat lines that activate your salivary glands. Some good, old fashioned positive script for the Titans could mean big things here: only four RB-defense stacks have a higher projected Week 12 ceiling.

This week he takes on what could kindly be called a funnel defense that favors running backs—particularly the kind that has a massive workload built into every game plan. Henry has at least 16 touches in every single game this season, averaging 21.4 carries in Tennessee victories. The Titans are three-point home favorites here. The chances of Henry seeing 20 touches is, well, good. Jacksonville's defense is fresh off allowing 160 yards to Carlos Hyde and more than 200 combined yards to the Colts' running backs. Almost 42% of the plays run against the Jaguars this season have come on the ground—the 11th highest rate in the league. Forget that Henry collected a meager 46 yards against the Jags when they squared off in Week 3. Henry has the week's fourth-highest projected ceiling, per 4for4.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, are allowing 9.4 adjusted fantasy points to defenses. Even after the catastrophic end to Gardner Minshew II's run as starting quarterback, the Jags in Week 11 continued giving up points to defenses, allowing 10 fantasy points to the Indianapolis defense. Nick Foles has always been game script dependent, completing just 57.4% of his attempts in career losses along with a 16:22 TD:INT ratio in those games. And Foles could be under considerable duress if things turn sour for Jacksonville; the Titans' defense ($4,700 FD/$3,200 DK) average almost three sacks per game. They might collect more than a few sacks against the statuesque Foles on Sunday.

Bo Scarbrough/Lions

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 19.0%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 14.6%

DraftKings seems not to believe Bo Scarbrough ($6,400 FD/$4,200 DK) is the new lead runner in the Lions' backfield one week after the team signed him off the street and gave him 15 touches in a back and forth affair with Dallas. FanDuel has made the appropriate adjustment, which could mean lower Scarborough usage on FD against a Washington team that never escapes bad game script. Scarbrough is priced as RB42 on DK this week. On FD, he's RB17.

Thirty-six percent of the yardage gained against Washington this season has come on the ground. A mere seven teams have seen a higher rate in 2019. Detroit is a road favorite here with a not-quite-terrible implied total of 22.5 points. If they seize a lead against a defense allowing the 11th-most rushing yardage, it's a decent bet they'll hammer Washington via the run. That means plenty of Scarborough, who clearly has the trust of the coaching staff, unlike, say, Ty Johnson. Lead backs have averaged 18.3 fantasy points per game against Washington over the past three weeks. With Dwayne Haskins posing no threat to opposing defenses, enemy offenses can usually keep it on the ground. That means volume. That's what we're seeking.

Now to the aforementioned Haskins, he has an adjusted yards per attempt of four and a completion rate of 58.2%. The rookie has been a disaster behind an offensive line that can't protect anyone. Washington gives up a sack on 9.8% of its offensive plays; only the Titans, Dolphins, and Jets allow a higher rate. You'll have to pay up for Detroit's defense ($5,000 FD/$3,100 DK) on FanDuel—they're the priciest Week 12 option on the main slate—but you'll get a discount on DraftKings, where 10 defenses on the main slate have a heftier price tag. The best part of this RB-defense tandem: it's cheap enough to allow for a couple high priced players in your lineups, unlike the Saints and Titans stacks.

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