The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 15

Dec 12, 2019
The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 15

These are the Week 15 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.

Last week's top stack fared well: Devonta Freeman and the Atlanta defense teamed up for 34 points against the wretched Panthers. Alexander Mattison and the Vikings defense combined for 20 points as Dalvin Cook played and took most of the carries. Stacking Cook with the Minnesota defense would have given you 30 fantasy points. Benny Snell, Jr., managed a meager two points (on 16 carries) to go along with the Steelers defense and its 18-point outing against Arizona.

Chris Carson/Seahawks

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 20.1%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 22.4%

This stack is the lock of the week, the year, maybe even the decade. I'm not ruling out stack of the century. Many are saying this.

Chris Carson ($7,400 FD/$7,500 DK), with Rashaad Penny done for the season, will have crazy-high ownership in Week 15 contests of every kind, but pairing him with the Seattle defense could provide some differentiation as DFS players pay down for viable low-priced defenses. Carson's touchdown upside is, well, pretty good against a Carolina defense that has given up an eye-popping 21 rushing scores this season. I know, your eyes are popping too. The next closest defenses has allowed 14 rushing touchdowns. The Seahawks love to establish more than I love a sale on lemon-lime seltzer water—they run the ball on 46.4% of their offensive snaps. That's the fifth-highest rate in the league. They enter this contest as six-point road favorites with a bigly implied total of 27.25 points. A dozen running backs are priced ahead of Carson in Week 15 on FanDuel, making him a steal on a site where running backs are often more valuable.

We've been through the case for deploying defenses against the abominable Carolina offense, headed by Kyle Allen, who has tossed 13 interceptions over the past seven games. The Panthers are once again heavy underdogs; even a so-so secondary like Seattle ($4,700 FD/$3,700 DK) can take advantage of errant throws from a quarterback facing plenty of negative game script. A mere three teams allow more schedule-adjusted points to defenses than the Panthers. The Carson-Seattle combo has the fourth-highest projected ceiling among RB-defense stacks in Week 15, per 4for4 projections.

Josh Jacobs/Raiders

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 20.2%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 20.4%

Josh Jacobs ($7,700 FD/$7,000 DK) is fully expected to suit up for Week 15, as of this writing. If, for whatever reason, he suffers a setback in the lead up to Sunday, one should happily plug DeAndre Washington into this stack and let it ride.

Jacob's win-loss splits are revealing: the rookie runner averages 22.2 carries per game in Raiders wins, or 7.2 more than he does in losses. He also notched more receptions in Oakland victories. The Raiders are six-point home favorites here against a Jacksonville team that has been decimated by opposing running attacks of late. The poor Jags allow 33.5 schedule-adjusted points to running backs—the most in the NFL. Almost 38% of yardage gained against the Jaguars this season have come on the ground, the third-highest mark in the league. And it hardly hurts that the Raiders have a 26 point implied total; only five teams have a higher Week 15 total.

Oakland's defense ($4,400 FD/$3,200 DK) is ... not good. I'm not going to pretend they have anything close to a floor here, but that's not what we're going for in this RB-defense space. We want upside—the kind that can put you over the top in a large field tournament. So what better team to target than the Jaguars, who will likely be without top receiver D.J. Chark? Only the Jets and Giants allow more adjusted fantasy production to defenses than the Jaguars. The Raiders have won five times at home this season, and in those games, their defense has scored 5, 8, 6, 13, and 18 fantasy points. They're worth a shot this week, especially on DraftKings, where Oakland's defense can be had for $3,200.

Derrick Henry/Titans

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 22.5%

Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 22.6%

Stacking Derrick Henry ($9,400 FD/$8,500 DK) with the Tennessee defense ($4,100 FD/$2,800 DK) is so terribly appealing because we know what happens when the Titans get game script on their side: Henry bowls over defenders as he's fed the rock in an offense that's suddenly not one dimensional.

Henry, who's averaging an unreal 149.75 rushing yards per game since Ryan Tannehill took over as Tennessee's starter, goes against a Houston defense seeing almost 32 rushing attempts per game against them over the past three weeks. Teams are attacking the Texans via the run; there's no reason to think the Titans won't do the same. Henry has seen a minimum of 19 touches in Tannehill's run as starting QB. The Titans coming in as three-point home favorites means there's little chance Henry will be scripted out of this contest. The Texans, by the bye, give up the third most adjusted points to enemy runners. It remains Henry Szn.

The argument for the Titans defense in this game is a tough one, as they take on a high powered Houston offense averaging 24 points per game. But the Texans have been more than generous to defenses in 2019 losses, allowing 10.8 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses in those five games (including 15 points last week to Denver). When things go sideways for Houston's offense, they really go sideways. That's the hope here against a red-hot Titans team that has dominated opponents in every facet over the past month. Tennessee's defense is a low-priced Week 15 option that likely won't be rostered a whole lot—the more I write about them, the more I like them in DFS tournaments.

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