DFS Core Four and Value Stacks: Week 13
This Week 13 NFL DFS article consists of two parts, the "Core Four" and value stacks. The Core Four are my four favorite plays on the main slate for any game format, regardless of price or projected percent rostered. All four will almost assuredly be in my cash lineup and be an integral part of my GPP core plays (though they probably won't all be in the same GPP lineup).
For the value stacks, I’ll be using 4for4's Stack Value Reports to find stacks that can take down a tournament. I like building contrarian stacks around my chalkier core of players because you only have to get one instance correct for it to hit. Though there may be a chalkier player or two within the value stack, I will usually add a piece from the game that makes the stack a bit contrarian.
For example, if we hit on a contrarian quarterback play while having a pass-catcher or two from that same game, the positive correlation of those stacks is technically getting one contrarian play correct despite filling multiple roster slots. I feel this is easier than having a chalkier stack while trying to hit multiple individual low-rostered plays throughout the rest of your lineup. Keep in mind that these are contrarian stacks, so you don’t have to use these stacks in a large percentage of lineups to be overweight on the field. They should be used in tandem with a chalkier core of players.
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Core Four Plays
RB Elijah Mitchell ($7,600 FD/$6,000 DK)
As referenced on TJ Hernandez's Twitter feed, the way to beat the Seahawks is to run the ball. They've surrendered the most games of 20 DraftKings points to running backs this season. Teams also feed their running backcs against the Seahawks. That's good news because Mitchell has been getting fed. In his last two starts he has 27 carries in each game. Jimmy Garoppolo targeted him seven times in the last game as well so it seems as though his pass game role is expanding a bit as well. The only roadblock to success for Mitchell has been Deebo Samuel poaching runs and touchdowns. Samuel is out this week so it should be the Mitchell show against the 31st ranked defense against running backs, according to schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA).
RB Antonio Gibson ($6,200 FD/$5,700 DK)
J.D. McKissic will miss this game, leaving Gibson with an increased role out of the backfield against the Raiders who rank 30th in aFPA to running backs. Gibson's shin injury doesn't seem to be much of an issue as he's handled 24 carries on average since Week 10. With McKissic out, Gibson may see more involvement in the passing game as he did last week when he was targeted seven times. The Football Team loves to pound the ball with Gibson when he's healthy. Jaret Patterson is sure to work in a little bit, but I would expect 25 opportunities for Gibson in this game and we can't pass that up at his price tag on either site.
TE Foster Moreau ($5,000 FD/$2,700 DK)
Darren Waller is set to miss the game. He's responsible for about a quarter of the Raiders' air yards and targets. Couple that with Henry Ruggs release a few weeks ago and there are a lot of targets up for grabs in this game. Even when he was playing second fiddle to Darren Waller over the last few seasons, Moreau has proven to be a reliable end zone target. I expect Moreau to push for six to eight targets in this game at near the minimum salary on both sites. The Football Team checks in as a bottom-10 defense in aFPA to tight ends as well. It's always good to punt the tight end position in cash given it's volatility, so slotting in Moreau will allow access to an extra stud or a more balanced build across the board.
WR Diontae Johnson ($7,200 FD/$6,800 DK)
Johnson has been targeted 13 or more times in five of six games. For some reason, both sites refuse to give Johnson the price hike he rightfully deserves as a player getting that type of usage. Johnson has a relatively beatable matchup against the Ravens who rank 20th in aFPA to wide receivers. Johnson's ceiling isn't as promising as many of the players in his price range, but he undoubtedly possesses the highest floor with all of the reception upside. In cash, it's hard to avoid him because it's hard for him to crush your lineup with an absolute dud.
Value Stacks to Target
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers ($6,600 FD/$5,700DK)
WR Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers ($7,000 FD/$5,700 DK)
TE George Kittle, 49ers ($6,300 FD/$6,400DK)
WR DK Metcalf, Seahawks ($7,300 FD/$6,700 DK)
My stacks this week are going to focus heavily on "what happens if the running back chalk doesn't hit". The idea is similar to how we saw the Buccaneers pass-catchers and Tom Brady rostered heavily last week, then Leonard Fournette smashes as the ultimate leverage play. There are a few players that should be heavily rostered this week at the running back position and Elijah Mitchell is one of them.
In steps Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers passing offense. With Deebo Samuel out, we can safely assume that Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle eat up a significant portion of his targets and air yards. Deebo leaves around 32% of both targets and air yards behind with his absence. Kittle and Aiyuk combine for 40% of targets and air yards, I can see that bumping up to around 55-60% in this game against the Seahawks. It's the ultimate leverage play off a chalky Mitchell
We can bring it back with either Lockett or Metcalf, however, I think Metcalf barely being targeted will be a point of emphasis this week in practice. There was no squeaky wheel narrative publicly brought out in the media, but we often see when a receiver is clearly upset in a game that he isn't being targeted, they make sure that he's part of the game plan the next week. I'm hoping Metcalf is off most people's radars. He owns 25% of the Seahawks targets and 35% of their air yards—if he returns to that usage in Week 13 he'll be an excellent bring-back.
QB Kirk Cousins, Vikings ($7,700 FD/$6,500 DK)
WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($8,000 FD/$8,200 DK)
TE Tyler Conklin, Vikings ($5,200 FD/$3,700 DK)
I don't think there is going to be a shortage of Vikings' offensive stacks, however, they'll probably involve a bring-back of Jamaal Williams or T.J. Hockenson. I like avoiding the bring back with an offense that I think has a chance of completely failing. Jamaal Williams could definitely crush, but there's a possibility that Jemar Jefferson and other Lions' backs get in the mix. Of course, there is Alexander Mattison who will also be chalk on this slate, so avoiding the run game altogether and getting just pieces of the passing game will also be massive leverage
With Adam Thielen seeing a spike in touchdown variance, I like zeroing in on Justin Jefferson and Tyler Conklin. Conklin has major touchdown upside, which is why I like him as a pivot to Thielen and Mattison. If he gets a play-action touchdown at the goal line it sucks the value out of Thielen and Mattison. Justin Jefferson can still get there on the volume that he sees on a week-to-week basis. Currently, Jefferson and Conklin combine for a 40% target share and a 50% air yards share.