DFS Core Four and Value Stacks: Week 5
This Week 5 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 our 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
UPDATE: Mattison replaces Ja'Mar Chase as a core four play with the Dalvin Cook inactive news.
QB Daniel Jones ($7,400 FD/$6,000 DK)
Jones has been a stud through one month of football. He’s topped 22 DraftKings points in three of four contests and had a massive 30-point outing last week in New Orleans. Jones has always been mobile, but he’s using his legs a bit more this season, racking up an average of almost eight fantasy points per week through rushing production. This week he gets a Cowboys secondary that has been passed all over every week. They are a true pass-funnel defense, allowing 315 yards per game through the air and 81 on the ground. Despite the injuries to Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, Jones was able to accumulate 400 yards passing on the Saints’ solid defense. Kadarius Toney, John Ross, and Saquon Barkley can fill the void if they don’t return this week. Trey Lance is going to catch a lot of ownership in his first start, but give me Jones over Lance this week. Lance didn’t look excellent when throwing the ball last week and has a bit tougher of a matchup in the Cardinals’ defense that just kept the Rams offense quiet in Week 4.
RB Derrick Henry ($10,400 FD/$9,000 DK)
The biggest of dogs got it done last week against a fairly good Jets’ defense. His touch projection is astronomical even with Jeremy McNichols stealing targets. Henry has had a handful of targets through the first four weeks which has added to his floor. The Titans’ passing game remains banged up as it doesn’t look like Julio Jones or Nick Westbrook-Ikinhe are trending in the right direction to play Sunday. A.J. Brown logged a limited practice, but could still sit out as well. The Jags rank 26th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to running backs which is a great spot on paper. Over the last three weeks, Henry’s touches per game have jumped to over 35 per game. He’s virtually guaranteed to exceed 100 rushing yards with 30+ carries. Add his goal line equity, the rushing bonus, and a few receptions and we are looking at a floor of 12-15 DraftKings points with the potential for 40+. The Jags as a team are in shambles and Henry is the type of back that can make you quit if you’ve been contemplating it.
WR Ja'Marr Chase ($7,300 FD/$5,800 DK) Things are shaping up well for Chase to be a smash play on Sunday, the first of which is the possible absences of teammates Joe Mixon and Tee Higgins. Higgins being out leaves some targets to go around and Mixon being out makes me believe the Bengals won’t dedicate themselves to the run like they did with Mixon healthy. Higgins is practicing in a limited fashion so there is always the chance he plays. I still like Chase at his price with no Jaire Alexander in the lineup for the Packers. The Packers can definitely get points on the board and force the issue with the Bengals, requiring them to throw the ball a bit more than in the first four games of the season. Chase has out-snapped Tyler Boyd, despite not seeing as much usage last week. I like the pace, matchup, and projected target share for Chase in this game. I don’t mind if you need the savings to get down to Boyd either. Boyd is definitely a bit safer in terms of floor projection, but Chase has a stronger ceiling due to end zone targets and depth of target. Chase is a cash play as well because you do need some upside in your lineups.
WR Laviska Shenault ($5,800FD/$4,800 DK)
Shenault should benefit from the absence of D.J. Chark in a game where the Jaguars passing attack possesses an opportunity to move the football through the air with ease. The Titans have allowed the most raw points to wide receivers through four weeks. Shenault is coming off a seven-target game that left him one yard shy of 100. The Jaguars use him as a gimmick player as well, although not as much as we'd thought. He still projects for about one or two carries. Those can be huge if they are near the goal line. This game has sneaky shootout potential so the fact that Shenault is extra cheap, especially in DraftKings full-PPR scoring, makes him a solid cash game play, one-off in tournaments or stack option with Trevor Lawrence.
Value Stacks to Target
QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars ($6,900 FD/$6,900 DK)
WR Marvin Jones, Jaguars ($6,600 FD/$5,700 DK)
WR Laviska Shenault, Jaguars ($5,800 FD/$4,800 DK)
WR Josh Reynolds, Titans ($5,000 FD/$3,300 DK)
I really hope this stack isn't popular because I love its prospects. It's a cheap stack in terms of combined salary allotted and it ranks first in our DraftKings Stack Value Report. Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault combine for about 42% of both the air yards and target share in the Jaguars' offense. In addition to those shares, D.J. Chark's 27% of air yards and 16% target share will be up for grabs. As I mentioned earlier, I think the Jaguars and Titans are both going to put a good amount of points on the board in this game, with Viska working underneath and Marvin Jones hopefully soaking up all the end zone work.
The Tennessee side is interesting because as of right now, it's not certain who is going to be lining up at receiver. Despite that fact, I like Josh Reynolds at almost minimum salary. He saw 33% of the Titans' air yards last week as the top receiver in the offense. He racked up nine targets, more than everyone besides part-time running back Jeremy McNichols. If at least one of A.J. Brown or Julio Jones is out, Reynold makes a lot of sense in this stack. It gets you off of the Derrick Henry chalk and is direct leverage in the event the touchdown variance goes the way of the Titans' wide receivers. I also don't mind slotting in Brown or Jones if only one of them is active, but the allure of this stack is the cheap Reynolds.
QB Jalen Hurts, Eagles ($8,100 FD/$7,000 DK)
RB DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($6,600 FD/$5,900 DK)
WR D.J. Moore ($7,900 FD/$7,500 DK)
My new favorite thing to do is skinny stack Jalen Hurts. We cleaned up last week with Hurts/Smith/Tyreek and this week I'm going back to it with D.J. Moore. DFS players have been infatuated with the double stack and bring back but it actually hurts them when stacking the Eagles. Hurts gets so many fantasy points with his legs that he often doesn't bring along two pass-catchers even when he hits his ceiling. Hurts is averaging 56 yards on the ground—couple that with DeVonta Smith's near 50% share of air yards and you are scooping a huge percentage of the Eagles' potential fantasy production with just those two players. Adding Reagor, Sanders, Goedert, or any another skill player could work this week, but I think leaving them off the stack and getting a bit more unique, especially in large-field tournaments where double-stacking is popular makes you're lineup contrarian without making it thin.
D.J. Moore owns 31% of the Panthers targets and 38% of their air yards. The Eagles don't have a corner to cover him so there will be no reason for the Panthers to go in a different direction. And despite not producing, teams are still afraid of Robby Anderson's potential. Last week the Cowboys had Trevon Diggs follow Anderson around for most of the game instead of Moore. With Moore getting a massive amount of volume and high value targets he's a no brainer bring back for me in this Eagles' skinny stack.