The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 13

The Top DFS Running Back and Defense Stacks: Week 13

These are the Week 13 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 RB-defense stacks include Derrick Henry and the Titans, who combined for 35 fantasy points. Then there the not-terrible Alvin Kamara-Saints stack, which scored 25 points. Detroit and Bo Scarbrough teamed up for 16 points against Washington. 

Christian McCaffrey/Panthers

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 26.1%     
Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 21.0%

I've mostly avoided this combination because it puts such a gaping hole in your salary cap. But this feels unavoidable—inevitable, like a reasonable conversation about Jeffery Epstein at the Thanksgiving table. CMC and Carolina, far cheaper on DraftKings, could present something of a contrarian stack on FanDuel because of its prohibitive price. 

McCaffrey ($11,000 FD/$10,500 DK), who has notched at least 23 FanDuel points in every game this season but the two against Tampa, goes against a Washington defense seeing the second most rush attempts against them in 2019. Nearly 49% of the plays run against Washington this season—thanks largely to positive script for their opponents—have been on the ground. And only Kansas City's defense allows more schedule-adjusted fantasy pointed to running backs. Barring an injury—let us pray—it would be a major upset for McCaffrey to score less than 25 PPR points against Washington this week. Carolina heads into the matchup with a hearty implied total of 24.75 points. 

Dwayne Haskins, meanwhile, is a prime target for fantasy defenses. The rookie is completing 54.6% of his passes, making one ill-advised throw after another. With Washington a ten-point road underdog, we're (very) likely to see Haskins forced early into a pass-heavy game script—one that should lead to turnovers and sacks for Carolina's defense ($4,700 FD/$3,800 DK). Haskins should face plenty of pressure against a Carolina front seven sacking the quarterback on 9.4% of their defensive plays, the second-highest mark in the league. 

The CMC-Panthers combination has a projected ceiling 12.4 points higher than the next closest RB-defense stack on DraftKings. I'm not sure I've ever seen such a wide gap. 

Melvin Gordon/Chargers 

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 18.1%     
Combined percentage of DraftKings salary: 19.0%

Denver's defense is quietly a volume-based play for opposing running backs, as the Broncos have seen the seventh most rushes attempted against them in 2019 and allow 113.5 rushing yards per game. Tack on a rookie QB starting his first game and you get what seems like a solid ceiling for the Chargers lead runner and defense. 

Melvin Gordon ($7,000 FD/$6,400 DK), who is priced well below the top runners on the FD and DK main slates, has benefited from neutral or positive game script over the past month, tallying at least 17 touches in every game over that span and getting more than 20 carries in two games. It's clear the Bolts want to force-feed Gordon when they can. The Chargers are on the road—not ideal for our process, but we work with what we're given—favored by 3.5 points over Denver. Fresh off being gouged by Buffalo for 171 rushing yards, look for Gordon to take advantage of a plus matchup even if the Chargers somehow find a way to lose this game at the last second. You heard it here first. 

We don't know much about how Drew Lock might fare in his first game under center for the Broncos, but I want exposure to the LA defense if only to find out. Denver allows the fourth most schedule-adjusted points to defenses, they've allowed 3.3 sacks per game this season, and LA has the week's seventh-highest ceiling. Eighteen defenses are priced above the Chargers ($3,900 FD/$3,100 DK) on FanDuel and ten defenses are pricier on DraftKings. The Bolts defense has had some success on the road this season, scoring at least nine fantasy points in three away games. 

LeSean McCoy/Chiefs 

Combined percentage of FanDuel salary: 16.6%   
Combined percentage of DraftKings salary:15.0%

This is what we in the industry call an educated guess. It's why we're paid the big bucks. It's why 4for4 pays for my chauffeur and seltzer water machine. Anyway, stacking LeSean McCoy ($5,800 FD/$4,800 DK) with the KC defense ($4,200 FD/$2,700 DK) makes sense and here's why: Oakland is giving up 27.1 adjusted points to enemy running backs and McCoy has averaged nearly 19 fantasy points in two games without Damien Williams active. 

Williams happens to be out this week against the Raiders

Shady will likely serve as the primary ball carrier and pass-catcher out of the KC backfield; we saw as much a couple weeks ago with Williams ailing. McCoy saw seven carries and caught four of six targets against the Chargers on Monday Night Football. He now gets a matchup against an Oakland defense allowing 5.8 running back receptions per contest. Running backs on teams that beat the Raiders—Kansas City enters this one as 10-point home favorites—have seen volume. Carlos Hyde racked up 19 carries in Houston's victory over the Raiders last month, while Minnesota's running backs combined for 29 carries in their Week 3 win against the Silver and Black. For Shady's reasonable Week 13 DFS price point, he makes more than a little sense in an offense with an implied total of 30.5 points. 

Derek Carr and the Oakland offense had been stingy against defenses—until last week against the Jets, when Carr collapsed and Gang Green ended up with 18 fantasy points. Carr will once more face negative script this week unless the Chiefs utterly choke on their mouthpieces. KC's defense managed 11 fantasy points when these teams met in Week 2, sacking Carr thrice and picking him off twice. The Chiefs defense can be had on DK as the 19th most expensive defense on the board. This RB-defense stack is more volatile than the two listed above, but at such an appetizing combined price, I'm in. 

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