NFL Week 1 DFS Stacks

Written by: Michael Sicoli
Published September 8, 2023
5 min read

Daily fantasy leagues are growing in popularity each year, and 2023 is no exception. Each week people get to piece together new lineups under a strict budget, optimizing matchups to be the best lineup of the week.

A favorite way to do that is by utilizing stacks — typically a quarterback and a receiver — and essentially betting on them supporting each other to a top finish.

However, it’s not as simple as playing Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. With only so much money to build your roster, you have to pick your stack wisely.

This weekly column will provide you with the information you need before choosing a stack in DFS. Prices are sourced from DraftKings Fantasy Sports.

A “steep stack” -  A top-priced QB and a top-priced WR or TE — pricey, but still worth it.

A “sleeper stack” - The inverse of a “steep stack” including a QB outside the top-10 and an offensive weapon deep off the radar.

A “shoddy stack” - Could be any duo, expensive or not, that people may be considering as a viable stack but ultimately should pass.

A “no pain, no gain stack” - Exemplifies the risk/reward that DFS players are accustomed to.

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Steep Stack

Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen vs MIA

DFS Stacks NFL Week 1

If Justin Herbert is going to have the MVP season that some expect, then he’s going to start slinging touchdowns on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Week 1 is as healthy as the Chargers are going to be, but the same can’t be said for the Dolphins. Jalen Ramsey is sidelined for this matchup due to a meniscus injury, meaning the secondary that allowed the third-most fantasy points to WRs in 2022 remains mostly unchanged.

That shapes up Keenan Allen for a ton of targets, possibly lining up against former Cowboy Kelvin Joseph who arrived in Miami last week in a trade. Joseph has never played in the slot, always playing outside due to his larger frame. If Miami tests him against a veteran in Allen, there’s no doubt who will win more often than not. 

Don’t forget that Allen was the WR3 overall in PPG upon returning from his injury in Week 11.

Sleeper Stack

Matthew Stafford and Tyler Higbee vs ARI

Sleeper plays are tough to trust, but that’s why they’re dirt cheap. If you are searching for a low-ownership, cheap play, then the Rams’ duo may be the one for you.

Matthew Stafford hasn’t looked like his Super Bowl-winning self. That said, he’s healthier this year than when he entered 2022 and has a solid matchup against Seattle in Week 1. The Seahawks should have no problem scoring against a weakened Rams defense, causing Stafford to sling the ball even more than fantasy managers may expect.

Stacking Stafford with Tyler Higbee makes too much sense after Seattle allowed the most points to tight ends last year. While the Seahawks spent a lot of money this offseason transforming their defense — bringing back Bobby Wagner and signing Julien Love — Higbee’s volume should be there with Cooper Kupp ruled out for Sunday’s game.

No Pain, No Gain Stack

Brock Purdy and George Kittle vs PIT

This play obviously assumes George Kittle gets over his abductor injury. But if he does — the star tight end returned to practice Wednesday — there’s an extremely high-risk/reward play here when the 49ers visit the Steelers.

Kittle exemplifies boom-bust, largely because his skills as a blocker limit him from running the same number of routes as Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews. So, while nearly half of Kittle’s games last season had the tight end finish with less than 10 fantasy points, he still had 20 or more fantasy points in almost 30% of his games played.

It helps that two of Kittle’s four 20+-point games came with Purdy under center. Deebo Samuel was injured for some of those games, so that helped.

Still, Kittle and Purdy had an unnatural connection in the red zone. Kittle scored seven touchdowns in Purdy’s five starts at the end of the regular season and can deliver some punishing scores against Pittsburgh.

Stack of the Week

Trevor Lawrence and Calvin Ridley vs IND

Did you expect to see a sneaky Christian Kirk play at the end of that sentence? That’s fair. But Kirk surprisingly has a higher projected ownership on DraftKings according to Pro Football Focus than Calvin Ridley, so there’s no harm in paying up for the quality.

It’s easy to forget how great Kirk was for fantasy last season, finishing as a WR1. The former Cardinal commanded over a 24% target share and also sat fifth in red-zone targets (22). While the latter will likely drop with Ridley’s presence the former may not change all that much thanks to Zay Jones’ reduced role.

Ridley faces the Colts, who were surprisingly stout against wide receivers for fantasy last season. However, the departure of Stephon Gilmore is sure to be felt by this secondary, and Ridley is a true alpha wide receiver who works wonders in the red zone. Kirk scored eight touchdowns on 22 red-zone targets last season, a total Ridley is more than capable of exceeding.

 If Shaquille Leonard sits Evan Engram would also be a strong play this week.

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Michael Sicoli

Sports Betting Analyst

Fantasy Football
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Michael Sicoli has been writing about fantasy football and betting within the NFL space since 2020. He works as a writer and content creator with ClubFantasyFFL and runs an NFL defensive (IDP) newsletter with The IDP Guys. A graduate from Quinnipiac University, Michael is a long-time NFL fan with a love for soccer and the NBA.
Nationality: American
Education: N/A
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