Inside the Matchup Matrix: Week 2

Kevin Cole goes inside the numbers to identify attackable and avoidable DFS matchups. He brings a scientific approach coupled with years of NFL knowledge to the table in identifying noteworthy situations on a weekly basis.

Week 2

This is the Matchup Matrix, where I simulate every game on the main Sunday slate in order to find stacks with the highest upside. You can find last week’s results here.

In my Find Your Edge article last week, I went through the last two years’ worth of DraftKings tournament contest results and identified a number of stacks that tournament winners (top-0.1% of entries) are using more than the field.

Three of the commonly rostered stacks with the greatest leverage, or winner usage over the field, were QB/WR, QB/WR/TE and QB/WR/WR. Those are the stacks I’m focusing on in my simulations.


Rather than layer tons of assumptions for projected scoring, scoring distributions, and player correlations, I decided to use actual historical results from similar games.

I calculate the profile of each week’s matchup by using the trailing scoring for the QB, RB1, WR1, WR2, TE1, and the games’ spreads and over/unders. I then match those profiles to thousands of games from the last ten seasons to find the 150 that are the most similar.

Once I have the most similar games identified, I look at the actual fantasy points scored from each game, then calculate the combined fantasy points for the relevant stacks.

While I also include DraftKings and FanDuel salaries for each stack in the analysis, we also have fantastic resources for determining which stacks will be chalkier and which contrarian. Our ownership projections (pOWN%) and info from Buzzscore on who’s being hyped up are available in the premium section of LineupHQ.

QB/WR Stacks

The graph above shows the density, which you can think of as the percentage of outcomes you can expect in that range, for each team’s QB-WR1 combination.

Big Ben and Antonio Brown sit atop the ceiling projections for QB/WR stacks, and it shouldn’t be a surprise considering the matchup at home against a vulnerable Chiefs defense. The duo is also the second-most expensive stack on the board.

The table below gives more details on the exact names, the “ceiling” (98% percentile outcome), and the combined salary at DK and FD.

Considering price and potential ownership, the SF stack looks particularly attractive. We still have Marquise Goodwin listed in the table, but the stack moves even further up the board if he can’t go and Pierre Garcon is the WR1. Garcon is roughly the same price, and we have him with a relatively low projected ownership.

The PHI Nick Foles & Nelson Agholor stack also has some contrarian appeal after stinking up the joint in front of the world on kickoff Thursday night. Good Foles could make an appearance this week, and the Bucs defense allows more big plays than the Falcons scheme. The Foles-Agholor combo also provides good salary relief to fit stud RBs into your lineups.

QB/WR/WR Stacks

These stacks include both WRs with the QB, which I found to be the highest leverage play for tournament winners over the field.

NO, PIT and MIN still near the top, as I suspect they’ll continue to do most of the season. None provide much in the way of uniqueness or salary relief.

Again SF jumps out, and if Goodwin is declared out of the game (or even if he’s not before the early games kick off and you want to risk it), you’ll get even more salary relief by bumping Garcon to WR1 and inserting Dante Pettis (DK $4K, FD $4.5K) as the WR2. The crowd will likely be more interested in using TE George Kittle in 49ers stacks, and we see below that the QB/WR/TE stack could be a solid option.

QB/WR/TE Stacks

As long as Rob Gronkowski is healthy, the Patriots should continue to be the highest projected QB/WR/TE stack.

I touted Brees/Thomas/Watson last week, and they show up near the top again this week. They aren’t a cheap option, but Watson could put up surprising numbers this week (four receptions for 44 yards in Week 1). Watson’s low ownerships projection means adding him to chalk plays like Brees and Thomas can make a contrarian stack.

In a similar way, stacking Matt Ryan with Julio Jones and Austin Hooper can turn chalk into a sneaky contrarian stack.

The Niners stack of Garoppolo/WR1/Kittle will be cheaper, but Kittle has our highest ownership projection at TE for the main slate.

The super contrarian and QB/WR/TE cheap stack is the Jaguars. Week 1 ownership darling Keenan Cole could bounce back this week, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins is one of the more reliable receiving options for Blake Bortles. The Jaguars’ home matchup against the Patriots has low-key shootout potential, especially if the Jags defense can’t keep Brady in check. Bortles didn’t have to do much last week against the Giants, but could be forced into throwing the ball more often and taking more risks.

Go ahead and dig in!

I’m sure smart RG subscribers will be better than I am at digging into the graphs and tables, along with our ownership and scoring projections, to find some great high-level stacks for Week 2.

Let me know what you like about the analysis and what’s you’d like to see added or changed in the comments!

About the Author

  • Kevin Cole (colekev)

  • Kevin Cole previously worked on Wall Street as an equity and credit analyst before transitioning to data-related sports analysis. For a number of years, Kevin has specialized in creating predictive sports models that includes published work at Pro Football Focus, Rotoworld, numberFire, and RotoViz. He is now the Director of Data and Analytics at RotoGrinders.


  • maxrluminox


    I am really enjoying these articles. Based on the past articles, I am assuming that you are running these stacks back with the opposing WR?

  • colekev

    @maxrluminox said...


    I am really enjoying these articles. Based on the past articles, I am assuming that you are running these stacks back with the opposing WR?

    Not always. I don’t think you should game stack by rule. It depends on the value of the receivers on the other side. I’d lean towards it though.

  • Johnnyplayer

    good reference charts. Thanks! don’t know if its possible but it would be nice to see a ‘value’ score when comparing the stacks between DK and FD pricing

  • TheBigGronkowski88

    When you say “Go ahead and dig in”, where are these graphs and tables located?

  • Cal

    RG CoFounder & Admin

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      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    @TheBigGronk he just meant digging further into the graphs and tables in the article. If there’s more you’d like to see we’d love to hear suggestions.

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