A player stack is having a quarterback and either a running back, wide receiver, or tight end, on that quarterback’s team, both of which you have on your fantasy football roster. Stacking a quarterback with one of his main weapons in the passing game is a great way to maximize value in your lineup. Any time both players connect, both players simultaneously benefit and rack up points for your fantasy football team.
As far as targeting player stacks, there are plenty that come to mind with the biggest name players in the league. As much as I would love to have a player stack of Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler, the latter is likely gone in the early part of the first round of fantasy football drafts. Therefore, not everyone has a legitimate shot to target this specific player stack.
Don’t worry though. The Fantrax fantasy football writing staff has you covered. Below, they identify some of their favorite player stacks to target this fantasy football season. With draft capital in mind, they each make their case as to why you should invest in their player stack of choice.
Target These Player Stacks in 2023 Fantasy Football
Kansas City Chiefs: QB Patrick Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce
Fantrax Writer: Sean Malone, @SMalone27 on Twitter
It takes A LOT of commitment to come away with this player stack in 2023. You will likely have to sacrifice two of your first three picks if not both of your first two picks. If you are able to come away with this player stack, your fantasy football team will be a force to be reckoned with week after week.
What makes them unique is not only a stack involving a tight end, but it involves two elite players at their respective positions. Kelce has never finished below TE2 since 2016, while Mahomes has finished as QB4 or better on a points-per-game (PPG) basis in every year since he became the full-time starter in 2018. Their connection on the field is unmatched by any other in the league. Mahomes and Kelce tied for first all-time in postseason tandem touchdowns and it seems like every Sunday they connect for a spectacular play or two or ten. If you want to have unique dominance in your league, got get the player stack of Mahomes and Kelce.
Kansas City Chiefs: QB Patrick Mahomes and RB Jerick McKinnon
Fantrax Writer: Bradlee Kilgore, @SirBradleeK on Twitter
The QB/RB stack is seldom used, typically because you want ceiling performances to be positively correlated. A quarterback and wide receiver player stack makes the most sense as, you’d want your drafted QB to throw 5 touchdowns to the receiver you drafted, for example, which essentially doubles the impact of your lineup. The reason a QB/RB stack is less used is because if a QB has a ceiling game, it likely means less usage for your drafted RB, as that team throws the ball more, and runs less.
The Chiefs are a different beast, however. There are three main reasons this is one of my favorite player stacks for the year. First, the Chiefs lost Offensive Coordinator (and former running back) Eric Bienemy to the Washington Commanders. Bienemy specialized in the running game, while Andy Reid masterminded the aerial attack. With Reid likely controlling more of the offense, I anticipate less rushing and more passing.
Why is that positive for McKinnon? That brings me to reason number two. McKinnon is listed as a running back, but he’s essentially used as a WR out of the backfield. In 17 games last year (that’s right, he’s durable), he garnered 71 targets from Mahomes, along with nine receiving touchdowns. He really came on late in the year and was used heavily in the red zone. In the last five weeks of the season, McKinnon finished as a top-10 RB in fantasy three of them.
Which brings me to reason number 3 to use this player stack. Imagine getting RB1 production from a running back that you can draft in the middle to late rounds. This stack allows for you to draft Mahomes in the early rounds and fill out your roster with WRs, or other high-value RBs with your next few draft picks before you pair McKinnon with Mahomes. These players will be highly correlated this year, and you can fill out a balanced and deep fantasy roster. This player stack is a win-win.
Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts and WR A.J. Brown
Fantrax Writer: Mark Strausberg, @MarkStrausberg on Twitter
There are a lot of great stacks out there but my favorite has to be Hurts and A.J. Brown. Hurts has plenty of other decent options like Dallas Goedert and Devonta Smith, but who do you think he’s going to look for first? In 2022, of Hurts’ 485 targets, Brown saw 145 of them, the 10th most in the league. I expect all three of those numbers to rise in 2023.
While Davante Adams led the league with 14 touchdowns last season, A.J. Brown was tied for second with 11. Adams has seen his quarterback change, but Brown will continue to have strong chemistry with Hurts and is likely to lead the league in touchdowns in 2023. Philadelphia also has the ninth-best strength of schedule for receiving this coming year. That’s ahead of other popular stacking options like Cincinnati (13th), Miami (19th), and yes, Buffalo, down at 29th.
Sometimes, a stack’s ultimate value comes down to intangibles. Brown and Hurts were friends before they played together in the NFL. Hurts tried to get Brown to join him at Alabama and the strong bond continues today as Jalen Hurts is the godfather to A.J. Brown’s daughter, Jersee. Both Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown are excellent as solo entities, but even more powerful when drafted as a player stack this season.
Chicago Bears: QB Justin Fields and WR D.J. Moore
Fantrax Writer: Nick Skrip, @P2WFantasy on Twitter
2022 was a breakout season for Justin Fields, finishing the season as the QB6 in fantasy football and averaging the fifth-best fantasy PPG with 20.5 Weeks 6-18. Fields averaged 24.8 PPG overall, mostly guided by his legs. Many have critiqued Fields’ passing volume (21.2 pass attempts per game), but do not note the many factors as to why it was so low in 2022. One of those factors was a lack of quality pass-catching weapons, and most importantly, an alpha wide receiver.
In comes D.J. Moore, who has played with the likes of Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, and P.J. Walker at quarterback in his time with the Carolina Panthers. He played just two games with former MVP, Cam Newton. Despite the mess of quarterbacks, D.J. Moore still has had three seasons of over 1,100 receiving yards. For the last four straight seasons, Moore has earned 118-162 targets.
Justin Fields will be the best quarterback D.J. Moore has ever played with and D.J. Moore will be the best wide receiver Fields has had in the NFL. Chicago improved their offensive line this off-season and has improved as a team in general which should translate to more passing volume, especially providing Fields with his alpha wide receiver. So, we have a high-ceiling QB with dynamic playmaking abilities now tied to a WR who has consistently earned targets and displayed receiving yard upside. I am in on this player stack combo.
New York Jets: QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Garrett Wilson
Fantrax Writer: Ray Kuhn, @Ray_Kuhn_28 on Twitter
Alright, maybe there is some blind faith going on here, but you could also make the argument in the opposite direction, as well. It goes without saying that we need to be objective here, but sometimes I cannot help but weave my frustrating allegiance with the team that wears green and white into my content.
When it comes to this player stack, what can go wrong? Rodgers is set for the Hall of Fame when his playing career is over. He is not too far removed from back-to-back MVP seasons, either. Garrett Wilson’s 2022 debut resulted in him winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. With that said, Rodgers is being drafted as a QB2, if at all, and there is a substantial buying opportunity here should you choose to wait on the quarterback position.
There is no such bargain with Wilson, but when you consider what he did last season with, to be kind, a less-than-ideal situation at quarterback, it is easy to dream of what he can do with Rodgers. In his rookie season, Wilson caught 83 passes for 1,104 yards and it is easy to see him expanding on his four touchdowns. Rodgers is just two years removed from 48 touchdown passes and we know the veteran quarterback will be motivated to make his presence felt in his new home. That production will come as part of his new partnership with Wilson making this player stack one worth targeting.
New York Giants: QB Daniel Jones and TE Darren Waller
Fantrax Writer: Colin McTamany, @Colin_McT on Twitter
This is one of my favorite player stacks for the 2023 season. It’s one of the better bangs for your buck with consideration to draft capital and the expected return on investment. The New York Giants earned a playoff spot in 2022. They did so with a negative six (-6) point differential on the season. Despite a QB10 fantasy football finish on a points-per-game basis, Daniel Jones threw just 15 touchdown passes.
So, instead of drafting or signing a big-name wide receiver, the Giants traded for tight end Darren Waller. Looking at New York’s depth chart, it’s highly probable that a healthy Darren Waller leads the team in targets. In fact, last season, Saquon Barkley led all Giants with 76 on the season including playoffs.
Waller’s last two seasons are forgettable after missing 14 total games due to injury. However, over the last four seasons, when on the field, Waller commands an average of 7.65 targets per game.
I expect Jones to continue targeting Waller heavily in the Giants’ passing game. Jones isn’t one to throw it deep very often so looking for Waller on the short and intermediate routes will be key. The Jones/Waller player stack doesn’t even come into play until the sixth or seventh round when Waller is likely to come off of the board.
Detroit Lions: QB Jared Goff and RB Jahmyr Gibbs
Fantrax Writer: Colin McTamany, @Colin_McT on Twitter
This player stack is a bit of a deep cut, especially for 1QB leagues. Goff is unlikely to get drafted unless it’s a Superflex league or one that has a deep bench. I’m not necessarily recommending you do so. However, if Gibbs does make it onto your roster, Goff could be a clutch waiver wire pickup during the season.
In 2022, Detroit finished third in total rushing touchdowns with Jamaal Williams earning 17 of them. D’Andre Swift added another five of his own. Together that’s 95.6% of the Lions’ 23 rushing touchdowns from last season from two players that are now on different teams.
Replacing Williams and Swift with David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs doesn’t guarantee that sort of production repeats itself. In fact, I think Goff has a bit more success through the air in 2023. That’s especially with Gibbs on the roster. The Lions view him as a positionless player. He’s an all-around offensive weapon. Given the lack of wide receiver depth behind Amon-Ra St. Brown, we could see Gibbs working as the second overall target on the roster. I like stacking St. Brown with Goff, as well. However, the Goff/Gibbs player stack is even cheaper. Look for Goff to improve upon his 29 touchdown passes from last season. Doing so should put him in the top-12 quarterback conversation after a QB14 last season.
For more great rankings and analysis, make sure to check out our 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit!
GIVEAWAY ALERT! 🚨🏈
We are excited to be launching another giveaway, where ONE lucky winner will receive an Official NFL Travis Kelce Signed Jersey!
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— Fantrax (@Fantrax) July 4, 2023