Welcome to the Wild Card Weekend edition of Bales’ Top Stack. In this article, I will outline my favorite NFL stacking options for this week. If you want all of my core plays along with our staff’s Final Thoughts articles with access to our Discord, click here.
Ben Roethlisberger/JuJu Smith-Schuster/Diontae Johnson
Roethlisberger’s seen plenty of ups and downs throughout the 2020 season. He threw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 608 pass attempts over 15 games. He doesn’t add any rushing potential, though. Roethlisberger isn’t an overly consistent option, but he recorded 20+ fantasy points in 7 of his 16 games. He’s also coming off of one of his best games of the season, scoring 28.54 fantasy points against the Indianapolis Colts. Roethlisberger gets a matchup against the Cleveland Browns this weekend. They’re giving up 247.6 passing yards per game and 7.4 adjusted yards per attempt this season. Cleveland’s also allowed 31 passing touchdowns over 16 games this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers are -5.5 point favorites in a game set at 47 points, giving them an implied team total of 26.3 points. Roethlisberger is also coming off of a week of rest, suggesting he should be fully healthy for this game, and we could see a slightly better Ben Roethlisberger than we saw as the season came to a close.
Smith-Schuster leads Pittsburgh’s receivers this season, playing 84% of the offensive snaps this season. He’s seen mixed results, posting 97 receptions for 831 yards and 9 touchdowns on 128 targets. Smith-Schuster caught fire to end the season, scoring 18+ fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 games. He also posted 18.5 fantasy points against Cleveland with backup quarterbacks under center. Smith-Schuster’s main struggles have come with a lack of volume, although he flashed with limited targets against the Houston Texans earlier this season. He’s been elite in the red zone, recording 14 receptions for 97 yards and 6 touchdowns on 17 targets. Smith-Schuster’s only seen 742 air yards with a 5.8 aDOT, accounting for 15.7% of Pittsburgh’s air yards. Cleveland’s struggled against the slot this season, making him a great option in this stack.
Johnson’s dealt with injuries throughout the 2020 season, playing 67% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps. Still, he posted 88 receptions for 923 yards and 7 touchdowns on 144 targets. Johnson recorded 20+ fantasy points in 2 of his final 3 games. He also averaged 18.3 fantasy points per game when he played full snaps this season. Johnson saw 10 red zone targets, recording 7 receptions for 49 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s recorded 1,166 air yards with an 8.1 aDOT this season. Overall, he’s accounted for 24.4% of Pittsburgh’s air yards in 2020. Even in limited snaps, Johnson ranked eighth in the NFL in targets. He’s the focal point of the passing offense, and he makes an elite option this weekend.
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