Game stacking – drafting players from opposing teams – is a powerful strategy in best-ball contests like Underdog Fantasy’s Best Ball Mania IV and FFPC’s Best Ball Tournament.
We’re particularly looking to stack Week 17 matchups in 2023 best-ball contests – since that’s when the big money is won.
With the NFL’s 2023 schedule in our hands, let’s rank the Week 17 matchups from least appealing to most appealing for game stacks.
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Both of these teams figure to be looking ahead to 2024 by this point of the season.
It’s a battle between two of the worst WR corps in the league. And it might feature two rookie QBs.
The only redeeming quality of this matchup is that weather won’t be an issue in climate-controlled NRG Stadium.
There’s plenty of WR talent in this game: Chris Olave, Michael Thomas (maybe?), Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin.
But we don’t know who will be under center for Tampa Bay at this point. And QB Derek Carr is not an exciting best-ball pick.
Plus, these could both be top-10 defenses.
Ranking this matchup 14th is less about the offenses and more about the defenses. (Although there are QB questions on both sides.)
But both defenses boast potentially dominant pass rushes that could turn this game into a slugfest.
If you love running, this is the Week 17 matchup for you.
(We don’t love running for fantasy points.)
These teams ranked 1st and 2nd in rush attempts last year and project to again be super run-heavy in 2023.
It’s worth noting that Atlanta and Chicago produced 51 points in a Week 11 meeting last year. But that was inflated by a 103-yard kick return TD from Cordarrelle Patterson. No player on either side of that game topped 54 receiving yards.
Perhaps this game belongs higher because neither defense is very good.
But there are questions on both offenses, particularly at QB.
How will Jimmy Garoppolo fare outside of Kyle Shanahan’s offense?
Is rookie-year Anthony Richardson capable of supporting a legitimate NFL passing attack?
Mini-stacking two or three players from this game might work, but I don’t like full stacking either passing game.
See where Anthony Richardson sits in the 2023 QB Rankings.
This would have sounded crazy at this time last year, but it’s the Rams side keeping this matchup from ranking higher.
Matt Stafford’s health and the offensive line remain big questions in Los Angeles.
If that offense bounces back, though, there’s potential for this to turn into a high-scoring affair.
Good luck figuring out the right Giants WR to draft, though.
The good news is that this game will be played in climate-controlled U.S. Bank Stadium.
The bad news is that the Packers have been a slow-paced offense under HC Matt LaFleur. And they’ll likely be run-heavy with new starting QB Jordan Love.
Minnesota’s offense is capable of turning this into a high-scoring game, but it’s more likely to be a middling Week 17 matchup for game stacks.
Here’s a sneaky Week 17 game stack.
The Seahawks offense was one of the biggest surprises of 2022 and added more firepower this offseason with rookies Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet.
The Steelers offense has the potential to make a leap this year in QB Kenny Pickett’s second season. The skill-position group is strong: WRs Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, TE Pat Freiermuth, and RB Najee Harris.
The Bills haven’t had much trouble vs. the Patriots lately, averaging 30.1 points in 7 meetings over the last three seasons. And this year’s New England defense doesn’t look as strong as those previous units.
The Patriots offense is a major question mark heading into 2023. Last year was ugly, but there’s rebound potential with a legitimate OC back in place.
Weather could be a factor in this game.
This game might be over at halftime.
In that case, though, the Eagles will have already lit up the scoreboard. And the Cardinals could do some damage in garbage time.
QB Kyler Murray will be over a year removed from his ACL tear by this point.
The Jaguars were one of the breakout offenses of 2022 and could be even better in year two under HC Doug Pederson.
The Panthers are a candidate to take a significant offensive leap this season with new HC Frank Reich, rookie QB Bryce Young, a remade WR corps, and a rock-solid offensive line.
Neither of these defenses is scary.
And the weather should be just fine in Jacksonville.
The Chargers have scored 28+ points in two of three trips to Denver with QB Justin Herbert. This offense could be even better this season with new OC Kellen Moore and the addition of WR Quentin Johnston.
The key to this game blowing up will be whether QB Russell Wilson bounces back under new HC Sean Payton. There’s plenty of firepower in the Broncos’ WR corps. And RB Javonte Williams should be very close to 100% recovered from his knee injury by this point.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Deshaun Watson.
Big talents in both WR corps.
Breece Hall … well over a year removed from his torn ACL.
The only potential stumbling blocks here are a stout Jets defense and potential weather problems in Cleveland.
The Dolphins ranked 6th in total yards and 3rd in yards per play last season – the first under HC Mike McDaniel.
The Ravens look set to open up the offense this year after hiring OC Todd Monken and adding WRs Odell Beckham and Zay Flowers.
If QBs Tua Tagovailoa and Lamar Jackson are healthy for this one, it has the potential to lead all Week 17 games in points.
You could easily argue this matchup should be #1 in the rankings.
Both of these teams finished top 5 in points and top 10 in total yards last year and return most of their key pieces in 2023.
And the game will be played on the fast track of AT&T Stadium.
Let’s just hope new Cowboys OC Brian Schottenheimer doesn’t neuter this offense too badly.
These teams met four times over the previous two seasons and produced the following point totals:
Stacking this game won’t be cheap, with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins all likely gone by the end of Round 4.
Kansas City’s WRs are affordable, though. Pinpointing the correct one or two between Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore, Rashee Rice, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Richie James will be valuable.
And Joe Mixon continues to look like one of the best values in fantasy drafts now that he’s likely to remain with the Bengals this year.
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