5 High-Priced Pairs to Stack in Daily Fantasy Basketball

What expensive duos are worth rostering, and under what circumstances should you do so?

Stacking is a very popular concept within daily fantasy sports. 

If you're new to DFS or haven't become too familiar with the term yet, stacking is rostering at least two or more players from the same team or in the same game. The strategy of stacking is huge in daily fantasy football, and it's gigantic in daily fantasy baseball. It's most commonly utilized in stacking hitters in daily fantasy baseball tournaments in order to take advantage of a particularly weak pitcher because hits, runs, and RBI are linked production.

It might not be used as much in daily fantasy basketball. Nonetheless it's a strategy to entertain. Just like any other sport, basketball has weak defensive teams -- ones that flat out hate playing defense or ones that just focus on getting up and down the floor and scoring.

A stack is more commonly used to refer to three or more players from the same team or several from the same game, but (at least in my eyes) a stack is at least two players from the same team. 

Therefore, an NBA stack could consist of any two teammates, but for the purposes of this article we're concerned with duos that first come to mind for NBA DFS players and fans alike -- Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

These two sets of teammates are great together in real life -- there's no denying that. But are they among the pairs you should commonly look to roster? If not, who is and when should you run them out in the same lineups?

Let's explore.

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

There have been just five instances this season in which both Westbrook and Durant have hit five times their FanDuel value in the same contest. That means that they scored five points per every $1,000 in salary (e.g. 50 FanDuel points at a salary of $10,000).

Opponent Outcome
at NYK W, 128-122 (OT)
at DEN W, 110-104
at LAC W, 100-99
at ORL W, 139-136 (2OT)
vs CHI L, 96-105

While each of those contests saw a total of at least 199 points, four of them resulted in Oklahoma City wins on the road.

The most important thing to note here though is that none of these games ended more than 11 points apart. So, what we can take away from this is that for the two Thunder stars to hit value in the same game, it more than likely needs to be a very close contest and one in which oodles of points are scored. In fact, two of these games needed at least one overtime for the Westbrook/Durant combination to make good on their respective salaries.

The two may make a great dynamic duo on the court, but for your roster's purposes, they aren't very likely to pay off on the same night. If and when they do, though, you could be in for a big night.

John Wall and Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards

Much like the pairing of Westbrook and Durant, Wall and Gortat tend to flourish in the highly-contested, high-scoring contests. However, unlike the Thunder buddies, the Wizards' deadly pick and roll combination has done their damage in close losses rather than close wins.

Opponent Outcome
at CLE W, 97-85
vs LAL L, 104-108
vs HOU L, 103-109
vs DAL L, 104-116
vs BOS L, 117-119

Four of the five contests in which both Wall and Gortat have reached value have been Wizard losses -- and at home, nonetheless. Outside of the complete outlier win in Cleveland near the start of the season, the Washington defense has been awful, causing them to score as many points as possible to stay in the game.

Other than that, another trend we see here pertains to Pace. All four of the home losses were to teams with an average Pace of 96.5 possessions per game. The Wizards' point guard and big man have benefited greatly from those extra possessions as I'm sure they'll continue to do going forward this season.

Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls

There are really two trends that the success of  Butler and Gasol boil down to -- two that I've already touched on between the previous couple of teammates. Those are high-scoring, competitive games and overtime bouts.

Opp. Outcome
vs CHA W, 102-97
vs MIL W, 117-106
at TOR W, 115-113
at LAL W, 114-91
at DET L, 94-98 (OT)
vs DET L, 144-147 (4OT)

In the four wins in which the guard/forward combo each pulled through for those who rostered them, the average Chicago total is 112 points. At the same time, their opponents have scored an average of 101.75 points per contest, making for an average margin of just 10.25 points. Over these four games, the Bulls played some really good offense but failed to put them away early.

In their two games against the Pistons, there were an estimate 105.7 and 130.6 possessions in 53 and 68 minutes of game time, respectively. With the amount of playing time the two offensive catalysts saw in those two games -- roughly 178 minutes across the two games -- it's no wonder they hit and exceeded value. 

So, when it comes to Butler and Gasol, it's not so much the type of game or opponent but if there were enough points and possessions to be had. 

Paul Millsap and Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks' starting frontcourt combination of  Millsap and Horford is one of just two pairs of teammates with seven games in which both have hit our ideal 5X value. What's crazy about it is that, as you can see, all seven occurrences have come in Hawk wins. What else sticks out?

Opp. Outcome
vs CHI W, 120-105
at HOU W, 121-115
vs NYK W, 117-98
at DAL W, 98-95
vs OKC W, 106-100
vs NO W, 106-98
at NYK W, 112-101

Clearly, there isn't much of a disparity in terms of home or away as there have been four such games at home and three away. What these instances do have in common is that all save one has seen the Atlanta Hawks put up at least 106 points. What's so surprising is that none of these games have gone to overtime, and there is not a concrete pace factor here, as the team pace of these six opposing teams ranges from 93.4 to 97.1 possessions per game.

An additional trend not seen in the chart above is that four of these six teams rank in the bottom half of the league in total rebounds against and in Defensive Rebound Percentage. Millsap and Horford get a lot of their fantasy value from their ability to rebound the basketball and go for a double-double on any given night, so it's only logical that they have such big games against weak rebounding squads.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

Like the Hawks' frontcourt duo, the Raptors' backcourt tag team of  Lowry and DeRozan have had seven games in which they've both managed to hit value in the same game. Unlike the Hawks the Raptors have gone 4-3 in these games, going 3-2 at home and 1-1 on the road. So, if you're wondering whether or not they'd be better to stack in friendly or hostile confines this doesn't really give an edge either way.

Opp. Outcome
vs BRK W, 112-100
vs NO W, 100-81
vs NYK W, 111-109
at BOS W, 113-103
vs CHI L, 113-115
vs DEN L, 105-106
at GS L, 110-115

One thing that is constant is that the Raptors have scored at least 100 points in each and every one of these games. Their opponents have also scored at least 103 points in all but one. When there are points to go around, it hasn't been hard for Lowry and DeRozan to find them -- and for good reason.

On the season, the point guard/shooting guard combination have combined to use 55.3% of their team's plays while on the court. They do a lot of Toronto's scoring, and when they play upper echelon teams like Golden State, Chicago and Boston, you can see that it's absolutely necessary for them to have a big game if they want to win or even stay in a game.