An Introduction to Stacking in Daily Fantasy Football
If I had to guesstimate, those of you who are aware of Soulja Boy know him because of his song "Crank Dat" from 2007. This is the tune in which he named a dance move after himself. Confidence has never been an issue with him.
Anyway, Soulja Boy managed to actually have a career after this once-in-a-generation gem. He went on to produce thriller hits such as "Pretty Boy Swag," "Donk," and "Yahhh!"
Song titles aren't a strength.
Undoubtedly, though, Soulja Boy's biggest contributions are in the world of daily fantasy sports. After Y.C. released his hit, "Racks," Soulja Boy wanted to put his own spin on the track. Because he was the founder of "Stacks on Deck Entertainment," his remix was called "Stacks on Stacks on Stacks."
Sure, you could take that to be as a reference to stacks of money. To me, that seems to cut Soulja Boy's obvious intrepidness short. Nay. This revolutionary thinker released his hit less than two years after the start of daily fantasy sports, so I believe it to be the beginning of a now-popular strategy called stacking.
Soulja Boy: trailblazer.
If you've played other forms of daily fantasy sports, you're likely familiar with stacking. However, let's go through what it exactly is with regards to NFL DFS before going through some of the stacks you can utilize when filling out your lineups.
What is Stacking?
The easiest way to explain stacking is that it's double-dipping on points. This isn't entirely complete as it expands beyond that, but allow me to explain this first.
When a quarterback throws a touchdown pass, he gets the point for tossing the touchdown. At the same time, the person who caught the ball is going to get points for the yardage and the reception touchdown. Based on FanDuel scoring, one touchdown pass from a quarterback to another player results in 10 total points.
When you have both the quarterback and the person who caught the pass on your team, you're getting all 10 of those smackers. You're double-dipping. Therefore, it is only logical that you would want to pair a quarterback with one of the pass catchers on his team in order to fully take advantage of when this happens. If one player has a big game, the other is more likely to follow suit.
In reality, stacking is more about correlations between various positions. Obviously, a quarterback's output is likely to have a high correlation with his top pass catchers. But the correlations don't stop there. Let's go through some basic stacks you can use in order to fully maximize your team's upside.
The easiest place to start is with quarterbacks and their top wide receiver. It should be pretty obvious that when most of the quarterback's throws are going to one player, that stack will have a high correlation. I don't feel a huge need to expand on this as it feels pretty basic.
Sometimes, though, a team will be facing an opponent with one top-notch cornerback. When this is the case, you may just want to avoid that matchup as a whole. However, there will be occasions in which that top corner is the lone duck in an otherwise exploitable situation. Then, you might want to pivot to the team's No. 2 receiver.
There are a couple of advantages to rolling with the team's second option at receiver. First, they'll likely be cheaper than the alternative wideout. Second, unless it's well known that you need to avoid the opponent's corner, the ownership will generally also be lower. The salary gives you extra flexibility, and the ownership gives you additional upside. This one makes a lot of sense.
My personal favorite stack involving a quarterback is with his tight end. Because they are such big presences on the goal line, if the tight end is involved in the offense and facing a bad defense, the odds of getting that 10-point bump are solid. If you can get two of them? Yum.
The other bump from a tight end is -- again -- salary relief. You're still getting a good amount of upside if you believe in the matchup, but the cost of a tight end is just generally less than that of a wide receiver. This is what puts this on the board as my favorite stack when the situation is right.
The final real stack you can use with a quarterback is a pass-catching running back. This one is super risky, but it can certainly still pay dividends. Unless the running back is also involved in the ground game, I am hesitant to use this one. In order for a pass-game-dependent running back to be in the game, the team usually has to trail. Often times, teams are trailing because of the play of their quarterback. I tend to favor efficiency over volume with my signal-callers, so this is why it makes me nervous. But if you can snag a long passing touchdown to that back, it makes sense why you'd target it.
Now, the heading is termed "high-correlation" for a reason. Stacks are not just limited to involving a quarterback, and you're not always double-dipping. Sometimes, there are two positions that just tend to go hand-in-hand. There is no better example than a running back and his team's defense.
When you think about it, this pairing makes sense. I prefer to target running backs on teams that are favored to win their contest. That's also what I look for in a defense. The team is likely to turn to their running back once they have a lead, giving him additional opportunities to rack up points. The opposing offense will be forced to pass, lending the defense chances to get sacks and interceptions. While a running back gaining points doesn't directly result in points for the defense, the relationship for the two is obvious.
Another stack that I enjoy on sites like FanDuel that include a kicker is pairing that kicker with his defense. Teams are more likely to settle for a field goal in a game in which they're favored. Therefore, we'll see similar correlations between kicker scoring and defense scoring in an individual game.
Although both correlate with a defense, I'm not big on stacking a running back with a kicker. I don't think it's a terrible idea, but it does cap your upside a bit in a tourney. A kicker's highest-upside play is a field goal. A running back's highest-upside play is a touchdown. These two events cannot happen at the same time. Therefore, you're not often going to get a huge, tournament-winning game out of both your running back and your kicker if they're on the same team. I don't hate it, but it's not something I'm in favor of.
As you can see with all of this, you have a lot of options when it comes to stacking. You can easily fit two stacks into one tourney lineup, pairing a quarterback with a pass catcher and a running back or kicker with a defense. Doing so allows you to fully take advantage of a big game, maximizing your upside when you can correctly ping these situations. Soulja Boy would be proud.