STACKING'S PLACE IN REDRAFT AND BEST BALL
(This article was written ahead of the 2021 season, in the coming weeks I'll have an updated version).
One of many things to change in 2020 was fantasy managers attitude to stacking. Stacking as a concept has been a core part of DFS for several years. Aligning your lineup to the team you believe can be explosive makes sense on such a rudimentary level it was only a matter of time before it became more widespread.
Simply put, if a WR is going to be successful, there's a very good chance the QB will be as well. If the QB is having a successful day it’s rare that all that production is being funneled to one receiver, more often the team benefits as a whole. It can be tough to stack a WR1 and a WR2 with their QB, for instance Chris Godwin and Mike Evans both have an ADP in the middle of the fourth round currently. The likelihood of being able to secure both is difficult without reaching for a round early. However, there are lots of other positive ways we can stack. A traditional stack will favour QB and WR, but in Best Ball you want at least three players part of your stack when possible. The easiest avenue to this can be with WR2, WR3, WR4 or TE’s. A good example of this would be looking back at last year's draft where players such as Russell Gage or Cole Beasley would be available in the later rounds. We all expected Calvin Ridley and Stefon Diggs to have good seasons and they were popular stack candidates with their quarterbacks who could be had at reasonable ADP’s, but where your stacks became explosive was adding these additional pieces later in the drafts. Beasley was drafted as the WR69 and Gage as the WR93 according to Fantasypros ADP. To draft Beasley you were likely choosing between players like him or Dede Westbrook, or the suspended Antonio Brown. With hindsight, obviously Beasley was the better pick, but by increasing your team exposure to more than one pass catcher you’ve raised the ceiling for your stack as a whole. When drafting in the mid to late teens onwards, I’ll always favour a player who will compliment my stacks.
For many players that’s where stacking ends, but really it’s where stacking should begin. We’ve established that aligning ourselves to an offence can prove useful to our team, so why stop at one? In all Best Ball drafts you’ll need two or more quarterbacks and in redraft or dynasty you will definitely need more than one if you’re playing in a superflex league. Correlating these second quarterback’s where possible gives us an even better chance of a high ceiling. Our secondary stacks don’t need to be as extensive or as expensive, but that alignment creates more opportunity than without it.
As we turn towards the 2021 season stacking looks set to evolve as a concept further still. There are certain teams where stacking the players can seem appealing and yet the quarterback doesn’t often outscore expectations. Typically these quarterbacks are those with a limited rushing floor. The Vikings featured explosive offensive talents such as Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen and yet Kirk Cousins only scored 24 points or more on three occasions in 2020. Teddy Bridgewater ran an offence that featured three top 25 wide receivers and yet he only managed two games above 21 points. These quarterbacks are low cost stacking options, but we shouldn’t be worried about reaching for the quarterback to seal a stack. Having multiple pieces of an offence at any position can increase our rosters ceiling whilst also increasing the likelihood of your fantasy team picking up the points scored by that team in any given week. In rosters of 20 or more, I’m aiming for three stacks. Two hopefully with the quarterback and if I can’t complete a third with a quarterback, I’ll be content to just have other pieces from that offence. This also includes running backs. Whilst they can often be excluded from traditional stacks, if I’m betting on a team's offence, I’m happy to take whatever pieces I can.
There’s a fine line between stacking to improve your ceiling versus overreaching in drafts to make sure you have a stack. We also need to consider the sacrifices we’ll make in each round, to obtain the stack. If you’re drafting Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill in round one it makes sense to consider Patrick Mahomes in round two. In my opinion Mahomes is currently too costly to take without one of these pieces, but locking in that early stack is a nice move. As we move further down you start to wonder how soon to reach on a quarterback. If you’re the Davante Adams owner are you considering reaching a round early for Aaron Rodgers in the 4th round to secure the stack? For me I’m sticking with players like Mike Evans and Terry McLaurin and waiting to see if Rodgers makes his way back. Taking Rodgers would have given you a nice stack, but by taking McLaurin or Evans you give yourself a chance at both the Green Bay stack if Rodgers is still there in the fifth round, and a chance at a Tampa or Washington stack by looking to draft their quarterbacks later on at a nicer price. Staying cognizant of what we’re giving up to acquire a stack will keep you from making poor choices.
Considering the impact of your selections on potential stacks can be tricky mid-draft, that’s why I’ve created custom sheets that show you clearly team by team where players are available based on their ADP. These sheets are updated every two weeks to reflect changes in teams and ADP. They’re available to view and download here.