MFL10 Strategy: Stacking For Upside

by John Proctor | Featured Writer
May 17, 2017

A QB/WR stack of Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin was one of last year’s stronger stack combinations

Any seasoned DFS veteran will tell you that “stacking” is the best way to maximize upside in essentially every sport. In baseball, you pick three to five batters from a single team in hopes that they shell the opposing pitcher for hits, home runs, runs, and RBIs. If multiple players score from multiple different hits, you maximize your total points upside.

In basketball, you can stack a point-guard with a player that takes a lot of shots in hopes of racking up the assists and the baskets between those players. In the NFL, the most popular stack is the quarterback to wide receiver stack – knowing that any touchdown that receiver scores is also a touchdown for the QB. However, the NFL has many more actionable stacks that can boost an upside for a fantasy team.

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If you are new to the DFS world, Chris Raybon of 4for4 Football wrote a guide to stacking here. You might be wondering why I’m discussing Daily Fantasy in an MFL10 article at this point. While stacking is more relevant in daily fantasy sports, it can serve as another avenue to upside on your MFL10 rosters.

We shouldn’t be reaching for players to make stacks, but it is notable that stacks often appear on the highest scoring rosters. We should think of stacking players as the ultimate tie-breaker when deciding between multiple players.

For example, if we snagged Golden Tate in the fourth round and are now looking to grab our first quarterback in the 10th round – it would make sense to pair him with Matthew Stafford. Since we invested high draft capital in Golden Tate, we are expecting him to have a strong season. If that happens, then it would only make sense that Matthew Stafford has a strong season as well. Since we are only aiming for first place, there is no reason to insulate ourselves from the volatility that is connected to pairing these players.

In another scenario, stacking can help narrow down our late WR targets. If our roster has Blake Bortles, then it would make a ton of sense to select Marqise Lee in the late rounds, over a player like Cole Beasley or J.J. Nelson. If Lee has a strong season, then he is helping our quarterback’s season as well. Always remember – we are aiming for first place in MFL10s and want to capture as much upside as physically possible.

Let’s take a look at a few of the highest scoring rosters from 2016 to see how many stacking combinations were present. Also, I want to give a big thank you to Mike Beers of Rotoviz.com for providing the top-10 scoring rosters for this article.

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2016 Top Scoring Combinations – QB/WR

Unfortunately, the top scoring roster did not have any stacks present. However, we do see one of the positively correlated stacks on seven of the top-10 scoring rosters. Five of the top-10 scoring rosters stacked a single WR with the QB.

The fourth, sixth and ninth highest scoring rosters all stacked Russell Wilson with Doug Baldwin. While Russell Wilson didn’t have a year for the ages, this stack still ended up having a strong correlation.

Doug Baldwin scored a touchdown in three of Russell’s five multi-touchdown games. He was also on the receiving end of 33 percent of Wilson’s touchdowns in 2016.

The fifth highest scoring roster had two sets of QB/WR pairings. They paired Sam Bradford with Stefon Diggs and Tom Brady with Danny Amendola. Bradford only had five multi-touchdown games last season, but Diggs’ three touchdowns in 2016 all came within those games.

The seventh highest scoring roster had one of the strongest QB/WR pairings of 2016, as this roster paired Drew Brees with Michael Thomas. Thomas averaged 91 yards per game and scored four touchdowns over his final five games. In that span, Brees threw for 1,581 yards and nine touchdowns.

2016 Top Scoring Combinations – QB/WR/WR

We also see the second highest scoring roster paired two wide receivers with his quarterback. We see here that Eugene stacked Jordy Nelson with Aaron Rodgers – one of the most potent WR/QB combos in 2016. This is an example of the wide receiver giving the drafter a reason to snag Aaron Rodgers at pick 55, rather than waiting on later quarterbacks. This strong pairing of Nelson and Rodgers that spent two of his top five picks also allowed him to only draft one additional quarterback.

Finally, by only having to use two picks on quarterbacks, Eugene was able to grab lottery picks at the end of the draft – one of those being Davante Adams to double stack with Rodgers. Eugene all but guarantees that he will be the highest scorer of the week when both Adams and Nelson have a strong game together. For perspective, this trio scored over 60 PPR fantasy points four times last season.

2016 Top Scoring Combinations – QB/RB

Then we find the third highest scoring roster that paired David Johnson with Carson Palmer. The running back to quarterback correlation is much stronger than most realize.

If a team is scoring a lot of touchdowns, a team is devouring all of those touchdowns by having both the RB and the QB. Therefore, by snagging up a QB/RB pair on a high scoring offense, your roster is guaranteed a lot of touchdowns between those two players.

2016 Top Scoring Combinations – RB/DEF

We also see that two of these rosters paired one of their RBs with their defense. As you can see from the chart in Chris’ article, the RB1 and the DEF have a .11 correlation.

This is one of the strongest correlations outside of the quarterback and his pass catchers. One team paired Jay Ajayi with the Dolphins’ defense, while the other paired Spencer Ware with the Chiefs’ defense.

In the same breath, we see that the opposing DEF has a very negative correlation to the RB1. Therefore, it would make sense to avoid the defense of a divisional opponent for a running back that we have spent high draft capital on. For example, if we have drafted Le’Veon Bell in the first round, it would make little sense to draft the Ravens’ defense.

Conclusion

The main takeaway here is that while stacking is not necessary to have a strong roster, it is a great way to enhance upside. We see that the top scoring roster of 2016 did not stack at all. However, we do see that seven of the 10 highest scoring rosters had stacks on their teams.

Much like our DFS rosters, we can see that stacking helps to elevate a team to the next level of upside. When it comes to tough decisions between a few players, we should always use the stacking correlations as a tie breaker.

We should also be searching for late round receiving targets that pair with our quarterbacks. In the end, we should just remember one thing when drafting our MFL teams.

Good luck! If you have not yet registered for an MFL10, you can find them HERE!


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John Proctor is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from John, check out his archive and follow him @JohnProctorDFS.


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