5 Best Ball Stacks to Target (2020 Fantasy Football)
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In Best Ball, stacking players is a high-risk, high-reward strategy. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, but the reverse can also be true. The most popular stack is pairing a quarterback with one of his wide receivers or tight ends. That way, you score points from both players when they connect on a pass, doubling down on the production each player gains. This becomes exceptionally valuable when the two connect for a touchdown.
Another stack to employ is the friendship strategy, which involves taking two teammates who play the same position. This strategy can limit your upside in redraft leagues, but since you don’t need to choose your starters in Best Ball, you can benefit from securing the value of a team’s single position group.
I’ve identified several stacks that could provide immense value now and lead you to victory in your Best Ball leagues (current ADP listed in parentheses).
CIN: WR Tyler Boyd (8th round) and QB Joe Burrow (13th round)
The Cincinnati Bengals enter the 2020 season with loads of hype after drafting Joe Burrow with the first overall pick. After throwing for 60 touchdowns, winning the Heisman Trophy, and leading LSU to a National Championship victory, Burrow will begin his career with high expectations. That said, many have tempered those expectations for him from a 2020 fantasy football perspective, as he’s currently going as the 19th quarterback off the board.
As far as stacking Burrow with one of his receivers, I lean to Tyler Boyd in this instance. Boyd and teammate A.J. Green currently have a similar ADP, but Green is going about a half of a round earlier, landing near the end of the seventh. You could stack Burrow with either of the two Bengals wide receivers, but there are three specific reasons why I prefer Boyd over Green.
First, there’s the issue of health. Green has played in all 16 games just twice in the last six seasons and missed all of last season to a nagging toe injury. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2018, Boyd has only missed two total games. Second, in Burrow’s final season of college, his primary slot target, Justin Jefferson, posted 111 receptions, 1,540 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns. Per Pro Football Focus, Boyd played 60 percent of his snaps from the slot last year, while Green plays the majority of his snaps out wide.
Finally, the last time that Green and Boyd shared the field, Boyd was actually the higher-scoring fantasy option. In the nine games that the two of them played together in 2018, Boyd outscored Green 14.4 fantasy points per game to 14.0 points per game, respectively. While this isn’t a significant amount, the gap could widen if Burrow’s college tendencies carry over into the NFL.
If Burrow plays up to all the hype, this Bengals stack could offer a huge benefit as later-round fliers.
SF: RB Raheem Mostert (6th Round) and RB Tevin Coleman (10th round)
While I typically advise against drafting running backs on the same team in Best Ball leagues, the San Francisco 49ers’ running backs are one of the few exceptions to that rule.
Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman will enter the season as the number one and two backs, respectively, on the San Francisco depth chart. In 2019, the highest-scoring San Francisco running back in each week finished, on average, as the RB16 and scored just over 16 fantasy points per game (half PPR). That average would have been good enough to finish as the RB8 on the season. Furthermore, either Mostert or Coleman was the highest-scoring 49ers back in 13 of 16 games during the regular season, so there’s a high probability that the backfield production comes from one of those two.
Kyle Shanahan will undoubtedly use a running back by committee approach once again in 2020, but with one of the most effective rushing attacks in the league, you could benefit significantly by having a couple of pieces from the same backfield.
NYG: WR Darius Slayton (10th round) and QB Daniel Jones (11th round)
For this stack, I have another QB-WR combination on an offense that will likely throw the ball a lot because of their poor defense and tough schedule. Joke all you want about the Giants, but you can find some fantasy football diamonds in the rough in East Rutherford, especially for Best Ball leagues.
First is Darius Slayton, who had a promising rookie season. For the last 13 weeks of 2019, when he played more than two-thirds of the Giants’ snaps, he was the WR21 in half-PPR. This includes two games with at least 29 fantasy points, which is the type of ceiling you should target in Best Ball. He’ll definitely be competing for targets with Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate still around, but his 14.2-yard average depth of target (the highest on the team) indicates that he’s their top deep threat.
On the quarterback side is Daniel Jones. As a rookie, he displayed an ability to put up monster numbers on par with some of the best in the league. Per Mike Tagliere, he had two of the top-10 single-game performances by a quarterback in 2019; the only other quarterbacks who can say that are Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson. The turnovers and fumbling are surely an issue, but you’ll have other quarterbacks to cover for you during Jones’ messy games.
Both of these players will have their fair share of duds, but each has a ceiling at the same level as the elite options at their respective positions. With Jones and Slayton entering their second year, they’ll have a chance to develop even more and could become consistent fantasy contributors.
DAL: WR Michael Gallup (8th round) and WR CeeDee Lamb (10th round)
This next stack is another implementation of the friendship strategy, as it involves two receivers from the Dallas Cowboys. Last year, Michael Gallup broke out in his second year, finishing as the WR15 in fantasy points per game. He was poised for another big year until Dallas drafted Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb with its first-round pick.
Lamb was considered one of the top prospects in a loaded wide receiver class, but now he’ll have to compete with Gallup and Amari Cooper in a talented, yet crowded group. That said, both Gallup and Lamb are going a full five to seven rounds later than Cooper, and they could provide similar value in Best Ball leagues.
Another big change that the Cowboys made this offseason was bringing in Mike McCarthy as their new head coach. Many wonder how his presence will impact an offense that ranked sixth in points per game and second in passing yards last year, but history shows that his offenses can support several wide receivers.
Can the Cowboys' offense support 3 fantasy-relevant WRs? It's certainly possible. Here is where Mike McCarthy's Packers' offenses ranked in 3+ WR sets when passing from 07-18:
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) April 27, 2020
Granted, Dak Prescott is no prime Aaron Rodgers, but he took a big leap forward last year, throwing for over 4,000 yards for the first time in his career. There’s also plenty of reason to believe the Cowboys will continue to pass the ball a ton, as McCarthy seems to think his offense will need to carry the team.
If this passing offense can maintain a high level of efficiency, there’s no reason to believe that one of Gallup or Lamb can’t succeed in any given week. Not to mention, neither of them will have to face the competitor’s top cornerback, as that attention will often go to Cooper.
PIT: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (3rd round) and QB Ben Roethlisberger (13th round)
This final stack is banking on a major bounce-back from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. As you’ll remember, Ben Roethlisberger missed all but two games last season, leaving the Steelers with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges under center. Mixed with injuries and lackluster quarterback play, JuJu Smith-Schuster finished as the WR57 in half-PPR leagues.
Heading into 2019, Smith-Schuster was seen as a late-first or early-second round draft pick. Now he’s fallen all the way to the end of the third. That’s a large drop considering it was caused by factors entirely out of his control, especially given his pedigree entering his third season. Only Randy Moss and Josh Gordon posted more receiving yards before age 23 in NFL history. The emergence of rookie Diontae Johnson last year may also be contributing to this ADP dip, but Smith-Schuster is still the number one option in that offense and should be drafted as such.
I don’t know who needs to hear this…
JuJu Smith-Schuster is NOT ?
With ATROCIOUS QB play last yr
In the Slot: 65.7% – 97.9
as Rt WR: 65% – 93.5
Vs. Man Coverage: 72% – 144.7
(Catch% – QBR)
If Ben has ANY arm left then ? pic.twitter.com/Z3ygxx2x6D
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) May 9, 2020
As far as Roethlisberger, he was a top-10 quarterback in points per game for five straight seasons prior to missing nearly all of 2019. QB17 is quite a steep discount for someone who has played as well as he has. The injury is clearly a concern, but you’ll be covered by having multiple quarterbacks in Best Ball formats, so you won’t need to worry about starting him if he gets injured.
Last year, the Steelers also took a major step back in terms of passing volume, which hurt the entire aerial attack. After averaging 39 pass attempts per game from 2016 to 2018, Pittsburgh averaged just under 32 pass attempts per game in 2019. If it can get back to throwing closer to league average, which was about 36 attempts per game last year, those extra passes should benefit both Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster. The defense is certainly among one of the best units in the league, but the Steelers face some electric offenses in the AFC North and may be forced to pass the ball to keep up with them.