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Best Ball: Stacking Guide by Draft Position (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Tom Strachan | @NFL_Tstrack | Featured Writer
May 18, 2022
Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott and his stack were underwhelming in 2021’s best-ball formats.

In 2021, stacking in best-ball hit the mainstream. Many of us who have played best ball for a while, along with DFS, have been familiar with the upside of stacking in tournament best-ball. Still, with the explosion of popularity, best ball experienced stacking caught on and became something that was possibly slightly over-used at times. The simplest way to break down stacking is to say that if you have several pieces of an offense, you’re relying on fewer things going right for your fantasy team to benefit.

Not all stacks are created equal, and it’s worth remembering that 2021’s Holy Grail of stacking, Dak Prescott + CeeDee Lamb + Amari Cooper, turned out to have a completely average win rate of 8.3% on FFPC. Andrew Erickson recently dived into the best high price and low price stacks, and it’s well worth reading alongside this article.

This article will look at the current ADP (May 10, 2022) for Underdog Best Ball Mania III and FFPC Slim drafts. The ADP from those drafts can be very instructive on which stacks are harder to obtain based on our random draft pick allocation. While it’s always best to use FantasyPros rankings when drafting, it’s also paramount to be aware of its ADP. Rankings might have a player two to three rounds ahead of their ADP, particularly at this time of year, but there is no reason to reach that far if you can take the player closer to their actual ADP. Consistent reaching will cause more damage to your team than the benefits of stacking, and rankings show you how our expert consensus values the players more than when they should be drafted in best ball tournaments.

A big reason not to reach is that stacking is so prevalent in drafts. Quite often, players become naturally aligned with teammates on draft boards. If one player is badly out of reach, wait and let another come to you later. Secondly, if I have drafted Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, teams will be less inclined to draft Tom Brady as they will be unable to stack him with his two top weapons.

I took the FFPC (TE Premium PPR) and Underdog (.5PPR) ADPs for these hypothetical drafts and fed them into a Sleeper mock draft for 12 rounds. I had two simple rules. The first round was precisely as it appeared in ADP and secondly, no letting a player fall more than three picks after their ADP and no reaching for a player more than three picks before their ADP. Now, if you’ve ever drafted, you’ll know that’s not how most drafts go, but for the purpose of this article, it gives us a clear indication of where players are being valued through the first twelve rounds.

1.01

On Underdog, the 1.01’s easiest stack is Aaron Rodgers (8.12) and either or both Aaron Jones (3.1) and AJ Dillon (7.1). None of the other pass-catchers falls nicely here, without either a reach or a result of them being left by other players to slip past their ADP. QB+RB stacks are less traditional, but there is an argument to be made that with Aaron Rodgers losing so many of his familiar targets, he might lean on players he still knows, particularly Aaron Jones.

While no other team’s quarterbacks land nicely in this range, it’s worth noting that there are other correlations that we can draft here which might cause the quarterbacks of those teams to fall past their ADPs and land with us. A.J. Brown (2.12) and DeVonta Smith (6.12) form a large part of the Eagles’ attack and are available here, as are the Steelers duo of Pat Freiermuth (11.1) and George Pickens (12.12). Later on, they form a very cheap correlation that can add either Kenny Pickett or Mitch Trubisky.

Meanwhile, on FFPC, drafters have more options, with the Colts, Raiders, and Bears all falling easily into this range. While it’s tough to envisage a team landing both Darren Waller (2.12) and Davante Adams (1.12), taking Waller and Hunter Renfrow (8.12) is a nice constellation prize. Meanwhile, being able to take Darnell Mooney (7.01) and Cole Kmet (10.12) before adding Justin Fields (11.01) gives you a very strong chance of having the best of the Bears’ passing attack. Lastly, if Matt Ryan (12.12) continues a career of being happy to take short passes to running backs, then the Jonathan Taylor (1.01) pairing may add an interesting element to a team.

1.02

Underdog drafters find themselves able to easily attack the Buccaneers’ offense, with Tom Brady (7.02), Chris Godwin (4.11), Mike Evans (2.11), and Leonard Fournette (3.02) all having ADP that falls into this pick. While doubts remain about Godwin’s availability for the season’s opening, drafters can prey upon those worries and take advantage of one of the most potent stacks in fantasy football. Fournette could face competition from rookie Rachaad White for the 84 targets he saw in 2021, but Fournette still looks to be a huge piece of this offense and has Brady’s all-important trust.

Marquise Brown (5.02) and DeAndre Hopkins (6.11) form a nice correlation currently, but with Kyler Murray going at 5.06, the only way to stack either with their quarterback will involve a reach or a slide for some of the players involved. Given the paucity of options at the 1.01, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brown and Kyler pop up in stacks there if drafters are willing to reach more than my self-imposed rules allowed.

FFPC also provides the high potential of the Buccs stack, with the added benefit of Russell Gage (11.02), whom Brady personally recruited to the team. While DJ Moore (4.11) goes at the opposite end of the draft board on Underdog, on FFPC, he falls perfectly to stack with Christian McCaffrey (1.02). While the Panthers have plenty of questions at quarterback, there’s no denying that the correlation of Moore and CMC could have huge upside weeks.

1.03

Cooper Kupp is the consensus 1.03 on both sites currently, and yet neither site sees Matt Stafford’s ADP lineup nicely with Kupp’s. Underdog’s best offering at this spot is the desirable Broncos stack of Russell Wilson (7.03) and Jerry Jeudy (5.03), who can be added to Javonte Williams (2.10). The 1.03 also allows easy stacks for the Bears and a Chief’s correlation of Skyy Moore (8.10) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (10.10), who, despite receiving a big-money contract from the Chiefs, is being drafted two rounds behind Moore.

On FFPC, Kupp can be correlated with Tyler Higbee (12.10), hoping that Stafford slides almost a full round into your lap. Dak Prescott (7.03) might be a bit out of CeeDee Lamb’s reach, but Dalton Schultz (5.03) falls perfectly, and particularly in this TE Premium format, could be a very productive stack. The Dolphins look set to be a more interesting team on offense in 2022, and a stack of Tyreek Hill (2.10), Chase Edmonds (9.03), and Tua Tagovailoa (10.10) doesn’t require any reaching at this point.

1.04

Josh Allen lands at 2.09 in Underdog drafts, and unfortunately, for the time being, that makes him very hard to stack with Stefon Diggs, who sits at one/two turn. However, Dawson Knox (8.09) and James Cook (10.09) land in this range and form a nice consolation stack. This draft slot also offers a big Titans stack with Derrick Henry (1.04), Treylon Burks (7.04), and Robert Woods (9.04) all available. Lastly, while the Falcons don’t have a quarterback being drafted inside the first twelve rounds, they do have Kyle Pitts (3.04) and Drake London (6.09) lining up perfectly here to allow managers to add Marcus Mariota later on.

Meanwhile, on FFPC, it’s very easy to write a story where having drafted a majority of Deebo Samuel (2.09), George Kittle (3.04), Elijah Mitchell (5.04), and Brandon Aiyuk (8.09) by the end of the eighth round, a manager then reaches slightly for Trey Lance in the ninth. While even the most arduous supporter of stacking will probably agree that this is an over-stack for a run-first offense, there’s no denying a high-upside case can be made for a stack using some if not all of the players here. On Underdog, Russell Wilson lined up nicely with his receivers at the 1.03; on FFPC, nothing falls naturally. Justin Jefferson (1.04) and Irv Smith (11.04) line up well, but it requires Kirk Cousins to drop almost an entire round to complete the stack. Lastly, Aaron Rodgers (9.04) can be paired with rookie Christian Watson (12.09) in a stack that could have a wide range of outcomes.

1.05

Picking at the 1.05 on Underdog currently looks to be one of the hottest spots to land, with the very desirable but expensive trio of Ja’Maar Chase (1.05), Tee Higgins (3.05), and Joe Burrow (5.05) set up well to fall to this spot. The Cleveland Browns’ top weapons of Nick Chubb (2.08), Amari Cooper (4.08), and Deshaun Watson (9.05) also fall easily to the fifth spot.

While Justin Jefferson has an ADP of 1.06 in this exercise, it would have required breaking my rules of +/-3 spots at ADP for Cousins to reach Jefferson, but it wouldn’t be uncommon for that stack to come off in actual drafts. Here though, Cousins pushes that limit to fall to the five spot and stack with Alexander Mattison (11.05) and Irv Smith (12.08). While most position spots are limited to a couple of options, the fifth pick is rounded out with a Seahawks correlation of Kenneth Walker (8.08) and Tyler Lockett (7.05).

Over on FFPC, the same Cleveland stack falls into the same range. Still, while Higgins and Chase also fall here, Joe Burrow’s ADP of 62.7 means it will require a slight fall past ADP to complete the stack. Still, as mentioned earlier, if we already roster the best parts of a passing attack, then chances are the QB will be less desirable for other drafters.

On FFPC, Kyler Murray (6.08) and Marquise Brown (6.07) have back to back ADPs currently, which makes them very hard to stack unless they fall to a turn, but Murray can still be stacked with DeAndre Hopkins (4.08), Zach Ertz (7.05) and Rondale Moore (11.05).

1.06

Kyler Murray falls to a similar area on Underdog, landing at the sixth pick, with James Conner (3.06) and Rondale Moore (10.07) also lining up well for the Cardinals stack, but again Marquise Brown is very close to Murray and will be a tricky part to add to this stack. Virtually all of the Lions’ primary weapons land perfectly at this spot; with Jared Goff available much later in drafts, it’s hard to see too many players targeting him if a manager has all/most of his primary weapons. As Andrew Erickson points out, they’re a stack that drafters should approach carefully.

The middle pick on FFPC yields a huge upside stack from the Chargers, with Austin Ekeler (1.06), Keenan Allen (3.06), and Justin Herbert (5.06) all falling perfectly to this spot. Mike Williams ADP hovers around the 11/12 picks of the fifth round, making stacking him with Herbert tricky. With AJ Brown and Devonta Smith’s ADP still settling in after the blockbuster trade, neither naturally lineup with Jalen Hurts (7.06); however, with AJ Brown going around the 3.02 and 3.03 picks, it’s easy to envisage Hurts ADP getting slightly higher and falling in line with that. Particularly if we keep hearing about their friendship off the field. (Insert picture)

1.07

On Underdog, the Chargers stack falls slightly further to the seventh pick but has the added benefit of Mike Williams (5.07) being available here, not forgetting Isaiah Spiller (12.06) late on. Drafters can also find their way to a small Rams stack of Matthew Stafford (8.06) and Allen Robinson (6.06) without having to reach.

Meanwhile, on FFPC, with their tight end premium format, Travis Kelce lands at the 1.07 and provides the start of a potential Chiefs mega-stack. With Tyreek Hill having moved to Miami, the Chiefs are the most stackable they’ve been in years. When Hill had a first-round price tag and Kelce, it became almost impossible to grab both, but once a drafter has Kelce and Patrick Mahomes (4.06), it becomes very easy to add more parts of the passing game.

1.08

Speaking of Tyreek Hill, on Underdog, Hill’s ADP lines up very nicely with Jaylen Waddle (3.08) to set up an expensive start to a stack that some doubt will pay off, but if it did return value could be less rostered than other more common stacks. Christian Kirk (9.08) is certainly being paid like the Jaguars WR1, and being able to add him and Trevor Lawrence (12.05) from the late ninth round onwards is a cheap and interesting stack to consider with a new, and most likely improved, coaching staff in Jacksonville. Several Jets players line up well in this range, and while Zach Wilson‘s ADP of 149.5 is outside of the first twelve rounds, it’s worth noting that he should fall nicely around the rest of the Jets players.

On FFPC, the Bills stack of Josh Allen (3.08) and Stefon Diggs (2.05) is far easier than on Underdog, with Diggs available in the second round and Allen in the third, as well as Dawson Knox (7.08) later on. Tennessee also sets up well, with all their significant pieces falling in this range.

1.09

The Dallas Cowboys’ top stacking options fall perfectly on Underdog, with Dak Prescott (7.09) and CeeDee Lamb (2.04) having an opportunity to bounce back after underwhelming drafters slightly in 2021, along with being able to easily add Michael Gallup (9.09) in the ninth round.

FFPC drafters have fewer obvious choices for stacks at the ninth slot, with quarterbacks Joe Burrow (6.04) and Trey Lance (9.09) landing here mainly out of reach from their pass-catchers, aside from Tyler Boyd (11.09), who gives Burrow at least some stacking options. There is, however, a strong contingent of Steelers players all hovering around this mark, and with both Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett available in the later rounds, they are an easy stack to set up.

1.10

Focused passing games are often a desirable target for stacking. While the Ravens stack comes at a high cost on Underdog, it’s straightforward at the tenth position to draft Lamar Jackson (4.03) with both Mark Andrews (2.03) and Rashod Bateman (6.03).

The same stack is available at this turn on FFPC, but drafters allow Lamar Jackson to fall a further round into the fifth. The Detroit Lions also set up nicely here with D’Andre Swift (2.03), TJ Hockenson (4.03), and Jameson Williams (12.03), allowing drafters to set up a Jared Goff stack for later on. Pairing a Ravens stack with a Lions one ticks a lot of boxes for how pretty your team will look when the draft finishes, and the power of the Ravens offense should carry your team in the weeks when the Lions falter.

1.11

Drafters on Underdog start to feel the squeeze for stacking options as we approach the backend of picks, but the Raiders provide all their top weapons in this range; with people expecting the AFC West to provide plenty of shootouts, this is an appealing stack to roster. While Trey Lance’s ADP falls well outside of the parameters for this article, it’s worth noting both Deebo Samuel (2.02) and Brandon Aiyuk (7.11) lineup well here, and if you’re skeptical of Lance’s chances of playing all 17 games, then gambling on a correlation of these two might pay off if Jimmy Garoppolo somehow makes it back into the team.

FFPC drafts see Matthew Stafford (7.11) line up well with Allen Robinson (6.02) again, but like on Underdog, they are still a decent stretch away from naturally lining up with Cooper Kupp (1.03). Drafters also have opportunities here to add a Vikings stack with Dalvin Cook (1.11), Adam Thielen (8.02), and Kirk Cousins (9.11), even if, similar to the Rams stack, they miss out on the WR1, Justin Jefferson.

1.12

Unless the Raiders stack falls past the 1.11 on Underdog, it’s hard to find too many options here. Stefon Diggs (1.12) and Gabriel Davis (5.12) both align here, but with Josh Allen often going in the middle of the second round, drafters are faced with either a big reach or a long fall to complete the stack. Reaching so heavily at this point of the draft can cause more harm than good for your team. The Chiefs provide a similarly expensive stack but without the need to reach, with Travis Kelce (2.01) and Patrick Mahomes (3.12) both falling into this slot, and JuJu Smith-Schuster (6.01) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (7.12) also aligning here later on. Both Pittsburgh and New England have correlations here should drafters wish to set up another stack for later on.

FFPC paints a slightly less interesting picture at the turn with no obvious stacks and a couple of minor correlations.

Conclusions

While the purpose of this article was to highlight stacks that may fall naturally to each spot, it’s worth reiterating that every draft is different, and not everything will fall into place like this. With that said, we can start to understand likely stacks that will fall into position for us. If you’re drafting at the 1.02, your chances of leaving the draft with the Ravens stack looks very slim without reaching massively. Likewise, if you’re picking at the backend of the draft, it’s tough to imagine a Buccanneers stack finding its way to yourself. Being aware of the differences in platforms can also help us when drafting on different sites. You might find yourself taking a lot of the Raiders on Underdog when drafting at the 11/12 turn, but on FFPC, you’ll need to be on the other end to do the same.

The more information we can prepare ourselves with before a draft, the more comfortable we can be when things don’t go to plan. If you are picking at the 1.05 on FFPC and somebody ruins your Bengals stack where you already drafted Chase and Higgins, simply pivot to the idea that both the Cardinals and Browns stacks are still potentially open to you while having an excellent Bengals correlation. Stacks help win tournament best ball championships, but not when we chase them at the cost of other best ball principles.

CTAs


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