2018 NFL Draft Guide: Leave the Stacking to DFS Contests
Everyone loves the double-points they get when their QB throws to their WR for a touchdown, but Dom Murtha explains why stacking in seasonal fantasy football could be a negative for your team.
Imagine you are in Las Vegas. You’re enjoying a few cocktails, with a bit of extra money in your pocket, after having won a parlay on some NFL action earlier that afternoon. You decide to sit down at the blackjack table. You trade wins and losses with the dealer early on – as is typical in blackjack – until the next hand when you show a four of hearts and a seven of spades, totaling you a hand of 11 on the deal. You’re doubling down on that one, right?
Consider “stacking” in DFS the same as doubling down in blackjack. You strike when the deck (or team) is hot and only when the odds are in your favor.
As most know, blackjack is one of the more formulaic casino games, offering a straightforward set of guidelines on when to perform which action. In simplistic terms, doubling down is mainly reserved when showing a combination of 10 or 11 within your own hand, or put even more plainly, only when the odds are greatly in your favor over the dealer. This type of thought process is to be carried over when stacking in DFS contests, as it is a strategy to be utilized based off of what specific numbers tell you about a given situation during each individual week of the season. Pertaining to this article, think of stacking during season-long formats as doubling down on every hand of blackjack. Or in other terms: Irrational, reckless, and pure nonsense.
By now, you’ve probably become pretty familiar with the wide world of daily fantasy sports and the various strategies that accompany it. Most popular of the strategies over the recent years is the idea of “stacking,” which entails loading up on a particular team (i.e. any combination of a quarterback/wide receiver/tight end/running back, all from the same team) when building your weekly roster. The key phrase here is “weekly,” as stacking – at its core philosophy – is ultimately driven by implied Vegas odds and a correlating favorable matchup. This strategy over the years has become a very successful one, so much so to the point that in many cases it is impossible to win a MLB, NBA, or NFL GPP without applying it. With all of this being said however, things are beginning to get out of hand, as now people are starting to ill-advisedly utilize “stacking” in their season-long leagues.
Don’t they understand that in order to succeed in stacking at a DFS level, you need to pick the right team each week? One week it could be Brady to Gronk, the next Cam to McCaffrey, Manning to Beckham, Ben to Antonio, and so on.
To reiterate, the main reason for giving “stacking” exclusivity in the DFS realm is because of its weekly nature. Exploiting a particularly favorable matchup is crucial to finding a quality stack in a given week. While those looking to stack in season-long formats would argue that it is a responsible strategy when utilizing elite and consistent skill-position combinations, there is one fatal flaw in that theory – injuries.
The beauty of DFS is that you get to flush and replenish your roster each week. In this type of format, the threat of an injury is non-existent, as there are likewise no long-term ramifications. Contrarily, in a season-long format, drafting a stack of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson last season for example, could have cost you an entire years’ worth of fantasy anticipation, as Nelson was never the same guy once Rodgers went down. In that scenario, you not only lose a star quarterback, but the production from a could-have-been WR1. The cost here is more than your season-long roster can bear, while on the other hand, this type of injury has no DFS consequences outside of that single week.
When only a weeks’ worth of fantasy football is on the line, it is okay to treat a particularly exposed mismatch like a double down opportunity in blackjack, as the odds in that scenario are likely in your favor, but in a season-long format drafting a stack is putting too many eggs in one basket.
When you have four months of football ahead of you with the goal of compiling long-term success, it is important to cast your net wide in hopes of increasing your exposure to fantasy positives. Pigeon holing yourself to only one team’s skill position combination instead puts you just one serious injury away from ending your fantasy season prematurely.
With the looming threat of catastrophic injuries and the unreliable variation of week-to-week odds, utilizing a stacking strategy in your season-long drafts can be deemed nothing else but irresponsible. Instead, heed these words of advice:
Diversify your portfolio, shuffle the deck; keep the stacking out of your season-long leagues and save it for DFS.