The Best Ways To Build Fantasy Football Stacks In Best Ball Leagues
It is definitely the case that the best way to win the DRAFT 3.5 Million Dollar Best Ball Championship is through finding the best fantasy football stacks. Stacking is the best way to increase the upside of any lineup in almost any fantasy sport but especially in football. Having the scores in your lineup correlated to one another is the easiest way to raise the ceiling of any fantasy football lineup. Seasonal, best ball, daily fantasy, this holds true for all of them.
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Knowing that establish correlations is important to find absolute ceilings, the sharpest players in the massive prize pool Best Ball fantasy football championships make it a point to create as many stacks as possible. Over the course of the last few months, I have drafted over 150 best ball fantasy football teams. These have ranged from small buy-in cash games to high stakes competitive formats like the FFPC. The right way to think about fantasy football stacks in best ball leagues is through the lens of cost and ease of drafting based on your draft slot. The analysis that follows on fantasy football stacks will include the cost of the stack as well as the draft slot that they are most optimal from.
Best Ball Fantasy Football Stacks
Cam Newton/Christian McCaffrey/D.J Moore/Curtis Samuel/Greg Olsen
Draft Slot: Top Three
The research behind stacking indicates that unlike what you would expect, QB and RB are positively correlated. It is possible for running backs, quarterbacks and primary pass catchers to all have ceiling games all at the same time. In particular, the combination of McCaffrey/Newton/Moore works well out of the third slot. CMC is the first-round pick, Moore is the fifth-round pick and then Newton will likely be your ninth-round selection to ensure that you get him. Last season in the games where Cam Newton had 10 or more rushing attempts, CMC had RB1 weeks in two of four. I am not really a fan of descriptive metrics such as “when X occurred, Y also occurred at this rate” in football because the samples are usually ultra-small and noisy but I did find it comforting to know that the two were at least not negatively correlated. D.J Moore is THE breakout fantasy football player in 2019, Curtis Samuel is getting rave reviews from everyone at Panthers camp and Greg Olsen seems to be full strength. Moore/Newton/Olsen is one of my favorite stacks in all of best ball because it fulfills three criteria: a breakout wide receiver who is undervalued, a quarterback who adds ceiling with rushing and a tight end that should have a weekly floor. Finding all of those elements in a single positively correlated group is not easy and the Panthers allow for it.
Kyler Murray/David Johnson/Christian Kirk/Larry Fitzgerald/Ricky Seals-Jones
Draft Slot: Top Five
Let me be the 9,000th person to tell you to stack the Arizona Cardinals in the large field Best Ball tournaments. Despite the consistent hype and buzz around the Kliff Kingsbury offense, the price tags for these players have not reached undraftable levels. They are all going two rounds ahead of where they were going in May when we launched the ULTIMATE Guide To Winning Draft Best Ball Leagues, so the fantasy football stacks are a little tougher to create now. The upside with the Cardinals offense is pretty simple. Last season, the Cardinals were the worst NFL offense in terms of points scored, yards per play and second-worst in plays run. Kliff Kingsbury’s Texas Tech teams finished in the top 10 in the NCAA in total plays run in all of his seasons as a head coach and the team is practicing almost exclusively out of the shotgun. Murray was a 1,000-yard rusher in college and might be the fastest QB the NFL has ever seen. Christian Kirk is being projected conservatively by our model but has the highest upside of any Cardinals pass-catcher while Fitzgerald is still a draft value due to the short but steady volume we expect him to see. Ricky Seals-Jones fits the Air Raid mold of a tight end better than Maxx Williams or Charles Clay though practice reports have not been glowing. Overall, this stack is more of a leap of faith than the others. There are certainly reasons to believe the Cardinals will play faster than any other team, score extra points and be fantasy goldmines but drafting on median outcomes will not lead you to this team very often.
Lamar Jackson/Justice Hill/Mark Andrews/Marquise Brown
Draft Slot: Any
Rushing quarterbacks break fantasy football. This much we know to be true. The research has existed for years but with passing become ever more prevalent and more quarterbacks scoring similar numbers of fantasy points (15 quarterbacks scored between 17 and 20 fantasy points per game in 2018), points made up on the ground are even more important. Lamar Jackson perhaps offers the best rushing upside of any quarterback this season. He already broke the record for most rushing attempts by a quarterback and his own coach said to “bet the over” on 139 carries for him in 2019. Justice Hill is a potential fantasy football league-winning player and Mark Andrews has been catching eyes at training camp and OTA’s. Our projections are not as high on Andrews because we have a low passing attempt rate for Baltimore (lowest in the league) but the fact that he fulfills the TE spot and could lead Baltimore in targets at his 90th percentile outcome makes him viable at his escalating ADP. Marquise Brown is a really interesting case. I never draft him unless I have already drafted Lamar Jackson because his volume projection is substandard. However, if he is used in a way similar to how he was at Oklahoma and is fully healthy from his Lisfranc injury, he should offer spiked week potential as a low volume, high aDOT pass catcher. Brown just recently started practicing and Miles Boykin is actually the wide receiver who has drawn the most praise this early in camp but generally speaking, the first WR taken in the NFL Draft is going to have the most on-field opportunity. This stack can be completed all in the double-digit rounds of a draft in the 3.5 Million Dollar championship and is my highest owned stack thus far.
Dak Prescott/Amari Cooper/Michael Gallup/Jason Witten
Draft Slot: Any (Top Three to add Ezekiel Elliot)
I consider this to be the Cadilac version of the Ravens stack. Adding in Ezekiel Elliot (or my favorite Zero RB target, Tony Pollard) to the mix can you give a full team onslaught that works from the first three draft slots. Dak Prescott has scored exactly six rushing touchdowns in each of his professional seasons and has finished as a top 12 quarterback in each of those three seasons. The Kellen Moore-designed offense that Dallas is running after dismissing Scott Linehan is drawing rave reviews from Prescott and onlookers at camp alike. A personnel grouping this talented should have a higher ceiling than their median projections (and ADP’s) indicate. Cooper is not an extreme value via our projections but with 76 targets in 9 games and averaging 9.5 yards per target, I consider Cooper a potential league-winning player in the third round. The players he is being drafted amongst (Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods) do not have the same extreme ceiling because they are unlikely to be a true WR1 with over 28% of their team’s team total targets but that is in Cooper’s range of outcomes. Michael Gallup is an almost-forgotten about second-year potential breakout player who made his way to the starting lineup as a rookie and was an extremely productive college player at Colorado State. Finally, Jason Witten is obviously only draftable in drafts where you have Dak and one strong tight end. Reports have varied about his playing time but the team overall expects him to contribute this season.
Jared Goff/Brandin Cooks/Robert Woods/Cooper Kupp/Gerald Everett
Draft Slot: Five to Twelve
Goff, in and of himself, does not make anyone super excited as a fantasy quarterback. However, with Sean McVay’s play-calling (the most play-action friendly team in football) and the plethora of weapons that Los Angeles Rams have available, he is the perfect stack capper. In fact, if Todd Gurley is in fact not able to play his usual complement of snaps in 2019, Goff and the Rams stack might be even better. Gurley scored 21 of the teams 55 touchdowns last season with 17 of those coming on the ground. If the Rams are in fact as dominant on offense in 2019 as they were in 2018 but transition away from Gurley at the goalline, the TD potential for this stack goes through the roof. Cooks and Woods have almost identical ADP’s and are generally taken in the late third/early fourth rounds of DRAFT best ball leagues. Our projections slightly prefer Cooks and I personally think that Cooks has a ceiling that Kupp and Woods don’t possess due to his world-class long speed and a higher average depth of target. Everett is not really a primary target and much like Witten, would only ever draft him in the 18th round in conjunction with his starting QB.
Jameis Winston/Mike Evans/Chris Godwin/O.J Howard
Draft Slot: Any (One-Five Preferred)
This stack is easiest to pull off with Mike Evans when you have an early first and then late second-round pick though the opposite becomes true when you complete it with Chris Godwin instead. This is the piece de resistance of fantasy football stacking in best ball leagues. Our projections are bullish on Jameis Winston, expecting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to have a high passing rate and an extremely high average depth of target. Mike Evans has had five straight seasons of 1,000+ yards and 40 touchdowns in five seasons. Chris Godwin is getting a mega boost in volume due to the departure of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries. We are also expecting O.J Howard to fill in those vacated targets as Scotty Miller/Breshad Perriman/Justin Watson are unlikely to occupy high volume roles in this offense. The lack of strength at running back also contributes to the validity of this as a million dollar-winning stack. In terms of just using our projections to build stacks, the Buccaneers full onslaught has the most basis in sheer value at each individual ADP.