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Stacking in DRAFT Best Ball Leagues

Stacking in DRAFT Best Ball Leagues
Anthony Amico May 6, 2019 8:38AM EDT

Should you look to stack in DRAFT Best Ball leagues?

DRAFT Best ball is my favorite way to play fantasy football, and I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the classic lineup-setting formats. One of my favorite elements of best ball is the strategy, much of which has not been discussed or debated nearly as much as its classic counterpart. One strategy I have not seen discussed too often is the value in stacking.

Stacking is a term we more commonly use when referring to daily fantasy lineups. In the context of football, it means playing a QB with at least one pass-catcher from the same team. But is this a viable best ball strategy? Would it be advantageous to draft weapons on the same team as your QBs? That is what I sought to find out.

The Process

Fortunately, we have great best ball tools here at RotoExperts. The historical data tool allows me to enter multiple players at once to see how often those combinations were on best ball teams that won or placed on DRAFT. I took a look at the following stacks based on season-end point totals:

QB/WR1
QB/WR2
QB/TE
QB/RB
QB/WR1/WR2
QB/WR1/TE
QB/WR1/RB
QB/WR2/TE
QB/WR2/RB
QB/RB/TE

There were some situations where players in a given stack were not drafted, or not drafted frequently enough, to be included. I also completely left out the San Francisco 49ers since Jimmy Garoppolo played in just three games. Win and place rates for each team were averaged together to achieve the results.

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The Results

Here are the results of the study:

StackWinPlace
Control (QB)8.61%34.02%
QB/WR1/RB13.76%46.70%
QB/TE/RB12.40%41.74%
QB/WR1/TE11.98%40.36%
QB/RB11.81%41.53%
QB/WR2/RB11.49%40.22%
QB/WR1/WR211.00%40.43%
QB/WR110.16%38.64%
QB/WR2/TE9.83%36.69%
QB/TE9.05%35.07%
QB/WR28.76%34.54%

You’ll note that I took the win and place percentages for only the QBs as the control. Overall, best ball teams win 8.3% of the time, and place 33.3% of the time.

It is easy to see that stacking overall makes a positive impact on team results. Of course, this comes with the caveat that you can “pick the right players” as it were, but pairing your QB(s) with his most productive pass-catchers makes your teams much more dangerous. A 13.8% win rate may not seem like a tremendous improvement, but it’s 60% better than the control, wildly significant.

The Theory

Okay, so the data tells us that stacking is likely good, but doesn’t explain to us why. That leaves us to make a bit of inference. My theory actually brings this full circle, back to DFS and how we approach best ball.

Most people attack DRAFT best ball assuming that the goal is the same as in a classic league: to score the most points. But really, your goal should be to have the biggest individual weeks. The nature of best ball is such that with average roster construction and injury luck, a lot of weekly scores will lie within the same, relatively small range.

The differentiator will be your big weeks, ones where your roster goes off and produces a high total that is difficult to match by opponents. In this sense, you are playing 16 individual GPPs instead of one long-running contest. And if that is that game, then approaching it like DFS makes sense, with stacking.

Stacking can be difficult to execute during a draft given the various player ADPs, but if you believe in structural drafting like I do, then you will likely enter your drafts with the plan to stack, and that will allow you to do it much more frequently.

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