Roster Construction: The Science of Stacking

Stacking isn't just a gimmick. It is a necessary step to maximize your weekly scoring potential. Adam Eastman tells you why.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Roster Construction: The Science of Stacking

Tony RomoFolklore and myth are prevalent in fantasy football. Conventional wisdom is frequently debunked, then revived via new data that lends support to a modified thesis. Previously, I addressed the obsolescence of handcuffing and now aim to tackle another roster construction strategy: stacking.

For those unfamiliar with the term, stacking is the practice of having two or more offensive players from the same team in a starting lineup.

In the aforementioned article about handcuffing, I cited diversification as a pillar of my argument against handcuffing top running backs to their perceived backups. So it could be expected, as a champion of diversification, that I should denounce stacking due to its negative impact on team diversity.

But in this case, there is magic involved.

When a player scores a rushing touchdown, his team is awarded six points both on the field and in the fantasy universe (although, I’d argue it’s actually a multi-verse…but I digress). The quarterback receives no points for handing him the ball (if it was a standard run play) and the blockers (TEs and WRs included) receive no points for their effort in creating the space. All six points go the runner.

But on passing touchdowns, things get interesting…

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Adam Raines-Eastman is the architect of the Fantasy Marketplace™, a multi-dimensional arena that illustrates the ever changing landscape of the entire draft pool.

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  • Gavin Knapp

    You compared “the probability (p) of a non-stacked starting fantasy QB throwing at least one TD in any given matchup is 95%” and “Stacked QBs throw 100% (ignoring injury-risk) of the stud receiver’s TDs.” How does the fact that a stacked QB scores all of the TDs his stacked receiver catches increase his probabilities of throwing at least one TD from 95% to 100%….? This is under the assumption that your stacked wide receiver scores a TD.Your increase in “magical points” neglects the scenarios where this is not the case. You are simply only showcasing the positive side of increased variance without presenting the negative side.

    • Adam Eastman

      the logic dictates that a stacked QB must throw the stacked WR the TD. It is not possible in this scenario for a Stacked WR to catch a TD pass not thrown by the stacked QB, hence 60% of the games that an elite WR catches a TD pass, the stacked QB throws 100% of those TDs.

      but you are correct in that i only focus on the positive side. my contention is that the pro’s of the shared points on one TD negate the possible cons of the contagion of a bad game to two slots in your lineup.

      A bad game from either your stacked QB or WR doesn’t nessesarily guarantee a bad game for the stacking partner either. A stacked QB can go for 235-1-3 and the stacked WR could easily wind up having an elite week.