The Pros and Cons of Stacking in DFS

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: October 23, 2023
The Pros and Cons of Stacking in DFS

Throughout the DFS industry, stacking is a somewhat controversial technique. Some DFS players swear by it, whereas others think it's a terrible play.

Although we've heard valid arguments on both sides, it ultimately comes down to personal strategy. We've seen both sides of the coin, and there are some good and bad to stacking.

Not familiar with stacking? Don't worry; we've got you covered.

Stacking is when a DFS player chooses multiple players from the same team for their lineup. This strategy is most commonly used in sports like the NFL and MLB, where points are heavily dependent on offensive production. Though you may see it in other sports like the NBA as well.

Pros of Stacking in DFS

We'll start out making the case for stacking in DFS. We'll highlight the good things about this technique and why it can be a valuable tool in your DFS arsenal.

Synergy on the Field

Out of the gates, the best thing about stacking is when your players are on the same page. When a quarterback throws a touchdown to his #1 wide receiver, that's double dipping for the DFS owner.

In some leagues, this would be a total of 14 points if the receiver and the quarterback were both on your lineup. Stacking gives you the opportunity to capitalize on multiple touchdowns and big plays from the same team.

When you're surveying the landscape, creating your lineup, and you see a favorable matchup, stacking is the way to go. Think of it like Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson in 2016. When Rodgers was connecting with Nelson, the Packers were a lethal force. In DFS, this is what stacking can do for your lineup.

Using the Platoon

Have you ever had an instance where your wide receiver is being covered by one of the best DBs in the league? It's a tough task that can lead to very low production.

By stacking, you can essentially "use" your player in another way. Let me explain.

Let's take a look at MLB, for example. Say you have a batter facing a tough left-handed pitcher. Instead of scrapping the idea completely, maybe pair him up with another player on his team who hits well against southpaws.

This can be a huge benefit as you'll get production from both players while also neutralizing potential struggles against a particular pitcher.

Sure, your star player might not be the one to hit a grand slam, but he'll likely score some runs by getting on base and setting up the players behind him. This is where stacking can save you from a total bust in your lineup.

Information Advantage

We all have our favorite teams and players. We follow them closely and know their tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.

By stacking your lineup with these familiar faces, you can take advantage of your knowledge and make informed decisions based on insider information. This can be especially helpful in daily fantasy sports, where matchups change every day, and knowing the ins and outs of a particular team can give you an edge over other players.

Being a big GB Packers fan, I often help out my buddies making prop bets with the Packers because I understand how the team functions. I follow them closer than other teams out of pure fanhood. It can be the same in DFS by using stacking.

Cons of Stacking in DFS

Of course, stacking sounds intriguing, but it's not without its drawbacks. Let's take a look at some potential issues with this technique.

Dependence on One Team

One significant drawback of stacking in DFS is that it ties your fate to a single team.

If that team has an "off" day, your chances of winning are significantly reduced. This means that stacking requires you to know the teams you select carefully and also do a lot of research and analysis to ensure that you do not invest all your DFS resources in a single team that may not perform well.

This makes for an especially bad day when you're leveraging your advanced knowledge of your favorite team, and they lose. Your team loses, your DFS lineup loses, and it can be a real downer.

High Ownership and Low Value

Stacking players from a single team also increases ownership percentage, which means that many DFS players might stack the same players, leading to less value in returns.

What we mean is that if you're stacking those players, then someone else in the league is probably stacking them as well.

This is particularly evident in scenarios where the stacked lineup is identical to other players, which decreases the potential variance and rewards for DFS players.

More often than not, the variance of daily fantasy sports comes from whether you have unique players in your lineup that outperform the expectations. If everyone is stacking, then there's little to no variance.

Limited Flexibility

Stacking limits your flexibility when drafting players, as you have to focus on a single team and pick only from their player pool.

This means you may not be able to pick the best players or those in whose strength you have more confidence.

Of course, you don't have to stack, but if you are, then you're funneling yourself to a limited pool of players.

Think of it like this. You stack a QB and WR combo. You've done the research, and they're a perfect fit for this matchup. Then the WR gets hurt in the first quarter. Now that QB is switching his game to a running game, which negates the stack. No bueno!

Do You Stack Your DFS Teams?

Stacking in DFS is a strategy that has its pros and cons. There are limited applications for stacking, and it's worth considering if it's going to be a strategy that works for you.

To be successful in DFS stacking, you must balance the pros with the cons, ensure that you make informed decisions, and understand the teams you select; this way, you can maximize the benefits and minimize the risks associated with stacking.

Do not forget that stacking is just one of many DFS strategies, and it may not work for everyone. Try it out, and if you win, try it again to make sure it's not a fluke. Once you get the stacking strategy down, you'll be in a better position to win more consistently.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.