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Advanced NBA DFS Strategy: Stacking

We continue our breakdown of NBA DFS. In this section, we look at how to use stacking in lineup building, with definitions and some strategy.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal dribbles against Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins during the second half at Capital One Arena. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In daily fantasy basketball, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means understanding strategies and which ones will help you most in building your lineups. One of those is Stacking, which we will discuss below.

Stacking

Definition

Stacking is when we use multiple players from a particular team or game in our DFS lineup. This can range from two all the way up to seven. The lineup consists of eight players, at least two from different NBA games. Stacks are employed if a team has an advantageous matchup or a game consists of a high implied point total.

Strategy

Team Stacking

We use team stacking when a particular team has a quality matchup on a given slate. Before we consider a team for a stack, we need to evaluate the roster and prices and see if it makes sense. This is important because a team like the Rockets is usually in game environments that are perfect for stacking. The issue is Houston doesn’t offer much flexibility in a lineup. The Rockets are top heavy and most of their usage and points are tied to two players. We can circle back and talk about Houston more in game stacks.

As for team stacks, we want a quality offense that is balanced set up in a great game environment. This can be going up against a weaker opponent at home, regardless of how bad that team is on defense. We can exploit an opponent who is on a back-to-back or long road trip. It doesn’t always have to be about defensive matchups.

I’ll give you an example. The Raptors are entering Sunday, December 1 on a six-game winning streak. The Utah Jazz have lost two of three games in the middle of a five-game road trip. Utah’s next stop is Toronto on Sunday. The Raptors at home destroy the Jazz 130-110. The Jazz are generally regarded as one of the better defenses in the NBA. That didn’t seem to matter against Toronto.

If we go further into this game, we see the Jazz are healthy while the Raptors have no Kyle Lowry. Hmmm, interesting. Well, we know no Lowry means more of the offense rests on Pascal Siakam’s shoulders. What did Siakam do against Utah? 35-5-5? Nice. What did Fred VanVleet do taking over at PG for Lowry? 21-11-5. Perfect.

The Raptors roster was perfect for this type of stacking because it offered value throughout the lineup. Siakam was never priced too high and they had a nice tier of production leaking down to guys like Terence Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Serge Ibaka. What I’m getting at is these are the types of trends we need to look for in teams when considering stacks.

Game Stacking

Game stacking is a bit different because we’re doubling-up on the process. Instead of picking from one team, we’ve got two in the same game. More salaries to consider makes lineup decisions a little bit tougher. That’s what we get for a really good shot at fantasy points. Let’s dive into it.

In order to identify a game stack we need to check out some betting information. DraftKings Sportsbook has lines on all the NBA games each night during the season. We can go there to find the O/U totals for each game. First, we want to pick out say 3-4 of the highest O/U totals that night.

Once we have that, we can look at the lines for those games and pick the lowest one. This means the books expect a game to be more competitive, which is a better scoring environment for both teams. We don’t want a game that could be lopsided if we’re stacking both teams. Why would you want to sacrifice the chance at OT? Overtime is the golden ticket!

So we’ve stumbled upon this gem of a game stack. The New Orleans Pelicans are playing the Atlanta Hawks on the road. The Hawks have a healthy lineup while the Pelicans will rest rookie phenom Zion Williamson. No Zion means the books are giving the Hawks a shot at home, let’s say at +4.5 (I’m not a handicapper, this is hypothetical).

The Hawks and Pelicans are both top 10 in pace and in the bottom third of the league in defensive rating. Both teams score a ton of points, both teams let up a ton. This game also gives us a very nice mix of players to choose from outside of Zion. Trae Young, John Collins, Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday, Clint Capela (if healthy), Lonzo Ball. We get really strong value in Kevin Huerter, Josh Hart, Derrick Favors, Nicolo Melli, Damian Jones, etc, etc. You get it. We have a lot to work with, which is great when picking and choosing our spots.

In this case, you’d want to mix in at least 2-3 of Young, Ingram, Holiday and Collins. The likely top four projected points for this game. After that, fill it out with a few mid-range and values, and then pick your favorite play from a range or two to round out the roster.