Unconventional Stacking in GPPs

We’ve all been taught that there is a certain way to stack in GPPs, and even casual players are doing it. You take your QB and stack him with one or two of his pass catchers, plus one RB, WR or TE from the opposing team (the bring back) and you’re well on your way to building a winning lineup. But aside from getting a big game from your primary stack, what edge can be gained by stacking anymore if everyone is doing it? I typically spend some time early in the week perusing Rotogrinders’ ResultsDB feature, reviewing lineups from top players. I’ve noticed that they have found new ways to gain leverage on the field, not only by choosing contrarian stacking options, but by stacking in different ways altogether in order to create unique roster construction. Here, I’ll list the trends I’ve seen with examples from previous weeks, as well as a recommendation for employing the strategy in Week 15 on DraftKings.

The Full Game Stack

On any given week, some games are bound to exceed their O/U. Occasionally, we get a game that exceeds it’s O/U by a wide margin. Take the Raiders-Colts game from week 14, in which 71 points were scored. Why not try to capture as much of that offensive production as possible by rostering 5 or 6 players from that game? This would look something like Derek Carr / Nelson Agholor / Darren Waller with the double bring back of Jonathan Taylor / TY Hilton. Now, Darren Waller didn’t quite get there last week, but you could afford that with the strong performances put up by the other pieces of the stack. Don’t be afraid to include a QB/RB/WR from the same team either. This past week, we also saw Mitchell Trubisky, David Montgomery and Allen Robinson all reach value in the same game. Bring it back with Jordan Akins and Keke Coutee and you’ve got yourself a full game stack.

Week 15
Deshaun Watson / Brandin Cooks / Jordan Akins + Jonathan Taylor / Michael Pittman
This game currently has the third highest total on the main slate at 51 and I think it could easily go over. The Texans should be playing from behind, and they’re already passing on a ridiculous 69% of plays, leading to a possible ceiling game from Watson. I couldn’t make this stack without Brandin Cooks, who has the highest ceiling of the Texans pass catchers, and I included Jordan Akins because I always try to correlate my TE play. On the other side of the ball, we’ve seen Jonathan Taylor take over this Colts backfield in recent weeks and he should be playing with a lead against one of the league’s worst run defenses, though he did see a significant price increase this week. The Colts are projected to score 4 touchdowns here and I don’t see them all coming from Jonathan Taylor, so we’ll add a piece of the passing game. I expect TY Hilton to catch some ownership in this spot after 2 strong weeks in a row, so I like pivoting to Michael Pittman, who has similar upside but will be much less owned. Just understand that while there is some risk involved in trying to predict where the production is going to come from in offenses that I would not call highly condensed, some of that risk is mitigated by the upside of these plays if just 3 or 4 of them hit.

The No Bring Back Stack

Remember that example I gave earlier from the Bears game? Well if you used those bring backs, it may very well have sunk your lineup. Make your stack different by simply not including anyone from the opposing team. This works well for teams that are projected to win by a wide margin, or in games where you simply don’t like anyone from the opposing team. This strategy can also lead you to use lower owned stacks because everyone wants to include a bring back, and if they can’t find one they like, the stack may go overlooked. Take Taysom Hill to Michael Thomas from last week. There wasn’t an obvious bring back on the Eagles, a fact which I think turned some people off the stack entirely, leading to low ownership. Alternatively, you could look at the Jets on any given week. People love to stack against the Jets, but the bring backs have been severely underwhelming in recent weeks. Sometimes the play is simply not to run it back.

Week 15
Ryan Tannehill / AJ Brown / Corey Davis
The Titans are sure to put up some big numbers in what could easily be a lopsided affair with Chase Daniel likely starting for the Lions. If you’re fading Derrick Henry, the logical pivot is to assume that this production comes through the passing game. Nearly 50% of Tannehill’s targets flow through these two receivers and Corey Davis remains severely underpriced considering his upside. Instead of using a valuable roster spot on someone from an offense with a back up QB under center that continues to use a 3 headed monster at RB, just fade the Lions side of the game altogether and avoid having to guess who, if anyone, goes off. Now you might be asking yourself why the Titans would be passing if the Lions aren’t putting up points. That would put a wrench in this strategy if we were relying on volume from the Titans passing attack, but that isn’t how they have big games. While Brown and Davis do have a large combined target share, it is a large piece of a small pie, so to speak, because Tannehill may only drop back 30 or fewer times in this match up. The Titans passing stacks get there because of big plays, not volume, so what we are banking on here are some splash plays in the passing game instead of long Derrick Henry touchdown runs.

2 Pass Catchers without the QB

There is often a scenario in which 2 pass catchers from the same team project well, but you don’t want to use a traditional stack because you don’t like the QB. Think about the Jets WR’s this past week. Even though they both severely underperformed expectations, Breshad Perriman and Braxton Berrios both projected as good point per dollar plays, but who wants to stack them with Sam Darnold? I certainly don’t. You could also consider Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce this past week, who both had strong performances while Patrick Mahomes failed to reach value due to his high price tag. The solution here is simply to play the 2 pass catchers without the QB- either because the QB projects poorly or because he is too expensive. Hand builders and optimizers alike will shy away from this strategy due to the belief that you have to stack with the QB if you are using 2 pass catchers, leading to unique roster construction. One interesting way to make this stack work is by including a naked QB (QB without any of his pass catchers). Consider the Mahomes example: Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill both have strong performances, but Mahomes has a mediocre game. By substituting a cheaper naked QB with a similar or better point per dollar projection than Mahomes, you would save salary that could be used to beef up the rest of your lineup.

Week 15
Taysom Hill + Travis Kelce / Tyreek Hill
I’m gonna go straight back to my example for this one because I think it sets up really nicely this week. Kelce is trying to lead the league in receiving yards and Tyreek Hill is not the volatile player he used to be. The premium double stack of Mahomes/Kelce/Hill is very expensive (arguably prohibitively expensive) this week, so we are going to make it more affordable and take the $1900 in savings by pivoting down to a naked Taysom Hill. I’m not saying Taysom Hill is going to outscore Patrick Mahomes. Actually, if both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce reach value, Mahomes probably has a pretty good game. But if we can get a better point per dollar game from Taysom Hill, the savings will allow us to fill in the rest of our lineup with stronger options that will not be affordable for our opponents who are stacking with Mahomes. Though I do like Michael Thomas as a play, we are assuming Taysom Hill gets there mainly with his legs in this scenario, so he is not included in the stack. I also considered going with Jalen Hurts as the naked QB here, but this stack correlates nicely with all of these players coming from the same game.

Update: Drew Brees is back under center for the Saints and Michael Thomas is out (welcome back, Alvin Kamara), so we are going to go with Jalen Hurts naked +Kelce/Hill. We saw the rushing upside last week, and now Hurts is in a competitive pace up game against an average Cardinals defense. Not only could Hurts reach value purely with his legs, but trying to figure out which Eagles pass catcher to pair him with is a huge headache, so I prefer to use Hurts naked. The $2000 in savings from Mahomes to Hurts is really the only way we make this lineup work without punting at almost every other position.

Hopefully these stacks lead to unique roster construction that can separate your lineups from the field. Starting out with an unconventional stack will also allow you to fill in the rest of your lineup with more of the best plays regardless of ownership since you are already being pretty different. Good luck out there!

About the Author


  • FitFantasyGod

    Very interesting stuff, the no bring back stack was definitely a good write-up! Keep up the good work, check out my NFL saturday slate write-up if you’re playing today!

  • AndrewG

    Thank you for the comment, I play almost every slate so I will definitely check out your article!

  • Stephaniekrebs

    Wry informative. I’ll definitely use your advice.

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