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MLB DFS Stacking Primer: The Essentials

Dan Gaspar (MrTuttle05)

Playing DFS since early 2011, MrTuttle05 is an industry OG who has found success across multiple sports. He has qualified for countless live finals and takes pride in being able to adapt to the ever changing DFS landscape. You can find him on Twitter @MrTuttle05.

Stacking is the fundamental GPP strategy used by all the top players in today’s MLB DFS environment. It’s not new, but it remains every bit a prevalent in today’s game as ever. In this lesson, we’ll explore the basics of stacking and why it is simply MUST be implemented on the vast majority of occasions if you expect to find sustained success.

What Is A Stack?

Stacking in MLB is a popular large-field tournament strategy in which you play multiple players from the same team in your lineup. Different sites have different restrictions on how many players you are able to stack in your lineup. For example, on DraftKings you are able to stack up to five players from the same team in your lineup while on FanDuel the maximum allowed is four players.

Why Is Stacking Successful?

Stacking is a successful strategy because it focuses on forcing positive correlation into your lineup which allows you to capitalize when a team has an outlier performance (i.e. scores a bunch of runs). Hitters on the same team are positively correlated in a couple of different ways. First, when one hitter has a successful at-bat, that creates more opportunities for the remainder of the lineup. Second, successful at-bats can provide teammates with more fantasy-producing opportunities. For example, if the first hitter successfully gets on base, the following hitters now have a chance to get an RBI which provides him with an opportunity to score more fantasy points in his at-bat. In true outlier situations, when a game becomes out of hand, stacking can also benefit from the opposing team making decisions to preserve their best arms in their bullpen, resulting in matchups against weaker arms and sometimes even position players pitching.

You must stack to maximize the positive correlation in your lineups.

Types Of Stacks

The most popular utilization of stacking in large-field tournaments is pairing two separate teams in a 5 or 4 lineup build. A 5 man build is only possible on sites that allow you to use up to five players on the same team. The “5-3” for example uses five players from one team and three players from another. A “4-4” build uses four players each from two separate teams. Other stacking possibilities include 5-2, 4-3, 4-2, and 3-3 builds. You can also simply stack one team but will give up the opportunity to max out positive correlation in your lineup by doing so. This is by no means a bad strategy, as winners often deploy stack types of varying correlation on the secondary side.

The primary take away is that 4 to 5 platers is mission critical on the vast majority of your builds.

This chart from RotoGrinders SlateIQ 8/10/2019 displays stack types and expected leverage based on usage history for that specific slate. These numbers may vary slate to slate based on a number of factors, but generally speaking side with the idea that full stacking with 4 to 5 players is the proper strategic baseline for your GPP builds.

Ownership And Stacking

An often overlooked part of stacking is ownership. Focusing on stacking teams with the highest implied run totals is an okay place to start but you will eventually want to start weighing a stacks ownership with its probability of success. Finding stacks that have a relatively high probability of success but are projected to be low-owned will provide you with valuable leverage on the field. We have tools on RotoGrinders, such as SlateIQ, that can help you identify these teams more accurately. You can see above the results of a previous comparison of probability to ownership in that tool.

Stacking strategy involves not just selecting the team with the highest probability of success, but balancing that potential success with the expected ownership from your opponents. Set your sights on understanding how to properly balance and compare ownership to probability as quickly as you can.

Using Stacks In LineupHQ

LineupHQ has a ‘Stacks’ feature that allows you to easily create multiple lineups that utilize the stacking strategy. The ‘Quick Stacks’ function allows you to select your preferred lineup build (5-3, 4-4, 4-3, etc) and how often you want your lineups built that way. The ‘Exposure Summary’ allows you to set which team(s) you want to be your primary stack and how often. It also allows you to set which team(s) you want to be your secondary stack and how often. For example, you can set LineupHQ to spit out 50% of your lineups using a 5-3 build and 50% of your lineups in a 4-4 build. Furthermore, you can set LineupHQ to use the Milwaukee Brewers as the primary team in 75% of those stacks and the Chicago Cubs in the other 25%. Similarly, you can allocate your secondary stacks however you prefer. Another feature LineupHQ has is the ability to deselect hitters that are in a certain spot in the order. For example, if you want your stacks to focus on the top half of the order you can de-select hitters #6-#9 and LineupHQ will only put the #1-#5 hitters in your lineup.

Master the optimizer software and become skilled at generating stacks. Especially if creating multiple lineups, this will aid you in saving time while producing properly correlated teams of your specific design.

Stacking is the fundamental GPP strategy used by all the top players in today’s MLB DFS environment. It’s not new, but it remains every bit a prevalent in today’s game as ever. In this lesson, we’ll explore the basics of stacking and why it is simply MUST be implemented on the vast majority of occasions if you expect to find sustained success.

What Is A Stack?

Stacking in MLB is a popular large-field tournament strategy in which you play multiple players from the same team in your lineup. Different sites have different restrictions on how many players you are able to stack in your lineup. For example, on DraftKings you are able to stack up to five players from the same team in your lineup while on FanDuel the maximum allowed is four players.

Why Is Stacking Successful?

Stacking is a successful strategy because it focuses on forcing positive correlation into your lineup which allows you to capitalize when a team has an outlier performance (i.e. scores a bunch of runs). Hitters on the same team are positively correlated in a couple of different ways. First, when one hitter has a successful at-bat, that creates more opportunities for the remainder of the lineup. Second, successful at-bats can provide teammates with more fantasy-producing opportunities. For example, if the first hitter successfully gets on base, the following hitters now have a chance to get an RBI which provides him with an opportunity to score more fantasy points in his at-bat. In true outlier situations, when a game becomes out of hand, stacking can also benefit from the opposing team making decisions to preserve their best arms in their bullpen, resulting in matchups against weaker arms and sometimes even position players pitching.

You must stack to maximize the positive correlation in your lineups.

Types Of Stacks

The most popular utilization of stacking in large-field tournaments is pairing two separate teams in a 5 or 4 lineup build. A 5 man build is only possible on sites that allow you to use up to five players on the same team. The “5-3” for example uses five players from one team and three players from another. A “4-4” build uses four players each from two separate teams. Other stacking possibilities include 5-2, 4-3, 4-2, and 3-3 builds. You can also simply stack one team but will give up the opportunity to max out positive correlation in your lineup by doing so. This is by no means a bad strategy, as winners often deploy stack types of varying correlation on the secondary side.

The primary take away is that 4 to 5 platers is mission critical on the vast majority of your builds.

This chart from RotoGrinders SlateIQ 8/10/2019 displays stack types and expected leverage based on usage history for that specific slate. These numbers may vary slate to slate based on a number of factors, but generally speaking side with the idea that full stacking with 4 to 5 players is the proper strategic baseline for your GPP builds.

Ownership And Stacking

An often overlooked part of stacking is ownership. Focusing on stacking teams with the highest implied run totals is an okay place to start but you will eventually want to start weighing a stacks ownership with its probability of success. Finding stacks that have a relatively high probability of success but are projected to be low-owned will provide you with valuable leverage on the field. We have tools on RotoGrinders, such as SlateIQ, that can help you identify these teams more accurately. You can see above the results of a previous comparison of probability to ownership in that tool.

Stacking strategy involves not just selecting the team with the highest probability of success, but balancing that potential success with the expected ownership from your opponents. Set your sights on understanding how to properly balance and compare ownership to probability as quickly as you can.

Using Stacks In LineupHQ

LineupHQ has a ‘Stacks’ feature that allows you to easily create multiple lineups that utilize the stacking strategy. The ‘Quick Stacks’ function allows you to select your preferred lineup build (5-3, 4-4, 4-3, etc) and how often you want your lineups built that way. The ‘Exposure Summary’ allows you to set which team(s) you want to be your primary stack and how often. It also allows you to set which team(s) you want to be your secondary stack and how often. For example, you can set LineupHQ to spit out 50% of your lineups using a 5-3 build and 50% of your lineups in a 4-4 build. Furthermore, you can set LineupHQ to use the Milwaukee Brewers as the primary team in 75% of those stacks and the Chicago Cubs in the other 25%. Similarly, you can allocate your secondary stacks however you prefer. Another feature LineupHQ has is the ability to deselect hitters that are in a certain spot in the order. For example, if you want your stacks to focus on the top half of the order you can de-select hitters #6-#9 and LineupHQ will only put the #1-#5 hitters in your lineup.

Master the optimizer software and become skilled at generating stacks. Especially if creating multiple lineups, this will aid you in saving time while producing properly correlated teams of your specific design.

About the Author

  • Dan Gaspar (MrTuttle05)

  • Playing DFS since early 2011, MrTuttle05 is an industry OG who has found success across multiple sports. He has qualified for countless live finals and takes pride in being able to adapt to the ever changing DFS landscape. You can find him on Twitter @MrTuttle05.

Instructor

Playing DFS since early 2011, MrTuttle05 is an industry OG who has found success across multiple sports. He has qualified for countless live finals and takes pride in being able to adapt to the ever changing DFS landscape. You can find him on Twitter @MrTuttle05.

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