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NBA Stacking: Yes or No?

Justin Van Zuiden (stlcardinals84)

Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports.

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Stacking is a heated topic among daily fantasy sports players when it comes to the sport of baseball. Some gamers are for it, some gamers are against it, but one thing is for sure: everyone has a definitive opinion on one side of the fence.

There isn’t a whole lot of “gray area” when it comes to these opinions. Either you love it, or you vehemently despise it. As a result, most daily fantasy sites have put rules in place to curtail stacking in baseball, whether it be limiting the hitters you can take from a certain team to a given number, or forcing you to roster players from at least three different teams.

However, one issue that is rarely brought up is whether or not stacking is a viable strategy to use in the NBA. Most assume that it is not, because it’s never discussed at length and people don’t seem to oppose it. Obviously, the people who oppose it in MLB would generally oppose it in the NBA. Therefore, most people just assume that it doesn’t work. I’m not going to be quite as quick to write off the concept, though.

Let’s explore a couple of reasons why stacking might be a viable strategy in daily fantasy basketball.

REASON #1 – OVERTIME

Inevitably, there are nights in the NBA where games go to overtime. Sometimes, these games go to double or triple overtime. If you’re lucky enough to have several players in these games, you will receive the benefit of a stack or mini-stack. It’s only natural.

Whereas baseball games that go into extra innings don’t always provide this benefit, teams are always scoring points in basketball. Minutes directly equate to production, and overtime games can be a huge boom to your totals if you hit them right.

The unfortunate part about this is that predicting overtime games is next to impossible. That makes this a worthless strategy to attempt to employ on a regular basis. Games that are expected to be blowouts end up close, and games that are expected to be close end up being blowouts. Don’t spend any time trying to “predict” overtime. If you can do THAT successfully, you should be in Vegas.

REASON #2 – WORTHLESS DEFENSE

To be honest, I completely dismissed NBA stacking up until this season. I was in the camp of people that said it was completely impossible to do successfully. That was before the 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers came along. They play at a fast pace, turn the ball over a lot, and don’t play defense. This makes their games fantasy gold.

In addition to points, guys get plenty of rebounds, steals, and blocked shots. Similar to the Mike D’Antoni Phoenix Suns days, it’s always a joy to target players in Sixers games right now. When they play other teams that like to play fast, I think stacking can be a viable choice. Generally, if a game has a total above 220, I think it may be a possible “stack game”; otherwise, it’s hard to predict with very much certainty. There’s no hard and fast rule on this.

REASON #3 – INJURIES

Sometimes injuries hit a team hard in the NBA. There have been games where teams have had to rely on a rotation of seven or eight players for an entire game. In situations like this, a stack makes sense because the good players on that team will likely handle as many minutes as possible. However, this is a unique situation that seems to crop up only in the mid-to-late portions of a season. It’s not something you can rely on daily.

In conclusion, clearly reasons #2 and #3 provide a more realistic opportunity to stack than reason #1. I’ve actually seen some very high-quality players employ stacking techniques in some recent games. If they are doing it, you know it has some logical backing.

I still don’t condone stacking on a regular basis for NBA, but it’s no longer a strategy to totally dismiss. Keep it in the back of your mind when you see a game with a very high projected point total or a team that is ravaged by injuries.

About the Author

Instructor

Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports.

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