Spending on MLB Stacks
Spending salary on stacks is one of the most difficult issues to approach in daily fantasy baseball. Targeting high-powered offenses can really break the bank, while the weaker offenses tend to offer the cheapest stacks. Logically this makes sense, so going after a hot Colorado Rockies offense in Coors Field should be more difficult than going after the Astros on any given day. For that reason, you have to be able to feel out the schedule of the day’s games to decide which, if any, stacking method works best for you.
When to Pay Up for a Stack
There’s no doubt you want to pay for a high powered offense when they are facing a bad pitcher, but what if that coincides with a day where you also really like the top pitching option? Well in those cases I would argue you should lean towards finding other bats to target and focus on pitching, specifically in cash games. In a head to head, 50-50 or other similarly paid out game you want to be able to key on targets with the lowest statistical variance. The variance on pitcher output is far less diluted than that of hitters. The name of the game in this situation is playing it safe and ensuring that you can get that top tier pitcher should be the best focus.
It also goes without saying but targeting an expensive stack in a bad matchup is a big no-go. There’s no reason to break the bank on a whim that Adam Wainwright is going to get thrashed in any given game. The only possible situation to target these types of stacks would be in extremely large field tournaments, but with the caveat that you have multiple entries.
Stacking Strong Offenses Without Breaking the Bank
The idea behind a stack is relatively simple. You think that a given team is going to score a lot of runs against a certain pitcher. So if your target team is one of baseball’s most expensive offenses for DFS purposes, consider mixing in one or two of their lower end hitters. There are always cheap guys in almost every lineup that can be targeted at a bargain, even if they aren’t necessarily hitting in the 1-5 spots in the lineup.
A good example of this was a game recently between the Rockies and Diamondbacks at Coors Field. The Over/Under was set to 10.5 runs and it was clear that getting a high number of Rockies on your lineup was going to be a solid stacking strategy. But Tulowitzki, Dickerson, Blackmon and Gonzalez were all extremely expensive and would end up accounting for about 50% of you total salary available on FanDuel. So what do you do? You go after a cheap bat in the bottom of the order. On this night, the 2nd base position was extremely thin and LeMahieu was hitting 8th. Sure you’d ideally want to get someone for cheap that’s higher in the order, but that option isn’t always going to be available. So if you take LeMahieu with the other big name bats, you allow yourself to still add some solid players to the other positions including your pitcher.
Similarly, you can make full blown value stacks within high-powered offenses in a good matchup. A lot of times you will have two players who have the same positional eligibility on a site like FanDuel in the same lineup. Taking the one who’s cheaper might allow you to add that ace you need to round out an extremely solid roster.
This is my personal favorite strategy for stacking. Sure the Astros offense sucks, but they’re still major league hitters and they still have opportunities to go off. During the 2013 season, my two biggest GPP wins were from stacking the Astros and Marlins offenses (who both had the two lowest total team runs in baseball that season). Even in bad matchups, people will avoid bad offenses. It’s these times that targeting cheap value stacks (traditionally around 25% of your total salary allotted) is a strong play in tournaments. I wouldn’t recommend this strategy in any head to head games, but if you need to take down a large field tournament it might be wise to stack cheap. These cheap players are often a low percentage owned AND often times people are targeting their opposing pitcher heavily. It serves as a double-whammy where you’re able to climb the leaderboard because of your own player’s success and a number of your opponents will drop as your stacked team tacks on more and more runs to the opposing pitcher.
Overall, there is no clear cut answer on how much you should spend on a stack day-to-day, but you need to be able to interpret lineups as they come out and make logical decisions. Remember that pitching is almost always king, so if you need to dig deep into a lineup you like, then do so. Stacking is never as cut and dry as just taking the four best or most expensive hitters in a lineup. The best stacks find a way to mix value with star power and take advantage of a good situation.