Stacking in football. Part I. Concept and application
TimeToDraft.com analyst Oleg Smolerov launches a series of texts about stacking.
Stacking means gambling on players representing the same team, which sees the manager playing DFS tournaments pick several players from a certain team. In skilful hands it becomes a powerful tool helping to get positive results, and the common limits on the number of players from one team are the best evidence of this. Some platforms offer unique tournaments with no limits at all or moderate limits – however, in most cases you can only pick three players from the same club.
When to use stacking?
You can get the most out of stacking when selecting a certain line from one team, not the entire squad. Stacking can be conventionally divided into attacking and defensive. The first one is used when there is a high chance of a clean sheet. If you pick three defenders or two defenders and a goalkeeper, you can get a clean sheet bonus for all three players, let alone their attacking performances which can deliver additional points.
Attacking stacking is used when the team is expected to score many goals. For example, one of the championship leaders, full of bright players on a great run, hosts the game against the underdog. Let’s take Manchester City as an example. Sergio Aguero is accompanied by three efficient attacking midfielders, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling, the holding midfielder Yaya Toure, who loves to join the attack, and the energetic full back Aleksandar Kolarov, terrorizing the opponents down the left flank. It is extremely difficult to bet on any particular player, but if you pick three effective footballers from this list, you will basically guarantee the points should a hammering happen there.
There is even more dramatic example. Suarez – Messi – Neymar trio score the lion’s share of Barcelona’s goals, and anyone would fancy keeping these Catalan guys in his Fantasy squad. However, there is another limit for stacking – if there is a high probability of a clean sheet or a hammering, the prices for defending and attacking players rocket respectively. You would have to spend up to 50% of the total budget on Suarez, Messi and Neymar, which almost makes it impossible for a manager to pick decent players at other positions.
In the following articles of the series we will have a closer look at how to benefit from the defensive and attacking stacking, as well as at the criteria of picking particular players.
What tournament types are suitable for stacking?
For all the advantages that stacking offers, it should never be forgotten that it also represents high risks. One goal conceded ruins the strategy of the defensive stacking while the forward having a bad day or the underdog that has parked classy bus ruins the attacking stacking. The higher the average team level in the league is – the more risky the stacking becomes. Any risk has got to be justified, so the first prize in a fantasy tournament has to be high and worth all the gambling. Winner Takes All and GPP-tournaments with progressive prize pool distribution are ideal for stacking.
Here is an example. 10-person Winner Takes All tournament, €1.00 buy-in, €9.00 first prize commission included. You’ve got to win at least every eighth tournament to get some profit in the long run. The option to lose seven tournaments before finding a victory covers all risks and major forces, associated with stacking.
Having all the abovementioned in mind, you’d better forget about stacking when playing 50/50 tournaments, where consistency is what matters most. You can find more information about this type of tournaments in the article named The winning strategy for 50/50 tournaments.
Season tournaments are worth mentioning as well. The limited number of available transfers deprives us of the option to select the right players before every gameweek and significantly reduces the efficiency of stacking. There might be exceptions for bright duos like Mahrez+Vardy, Lukaku+Barkley, Ighalo+Deeney in the first half of the English Premier League 2015/2016, but it’s not a common practice.
How to use bookmaker’s odds for stacking?
You can use bookmaker’s odds when picking a team for stacking. For defensive stacking find the odds named ‘Team 1 will score’ – the higher the odds are, the higher chances for the opposite team to keep a clean sheet are as well. Prior to every gameweek search for the relative odds and pick the defensive line from the opponent’s team.
It gets a little bit trickier when it comes to the attacking line. The first indicator to look for is the lowest index for ‘Team 1 will score’ in the relevant gameweek. However, the number of goals is just as important as the goal itself when gambling on the attacking stacking, so you’ve got to look for another index, named the individual total. The best option is 2.5, hinting at the possibility of three and more goals from the team. Find the lowest odds in the gameweek and pick the attacking line from that team.
We will have a closer look at the defensive stacking in the following article.