Stacking in football. Part II. Defense
This time around we present an article about effective use of defensive stacking.
Types of defensive stacking
1. Two full backs and a goalkeeper. Full backs are normally actively involved in the team’s attack, and their fantasy value is higher than that of the center backs. Ideally, try to find a team using the 3-5-2 formation as its full backs play up front and have more chances to record an assist or a goal. However, this formation is not a common practice in Premier League these days and is mainly used as an emergency or tactical option. In the first half of English Premier League 2015/2016 season this formation was adopted by Liverpool with Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno playing as wingbacks and Sunderland with Patrick van Aanholt and DeAndre Yedlin/Billy Jones being good options as well. Anyway, it is a good idea to go through playing schemes of all teams before the gameweek and take the chances of picking a promising defender who might score a goal or record an assist. There are only two full backs on the pitch so you will need to complete the stacking with a goalkeeper. High price is the main problem with full backs, so you’ve got to be ready to sacrifice a quality player from another line.
2. Two center backs and a goalkeeper. It is normally a cheaper way to form defensive stacking while it can be efficient too. Center backs are involved in set pieces in front of opponents’ goal and do have high chances of scoring a header, but you’ve got to play smart when picking these defenders for your stacking. The team has got to score from set pieces regularly, and you only need to pick the defenders who are involved in those goals. An odd goal coming from an inexpensive center back is something that can give you a crucial advantage over other managers.
3. Adding a holding midfielder. Such players as Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion) or Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) are considered to be center backs, but can play in defensive midfield on certain occasions. If the scoring system used on the platform gives points for interceptions or successful tackles, like Fanaments, you can replace a goalkeeper with such players, as they are actively involved in the team’s defensive actions.
Don’t forget to call for statistical information when picking your fantasy team. The most important data to look for that will help you understand the player’s involvement in attacking actions is the average number of total shots and key passes in the latest 5-10 games. Be sure to check the latest games to understand if the player is hitting a good form and whether the manager actively uses him in attack.
Extreme stacking and mild stacking
Extreme stacking means picking as many players from one team as allowed by the rules. Fantasy platform permitting, there is an option to gamble and pick all defenders and a goalkeeper from the same team. However, most fantasy platforms allow picking only three players representing the same team. Extreme stacking is a huge risk. If chosen team happens to concede a goal, do not expect to get positive result in the gameweek. On the other side of the risk there is a chance to get lots of points in case of a clean sheet. This would be a good foundation for a win in the fantasy tournament.
You can also use mild stacking to reduce the risks. For example, pick just two defenders from one team. Doing so you can combine the types of stacking described above. You can pick two full backs from an attacking team and complete them with a goalkeeper and a center back representing a solid defensive club delivering clean sheets on a regular basis. Your budget will allow you that, and the defense could earn you plenty of points that will help you in chasing the fantasy victory should the respective teams put in solid performances. Besides, mild stacking is a good fit for new players who can assess the advantages and flaws of the strategy personally.
To have a better understanding of stacking, let’s have a deeper look at a theoretic example. Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal all play home games against modest underdogs trying to escape relegation, with all three teams having equal chances of a clean sheet. There is an option to use stacking, picking three defenders from a single team, or pick one defender from every team.
Considering the equal chances of a clean sheet, all defenders will have similar prices, so it can be disregarded. Another important issue is on the table: using stacking we will only give us five players to choose from (four defenders and one goalkeeper). If we don’t use stacking, we’ll be able to consider fifteen players all in all. It is much more sensible to pick the best defender from every team, rather than have a limit of just five candidates to choose from. Use stacking wisely and find the right moment to apply this risky tactics.
The winning strategy upon using stacking
It is not the hardest of the tasks to notice that a top team has high chances of a clean sheet against an underdog. Using stacking in this situation will hurt your budget and limit your chances to pick decent attacking players due to enormous price tags put on defensive players of the top team you choose. Besides, an odd goal from a bottom-table team is going to make you admit failing in the gameweek. Such stacking is eventually possible, but it is not something that delivers huge wins.
To get decisive advantage over opponents and start fighting for top spots at major fantasy tournaments you’ve got to learn finding out-of-the-box solutions and search for odd stacking options. If a mid-table team decides to play with 3-5-2 formation against a similar average team, you can totally pick two full backs and a goalkeeper. First of all, you will spend reasonably on the defensive line. Secondly, a clean sheet and successful performance in attack will put your unconventional team ahead of the more conservative rivals.
However, it should be remembered that stacking based on the players from average teams or underdogs represents a huge risk as well and is not an easy thing to do. You’ve got to consider a lot of available information prior to picking the team, and the first prize in the fantasy tournament you’ve signed up for has got to cover the risks over and above.
In the following article we’ll talk about the attacking stacking.