New players to NBA DFS might notice on some NBA slates the winning lineups seem to have lots of players from the same team, or the same single game, and in DFS this is called “stacking”.

They might find themselves asking, “Does stacking in NBA DFS work?”.

While it is correct that on any given day numerous strategies will be successful in DFS, as there will always be an element of chance, the answer in regard to stacking specifically in NBA is a little more nuanced.

TEAM STACKING IN NBA VS OTHER SPORTS

For Australian DFS players familiar with AFL and NRL, DFS is fairly easy to conclude that stacking can be a very effective strategy - both game stacking and team stacking.

Using AFL and NRL as an example, if you stack the team of a heavy-betting favourite in a game and there is a massive blowout, it’s very likely your players over-performed and smashed their DFS value. There are incentives in these sports for teams to dominate their opponents. It is not often that teams take their foot off the accelerator and so there’s potential for huge fantasy scores to be found. AFL and NRL are also weekly sports in which player management is not as prevalent and time-on-field percentages for important fantasy players remain largely the same week-to-week.

In a corresponding example in the NBA, the complete reverse is sometimes true and having too many players from one team in a massive blowout can be a complete disaster!

This is because there is far less incentive to win games by a lot of points and there are huge incentives to rest players once their team takes a big lead in a game.

Your DFS team might look great at half time of a blow out, with multiple players tracking to smash their DFS value and your projected score will be massive. However, by the end of the third quarter, your DFS team will stall and your projected score will end up not getting anywhere near expectation. In contrast, stacking the team that is getting thrashed means those players have fared extremely poorly, missing a lot of shots and conceding a lot of turnovers. 

There are arguments to be made that a lot of fantasy points have to be scored for a team to get in a big enough lead to rest their players, but in most situations, the minutes played and the overall fantasy scores will be less for players that are rested early in a game. This is especially true for the role players who don’t handle the ball often and require all the minutes possible to get that one steal and extra couple of rebounds on their box score to exceed value.

More than any other sport, ‘fantasy points per minute’ (FPM) is the most important thing to consider in NBA DFS and so, as a generalisation, more total minutes played are going to be more important than outlier high FPM games.

It is also important to note that in AFL or similar sports, stacking can see a large number of players from one team often scoring a massive amount of fantasy points strung together in one play consistently - i.e. a kick, mark, kick, handball, kick, mark then goal. This makes the maximum number of players allowed from one team a very viable strategy.

However in the NBA, most often plays feature just an assist and points scored, and sometimes a defensive rebound, which only involves two or three players. Sometimes the ball handler who brings the ball in after an opposition score will score without any team mates registering a fantasy point at all. So while it might seem like an idea to stack the entire starting five of a team, make sure to keep in mind the limitations of this strategy.

Taking this into consideration, if it is a good idea to avoid team stacking in a blowout game, then it might be a good idea to employ a game stack in a tight contest.

GAME STACKING

Choosing which teams to stack in NBA or which games to target, will vary from slate to slate and will change many times throughout the season. In fact, targeting a team on a Tuesday slate could be a great play and then just two days later on Thursday it’s an awful idea, so there are many things that you need to consider.

However, there is no doubt that full game stacking can have a huge payoff in the right circumstances when playing NBA DFS.

The best games to stack in NBA DFS are often those with close betting lines or that you think are likely to be close games for other situational reasons. While this can sometimes be a good strategy in other DFS sports, it is especially important in NBA for multiple reasons. In fact, in some sports, close games can lead to less fantasy points - especially for certain types of players.

In NBA however, close games mean more minutes for the starting five as the most important players have to be on the court until the very last moments of the game and quite often they have also already had to play more minutes during earlier stages of the game to keep it close. As we mentioned earlier, long term, more minutes correlates directly with more fantasy scoring.

And all this is not to mention the possibility of the game going into overtime as players continue to accrue fantasy points for any extra time played. If there is only one game on a slate that goes into OT, it is highly likely that multiple players from this game will feature in the winning DFS lineup. If a game features multiple OTs, then all of this is compounded - starting fives play every minute of the tightly contested overtime periods and continue until the game is won or lost. In this situation, you are 100% going to need players from this game in your DFS lineup to have any success. However, be aware that predicting overtime is impossible and while these games are memorable, in reality roughly only 5-7% of games go to overtime in any given year.

Of course, this means the best type of game to stack is simply going to be the games with a combination of high scoring and remaining close. When two high-scoring teams that play little defence get into a shoot out, the fantasy points can be immense. Now imagine this game is also close - both starting fives are going to play maximum minutes and they are going to be racking up assists and buckets until the last moments.

In these instances it is also often important to have the teams designated shooter or the players that you know get to the free-throw line often. We have all watched an NBA game where the last minute takes longer to complete than the whole previous quarter. This is because teams deliberately foul to send someone to the line which likely means two points scored in a very fast manner, enhancing a player’s fantasy points per minute.

There are clearly many nuances to all DFS strategies, and stacking in NBA DFS is no exception, but it might be a good starting point for new DFS players to experiment with, as opposed to trying to nail the correct one-off plays across several games. You can also read more about using sports betting markets to construct DFS lineups, which is a great resource to use in combination with stacking strategies.

For more DFS tips and strategies to improve your DFS game, head to Daily Fantasy Rankings

Original source: https://www.dailyfantasyrankings.com.au/article/dfs-strategy-stacking-in-nba-dfs

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