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100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 46: Stacking in Daily Leagues

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At 4for4, I posted an article on stacking in daily fantasy football.

“Never think that lack of volatility is stability. Don’t confuse lack of volatility with stability, ever.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

This is my second article in less than a week that starts with a Nassim Nicholas Taleb quote. I don’t even really like the guy, to be honest, but his views on low-frequency events and volatility have somewhat altered my decision-making. And they have a lot of relevance to the world of daily fantasy sports—a form of a stock market—so we can use them to potentially exploit inefficiencies.

There’s a general perception that volatility is a bad thing. We seek stability to the point that we’d rather hold onto something that’s familiar, even if it doesn’t make us happy or is detrimental in some other way, over changing. But volatility itself isn’t inherently disadvantageous; actually, because so many people fear it, we can often use it to our advantage.

STACKING LINEUPS

The easiest way to create volatility in daily fantasy lineups is through stacking—choosing players who play on the same team in an effort to increase your upside. When you pair a quarterback with his receiver (or two of them), that’s stacking. And it can be a really, really powerful tool in your arsenal, assuming you properly utilize the volatility it creates.

I wrote about stacking in my daily fantasy football book Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Cash in on the Future of the Game:

“Volatility can be a positive. In tournaments, for example, you want to choose a high-variance lineup because you need all of the upside you can get. If you’re in a 2,500-man league that pays out the top 250 owners, there’s no difference between 251st-place and dead last. You don’t want “solid” in a tournament. You want outstanding. By pairing a quarterback with his receivers, you can greatly enhance the ceiling of your team by relying on dependent events; if your quarterback throws for 400 yards and four touchdowns, you can bet his receivers will have monster games as well.

Volatility isn’t always welcomed, though, as we’ve seen in head-to-head leagues. When you’re playing against just one other owner, you don’t want to seek upside at all costs. In many cases, you just want to maximize the “floor” of your lineup, i.e. create a safe group of players. That means it’s probably best to select players whose production isn’t dependent on anyone else in your lineup.”

Check out the full post at 4for4.

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