Fantasy Football Stacking Strategy: Why it’s Optimal and Top 10 Stacks in 2023

These 10 stacks might be the top 10 ways to win a championship this year.

Fantasy football gives fans the ability to put any player from any team on the same virtual lineup as any other player from across the league. Yet, every year, many championship-winning lineups feature two players from the same NFL team. Wouldn’t this defeat the purpose of fantasy football, specifically the “fantasy” part? The answer is no, and for those who are unfamiliar – let me introduce you to a strategy called stacking.

With two players from different NFL teams in your fantasy lineup, success between the two is not correlated. Even if one player has a great game, the other is not guaranteed anything. In a way, this is safer: two completely independent outcomes decrease the volatility of your lineup, like different types of stocks in a portfolio. But I don’t like ‘safe.’ Risk-taking is what wins fantasy championships, and stacking could be the perfect risk to take.

Two players from the same NFL team, generally a QB and a WR or TE, can maximize the amount of points your lineup can achieve. Every time your receiver catches a touchdown or your tight end gets a big gain, your QB nearly doubles the amount of points you just received.

Fun, right?

When done well, the ceiling of your team can lift even higher. The only catch is finding the most lucrative and valuable stacks at the right time in the draft. Every single team has some sort of stack that can be used to your advantage, but here are the 10 best options for your lineup next year.

10. BEARS – JUSTIN FIELDS AND D.J. MOORE

It seems like forever ago that D.J. Moore was traded to the Bears back in March, but we will finally get to see Justin Fields with some help in this upcoming season. Fields put together an impressive campaign in the back half of last season, something I often look for in player success for the next year. He is likely to carry this duo.

Fields spent most of his season last year as a QB1 and finished the season as QB12 despite missing two games in the middle of his historic run. His rushing upside is clearly what gives him so much potential, but even a minor improvement in his passing abilities could push him to that elite tier of fantasy quarterbacks.

When it comes to D.J. Moore, looking back to his three-year stretch from 2019 to 2021 shows us what we can hope for. Moore totaled 3,525 yards in three seasons and this production with Fields will be enough for them to finish as a top-ten duo. Admittedly, Fields is more valuable of a fantasy quarterback than D.J. Moore is a receiver, but Moore could end up being a steal if this passing game improves. Don’t get me wrong, I have faith Moore could be a WR1 in fantasy this season, but it’s more of a “what have you done for me lately” type of thing. 

Bears’ reporter Alyssa Barbieri says that the Fields-Moore connection has been “the talk of training camp” and “has the potential to be franchise-altering.” This is big talk for a duo in their first year, which is why I don’t put them higher, but this could be a league-winning choice to pair these two on your team. Fields is currently going around the 5th round and Moore in the 6th, so back-to-back Chicago Bear selections in the early-to-mid is viable — something I’d never thought I’d say just a year ago.

9. RAMS – MATTHEW STAFFORD AND COOPER KUPP

Only two seasons ago, we saw these two raise the Lombardi trophy, with Matthew Stafford having one of the most magical first years that the Rams could ask for and Cooper Kupp obtaining the vaunted triple crown of receiving. They did not just contribute to real-life success, either — Kupp was on a staggering 22% of all championship rosters, meaning almost a quarter of all fantasy champions this year drafted or traded for Cooper Kupp.

So, we’ve laid out the upside. We know these two can be top-of-the-line fantasy options, so what is the catch? First, that was not last year. That was two years ago. Meaning we had an entire year in between filled with a mix of inefficiency and injury. Kupp is excused — during his time before the injury, he led all receivers in fantasy points per game and was second in target share. There is a risk considering he is coming back from a high-ankle sprain and surgery, but his long offseason rehab should allow him to come back at full strength.

This Player Will Dominate Your Fantasy League AGAIN!

Stafford on the other hand may be more risky. He also faced serious injury problems last year, but even when he was healthy, he only put up an ugly 10 touchdowns to eight interceptions. The Rams have consistently stated he is ready to go for this season along with Stafford himself, so we will have to take their word for it. 

Now, these two together have proven they can put up impressive numbers, it is more about how the team works out. They are currently set at an over/under of 6.5 wins, which is good and bad in a way. The good news is that they should often be playing from behind, which benefits the passing game. The bad news is any small injury could lead to an earlier-than-usual season shut down and losing can often lead to strategy and personnel changes that could affect their success. 

This duo has been fantastic in the past, which lands them inside the top 10 going into this year for stacking purposes. Look to find Kupp in the early-to-mid first round and Stafford as a steal later in the draft, possibly even a post-draft pickup depending on his early-season production.

8. COWBOYS – DAK PRESCOTT AND CEEDEE LAMB

CeeDee Lamb seems to be the staple of the turn this year. Just about the end of the first round, possibly the beginning of the second if you are lucky, will land you a WR1 in an offense that just lost 107 targets from the withdrawal of Dalton Schultz and 274 touches from the departure of Ezekiel Elliott. Where will all of these targets and touches go?

The answer most fantasy analysts believe is, a large portion of these will end up in the hands of CeeDee Lamb. 

Some of the most impressive plays over the last few seasons have come from Lamb. His ability to make tough catches look easy is an art and Dak Prescott’s willingness to throw to him only makes him more exciting. Lamb finished last season with 107 receptions for 1,359 yards but somehow has flown under the radar. It is his season to prove he is a top WR in this league, and I think he’ll be able to do it. 

The only concern one could see would be the addition of Brandin Cooks, who has finished with over 1,000 yards receiving in six of his last eight seasons. But, in this offense, I expect him to only help CeeDee and Dak’s production, as his clear WR2 role should open up the passing game even more. As long as Tony Pollard doesn’t find himself having an Austin Ekeler-type breakout, this stack should be safe.

Dak Prescott has not exactly been stellar lately, but is better than much of the media makes him out to be. His hand injury last season kept him out and can somewhat explain his interception problems, with 15 in only 12 games. He had that nasty ankle injury in 2020, yet came back the next year with over 4,400 yards and 37 touchdowns, so I am not concerned with his ability to bounce back from tough times. 

Dak can be picked up in the middle-to-late rounds of your draft, but you will have to keep an eye on him closer than some of the other QBs on this list. Picking Ceedee in the mid-to-late first round should not be a reach. This stack has the potential to be one of the best in the league, banking on Lamb’s continuous improvement and Dak’s return to success.

7. VIKINGS – KIRK COUSINS AND JUSTIN JEFFERSON

Many Vikings fans do not think Kirk Cousins is the answer. Many analysts see him as just “okay” and cannot get the Vikings to the Super Bowl. Kirk Cousins haters are easy to find, especially if you mention prime-time football. But you know who should LOVE Kirk Cousins? Justin Jefferson fans. 

Cousins feeds the ball to Jefferson like he’s the only player on the team and chucks it up to him like Justin is playing against JV players. And somehow, it works. Jefferson won AP Offensive Player of the Year and is only looking for more. The basic stats will tell you that he led the league yards and was second in targets, both great indicators of volume. The deeper stats will show you Jefferson led the league in routes ran with 634, which is 20 better than the next closest player.

And as if anybody needed any more proof of Jefferson’s dominance, here are some more stats for you:

  • Hold record for receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons with 4,825 (leading the next closest, Randy Moss, by 662)
  • Holds the record for most receptions in a player’s first three seasons with 324.
  • Broke an 86-year-old record for youngest player to lead the league in both receiving yards and receptions in the same season.
  • Became just the sixth receiver ever to surpass 1,800 receiving yards.

Talk about overcooking the bacon.

And to think, this was their first season with new head coach Kevin O’Connell. Another year in the system will be extremely beneficial to their production. Plus the midseason addition of T.J. Hockenson, this season was really just a test run. Justin Jefferson had the perfect mix of being wide open all the time, but also making crazy catches even when he wasn’t open all the time.

And for Kirk Cousins, think what you want about him. Stats are what tell the story in fantasy football, they have been hard to deny. 

Outside of 2019, Cousins has finished as a top-11 QB, or in other words a viable QB1, every season. You’re talking about a guy with little to no rushing upside that still managed to outscore most of the league, only bested by the most elite fantasy quarterbacks.

The best part of this duo is the security. The last few seasons for these two have been very productive, with no signs of volatility. When it comes to injuries, they are as clean as can be. Since Jefferson was drafted in 2020, they have missed a combined one game. That’s right, two talented players, with only one missed game – and it was because of COVID-19 protocol. With these two, you are getting the ceiling of a possible league-leading player in Jefferson and potential top-5 QB finisher in Cousins, with the safety of a minimum top 10 finish at their position for the both of them. 

6. DOLPHINS – TUA TAGOVAILOA AND TYREEK HILL

Last season was so promising for this duo. Tua Tagovailoa began the season on a tear and MVP whispers began after his six-touchdown performance against the Ravens. Tyreek Hill seemed to be running away with Offensive Player of the Year. But, it all came crashing down when scary head injuries saw Tua leave the lineup.

Tyreek Hill with Tagovailoa vs. without.

With the young QB in the lineup, Tyreek averaged nearly six more fantasy points per game — an entire touchdown’s worth. Losing his quarterback is likely the only thing that cost Tyreek Hill OPOY. Predicting injuries is near impossible in fantasy, so assuming health is the best way to approach a draft, and these two healthy are a scary stack.

Going into this season, though, the possibilities are endless. Tua is back and ready to go, and if looking good has anything to do with fantasy production (I like to think it does), Tua should be on fire with this new fire up his sleeve (or, as his sleeve)

All jokes aside, another year should only benefit this duo. It was only Tyreek Hill’s first year in Miami and Tua’s second-year as a full-time starter. They will continue to grow as the year goes on. One of the best parts about this stack is not actually Tua or Tyreek, it is actually another player — Jaylen Waddle.

Now, hear me out. First of all, stacking Tagovailoa with Waddle is also a great stack and may compete with Tua-Tyreek depending on how the year goes. But, that is not what I’m talking about. What I’m referring to is Waddle’s ability to make the Tua-Tyreek stack even better. Miami finished near the top 10 in the league in pass attempts, even with backup QBs taking up a lot of time in the pocket.

What this means is that they are going to pass no matter what. So, even when Hill does not have the best game, the presence of Waddle allows Tua’s fantasy score to stay high and pad the lost points from Hill. This is not even to mention the gravity Waddle will bring after last season, which should open up the Cheetah even more.

Once again, this is another duo similar to Cousins-Jefferson or Stafford-Kupp where the only pick you really need is the first-rounder. After that, Tua should be available later in the draft and you can pick him where you would like. 

Author

  • Spikeball connoisseur, nap enthusiast, former 'Fake D' member. Can be found enjoying Star Wars and releasing studio hip-hop albums when bored.

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