Week 15 Stacks to Watch Out For
Carolina Panthers versus the Giants
No need to tell you how unstoppable the Panthers have been this year. Newton is the frontrunner in the MVP race and their winning record speaks for itself. However, they may be missing their star tight end Greg Olsen, who left the game early with a knee injury. Weather he plays or not, he may be a risky pick. If Olsen is limited that will mean more targets for Ginn and Funchess, especially Ginn who has shown he has the speed to separate from defenders and get open for a long ball.
The primary reason this stack looks so promising however is more about their matchup. The Giants have by far been the weakest at against defending the pass this year allowing an average of 314.5 passing yards per game this year, far more than the second place on this list (Steelers at 279 passing yards per game).
If you are looking for a stack that may be less owned (more upside in a tournament) the Packers may be your choice. While Aaron Rodgers has been struggling lately and the Packers were all run game last weekend, we all know what Aaron Rodgers is capable of with that offense. The Raiders, while weak against both, are better at defending the run than the pass, allowing an average of 271 passing yards per game this year (putting them 5th on that list) but are 12 on lowest rushing yards allowed with just over 100 per game.
James Jones and Randall Cobb are the best picks as far as receivers go. Cobb is a definite favorite target of Rodgers’ and he always seems to be able to find Jones for a long ball. While Richard Rodgers is a red zone threat, I doubt he will be able to match his 2 touchdown performance from 2 weeks ago and he doesn’t get many targets otherwise.
Another matchup that has serious potential is the Arizona Cardinals against the Eagles. The Eagles have been struggling to stop the pass this year and Carson Palmer and his receivers have been red hot. While Larry Fitzgerald has been quite as of late, he is the veteran of this team and always shows up in the clutch. However, the Eagles real weakness lies in their secondary, typically leaving the long ball open. This is where John Brown and Michael Floyd generate their value. Each had a long touchdown last week against the Vikings for over 40 yards and with their speed, they will have no problem getting open down the field against Philly’s pass defense.
MLB Matchups and Stacks
Fantasy Baseball is very unique in the realm of fantasy sports. The strategy and lineup selection differs significantly from what is successful in other sports. Too many players in a game that ends 1-0 can kill a lineups and a couple players in a high scoring 12 inning game can earn you huge. When you get past the all-stars, it is less about picking the individual players as it is about identifying where the points will be concentrated (i.e. where are the high scoring games). That’s why so many fantasy players adopt the “stack” strategy. This strategy is where you pick many hitters from a team, or a game, where you expect a lot of runs to be scored and a large pool of fantasy points.
May 19th Games
We can look at some of the games over the past week and identify where successful stacks could have been implemented and the factors that caused the high scoring.
Tuesday saw some big games. 5 out of the total 15 games saw a combined total of 10+ runs with St Louis, Minnesota, Washington, and Baltimore scoring over 8 runs. If you look at the individuals of these games you can see the value a stack can bring. The heavy hitters like Harper, Dozier, Machado, and Paredes had great games, but they are consistent performers so that doesn’t prove much.
What you see however, is that cheaper players like Ramos, Desmond, Escobar, Suzuki, Grichuk, Joseph, Reynolds, and De Aza scored the same or more points than these heavy hitters just by being in the right game. While a couple of these players may have had great games, it is unlikely they all happened to have such huge individual performances on the same night.
Their huge number totals came from the the bonus runs and RBI’s that came from the team totals. The real value in fantasy MLB comes from team synergy rather than individual dominance.
Identifying High Scoring Games
The main factors most DFS players use to identify high scoring games are the vegas lines. The over under and spread are measure of the total points that will be scored in the game and how close those games will be. However, vegas is very conservative in their measures, only giving a range of 6.5 to 10 in the over under while it is not uncommon for a game to score far lower or far higher than this range.
To really identify the high scoring games you can do your own analysis with additional factors. One of the most influential is the opposing pitcher. A weak pitcher is a necessity for a high scoring game. The ideal outcome is a lot of opposing pitcher. If the opposing team runs through 4,5, or even 6 pitcher, you can be sure the game other team is scoring big.
Another factor you can look at is weather. The rule of thumb is cold benefits pitchers, hot benefits hitters. No hitter likes the sting of the bat on impact on a cold day. It makes them less aggressive. Wind blowing in to the stadium can make distance hits impossible, and wind blowing out can raise the prevalence of balls flying over the fence.
Identifying the high-scoring games is just another tool to use to pick your lineups. Alone, it won’t win you any contests but it can definitely narrow down your choices and increase the accuracy of your projections whether you choose to stack your hitters or take a more diversified approach.