It’s go time. An offseason without preseason football games has made the time between NFL action feel excruciatingly long. And it has created a ripple effect throughout the football and fantasy football industries. Week 1 of the 2020 season could go down as the most random campaign, from a fantasy perspective, that any of us have experienced.
One way we can cut down on randomness in DFS is to target and stack players with high correlations to each other. The team level stack that pairs one quarterback with a wide receiver is the most basic approach, but that alone typically doesn’t offer enough upside to win a guaranteed prize pool (GPP) tournament. An underutilized stack is a game-level stack, which takes not only a quarterback and pass-catching option but also runs it back with a pass-catcher or running back from the opposing team.
In our introductory article on stacking, we see that if we hit on the correct quarterback and wide receiver to stack, it's common for a player from the opposing team to be worthwhile to pair with this combination to apply more lineup correlation into your roster builds. This provides inherent upside to our lineups — if we hit on the correct quarterback, typically two or more additional lineup spots are hit on by the simple fact that they are highly correlated to our quarterback play. If your quarterback is a miss, the rest of your lineup is typically also a miss, as it is hard to pull off a quality finish in a GPP contest with a dud at the quarterback position.
Focusing on this approach of identifying quarterbacks who could be hits, we have built a model to project the signal-caller who is most likely to finish as the highest-scoring at the position on the main slate based on fantasy projections and betting market lines. Utilizing correlations for how fantasy points are distributed at the game level, we can then see the correct framework for how to approach roster construction for a game stack. Here are the best game stacks to start in DFS lineups for GPPs in Week 1 after using that approach.
Based on initial ownership projections, we get a general idea of what direction the market is leaning. Week 1 is often the most difficult slate in which to project ownership, so it may not be as accurate until we have some historical information for the 2020 season. Another guiding principle for most DFS players is the betting market total, which can often identify the games that will be targeted the most for a game stack. Since more points lead to higher scoring, we can better gauge which games most DFS players will initially target heading into Week 1.
Outside of the Thursday night kickoff, no game has more intrigue than the Buccaneers at the Saints in Week 1. The names in new places will draw DFS eyeballs, but it also has — or is tied for — the highest total on the main DFS slate. It should be the chalkiest game stack, but there are ways to differentiate lineups to fold in a player who may often be missed between the normal pairings that DFS users roll out.