Almost all DFS users at this point understand the value of stacking when it comes to upside: If Aaron Rodgers throws three touchdown passes in a game to Davante Adams, it’d certainly be nice to have both those players in your lineup. Each touchdown is now worth 11 points to your team (without factoring in any yardage) as opposed to just four for a QB passing TD or just seven for a wide receiver catch and touchdown on DraftKings.

If Adams has a huge game, it’s likely Rodgers does, too.

It’s simple. It’s valuable to do. I don’t need to convince anyone of stacking, especially in tournaments.

But one thing I think is still underrated is heavily stacking as a way of minimizing risk. Let’s look at an example from a winning Millionaire Maker lineup from last December.

Here was the lineup (from our DFS Contests Dashboard):

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers — Green Bay Packers
  • RB1: Jamaal Williams — Green Bay Packers
  • RB2: Elijah McGuire — New York Jets
  • WR1: Davante Adams — Green Bay Packers
  • WR2: Robby Anderson — New York Jets
  • WR3: Marquez Valdes-Scantling — Green Bay Packers
  • TE: Zach Ertz — Philadelphia Eagles
  • Flex: Antonio Brown — Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Defense: Miami Dolphins

That week, the Packers beat the Jets 44-38, and this user had six of his nine players from that game.

Again, you can see the upside. Rodgers threw for nearly 500 yards and had two passing touchdowns. There were 10 total touchdowns in that game, and the user got points on eight of them.

And that gets back to the point of minimizing risk. There isn’t a threshold of points or touchdowns you need to be competitive in DFS tournaments, but especially for a Milly Maker you can assume it’s a lot. And you absolutely can’t miss on any single position.

Let’s say you roster Rodgers, who had a ton of points in that game. But then you didn’t stack the game, so you ended up with players from a variety of other games. The more you spread things out, the more you have to be right. If you roster nine players from nine different games, all it takes is one player, one situation, one game to underwhelm. The user above didn’t need to predict all of those things: He needed the Packers-Jets game to shoot out, and then he needed three more things in his favor — Ertz, Brown and the Dolphins to score a bunch of points.

Of course, fantasy isn’t that easy. That user could’ve rostered in that game Jimmy Graham, who finished with just 6.4 fantasy points. Predictions are hard to make, but that’s the point. Since they’re so hard and football is so random, it’s essential to minimize as many variables as possible. Don’t be right nine times — be right just four or five.

It also seems that full-game stacks are still low-owned in tournaments. In that week above, Anderson was the second-highest owned player on the slate at 36.4% in the Milly Maker. Adams was also popular at 14.9%, but only 5.9% of users had them together. Add Rodgers and it dips down to 1.1%. Throw in Valdez-Scantling, and we’re down to 0.07% of users — just 143 of the 196,078 entered. Only five teams total had that full-game stack.

In general, I don’t like looking at just winning lineups from a few tournaments and cherry-picking data. The larger point is that stacking isn’t just about upside for a couple positions. The idea in tournaments is to maximize the ceiling of your entire lineup, and predicting nine separate games — their players, the flow, etc. — is nearly impossible.

By stacking to an extreme, you’re limiting the variables and thus creating a lineup that is much more likely to hit together.